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"Story arc" is a term which refers to a common thread in a series of stories, forming an overall "arc" throughout them. This can be a central subject that holds the stories together, such as Season 16 of Doctor Who, which featured the central theme throughout the season of the hunt for the Key to Time, and Trial of a Time Lord in Season 23. Other arcs only covered a few stories in the season, such as The E-Space Trilogy in the middle of Season 18.

Throughout the novels published by Virgin Publishing and BBC Books, each of the main ranges featuring the Seventh Doctor and Eighth Doctor (respectively) had ongoing story arcs. During the Virgin New Adventures' first four novels, a common thread of a being known as the Timewyrm flowed throughout the first four novels.

Throughout the Virgin New Adventures there were several story arcs that grouped several novels around ideas that flowed through sets of novels. The novels Blood Heat, The Dimension Riders, The Left-Handed Hummingbird, Conundrum and No Future had a common idea and a central character revealed only in the final novel of the story arc as the individual responsible for events throughout the arc.

When Doctor Who was revived for television by BBC Wales, Russell T Davies, the show's executive producer and head writer, introduced the first story arc for the new series of Doctor Who, known now as the Bad Wolf arc. It was the defined story arc which appeared throughout the first series of BBC Wales' Doctor Who.

The story arc has become a common feature of the new televised Doctor Who, with each series revealing its own unique story arc carried throughout each series. The only series not to include a story arc within the revived era is eleventh series.

Intention as an arc[]

Many stories during the 1963-1989 production of Doctor Who shared common themes in their writing and production history. However there is some contention concerning the intent of an arc. Regarding post-2005 TV Doctor Who, and those stories within the prose, comic and audio space there is often authorial or editorial intent in creating an arc thread through stories.

In 1963-1989 Doctor Who while there has been thematic links and some season-long stories such as Mission to the Unknown and The Daleks' Master Plan, Key to Time and The Trial of a Time Lord, other stories have been identified as having a thematic link without the interconnected arc that later stories or these contain.

Stories such as Seasons 1 to 6 have been viewed as "the Doctor’s origins/fleeing home/uncontrollable ship", Seasons 7 to 10 as the Third Doctor's Exile on Earth together with Season 8 - The Master.

Stories like the latter of the Daleks stories; Destiny of the Daleks, Resurrection of the Daleks, Revelation of the Daleks, Remembrance of the Daleks are now in reflection parts of the Dalek Civil War only in Revelation and Resurrection are these links apparent and it's unclear if this was an intentioned arc.

While other concepts like the Cartmel Masterplan was more of decision by writers to re-introduce mystery and darkness into the Doctor's character, rather than a defined "arc".

Similar to the story arcs but consisting of three stories, numerous trilogies have been formed in novels, television stories and audio stories. These stories may have thematic links rather than defined an arc through the stories.

Post-2005 arcs[]

In the post-2005 era of Doctor Who each series has had deliberate arc or thread through many of the stories in the series, usually culminating in a final story exploring the arc's origins / results of the arc's theme on the Doctor and companions. While most of the series in the post-2005 era do have some sort of defined arc, the mostly stand alone 2009 Specials are not, except a broad thematic sense leading towards the Tenth Doctor's regeneration and "He will knock four times".

With the beginning of series 7 of Doctor Who there becomes somewhat less of a focus on huge series-encompassing arcs, with smaller relationship developments throughout the series.


In prose as in audio both arcs and trilogies are present in several stories as authors and editors pursued thematic arcs and other arc-style stories in their ranges. In many of these ranges the arc-link is a character present throughout the stories.

Virgin New Adventures[]

BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures[]


In audio there is usually a thematic link or piece of dialogue linking stories. That a character has joined the TARDIS crew is somewhat of a tenuous link to define an arc, but a returning character may qualify as a vague arc such as Charlotte Pollard's travels with the Sixth Doctor from The Condemned to Blue Forgotten Planet

The Monthly Adventures[]

Eighth Doctor Adventures[]

The Companion Chronicles[]

Fourth Doctor Adventures[]

New Series Adventures exclusive-to-audio books[]

Other releases[]


Doctor Who Magazine[]

Titan Comics[]

Thirteenth Doctor[]

Bernice Summerfield[]



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Similar to the story arcs but consisting of three stories, numerous trilogies have been formed in novels, television stories and audio stories. These stories may have thematic links rather than defined an arc through the stories.





The Time Lord Victorious series would mark the first time in the Doctor Who universe that a story arc would encompass multiple different forms of media.