TV

These Unofficial 1980s Doctor Who Films Blazed a Trail


A female Doctor? Musical numbers? These 1980s fan films got there first.

Doctor Who TARDIS
Photo: BBC/Disney+

For all that fans have, and will ever continue to, argue about what is canon in the world of Doctor Who, the fact remains that it is a world of fuzzy edges, edges will only get fuzzier now that Russell T Davies has introduced “the Doctor-verse”.

The TV series itself is like a piece of grit in the oyster of fandom, and around that grit has formed a pearl made of Big Finish audios and novels and comic books and tabletop RPGS and (sadly, not yet any properly decent) videogames. Then there are all the unofficial appearances that definitely still count. And beyond that? The vast expanse of fan-created content, most of it created for an audience of one, and yet it is not quite as distant from The Official Version as you might think.

After all, we now are at a point where multiple actors have spent more hours playing the Doctor in Big Finish’s recording booths than they ever did in a BBC studio, and that company’s Executive Producer (as well as the longstanding voice of both the Daleks and the Cybermen) started out playing a future incarnation of the Doctor in a series of unofficial audio dramas by Audio Visuals – and he’s not the only one.

A particularly interesting fan-made Doctor Who production is the series of short films made by Seattle International Films in the 1980s. Beginning as an entry for a competition at a sci-fi convention, these films introduced a new incarnation of the Doctor and took them through four adventures (including their eventual regeneration).



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