IndexTimey-wimey detector → Timeline - Ian & Barbara
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This page lists appearances of Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright in the order in which they experienced them. This timeline is based upon observations of the Doctor Who universe and the events that occur during each of these stories. From these observations we have attempted to build a concise timeline. It is assumed, much like its TV story counterparts that for each novel, comic story and audio series their published/numbered order is the order they occur in. This does not apply to short stories which are often ambiguous about their placement. There are also many gaps between stories.

The layout of this timeline is in part based on the observations on Doctor Who Reference Guide and Doctor Who - The Complete Adventures, as well as information in Lance Parkin's AHistory which allow us to make observations on placement of stories, such as Doctor Who Reviews, The History of Doctor Who, The Discontinuity Guide, Clive Banks Databank, the Big Finish forums, The Whoniverse and the Divergent Universe forums. None of these sources should be used solely as a source or considered a "true" timeline for stories.

Additionally there are statements on the back of Virgin Missing Adventures and BBC Past Doctor Adventures novels that state between which TV stories the novel takes place between. These can be used to narrow the field, and should be viewed as the only placing for these novels.


Teaching at Coal Hill[]

Set on 11 October 1962. Ian bumps into an older, alternate version of himself while on his commute to Coal Hill School.
Set in June 1963. Barbara and Ian each encounter future versions of each other.
Susan's diary. Ian appears in various events at Coal School from 26 March to 1 April 1963. Barbara appears in events on 28 and 30 March.
Set during the summer, Ian holidays in Dorset, and thinks he sees Barbara there as well. He gains a splinter on the gate to his guest house. Both Ian and Barbara are teachers at the "same London school" by this point. Some time later, Barbara hosts a party attended by Ian.
The Doctor is still collecting parts for his TARDIS, and meets River Song for the first time.

Discovering the TARDIS[]

On 22 November 1963, Ian and Barbara, intrigued by student Susan Foreman, follow her home and force themselves into the TARDIS, and the First Doctor flies the ship in a panic, bringing the teachers with him and Susan to 100,000 BC. Ending leads directly into The Daleks.
Set during An Unearthly Child: An Unearthly Child, the silhouettes of Ian and Barbara can be seen in their car parked outside Totter's Lane. In an alternate timeline created by Rassilon and the Cybermen, the Doctor is captured by the Cybermen immediately before he meets Ian and Barbara.
Set during An Unearthly Child: The Firemaker, as the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan prepare their final escape from the Cave of Skulls. Barbara tells the Doctor the story of Godfather Death.
The travellers encounters the Daleks for the first time. He also explains that he can't properly fly the TARDIS and can't return to 76 Totter's Lane. Ending leads directly into The Edge of Destruction.
In an alternate account to The Daleks that completely omits An Unearthly Child, Susan, going by "Susan English", receives private tutorship from Barbara instead of attending Coal Hill School, and they are struck by a lorry while driving to Barnes Common. Ian meets them for the first time at the crash site. After Ian becomes an unwilling passenger aboard the Doctor's TARDIS, the newly formed TARDIS crew arrive directly on Skaro from 20th century Earth, and experience events that are nearly identical to The Daleks.
In a third account, Ian and Barbara investigate their strange student Panda, following him back to a double-decker bus in Putney Common. There, they meet his equally strange Aunty Iris, who whisks them away in her bus, travelling to somewhere fabulous.
Set immediately after The Daleks, with Ian referring to Skaro as having been the previous trip. The TARDIS' sentience is brought up for the first time. After realising that his paranoia got the best of him when the TARDIS tries to warn him about its imminent destruction, the Doctor makes amends to better himself in the future after he saves the TARDIS. He starts by reconciling with Barbara as the TARDIS lands at the Plain of Pamir, leading directly into Marco Polo.

