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Steven Moffat Found the Silliest Way to Make Peter Cushing’s DOCTOR WHO Canon

Steven Moffat Found the Silliest Way to Make Peter Cushing’s DOCTOR WHO Canon

When you look back at last 12 years of Doctor Who on television, you’ll likely notice a lot of meta in-jokes about the canon of the show and stuff that happened between 1963 and 1989. The modern series’ two showrunners, Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat, were and are huge fans of the series, so it certainly makes sense. But now that neither of them have that job, and are novelizing their own stories, they’re going even more meta! We already told you about Davies referencing future incarnations of the Doctor, post-Whittaker, and now Moffat has found a way to even make Peter Cushing‘s feature films sort of canon.

For those not aware, in 1965 and 1966, Terry Nation–the creator of the Daleks and writer of their first several stories on televised Doctor Who–sold the film rights to the characters to Amicus, who proceeded to adapt the first two Dalek serials into full-color feature films. The basic set-up was changed quite a bit; rather than an alien, the lead character of Dr. Who was a dotty inventor from Earth who created a time and space ship called “Tardis” (no “the,” no acronym) and the companions became his very young granddaughter, his niece, and the niece’s boyfriend. Peter Cushing played Dr. Who and while neither of the movies (Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks Invasion Earth – 2150 AD) are canon, fans have kept them in a special place in their heart.

One of those fans is evidently Moffat. In his novelization of the 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor,” he added an exchange in the UNIT Black Archives between Kate Stewart and Clara Oswald that puts the movies in canon, kind of. According to Radio Times, the Doctor (presumably the First Doctor) allowed movies based on his adventures to be made in the mid-60s, and he became friends with Cushing. They were such good friends he took the aging actor to the future, well after the time of his death, to appear in a movie, a nod to Cushing’s CGI resurrection in Rogue One.

Moffat has mentioned he wanted this scene to be in the original TV special of “The Day of the Doctor,” but the BBC couldn’t, amazingly, secure the rights to the posters for the two Dalek movies. Also added to the novelization are brief appearances by River Song–specifically one meeting the Tenth Doctor again, explaining their exchange in “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead“– and Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor. There’s even a silly line explaining why the First and Second Doctor stories are in black and white (they were colorblind, obviously).

It makes me laugh that both Moffat and Davies have had literary field days with the adaptations of their stories, embellishing and retrofitting things based on what’s come later. It’ll be fun to read these and find all the little Easter eggs they’re putting in.

Images: BBC/Amicus Pictures

Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor and the resident Whovian for Nerdist. Follow him on Twitter!

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