Indeed, the most interesting bit of the annual for me is the two-page article by Russell T. Davies with the title "Meet The Doctor", which includesalmost everything we ever learn about the Time War:
There had been a War, the Great Time War between the Daleks and the Time Lords. There had been two Time Wars before this - the skirmish between the Halldons and the Eternals, and then the brutal slaughter of the Omnicraven uprising - and on both occasions, the Doctor's people had stepped in to settle the matter. The Time Lords had a policy of non-intervention in the affairs of the universe, but on a higher level, in affairs of the Time Vortex, they had assumed discreetly the role of protectors. They were the self-appointed keepers of the peace. Until forced to fight.Lots of references here:
Now, the story of the Great (and final) Time War is hard to piece together, because so little survived. Certainly, both superpowers had been testing each others' strength for many, many years. The Daleks had threatened the Time Lord High Council before, by trying to replace its members with Dalek duplicates. And one of the Dalek Puppet Emperors had openly declared his hostility. Though perhaps the Daleks' wrath was justifiable - they had been provoked! At one point in their history, the Time Lords had actually sent the Doctor back in time, to prevent the creation of the Daleks. An act of genocide! The Time Lords had fired the first shot - though in their defence, they took this course of action because they had foreseen a time when the Daleks would overrun all civilised life and become the dominant life-form in the universe.
Some tried to find a peaceful solution. While it's hard to find precise records of these events, it's said that under the Act of Master Restitution, President Romana opened a peace treaty with the Daleks. Others claim that the Etra Prime Incident began the escalation of events. But whatever the cause - and it's almost certain that the full story has yet to be uncovered - the terrible War began. The Time Lords reached back into their own history, to assemble a fleet of Bowships, Black Hole Carriers and N-Forms; the Daleks unleashed the full might of the Deathsmiths of Goth, and launched an awesome fleet into the Vortex, led by the Emperor himself.
The War raged, but for most species in the universe, life continued as normal. The War was fought in the Vortex, and beyond that, in the Ultimate Void, beyond the eyes and ears of ordinary creatures. The Lesser Species lived in ignorance. If a planet found its history subtly changing - perhaps distorting and rewriting itself under the pressures of the rupturing Vortex - then its people were part of that change, and perceived nothing to be wrong. Only the Higher Species - those further up the evolutionary ladder - saw what was happening. The Forest of Cheem gazed upon the bloodshed, and wept. The Nestene consciousness lost all of its planets, and found itself mutating under temporal stress. The Greater Animus perished and its Carsenome Walls fell into dust. And it is said that the Eternals themselves watched, and despaired of this reality, and fled their hallowed halls, never to be seen again...
Years passed, as the mighty armies clashed. And then, silence. No one knows exactly what happened in the final battle. And no one knows how it came to an end. All that is known is that one man strode from the wreckage, one man walked free from the ruins of Gallifrey and Skaro. The Time Lord called the Doctor.
- The Halldons are mentioned in a 1970s Dalek annual, apparently nothing to do with the Eternals;
- the Omnicraven uprising seems to be new to here;
- "trying to replace its members with Dalek duplicates" refers to Revelation of the Daleks;
- I'm not sure about "one of the Dalek Puppet Emperors"; does this mean Davros?
- "the Time Lords had actually sent the Doctor back in time" in Genesis of the Daleks;
- "the Act of Master Restitution" is a desperate retconning of the first scene of The Movie;
- "the Etra Prime Incident" is presumably that described in the Big Finish audio The Apocalpypse Element, which makes this one of only two references to Big Finish continuity in New Who and its spinoffs that I know of (this is the other);
- Bowships are mentioned in State of Decay; I think Black Hole Carriers, N-Forms and the Deathsmiths of Goth are new material; The Forest of Cheem and the Nestene consciousness appeared in the first two episodes of New Who; we are still waiting for a return appearance from the Animus (seen in The Web Planet), though if it has perished and its walls fallen to dust that may not be so likely.
I was also interested in the closing paragraph of the chapter:
And far away, across the universe, on the planet Crafe Tec Hydra, one side of a mountain carries carvings and hieroglyphs, crude representations of an invisible War. The artwork shows two races clashing, one metal, one flesh; a fearsome explosion; and a solitary survivor walking from the wreckage. Solitary? Perhaps not. Under this figure, a phrase has been scratched in the stone, which translates as: you are not alone...I wonder if originally that had been intended to be the catch-phrase for a Season Two where Ecclestone stayed on? Or is it just early planning for what became Season Three?
The Annual features the usual stories, two of which jumped out at me for different reasons. The first, "Doctor vs Doctor" by Gareth Roberts, is an ambitious pastiche of locked-room detective novels featuring Dr Merrivale Carr (presumably a reference to John Dickson Carr's detective Sir Henry Merrivale) which must have sailed over the heads of most of the young readers of the annual. The last, "What I Did In My Summer Holidays, by Sally Sparrow", by Steven Moffat, is of course renowned as the Ur-text of Blink, but it's a charming story in its own right - Sally represents the reader, taken on an adventure by the (Rose-less) Doctor, and promised great adventures and a great personal future (she actually does a bit better than Sally Sparrow in Blink). Presumably the last published fiction about the Ninth Doctor, it's a good note to end on.