The great spirit of adventure[]

The TARDIS crew spend several months travelling across Cathay with Marco Polo in 1289.
The TARDIS crew have left China "only two minutes ago", setting this immediately after Marco Polo. They spend over a week on Avalon in 2991, with Barbara and Susan getting changed out of their Chinese garbs before leaving the TARDIS, while Ian remains in his Chinese gown for at least the first day on Avalon, with no further mention of his attire.
Ian is still wearing his Chinese gown, setting this shortly after Marco Polo. The TARDIS crew spend a few days in North America in 1002.
The TARDIS lands on Marinus, and the travellers encounter the Voord for the first time. Ian is still wearing his Chinese clothes from their adventure with Marco Polo, setting this shortly after Marco Polo.
The Doctor believes that he and Susan should be more open with Ian and Barbara, setting this shortly after The Edge of Destruction. Ian and Barbara are given their first proper tour of the TARDIS, though it is a brief one. Though they are still recent additions to the TARDIS crew, Susan claims they have "been through so much together" by this point.
Barbara has yet to visit an Aztec temple, setting this before The Aztecs. Barbara notes that they are finally visiting a time and place where she has an expertise in. The Doctor is constantly rude to Ian and Barbara, who are not particularly fond of him either. The Doctor has his cane, which, later in the story, the Tenth Doctor reveals was given to him by Kublai Khan during the events of Marco Polo.
The Doctor is still unfamiliar with the layout of the TARDIS interior, and is still learning about most of the universe. Ian is still exploring the TARDIS. The Doctor wields the walking stick he acquired from Kublai Khan, setting this after Marco Polo.
Ian and Barbara struggle to grasp the concept of hermaphroditic humanoids. Barbara recalls the events of The Daleks.
The Doctor warns Barbara about the consequences of altering the course of history when she tries to educate the Aztecs against using human sacrifices. The Doctor has a brief affair with Cameca, and is gifted with a brooch from her when he leaves. According to the novelisation, Ian is 28-years-old.
The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan spend several weeks on the planet Fragrance. The Doctor is making repairs to the TARDIS in order to get Ian and Barbara home.
The crew spend over a month in 4th century BC Babylon. Although the Big Finish website places this between The Reign of Terror and Here There Be Monsters,[1] The Library of Alexandria is set shortly after The Reign of Terror and references Alexander as a close friend, meaning this must be set earlier. Barbara knows that history cannot be changed, but Ian isn't convinced.
Set a day after Farewell, Great Macedon, with the events from The Fragile Yellow Arc of Fragrance being mentioned.
Ian recalls the events of The Daleks as a recent example of the Doctor's obsessiveness. Barbara has made 40-to-50 identical marks in her notebook while keeping track of the days on the TARDIS. This tally seems to represent days, but it is not entirely clear. The Doctor is trying to make the TARDIS feel more comfortable for Ian and Barbara, having spent the past week searching for tea as part of his goal. He has also provides Ian with a new cardigan, after his last one was destroyed by fire ants.
Susan unlocks a deeper telepathic ability than the Doctor thought she had. Barbara has fully recovered from her ordeal from The Aztecs. When Ian makes a snide comment about the Doctor's piloting, the enraged Doctor claims he will leave Ian at the next stop, leading into The Reign of Terror. The Doctor and Susan have been travelling for years, and have never had an argument.
Set between The Sensorites and The Reign of Terror, with the Doctor preparing to throw Ian and Barbara out of the TARDIS. The Doctor and Ian spend several months on the Endeavour while Barbara and Susan are trapped in the TARDIS, though the Doctor still intends to exile Ian and Barbara when they leave in the TARDIS. Susan's enhanced telepathic telepathic abilities she gained from the Sensorites are still lingering.
Following on from The Sensorites, the Doctor is still arguing with Ian and Barbara, until an adventure during the French Revolution calms him down enough to forgive them.

Destiny in the stars[]

