John F. Kennedy zoom in Rose

Kennedy riding in his car before the assassination. (TV: Rose)

The Kennedy assassination referred to the murder of the American President John F. Kennedy at Dealey Plaza, in Dallas, Texas on 22 November 1963.

The assassination

The Master mentally programmed UNIT Private Francis Cleary and sent him from the near future to prevent the assassination. This would change history and possibly enable the Cuban Missile Crisis to proceed in a way that would lead to a nuclear war. James Stevens, a journalist obsessed with the assassination attempt, went to 1963 using a time ring to stop Cleary. Stevens discovered the actual gunman who had killed Kennedy and recognised him as an older version of Stevens himself, travelling back from the future a second time. In order to preserve the course of history, in 1996, after writing a book revealing the truth, he used the time ring again to carry out the assassination. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)

One of Kennedy's last official acts before his assassination was to order Moonbase Eisenhower to shoot down the US Rocket Lincoln, which had been stolen by the Sixth Doctor and Larisa Petrov. Although Kennedy did not rescind the order before his death, the moonbase's commanding officer General Paterson countermanded it when Petrov contacted him and proved that she was an American spy working in the Soviet Union. (AUDIO: 1963: The Space Race)

Minor links

Peri Brown once commented that everyone remembered where they were when Kennedy was assassinated. She was in the Baikunar Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at the time. (AUDIO: 1963: The Space Race)

The Third Doctor mentioned to James Stevens in a telephone call that the prevention of the assassination would cause an historical embolism, which would result in the Doctor himself being erased from existence. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)

The Seventh Doctor implied to Ace that the proximity of Nemesis to Earth had caused or influenced the assassination. (TV: Silver Nemesis)

The Eighth Doctor once claimed that he had been accused of the assassination. (AUDIO: Zagreus)

A contemporary photo found by Clive showed the Ninth Doctor as a spectator to the assassination. (TV: Rose)

Darius Pike showed K9, Starkey and Gryffen an issue of the Daily Standard, with the latest news on the Kennedy assassination as the headline. (TV: The Cambridge Spy)

Ian Chesterton pondered the possibility of Russian invasion during the turmoil after Kennedy's death. (AUDIO: 1963)

The crew of the Teselecta stated that the Kennedy assassination was an example of how time could be rewritten. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler)

Behind the scenes

The première of Doctor Who on 23 November 1963 happened just one day after the Kennedy assassination, a fact frequently mentioned in media overviews and non-fiction literature on Doctor Who.

The Kennedy assassination happened during the recording of an episode of The Daleks, interrupting shooting as the cast and crews learned of the news. A common rumour states that news coverage of the killing caused the interruption of the normal television schedule, too, so that on 23rd November, 1963, one day after the assassination, the first episode of the first Doctor Who story, An Unearthly Child, aired five minutes late; however it actually went out only ninety seconds later than scheduled. As the episode was not seen in parts of the country due to a power outage, it was rebroadcast the following week; it is often stated that it was replayed due to the assassination coverage, but this too has been debunked.

Other connections

  • The charity special NOTDWU: Dimensions in Time, which took place on 23 November in 1973, 1993 and 2013, includes a 1973 mention of the assassination having occurred ten years earlier.
  • In Doctor Who and the Crusaders, a philosophical discussion at the beginning of the book makes note of the Kennedy assassination.
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