The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was an individual appointed by the monarch, based on which political party or group of parties won a democratic vote. The Prime Minister was the political head of the United Kingdom.
10 Downing Street was the seat of the Prime Minister's power. (TV: Aliens of London) In the 17th century, the Houses of Parliament were the meeting place of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. There, they would discuss policy and law. (PROSE: The Plotters) By 1796, the Cabinet met in session in the Cabinet Room inside 10 Downing Street. (TV: World War Three)
The title of "prime minister" wasn't in official use until at least the early 20th century, though numerous individuals from centuries prior have since been recognised as early prime ministers. (PROSE: A History of Humankind)
- 1 The Doctor and the Prime Ministers
- 2 History
- 3 Behind the scenes
- 4 Footnotes
The Doctor and the Prime Ministers
The Doctor had numerous encounters with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. These associations seemed to vary between friendships and general assistance. (TV: Aliens of London, Victory of the Daleks)
However, the Doctor occasionally shunned the Prime Minister. The Third Doctor fell out with Jeremy Thorpe over his refusal to heed his advice about closing the Damascus project. (AUDIO: Damascus) His sixth and tenth incarnations showed distaste towards Margaret Thatcher. (AUDIO: The Ultimate Adventure; TV: Tooth and Claw) The Tenth Doctor brought down Harriet Jones's government after she ordered the destruction of the retreating Sycorax. (TV: The Christmas Invasion)
Robert Walpole was the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. An android replica of Robert Walpole was among a succession of android British Prime Ministers up to Margaret Thatcher created by Tasq. (PROSE: Time Wake)
On 20 March 1782, Lord North announced he was stepping down as Prime Minister. His successor, Rockingham, dropped dead on 1 July after leaving peace negotiations with America. He was succeeded by Shelburne. (PROSE: The Adventuress of Henrietta Street)
In 1894, the Prime Minister was known as the Earl of Rosebery. He asked Vastra, Jenny Flint, and Strax to attend the Academy of Science in September of the same year and protect other countries from stealing a time machine. (PROSE: The Singular Case of the Time Machine)
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil was the Prime Minister in July 1900. He was the last Prime Minister who refused to use 10 Downing Street as his official home. He instead allowed his nephew Arthur Balfour to use it. Balfour later became Prime Minister himself. (AUDIO: Upstairs) Like his predecessor, he was associated with the Paternoster Gang. (PROSE: Assassin on the Railroads)
Early 20th century
Neville Chamberlain was Prime Minister in the years leading up to World War II. He tried to secure peaceful agreements with Adolf Hitler and the aggressively expansionist Nazi Germany to avoid war but was unsuccessful. (PROSE: Illegal Alien, One Wednesday Afternoon)
Winston Churchill, a good friend of the Doctor's, served as prime minister on two occasions. He began his first term in 1940, during World War II. (AUDIO: Their Finest Hour) He would go on to lose the title of Prime Minister in the 1945 general election to Clement Attlee, the then leader of the Labour Party. (AUDIO: Living History, Churchill Victorious)
1960s through 1980s
In 1963, Harold Macmillan stepped down as Prime Minister and was succeeded by Sir Alec Douglas-Home, previously Earl Home. Both men were members of the Conservative Party. During Home's tenure as Prime Minister, there was a failed attempt to kidnap him, which was subsequently covered up by the British government. (AUDIO: The Pelage Project)
As the Labour Party defeated the Conservatives in the 1964 general election, Harold Wilson succeeded Douglas-Home as Prime Minster. Various figures in the military, civil service, and MI5 were unhappy with this, seeing Wilson's government as riddled with communists, and a coup was attempted in late 1964. (AUDIO: State of Emergency) In 1965, he authorised the sacrifice of 12 children to an alien race known as the 456 in exchange for an antivirus. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Three) His support in the 1970 general election was eroded by a series of disasters at scientific research facilities in 1969-70, such as Wenley Moor and the Inferno Project, as well as the crisis caused during Black Thursday and the Mars Probe 7 incident. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)
Edward Heath succeeded Wilson as Prime Minister, but his government quickly came under fire due to the chaos at both of the Britain-hosted peace conferences, and the government's involvement with the Axonite scandal. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)
Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe succeeded Heath as Prime Minister. (PROSE: The Devil Goblins From Neptune, Interference - Book One) He was familiar with reports about UNIT and the Doctor and began the Damascus project, despite the Doctor’s objections. Thorpe took it upon himself to personally persuade the Doctor to take action after he was reluctant to take action against an alien spaceship sighted at East Anglia. This encounter left Thorpe convinced the Doctor was dangerous. (AUDIO: Damascus) Jeremy later asked the Brigadier to stop his inquiry into inexplicable deaths at the Global Chemicals. (TV: The Green Death)