The Doctor takes Susan, Ian and Barbara to a planet to relax following the events from The Reign of Terror. Ian believes the Doctor is trying to convince him and Barbara to stay.
Ian recalls the Doctor telling them that their "destiny is in the stars" and notes that they have arrived on Earth again, suggesting a setting shortly after The Reign of Terror. The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan spend several weeks in Alexandria. Ian refers to Alexander the Great as "an old friend", setting this after Farewell, Great Macedon. He and Barbara begin to think that the Doctor has been deceitful with them about changing history. Weeks after arriving in Alexandria, Ian recalls the events of The Transit of Venus as occurring weeks ago.
Susan believes that Ian and Barbara are still on "probation" with the Doctor following the events of The Reign of Terror. Susan starts to wonder if she will need to leave the TARDIS and make her own life, for the Doctor's sake. Susan thinks the Doctor could do with a holiday, even if he doesn't agree, setting this before The Mother Road.
Ian refers to the events of The Transit of Venus. He and Barbara aren't surprised when the Doctor thinks that history can be changed. Ian also mentions the watch he has retained since he left Coal Hill.
The crew are a close unit, and Ian wonders if they are still on Earth, indicating that this takes place after an Earthbound adventure. The Doctor spends two years on Destination fixing the damage caused by the Master. Ending leads directly into The Great White Hurricane.
This is Ian's first time in New York City. Susan admits that she sees Ian and Barbara as family. After their adventure in New York City, the Doctor claims to have found a way to return Ian and Barbara home.
Following directly on from The Great White Hurricane, the Doctor fails to return the TARDIS to 1963. Susan refers to the events of The Reign of Terror. Ending leads directly into The Barbarians and the Samurai. Barbara and Ian first learn of the concept of cloning.
When telling Takagi Mamoru about his recent voyages, the Doctor refers to London, China and Mexico, and "more recently, Paris", setting this not long after the events of The Reign of Terror.
Follows directly on from The Barbarians and the Samurai. Barbara learns that the TARDIS has a library, According to Ian's watch, it should be around 23 March 1964 in their own time, meaning it has been four months since they left Shoreditch. Ian sells his watch, setting this after The Flames of Cadiz.
Follows directly on from The Phoenicians. Susan mentions that she is a little bit telepathic, and the Doctor realises that he needs to give Susan more independence.
Still experimenting with ways to take Ian and Barbara home, the Doctor attempts to use the fast return switch for a second time, but it brings the TARDIS back to Skaro fifty years after their previous visit in The Daleks.
The TARDIS has just left Skaro, setting this immediately after Return to Skaro. Barbara and Ian have been travelling with the Doctor and Susan for months by now. Susan believes that history can be changed, but Barbara disagrees and refers to the events of The Aztecs. The Doctor is beginning to wonder if he has a duty to intervene in events, despite what he was taught on Gallifrey. The TARDIS stops working, leading directly into For the Glory of Urth.
The Doctor manages to reboot the TARDIS, however the travellers land on Urth and must disembark while the TARDIS is repairing itself. Susan believes that she has discovered the cause of the TARDIS's troubles, leading directly into The Hollow Crown.
Susan removes a Goliathan spiny-back beetle from the TARDIS console and believes that has resolved their issues getting to 1963 Shoreditch, however the travellers arrive in 1603 Shoreditch instead. Barbara and Susan recall the events of Last of the Romanovs. The Doctor meets William Shakespeare for the first time, who has met one of his future incarnations before.
Barbara vists Susan in her bedroom to inform her that the TARDIS is landing. However, Susan is distressed, having had a nightmare about the piece of supposedly-cursed piece of red glass she and the Doctor took from a planet before they met Barbara and Ian. Ian does not appear.
The Doctor, Susan, Barbara, and Ian spend weeks in Judaea during the siege of Masada. While Ian knows what the Doctor thinks of changing history, he isn't convinced and tries to help the Jews defeat the Roman Empire in the siege, despite Barbara's insistence that history shouldn't be interfered with, in reference to what she learned during The Aztecs.
The TARDIS crew spend three months in 19th century Afghanistan. Ian begins to realise his love for Barbara.
Barbara refers to the Doctor's warning about interfering with history from The Aztecs. The crew spend months in 19th century Earth, with Ian and Susan crossing the United State together while the Doctor and Barbara remain in England.
Susan knows of Barbara's familiarity with Cortez and the Mexican civilisations, setting this after The Aztecs. The Doctor learns how to drive for the first time and seems unfamiliar with the use of 21st century computers and the internet. He tricks the crew into taking a recreational road trip across the US.
The Doctor visits 30th century Prague with Ian while Barbara and Susan stay behind in the TARDIS.
The Doctor considers Ian and Barbara as part of his family.
Barbara believes that history cannot be changed, setting this after The Aztecs.
Ian remembers the Doctor saying that the crew's "destiny is in the stars", which he said in The Reign of Terror. Barbara and Ian still believe that history can't be changed. The Doctor takes Rasputin through the Time Vortex to St Petersburg on first try using Dahensa tech. Ian and Barbara are surprised that he'd attempt this before he mentions the technology, which breaks down after a single use.
Sequel story to The Keys of Marinus. The TARDIS crew spend months on the planet Hydra evading and fighting the Voord.
The Doctor recalls his encounter with the Pied Piper from Challenge of the Piper. Barbara is unsurprised when Susan mentions he has two hearts.
The Doctor, Ian and Barbara only appear in a brief flashback to Susan's arrival on Malkon. Set after The Sensorites, with Susan's telepathy accentuated by the conditions of the planet.
Barbara unintentionally contacts Joan Wright in a dream via the telepathic circuits. For Joan, it is 23 November 1964, perhaps suggesting that a year has passed for Barbara also, which, if true, would set this story two months before Venusian Lullaby. Ian does not appear.

