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Doctor Who (disambiguation)for other, similarly-named pages.
Doctor Who was a television series produced by the BBC in the 1960s, centering around the eponymous character known as, among other names, the Doctor. The television series eventually had many novels, CDs, and merchandise that formed part of its large multi-media franchise.
Generally, it was considered by its viewers to be a work of fiction, (PROSE: The Terror of the Umpty Ums, A Letter from the Doctor, et al.) though those who produced the stories often had a history with the Doctor and thus based their stories upon the Doctor's adventures. (PROSE: Stop, Thief!, Bafflement and Devotion, et al.) However, the Doctor himself, on numerous occasions, appeared in person to endorse and promote the series, (PROSE: A Letter from the Doctor, TV: Untitled, The Doctor Drops In, The Doctor Appears) with some accounts positing that the series itself was a documentation of the Doctor's adventures, (COMIC: Dalek Invasion of Earth 2150 B.C.) or that the Doctor, at the least, portrayed himself on-screen. (COMIC: TV Terrors) However, while the programme was largely fictional, many of the stories were based upon real occurrences. (PROSE: Background)
- 1 History
- 2 Behind the scenes
- 2.1 History of the concept
- 2.2 Other notes
- 2.3 Information from invalid sources
- 3 External links
- 4 Footnotes
In the 19th century
The Fourth Doctor once wrote and dispatched two letters at a post office on Ganymede on 42 Paztenmber, relative to 1845 "Earth-time", as the Doctor wanted to ensure his letters arrived in time to be printed in the first issue of Doctor Who Weekly. In the first letter, the Doctor talked about several features in the magazine, and in the second letter, the Doctor explained how to use the rub-down action transfers on two colour panoramas illustrated by Dave Gibbons. (PROSE: A Letter from the Doctor)
In the 20th century
The creation of the series by the BBC was spurred by the growing appetite of the British public for realistic science fiction, which had ironically been whetted by the accidental broadcasting in 1953 of real footage of the head of the British Rocket Group fighting off an extraterrestrial creature, which the Home Secretary had hurriedly passed off as fiction. (PROSE: Background)
Indeed, it had been Winston Churchill who suggested in a letter to Mr Newman that he should alter his "whole new type of drama" to be based upon the story of Churchill's old friend, the Doctor, during production on 26 March 1963. (PROSE: Stop, Thief!)
Early on, there was a novel called Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks, which, according to the Eighth Doctor, contradicted another book, Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child. (PROSE: Bafflement and Devotion) This book was later illicitly shared around on Gallifrey during The War, albeit with its title partially censored for security reasons. (PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5)
Sometime in the mid-1960s, Monica, Buttons, and Cuthbert tried to get Dr. Who's autograph after seeing him on television, but after they arrived at the studio and chased by a guard, they took refuge in Dr. Who's TARDIS that had been "parked" outside the studio. Buttons pressed a button, causing the TARDIS to take them to the Stone Age, which they spent little time exploring due to a caveman chasing them for trying to access a Stone Age TV Studio. After they returned to the 20th century, they left the TARDIS, and were chased by the guard once again. (COMIC: TV Terrors)
Sometime in the 1970s, Terrance Dicks listened in on a conversation a Doctor Who fan from the future, who was asking UNIT for help regarding COVID-19. He would join in on the conversation a few minutes later, where he came up with a name for a Doctor Who story, "who's for a brew". He wrote it down, intending to share it with Barry, before disconnecting from the call. (WC: U.N.I.T. On Call)
In 1974, a serial of the series aired, portraying the regeneration of Third Doctor into his next incarnation, the Fourth Doctor. (PROSE: Fanboys) The Fourth Doctor was played by Tom Baker, and was Paul Magrs' favourite actor to portray the Doctor. (PROSE: The Story of Fester Cat)
In 1978, Iris Wildthyme was sent by the Ministry to investigate Geoff Love as the Ministry suspected him of secreting in subliminal messages into his reworkings of classic TV sci-fi themes. Iris helped Geoff develop a remixed Doctor Who theme while proving that the Ministry was indeed correct with their suspicions. (PROSE: Bafflement and Devotion)
Prior to 1981, serials known as The Seeds of Doom, State of Decay, Planet of the Spiders were broadcast, the latter of which depicting the Fourth Doctor's regeneration into the Fifth Doctor, who was set to return in the following season. By this time, the Wirrn, Zarbi, Sontarans, Krynoids, Zygons, Mechanoids, Yeti, and the Brain of Morbius all had been featured in the show, serving the role of the villains.
