rec.arts.drwho is the main newsgroup I frequent. You may think it would be a dead place considering the show has graced our screens only once in the last decade. However, as befits a show that was voted by viewers as the best BBC program of the last 60 years, it continues in the hearts and minds of many people. This group is home to many of them. Discussions are usually on the broadcast episodes and the mechanics of the program but they can range across all topics the show touched such as racism and sexuality. While the inevitable Usenet flamewars do crop up they tend to be sporadic and don't detract too much from an intelligent and articulate group of people who are out to have fun with one of the great programs of their childhood and childhood-at-heart.
Like the title character, Doctor Who has regenerated into a new form. Literary. The publishing company Target used to print novelisations of many of the shows. The company was bought by Virgin Publishing around the time the series stopped being made in 1989. After a couple of years Virgin gained a license to print original novels continuing the exploits of the 7th Doctor. These New Adventures were a revelation. Full length adult novels showed just how far the envelope of the series could be pushed. Realising they were on a hit with a consistent 20,000 copies of each book being sold Virgin decided to take the radical step of accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Needless to say many fans finally decided to write that novel they had never quite got around to doing. Very few were published but those that were commissioned generally proved to be of a high quality. The proof of new talent uncovered can be seen by the half-dozen or so of the early, first-time published authors who now work full time as writers and editors on TV shows such as Coronation Street, The League of Gentlemen and Queer As Folk. This is in addition to the many talented writers already working in the literary and televisual fields.
Since not everyone was keen on following the continuing adventures of the 7th Doctor Virgin introduced the Missing Adventures, designed to feature the first six Doctors. Due to the need to fit into a particular point of the show's history they tended to be more traditional and follow the style of the particular season while adding more depth than could usually be obtained from the TV series.
In 1997, after the publicity stirred up by the TV movie, the BBC decided to take the book license back and print their own. Like Virgin they created two streams, one a continuing series based on the 8th Doctor after the event of the TV movie and the other on the previous seven Doctors. Virgin decided to continue without the license by using a character created in their New Adventures series. Bernice Surprise Summerfield (as played by Emma Thompson) was written in as a new companion to the 7th Doctor and, over the course of 40 odd books, became immensely popular with fans. Virgin based a series around her using many of the other characters and concepts from the New Adventures series. Due to legal restrictions the Benny Books aren't allowed to use anything from the BBC and this has lead to some situations where things in the books seem very similar to another series but they are totally different cross my hearts honest guv'nor.
Many of the authors of the books frequent rec.arts.drwho and are quite willing to answer questions and accept comments, criticism and especially praise.
Shannon Patrick Sullivan produces a summary each month showing the ratings given to each book by the readers of rec.arts.drwho. The details may be found here. Shannon lists the books in order of popularity so look on his site for that information. Instead I'll look at the general overview.
The weighted ranking are calculated by SUM(score * votes) / SQRT(votes).
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