Bridging the Rift #7: But is it Canon?

Subwave Network album artWe’re joined by Tom Dickinson from The Cloister Room Podcast to discuss what canon is, where the term comes from, and whether the Doctor Who Universe has one, and if not why.

We also hear your defence of Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor, look at classic series feedback and some extra special fan creativity.

Direct Download

Show Notes


@ 1 minute – Tom introduces himself:


@ 2 minutes 10 seconds – We look at feedback to episode 5, our Classic Series discussion:

Punk Davros by Julian aka @Braxietel:

Jon Pertwee discussion in the comments:

Creativity Corner

@ 16 minutes 5 seconds – No theme this week, but here’s what caught our eye:

An amazing Tardis cake:

DailyCrumb’s surreal Matt Smith Eleventh Doctor animation:

Main Discussion – Does Doctor Who Have A Canon?

@ 23 minutes – Canon in the Star Wars Universe:

Star Wars Canon:
Canon Wars’ exhaustive exploration of Star Wars canon:

@ 27 minutes 55 seconds – The blog posts that started this discussion:

Teatime Brutality:
Paul Cornell in 2007:
Tom’s Cloister Room canon episode:

@ 30 minutes 42 seconds – Why might the current creative team not want to declare canon?

Virgin New Adventures:
Big Finish official site:
Big Finish writers:
RTD’s interview with,30869/

@ 57 minutes – Where the fannish term ‘canon’ comes from:

Ronald Knox:
Fanlore: Sherlock Holmes:
Knox’s original essay:
The Sacred Writings of Dr John H. Watson:

Bonus link!: 😉

Next Time

@ 1 hour 25 minutes 50 seconds – Next time we’ll be discussing Doctor Who conventions and get togethers.

If you disagree with our opinions on canon, or have any theories of your own, or if you have more classic series or Pertwee feedback or more punk daleks, give your feedback in the comments, directed @BridgingTheRift on twitter or emailed to our GoogleMail address.

Trocking Out

@ 1 hour 26 minutes 30 seconds – We play out with a Classic Series trock song by our guest’s new band Blinovich (see Mawdryn Undead)! Exploring the ending to 1986’s The Trial of a Time Lord, it’s The Ultimate Foe! Check out Tom’s YouTube channel VideoBloggery for the music video and another (very funny) trock song:

The Ultimate Foe:

9 Responses to Bridging the Rift #7: But is it Canon?

  1. excellent show guys!
    -except for my part, I sound like an ass.
    really interesting conversation on canon!
    great job!

  2. Craig says:

    Hi Katrina and Nat,

    Im loving the podcast, It has already become essential listening for me. It was fascinating to hear your views on canon and spurred me on to tell you about my idea for a canon fix. Here it is… The Doctor simply refers to a possibility generator switch on the tardis console (see auld mortality, big finish). When flicked reality and fantasy become blurred and essentially the doctor can enter a fictional realm. In this way all ‘Who’ media can be accommodated as canon. For example the Doctor might find himself in a comic strip world or a computer game or even on jim’ll fix it!!! I think of it in the same way as the throwaway timey wimey and desktop theme comments . Both excellent ways of explaining concepts without the need for lengthy exposition.
    I would be interested to hear what you think about my little idea as you have both obviously put a great deal of thought into the subject.

    Keep up the good work,
    Kind regards,


  3. Julian says:

    Great show all, nice to see an in-depth discussion of cannon (or the lack of cannon). I’ve now become a listener to The Cloister Room thanks to your podcast too. Anyway, a short message only; ’cause I’ve got to go draw these Dalek punks..

  4. Paul B. =:o} says:

    Hi all! I’ve caught up on all these podcasts at last. =:o} Deep and meaningful feedback to follow later, hopefully, but for now: Great stuff!

    Is your RSS feed available via LiveJournal (so that we can add it to our “friends” pages)? I couldn’t find it listed (See and wasn’t sure if it was safe/wise/appropriate to try adding it myself.

    Keep up the good work! =:o}

  5. Julian says:

    Ok, since you asked for more feedback on Twitter, I’ll ramble on for a bit:

    VO (Tom Baker style): Cannon Cannon Cannon. What are it? Who is what? Which are thee? Let’s see!

    So, uh, yes. Cannon. Cannon in Doctor Who. I like to consider the tv show, audios, books, comics and even some fan-films and fan-fiction are all cannon. This isn’t just Doctor Who stuff, I also consider all the Bernice Summerfield stuff, Kaldor City audios, Time Hunter books and audios, BBV spin-off audios and videos and Faction Paradox books and audios are all part of the Doctor Who universe.. oh, Blake’s 7 too.

    Anyway, was that a bit better?

  6. not enough feedback? I feel like I’m stalking y’all’s podcast, but here goes.
    I think that certain characters transcend the works of their creators and become mythological figures who’s adventures don’t have an official canon. I think that the Doctor is one of these characters.
    The Doctors adventures would have an official canon if the BBC could claim to have created him or commissioned his creation, but this I disagree with.
    At it’s inception Doctor Who relied so heavily on story elements borrowed from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, that it’s my position that Doctor Who is in fact Jules Verne fan-fiction, for lack of a better word, and that because of this “The Doctor” is a mythological character who anyone can write about with equal legitimacy.

    Let’s look at the comparison with An Unearthly Child.
    The Doctor is a mysterious man who goes only by a title, Captain Nemo is a mysterious man who goes only by a title. “Nemo” is Latin for “no one”, easily the equivalent of “Who”.
    Neither character’s real name is ever revealed.
    Both characters are in exile, on the run from their own people in a vehicle scientifically advanced beyond the age in which it exists.
    In both stories the point of view is from two people, unwilling companions in an incredible voyage to new worlds, which luckily they are by trade, particularly adept at appreciating. The companions who witness time travel are a history teacher and a science teacher, the companions who witness the unexplored ocean depths are a marine biologist and a sailor.
    Some other hints are present, The Doctor claims that the TARDIS is his own design, like the Nautilus is Nemo’s design. Although later in Doctor Who this is contradicted, in An Unearthly child, the logical conclusion is that he is in fact the inventor.
    It should also be mentioned that the Doctor is not an alien yet, and as far as the script goes can be assumed to be human (and straight from the late 19th century based on his clothes).

    I think it’s reasonable to say that Captain Nemo and The Doctor are the same character, in the same way that Noah is Gilgamesh and Gilgamesh is Hercules , and that no one story has more canonicity than the others.

    In this way I believe “Doctor Who canon” encompasses all stories about him.

  7. Craig says:

    Hi Guys,

    Canon Fix idea #2

    All possibilities exist in the ‘Untempered Schism’,
    When the Doctor looked in and saw ‘Dimensions in Time’
    he ran!! And who can blame him,

    Thanks for the podcast, its excellent,


  8. Barbara Jo says:

    Thank you so much for your kind words about my cake! The reason that I didn’t mention how long it took me to make is that I simply don’t know. From the design phase to the final product was about three months and it was definitely more than 100 hours of work but I didn’t really keep track. I did try to come up with a way to put the Doctor inside, but with the mirrors I couldn’t figure out a way to put just one Doctor inside, instead of eight.

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