In early 1981, David and Chris were major fans of the series. They obsessed over the series, and when they went to Darlington on a semi-regular basis, where they would treated by their parents by taking them into WHSmith's to buy Target novelisations of Doctor Who stories. On one such occasion, they bought copies of State of Decay and Planet of the Spiders. (PROSE: Fanboys)
After the Sixth Doctor finished telling the audience that they had been watching Roland Rat: The Series, and that they should now switch over to BBC1's Doctor Who, Ron Rat jumped up, shouting that Doctor Who was "rubbish", which caused the Sixth Doctor to promptly attempt to murder the rat. (TV: Untitled)
According to an American correspondent, Jay Eales had been responsible for the cancellation of Doctor Who in 1989 after he "fiendishly" edited a charity fanthology, Walking in Eternity, in the year 2000. (PROSE: Contributors)
In the 21st century
Around the early 2000s, Paul Magrs wrote in a short piece of prose about his books and inspirations. In this piece, he stated that the second and fourth incarnations of the Doctor were Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker, respectively, and that his collection of all 150 Target novels written by Terrance Dicks had been stolen. (PROSE: Bafflement and Devotion)
In SpoilerSpace, Raf told his assistant to tell any Doctor Who fans wanting to purchase the latest book that they'd have to wait due to a late delivery. She thought that Doctor Who fans were the worst, but Raf disagreed. (PROSE: To the Devil — a Diva!)
By the 21st century, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, Sontarans and Slitheen had appeared. David Karpagnon, an orphan with dissociative personality disorder, watched the show around this time. The Doctor helped him with his problems from inside his head. (PROSE: The Terror of the Umpty Ums) In the early 2010s, Matt Smith was an actor in the series. (TV: The Doctor Drops In, The Doctor Appears)
In 2008, Paul Magrs worked on several scripts for Doctor Who CDs, which, once completed, would require Paul to travel to London and help with the production, where he got to meet Tom Baker. (PROSE: The Story of Fester Cat)
In a Wackopedia article about the partially lost David Bowie album Low/Profile dated to September 2012, last updated by George Mann, Doctor Who, Dad's Army, and Callan were listed as examples of television shows that had deleted content. (PROSE: Low/Profile)
On Red Nose Day 2013, Dermot O'Leary surprised his co-presenter Claudia Winkleman with a guest appearance of the Eleventh Doctor. At the event, an episode of Doctor Who played on screen behind them with an actor portraying Walter Simeon, and Claudia flirtatiously chased the Doctor around. (TV: The Doctor Appears) Later that year, The Day of the Doctor was broadcast in 3D. (TV: The Doctor Appears, WC: The Zygon Isolation)
Peter Capaldi was cast as the Twelfth Doctor in 2013, where he attended a meeting with Steven Moffat. Capaldi prepared for this meeting by reading issues of DWM. Later, he wrote a letter to the readers of DWM, writing about his more than positive opinions of the magazine. (PROSE: A Letter from the Doctor 464)
In November 2014, (PROSE: "Assessing the Risk") when the Earth became overgrown with trees, a double decker bus had an advertisement on its side, depicting the TARDIS and individuals closely resembling the Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald. An unknown source rated the show four stars out of five commenting "A-MAZE-ING ENTERTAINMENT!". (TV: In the Forest of the Night)
Around October of 2015, the ninth series of the show was broadcast on BBC One, comprising of the stories New Series Prologue, The Magician's Apprentice, The Witch's Familiar, Under the Lake, Before the Flood, The Girl Who Died, The Woman Who Lived, The Zygon Invasion, The Zygon Inversion, Sleep No More, Face the Raven, and Heaven Sent. (WC: The Zygon Isolation)
On 29 April 2016, Peter Capaldi was asked by Doctor Who Magazine to write a letter for the five-hundredth issue. He had written another letter for the magazine a while back, but couldn't remember if it was for the one-thousandth or the one hundred-thousandth issue. In his letter, he noted that the magazine had a comic strip, and he was proud to have his likeness be captured so well, as well as how inspirational the magazine was to its fans. (PROSE: A Letter from the Doctor 500)
On 10 May, 2020, the two Osgoods conversed over Zoom. Afterwards, one of the duo went onto BBC iPlayer after ending the chat, scrolling past several episodes of Doctor Who from series nine, until she decided to watch The Zygon Invasion. (WC: The Zygon Isolation)
In late 2020, after a fan finished watching an episode, she rang UNIT in the 1970s, asking for help from the real Third Doctor, Jo, and the Brigadier, and they told her to remain positive despite the hardships. They disconnected, and Terrance Dicks then applauded the trio, and told the fan a tea break was deserved. He then came up with an idea for the name of a story, and then too disconnected. The fan then drank a cup of tea while watching an older episode of Doctor Who. (WC: U.N.I.T. On Call)
By 2065, (PROSE: Peaceful Thals Ambushed!) William Hartnell was playing the part of "Dr. Who" in "the television series". (PROSE: Lady Penelope Investigates the stars of the Sensational new film Dr. Who and the Daleks!)
