Doctor Who officially returned to television fifteen years ago today with the airing of “Rose,” the first episode of acter Christopher Eccleston‘s tenure as The Ninth Doctor. The commemorate the anniversary, BBC has released a new short story, “Doctor Who and the Time War,” written by initial Nu-Who showrunner Russell T. Davies, which features the end of the Time War and the regeneration of The Doctor into the one we meet in “Rose.”
Starring Eccleston as The Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, the first year of the relaunched series alluded to events that had taken place between the 1996 TV movie (which introduced Paul McGann as The Eighth Doctor) and the new series. Chief among them was a great Time War between the Time Lords of Gallifrey and the Daleks, an event that only ended when The Doctor himself destroyed both races, leaving only himself as the sole survivor.
The new short story, according to a note from Davies that accompanies it, was written back in 2013 for the celebration of Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary. It’s styled as the final pages of a Target novel, described by Davies as a “a surviving fragment of the Novel That Never Was.” It was shelved after Davies learned that Steven Moffat was planning to explore similar — and, in terms of continuity, contradictory — territory in the 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor.” The story has been dusted off, Davies says, because current Who showrunner Chris Chibnall says the world needs The Doctor now more than ever.
Along with the release on the BBC’s website, Davies also shared the story on Instagram, where it’s been designed to look like the pages of the ‘lost’ novel. The writer has also teased another new story, titled “Rose: The Sequel,” to be released later today at 7:45 GMT (which, if my timezone conversion is correct, is in a couple of hours).
Check out the new short story, accompanied by cover art by artist Lee Binding, below.