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Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a mysterious alien time-traveller (called a Time Lord) known as "the Doctor" who travels in his time and spaceship, the TARDIS, which normally appears from the exterior to be a blue 1950s police box. With his companions, he explores time and space whilst facing a variety of foes and righting wrongs.

The programme is listed in Guinness World Records as the longest-running science fiction television show in the world, and as the "most successful" science fiction series of all time, in terms of its overall broadcast ratings, DVD sales, book sales and iTunes traffic, as well as "illegal downloads." It has been recognised for its imaginative stories, creative low-budget special effects during its original run, and pioneering use of electronic music (originally produced by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop). The show is a significant part of British popular culture;

in the United Kingdommarker and elsewhere, it has become a cult television favourite and has influenced generations of British television professionals, many of whom grew up watching the series.
It has received recognition from critics and the public as one of the finest British television programmes, including the BAFTA Award for Best Drama Series in 2006.

The programme originally ran from 1963 to 1989. After an unsuccessful attempt to revive regular production with a backdoor pilot in the form of a 1996 television film, the programme was successfully relaunched in 2005, produced in-house by BBC Wales in Cardiffmarker. The first was produced by the BBC and seasons two and three of the new series had some development money contributed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which was credited as a co-producer. Doctor Who has also spawned spin-offs in multiple media, including the current television programmes Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, the standalone K-9 and a single 1981 pilot episode of K-9 and Company.

The show's protagonist, the Doctor, has been played by ten actors over the history of the show so far. The transition from one actor to another is written into the plot of the show as regeneration, and the different portrayals are often treated as distinct characters, to the extent that they have on occasion encountered one another and worked together. The Doctor is currently portrayed by David Tennant, who will leave the role after appearing in four special episodes throughout 2009 and early 2010. In the programme's most recent series, which ended on 5 July 2008, Catherine Tate played the Doctor's companion, reprising her role of Donna Noble from the 2006 Christmas special. Following the 2009–2010 special episodes, a fifth series will air in 2010, in which the Eleventh Doctor will be portrayed by Matt Smith with Karen Gillan playing his companion, Amy Pond. On 6 October 2009, a redesigned logo was unveiled. The new logo accompanies a redesign of the iconic TARDIS, to be shown in 2010.


Doctor Who first appeared on BBC television at 17:15 GMT on 23 November 1963, following discussions and plans that had been in progress for a year. The Head of Drama, Sydney Newman, was mainly responsible for developing the programme, with the first format document for the series being written by Newman along with the Head of the Script Department (later Head of Serials) Donald Wilson and staff writer C. E. Webber. Writer Anthony Coburn, story editor David Whitaker and initial producer Verity Lambert also heavily contributed to the development of the series.Howe, Stammers, Walker (1994), pp. 157–230 ("Production Diary")

Newman is often given sole creator credit for the series. Some reference works such as The Complete Encyclopedia of Television Programs 1947–1979 by Vincent Terrace erroneously credit Terry Nation with creating Doctor Who, because of the way his name is credited in the two Peter Cushing films.

Newman and Lambert's role in originating the series was recognised in the 2007 episode "Human Nature", in which the Doctor, in disguise as a human named John Smith, gives his parents' names as Sydney and Verity. The series' title theme was composed by Ron Grainer and realised by Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The programme was originally intended to appeal to a family audience.The BBC drama department's Serials division produced the programme for 26 series, broadcast on BBC One. Viewing numbers that had fallen (though comparably increased at some points), a decline in the public perception of the show and a less prominent transmission slot saw production suspended in 1989 by Jonathan Powell, Controller of BBC One. Although it was effectively cancelled (as series co-star Sophie Aldred reported in the documentary Doctor Who: More Than 30 Years in the TARDIS), the BBC said the series would return.

While in-house production had ceased, the BBC was hopeful of finding an independent production company to relaunch the show. Philip Segal, a British expatriate who worked for Columbia Pictures' television arm in the United States, approached the BBC about such a venture. Segal's negotiations eventually led to a television film. The Doctor Who television film was broadcast on the Fox Network in 1996 as a co-production between Fox, Universal Pictures, the BBC and BBC Worldwide. Although the film was successful in the UK (with 9.1 million viewers), it was less so in the United States and did not lead to a series.

Licensed media such as novels and audio plays provided new stories, but as a television programme Doctor Who remained dormant until 2003. In September of that year, BBC Television announced the in-house production of a new series after several years of unsuccessful attempts by BBC Worldwide to find backing for a feature film version. The executive producers of the new incarnation of the series are writer Russell T Davies and BBC Wales Head of Drama/BBC Television Controller of Drama Commissioning Julie Gardner. It has been sold to many other countries worldwide (see Viewership).

Doctor Who finally returned with the episode "Rose" on BBC One on 26 March 2005. There have been three further series in 2006, 2007, and 2008 and Christmas Day specials in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. The fourth series began on BBC One on 5 April 2008. No full series was filmed in 2009 although four additional specials starring Tennant were made. A fifth full-length series will be broadcast from Spring 2010, with Steven Moffat replacing Davies as head writer and executive producer.

The 2005–present version of Doctor Who is a direct continuation of the 1963–89 series, as is the 1996 telefilm. This differs from other series relaunches that have either been reimaginings or reboots (e.g., Battlestar Galactica and Bionic Woman) or series taking place in the same universe as the original but in a different time period and with different characters (e.g., Star Trek: The Next Generation and spin-offs).

Public consciousness

The programme rapidly became a national institution in the United Kingdom, with a large following among the general viewing audience.

Many renowned actors asked for or were offered and accepted guest starring roles in various stories.

With popularity came controversy over the show's suitability for children. Moral campaigner Mary Whitehouse repeatedly complained to the BBC in the 1970s over what she saw as the show's frightening or gory content; however, the programme became even more popular—especially with children. John Nathan-Turner, who produced the series during the 1980s, was heard to say that he looked forward to Whitehouse's comments, as the show's ratings would increase soon after she had made them. During the 1970s, the Radio Times, the BBC's listings magazine, announced that a child's mother said the theme music terrified her son. The Radio Times was apologetic, but the theme music remained.

