Season 6B

Season 6B

Season 6B or Season 6 (b) is a popular fan theory related to the long-running British science fiction television series "Doctor Who". An example of fanon, it is a hypothetical series of adventures of the Doctor that takes place between the last serial of Season 6, "The War Games" (first broadcast in 1969), and the first serial of Season 7, "Spearhead from Space" (first broadcast in 1970). This unconfirmed piece of continuity was first used by fans, notably Paul Cornell, to explain away certain continuity problems in the programme.

Although the majority of stories in the series were constructed to leave short gaps (or no gaps at all) between episodes, the Season 6B hypothesis inserted a sizeable gap in which untold stories and previously unknown companions could be inserted into series continuity, in a number of novels and other productions. Other potential gaps in the eras of other Doctors have been identified, and utilised in the same way.

Season 6B is not to be confused with 6B, the production code for the "Doctor Who" serial "Earthshock" (1982).

Continuity problems

The conclusion of "The War Games" sees the capture of the Second Doctor by his people, the Time Lords, who put him on trial for interfering with the universe contrary to Time Lord policy. This was the first time the Time Lords had appeared in the programme, and also the first time the Doctor had revealed he was one of them (prior to this the other members of the Doctor's race to appear on television, the Doctor's granddaughter, Susan, and the Meddling Monk, were not explicitly identified as Time Lords). The Time Lords return his companions Jamie and Zoe to their own times and wipe their memories of their experiences with the Doctor bar their first adventure with him. They then sentence the Doctor to exile on Earth, as well as forcing him to regenerate. The first part of "Spearhead from Space" follows on from this, introducing the Third Doctor, who does not actually appear on screen at the end of "The War Games", one of only two occasions (the other being the regeneration of the Eighth Doctor into the Ninth) that a regeneration has not been shown to completion on screen in one form or another.

Patrick Troughton reprised his role as the Second Doctor in the anniversary stories "The Three Doctors" (1973) and "The Five Doctors" (1983). In the latter story, illusions of Jamie and Zoe are dismissed because the Second Doctor knows that the Time Lords wiped their memories and therefore Jamie should not have recognised Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

However, it is not explained how the Second Doctor could know of Jamie and Zoe's memory wipe, since he was told of it only just before his forced regeneration and exile, and consequently there does not seem to be any time to fit in the events of "The Five Doctors" between his trial and "Spearhead from Space". Conversely, if this Second Doctor came from a time before "The War Games" he would have had no knowledge of the memory wipe because, from his perspective it had yet to happen. [The actual explanation is because the scene was a hasty re-write. The phantom companions were originally supposed to be Zoe and Victoria, and the illusion of Victoria would have given the game away by addressing Lethbridge-Stewart as "Brigadier", because in the television series she encountered him on only one occasion, when he was but a Colonel. However, actress Deborah Watling was unable to schedule time for an appearance, and Frazer Hines as Jamie was written in when Hines became available. See Brief | id=6k | title=The Five Doctors.]

Troughton once again returned to the series in the 1985 serial "The Two Doctors", where the Second Doctor and Jamie are on a mission for the Time Lords. This caused confusion among fans, since Jamie did not find out about the Time Lords until just before he was sent back to his own time. Coupled with this was the visibly aged appearance of the now grey-haired Troughton and Frazer Hines (who played Jamie). Robert Holmes, who wrote "The Two Doctors", stated on occasion that he believed the Doctor had long been a discreet agent of the Time Lords, undertaking missions for them despite his autonomous status. However, this was still at odds with what had been seen on-screen in "The War Games" (Holmes in fact may have been confused as to which Doctor was which, as it was the Third Doctor, during his exile on Earth, who had on occasions been sent on missions by the Time Lords).

eason 6B

To account for these apparent discrepancies, Paul Cornell proposed the "Season 6B" theory, first published in the 1995 book "The Discontinuity Guide", by Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping. This hypothetical season takes place off-camera between "The War Games" and "Spearhead from Space", and has Troughton's Doctor working as an agent of the Time Lords, specifically their covert organization the Celestial Intervention Agency, who grant him increased control over his TARDIS at the cost of his freedom. The Second Doctor who shows up in "The Five Doctors" comes from this period, and is therefore aware of Jamie and Zoe's mindwipe.