In the 26th century
In 2596, Chris Cwej and Clarence once watched a show on a vidscreen that ran for "thirty-odd years" and mostly comprised of "people being captured and escaping, a lot of running and an explosion at the end". Clarence found this series to be predictable, but they both preferred it to the alternative, which were cookery shows. (PROSE: Twilight of the Gods)
In Melanie Bush's spacestation headquarters, the Seventh Doctor gave Mel a copy of Doctor Who The Collection Season 24, which he claimed was a "holographic, six-dimensional record" of his and Mel's adventures. They had decided to watch an episode, but not the one with the Tetraps. (WC: 24 Carat)
Other accounts of the Doctor appearing in Earth fiction, sometimes as a character called "Doctor Who", suggested that some of the movies and TV programmes about the character were based on records and testimonies of the real Doctor. (PROSE: Stop, Thief!, Salvation, The Day of the Doctor) It has been suggested that when the Doctor's existence has become too noticeable to a world, they have a favorite "panic button", going back in time and introducing themselves as a fictional character in that world's mythology. (PROSE: Afterword)
Premiering in the 1950s, (PROSE: In Search of Doctor X) the television series Doctor X shared similarities Doctor Who, (PROSE: In Search of Doctor X, WC: Doctor X, et al.) with the series both being primarily science fiction, centering around a mysterious, epynomynous time traveller, with similarly named books, (PROSE: In Search of Doctor X, Bafflement and Devotion) as well as a dedicated fanbase. (PROSE: Bafflement and Devotion, The Story of Fester Cat, WC: Doctor X)
- Main article: Meta-fiction universe
Behind the scenes
History of the concept
The existence of the TV series Doctor Who within the Doctor Who universe is a metafictional gimmick with a long and storied history within licensed Doctor Who fiction. The show itself stopped just shy of confirming the existence of a series called Doctor Who within its universe on two occasion; the first was in Remembrance of the Daleks, where a TV series whose title began with "Doc…", and which debuted on the same date as the real-life Doctor Who, was briefly mentioned — only for the characters (and viewers) to miss the full name of the programme. Many years later, a poster featuring the Twelfth Doctor, Clara Oswald and the Doctor's TARDIS was glimpsed in the background of the Series 8 episode In the Forest of the Night, but with no title visible.
As a significant part of popular culture of Earth history in their own universe, television programmes and books based upon the Doctor have also been referenced in other in-universe sources; some, like Sarah Jane Smith's Doctor series, were reminiscent but distinct from real-life Doctor Who productions, while others, such as the mention of the two Peter Cushing movies in Steven Moffat's Day of the Doctor novelisation, intentionally matched pieces of real-life Doctor Who fiction. While many stories about the in-universe series failed to address how it could exist within the Doctor's universe (with stories such as PROSE: A Letter from the Doctor and TV: The Doctor Drops In and The Doctor Appears coming close, depicting the Doctor endorsing the series), only the short story Background actually addressed the issues, to some extent, positing that the series was created by the BBC after being inspired by an incident in 1935 where they had caught footage of an alien organism (which had subsequently been broadcast on television), causing the Home Secretary to issue a public statement that the footage was actual from a science fiction programme. Doctor Who was a culmination of the public's desire for science fiction during the following decades, and such, the BBC created the series, mostly as fiction, with certain stories being based upon actual events.
