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Discontinuity / Doctor Who

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Given the nature of Doctor Who it is entirely possible to canonically wipe out some of one's least favourite parts, as it has happened in the show - both within episodes, and when the Doctor erases the events of previous episodes from the Timey-Wimey Ball.


  • The fact that the 1980s are often considered a decade-long case of Seasonal Rot means some fans only count the first four Doctors (the first 18 seasons). Some go one better and only count the first 17 seasons, since Season 18 brought in new producer John Nathan-Turner, who was a very polarising figure and removed much of the show's humour. The novel "The Well-Mannered War" makes this explicit: Specifically set between Seasons 17 and 18, it ends with the Doctor and Romana taking the TARDIS into another universe. (If you ask the author about this however, he'll deny it.)
  • Some fans ignore everything after the classic series (the first 26 seasons).
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    • "Death Comes to Time" is sometimes used to justify this, as the 7th Doctor dies here, though nearly everybody thinks of "Death Comes to Time" as non-canon. The audios, novels, and comic strip adventures also all have their own ideas of what happened to Ace, which makes decanonising everything after Survival easier for fans who prefer a straight narrative.
    • The TV Movie was contentious from first broadcast, and ignoring it quickly became a self-defining characteristic of the "true fan". This was dramatized in Queer as Folk (by future revival series creator Russell T. Davies), where "Paul McGann doesn't count" was used as a shibboleth. Others are fine with the TV Movie but nothing further. There are probably a few who insist the movie never happened and Christopher Eccleston is the Eighth Doctor as well.
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    • More common is keeping the whole movie, except that Paul McGann never uttered the words "I'm half-human." These words are blasphemy, as the Emperor of the Daleks pointed out. And as the Series 4 finale appears to confirm — there had never been half-human half-Time Lords before. An IDW comic explains away the whole "half-human" thing as being a trick he played on the Master with mind games and a half-working chameleon arch. "The Apocalypse Element" also gives an explanation for why Time Lord technology responds to human eyes. Series 9's finale "Hell Bent" broached the possibility that Eight was telling the truth for the first time in almost 20 years, but nothing is confirmed or denied — the Twelfth Doctor just asks Ashildr/Me if it actually matters what he is.
  • One fanzine published an article explaining what really happened in Season 23 (The "Trial of a Time Lord" arc). The version we think we saw on screen, with the confusion as to what really happened in the Flashbacks; the gobbledegook explanation of what the Valeyard's up to; the Continuity Snarl that left Mel never having an actual first meeting with the Doctor; and the bizarre scenes in the Matrix all adding up to an unintentional Mind Screw, was simply a mass hallucination caused by stress over the recent cancellation crisis.
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  • Most of fandom does not view the 30th anniversary special "Dimensions in Time" as canon because the plot... well, it would be more accurate to say, "What plot?" An Expanded Universe novel also more-or-less wrote the adventure off as being a nightmare of the Doctor's. The fact an article in the magazine "Doctor Who Adventures" about The Brigadier did not mention him meeting the Sixth Doctor (when mentioning the other Doctors he had met) suggests the BBC has struck it from canon as well. Fans of EastEnders do not consider the special canon either due to the fact some characters who have died were depicted being alive in a future version of Albert Square, and the fact Doctor Who is portrayed as a fictional television program within the show (and vice versa). Word of God was desperate, almost pleading, for it to be canon, because, to his thinking, bad canon was better than no canon.
  • "A Fix With Sontarans", an episode produced for children's programme Jim'll Fix It is not regarded as canon either, possibly due to the fact it was produced for another programme, and at the end of it, Breaking Of The Fourth Wall occurs with Jimmy Savile (the presenter) walking into the TARDIS and declaring Gareth Jenkins (who wrote in saying he wanted to appear in a Doctor Who episode) "fixed". Many Who fans also prefer to push it into discontinuity to avoid any discomforting conversation following the 2012 allegations that Savile was a predatory pedophile.
  • Depending on how you view this episode, some fans pretend that "Father's Day" never existed because none of the established rules on the space-time continuum that involves Reapers ever came back after that episode.
  • "Love & Monsters" is the one of the most controversial episodes in the revival for being an awkward cartoonish comedy and ending with the protagonist's love interest living in a slab of concrete. For some the episode never happpened or Elton's account of the events are distorted.
  • There's a short, "The Battle of Demon's Run: Two Days Later", which claims that Sontaran warrior Strax, an ally of the Doctor introduced and killed in "A Good Man Goes to War" and who reappeared as a member of the Paternoster Gang in "The Snowmen" having been resurrected offscreen, was actually Only Mostly Dead and had convinced himself he was dead. There are fans who refuse to acknowledge this due to thinking that the significant changes to Strax's personality (from an otherwise-serious Large Ham to a massive Cloudcuckoolander) only make sense due to actual death and resurrection.
  • The Brigadier being turned into a Cyberman in "Death in Heaven" is also something some fans wish had never happened, though others who saw it as a touching tribute.
  • Then there's the Doctor Who Expanded Universe. Some fans will try the impossible task of trying to tie them to a single continuity. Others will reject entire ranges, like the Doctor Who New Adventures due to The Reveal about the Doctor in "Lungbarrow" which contradicts events from New Who. Others will only discontinue certain specific events, like "The World Shapers" from the Doctor Who Magazine comics (controversial for its very unpopular version of the Cybermen's origin, and the sad post-TV fate it gives Jamie). According to Big Finish Doctor Who story "Zagreus", they take place in alternate continuities. As "The Night of the Doctor" has the Doctor reference Big Finish, the other ranges have been thought of as non-canon by some fans. There's even the theory that stories that don't fit into continuity take place in the Shalkaverse, which was but now isn't canon. And there's a lot of specific hostility for the notorious novel War of the Daleks, which makes a mess of the continuity of Post-Genesis Dalek Stories, claiming they were part of an elaborate Tricked Out Time gambit by the Daleks to stop Skaro getting destroyed, which is seen as a key defining moment for the Seventh Doctor.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat has resulted in large number of fans who subscribe to certain character romances rejecting or discounting other character romances, even if they are confirmed in the show itself. The most recent example is the shipping war between those who subscribe to the Twelfth Doctor-River Song romance (which in the show is also a marriage), and the Twelfth Doctor-Clara Oswald romance, with many fan fiction stories by both sides attempting to discount the other.
  • By the fall of 2017, prior to the actual broadcast of the event, large numbers of fans were already refusing to accept the announced Gender Swap between the Twelfth and Thirteenth Doctors indicating on fan forums and elsewhere that the show, for them, ends with the Twelfth Doctor's regeneration into a woman.
  • When said episode actually did air, some fans refused to accept the episode as canon, feeling the First Doctor was acting out of character throughout the episode.
  • Fans of the Thirteenth Doctor's companion Graham O'Brien would much rather forget about the closing moments of the episode Can You Hear Me?, where he attempts to confide to The Doctor about his anxiety regarding the possibility that his cancer could return. Rather than lend Graham some comforting words, the socially awkward Doctor plays down the subject. This upset fans so much that they wrote letters of protest to the BBC, forcing the Beeb to put out a response trying to defend the Doctor's actions. Fans prefer to substitute this story with the comic strip adventure 'Mistress of Chaos', where Graham is the one giving The Doctor words of comfort, and there's a fair bit of Ship Teasing between the two also.
  • Another group of fans decided to dismiss the Thirteenth Doctor's entire tenure as the Twelfth's Dying Dream following the introduction in Season 12 of the Doctor's "Timeless Child" backstory, the reversal of Missy's character arc and the destruction (again) of Gallifrey and the Time Lords.
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