Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (AUDIO: Living History) was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II, (TV: Victory of the Daleks) specifically from 1940 to 1945, and again from 1951 to 1955 (AUDIO: Their Finest Hour) for a second term. (TV: The Idiot's Lantern) He was a frequent ally of the Doctor, though, much like River Song, tended to meet with him out of sequential order.
Churchill was born on 30 November 1874 (AUDIO: Young Winston) to a family prominent in the Order of the Garter. (PROSE: The Book of the War) His mother was American, and attended a shooting party at Blenheim Palace in the last stages of her pregnancy. Churchill was born in the palace as a result, and it was rumoured by some that this was deliberate on his mother's part in order to grant him a "suitably impressive birthplace". (PROSE: Players)
In 1879, on Churchill's fifth birthday, someone that young Winston interpreted to be a Punch and Judy man arrived and began tracking a miniature crocodile. The man, who wore a long multi-coloured scarf, called Churchill "Winnie". Churchill found himself enjoying the company of the strange man. The figure, actually the Fourth Doctor eventually caught and smashed the crocodile, actually a Cybermat, before disappearing in his Punch and Judy box. That night, Churchill noted in his diary, "It was a good birthday."
In his youth, Churchill attended St George's Preparatory School in Ascot. He was not fond of or good at learning Latin, and because of this he was assigned the Second Doctor as his new tutor. Churchill found the new teacher strange, but at the same time very wise and good for conversation. On one occasion, Churchill asked why Mensa meant both table and O table. The Doctor frowned, and responded that one could use the latter to address a table. Churchill was highly amused by this.
While in Havana, Cuba in 1895, Churchill discovered a box of cigars sent by an unknown person. Excited to celebrate 21 years of life, he prepared to light one up before being stopped by the Tenth Doctor, who ran in through the room's windows, splashed Churchill with water, and left with the remains of the cigars. Evidently, again unbeknownst to Churchill, the cigars were actually Sontaran grenades meant to change history by killing Churchill. After leaving, the man quickly bobbed back into the room and quipped "Nice to see you again, Winnie!" Winston felt a rush of childhood nostalgia, although he wasn't sure why.
In 1898, Churchill found himself taking a stroll by the River Nile, which he found beautiful despite the oppressive heat. Settling down to drink several glasses of wine, he found himself in a heated debate with the Third Doctor about what was the best form of defending ones-self. The two briefly struggled physically, but after a few more drinks they became "firm friends". What happened next is unclear, although some sources clearly document this as the encounter wherein Winston discovered the true nature of the Doctor and his travels. He was brought to a police box in the desert, which he noticed as the same one used by his tutor in prep school, and eventually discovered that it was immeasurably bigger-on-the-inside. The pair ended up travelling to the Great Pyramid of Giza, where they defeated the last of the Osirans. (PROSE: The Lost Diaries of Winston Spencer Churchill)
In November 1899, Churchill was a newspaper correspondent for the Daily Mail in the second Boer War in South Africa. The Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown saved him from an assassin. The Doctor spent some time with Churchill in a Boer prison before they both escaped. Churchill escaped thanks to a Player contact while the Doctor regained access to the TARDIS after it had been taken for study. (PROSE: Players)
After returning from South Africa, Churchill considered a Parliamentary career. But a memento from his visit to Cuba, four years earlier, returned to haunt him. Becoming embroiled in a plot involving ruthless mercenaries with alien powers, Churchill met Madame Vastra and learned that they had a mutual friend - the Eleventh Doctor. (AUDIO: Young Winston)
In 1910, five years into the Liberal government, Churchill and Herbert Asquith were passing socially conscious legislation, serving to modernise much of Britain politically and socially. (PROSE: In Case of Emergencies)
