For the remaining people that don’t think the Eighth Doctor was the one involved in the Time War (and yes, there are posts saying that in the Eighth Doctor tag). It’s there written in black and white. McGann was the one who ended the Time War, it was what ‘happened’ to his incarnation, and Eccleston’s stuff happened ‘immediately after’. Officially licensed by the BBC.
Unfortunately, “Officially licenced by the BBC” =/= canon.
Until last night, the Eighth Doctor was the one to End the Time War, but only because that assumption was never contradicted onscreen, and Matt Smith was unrefuteably identified as the Eleventh Doctor(and we can all count).
Now it seems we may be given an alternative explanation - and the onscreen canon takes precedence.
I’m still not sure how I feel about this, but I know I’d feel a whole lot more positive if there was a slight hint that Paul McGann will be in the 50th.
Onscreen =/= canon either.
Because guess what? Canon doesn’t exist in Doctor Who! The only time that canon has ever been mentioned by the BBC was in a press release about the Adventure Games saying that they were canon! And that’s if we believe random press release writers to have the authority to declare canon. The only people with that kind of authority were Sidney Newman and Verity Lambert, and they never spoke of it.
Officially licensed is about the only rule about what counts, and even that’s not stuck to hard and fast. Unofficial stuff has been referenced over and over in official stuff. And nobody has ever said that on-screen trumps off-screen. That’s why we have a chameleon circuit rather than a camouflage unit. Target Novels > Televised Pertwee.
Basically, Doctor Who is the anti-canon.
It’s very fluid, yes. But the BBC isn’t allowed to make it’s UK viewers pay any more than their TV licence to follow a TV show that they make.
Thus: Anything aired on British TV onscreen is canon. Anything not onscreen may or may not be canon until confirmed/contradicted by the TV show.
In the case of the Adventure Games, they were freely distributed in the UK via the official BBC website and declared canon by the producers of the show.
Expanded Universe material is available to be referenced/drawn upon, as long as a plot point doesn’t require you to have read one of the novelisations/listened to an audio/bought the Official Doctor Who magazine/read a comic/etc.
As soon as it is onscreen, it is canon. As soon as onscreen canon is contradicted by other onscreen canon, we have a problem. But if it is in the expanded Universe and then contradicted by the TV show, then it is the TV show we refer to.
If all officially licenced material is canon, then the Tenth Doctor should have remembered the name “Sally Sparrow” in connection to a similarly convoluted space-time event that he experienced as the Ninth Doctor.
And what of “Human Nature”? The Tenth Doctor lands in the English countryside to become human, and proceeds to play through almost the very same events he experienced as the Seventh Doctor a year later, with some of the people even sharing names.
I use “Chameleon circuit”, because the writers on the show decided to adopt that, it was onscreen. The writers used it because they liked it. If they hadn’t used it in the show we might still all be calling it the camouflage unit.
The original producers were in charge of the original canon. They eventually passed that duty of canon-smithing on to new producers, who in turn passed that on to new producers.The BBC made Steven Moffat the showrunner, and right now he is in charge. We can dispute the canonicity of “You leave the brakes on,” (because we know the Doctor lies/River shows off), but if we are shown what happens during the Time War and that happens to contradict something in the comics, then we must find some alternative explanation for the events in the comics.
Doctor Who is not anti-canon. It’s wibbly-wobbly, canonny-wanonny. There is a free exchange between onscreen and off, but the TV show is where it is at. Doctor Who is the TV show.