Final adventures with Susan[]

Susan alludes to the human-colonised planet from The Sorcerer's Apprentice. The Doctor removes a "portion of folded space" from the TARDIS to help an additional 150 people escape to Mirath, hoping that its "unorthodox removal doesn't intefere with the TARDIS' dimensional stability", suggesting a setting this shortly before Planet of Giants.
Told through the fictional documentation of a "lost" TV story, including plot synopses, Target novelisation extracts and DWM articles. Ends with the fault detector warning of a build-up of "space pressure" outside and refers to a cliffhanger leading into Planet of Giants.
Set during The Thief of Sherwood. Barbara doesn't appear.
Despite the events of Return to Skaro, Susan claims the fast return switch hasn't been used since the events of The Edge of Destruction and that it was only recently fixed. Barbara claims to be "on familiar ground for the first time in so long" when visiting Bristol in 1954. Susan's is still troubled with the telepathic powers she demonstrated in The Sensorites. The Doctor continues to doubt the Time Lord ideals of non-interference, but still takes great pains to avoid changing history. After travelling from Salem Village 1692 to 1742, the Doctor notices that the TARDIS has been working a lot more efficiently lately and makes plans to travel to the 1960s, leading directly into Planet of Giants.
The TARDIS has just left the late 18th century, with the Doctor attempting to travel forward to the mid-20th century when the TARDIS shrinks due to a malfunction. The Doctor is more apologetic towards his rudeness at Ian and Barbara than he was previously.
Set immediately after Planet of Giants. Ian and Barbara learn that the Doctor hasn't been entirely truthful regarding their ability to change time. The Doctor adopts a more lax approach to interfering with time.
Set between Planet of Giants and The Dalek Invasion of Earth, according to authorial intent, with the part of the TARDIS the Doctor is shown tinkering with intended to be the scanner.[source needed] Ian and Barbara are unsure of how long they've been travelling with the Doctor, but suspect it has been months at the earliest and "years" at the latest.
The Doctor encounters the Daleks off of Skaro for the first time. Susan falls in love with David Campbell, a rebel of the 22nd century Dalek invasion, and the Doctor decides to leave her behind so she can grow into her own person after the crew help defeat the Daleks on Earth.

Leaving Susan behind[]

The TARDIS crew visit circa 3 billion BC Venus minutes after leaving 22nd century Earth. Based on his calendar, Ian surmises that it should be "past" Christmas 1964 for him and Barbara, with the more specific January 1965 being later suggested. Using Trikhobu's calculations, the Doctor makes plans to visit Aristea of Alexandria to acquire gold for a wedding ring for Susan, leading into The Book of Shadows.
Arriving in Alexandria in 322 BC, the Doctor and Barbara discover the TARDIS has landed in an alternate timeline, which is negated, along with all the events of this story, when Barbara reads from The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey. Despite the events of Farewell, Great Macedon and The Library of Alexandria, Barbara does not appear familiar with Ptolemy Lagus or the city of Alexandria.
The TARDIS crew spend four months living in the Scottish village of Kilmartin in 1950-1951, with the Doctor wanting to have a holiday, which Barbara suspects is to help him get over the Susan's departure. Despite the events of Home Again, Home Again, Barbara claims that 1950 is the closest the Doctor has ever brought them to their own time.
Arriving in the Orkney Islands in 1956, Ian and Barbara step out of the TARDIS only for the Doctor to continue travelling for some years into the past, implied to be hundreds of years. Ian claims that 1956 is the closest the Doctor has ever brought them to their own time, setting this after Set in Stone, despite the events of Home Again, Home Again. Susan's departure from the TARDIS is still recent.
The Doctor explains how the TARDIS is bigger on the inside to Ian and Barbara.
The TARDIS crew meet Jane Grey in 1553, where they spend two months tracking down the Vrij.
Claiming to have received a message from an old friend, the TARDIS crew partake in a demonic ritual with Edgar Allan Poe, tracking down a tracking down an evil entity.

