This format guide for television stories will help you understand some best practices for adding articles about television stories.

Starting a new article

The easiest way to begin a new story article is simply to start a new page, then pull down the drop-down menu under option 1 to your desired type of article. This will put the infobox and all formatting discussed in this layout onto your page — albeit in a skeletal form. For more information about this feature, please see Help:Preloadable formats.

Before the article

Every story article should have at least two templates at the very top of the article. {{real world}} should be placed at the very top of story articles, so that readers know they are reading an article written from a behind-the-scenes perspective. Following that, {{title dab away}} should be placed, so that the title of the article will be properly italicised.

Here is a typical setup of the beginning of story articles (regardless of medium):

{{real world}}{{title dab away}}{{infobox}}'''''{{StoryTitle}}''''' was the fifth story of ...

Note the time-saving use of Format for television stories, which automatically stamps the lead with the dab-less name of the page, meaning that you, generally, type fewer key strokes. (It has the additional benefit of allowing the name of the page to automatically change, should we need to move the article to a new page name, later.)

Again, though, if you're using the preloadable format provided, you won't have to worry about keeping all these templates together. It's already set up for you.

Article intro

First comes the infobox. The infobox summarizes the most basic information on each story for quick and easy reference.

The infobox is followed by at least a basic, behind-the-scenes description of the story, or article lead. This lead should immediately give the user a sense of when the story took place within the programme's overall run, and it should contextualize the things — both in front of and behind the cameras — which made the story important or unique.

A "bare-bones" example would be:

{{text of infobox}}'''''The Tenth Planet''''' was the second story in the [[season 4|fourth season]] of ''[[Doctor Who]]''. It was the first story to feature the [[Cybermen]] and the last to star [[William Hartnell]] as [[the Doctor]]. The adventure would conclude with the the Doctor transforming in to a new, younger body.
which results in
The Tenth Planet was the second story in the fourth season of Doctor Who. It was the first story to feature the Cybermen and the last to star William Hartnell as the Doctor. The adventure would conclude with the the Doctor transforming in to a new, younger body.

Note a few things about the markup of this lead. First, all stories should be bolded and italicised in a lead, meaning that they must be enclosed within five apostrophes ('''''). Second, don't forget to link to the season number and the programme name, making sure that the programme name — in this case, Doctor Who — is italicized. And thirdly, it's best to put the lead directly against the closing braces (}}) of the infobox. This ensures the text of the article aligns to the top of the infobox.

Also, be sure that you do not enclose either the lead or the infobox in section headers. They exist before the first section of the article.


The synopsis should be a one or two paragraph summation of the story, the sort one might find in a television guide or catalogue listing. An example can be found here.


The plot is a more detailed summary of the story, ideally illustrated with images from the story, if available. (Please review our Plagiarism, copyright and image policies before uploading and inserting images or any summaries) For stories in the original 1963-1989 series, these should be divided up into the individual episodes, with sub-headings for each. Stories from the new 2005- series do not need this division. For two-part stories in the new series, i.e. The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances each part has its own page and so should be summarised separately. For an example of how a completed plot should look, click here."


The cast is a list of the actors who appeared in the story. Preferably these should be listed in the format of "Character - Actor," as this is the way the credits in the actual television programme list them. They should be listed in two columns for easier reading. The actor playing the Doctor should always be listed first, followed by the actor(s) playing the Doctor's companion(s), the actor(s) playing the Doctor's formally named or titled enemy(ies), and finally the supporting characters.

Characters should be listed according to the credits in the transmitted version of the story. However, if a character is referred to by name in the dialogue of the story, but is given no name in the credits, or they are referred to with a first name when only a surname is given in the credits, they may still be listed according to the originally transmitted credits, but the article the character role links to will have the name given in dialogue. For example, the character played by Beatrix Lehmann in The Stones of Blood would be listed in the credits as "Professor Rumford," but clicking on "Professor Rumford" would direct you to the article titled, "Amelia Rumford," as this was the character's full name given in the story's dialogue. This is in keeping with naming principles.

Uncredited cast

  • Uncredited cast members shall only appear in a section clearly labelled "Uncredited cast"
  • The "Uncredited cast" section shall appear under and as a subsection of the "Cast" section
  • Names in the section shall only be added when citation has been found for them.