The Third Doctor, the Brigadier and Sarah Jane Smith met up with a Prime Minister during a potential alien invasion, and they were given permission to evacuate London to emergency shelters. According to another account, the Prime Minister was visited by the Fourth Doctor, Joan Brown and General Maxwell-Lennon. (COMIC: Doomcloud)
James Callaghan of the Labour Party succeeded Williams as Prime Minister, serving from 1976 to 1979. (AUDIO: The Oseidon Adventure) Fragmentary historical records of the year 4000 erroneously stated that Bruce Forsyth was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1977. (AUDIO: The Foe from the Future)
Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979 (TV: Tooth and Claw) and would remain in power until at least 1987. (TV: Father's Day) She was the leader of the Conservative Party. Her party won the general election on 9 June 1983 in a landslide victory over Labour. (AUDIO: Rat Trap) During the late 1980s, the Doctor served as an advisor or consultant to her. He referred to her disdainfully as "that woman" and admitted that she terrified him. (AUDIO: The Ultimate Adventure) In his tenth incarnation, the Doctor expressed further distaste for her. (TV: Tooth and Claw)
In 1992, Margery Phipps became Prime Minister. She negotiated a "deep and lasting" peace treaty between nations. Her book Love is All You Need was still a bestseller 500 years later. (AUDIO: Council of War)
On 6 May 1997, a recently elected male Prime Minister, was assassinated by his own bodyguard while in Washington during the Lord Xznaal crisis. Lord Greyhaven served as a de facto Prime Minister under Xnaal's dictatorship for the next few weeks. (PROSE: The Dying Days)
Terry Brooks was Prime Minister in 1999. He came to power by making promises about social programmes and education which the UK couldn't afford to do. In order to get out of this, he worked with the Voracians to cause a Y2K crisis and then frame General Randall for doing it as part of an attempted coup and cut funding for the armed forces, freeing money for his reform plans. After the UK was crippled by Y2K on 1 January 2000, his plot was exposed and his career ruined. (PROSE: Millennium Shock)
In the 2002 general election, it seemed likely that Sherilyn Harper of the far-right New Britannia Party would become Prime Minister. Her plans to fake a terror campaign were exposed and the party's chances collapsed. (AUDIO: The Fearmonger)
An early 21st-century male Prime Minister incurred the wrath of ICIS and related interests in the government due to increased links with the European Union. After he signed the Euro-Combine Treaty, this conspiracy started a wave of terrorism in the hopes of getting him to declare martial law and give ICIS the power to take charge. He later declared he would shut down ICIS over this, (AUDIO: The Longest Night) but they remained in existence for a while longer. (AUDIO: The Wasting) This Prime Minister was close to his Deputy Prime Minister, Meena Cartwright, who was assassinated by ICIS. (AUDIO: The Longest Night)
In early 2006, while Rose Tyler and the Ninth Doctor were being escorted to 10 Downing Street, the Doctor asked Rose who the Prime Minister was. Rose responded that she had no way of knowing if the Prime Minister before Rose "missed a year" was still in office. By 2006, the United Kingdom had a male Prime Minister. He was killed by the Slitheen, and the position of Acting Prime Minister was then assumed by Joseph Green, actually Jocrassa Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen wearing the slain Green's skin. (TV: Aliens of London) Jocrassa and his brothers were later killed by a missile strike on 10 Downing Street. (TV: World War Three)
Harriet Jones was appointed Prime Minister after the incident. (TV: Aliens of London) By Christmas 2006, Jones had brought in a number of changes and was viewed positively, with some calling her term the start of a "golden age". Her destruction of the retreating Sycorax, however, earned her the disfavour of the Tenth Doctor and he ensured her political downfall. (TV: The Christmas Invasion) Torchwood Institute leader Jack Harkness once rang her, angrily demanding to know why Torchwood files were being "given" to the Leader of the Opposition. (TV: Greeks Bearing Gifts)
Following the 2008 election, "Harold Saxon" (aka the Master) was elected Prime Minister. Shortly after his election, he gassed his entire Cabinet and introduced the Toclafane to the human race, before being shot and killed by Lucy Saxon, his wife. (TV: The Sound of Drums) The general public remembered him as having gone insane. (TV: The End of Time) Among all ex-Prime Ministers, Saxon was on file by UNIT, who noted him as one of the Master's incarnations. This was revealed to the Twelfth Doctor by Osgood when the Master returned in a female incarnation, "Missy", commenting that "she wasn't even the worst." (TV: Death in Heaven) By the year 2119, Saxon was well-remembered enough that Alice O'Donnell, though admittedly a follower of the Doctor's exploits, referred to 1980 as "pre-Harold Saxon" when brought back to that year by the Twelfth Doctor. (TV: Before the Flood)