There were more complaints about the programme's content than its music. During Jon Pertwee's second season as the Doctor, in the serial Terror of the Autons (1971), images of murderous plastic dolls, daffodils killing unsuspecting victims and blank-featured android policemen marked the apex of the show's ability to frighten children. Other notable moments in that decade included the Doctor apparently being drowned by Chancellor Goth in The Deadly Assassin (1976) and the allegedly negative portrayal of Chinese people in The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977).

It has been said that watching Doctor Who from a position of safety "behind the sofa" (as the Doctor Who exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image in London was titled) and peering cautiously out to see if the frightening part was over is one of the great shared experiences of British childhood. The phrase has become commonly used in association with the programme and occasionally elsewhere.

A BBC audience research survey conducted in 1972 found that by their own definition of "any act(s) which may cause physical and / or psychological injury, hurt or death to persons, animals or property, whether intentional or accidental", Doctor Who was the most violent of all the drama programmes the corporation then produced. The same report found that 3% of the surveyed audience regarded the show as "very unsuitable" for family viewing. However, responding to the findings of the survey in The Times newspaper, journalist Philip Howard maintained that: "to compare the violence of Dr Who, sired by a horse-laugh out of a nightmare, with the more realistic violence of other television series, where actors who look like human beings bleed paint that looks like blood, is like comparing Monopoly with the property market in London: both are fantasies, but one is meant to be taken seriously."

The image of the TARDIS has become firmly linked to the show in the public's consciousness. In 1996, the BBC applied for a trademark to use the TARDIS' blue police box design in merchandising associated with Doctor Who. In 1998, the Metropolitan Police filed an objection to the trademark claim; in 2002 the Patent Office ruled in favour of the BBC.

The programme's broad appeal attracts audiences of children and families as well as science fiction fans.

The 21st century revival of the programme has become the centrepiece of BBC One's Saturday schedule, and has "defined the channel". Since its return, Doctor Who has consistently received high ratings, both in number of viewers and as measured by the Appreciation Index. In 2007, Caitlin Moran, television reviewer for The Times, wrote that Doctor Who is "quintessential to being British". The film director Steven Spielberg has commented that "the world would be a poorer place without Doctor Who."


Doctor Who originally ran for 26 series on BBC One, from 23 November 1963 until 6 December 1989. During the original run, each weekly episode formed part of a story (or "serial")—usually of four to six parts in earlier years and three to four in later years. Notable exceptions were the epic The Daleks' Master Plan, which aired in twelve episodes (plus an earlier one-episode teaser, "Mission to the Unknown", featuring none of the regular cast),The Daleks' Master Plan. Writers Terry Nation and Dennis Spooner, Director Douglas Camfield, Producer John Wiles. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, London. 13 November 1965–29 January 1966.

almost an entire series (season) of 7-episode serials (season 7), the 10-episode serial The War Games, and The Trial of a Time Lord, which ran for 14 episodes (albeit divided into three production codes and four narrative segments) during Season 23. Occasionally serials were loosely connected by a storyline, such as Season 16's quest for The Key to Time or Season 18's journey through E-Space and the theme of entropy.

The programme was intended to be educational and for family viewing on the early Saturday evening schedule. Initially, it alternated stories set in the past, which taught younger audience members about history, with stories set either in the future or in outer space to teach them about science. This was also reflected in the Doctor's original companions, one of whom was a science teacher and another a history teacher.

However, science fiction stories came to dominate the programme and the "historicals", which were not popular with the production team, were dropped after The Highlanders (1967). While the show continued to use historical settings, they were generally used as a backdrop for science fiction tales, with one exception: Black Orchid set in 1920s UK.

The early stories were serial-like in nature, with the narrative of one story flowing into the next, and each episode having its own title, although produced as distinct stories with their own production codes. Following The Gunfighters (1966), however, each serial was given its own title, with the individual parts simply being assigned episode numbers. What to name these earlier stories is often a subject of fan debate.

Writers during the original run included Terry Nation, Henry Lincoln, Douglas Adams, Robert Holmes, Terrance Dicks, Dennis Spooner, Eric Saward, Malcolm Hulke, Christopher H. Bidmead, Stephen Gallagher, Brian Hayles, Robert Sloman, Chris Boucher, Peter Grimwade, Marc Platt and Ben Aaronovitch.

The serial format changed for the 2005 revival, with each series consisting of thirteen 45-minute, self-contained episodes (60 minutes with adverts, on overseas commercial channels), and an extended episode broadcast on Christmas Day. Each series includes several standalone and multi-part stories, linked with a loose story arc that resolves in the series finale. As in the early "classic" era, each episode—whether standalone or part of a larger story—has its own title.

753 Doctor Who instalments have been televised since 1963, ranging between 25-minute episodes (the most common format), 45-minute episodes (for Resurrection of the Daleks in the 1984 series, a single season in 1985, and the revival), two feature-length productions (1983's "The Five Doctors" and the 1996 television film), three 60-minute Christmas specials and a 72 minute Christmas Special in 2007. Two mini-episodes, running about eight minutes each, were also produced for the 2005 and 2007 Children in Need charity appeals, while another mini episode was produced in 2008 for a Doctor Who-themed edition of The Proms.

The revived series was filmed in PAL 576i DigiBeta wide-screen format and then filmised to give a 25p image in post-production using a Snell & Wilcox Alchemist Platinum. Starting from the 2009 special "Planet of the Dead", the series is filmed in 1080i for HDTV, and broadcast simultaneously on BBC One and BBC HD.

