"Joyce" told Sam Jones that, though he'd had dealings with Time Lords in the past, he was not one; he said he never understood Time Lord teachings about the sanctity of the Web of Time, instead preferred to be unbound by history or the big picture. However, he noted that his perspective had put him in trouble in the past, leading to the tattoo on his forearm. The Doctor once spent a week "cleaning up" after Joyce's visit to Youkali. Joyce also referenced Patience.
Sometime in the 1980s, he worked as a professor at the University of California in Berkeley, working for the Advanced Research Project. However, he was fired for building a small atomic bomb as a demonstration that any lunatic could build one. Twenty years later, he started working at Berkeley again as "Daniel Joyce", a physics professor from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The Eighth Doctor said the name Joyce "fit him".
After the millennium he gave Professor Wagg a new beryllium chip to make up for the one that was stolen from him. In 2002, Joyce assisted the Eighth Doctor (whom he called "son") in defeating Griffin and in closing a dimensional scar. Joyce told the Doctor that he had begun experimenting with his biodata at this time, but refused to tell him why.
The Doctor knew his father was a professor at Berkeley, and that his name wasn't Ulysses. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors) The boy (Unnatural History) mentioned a version of the Doctor's past where his father had their names erased from time. (PROSE: Unnatural History)
Behind the scenes
- The character of Daniel Joyce was based on the character of the Doctor's father in Robert deLaurentis' 1994 Eighth Doctor movie script The Time of My Life. Like Joyce, this character "John Smith" was a renegade Time Lord with anti-nuclear views who taught at Berkeley College before being fired by building an atomic bomb as part of a protest. Also like Joyce, Smith was married to a woman named Anne with whom he had a daughter. DeLaurentis was thanked in Unnatural History.
- In another 1990s Doctor Who revival script, written by Philip Segal, the Doctor's father was given the name Ulysses. In real life, author James Joyce wrote a novel called Ulysses; in Unnatural History, Daniel Joyce and the Doctor imply that the name is new, and the Doctor tells Joyce that it "fit[s] him".
- The name Ulysses, and the "professor at Berkeley" origin, were alluded to The Infinity Doctors, and Ulysses himself appeared, in the company of Joyce's research assistant Larna, in the novel The Gallifrey Chronicles. In that story, he was specified to have had a half-human half-Time Lord child with Penelope Gate.
- Joyce was to feature, under another pseudonym, in author Jon Blum's planned Eighth Doctor novel The Why Knot, but it was never published. The Doctor's father would also have appeared as a professor from Berkeley in Lance Parkin's unproduced Eighth Doctor novel Enemy of the Daleks.