The Tony Lee Doctor Who 50th Anniversary IDW Proposal That Wasn't

Once upon a time, Tony Lee wrote the Doctor Who comic books for IDW. Most of them anyway, I write one. But then, after mid-way through the Doctor Who/Star Trek crossover comic, he wasn't anymore. But he still had plans.

The Tony Lee Doctor Who 50th Anniversary IDW Proposal That Wasn't

And yesterday for the 59th anniversary, with Big Finish announcing a 60th anniversary seven-hour audio adventure serialised through 2023 that sees the Doctor de-generate through their previous lives, he looked back nine years and gave us his pitch. Bleeding Cool has permission to reprint it below.

Tony Lee tweeted "So earlier I talked about the new @bigfinish special. I'm super excited about it. But people have noted a similarity to a pitch I did 10 years back for IDW, which I've talked about at cons. It isn't the same. And, for the first time, I'm going to show it to you. First off, an explanation. I never expected this to be made, as I'd fallen out with IDW after I walked off the Doctor Who / Star Trek book on issue 4, but it was the 50th anniversary, and I had to try. I also had an insane idea that was as "kitchen sink" as The Forgotten.  Second, I wrote this pitch when Amy and Rory were still with 11. Clara wasn't yet named (she's "New Girl" in this) and the "12th Doctor" I mention is definitely not Capaldi. Also, it'll look super busy – this is a pitch. The whole thing would have been 264 pages in total.  And so, here we go – an 11th Doctor and Clara adventure (although when pitching we didn't know her name) to come out every month of 2013, leading to a massive 11th issue in November. I've not even looked at this for 10 years. Apologies for spelling issues."


Doctor Who: Countdown, An 11-part story by Tony Lee for IDW Publishing

NOTE: Please be aware as you read this of several things. 1) This is a completely stand alone, 'toys back in the box' story in the style of The Forgotten — by the end of the final issue, everything that has happened here will be washed away. There will be no continuity issues or anything that could conflict with the next season, as this is all 'in a brand new, bubble universe'. 2) The 11 issue will be a 'double sized' one to enable a third TPB of the story. 3) As of the writing of this, I have no idea of what the companion's name will be, so we'll be calling her 'New Girl' throughout the book.

Issue 1.

We begin the story in a singularity bubble several incarnations of the Master have met up in — Delgado, Beever, Ainley and Roberts. Set before the Time War, they know that something bad is about to happen, and know that it's because of the Doctor. Delgado brings out the person who's told him this — Emily Winter, the companion from the IDW 10th Doctor series (and therefore nothing to do with the TV show). Forced to give up her secrets, she now tries to escape but is killed/shrunk by the Delgado Master as he welcomes his new allies — the Daleks — to the room. Ainley Master is suspicious but keeps quiet, as Delgado Master picks up the doll with a smile.
Meanwhile, the Doctor and his new companion, 'New Girl' are escaping from yet another adventure, something exciting yet minimal. However, when they get to the TARDIS, the Doctor finds, nailed to the door, the Emily doll. Taking it into the TARDIS, the Doctor finds a note, saying 'come and play'. The Doctor, furious agrees — but not before arranging a few safeguards of his own.
The Doctor and New Girl arrive at the given location — the Time Ship Xenobia from 'Trial of a Time Lord', a forgotten remnant from before the Time War and something powerful enough to scoop Masters out of a time stream — THIS is where they were seen in the first pages. fiyfi as they arrive they discover that the Master isn't in control of the ship — the Daleks are! And they have an anti-time singularity in a stasis band, which warps the rules of time and space to allow the Masters to meet. The Doctor (as ever) realises that the stasis field isn't working correctly and is about to implode, taking the entire ship (and half the cosmos) with it. He manages to cause a fluctuation in the anti-time that stops this, but not before a pulse ripples through the ship —
And the Eleventh Doctor arrives, with his companion Brannigan.
Two identical Doctors, both as real as the other yet from divergent paths, they both realise that this is no longer the 'Universe prime' and by to stop it. But the Xenobia needs a minimum of three Time Lords to control the main functions, and the Masters won't, no can't believe that the Doctor could be right and retreat in their own TARDIS to a safe distance as the Daleks move in for the kill.
In the battle that follows, Both Doctors and Companions get mixed up, with New Girl following Doctor 2' into his TARDIS as Brannigan and Doctor '1' get into theirs. The Daleks however manage to wound each of the Doctors before they escape, the TARDISes tumbling through time and space, one word — RATTLESTONE — shown on the screen.
In TARDIS 2, New Girl looks in shock as the Doctor regenerates into the 12th Doctor — but something's wrong, his face is permanently caught in the regeneration cycle, as he starts to laugh…
In TARDIS 1, the 11th Doctor falls and regenerates into the 10th Doctor ! He's regenerating backwards through his incarnations, but instead of a straight regeneration, the anti time rippling through his body means that he's swapping chronal templates — he's suddenly as he was the last regenerated — suit, tie, everything. And even though he has the memories of the 11th Doctor, he's everything that the 10th Doctor was. And he needs to work out what RATTLESTONE means.