In 1911, Home Secretary Winston Churchill was bitter after being ridiculed for visiting the Siege of Sidney Street. He authorised the Scots Guards to come to the aide of the police. As he waited for their arrival, he took a smoke break. He soon heard a grinding racket, and realised that the Doctor's blue box was in the alleyway. As the First Doctor exited the box, Churchill remembered that the Doctor had a disagreeable habit of changing his face. The man stared at Churchill for a few moments, before stepping forwards and saying it was a very great pleasure to meet him. Churchill informed him that they had met before, causing the old man to note "That is the trouble with time travel!" Not long after, a Thrassalian raiding party were incinerated in the inferno which swept Sidney Street. (PROSE: The Lost Diaries of Winston Spencer Churchill)
In World War I, he was appointed Minister of Defence. His plan to attack Germany via Turkey failed, prompting him to resign and return to the army as a Major. During an ambush, he was rescued by Lieutenant Jeremy Carstairs, Lady Jennifer Buckingham and the Second Doctor; having recently ended the War Games, the Doctor had asked to confirm the participants' return to their own times. After being captured by the Players, the Doctor sacrificed himself to help Churchill and his friends escape the Players' attempt to send Churchill to Berlin. Having returned to Britain, Churchill remained in the army for a year before returning to the government, feeling that he had redeemed himself of his past mistakes, and was involved in the construction and deployment of the tank, which turned the tide in the war. (PROSE: Players)
During his career, Churchill was an MP for the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Party. He proved a difficult man to work with and eventually grew fed up with his party as they grew impatient with him. As such, he fell out of favour, (WC: Amy's History Hunt) meaning few people listened to his warnings about the threat posed by Nazi Germany in 1933. He did, however, attract sympathisers within the British Security Services. (PROSE: Log 384)
In 1931, Churchill was at work on his book. His wife Clementine came to ask if he would join her for dinner and he curtly refused, which he later regretted. The current chapter he was writing was proving particularly difficult; trying to put himself in the mind of his illustrious ancestor Lord Marlborough, but he was being continually distracted. Churchill secretly feared his best days were behind him and he could never match Marlborough's greatness. As Churchill gazed over his estate he spotted a fair-haired and pleasant lad, beaming at him like an idiot. Churchill said it was too early in the year for cricket, but then it hit him. This was the Doctor in another of his curious fancy dress outfits! Through some misadventure the two found themselves on the battlefield of Blenheim itself! The roar of the cannon was near deafening as Churchill and the Doctor threw themselves under the scant foliage to protect themselves from Marshal Tallard's onslaught. Churchill was struck with wonder at being on this great battlefield and seeing, in the flesh, his ancestor. Returning safely home Churchill lamented he wouldn't ever be able to eat celery again. (PROSE: The Lost Diaries of Winston Spencer Churchill)
On 11 November, as news of the King's intention to marry Wallis Simpson surfaced, Churchill was telephoned by the Seventh Doctor and told that Mrs. Simpson was 'a shape-shifting alien from Verrossikon Prime' as a result the King would have a nasty surprise coming on his wedding night! (PROSE: The Lost Diaries of Winston Spencer Churchill)
Later that month, the Doctor met Churchill in an encounter that (according to one account at least) resulted in Churchill learning the truth about the Doctor's true identity. He also met the Eleventh Doctor at the fire of the Crystal Palace on 30 November 1936. (COMIC: The Eagle of the Reich)
In early December, Churchill was reunited with the Sixth Doctor and Peri — the two posing as the children of their Boer War selves to account for their lack of ageing, the Doctor passing off Peri's enthusiastic greeting by saying that their "parents" had told them many stories about their time with Churchill — and worked with them to thwart King Edward VIII's plans to dismiss the government and appoint one sympathetic to Hitler. (PROSE: Players)
On the outbreak of the Second World War, Churchill's fears about the Nazis were confirmed and he consequently came back into favour. (WC: Amy's History Hunt) In late 1939, he was appointed as First Lord of the Admiralty, and gained a secretary named Hetty Warner.
