Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.


Archives: #1, #2, #3

How detailed should things be[]

Hi, it has come to my attention that there is some disagreement regarding the extent to which the latest episode should be covered on this page. First of all, as always, I invite you to explain the thinking behind your edits here on the talk page. It is quite common that different edits are based on different ideologies and learning about the modi operandi of other editors was always very illuminating for me. Amorkuz 23:33, January 4, 2018 (UTC)

Meanwhile, let me leave my two cents. My firm belief is that all relevant information should be on the wiki but it should be curated according to the focus of each particular page to maximise usefulness for the readers. Detailed plots on story page is something that is sorely missing all too often. (Even so, plot does not equate to a transcript and should be shorter, more digested, if only for copyright reasons.) Care should be taken to treat all stories equally. Most recent stories should not be given more prevalence than older ones. Indeed, every most recent story soon ceases to be one. Things that seem important because they are fresh and emotionally raw for us now may well become mere footnotes in one-two years. All articles should be written from the point of view of a historian looking back (from the end of the universe for in-universe pages or from some unspecified future for BTS portions). Less blogging on the spur of the moment; more recording for posterity. A good mental exercise is to imagine reading this article right after the (imaginary potential) regeneration of the Thirteenth Doctor to see whether a particular detail still seems important then.
Apart from this global posture, there is a peculiarity of this particular character. Personally, I settle on different level of details for blink-and-you-miss-them characters, guest characters, companions and Doctor's incarnations. How compact the information should be naturally depends on the total amount of information available. If one struggles to fill the height of the infobox with the available info on the character, there is no problem writing everything in excruciating detail (such as is known). On the contrary, the page of a Doctor incarnation is almost without exception extremely long. There are dozens of stories, from all media. Making sense of his/her life is hard enough when each story is represented by a short paragraph. Putting even a short plot of every story would, IMHO, make the page rather unusable for anyone. Thus, I generally am for brevity on pages such as this. Only the most basic of information. Veni-vedi-vici, followed by a link to a more detailed description on the stories page. Amorkuz 23:56, January 4, 2018 (UTC)
This one's actually pretty easy, since it's stated elsewhere on this wiki (and as usual, I don't remember where, but if I find it I will post it) that character pages should really only have no more than three sentences per story. We want to differentiate our character pages from our story/plot pages. There are several reasons for requiring this brevity (some of which are included in User:Amorkuz' statements above):
  • The longer a page is, the longer it takes to load, the harder it is to find specific information, and the harder it is to find a particular error to fix. A Doctor usually accumulates dozens of stories during his tenure, and he can accumulate far more than that after his actor has quit the job.
  • Tardis:Neutral point of view specifically tells us to treat all stories equally. That means we do not say that the TV stories should get more text per story while the other media are just fine with a couple of sentences per story.
  • This is a wiki, and I think that some people aren't aware of what a wiki's purpose really is. The goal of a wiki is to get readers clicking on as many links as possible (that's why we link so often on pages and why orphaned pages are bad). If someone is reading a Doctor's page, and wants more detail on one of his particular adventures, they can click on the story link. If someone wants just an overview of that Doctor, they don't have to wade through detailed descriptions of adventures they might not be interested in.
Unfortunately, this guideline is not found at Tardis:Guide to writing Individuals articles, but it probably should be. The closest I can find to a definitive statement is located at User talk:Shambala108/Archive 1#Zaroff, but I will keep looking. Shambala108 01:17, January 5, 2018 (UTC)
Well, I've always gone by the three paragraph mindset when recapping episode entries, with exception to "wham episodes" that go on longer. Still, 4 pages on word is a bit much for a single episode, especially when its only one hour long, and the First Doctor had serials that went on longer than that that are barely covered by one paragraph as it is.BananaClownMan 09:43, January 5, 2018 (UTC)
Just for personal clarification, if we are really only meant to have three sentences per story for character articles, that means a lot of pages (particularly NewWho ones) need a major overhaul. The Eleventh Doctor alone has paragraphs on paragraphs for just single stories - The Eleventh Hour (TV story) alone has seven paragraphs dedicated to it. So is it necessary we shorten those pages to fit this three sentence rule? Snivystorm 15:13, January 5, 2018 (UTC)
Well, going by what Shambala108 is saying, it seems more like a guidline than a rule; something to encourage recaps from getting out of hand and dwarfing the rest of the page. Like how looking when crossing the road is not strictly legal, but people are taught to treat it as such.BananaClownMan 17:02, January 5, 2018 (UTC)
We kinda have to draw a line though, otherwise debates like this will keep cropping up: "is it only three sentences for episode stories, but three paragraphs for finales then four pages worth for special episodes?". We have to settle what length is acceptable and what isn't otherwise there will always be a clash between editors, like now and at some point down the road, disputing what is long enough and what is not. I personally have no problem dedicating a few paragraphs for each story, but this will (given not every editor will value each story as equal) create unbalance between stories. Also, as Amorkuz mentioned, even a single paragraph given to every single story would make the length practically unbearable, particularly on the ever growing mobile users. Snivystorm 17:13, January 5, 2018 (UTC)
"Three sentences per story" might be a good guideline but would be a horrible policy. Novels might well require more space than short stories. An audio short trip Rise and Fall may not merit more than one sentence as opposed to The Daleks' Master Plan that saw introduction of one companions and death of two companions. It was never my intention to put anyone into a straitjacket. It would just be good to try and mention every story, but only mention the highlights. Amorkuz 21:09, January 5, 2018 (UTC)
So it all just depends? Snivystorm 21:58, January 5, 2018 (UTC)
I think what BananaClownMan described as a "three-sentence mindset" is a good approach, as long as one is not overzealous about it. I myself would try to fit the story description into three sentences. That is the benchmark given on the wiki. If I succeed, great. If not, then I ask myself why. What is this information that does not fit? Why is it important? Is it really significant when viewed as part of the whole life of the First Doctor? If yes, then I allow myself to add it.
One of the reasons I don't want to treat it as an absolute maximum is that, having worked as an editor, I can see very well how to cheat it if need be. If it's only three sentences, I could make very elaborate long sentences. German philosophers, for instance, are famous for writing sentences that can be longer than a page. It is a bit harder to do in English, but still possible. This would satisfy the strict bound but violate its spirit. And vice versa, it would not make sense to artificially combine five rather short sentences into three longer ones at the expense of readability.
Incidentally, I do believe that TUaT can easily be summarised in three sentences as far as the First Doctor is concerned. He didn't really do much. There is not a single action of his (action unique to this story) that would merit to be part of his biography. Perhaps, it would clarify things if I walked my way through mock-writing it. So I would put it something like this (I'm not checking details, so this cannot be used on the page):
  1. When and where the story is set and what was the problem: e.g., after meeting the Twelfth Doctor on the way to his TARDIS mid-regeneration, the two of them experienced time freezing and encountered a Captain from WWI.
  2. Statement that the problem was resolved, e.g., he helped the Twelfth Doctor figure out that the Captain was taken from time by glass people for archiving purposes and save his life.
  3. Explanation what happened next, e.g., he then overcame his reluctance to change his persona, and returned to the South Pole to regenerate.
(This is obviously rubbish and used just as a benchmark.)
Is there something missing?
  • Rusty? Definitely not. First Doctor has no idea who that is.
  • Lethbridge-Stewart? Dunno, see above. Maybe. But I wouldn't. When Second Doctor meets Archibald's grandson, there is no indication that Archibald is in any way remembered.
  • Bill? Well, it's not really her. So again dubious. Did it really affect his life in any profound way?
  • Bonding with Twelve on the topic of non-regenerating? That could be argued and could even merit a fourth sentence. (Though I'm sure there are different opinions on the topic.)
  • His sexism? Should be on the page but not in the biography section. That's personality.
Hope this little analysis helps. Amorkuz 23:47, January 5, 2018 (UTC)
One thing I forgot to mention. It was ruled in Forum:Extended plots that editors are encouraged to write detailed plot summaries on story pages. This is where we want "extended" description of the plot, not on character pages. Shambala108 00:28, January 6, 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I can get behind this, particularly the last point regarding placing extensive information on story pages than on character pages. When editing today (or yesterday depending on where one is in the world) I found recent story pages were comparatively bare than they were years ago, when it comes to plot at least. It would seem the root of the problem comes from editors piling all their effort into discussing the entirety of the story on character pages instead, as this incident shows. But yes, it is tough to place a precise policy on this when one can bend the rules to their limits. Maybe this matter warrants a full, wiki wide, discussion than simply us four discussing it on a talk page? Snivystorm 01:08, January 6, 2018 (UTC)