Missing episodes

Between about 1964 and 1974, large amounts of older material stored in the BBC's various video tape and film libraries were either destroyed or simply wiped. This included many old episodes of Doctor Who, mostly stories featuring the first three Doctors—William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee. Following consolidations and recoveries the archives are complete from the programme's move to colour television (starting from Jon Pertwee's time as the Doctor), although a few Pertwee episodes have required substantial restoration; a handful have been recovered only as black and white films, and several survive in colour only as NTSC copies recovered from North America (a few of which are domestic, off-air Betamax tape recordings, not transmission quality). In all, 108 of 253 episodes produced during the first six years (most notably seasons 3, 4, & 5) of the programme are not held in the BBC's archives. It has been reported that in 1972 almost all episodes then made were known to exist at the BBC, whilst by 1978 the practice of wiping tapes had ended.

Some episodes have been returned to the BBC from the archives of other countries who bought copies for broadcast, or by private individuals who got them by various means. Early colour videotape recordings made off-air by fans have also been retrieved, as well as excerpts filmed from the television screen onto 8 mm cine film and clips that were shown on other programmes. Audio versions of all of the lost episodes exist from home viewers who made tape recordings of the show.

In addition to these, there are off-screen photographs made by photographer John Cura, who was hired by various production personnel to document many of their programmes during the 1950s and 1960s, including Doctor Who. These have been used in fan reconstructions of the serials. These amateur reconstructions have been tolerated by the BBC, provided they are not sold for profit and are distributed as low quality VHS copies.

One of the most sought-after lost episodes is Part Four of the last William Hartnell serial, The Tenth Planet (1966), which ends with the First Doctor transforming into the Second. The only portion of this in existence, barring a few poor quality silent 8 mm clips, is the few seconds of the regeneration scene, as it was shown on the children's magazine show Blue Petermarker. With the approval of the BBC, efforts are now under way to restore as many of the episodes as possible from the extant material.Starting in the early 1990s, the BBC began to release audio recordings of missing serials on cassette and compact disc, with linking narration provided by former series actors. "Official" reconstructions have also been released by the BBC on VHS, on MP3 CD-ROM and as a special feature on a DVD. The BBC, in conjunction with animation studio Cosgrove Hall has reconstructed the missing Episodes 1 and 4 of The Invasion (1968) in animated form, using remastered audio tracks and the comprehensive stage notes for the original filming, for the serial's DVD release in November 2006. Although no similar reconstructions have been announced , Cosgrove Hall has expressed an interest in animating more lost episodes in the future.

In April 2006, Blue Peter launched a challenge to find these missing episodes with the promise of a full scale Dalek model.


The Doctor

The character of the Doctor was initially shrouded in mystery. All that was known about him in the programme's early days was that he was an eccentric alien traveller of great intelligence who battled injustice while exploring time and space in an unreliable old time machine called the TARDIS, an acronym for Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Space. As it appears much larger on the inside than on the outside, the TARDIS has been described by the Third Doctor as "dimensionally transcendental" and, because of a malfunction of its Chameleon Circuit, is stuck in the shape of a 1950s-style British police box.

However, not only did the initially irascible and slightly sinister Doctor quickly mellow into a more compassionate figure, it was eventually revealed that he had been on the run from his own people, the Time Lords of the planet Gallifrey.

As a Time Lord, the Doctor has the ability to regenerate his body when near death. Introduced into the storyline as a way of continuing the series when the writers were faced with the departure of lead actor William Hartnell in 1966, it has continued to be a major element of the series, allowing for the recasting of the lead actor when the need arises. The serial The Deadly Assassin established that a Time Lord can regenerate twelve times, for a total of thirteen incarnations (although at least one Time Lord, the Master, has managed to circumvent this). To date, the Doctor has gone through this process and its resulting after-effects on nine occasions, with each of his incarnations having his own quirks and abilities but otherwise sharing the memories and experience of the previous incarnations:

The Doctor Played by Duration
First Doctor William Hartnell 1963–1966
Second Doctor Patrick Troughton 1966–1969
Third Doctor Jon Pertwee 1970–1974
Fourth Doctor Tom Baker 1974–1981
Fifth Doctor Peter Davison 1981–1984
Sixth Doctor Colin Baker 1984–1986
Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy 1987–1989, 1996

BBC - Doctor Who - Classic Series - Episode Guide - Seventh Doctor Index

Eighth Doctor Paul McGann 1996
Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston 2005
Tenth Doctor David Tennant 2005–2010
Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith 2010–

There have been instances where actors have returned at later dates to reprise the role of their specific doctor. In 1973's The Three Doctors, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton returned alongside Jon Pertwee. For 1983's The Five Doctors, Troughton and Pertwee returned to star with Peter Davison, while Hartnell's Doctor was played by actor Richard Hurndall and Tom Baker appeared in previously unseen footage from the uncompleted Shada episode. Patrick Troughton again returned in 1985's The Two Doctors with Colin Baker. Finally, Peter Davison returned in 2007's Children in Need short "Time Crash" alongside David Tennant.

There has also been an instance where another actor has replaced the original actor, such as when Richard Hurndall played the First Doctor in The Five Doctors following William Hartnell's death; this is the only example of a Doctor being played by two actors. For more information, see the list of actors who have played the Doctor.

Despite these shifts in personality, the Doctor remains an intensely curious and highly moral adventurer who would rather solve problems with his wits than by using violence.

Throughout the programme's long history there have been controversial revelations about the Doctor. In The Brain of Morbius (1976), it was hinted that the First Doctor may not have been the first incarnation (although the other faces depicted may have been incarnations of the Time Lord Morbius). In subsequent stories, the First Doctor has always been shown as the earliest incarnation of the Doctor.

During the Seventh Doctor's era it was hinted that the Doctor was more than just an ordinary Time Lord. In the 1996 television movie, he describes himself as being "half human". The revelation has become controversial amongst series fans, given that there have been no references to the concept during the original or revived television series.