In late November 1939, he met the Ninth Doctor for the first time. He encountered a mechanical soldier named RATS, and suggested that it would be useful for the war effort. (AUDIO: The Oncoming Storm)
As the British prime minister
Churchill became elected as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Shortly after his election, he visited the Sontaran, Brak, and learned about the existence of aliens. (AUDIO: Old Soldiers) He succeeded Neville Chamberlain, prime minister of the pre-war years who had tried to maintain the peace. (PROSE: Illegal Alien, One Wednesday Afternoon)
By this time, Churchill had become responsible for sustaining the Order of the Garter, by then reduced to a shadow organisation. The last stand of the Order was recorded in the Churchill Index. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
The Sixth Doctor once told a tale of how the Allied defeat at Dunkirk in 1940 left Churchill dispirited. The Doctor was able to convince Churchill to fight on, which he added might lead to Britain's "finest hour". The Doctor finished the story by saying: "Churchill brightened up, lit one of his big cigars, gave me a victory sign, and went out and won the war." (AUDIO: The Ultimate Adventure)
In August 1940, a strange and elusive craft started attacking British targets. Fearing it could be a German superweapon, Churchill called for the Doctor's assistance. Along with the help of a squadron of Polish fighter pilots, the Eighth Doctor and Liv Chenka took to the skies to investigate. (AUDIO: Their Finest Hour)
Panda also claimed to have encouraged Churchill during the war. He told Patrick Matthewman that he was the person who "advised Churchill to 'Keep Buggering On' in the first place". (PROSE: Project: Wildthyme)
Early in 1941, during the dark days of the Blitz, a daring mission to discover Nazi secrets bore unexpected results. Churchill headed north to retrieve technology that could win the war, and encountered the Ninth Doctor again, who, weary from his own people’s conflict, knew that some weapons should never enter the field of human conflict. (AUDIO: Human Conflict)
At a later point in 1941, two Daleks were presented to Winston by Edwin Bracewell as man-made superweapons. Churchill named them "ironsides". Unsure what to make of them, he telephoned the Eleventh Doctor. (TV: The Beast Below, Victory of the Daleks) By the time the Doctor arrived a month later, Winston was sure the "ironsides" would win the war. The Doctor tried to make Churchill understand the Daleks' true nature, but Winston would not listen, insisting they would be a vital weapon against Nazi Germany. The Daleks showed their true intentions when the Doctor gave them his "testimony". They created a new race of pure Daleks which tried to destroy London by making it vulnerable to German bombers. The solution to defeating them lay with Bracewell, so Winston and Amy Pond talked him out of committing suicide and into helping them. Churchill told Bracewell, "It's time to think big", giving him the idea to use modified Spitfires to attack the Dalek saucer. Following the Daleks' escape, the Doctor removed all of the alien technology. While Winston protested that it and the Doctor could win him the war in a day, the Doctor told him the Empire would come through without it and himself. Churchill hugged the Doctor farewell and picked the TARDIS key from the Doctor's pocket. Amy noticed and made him give it back. (TV: Victory of the Daleks)
A short time after this, Churchill was buoyed by the Doctor's appearance and help in defeating the Daleks. He also worried that the deactivated Bracewell may come under Dalek control again. Churchill wondered if Bracewell might be better suited being sent to Bletchley Park to help Alan Turing and the other codebreakers. (PROSE: The Lost Diaries of Winston Spencer Churchill)
Some time after these events, Bracewell got his hands on one of the final paintings by Vincent van Gogh, found in an attic in France. He showed it to Churchill. Without understanding what it meant, they recognised it as a message for the Doctor. Churchill tried to telephone the Doctor, but was diverted to River Song in the 52nd century, alerting her to its existence. (TV: The Pandorica Opens)
In the Autumn of 1941, Churchill was plagued by a darkness in his own psyche, something he called "the Black Dog". With Churchill suffering, Hetty Warner, his private secretary, tried to prevent the Prime Minister's adversaries from taking advantage of the situation. Across London, the Tenth Doctor's arrival seemed the nation's only hope, but his plan to help his friend was endangered when he found himself declared a traitor by the agents of the country he came to protect. (AUDIO: Hounded)
In December 1941, the Twelfth Doctor called Churchill's number on his superphone to get the Allies to order a strike on the Sontaran world engine weapon, the Warsong, after it was claimed by the Rutan Heinz Bruckner in the Sahara Desert. (COMIC: The Instruments of War)
In 1942, strange television signals coming from Alexandra Palace showed a paranoid Churchill urging on the resistance in German-occupied Britain. The broadcasts came from another world, one where the country was now part of the Kaiser’s Empire. When the Ninth Doctor made a guest appearance in one of the broadcasts, Churchill knew another adventure was in the offing. (AUDIO: I Was Churchill's Double)
