Not just kids
You should be aware that DWU characters have had every kind of sex imaginable. And they regularly die violent deaths — sometimes while chewin' tobacco, drinkin' whiskey and/or droppin' some acid, man. As a parent, you should remember that Doctor Who is a time travel show. That means it regularly depicts things we now frown on, because they used to be commonplace. In the same way Mad Men features offices thick with cigarette fog, you should expect that the Doctor will sometimes relish brandy with a 17th century pirate — or even go window shopping for a bong at a head shop in 1967 San Francisco. Also, because it's over 50 years old, Doctor Who is a bit of a TARDIS itself: some of its attitudes and conventions are of the time a particular episode was made.
Furthermore, we host videos which showcase DWU actors in candid interviews or in other roles they've had in their careers. Such videos give valuable information about those actors — but they may include strong language. If an actor or crew member as worked on Doctor Who, their entire career is fair game here — not just the kid-friendly bits.
The only thing we can promise parents is that we will ruthlessly root out any pornography, violent imagery, or racial hatred that has absolutely nothing to do with DWU stories or the people involved in making them. Our motto is that if it ain't on the show, it ain't on this site. If you ever see any objectionable material on this site has no connection to Doctor Who or its related shows whatsoever, please contact one of our administrators immediately.
Breakdown by medium
It's tempting to believe that the main part of Doctor Who is the television series, and anything in other media is just "that bit on the side". In fact, the Doctor Who franchise broadly consists of five main television programmes and then a variety of prose, comic, and audio formats that support these television shows. Stories in non-televised media far, far outnumber those on television — even though the franchise's parent programme started broadcast in 1963. If your kids get hooked on Doctor Who or one of the other shows in the franchise, they'll probably want to at least pick up a comic book or an audio. So it's important to be aware of concerns across all media.
The following guide serves to give a fairly complete overview of the DWU in all its forms. We don't claim it's exhaustive, or that it will be fit for your particular parenting style. Obviously, we can't mention every detail of a franchise with as much material as this one. But we believe this is a reasonable effort at pointing out areas of possible parental concern.
There's lots of different audio out there, but none of it throws up any serious red flags to parents. Little of what has been made by Big Finish Productions or AudioGo under the Doctor Who banner contains swearing or overt sexuality or gory sound effects.
Because it's audio, however, every listener has their own idea of what exactly is going on in a particular story. It's difficult therefore to absolutely guarantee that your kid won't have issues with certain audios.
However, even that rule has been stretched, with some stories like Jubilee involving quite disturbing themes and imagery, albeit in a science-fiction context. Additionally, most spin-offs are not beholden to it; the Torchwood series, for example, shares the dark themes and adult language of its televised counterpart.
In the long history of Doctor Who comic stories, almost none have been formally rated by any comics authority. Of course, few, if any, are at all troubling for parents. Doctor Who comics are typically mild, with almost no hint of sexuality and little in the way of gory depictions of violence. Language in Doctor Who comics is very mild.
That said, modern Doctor Who comics are split into two basic reading levels, if not content levels. If you're looking for comics that are easier for your younger child to read, you probably want to give the Doctor Who Adventures comic stories or (if in the mood for things of an older vintage) TV Comics a try. Doctor Who Magazine, IDW, Titan Comics or Cutaway Comics stories are written to more of a teenage/young adult standard.
Two Doctor Who theatrical feature films were made in the mid-1960s, both based on earlier television serials; although not valid sources for in-universe articles, we do grant them some account of coverage on the Wiki alongside their televised ancestors. These films pre-date film ratings systems, but they would likely be classed as having "mild fantasy violence" today.
The directo-to-video DWU spin-off movies produced by the likes of Reeltime Pictures and BBV Productions usually attempt to strike a comparable tone to the TV stories which inspired them. However, by virtue of being a library of independent productions rather than a continuous franchise, exceptions do exist. Most famously, the film Zygon: When Being You Just Isn't Enough prominently features frontal nudity as well as sexual acts, to the extent that there are actually some screenshots from this otherwise-valid source that we are not allowed to reproduced on the Wiki.
Of the various DWU video games, none have received anything greater than an ESRB "E for everyone" rating. Some games, however, weren't written in the 21st century and so weren't rated at all. But they were made in the 1980s and 1990s, so their graphics weren't sophisticated enough to offend anyone. (Except embarrassed game designers.)
Many 21st century video games, particularly those in The Adventure Games range, actually have a strong educational element to them. Almost every Doctor Who game ever made is either in the strategy or adventure genre. At a minimum they reward players for problem solving. Some, such as The Gunpowder Plot and Amy's History Hunt, go further and actually teach kids some genuine history. Others, like Cyber Assault, are just Doctor Who versions of classic strategy games like Risk.
Doctor Who novels range the gamut from books for young readers to books for adults. Like comics, Doctor Who books are written to various reading standards. Target novelisations and New Series Adventures are typically for younger readers. Quick Reads can also be enjoyed by kids who are under 12, but they're actually written for adults with literacy issues. These books do not contain any significant areas for parental concern.
The tricky books for parents are those written from about 1992 to 2004 — that is, the period of time when Doctor Who was off the air. In particular the Virgin New Adventures line was interested in "pushing the envelope". Although there is no formal book rating "system" out there, parents are advised to read these novels first before allowing children under the age of 15 read them. The same applies to Torchwood novels. These books contain everything from significant swearing to illegal drug use to frank sexuality.
Similarly, among the spin-offs, The Adventures of K9 and others were written with a primarily child audience in mind, while much of the Faction Paradox contains more mature themes and language. Iris Wildthyme media are broadly light-hearted, but may contain humour that some would deem inappropriate.
Short stories are also written for different audiences. Those in Doctor Who annuals are definitely written with kids in mind, and parents are unlikely to find objectionable content there, other than overly simplistic plots.
Those stories written for the Short Trips and Decalog series are intended for older readers. It would be laborious in the extreme, however, to point out which of the individual stories offer which specific parental concerns. If you're worried about the short stories your child is reading, we recommend that you at least skim them for yourself.
Interviews, clips from other shows
We host some videos that are interviews with actors about their larger careers. We also occasionally put up clips from other shows, if they help illustrate what an actor's body of work was like, or, rarely, if they amplify an in-universe article. These videos are meant to amplify our readers' understanding about the production personnel involved, but obviously some interviews can stray into areas that are more adult.