Surely the appearance of the small Doctor from Listen should be retained on this page, as The Timeless Children explicitly reveals that the First Doctor, while not being the first incarnation of the Being later known as the Doctor, was forced to regenerate and grow up as a child, forced to go back to the Academy, and become a Time Lord again — with Listen having two adult Time Lords comment on the fact that they don't think he'll ever make it to the Academy, with one commenting that he doesn't want to be a Time Lord. Even with the Timeless Child twist, I think the implication is clear that this is still intended to be the William Hartnell incarnation of the Doctor! Sabovia (Message Wall) | (Contributions) 15:00, March 8, 2020 (UTC)

I completely agree. This is by all rates the First Doctor as a child. If this has been removed, it should be re-added. This IS definitely the First Doctor by all intents and purposes. The dialogue spoken to the kid by Clara about "fear makes companions of us all" is even later re-instated (from the Doctor's point of view) in An Unearthly Child to Barbara, Ian and Susan. This is not assumption, this is not speculation. That is a pure fact. Sorry admins and anyone else who potentially want to bicker and argue this, but that is how it is whether you want to admit it or not. --DCLM 15:24, March 8, 2020 (UTC)
The Timeless Child is irrelevant to this discussion. True, the child in Listen cannot be one of the Timeless Child's incarnations — but it could still be Patience's husband or any other pre-Hartnell incarnations from accounts not involving the Timeless Child, as detailed at The Doctor's early life. The Timeless Child story which would preclude the child in Listen being pre-hartnell is only one of several potential ways Hartnell could be something else than the first incarnation. For example, The Power of the Daleks refers to pre-Hartnell lives that the Second Doctor remembers quite well and keep mementos from. --Scrooge MacDuck 15:37, March 8, 2020 (UTC)

Eye colour[]

How is An Unearthly Child being used as a source for the First Doctor having "piercing blue eyes"?
× SOTO (//) 21:38, March 11, 2020 (UTC)