In 1943, Churchill met with the Third Doctor, Jo Grant and Wing Commander Douglas Quilter of the LCS to contribute to the planning stages of Operation Hellfire. When the Doctor and the LCS left to take down Sir Davenport Finch's fascist cell, Churchill provided them with valuable intelligence and sent British troops to reinforce them. Churchill gave the Doctor his thanks and congratulations after the fascists were defeated. (AUDIO: Operation: Hellfire)
The Sixth Doctor contacted Churchill in 1944 to ask for his help in infiltrating the Nazi army so that he could take part in an upcoming raid on the village of Turelhampton, as part of an investigation he was carrying out in the future. Although the Doctor was only able to offer Churchill limited information about why he was doing this, the Doctor's past record left Churchill confident that the Doctor's motives were good, and he was able to convince other members of his cabinet to agree to the plan. (PROSE: The Shadow in the Glass)
On 8 May 1945, Churchill made a speech at Trafalgar Square because of VE Day. (PROSE: Magic of the Angels) Later that same day, Churchill was celebrating at Buckingham Palace when the Black Dog melancholy swept over him again. Suddenly the Ninth Doctor turned up again and the two found themselves in Ancient Rome, in the court of Emperor Tiberius himself. Churchill impressed the Emperor with the schoolboy latin a different Doctor taught him more than 60 years ago. (PROSE: The Lost Diaries of Winston Spencer Churchill)
Still later on VE Day, Churchill decided to revel with the crowds. Adopting the alias 'William Churchyard' he moved incognito among the people but an alien interloper lurked in a backstreet tavern. The Tenth Doctor was in trouble and Churchill led a few plucky Londoners into one more fight to help his friend. (AUDIO: Churchill Victorious)
At the first election after the war in 1945, Churchill was voted out of office, as the British public had grown exhausted by years of war and wanted a change. (WC: Amy's History Hunt) During his re-election campaign, the Monk turned up in London attempting to again subvert the course of history by ensuring Churchill won the election. The Seventh Doctor prevented the Monk's schemes by ensuring Churchill gave the speech he was supposed to but, following the public reaction in the aftermath, Churchill failed to see the Doctor's actions as anything but a double cross and renounced their friendship for at least that of "this Doctor". (AUDIO: Subterfuge) In 1946, Churchill coined the phrase "iron curtain" to refer to the divide between Easter and Western Europe in the Cold War. (PROSE: Background)
Feeling "rejected" by the British people, Churchill turned his attention to writing. He began working on A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. As he was writing the first volume, he was visited by the Eleventh Doctor and Kazran Sardick. Churchill travelled with them in the TARDIS to ancient Britain during the Roman occupation, where they encountered Julius Caesar and a Dalek. By this point, Churchill's animosity toward the Doctor seemed to have diminished. (AUDIO: Living History) Churchill's books won him the Nobel Prize. (GAME: Amy's History Hunt)
Sylvia O'Donnell, a British Nazi sympathiser whose German husband Heinrich was a Waffen-SS officer during the Second World War, blamed Churchill for the outbreak of the Mau Mau Uprising in British Kenya in 1953. She described him as "a senile old man". (AUDIO: A Thousand Tiny Wings)
By the 1960s, he had retired to his home in Chartwell after his physical strength began to deteriorate. He was cared for by Lily Arwell. He committed the remainder of his life to writing about his life and experiences. (AUDIO: The Chartwell Metamorphosis)
The makers of EarthWorld believed that Churchill had famous seaside boxing matches. This was due to his famous speech, "We will fight them on the beaches", and its distortion over time. (PROSE: EarthWorld)
Prime Minister Harold Saxon was described as "a modern Churchill" by Vivien Rook in 2008. (TV: The Sound of Drums) In 2009, then-current Prime Minister Brian Green had a small caricature figure of Churchill in his office. (TV: Children of Earth)
When the Monks invaded Earth, they spread out fake news by contaminating people's memories to let them think they had been on Earth from the beginning. One of these memories involved Churchill's speech about fighting the Nazis, to which a Monk was now alleged to have borne witness. (TV: The Lie of the Land)
The Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble discovered Winston Churchill was one of the many historical figures kidnapped by the lonely computer Momus. The Doctor convinced Momus to return Churchill because "the world could end up under Hitler's control without him". (PROSE: The Lonely Computer)
Churchill offered a reward for the recovery of the Doctor's TARDIS by the British Army. The Twelfth Doctor never forgave him for this order, which was still in effect as late as 2014. (PROSE: The Crawling Terror)
In a timeline where River Song caused time to collapse when she refused to kill the Eleventh Doctor, Winston Churchill was the Holy Roman Emperor in Britain and had had many negotiations with "Cleopatra", (TV: The Wedding of River Song) being friends with her on social-networking sites. (PROSE: Just a Minute...) He was also involved in the Conquest of Gaul, and was one of a minority who noticed that time never moved and it was always two past five in the afternoon of 22 April 2011.
