I get really annoyed at the amount of Doctor Who EU material that tries to retcon The Ribos Operation’s assertion that the Doctor only barely passed with a degree from the Time Academy on his second attempt, failing miserably the first time.
Gary Russell’s Divided Loyalties claims he was failed by a committee as punishment for the events of that novel, and was actually one of the Academy’s star pupils prior, while Lungbarrow and other Virgin New Adventures claim that he purposefully failed as an act of rebellion, and could easily have passed with high marks.
And, see… none of that matches with my view of the Doctor, and none of the matches with what we learned of his schooling from Terror of the Autons and The Deadly Assassin, and just doesn’t seem to mesh with his absolute inability to pilot the goddamn TARDIS in the first ten seasons of the show!
I dunno, it all feels like these authors are trying to say “Don’t worry! He’s actually really smart, there’s a reason he’s considered an idiot to the Time Lords!”
But the reason it pisses me off if because a) The Ribos Operation’s assertion is literally only based on the fact that the First and Second Doctors, very obviously, had no idea what they were doing, and b) it just sort of feels like people can’t laugh at the Doctor? Like, Robert Holmes and Douglas Adams, once Philip Hinchcliffe resigned, were constantly mocking stangant ideals of the DW mythos, all in good humor and fun (Romana’s regeneration in Destiny of the Daleks is a good example), and it just feels like trying to “fix” the Doctor’s academic failure is a stubborn attempt to assure oneself that the Doctor is a serious and smart and intelligent character.
Plus, I dunno. It’s nice that a college “failure” has saved the universe more times than I’ve breathed.