The 2005 series reveals that the Ninth Doctor thought he had become the last surviving Time Lord, and that his home planet had been destroyed. The very first episode, An Unearthly Child, shows that the Doctor has a granddaughter, Susan Foreman; in "The Empty Child" (2005), in response to Constantine's statement that "before this war began, I was a father and a grandfather. Now I am neither", the Doctor remarks, "Yeah, I know the feeling"; and in both "Fear Her" (2006) and "The Doctor's Daughter" (2008), he states that he had, in the past, been a father. Also in the latter, his cells are used to produce a daughter (played by Georgia Moffett, the real-life daughter of Fifth Doctor actor Peter Davison) who is subsequently named Jenny by Donna as a result of his describing her as "a generated anomaly".


The Doctor almost always shares his adventures with up to three companions, and since 1963 more than 35 actors and actresses have featured in these roles. The First Doctor's original companions were his granddaughter Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford) and school teachers Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) and Ian Chesterton (William Russell). The only story from the original series in which the Doctor travels alone is The Deadly Assassin.

Dramatically, the companion characters provide a surrogate with whom the audience can identify, and serve to further the story by requesting exposition from the Doctor and manufacturing peril for the Doctor to resolve. The Doctor regularly gains new companions and loses old ones; sometimes they return home or find new causes — or loves — on worlds they have visited. Some have even died during the course of the series.

Although the majority of the Doctor's companions have been young, attractive females, the production team for the 1963–1989 series maintained a long-standing taboo against any overt romantic involvement in the TARDIS. The taboo was controversially broken in the 1996 television film when the Eighth Doctor was shown kissing companion Grace Holloway. The 2005 series played with this idea by having various characters think that the Ninth Doctor and Rose (played by Billie Piper) were a couple, which they vehemently denied (see also "The Doctor and romance"). In "Doomsday" The Doctor says goodbye to Rose and is cut off saying "Rose Tyler..." In "Journey's End" the "new doctor" that grew out of the "biological meta-crisis" with Donna Noble whispers what is implied as "I love you," in Rose's ear and tells her he would like to spend his life with her. The idea of a possible involvement was suggested again in "Smith and Jones", when the Tenth Doctor kisses his soon-to-be new companion Martha Jones, although the Doctor insists that the kiss was simply for the purpose of 'genetic transfer'. In "The Unicorn and the Wasp", the Doctor is kissed by Donna Noble to shock him to neutralise a poison in his system, but again, a romantic purpose is unstated.

Previous companions reappeared in the series, usually for anniversary specials. One former companion, Sarah Jane Smith (played by Elisabeth Sladen), together with the robotic dog K-9, appeared in an episode of the 2006 series more than twenty years after their last appearances in the 20th Anniversary story "The Five Doctors" (1983). Afterwards, the character was featured in the spinoff series The Sarah Jane Adventures. Sladen once again appeared as Sarah Jane in the final two episodes of the fourth season of the new Doctor Who, with K-9 appearing briefly in the final episode, "Journey's End".

The latest companions of the Doctor included a large ensemble cast ranging from Catherine Tate reprising her role as Donna, Billie Piper as Rose, Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith, Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones, Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane and John Barrowman as Captain Jack, all of whom departed in the episode "Journey's End". Agyeman appeared as Martha Jones in three episodes of the spin-off series Torchwood before returning to Doctor Who halfway through the fourth series. Billie Piper briefly reprised her role as Rose Tyler in the fourth series episode "Partners in Crime" and returned to the series from "Turn Left" to "Journey's End". For the 2007 Christmas episode "Voyage of the Damned", the Doctor's companion was Astrid Peth, played by Australian performer Kylie Minogue.

Karen Gillan will play the 11th Doctor's companion, named Amy Pond.

Though not always considered a companion, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart was a recurring character in the original series, making his first appearance alongside the Second Doctor and his final alongside the Seventh. The actor Nicholas Courtney who portrayed the Brigadier had previously also starred as Bret Vyon alongside first Doctor William Hartnell in the 12-part The Daleks' Master Plan, and he appeared on television with every Doctor of the classic series except Colin Baker, but appears with the Sixth Doctor in the charity crossover special Dimensions in Time and in audio adventures from Big Finish Productions. Lethbridge-Stewart, still played by Courtney, appeared in Enemy of the Bane, a two-part episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures spinoff in 2008, more than 40 years after the character was first introduced, making him the longest-serving ongoing character in the franchise beyond the Doctor himself. He and UNIT appeared regularly during the Third Doctor's tenure, and UNIT has continued to appear or be referred to in the revival of the show and its spin-offs.


When Sydney Newman commissioned the series, he specifically did not want to perpetuate the cliché of the "bug-eyed monster" of science fiction. However, monsters were a staple of Doctor Who almost from the beginning and were popular with audiences. Notable adversaries of the Doctor from the series' initial 26-year run include the Autons, the Cybermen, the Sontarans, the Sea Devils, the Silurians, the Ice Warriors, the Rani, the Yeti, Davros (the creator of the Daleks), the Master (a Time Lord with a thirst for universal conquest), and, most notably, the Daleks. This continued with the resurrection of the series in 2005.

Current executive producer, Russell T. Davies, stated that it had always been his intention to bring back classic icons of Doctor Who one step at a time: the Autons and the Daleks in series 1, Cybermen in series 2, the Master in series 3, the Sontarans and Davros in series 4. He also stated that he was not finished and would continue reviving villains from the series' past. Since its 2005 return, the series has also introduced new aliens, including the Slitheen, the Ood and the Judoon.


