With last month’s trailer for the 60th specials – The Meep is out of the bag! It’s no secret anymore that Beep the Meep, an obscure character from the extended universe (Whoniverse, or DWU to some) is making their first live action appearance in time for the sixtieth anniversary. What’s more exciting is that they’re appearing alongside the Wrarth Warriors, in what appears to be a direct adaptation of the Doctor Who and the Star Beast comic that released in the early part of 1980.
The Whoniverse is massive and filled with characters that we still haven’t seen in live action yet. Theories are aplenty… And this exciting official announcement has certainly got fans thinking. And not just about villains. It’s likely that Russell T Davies might use some inspiration from these beloved characters in comics, audios and novels to bring over into his new era of the TV show.
With so many fan favourites to choose from, which ones do we think really need to appear? Let’s start with the allies of Doctor Who. (Yes, we can call them Doctor Who. Doctor Who and the Star Beast, after all…)
Doctor Who Extended Universe Ally: Frobisher
Frobisher is an interesting one. A shapeshifting Whifferdill from the planet Xenon, his natural form is a small, yellow humanoid but he settles in the form of a penguin while traveling with the Doctor. Frobisher has worked as a Private Detective and often uses his shape-shifting abilities to help out during adventures alongside the Doctor and his companions.
A shape-shifting alien could be an exciting addition to the TARDIS team and just the sort of en companion fans have demanded for years! And with more recent developments in CGI, it seems far more practical to do now onscreen than it ever did before. Originating in 1984’s DWM comic run, he’d also fit with the current trend of lifting from that era of comics that we’re seeing with the Meeps and the Wrarths.
It would also handle a point that was often raised for ‘NuWho’ (2005 – 2022) that with the exception of Captain Jack, Nardole & Handles; every companion was human or at least mostly human for the majority of their time. (So – no counting Donna’s Metacrisis moment. Or Rory being an Auton in one timeline. And Bill only became part-space oil as she left the Doctor’s company.) Even River Song couldn’t escape being half-human.
In contrast to some thinking that they’d be a tough sell – characters like Psi and Saibra from Time Heist provided a tantalising glimpse at how non-human characters could still be made relatable and interesting. Given Frobisher’s popularity in comic strip and on audio, we’re sure this would remain the case for him.
Not to mention that Russell T Davies has himself added fuel to the fire of Frobisher’s live action debut. On Christmas, after the reveal of Beep the Meep, someone commented on Instagram saying:
“Frobisher should join the 15th Doctor and Ruby in the TARDIS.”jelly_babies_are_cool on Instagram
Russell replied, saying:
Oh, you wait! Hoot hoot! Merry Christmas darling.”Russelltdavies63 on Instagram
Does this mean what we think it means?…
Doctor Who Extended Universe Ally: Chris Cwej
Cwej is a companion of the Seventh Doctor from the Virgin New Adventures novels, introduced in 1995’s Original Sin. Acting as an Adjudicator (essentially a police officers from the 30th century) alongside Roz Forrester, they would become a continued fixture in the VNA range. Across the following sixteen books & two years of production, Cwej would prove himself quite the insightful and layered character.
And even after the demise of Roz those sixteen books later, he would persist in his travels despite this loss. and travelled with the Doctor for some time. He continued to travel with the Doctor after the death of Roz and stayed with him until the events of Lungbarrow. With Virgin’s licensing for their Doctor Who range coming towards an end, he then made a departure. And to be honest, being gifted a time-ring by Romana & heading off on your own adventures sounds like quite the departure.
Cwej’s life gets rather complicated beyond that, as the VNAs continued on without the Doctor. Travelling with Bernice Summerfield… Having memories wiped then later restored… Oh, and also being regenerated.
His popularity with writers and fans certainly hasn’t stopped there either. Big Finish have made some use of Cwej, both in original stories and in adaptations of the VNAs. And with a prose spin-off anthology novel from Arcbeatle Press released in 2020… and a further one entitled Hidden Truths currently scheduled for the end of this year – Cwej has never quite gone away for long. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Russell working with the lore that has since come for Cwej? Or to alternatively work somewhere into the timeline inbetween?
Speaking of, it must be said that Russell T Davies has already written for Chris Cwej. In the novel, Damaged Goods. In typical RTD style, the hard-hitting commentary on the AIDs crisis, coupled with Cwej exploring his sexuality with another man… was quite the precursor to ‘NuWho’. Topical explorations and LGBTQ+ representation!
Doctor Who Extended Universe Ally: Bernice Summerfield
Okay, okay, we know at least one person is going to point out that Bernice has technically debuted in live-action for a webshort by Big Finish. But it was rather a short thing as opposed to a full live-action appearance. Also… well, after mentioning Chris Cwej, one could hardly leave out Bernice. An archaeologist and lecturer from the twenty-sixth century, Bernice Summerfield is another fan-favourite companion. One of the Doctor’s longest serving companions… travelling alongside the likes of Ace, Cwej and Roz… even taking off on her own adventures.