During this time, the Second Doctor apparently regains Jamie and Victoria Waterfield (who is mentioned as being away studying graphology in "The Two Doctors") as companions, acquires a Stattenheim remote control device to summon his TARDIS, and undertakes the mission which was related in "The Two Doctors". Eventually, either the Time Lords tire of keeping the Doctor on a leash, or, as is more likely, the Doctor rebels and attempts to escape once more. This results in the exile which begins in "Spearhead from Space". To explain why the Sixth Doctor does not remember his own past in "The Two Doctors", it is also suggested that the Time Lords wiped the Second Doctor's memory of the events of Season 6B — the Third Doctor did claim significant memory loss in "Spearhead". Cornell acknowledged that alternatively, this could be due to the fact that the Doctor is injected during "The Two Doctors" with "siralanomode"; a fictitious drug that the Doctor states can affect one's memory.

Although Cornell came up with the specifics of Season 6B, the idea of a post-"The War Games" Second Doctor had already been introduced in the "TV Comic" comic strip in 1969. "Action in Exile" (TVC #916-#920) sees the Doctor arrive in London without his TARDIS, and he checks into the luxurious Carlton Grange Hotel. From this base, he proceeds to have five Earth-bound adventures, culminating in "The Night Walkers" (TVC #934-#936). In this story, the Doctor investigates tales of scarecrows walking. He discovers that the scarecrows have been animated by the Time Lords to capture him, and we learn that the Doctor escaped from the Time Lords before they could complete his sentence of a forced change of appearance. The scarecrows take him into the TARDIS and proceed to trigger his regeneration, leading directly into "Spearhead from Space".


Tie-in fiction

Some parts of the Past Doctor Adventures novel "Players" are set in this period, as is the whole of "World Game". Both books are written by former "Doctor Who" series writer and script editor Terrance Dicks. Dicks co-wrote "The War Games" and his adoption of the Season 6B hypothesis is seen by some as lending authorial legitimacy to the idea.

In "World Game", it is revealed that at the conclusion of the Second Doctor's trial, he was actually sentenced to death. However, the Celestial Intervention Agency required an operative who could discreetly investigate temporal disturbances but could also be disavowed. The CIA approaches the Doctor and the Time Lord High Council, proposing that the Doctor's sentence be commuted if he becomes their agent.

To test this arrangement, the Doctor is first sent via time ring to 1915 France ("Players") and subsequently given a Type 97 TARDIS and a supervisor/companion in the politically ambitious Time Lady Serena ("World Game"). Although the relationship between the two was more antagonistic, over the course of the mission they begin to appreciate each other's talents.

At the conclusion of "World Game", Serena sacrifices herself for the Doctor's principles, while the Doctor uses what he learned of Gallifreyan politics from her to negotiate with the CIA, agreeing to their terms, but demanding the return of his TARDIS and Jamie. The CIA also agree, giving him a Stattenheim remote control and fitting the TARDIS with an override to give them ultimate control. They alter Jamie's memories so that he believes Victoria is away studying graphology, and the novel leads into the events of "The Two Doctors".

BBC website

The BBC "Doctor Who" website uses excerpts both from "The Discontinuity Guide" and "The Television Companion" by David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker. The mention of Season 6B on the site could be taken as the BBC lending legitimacy to the theory. However, the BBC has never made a clear statement on canonicity, and the site also contains material which is explicitly non-canonical. The exact position remains unclear.



*Cornell, Paul, Day, Martin & Topping, Keith (1995). "The Discontinuity Guide". London: Virgin Publishing, ISBN 0-426-20442-5.

External links

* [ Discontinuity Guide entry at the BBC website]
* [ The WHOniverse's timeline]
* [ Doctor Who - The Complete Adventures timeline]
* [ Outpost Gallifrey timeline] (not current with "World Game")

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