Of all the monsters and villains, the ones that have most secured the series' place in the public's imagination are the Daleks, who first appeared in 1963 and were the series' very first "monster". The Daleks are Kaled mutants in tank-like mechanical armour shells from the planet Skaro. Their chief role in the great scheme of things, as they frequently remark in their instantly recognisable metallic voices, is to "Exterminate!" all beings inferior to themselves, even destroying the Time Lords in the often referred to but never shown Time War. Davros, the Daleks' creator, became a recurring villain after he was introduced in Genesis of the Daleks, in which the Time Lords send the Doctor back to destroy the Daleks, avert their creation, or tamper with their genetic structure to make them less warlike. Davros has been played by Michael Wisher (first introduced in Genesis of the Daleks), David Gooderson (Destiny of the Daleks), and Terry Molloy. Davros returned to Doctor Who portrayed by Julian Bleach in the 2008 episodes "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End".

The Daleks were created by writer Terry Nation (who intended them as an allegory of the Nazis) and BBC designer Raymond Cusick. The Daleks' début in the programme's second serial, The Daleks (1963–64), caused a tremendous reaction in the viewing figures and the public, putting Doctor Who on the cultural map. A Dalek appeared on a postage stamp celebrating British popular culture in 1999, photographed by Lord Snowdon.


Cybermen were originally a wholly organic species of humanoids originating on Earth's twin planet Mondas that began to implant more and more artificial parts into their bodies. This led to the race becoming coldly logical and calculating, with emotions usually only shown when naked aggression was called for. The 2006 series introduced a totally new variation of Cybermen created in a parallel universe by transplanting the brains of humans into powerful metal bodies, sending them orders using a mobile phone network, and inhibiting their emotions with an electronic chip.

The Master

The Master is a renegade Time Lord, and the Doctor's nemesis. Conceived as "Professor Moriarty to the Doctor's Sherlock Holmes," the character first appeared in 1971. As with the Doctor, the role has been portrayed by several actors, the first being Roger Delgado who continued in the role until his death in 1973. The Master was briefly played by Peter Pratt and Geoffrey Beevers until Anthony Ainley took over and continued to play the character until Doctor Who's "hiatus" in 1989. The Master returned in the 1996 television movie of Doctor Who, played by Eric Roberts, and in the three-part finale of the 2007 series, portrayed by Derek Jacobi and then John Simm at the conclusion of the episode "Utopia". The Master will return in the 2009 Christmas special, "The End of Time", and John Simm will reprise the role.


Theme music

The original 1963 radiophonic arrangement of the Doctor Who theme is widely regarded as a significant and innovative piece of electronic music, and Doctor Who was the first television series in the world to have a theme entirely realised through electronic means.

The original theme was composed by Ron Grainer and realised by Delia Derbyshire at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, with assistance from Dick Mills. The various parts were built up by creating tape loops of an individually struck piano string and individual test oscillator and filters. The Derbyshire arrangement served, with minor edits, as the theme tune up to the end of Season 17 (1979–80).

A more modern and dynamic arrangement was composed by Peter Howell for Season 18 (1980), which was in turn replaced by Dominic Glynn's arrangement for Season 23's The Trial of a Time Lord (1986). Keff McCulloch provided the new arrangement for the Seventh Doctor's era which lasted from Season 24 (1987) until the series' suspension in 1989. For the return of the series in 2005, Murray Gold provided a new arrangement which featured samples from the 1963 original with further elements added; in the 2005 Christmas episode "The Christmas Invasion", Gold introduced a modified closing credits arrangement that was used up until the conclusion of the 2007 series.

A new arrangement of the theme, once again by Gold, was introduced in the 2007 Christmas special episode, "Voyage of the Damned".

Versions of the "Doctor Who Theme" have also been released in a pop music venue over the years. In the early 1970s, Jon Pertwee, who had played the Third Doctor, recorded a version of the Doctor Who theme with spoken lyrics, titled, "Who Is the Doctor". In 1988 the band The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (later known as The KLF) released the single "Doctorin' the Tardis" under the name The Timelords, which reached No. 1 in the UK and No. 2 in Australia; this version incorporated several other songs, including "Rock and Roll Part 2" by Gary Glitter (who recorded vocals for some of the CD-single remix versions of "Doctorin' the Tardis"). Others who have covered or reinterpreted the theme include Orbital, Pink Floyd, the Australian string ensemble Fourplay, New Zealand punk band Blam Blam Blam, The Pogues, and the comedians Bill Bailey and Mitch Benn, and it and obsessive fans were satirised on The Chaser's War on Everything. A reggae/ska version of the Doctor Who theme tune was released on the Explosion label in 1969 by Bongo Herman and Les. The theme tune has also appeared on many compilation CDs and has made its way into mobile phone ring tones. Fans have also produced and distributed their own remixes of the theme.

Incidental music

Most of the innovative incidental music for Doctor Who has been specially commissioned from freelance composers, although in the early years some episodes also used stock music, as well as occasional excerpts from original recordings or cover versions of songs by popular music acts such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Since its 2005 return, the series has featured occasional use of excerpts of pop music from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s.

The incidental music for the first Doctor Who adventure, An Unearthly Child, was written by Norman Kay. Many of the stories of the William Hartnell period were scored by electronic music pioneer Tristram Cary, whose Doctor Who credits include The Daleks, Marco Polo, The Daleks' Master Plan, The Gunfighters and The Mutants. Other composers in this early period included Richard Rodney Bennett, Carey Blyton and Geoffrey Burgon.

The most frequent musical contributor during the first fifteen years was Dudley Simpson, who is also well known for his theme and incidental music for Blake's 7, and for his haunting theme music and score for the original 1970s version of The Tomorrow People. Simpson's first Doctor Who score was Planet of Giants (1964) and he went on to write music for many adventures of the 1960s and 1970s, including most of the stories of the Jon Pertwee / Tom Baker periods, ending with The Horns of Nimon (1979). He also made a cameo appearance in The Talons of Weng-Chiang (as a Music hall conductor).

Beginning with The Leisure Hive (1980), the task of creating incidental music was assigned to the Radiophonic Workshop. Paddy Kingsland and Peter Howell contributed many scores in this period and other contributors included Roger Limb, Malcolm Clarke and Jonathan Gibbs.