If several actors played the same unnamed role, such as "Daleks", "Cyberman", or "Thal", it is enough to simply list that part once and list all the performers who played that role beside it, separated by commas. Again, this makes for easier reading. Please give a source for uncredited performers, however, as it'll be unclear to most readers how we know about these artists at all.

And, yes, we know that it's perhaps more "correct" to label the section "cast and characters", but we've opted for the simpler, one-word solution.


For stories during the original run of Doctor Who, the crew should be listed in the format of "Crew Position - Name." They should also be listed in two columns for easier reading. Traditionally, the script editor, director, and series producer have been listed last in the series' credits and ideally this convention should be followed in the articles. As with the cast, uncredited persons should be listed with "uncredited" in parentheses next to their name, and if several persons filled the same role, that role should be listed only once, with the persons' names listed beside it, separated by commas.

For episodes from the 1996 telemovie to the present day, please use {{wales crew}} to fill in the crew sections of articles. {{wales crew}} is preferred for listing all of the programmes produced by BBC Wales.


The references section lists characters, organisations, planets and species and other items which are referred to in a story for which specific articles exist or may be added to the database. They either were seen in previous stories and are referred to in dialogue or are seen in the current story but, for the sake of brevity, can't be described in too much detail in the story article's summary or plot sections. They may also be real persons, literary works, historical events, culinary items, or items of Western pop culture in general or British pop culture in particular that are referred to in the story but with which not all viewers may be familiar. Such listings should separated into categories, with article links and short descriptions for each item. Generally, these references are just that: passing references without any real narrative significance. Contrast with things in the continuity section, below.

Story notes

Story notes are general, behind-the-scenes items of interest about the story, such as production problems and cast or script changes, or ways in which the story was a major landmark in the history of the series. Other, more specific information falls under the following sub-sections:


A listing of ratings, per episode, for the original transmission of the story. This can be found at the A Brief History of Time (Travel) website, a link to which should be included in the External Links section (see below).


Behind-the-scenes reports and stories which have developed about certain stories but which have been proven to be untrue. An example would be the claim that Jacqueline Hill was working as a model in Paris when she was cast as Barbara Wright for "The Pilot Episode" and An Unearthly Child.

Not every story page will require a myths section.

Filming locations

This section should provide the towns, villages, buildings, estates, quarries, sandpits and any other locations where the stories were filmed. This information can also be found at the A Brief History of Time (Travel) site or The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

The section is also for listing which studio(s) the stories were filmed in, preferably giving not just the building but the actual, numerical studio. At least inasmuch as BBC Television Centre is concerned, this site already contains a well-researched and annotated list serials-by-studio-number at List of stories recorded at BBC Television Centre.

Production errors

This section is for noting errors that occurred during the recording and post-production of the story.

These are such things as boom mikes in shot, jump cuts and other intrusions into the production of the story such as crew being audible or visible during the story.

None of these need explanations, unless further information has been revealed in a citable source such as a reference book or DVD extra.

What this section should not be used for are errors in continuity (aka 'discontinuity') and plot holes in the story. Discussions of this type may be conducted at Forum:Discontinuity and plot holes.


Continuity is similar to the "references" section, really, except that it usually includes things of narrative significance. For example, the fact that the Tenth Doctor remembered having caused a bit of a fire in Rome in The Fires of Pompeii, would be seen as narrative continuity with The Romans. Continuity is not always a shout out to a previous episode. As we saw in Silence in the Library, some things, like the Byzantium, were presaging future events.

Home video releases

If a story has been commercially released in VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, LP record, audio cassette, Laserdisc, Digital download or CD format, the information will go here, with date(s) of release and notes on any special features, such as commentary or behind-the-scenes narration. Releases by the Reconstruction Team would also go here. This information can be found at the Brief History of Time (Travel) site, and at a few other sites.

External links

Here you should place outside links to any sites you used in researching the article, or to sites which may have more information.


Finally, insert category links for the article. Generally, the one category used in all Doctor Who TV stories use the format [[Category:X Doctor television stories]] (replacing X with whichever Doctor is featured within the story). For other category ideas, browse the subpages of Category:Television stories.

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