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Stories set in the Ancient Past

Written by: deltaandthebannermen

13th February 2024 · 7 minute read

What ancient civilisations were in existence millions of years ago? When and where, exactly, did Cybermen and Ice Warriors first evolve? Were humans the first signs of life on Earth or were there civilisations before us? This guide will help you discover the answers.

4,500,000,000 BC – Exploration Earth ~ The Time Machine:

An oddity from BBC Schools radio programming which demonstrates how Doctor Who often has the occasional extra-curricular adventure away from the ‘official’ show. The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane help us to understand about how the planet Earth was created.

3,000,000,000 BC – Venusian Lullaby:

The First Doctor, Ian and Barbara arrive on Venus in this Missing Adventure set directly after Susan’s departure at the end of The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Paul Leonard’s world-building details an ancient Venusian civilisation threatened by alien invaders.

450,000,000 BC – The Beginning:

The first story in a trilogy involving a Gallifreyan called Quadrigger Stoyn, played by Terry Molloy. This story also details the First Doctor and Susan’s departure from Gallifrey and their earliest adventure in time and space. It is part of Big Finish’s Companion Chronicles range which sees original companion actors (in this case, Carole Ann Ford) recounting stories of their adventures with the assistance, usually, of one other voice artist.

140,000,000 BC – Time-Flight:

Visiting the very beginnings of the planet Earth, we find not only the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan but also two Concordes, the Xeraphin and the Master fully embroiled in one of his nefarious, convoluted plans.  Poor, much-maligned Time-Flight deserves your love and affection if only for the brilliant three-man Concorde crew of Captain Stapley, Scobie and Bilton, three of Doctor Who’s forgotten heroes.

64,999,500 BC – The Boy That Time Forgot:

Big Finish are rarely shy of disappearing down the rabbit hole of continuity and this story, featuring the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa goes down a path that few fans, probably, had thought to explore. Their reunion with a long-since-dead friend is sometime considered an egregious folly but there is lots to enjoy in this adventure, not least a giant scorpion named after Tegan and a return of Block Transfer Computations.

c48,000,000 BC – The Keys of Marinus:

On screen there is no way of dating The Keys of Marinus, but in the enormous, intricately researched A History, by Lance Parkin and Lars Pearson, the dating of subsequent expanded universe stories which are tied to The Keys of Marinus leads to a dating of thousands of years BC. The First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan are press-ganged into searching for the missing components to a machine which (rather worryingly) controls the consciences of the entire planet’s population. Terry Nation’s second story for the series is not as celebrated as The Daleks but has lots to enjoy, especially the contrasting locations, the alien Voord and two rather clever episodes – The Velvet Web’s perception-altering strangeness courtesy of talking brains and the Doctor’s court room drama in Sentence of Death.

c48,000,000 BC – Domain of the Voord:

The Early Adventures may be considered a successor of sorts to the Companion Chronicles. Focussing on the 60s era, this range involved a mixture of narration and full cast – often involving recasts – and provided longer adventures, usually with a four episode structure. The first release of this range was a sequel to The Keys of Marinus featuring William Russell and Carole Ann Ford performing as both the Doctor and Ian, and Susan and Barbara respectively.

It’s a great story for developing the Voord in some very clever ways as well as recreating the atmosphere of Season 1 effectively.

Dates Unknown – World Enough and Time & The Doctor Falls:

The genesis of at least one branch of Cybermen is depicted in this grand finale to Series 10 with the Twelfth Doctor, Bill, Nardole and Missy arriving on a huge spaceship.

Date Unknown  – Spare Parts:

An audio story which needs little introduction is this Fifth Doctor and Nyssa adventure which finds the duo on Mondas in the very early days of the population’s conversion to Cybermen.  It is tragic, scary, unsettling and superbly acted throughout.  

c35,000,000 BC – Lords of the Red Planet:

Another story from the Lost Stories range, this time featuring the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe and detailing the dawn of the Ice Warriors.

c12,000,000 BC – The Taking of Planet 5:

Time Lords versus HP Lovecraft’s Elder Gods is a battle the Eighth Doctor, Fitz and Compassion find themselves embroiled in, in this BBC Book – a sequel, of sorts, to Image of the Fendahl.

C3,639,878 – c2,579,868 BC – Genocide:

The Eighth Doctor, Sam Jones and Jo Grant travel through time to prevent Tractites from wiping out human civilisation while it is still in its infancy.

Other TARDIS travels to the Ancient Past:

City of Death – the explosion of Scaroth – last of the Jagaroth’s spacecraft provides the energy which creates life on the planet Earth.

The Hand of Fear – the Kastrian criminal Eldrad is banished from his home planet and after a catastrophic explosion, his hand ends up on Earth to be discovered by Sarah Jane Smith, millions of years later.

Bloodtide – the opening of this Sixth Doctor audio from Big Finish gives us one of our few glimpses into Silurian civilisation.

Earthshock – a space freighter packed with Cybertroops and one teenage mathematical genius, crashes into Earth and wipes out the dinosaurs.

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Written by: deltaandthebannermen