The Radiophonic Workshop was dropped after the The Trial of a Time Lord season, and Keff McCulloch took over as the series' main composer, with Dominic Glynn and Mark Ayres also contributing scores.

All the incidental music for the 2005 revived series has been composed by Murray Gold and Ben Foster and has been performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales from the 2005 Christmas episode The Christmas Invasion onwards. A concert featuring the orchestra performing music from the first two series took place on 19 November 2006 to raise money for Children in Need. David Tennant hosted the event, introducing the different sections of the concert. Murray Gold and Russell T Davies answered questions during the interval and Daleks and Cybermen menaced the audience whilst music from their stories was played. The concert aired on BBCi on Christmas Day 2006. A Doctor Who Prom was celebrated on 27 July 2008 in the Royal Albert Hallmarker as part of the annual BBC Proms. The BBC Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic Choir performed Murray Gold's compositions for the series, conducted by Ben Foster, as well as a selection of classics based around the theme of space and time. The event was presented by Freema Agyeman and guest-presented by various other stars of the show with numerous monsters participating in the proceedings. It also featured the specially filmed mini-episode Music of the Spheres, written by Russell T Davies and starring David Tennant.

Three soundtrack releases since 2005 have been released - the first featured tracks from the first two series,

while the second and third featured music from the third and fourth series respectively. See List of Doctor Who music releases for other soundtrack releases.

Special sound

Doctor Who's science-fiction themes and settings meant that many sound effects had to be specially created for the series, although some common sound effects (such as crowds, horses and jungle noises) were sourced from stock recordings. Because Doctor Who began several years before the advent of the first mass-produced synthesisers, much of the equipment used to create electronic sound effects in the early days was custom-built by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and until the early 1970s audio effects were produced using a combination of electronic and radiophonic techniques.

Almost all of the original sound effects and audio backgrounds during the 1960s were overseen by the Radiophonic Workshop's Brian Hodgson, who worked on Doctor Who from its inception until the middle of Jon Pertwee's tenure in the early 1970s, when he was succeeded by Dick Mills. Hodgson created hundreds of pieces of "special sound" ranging from ray-gun blasts to dinosaurs, but without doubt his best known sound effects are the sound of the TARDIS as it de-materialises and re-appears, and the voices of the Daleks.

The basic audio source Hodgson used for the TARDIS effect was the sound of his house keys being scraped up and down along the strings of an old gutted piano, and played backwards. The famous Dalek voice effect was obtained by passing the actors' voices through a device called a ring modulator, and it was further enhanced by exploiting the distortion inherent in the microphones and amplifiers then in use. However, the precise sonic character of the Daleks' voices varied somewhat over time because the original frequency settings used on the ring modulator were never noted down.



Premiering the day after the assassination of President Kennedy, the first episode of Doctor Who was repeated with the second episode the following week. Doctor Who has always appeared initially on the BBC's mainstream BBC One channel, where it is regarded as a family show, drawing audiences of many millions of viewers; episodes are now repeated on BBC Three. The programme's popularity has waxed and waned over the decades, with three notable periods of high ratings. The first of these was the "Dalekmania" period (circa 1964–1965), when the popularity of the Daleks regularly brought Doctor Who ratings of between 9 and 14 million, even for stories which did not feature them. The second was the late 1970s, when Tom Baker occasionally drew audiences of over 12 million. During the ITV network strike of 1979, viewership peaked at 16 million. Figures remained respectable into the 1980s, but fell noticeably after the programme's 23rd season was postponed in 1985 and the show was off the air for 18 months. Its late 1980s performance of three to five million viewers was seen as poor at the time and was, according to the BBC Board of Control, a leading cause of the programme's 1989 suspension. Some fans considered this disingenuous, since the programme was scheduled against the soap opera Coronation Streetmarker, the most popular show at the time. After the series' revival in 2005 (the third noteworthy period of high ratings), it has consistently had high viewership levels for the evening on which the episode is broadcast. The BBC One broadcast of "Rose", the first episode of the 2005 revival, drew an average audience of 10.81 million, third highest for BBC One that week and seventh across all channels. The largest audience for an episode of Doctor Who since its revival was achieved by the 2007 Christmas special "Voyage Of The Damned", which received 13.31 million viewers, a feat which also made it the second most watched show of the year. The highest weekly chart ranking is first, for the 2008 series finale "Journey's End", which was watched by 10.57 million viewers.

The current revival also garners the highest audience Appreciation Index of any non-soap drama on television. Its continued viewership has resulted in becoming part of the UK's popular culture.


The series also has a fan base in the United States, where it was shown in syndication from the 1970s to the 1990s, particularly on PBS stations (see Doctor Who in North America). New Zealand was the first country outside the UK to screen Doctor Who beginning in September 1964, and continued to screen the series for many years, including the new series from 2005. In Canada, the series debuted in January 1965, but the CBC only aired the first twenty-six episodes. TVOntario picked up the show in 1976 beginning with The Three Doctors and aired it through to Season 24 in 1991. TVO's schedule ran several years behind the BBC's throughout this period. From 1979 to 1981, TVO airings were bookended by science-fiction writer Judith Merril who would introduce the episode and then, after the episode concluded, try to place it in an educational context in keeping with TVO's status as an educational channel. The airing of The Talons of Weng-Chiang resulted in controversy for TVOntario as a result of accusations that the story was racist. Consequently the story was not rebroadcast. CBC began showing the series again in 2005. The series moved to the Canadian cable channel Spacemarker in 2009.

A fan base exists in Australia, where it has been exclusively first run on ABC1, and periodically repeated - including screening all available episodes for the show's 40th anniversary in 2003. Repeats have also been shown on the subscription television channel UK.TV. The ABCmarker also broadcasts the first run of the revived series, on ABC1, with repeats on ABC2. UK.TV also shows repeats of the revived series. The ABC also provided partial funding for the 20th anniversary special episode "The Five Doctors".

