Jeremy Brett is the Lost Doctor. At least so in our universe, which celebrates alternate possibilities and adventures for our favourite Time Lord. He was, frankly, an obvious choice. Back in the 1980s, his name was oft-cited by fans as potential casting for the role, and in 1994 he was long-listed for the part in the Doctor Who TV movie that would eventually see Paul McGann cast as the Eighth Doctor. And then, cruelly, his career and life were cut short in 1995 by heart failure after a long-term struggle with mental illness. Brett was admirably outspoken about his bipolar disorder at a time when few sufferers would dare speak out about their condition, including this audio statement given just two weeks before his death as part of a radio appeal for the BBC’s The Week’s Good Cause. Lost to us and gone before his time, both his “casting” and his characterisation as the Lost Doctor just fell into place.
If you have never seen Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes, then we urge you to check out the Granada series; it is, truly, one of the great television performances of all time. A 1993 piece in The Independent summed up his take on the part perfectly as “a richly comic performance. His Holmes is composed of sudden wild stares, dreamy vacancies, hoarse exclamations, dulcet murmurs which wilt into silence… Into this potent brew go a jigger of remorse, a dash of sheer lunacy, and a strong whiff of camp—the camp is held firmly in check by sincerity.” It is fair to assume that the Lost Doctor will exude all of these qualities.
Not that Jeremy Brett’s Doctor would have merely replicated his interpretation of Holmes, of course. He was an accomplished and versatile actor, as exemplified by a video retrospective aptly titled “A Journey Through Time.” Alongside aspects of his Holmes’ more energetic moments, we also imagine a performance infused with more of the actor’s warmth and charm that are self-evident in interviews—characteristics that he stripped away to deliver a more austere performance as the world’s greatest consulting detective. Consider this a tribute of sorts to one of our favourite actors, then, as the quintessential Holmes becomes our latest incarnation of the Doctor.
So join us for all-new adventures in time and space with another distinctive incarnation of our favourite Time Lord that never was, save in the infinity of our collective imaginations…
Game Master: Adam Players: Brian, Erin
Game Date: 9 July 2016
Characters: The Doctor, The Master, Riddell
Adversaries: The Supreme
Allies: Selene, The Brotherhood of Freedom
Time: 25340 CE–27121 CE
Space: Destiny of Ydar, Mutter’s Spiral
Continuity: The final adventure featuring the Nth Doctor and the first to feature Riddell.
Available: IN PRINT
Synopsis: After rescuing John Riddell from perilous misadventure in Afghanistan, the Doctor reconnects with his old friend over a drink aboard the TARDIS, but they are soon torn from the vortex by the ravenous maw of a black hole! Emerging from the wreck that remains of the TARDIS, the Doctor and Riddell find themselves aboard an inconceivable interstellar vessel, the Destiny of Ydar, a vast and frighteningly powerful megastructure possessing a singularity that consumes planets and stars. In the depths of this great and ever-growing world-ship, corridors become caverns at the core of a trapped moon, armed robots maintain an oppressive code of order, and one of the Doctor’s former companions waits for a moment of redemption.
With her are the children of a forgotten world, lost souls who have forgotten there is a universe beyond but seek to wage a bitter rebellion within their world-ship in the name of all life. The Doctor and his companions join their noble cause, but they are not prepared to oppose the implacable will of their enemy. The Supreme believes itself to be all-knowing, all-seeing, never-ending. It will not be deterred from its five million year mission of vengeance and survival. To bow to the will of the Supreme means galactic genocide. For the Doctor, there is no choice but to resist, even if challenging a would-be god for the fate of the galaxy will seal his own cruel fate. All things must end—even the legendary journey of the hero known as the Doctor!
It seems like only yesterday that the Doctor and Selene were stepping out of the TARDIS and onto the beach at Arrowdown, ready to face an uncertain future and terrors untold. That was “Ghost Town,” the inaugural module in our ongoing campaign based on the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game from Cubicle 7. It launched an unforgettable run of adventures that has taken our players from the battlefields of Roman Britain to the flowering jungles of Vortis to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean in the belly of the Titanic. The Doctor and his companions—the robot Master, Selene, Mohana, and Alison—have toppled madmen and undead gods and alien killing machines. The Daleks and the Divinity came closest to ending their journey, but with carefully chosen traits and a few well-played story points, our heroes triumphed over evil time and again. The Doctor and the TARDIS are eternal. On television and at the gaming table, their story will never end.
That’s important to remember, as change is coming. The Dark Dimension is about to be renewed. The incarnation of the Doctor brought so memorably to life by Richard E Grant in “Scream of the Shalka,” star of our campaign, has dark days ahead as our game narrative is jumping forward to depict his defiant last stand. The time has come for an historic first in our campaign, the first regeneration—and the moment has been prepared for. Players and game masters will be switching roles, and there will be a shake-up in the status quo.
A regeneration is imminent, but that doesn’t mean we’re done telling stories with the Nth Doctor. Though we’ll be introducing the Doctor’s next incarnation and a new take on the ongoing story arc, there will be plenty of opportunities to play out the untold stories of the Nth Doctor’s era in the future. Going forward, the Dark Dimension will feature twice the Doctors. This will expand our ongoing original narrative and add some variety to the proceedings. Ultimately, each player in the campaign will have the opportunity to create their own Doctor. It’s been great fun developing an original take on the mythology of Doctor Who using “Scream of the Shalka” as a starting point. That mythology is going to take on a greater richness and vibrancy as our cast of Doctors begins to expand.
Who is the companion destined to board the TARDIS during its time of peril? Will the Doctor at last break free of the oppressive control of the Time Lords? Can the Master resist his hideous true nature? What is to be the Doctor’s final fate, and what sort of man will emerge from the ashes of his regeneration? Time, and a roll of the 2D6, will tell.