Issue 2.

In TARDIS 2, the 12th Doctor lands in 18th Century Scotland and dumps New Girl out before leaving. Alone on the moors, New Girl finds herself hunted by Judoon, but is saved by Jamie McCrimmon, dragging her out of sight. But Jamie doesn't remember the Doctor — not that New Girl would expect him to — but he's cautious of these 'demons' that they fight, the paid mercenary Judoon.
Meanwhile the 12th Doctor appears on the Xenobia, explaining that he's the dark side of the Doctor following the dimensional split — and he'd like to rule the universe, please. The Daleks go to stop this, but the 12th Doctor halts them as he explains that he is the Ka Faraq Gatri, the Destroyer of Worlds, who was there at the start of their existence, the man who destroyed Skate — and who can now save
The Daleks, sensing his change and realising that he is an asset for the moment, swear to him, tutting on the Masters. Ainley Master escapes, but the 12th Doctor, now named the 'Ka Faraq Gatri' as a position rather than insult personally kills the Roberts Master with his own tissue compression eliminator. With the two remaining Masters and the Daleks behind him, the Ka Faraq Gatri decides that a start again, they must have a new plan. And he knows exactly where to find one.
In the 51st Century, the 10th Doctor and Brannigan find their way to the Library, where they speak to the digitised River Song, now able to finally speak to the Doctor without riddles. But while they hunt for clues to Rattlestone, a Dalek force arrives in the Ka Faraq Gate's TARDIS, destroying the library as they move through it.
Digital Rive explains that this is a collapsing world, and that Ka Faraq Gatri plans to use the Anti-Time to regain every regeneration 'our Doctor loses as he falls backwards. Rattlestone is the only way for the Doctor to stop this. But the Doctor doesn't know what it means. Unable to explain herself, she tells him to trust the TARDIS.
As the klaxons go off, The Doctor is warned by River that the library is on fire! The Doctor moves to save her, but River tells him to save himself, that the hard drive that holds her essence is on a different planet. However, as they leave, we see that she is lying, and said this to save her love. She is going to die.
As they get into the TARDIS, Brannigan and the Doctor see the Ka Faraq Gatri and they speak – The Ka Faraq Gatri too has seen Rattlestone and wants to know what it means, but as the Doctor tries to get through to him, Daleks arrive and start firing. As the Doctor is hit, Brannigan drags him into the TARDIS.
Ready to die. River sends a message out into the 51st Century for a particular person as the Ka Faraq Gatri arrives. He has plans for her. She tells his that there's nothing he can do — that the Children of Time will stop him. He laughs — he's already started to end the companions of the Doctor, casting the doll of Emily Winter to the floor to burn in the flames…
In the TARDIS, the injured Doctor regenerates into the 9th Doctor …

Issue 3.

Meanwhile, a Judoon discovers New Girl and Jamie! Jamie kills it in a battle but is stopped by another Judoon that dies as it's shot by Canton Delaware Ill, standing like a hero, a Time Agent's Vortex Manipulator on his wrist. He explains that he's been sent to gather the companions of the Doctor for a big tsar— but he bypasses New Girl and speaks to Jamie!
In the 52nd Century, a younger River Song is buying a Vortex Manipulator from a younger Dorium Maldovar as she receives the message from her digital self. She explains it to Dorium —that the world will burn unless the companions of the Doctor can be found — he allows her to take the device temporarily, but won't join the fight. She uses this to travel to 1969, and to find Canton.
On New Earth, The 9th Doctor and Brannigan find the Face of Boe, who explains that it was prophesised that the Doctor would die at Rattlestone, beside the Shaman Goed. He explains that there is a key needed, one the Doctor hasn't had since his exile on Earth, and that the Doctor must find it. As they leave, Brannigan explains that he wants to stay — this world has his wife still alive, and he'd like to live the last days with her. The 95 Doctor leaves and regenerates into the 815 Doctor, as ever, alone.
19th Century London and Madam Vastra and Jenny are fighting Ogrons in the late night streets when the Ainley Master appears, explaining that he's a friend of the Doctor and they really need to come with hits. Killing the last of the aliens, they do so.

On the Xenobia, the two remaining Masters decide that they need to stop this, take control again — but to pilot the Xenobia, they need three time lords. They use the scoop to gather up the Rani- but before they can explain anything, the Ka Faraq Gatri arrives and destroys the Beever Master, leaving the Delgado one! The Rani eagerly takes to the Ka Faraq Gatri's side and suggests that they start to scoop companions from the time stream — but the machine won't work. From this trial ship Only Time Lords and their TARDIS can be scooped, but for some reason the Doctor isn't visible on it. The Ka Faraq Gatri is furious, but then he wires in the holographic River Song, taken from the library and, with a holographic form of torture, he forces her to tell him what she knows about Rattlestone. She doesn't know much, but he works out from her words what it means and with the knowledge, he knows now
what to do. He has to return to where it all started.