Only four episodes have ever had their premiere showings on channels other than BBC One. The 1983 twentieth anniversary special "The Five Doctors" had its début on 23 November (the actual date of the anniversary) on various PBS members two days prior to its BBC One broadcast. The 1988 story Silver Nemesis was broadcast with all three episodes edited together in compilation form on TVNZ in New Zealand in November, after the first episode had been shown in the UK but before the final two instalments had aired there. Finally, the 1996 television film premièred on 12 May 1996 on CITVmarker in Edmontonmarker, Canada, fifteen days before the BBC One showing, and two days before it aired on Fox in the US.

A wide selection of serials is available from BBC Video on VHS and DVD, on sale in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. Every fully extant serial has been released on VHS, and BBC Worldwide continues to regularly release serials on DVD. The 2005 series is also available in its entirety on UMD for the PlayStation Portable.

As of July 2008, the revived series has been, or is currently, broadcast weekly in 42 countries, including Argentina (People+Arts), Australia (ABC1), Austria (Pro 7), Belgium (Één), Brazil (People+Arts), Canada (CBC (in English) and Ztélé (in French)), Catalonia (TV3 and BBC Entertainment), Croatia (Croatian Radiotelevisionmarker), Denmark (Danmarks Radio), Finland (TV2), France (France 4), Germany (Pro 7 and Sci Fi Channel), Hong Kong (ATV World and BBC Entertainment), Hungary (RTL Klub-owned COOL TV), Iceland (RÚV), Ireland (TV3), Israel (yes stars Action, AXN and BBC Prime), Italy (Jimmy), Japan (NHK BS2marker), Malaysia (Astro Network), the Netherlands (NED 3), New Zealand (Prime TV), Norway (NRKmarker), Poland (TVP1), Portugal (People+Arts, SIC Radical), Romania (TVR), Russia (STS TV), Serbia (B92), Slovenia (RTV Sloveniamarker), Spain (People+Arts [first run], Sci Fi Channel [second run, new dubbing]), Latin America (People+Arts), South Korea (KBS2marker (dubbed in Korean) and Fox (subtitled in Korean)), Sweden (SVT), Switzerland (Pro 7), Thailand (Channel 7), Turkey (Cine5 and CNBC-e), the United States (Syfy) [first run], public television [second run] and BBC America [second run]), Greece (Skai TV), Style UK (part of Showtime Arabia) for the Middle East, North Africa and the Levant territories. Doctor Who is one of the five top grossing titles for BBC Worldwide, the BBC's commercial arm. BBC Worldwide CEO John Smith has said that Doctor Who is one of a small number of "Superbrands" which Worldwide will promote heavily.

A special logo has been designed for the Japanese broadcast with the katakana "ドクター・フー" (romanised as Dokutaa Fuu). The series has apparently "mystified" viewers in Japan where it has been broadcast in a late evening time slot, leading to some not realising it is a family show.

The series one episodes aired in Canada a couple of weeks after their UK broadcast, a situation made possible by the 2004–05 NHL lockout which left vast gaps in CBC's schedule. For the Canadian broadcast, Christopher Eccleston recorded special video introductions for each episode (including a trivia question as part of a viewer contest) and excerpts from the Doctor Who Confidential documentary were played over the closing credits; for the broadcast of "The Christmas Invasion" on 26 December 2005, Billie Piper recorded a special video introduction. CBC began airing series two on 9 October 2006 at 20:00 E/P (20:30 in Newfoundland and Labrador), shortly after that day's CFL double header on Thanksgiving in most of the country.

Series three began broadcasting on BBC One in the United Kingdom on 31 March 2007. It began broadcasting on CBC on 18 June 2007 followed by the second Christmas special, "The Runaway Bride" at midnight, and the Sci Fi Channel began on 6 July 2007 starting with the second Christmas special at 8:00 pm E/P followed by the first episode.

Series four aired in the U.S. on the Sci Fi Channel (now known as Syfy), beginning in April 2008. It aired on CBC beginning 19 September 2008, although the CBC did not air the Voyage of the Damned special. The Canadian cable network Spacemarker broadcast "The Next Doctor" in March 2009 and will broadcast the subsequent specials and season five.

Adaptations and other appearances

Dr. Who movies

There are two "Dr. Who" cinema films: Dr. Who and the Daleks, released in 1965 and Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. in 1966. Both are retellings of existing TV stories (specifically, the first two Dalek serials) on the big screen, with a larger budget and alterations to the series concept.

In these films, Peter Cushing plays a human scientist named "Dr. Who", who travels with his two granddaughters and other companions in a time machine he has invented. The Cushing version of the character reappears in both comic strip and literary form, the latter attempting to reconcile the film continuity with that of the series.

In addition, a number of planned films were proposed including a sequel, The Chase, loosely based on the original series story (the third to feature the Daleks), for the Cushing Doctor, plus many attempted television movie and big screen productions to revive the original Doctor Who, after the original series was cancelled. (See List of proposed Doctor Who films)

, BBC Films has a script for a new Doctor Who film in development.


Doctor Who has appeared on stage numerous times. In the early 1970s, Trevor Martin played the role in Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday which also featured former companion actress Wendy Padbury (Pertwee's Doctor made a cameo appearance via film). In the late 1980s, Jon Pertwee and Colin Baker both played the Doctor at different times during the run of a play titled Doctor Who - The Ultimate Adventure. For two performances while Pertwee was ill, David Banks (best known for playing various Cybermen) played the Doctor. Other original plays have been staged as amateur productions, with other actors playing the Doctor, while Terry Nation wrote The Curse of the Daleks, a stage play mounted in the late 1960s, but without the Doctor.

A pilot episode ("A Girl's Best Friend") for a potential spin-off series, K-9 and Company, was aired in 1981 with Elisabeth Sladen reprising her role as companion Sarah Jane Smith and John Leeson as the voice of K-9, but was not picked up as a regular series.