Following "Saxon", Aubrey Fairchild became Prime Minister. The Doctor was unaware of who he was and remarked he "clearly makes no impression on history". (PROSE: Beautiful Chaos) In September 2008, he made a false promise that a series of worldwide blackouts would not affect the UK. (TV: Revenge of the Slitheen) The Prime Minister contacted Jack Harkness regarding the Water Hag flu epidemic that swept through Britain in 2008. (PROSE: Something in the Water) Fairchild declared a state of emergency following the Mandragora Helix's attempt to take over Earth. He was telephoned by Professor Brian "Ahab" Melville the night before on a secure line. (PROSE: Beautiful Chaos) During the 21st century Dalek invasion the authorities, including Torchwood, lost contact with the Prime Minister's plane. (TV: The Stolen Earth)
Brian Green succeeded Fairchild. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One) He came under criticism from foreign governments after Martin Trueman intercepted global broadcasts. (TV: Secrets of the Stars) He was Prime Minister during the 456 incident, first covering up Britain's history with the 456 (TV: Children of Earth: Day Two) and later deciding to hand over a tenth of the country's children. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Four) Afterwards, Denise Riley, with the backing of Bridget Spears, decided to blackmail him with the incriminating evidence. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Five) He remained Prime Minister following the crisis. (COMIC: Don't Step on the Grass)
In 2014, the Prime Minister was a man. He was speaking at the House of Commons prior to August of the same year when a Kharitite rampaged the building, feeding on the negative emotions. The Prime Minister was traumatised by the incident, leaving him only able to speak in simple, childlike sentences. Paramedics came to his aid after the Eleventh Doctor took away the Kharitite, but all he could say was, "I want my beddy now." (COMIC: After Life)
Kate Stewart spoke with the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street during the 2010s Nestene crisis. (AUDIO: Bridgehead) Not long following this, the Prime Minister was a woman who was influenced by the Silents to resign and call an early election. (AUDIO: Square One) She lost the election to Kenneth LeBlanc, who had been installed with the help of subliminal messaging by the Silents. LeBlanc was subsequently killed on the orders of the Silents. Kate Stewart used the image of a Silent to compel his newly elected MPs to resign after his death. (AUDIO: Silent Majority) The former Prime Minister managed to win the subsequent election and return to power. (AUDIO: In Memory Alone)
Daniel Claremont was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 2015. During his teenage years he attended Ravenscaur School, where he was transformed into a Sea Devil. (COMIC: Clara Oswald and the School of Death)
During a frozen planes crisis, UNIT called Coal Hill School in an attempt to reach Clara Oswald, however Mr Dunlop picked it up and they almost put him through to the Prime Minister. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice)
During the Sorvix occupation of Cardiff, the Prime Minister was named Felicity. She spoke to Yvonne Hartman over the phone, and Felicity offered to call Kate Stewart to assist. (AUDIO: Herald of the Dawn)
By 2020, former Mayor of London Boris Johnson was the Prime Minister. He was kidnapped by Sorb and Sarg and stored on their ship. Lucy Wilson and Hobo Kostinen later freed him along with the rest of the human race. (PROSE: The Edge of Glory)
Technology secretary Jo Patterson became Prime Minister on in January 2021 after winning her party leadership election, and pledged to bring security to Britain by using modified Daleks as security drones. However, she was soon exterminated after the Daleks turned against her. (TV: Revolution of the Daleks)
In 2025, a woman named S. J. Wordley was Prime Minister. (AUDIO: Project: Destiny) In the following year, as foretold by the Ninth Doctor to Jackie Tyler twenty years earlier, a famous actress from her time would run for Prime Minister in the midst of a Slybot invasion. (AUDIO: Retail Therapy)
General Mariah Learman became the leader of New Britain after the Eurozone wars during the mid-21st century. She seized power by marching into the House of Commons and shooting at the ceiling. However, over the course of her experiments with time travel, with the involvement of the Daleks, she was mutated into one herself and killed. (AUDIO: The Time of the Daleks)
In an alternative timeline in which Germany won World War II and proceeded to conquer the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe in 1941, Sir Oswald Mosley became Prime Minister after Churchill was executed. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
In another alternative timeline, Melanie Bush became Prime Minister and led the United Kingdom against an invasion of by the Cybermen, only to be betrayed by an alternative version of the Third Doctor whose exile on Earth had never ended. (PROSE: The Quantum Archangel)
- Main article: President of Great Britain
Behind the scenes
- Stories that have been written or came out in an election year have used sleight of hand to avoid mentioning who won: The Dying Days (1997) just mentions the Prime Minister's gender, Aliens of London (2005 but set in 2006) has Rose unaware who won because she was time-travelling.
