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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > The Essential Doctor Who: The Time Lords > Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time

Since the early 1970s numerous books have explored the mysteries of the Time Lords in greater depth than the television series.
The Doctor is interrogated in this Chris Achilleos illustration from Terrance Dicks’ 1974 book Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks.

The Time Lords made their first appearance in the printed fiction of Doctor Who in a book that ostensibly wasn’t fiction at all. The Making of Doctor Who was written by Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks and published by Piccolo in 1972. Inside, Hulke presented a summary of the Doctor’s adventures up until The War Games (1969) as if written by the defence counsel at the Doctor’s trial. Later off-Earth adventures were described by the court archivist who, while impressed with the Doctor’s efficiency regretted that he was accompanied by ‘this Earth girl’ Jo Grant. These small touches began the intriguing process of world building around the Time Lords.

The first edition of The Making of Doctor Who was published in 1972.

From 1973 to 1991 Doctor Who publishing continued with Target Books, a children’s imprint that for most of its life was a division of WH Allen. Target’s early Doctor Who novelisations gave greater emphasis to the Time Lords than they had enjoyed on screen. The television version of Spearhead from Space (1970) never mentioned the Time Lords directly, but when adapting it as Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion (1974) Terrance Dicks replaced the television serial’s opening scene with a retelling of the Doctor’s trial. The Time Lords’ doctrine of non intervention in the affairs of other species was emphasised, and they communicated telepathically – projecting calm, in contrast to the Doctor’s theatrical indignation and self justification. The Time Lords were mentioned a few more times in the book in order to establish that the new Doctor was stranded on Earth without a working TARDIS.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

The Doctor’s own people, and his home planet, were introduced in 1969 as a major chapter in the series’ history came to an end. Five decades later, the Time Lords and their devastating war with the Daleks are still essential parts of Doctor Who’s mythology. This special publication analyses every story set on Gallifrey, reveals previously unseen images from the making of the episodes and interviews key players in the Time Lords’ fascinating story.