Doctor Who in five languages - BBC Worldwide Showcase

Doctor Who in five languages - BBC Worldwide Showcase

Doctor Who is both a television show and a global multimedia franchise created and controlled by the British Broadcasting Corporation. It centres on a time traveller called "the Doctor", who comes from a race of beings known as Time Lords. He travels through space and time in a time machine he calls the TARDIS with his friends. Another vital element of the show is the concept of regeneration — a process by which the Doctor can change his form when he's near death. This convenient trick thus allows the programme to change lead actors in a narratively sensible way.

Though it began on the day after the Kennedy assassination in 1963, it has had three distinct production eras. The first version — sometimes called "classic Doctor Who" by fans — ran from 1963 to 1989, and contained the adventures of the first seven Doctors. In 1996 an American co-production was attempted involving the Eighth Doctor. The current iteration of the show began broadcast in 2005, and is by far the most popular and critically successful version, beginning with the adventures of Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor.

In addition to the televised programme, the show has spawned a rich heritage of comics, audio stories, novels, short stories and even stage plays.

The women who gave Doctor Who back to us
Click for video

Think Doctor Who is just for boys? Don't you believe it. Not only was the show's very first producer a woman, but it would never have come back without the fierce advocacy of Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner. Considering her importance to Doctor Who it's somewhat ironic that Tranter's only on-screen credits are for Torchwood: Miracle Day. But Gardner, her "partner in crime", is tied only with Russell T Davies as the most prolific producer in Doctor Who history.

Industrial action


Click for a video of a 21st century geek as he takes delivery of one of the two Paintboxes used by the BBC in the 1980s
The Quantel Paintbox was a graphics workstation that allowed Doctor Who to have a primitive form of colour grading in the 1980s. To find out more about the "business of show", go to category:production information, where you can read about colour separation overlay, low loaders, telerecordings, vidFIRE, rostrum cameras, 2" quad tape, Ealing Studios and tons more.
Surprising guest star
Beryl Reid was a big deal when she was cast — or maybe miscast — as a freighter captain in Earthshock. As things turned out, she was the last piece of "stunt casting" to be seen in a highly-rated episode of Doctor Who until the 1996 television movie. From Earthshock until the end of the original series, audiences were mostly in a state of decline. Find out more about the thousands of actors who have been on Doctor Who by exploring Doctor Who guest actors.
Ex-Doctors never die, they just make audios

The careers of the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors are significantly longer in audio than on television. Check out their latest works at category:2020 audio stories

The relevance of comics

Officially, only The Lodger has been explicitly adapted from a comic strip — also called The Lodger.


However, several stories have clearly taken material from comic strips — often those in Doctor Who Magazine. The Shakespeare Code contains a good amount of material from A Groatsworth of Wit, and the notion of the Doctor absorbing the time vortex in order to spare a companion was explored in both The Parting of the Ways and The Flood.

The first of the "money men"

Donald Baverstock was the BBC executive who set the the wheels in motion that eventually led to the creation of Doctor Who. Essentially the original commissioner of the programme, he hired Sydney Newman and later imposed a sense of financial responsibility upon producer Verity Lambert.

But Baverstock wasn't the only BBC executive to have a profound impact on the development of Doctor Who. Make sure you read about Lorraine Heggessey, Mark Thompson, Danny Cohen, George Entwistle, Tony Hall, Shaun Sutton, Sydney Newman and others.
Things released on 2 April

Did you know…
  • ... that Kera-Bera Beasts were parasites who got close to their victims by creating illusory images of themselves to endear themselves to their targets? (COMIC: The Stray)

2 April births and deaths
Production history for 2 April
  1. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1967-1972
  2. The Stage
  3. Doctor Who Guide
  4. The Independent
  5. Aveleyman
  6. TCH 36
  7. No Official Umbrella
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.