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We Go Back To The Very Beginning

April 30, 2012

The Doctor Who Project (aka TDWP) began life in late 1998 when several members of the then fan group TASC (Telefantasy Appreciation Society of Canada) were discussing the fact that Doctor Who was no longer on television. This group of fans joked about what the show would be like if they were in the producers chair and in charge of making the series. This was supposed to be just a bit of fun, but one of the members, Bob Furnell, asked, “why couldn’t we do our own version of the series?” From there Bob explained he had discovered an online fiction series based on the recently cancelled series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, where a group of fans had got together and wrote a fifth season of the series tying up all the loose ends from the previous season. Bob noted that a lot of these stories were quite good and if this idea worked for a group of Lois & Clark fans, why couldn’t it work for Doctor Who? This got everyone to thinking and they agreed that this might be the sort of project TASC might like to try out.

Four initial questions were asked…

  1. What if Doctor Who had never been cancelled in 1989?
  2. What if Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) hadn’t regenerated into the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) in 1996?
  3. What if the series was still in production today?
  4. What would we do if we produced the series?

The answers that came from those four questions proved to be quite interesting, and it was at this point that the group decided to launch a fictional version of the television series. The Doctor Who Project was born. From there, Bob and fellow TASC member Misha Lauenstein laid down the initial guidelines for the fledgling new fiction series.

Over the next several weeks, the group (consisting of Bonnie Gale, Terry Baker, Pat Burt, and Jay Demetrick) along with Bob and Misha discussed ideas that would form the basis for this new fiction series.

Progress was slow and sadly the group couldn’t come to any sort of mutual agreement on the project, and as a result, Bob and Misha took matters into their own hands. Together Bob and Misha formulated that the first season of adventures would consist of 6 original stories penned by various Doctor Who fan writers. The stories would be published in Word format and would be emailed out to subscribers weekly over a period of six weeks. The series would use the Seventh Doctor, as played by Sylvester McCoy, for the series first two stories, after which the Seventh Doctor would regenerate into the projects very own Eighth Doctor who would be played by a fictional actor by the name of Jeremy Banks-Walker. The first story of the season would see the return of the Silurians along with the Seventh Doctor encountering former assistant Elizabeth Shaw, who would accompany the Doctor during for the first three stories. For the remainder of the season, writers were asked to create a one-off companion to be featured in their story; each character had the potential of eventually becoming the full-time companion of the Eighth Doctor. The first story would be published in January 1999.

That very first story was The Final Sunset.

Initially The Final Sunset was to be a solo project by John-Gordon Swogger.  John works by day as an archeological illustrator and due to poor timing and bad luck, John sadly wasn’t able to complete the original versions as planned.  When it looked like the story might be scrapped, Bob and Misha got together and taking John’s original outline and notes for the story filled in what hadn’t been completed, and in the end, you have the story you today which became the very first story published by The Doctor Who Project, as well as being the very first of two stories to feature televisions seventh Doctor as played by Sylvester McCoy.

An archaeological team dies from a mysterious virus. A second team, headed by Dr. Elizabeth “Liz” Shaw, goes to investigate but goes missing. An earthquake awakens a lost Silurian colony off the coast of British Columbia; and then, UNIT Canada is called in to investigate. Meanwhile the Doctor meets up with an enemy from his past.

This story was originally featured in the Season 27 Omnibus published March 1999 and rereleased in 2010 featuring a brand new cover by Alex Lydiate.

The Final Sunset can be download for free in PDF format from the TDWP site.

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