The Doctor, whom Winston knew as a soothsayer, was locked up in the Tower of London. His presence was demanded to explain the problem with time. The Doctor told Churchill the story of how he had gotten there. As he did, they had several run-ins with Silents, although neither of them could remember. Just as the Doctor got to the end of his story, the two discovered hundreds of Silents above them, hanging from the ceiling of the Senate Room. At that moment they were saved by Amy and her soldiers. (TV: The Wedding of River Song)
When Clyde Langer was sent through a time window to 1941, he recited what he remembered of Churchill's speech to George Woods while spying on a group of Nazis landing on the coast. "We shall fight them on the beaches, we shall fight them in the... other places." (TV: Lost in Time)
Liz Shaw's mother Dame Emily Shaw was a friend of Churchill, whom she affectionately referred to as "Old Winnie" following his death. The Third Doctor reminded her of Churchill. (AUDIO: The Last Post)
Winston Churchill was a close friend of the Doctor, meeting him in several of his incarnations. When the Eleventh Doctor arrived, he greeted him by having his men point guns at him, though he clearly had no intention of shooting him. The two of them acted as though it was a sort of game. They also displayed their close friendship by hugging each other before the Doctor left.
Winston had an obsession with being able to pilot the Doctor's TARDIS, even stealing the TARDIS key at one point. He gave it back as soon as Amy Pond noticed he had taken it. Churchill cared a great deal about his country and the lives of his citizens and was eager to use the TARDIS to save lives. However, because he had no knowledge of the laws of time, the Doctor repeatedly refused to give him access to the TARDIS. Churchill was also a good and strong leader and the Doctor told him that many people saw him as a beacon of hope. (TV: Victory of the Daleks)
Behind the scenes
Doctor Who Annual
According to Doctor Who The Official Annual 2011, which this wiki does not qualify as a valid source, in a timeline in which the Doctor did not find the Ironsides, they turned the tide of the war and took the fight to Germany. After the war was won, Churchill was pressured by Stalin and Truman into having the Ironsides destroyed by a nuclear bomb.
- Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss decided to portray the Doctor and Churchill as old friends in Victory of the Daleks, rather than attempt to portray their first meeting. (CON: War Games)
- Actor Ian McNeice had previously played Churchill in the Royal National Theatre's 2008 production of Never So Good.
- Churchill has appeared in a total of four episodes of the revived series — three episodes in series five and one in series six — giving him the distinction of being the first recurring celebrity historical character. The only other focal characters of a celebrity historical episode to appear in more than one episode are Charles Dickens and Vincent van Gogh, the former having a cameo in The Wedding of River Song, and the latter in The Pandorica Opens, coincidentally Churchill's fourth and third appearances in the show.
- Nicholas Briggs took on the role of Churchill in the Doctor Who stage play, The Monsters Are Coming!. He also read the character's lines in place of Ian McNeice during the recording sessions of Operation: Hellfire as a prompt to the other actors. McNeice's lines were recorded separately and used in the final story. Snippets of Briggs' line-readings were included in the behind the scenes features. (BFX: Operation: Hellfire)
- Simon Russell Beale played Churchill in the 2004 docudrama Dunkirk, and again in the 2022 film Operation Mincemeat.
- Timothy West played Churchill in the films Churchill and the Generals and Hiroshima.
- Michael Gambon played Churchill in the TV film Churchill's Secret.
- Brian Cox played Churchill in the 2017 film Churchill.
- Winston Churchill appears as the final boss in the online game TARDIS Tennis.
- Contrary to the statement in Amy's History Hunt, Churchill was never a member of the Labour Party, although he did work with Labour as part of the wartime coalition.
- There has been some controversy over Churchill's depiction in the DWU, due to racist statements made by Churchill, namely on the Indian people, and his actions during the Bengal famine.
- Ian McNeice, the actor who portrayed the character, when interviewed in the eighth issue of The Essential Doctor Who, addressed the controversy, stating that he focused more on the myth of Churchill rather than the actual person.
- Steven Moffat would also address the controversy in issue 549 of Doctor Who Magazine, stating that, "Some critics have said that the Doctor never would be friends with Churchill, but I think he would, because Churchill is both a great man and a terrible man. He's both those things at different points in his life and the Doctor would find that fascinating".