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.
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.
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.
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.
- 1966 - "The Celestial Toyroom" was first broadcast on BBC1.
- 1966 - Part three of the TV Comic story Plague of the Black Scorpi was first published.
- 1977 - Part six of The Talons of Weng-Chiang was first broadcast on BBC1, completing Doctor Who's fourteenth season.
- 1977 - Part three of the TV Comic story The Fire Feeders was first published.
- 1998 - The Medusa Effect was first published by Virgin Books.
- 2001 - Vanishing Point and The Shadow in the Glass were first published by BBC Books.
- 2001 - BBC Audio released audio recordings of The Moonbase, The Savages and The Celestial Toymaker.
- 2002 - Remembrance of the Daleks was first released on Region 1 DVD.
- 2002 - The Caves of Androzani and Vengeance on Varos were first released on Region 1 DVD.
- 2005 - The End of the World was first broadcast on BBC One. Later, Aliens: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly aired on BBC Three.
- 2007 - TDW 14, including episode one of The Infinite Quest, first aired on CBBC.
- 2008 - The Doctor Who: Battles in Time comic story A Suitable Showdown was first published.
- 2008 - Companions and Allies was first published by BBC Books.
- 2008 - Doctor Who Activity Annual was first published by Penguin Character Books.
- 2008 - The Time Meddler was released on Region 4 DVD.
- 2009 - The Doctor Who Adventures comic story The Abomination Game was first published.
- 2009 - A DVD box set including The Rescue and The Romans was first released in Region 2.
- 2009 - DWM 407 was released by Panini Comics.
- 2010 - The documentary Douglas and the Doctor was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
- 2012 - Nightmare of Eden was released on Region 2 DVD.
- 2013 - Toby Hadoke's Who's Round 11 was released online.
- 2014 - DWDVDF 137 was first published by GE Fabbri Ltd.
- 2015 - DWM 485 was released by Panini Comics.
- 2020 - The audiobook reading of The Krotons was first released by BBC Audio.
- 2020 - The Trial of a Time Lord Collection was first released by BBC Audio.
- 2020 - DWM 550 was first released by Panini Comics.
- ... that the televised episode Blink began its life as a Christmas-themed short story in the 2006 annual called, What I Did on My Christmas Holidays by Sally Sparrow?
- ... that David Hasselhoff's singing was so abhorrent to the Doctor that he went to the fall of the Berlin Wall twice just so he could avoid hearing Hasselhoff perform? (PROSE: Autonomy)
- ... that the Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union was triggered merely by the election of Abraham Lincoln, and promulgated in 1860, months before he took office as President of the United States? (PROSE: Blood and Hope)
- ... that the Tenth Doctor and Donna once pretended to be Bjorn and Freida, two members of the Swedish rock group, ABBA? (AUDIO: Dead Air)
- ... 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)
- 1901 - Actor Charles Wade was born.
- 1925 - Actor Roger Milner was born.
- 1926 - Script editor Robert Holmes was born.
- 1934 - Actor Brian Glover was born.
- 1940 - Writer Peter Haining was born.
- 1951 - Actor David McAlister was born.
- 1979 - Casting director Melanie Burgess was born.
- 1984 - Actor Frank Crawshaw died.
- 1989 - Actor Clare Thomas was born.
- 2008 - Writer Johnny Byrne died.
- 2014 - Writer Glyn Jones died.
- 1965 - "The Space Museum" was recorded at BBC Television Centre Studio 4. (INFO: "The Space Museum")
- 1974 - Tom Baker filmed his first scenes as the Doctor..
- 2008 - Recording for The Great Space Elevator took place at The Moat Studios.
- 2010 - Karen Gillan was interviewed on the CBBC programme Laugh Out Loud; when queried about the exact nature of the bow tie, she revealed that Smith's bow tie wasn't a "proper" bow tie, but instead a pre-tied dicky bow.