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Stories set at the Dawn of Time

Written by: deltaandthebannermen

1st February 2024 (ratings updated live) · 6 minute read

Have you ever wondered how the universe was created? Doctor Who, as with many things, is there to give us the answers. Across TV, audio, books and comics, the Doctor and his companions have travelled in the TARDIS to the very beginnings of time and space. If you feel compelled to discover the mysteries of the universe and our planet’s beginnings, this guide is here to accompany you on the journey.


A BBC Books entry which shows us some of the very earliest point in time and space, featuring the Eighth Doctor, Fitz, Trix and Anji. 

Not a novel, though, to read without reading the rest of the arc involving Sabbath and the Council of Eight.

Gods and Monsters:

The Seventh Doctor, Ace and audio companions Hex Schofield, Lysandra Aristedes and Sally Morgan find themselves at the dawn of time and facing the return of Fenric. 

As the conclusion of a long-running arc across the Big Finish Seventh Doctor audio stories – involving alternative TARDISes, the Elder Gods and the fate of Hex – it may not be the place you want to start but it is a great story and worth working your way up to.

The Life Bringer!:

In this DWM comic strip, the 4th Doctor and K9 encounter the god, Prometheus and end up visiting Olympus, the home of the gods. Have the Doctor and K9 travelled back to the very creation of the universe and the time of the gods?

The Dark Planet:

On a distant planet near the beginning of the universe, the First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki encounter two incredibly alien species. 

This is from Big Finish’s Lost Stories range and is an excellent recreation of Season 2’s experimental stories in the style of The Web Planet or The Space Museum.

Voyage to the Edge of the Universe:

Doctor Who Weekly ran a series of back up comic strips often featuring various monsters from the classic series in their own adventures.

This comic strip finds a spacecraft from the planet Daemos, commanded by Azal (although not the same Azal from The Daemons) travelling into a void at the edge of the universe.

Deep Time:

Another BBC book, this time from the ‘new series’ range and featuring the Twelfth Doctor and Clara, this story sees them investigating the mystery of the Phaeron and, as with a few stories in this list, actually concludes a short series of interconnected books with the umbrella title of The Glamour Chronicles.

A Death in the Family:

Another story which can’t really be experienced in isolation as it draws threads to a close from both the Seventh Doctor audio story arc involving Hex but also the Sixth Doctor stories involving the inimitable Dr Evelyn Smythe.

It’s a hugely emotional story featuring one of Big Finish’s best villains – the Word Lord – and is highly recommended, but only if you have a good grounding in the stories of Evelyn and Hex.

Legion of the Lost:

The War Doctor finds himself far back in Gallifrey’s history dealing with a terrible weapon.

The Time Witch:

The Fourth Doctor, Sharon and K9 fall into a blank dimension where the banished witch, Brimo, rules – her every thought made reality in this early DWM comic strip.

The Edge of Destruction: 

In only the series’ third ever story, the First Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara discover the TARDIS is plummeting back towards the dawn of the universe. 

Our first indication that the TARDIS is more than just a machine is given in this two-episode story.

Empire of the Racnoss:

The second volume of Classic Doctors – New Monsters sees the Fifth Doctor dragged back to Gallifrey’s ancient past to face the Racnoss.

Other stories featuring trips to the Dawn of Time

Terminus: Does this story show us how the Universe began and the source of the Big Bang?

Slipback: Or does this story offer an alternative suggestion?

Castrovalva: the TARDIS, not for the first time, rushes back towards the beginnings of the universe.

The Pandorica Opens: On Planet One, River Song leaves a message carved into a cliff, for the Eleventh Doctor to find.

The Runaway Bride: The Tenth Doctor takes bride-to-be, Donna Noble for a trip in the TARDIS to see the Earth forming around a Racnoss ship.

Eternity Weeps: Jason Kane, Bernice Summerfield’s erstwhile husband, travels back to the far, far distant past with the aid of a time ring.

Hide: The Doctor and Clara travel to the beginnings of the planet Earth to take photos of a mysterious ghost.

The Nowhere Place: The first lifeform to evolve on Earth becomes trapped at Time’s End.

Old Girl: The Tenth Doctor and Cindy steal equipment from an Osiran energy facility, located on a moon of Phaester Osiris.

The Destructive Quality of Life: The final story in Charlotte Pollard – Series 2 finds Charley, Robert and Bertram in Slough and the distant past before life began on Earth.

Explore the Dawn of Time trope

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Written by: deltaandthebannermen