Joined by Vicki[]

On Dido, the Doctor, Ian and Barbara rescue a young girl named Vicki from the clutches of Koquillion, and she is invited to join them aboard the TARDIS. After leaving Dido, the TARDIS falls from the cliff it landed on, leading into The Romans.
Romans Cutaway, along with Byzantium!, is set after the TARDIS materialises and falls off the cliff at the end of The Rescue. Romans Cutaway is set shortly before the crew settle down in Rome at the start of The Romans.
While awaiting the TARDIS's recovery, the Doctor accidently inspires Nero to burn down Rome.
According to Vicki, the TARDIS crew have just left Rome, and are still wearing their Roman clothes when they arrive in London, setting this immediately after The Romans
The Doctor is trying to make the shortest journey possible away from Rome, setting this directly after The Romans. Ian and Barbara have been traveling in the TARDIS for two years, and Ian proposes that he and Barbara should marry each other if they ever return home.
The TARDIS crew are forced to land on Vortis by the Animus.
Ian mentions the recent travels to Vortis, Rome, Byzantium, and China.
The Doctor is mentioned as being in the TARDIS with a fever.
Set between The Web Planet and The Crusade. [2]
Sequel story to The Web Planet. After helping Thomas Huxley fight off the Animus and the Zarbi, Ian, Barbara and Vicki are kidnapped Adam Mitchell, leading directly into Endgame.
The Doctor joins with his other incarnations to rescue Ian, Barbara and Vicki from Adam and the Master, and assists the other Doctors in saving their companions as well.
Ending leads directly into The Space Museum.
Ian recalls the events of The Crusade.
Vicki refers to the events of The Crusade.
Ian recalls the events of The Crusade.
Despite the events of Room for Improvement, the Doctor claims that the 23rd century is the furthest Ian and Barbara have visited Earth in the future. Vicki recalls the events of The Space Museum.
Barbara has a feeling she and Ian will find a way home soon, setting this shortly before The Chase.
Ian introduces himself as "Sir Ian of Jaffa", setting this after The Crusade. The Doctor decides to begin working on the Time-Space Visualiser.
The Doctor is still working on the Time-Space Visualiser he picked up during The Space Museum.
Ian and Barbara use a Dalek time machine to return to their home time period.
Set during The Chase: Episode 4, just after the Doctor, Ian and Barbara realise they have lost Vicki.

Life after the TARDIS[]

Set directly after The Chase, with Barbara and Ian returning home to Shoreditch.
Shortly after returning home, Ian and Barbara are wed following an encounter with the Eleventh Doctor.
Barbara talks with other companions after leaving the TARDIS.
Ian meets the Seventh Doctor.
An older Ian recounts the events of The Crusade.
Ian tells the story of his journey aboard the Endeavour shortly after the 1770 Transit of Venus, mentioning that he successfully saw the transit in 2004.
Ian has no knowledge of the doctor's fate after his departure from the TARDIS, setting this before The Five Companions.
Set 50 years after the 1960s. Ian takes the Orkney ferry and tells one of his fellow passengers about a trip he once took in the TARDIS, to Orkney in 1956.
Ian reunites with Steven Taylor among other companions meeting the Fifth Doctor.
50 years have passed since The Dalek Invasion of Earth for Ian.
Ian and Barbara attend the funeral of Sarah Jane Smith.

Alternate universes[]