Issue 4.

4th Century England — and Centurion Rory is picked up by Amy and River — Amy explains that she'll still be here when they return, and that they need the Auton warrior more than the love of her life, and with him beside them, they leave.
The 9th Doctor arrives at UNIT HQ, during the three 'missing weeks' at the end of Planet of the Spiders. He picks up the key, but is interrupted by the Brigadier and Sarah Jane who, although they don't recognise him, recognise the TARDIS. The 8th Doctor has to pretend that yes, he has regenerated…
Jamie is reminded by Canton of the Doctor, and agrees to come with him to a particular place and time, where, when they arrive they find previous companions gathering for war.
Adric and Zoe discuss math computations. Martha and Micky are examining weapons. The time is 1963. The place is Coal Hill School, Shoreditch. And the Daleks have just arrived to attack…
In the UNIT HQ, the Doctor, Brigadier and Sarah Jane are shocked to see the world change around them into one of wasted desolation. The Doctor realises that something has happened in the past — an old newspaper shows that the Daleks won the war. Earth was destroyed. Only the people who travelled with the Doctor during the show — Sarah Jane, the Brigadier, Benton. and Mike Yates are still aware. That and a confused Harry Sullivan, who doesn't know what the hell is going on. But, seeing a name in the paper, the Doctor now knows what RATTLESTONE is. It;s TOTTERS LANE, the place he escaped to after leaving Gallifrey. And SHAMAN GOED is OMEGA'S HAND, which the 1st Doctor brings there when he first arrives – an area and time now controlled by the Daleks and his evil Ka Faraq Gatri twin. Grabbing the others, they leave for 1963, as he changes into the 7th Doctor.
1963 London — and River has built quite a force together from Al points in time; the Cleric army from Byzantium, UNIT, a Roman legion, countless fighting companions led by fighters like Micky, Martha, Leela and Ace, skirmishing against the invading Dalek empire. They've managed to shield several square miles from the Ka Faraq Gatri, stopping his from gaining his prize — Foreman's Yard where, sometime in the next few days the Doctor, in his 1st ncarnation will arrive, with his granddaughter and the Stellar Manipulator known as The Hand of Omega. This is Ka Faraq Gatri's prize. With this, a device that created the black hole the Time Lords controlled time with, Ka Faraq Gatri can use this on Earth to power his own Time Lord Empire. And nobody is going to stop him.

Issue 5.

The battle begins in earnest, with Daleks, Ogron, Silurians, Judoon and Autons controlled by the Rani and Sea Devils led by Delgado fighting the brave defenders. At this point the Ainley Master arrives with a whole host of companions, picked up — most of whom know hits and distrust his — Tegan, Jo Grant and Vastra Jenny among them. They meet the commander of the forces, Winston Churchill, and head engineers — Bracewell and K9.
Rory stops the Autons, showing that he is one, convincing them to side with him. As the Dalek ships move in orbit to attack, a joint Sontaran and Draconian fleet attacks them — neither ally wanting Dalek domination!
The 7th Doctor arrives with Sarah Jane, the Brigadier, Harry, Benton. and Yates. As the Brigadier joins with Churchill, the others take up places. But it's a losing battle. The ground is being lost. New Girl meets back up with the Doctor, hot doesn't quite understand how he's changed.
Canton brings in Madam Kozarian and her soldiers — it's a conflicting decision, but she's there to fight Ka Faraq Gatri, the one she always knew the Doctor would become.
The 7th Doctor, Ace and New Girl go to Ratcliffe Builders Yard, now empty, where underground they find parts of the Dalek equipment from Remembrance of the Daleks. Grabbing this, they hope to make a jamming device.
River uses the TARDIS and the Vortex Manipulator combined to draw energy from a bussing star, using Adric's calculations, ir, create a wormhole in space.
Madam Vastra confronts the Silurians, challenging the leader to a duel. They fight, and Vastra wins. Taking command of the Silurians, Vastra orders them at the Judoon…
On the Xenobia, Ka Faraq Gatri is furious! He wants that shield down! He prepares to move his forces from the battle with the Sontaran / Draconian alliance, an alliance that is doing badly — as through the wormhole fly the Nosferatu II, captained by Sabalom Glitz and Mel Bush, a force of ships commanded by King Yrcanos and Queen Peri, The Fancy II, commanded by Captain Avery and a squadron of ships from Trion, led by Prince Turlough!


Tony Lee concluded "By now you see how crazy it was. And, as it was a "self contained" series I could do what I wanted, and end with everything back in the box. Personally, I loved writing the idea, but I understand why it wasn't taken. And now, you can see that it IS different to @bigfinish. Phew. It actually feels therapeutic to put that up :) I hope you enjoyed it, and can see, at least, where I wanted to go with it. I now leave you to your regular programming." Thanks Tony! Say, maybe Titan Comics would be interested?

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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