As an in-universe concept, Doctor Who has been additionally used in parallel universes — where the logically thorny implications of the series known to the viewer simultaneously being a true account of a time-traveller's life, and a piece of fiction which the same individual could theoretically watch, would be lessened. The Eighth Doctor discovered the existence of Doctor Who in TV Action! while the Eleventh Doctor dealt with chapters of his life being chronicled as episodes of a television programme in The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who. The articles from The Thief of Sherwood, which depict an adventure with the First Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara where they meet Robin Hood, is placed in "an alternate version of our world", belonging to the Doctor's multiverse, by authorial intent.
The bus seen in In the Forest of the Night was cardboard, as it was too hard to transport a real bus into the forest. The advert seen on the bus was a fan-made poster for series 8 of Doctor Who, made by Logan Fulford.
The Doctor Who annuals seen in COMIC: A Groatsworth of Wit, while are clearly recognizable, the specific years are too small to make out. In the real world, these annuals correspond to the 1968 and 2006 annuals.
In some stories, vague allusions towards Doctor Who stories have been made, such as in PROSE: I Am the Doctor, where Nardole watches The Chase, and in TV: The Return of Doctor Mysterio, where a cinema was shown to be playing something titled The Mind of Evil; whether these stories were meta-fiction references to Doctor Who, or were references to the gameshow called The Chase and an unrelated film are currently unclear. Similar instances have occurred with characters, where they've been named after or in homage to real world individuals involved with Doctor Who, with ambiguity surrounding whether they're supposed to be direct, in-universe counterparts, equivalents of, or even entirely unrelated individuals in all but name.
Many of Douglas Adams' Doctor Who stories, such as TV: Destiny of the Daleks and TV: Shada, have implied a shared universe with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, however an authorised sequel And Another Thing... seems to contradict this by having Arthur Dent compare the destruction of Earth to early special effects on Doctor Who, however by the content gathered on this page, this disparity can be easily reconciled.
Information from invalid sources
When Sutekh auditioned for the role of himself, Philip Hinchcliffe set fire to many objects to see if Sutekh could hold back the flames. Unbeknownst to him at the time was that one of these objects was a copy of Fury from the Deep. (NOTVALID: Oh Mummy!)
Eye on... Blatchford
Attack of the Graske
Inviting a human aboard the TARDIS, the Tenth Doctor voices his awareness that they have been watching his adventures. He in turn admits to having watched some of theirs. (NOTVALID: Attack of the Graske)
A young woman, Verity, went to the BBC, and became the producer of the show, despite the protests of the "Men Who Knew What To Do". By standing her ground against their blatant sexism, she helped the Doctor Who series flourish with her creative ideas.
The Sixth Doctor is on trial AGAIN!
Colin Baker was once put on trial for not paying a parking fine, which he received whilst filming ten hours of new content for Doctor Who Season 23, which included updated special effects and extended versions of every episode, as well behind the scenes material such as The Writers' Room: The Missing Season 23, The Doctor Who Cookbook Revisited, and The Doctor's Table: Season 23. Despite showing the magistrate evidence of this on his iPad which had been beamed directly from the Matrix, he was "put away" in a cell with his friend Nicola Bryant, who had been put there for marrying Brian Blessed. (NOTVALID: The Sixth Doctor is on trial AGAIN!)
The Home Assistants of Death?!
In her garden, Louise Jameson spoke to her friend Tom Baker about how wonderful her new Home Assistant is, until she gave it too many orders, causing it to malfunction so severely it attempts to kill Louise, so hanging up on Tom, she grabs Doctor Who The Collection Season 14, using it to bludgeon the Home Assistant down. (NOTVALID: The Home Assistants of Death?!)
A New Year's message from the Doctor
Tom Baker stars in John Lloyd's lost Doctor Who adventure, The Doomsday Contract
In 1978, Douglas Adams became the script editor for Doctor Who after he finished writing The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for Radio 4. John Lloyd, who had assisted Adams with the writing for Hitchhiker's, submitted a story treatment entitled The Doomsday Contract. Despite putting a lot of work into multiple drafts, the episode was never produced and Lloyd moved onto other projects.
In 2021, Big Finish produced a "full cast audio version" of the unproduced serial The Doomsday Contract, written by John Lloyd and Nev Fountain, starring Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, John Leeson, and Julian Wadham. (NOTVALID: Tom Baker stars in John Lloyd's lost Doctor Who adventure, The Doomsday Contract)