- In real life, the Wilson government did have a sudden defeat in the 1970 election and Heath's government ran into difficulties very soon after it came in. Who Killed Kennedy by David Bishop attributed these problems to events in the Whoniverse involving the Third Doctor and UNIT.
- The "Jeremy" reference in The Green Death was a joke by the production team, implying the Liberal Party led by Jeremy Thorpe would win the contemporary general election (they didn't); the equivalent would be if a near-future episode of the new series implied the Green Party was going to win. (The production team assumed at the time that the UNIT stories actually took place in the near future.)
- The Labour government of 1997 made promises of increased social spending that were delayed (due to their budget plan). Terry Brooks in Millennium Shock is a reference to this, with the same name (and sound) as the then-PM Tony Blair.
- The New Britannia Party in The Fearmonger is a Who version of the far-right British National Party.
- In World War Three, Harriet Jones says she was not one of "the babes": a reference to the term "Blair's Babes". This would indicate the PM at the time and Jones were Labour, who did indeed win in 2005.
- The Prime Minister in After Life goes unnamed, but his speech is similar to contemporary speeches by David Cameron and the art depicts him as an older, pudgier Cameron with glasses.
- In the DVD commentary for Frontier in Space, Terrance Dicks says that the reference to the PM as female in Terror of the Zygons was an ad-lib by Nicholas Courtney. Tie-in books would make Shirley Williams into a Prime Minister to cover this (she was never party leader in real life).
- The Fearmonger assumed that Tony Blair's government would wait a full term (1997 to 2002) before holding an election. Instead, it was held it in 2001.
- According to Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale, originally in The Stolen Earth or Journey's End, Prime Minister Fairchild was to have been exterminated by the Daleks at Westminster.
- As writers like to refer to and use real Prime Ministers, predict future Prime Ministers, and make up fake ones (especially for stories that want to use a modern-day Prime Minister), there are a large number of them from Thorpe to Green and the fiction tends to clash. This can be seen with the Eighth Doctor giving a specific list of PMs in Interference - Book One which has since been contradicted. However, there are no clashing term limit issues unlike with US Presidents in Doctor Who.
- The Ninth Doctor refers to Harriet Jones as serving three terms as "Britain's Golden Age", while the Tenth Doctor collapses her government: explicitly changing the timeline. This means at least some Prime Ministers aren't fixed points in time and can be altered.
- Committee chairmen are not ministers, so Joseph Green could not have been the highest-ranking member of government and made acting Prime Minister (even if he happened to be central London at the time). There is also no such post as Acting Prime Minister, and there is no succession implied by the position of Deputy Prime Minister. Technically, the choice of Prime Minister remains the monarch's, based upon the composition of the House of Commons, and any implication of succession would be seen a lese majestie.
BBC websites and tie-in books
- The Doctor: His Lives and Times has Harriet Jones' party collapse once she'd been deposed from office.
- It's never said what party, if any, Harold Saxon was part of. The Harold Saxon website says he's leading a coalition government of defected Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Scottish National Party members.
- The "Party Politics" page on the Classic Who site, originally published in The Discontinuity Guide, has a hung parliament in 1970 and Thorpe coming to power as head of a coalition government, the direct result of alien attacks in the 1960s: "conflicting Tory and Socialist policies towards the alien menace drive many voters towards the Liberals and fringe parties." The invasions of the Pertwee era, as well as "the Government's involvement in the Axonite scandal (The Claws of Axos) and the Operation Golden Age fiasco, which included high ranking figures in the conspiracy", cause the government to collapse in early 1973. Shirley Williams leads the Labour Party back to power.
- In one timeline, Tony Blair oversaw the defeat of the Canisian invasion. (NOTVALID: Death Comes to Time)
- In the National Television Awards Sketch 2011, Amanda Holden is depicted as Prime Minister in the year 2012.
- In a tweet Jonathan Morris claimed the Prime Minister in Terror of the Zygons or Mawdryn Undead was Brenda Jones, Harriet Jones' auntie.
- The mention was accidentally included in the first part of the story
- Harold Saxon: A Better Britain (archived)
- Party politics. BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide. Retrieved on 23 July 2013.