Her life-story has seen her crossing in and out of the Doctor’s timeline and meeting multiple incarnations through novels, audio dramas and comics. Bernice’s adventures are endless and her personal life is just as complex.(On a scale of 1 to 10… more complicated than Ace!) She could be an exciting addition, even if just for an episode or two.
Some fans suspect that Bernice Summerfield inspired the character River Song. The similarities are striking, with both River and Bernice being archaeologists with complex histories and timelines which weave in and out of the Doctor’s own. And funnily enough, when the novel Big Bang Generation was originally pitched as a Twelfth Doctor & River story… Steven Moffat made the suggestion that it could instead be a Twelfth Doctor & Bernice story.
Though these similarities might make a live-action appearance in the TV show a tougher sell – she would bring a rather different dynamic than River. One that might lead more disagreement and tension, depending on the characterisation of the Doctor she was paired up against.
Next, we take a look at some potential foes to bring to the screen…
Doctor Who Extended Universe Foe: Abslom Daak
Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer has made an appearance in the main series of Doctor Who before. His picture briefly appeared among other criminals in the episode Time Heist. Audiences glimpsed the Dalek Killer in all his comic book glory. But you know, what we mean by live-action debut. (Go on, imagine Brian Blessed playing Abslom Daak. Wouldn’t that be glorious?)
Daak isn’t particularly an enemy of the Doctor… but he’s not quite an ally either. Their paths have crossed a couple times, but Daak is always a danger due to his issues mentally. Driven by fury and revenge, he can be rather quite unstable. With his sole motivation being to destroy all Daleks after they murdered his wife, Taiyin… well, there’s a lot to play with here.
The Titan Comics’ 11th Doctor run certainly showed as much. The Then and the Now brought Daak back into the Doctor’s life, determined to revive his wife… commandeering the TARDIS and all too happy to threaten the Doctor. Ultimately, the Doctor would (after other intervening events) give Daak an opportunity to return to his Dalek-hunting days.
With the post-Last Great Time War universe decidedly short on Daleks to kill, the Doctor would help Daak break past the Time Lock of the Last Great Time War. This allowed Daak to enter that particular time war and return to what kept him happy. Slaughtering Daleks. No wonder they’re scared of him. Who wants break into the Last Great Time War?
But… there’s always a chance he might’ve gotten back out again. Especially after the end of the conflict as seen in The Day of the Doctor. Might he be angry at the Doctor for ending his happiness?
Doctor Who Extended Universe Foe: The Voord
Okay. The Voord aren’t exactly made for the extended universe. They first appeared in The Keys of Marinus in Doctor Who’s first season. But their first and thus far, only live-action appearance doesn’t give us much on them with a lot left not fully explored.
In the events of the extended universe, however, we learn a lot more about them. In arguably conflicting manners. The Four Doctors comic series sees multiple Doctors brought together against the Voord who are led by an alternate version of the Twelfth Doctor. The events of The World Shapers see the planet of Marinus terraformed into Mondas and as a result, the Voord evolve into Cybermen. Not to mention that Domain of the Voord instead presents them not as natives of Marinus – but instead as symbiotic travellers that fused the natives of planets with themselves.*
For a species that got little backstory on TV, the Voord are fascinating in the extended universe and it would be interesting to see one of these strands developed into more. Certainly, The Doctor Falls‘ name-drop of Marinus raises some questions that would be worth delving into. And for some fans, The World Shapers is such an important comic story from the past that connects a lot of dots. To me, it deserves a TV adaptation.
[*Our assistant editor would also like to cheekily point out that as well as these arguably conflicting strands of lore – The Keys of Marinus refers to the Voord as though they’re a group of Marinians. And that at least some Marinians are explicitly denoted as human. He does, however, concede that nobody but him seems to think this interesting…]
Doctor Who Extended Universe Foe: Ectoslime
The Ectoslime is a bit of an obscure one. It appears briefly in Doctor Who and the Iron Legion comic story that kicks off the DWM comic run – a story that comes just before Doctor Who and the Star Beast, actually. The Fourth Doctor meets the creature when he’s thrown into a fight in the Hyp-Arena. (It’s a long story. Following up on attacks in the village of Stockbridge, he ends up in an alternate timeline where the Roman Empire never ended. And has impressive technology at its disposal. Safe to say, they’re not pleased to see him.)
Not much is known about the Ectoslime, other than they are quite the predator. Stunning prey with their smell, they then liquify them – so they can drink them. The Doctor notes that they have an advanced sense of humour to make up for their appearance.
The Ectoslime would be a very obscure character to bring out of the extended universe. It’s not one that any fan would really expect or even ask for. However, fans have spotted a large slug-like creature on set for recent filming. Could it be the Ectoslime? We’ll have to wait and see.*
[*if it is, then our assistant editor is convinced that he’s slipped, bumped his head & is now living in a dream-world where all his mad comic dreams are coming true.]
There are certainly a lot of characters that have yet to make live-action debuts. And Beep the Meep has shown that anything might be possible. (Maybe not our assistant editor’s half-joking wish for the third Balhoon brother…) Time will tell. It always does.