Concept art for an animated Doctor Who series was produced by animation company Nelvana in the 1980s, but the series was not produced.

The Doctor has also appeared in webcasts and in audio plays; prominent among the latter were those produced by Big Finish Productions from 1999 onwards, who were responsible for a range of audio plays released on CD, as well as 2006's eight-part BBC 7 series starring Paul McGann.

Following the success of the 2005 series produced by Russell T Davies, the BBC commissioned Davies to produce a 13-part spin-off series titled Torchwood (an anagram of "Doctor Who"), set in modern-day Cardiffmarker and investigating alien activities and crime. The series debuted on BBC Three on 22 October 2006. John Barrowman reprised his role of Jack Harkness from the 2005 series of Doctor Who. Two other actresses who appeared in Doctor Who also star in the series; Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper, who also played the similarly named servant girl Gwyneth in the 2005 Doctor Who episode "The Unquiet Dead", and Naoko Mori who reprised her role as Toshiko Sato first seen in "Aliens of London". A second series of Torchwood aired in 2008; for three episodes, the cast was joined by Freema Agyeman reprising her Doctor Who role of Martha Jones. A third season was broadcast from 6 to 10 July 2009, and consisted of a single five-part story called Children of Earth.

The Sarah Jane Adventures, starring Elisabeth Sladen who reprises her role as Sarah Jane Smith, has been developed by CBBC; a special aired on New Year's Day 2007 and a full series began on Monday, 24 September 2007. A second season followed in 2008, notable for (as noted above) featuring the return of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. A third season aired in the autumn of 2009.

An animated serial, The Infinite Quest, aired alongside the 2007 series of Doctor Who as part of the children's television series Totally Doctor Who. The serial featured the voices of series regulars David Tennant and Freema Agyeman but is not considered part of the 2007 season.

A new K-9 children's series, K-9, is in development, but not by the BBC. It is currently scheduled to air beginning in 2010.

Charity episodes

In 1983, coinciding with the series' 20th anniversary, a charity special entitled The Five Doctors was produced in aid of Children in Need, featuring three of the first five Doctors, a new actor to replace the deceased William Hartnell, and unused footage to represent Tom Baker. This was a full-length, 90-minute film, the longest single episode of Doctor Who produced to date (discounting the 1996 made-for-TV film, which ran a few minutes longer with commercial breaks not included).

In 1993, for the franchise's 30th anniversary, another charity special entitled "Dimensions in Time" was produced for Children in Need, featuring all of the surviving actors who played the Doctor and a number of previous companions. Not taken seriously by many, the story had the Rani opening a hole in time, cycling the Doctor and his companions through his previous incarnations and menacing them with monsters from the show's past. It also featured a crossover with the soap opera EastEnders, the action taking place in the latter's Albert Square location and around Greenwichmarker, including the Cutty Sarkmarker. The special was one of several special 3D programmes the BBC produced at the time, using a 3D system that made use of the Pulfrich effect requiring glasses with one darkened lens; the picture would look perfectly normal to those viewers who watched without the glasses.

In 1999, another special, "Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death", was made for Comic Relief and later released on VHS. An affectionate parody of the television series, it was split into four segments, mimicking the traditional serial format, complete with cliffhangers, and running down the same corridor several times when being chased. (The version released on video was split into only two episodes.) In the story, the Doctor (Rowan Atkinson) encounters both the Master (Jonathan Pryce) and the Daleks. During the special the Doctor is forced to regenerate several times, with his subsequent incarnations played by, in order, Richard E. Grant, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Joanna Lumley. The script was written by Steven Moffat, later to be head writer and executive producer to the revived series.

Since the return of Doctor Who in 2005, the franchise has produced two original "mini-episodes" to support Children in Need. The first was an untitled 7-minute scene (see Doctor Who: Children in Need) which served to introduce David Tennant as the new Doctor. which aired in November 2005. It was followed in November 2007 by Time Crash, a 7-minute scene which featured the Tenth Doctor meeting the Fifth Doctor (played once again by Peter Davison). The Doctor Who production team did not produce a new Children in Need mini-episode for the 2008 and 2009 events; instead, for the 2008 event, the opening scene from the 2008 Christmas special, The Next Doctor was broadcast and for the 2009 event, a scene from the 2009 Christmas Special The End Of Time was broadcast.

Spoofs and cultural references

Doctor Who has been satirised and spoofed on many occasions by comedians including Spike Milligan and Lenny Henry. Doctor Who fandom has also been lampooned on programmes such as Saturday Night Live, The Chaser's War on Everything, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Family Guy, American Dad and The Simpsons.

The Doctor in his fourth incarnation has been represented on several episodes of The Simpsons, starting with the episode "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming".

Jon Culshaw frequently impersonates the Fourth Doctor in the BBC Dead Ringers series. Culshaw's "Doctor" has telephoned four of the "real" Doctors—Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy—in character as the Fourth Doctor. In the 2005 Dead Ringers Christmas special, broadcast shortly before "The Christmas Invasion", Culshaw impersonated both the Fourth and Tenth Doctors, while the Second, Seventh and Ninth Doctors were impersonated by Mark Perry, Kevin Connelly and Phil Cornwell, respectively.

Less a spoof and more of a pastiche is the character of Professor Justin Alphonse Gamble, a renegade from the Time Variance Authority, who appeared in Marvel Comics' Power Man and Iron Fist #79 and Avengers Annual #22. His enemies include the rogue robots known as the Dredlox.

There have also been many references to Doctor Who in popular culture and other science fiction franchises, including Star Trek: The Next Generation ("The Neutral Zone", among others). In the Channel 4 series Queer As Folk (created by current Doctor Who executive producer Russell T Davies), the character of Vince was portrayed as an avid Doctor Who fan, with references appearing many times throughout in the form of clips from the programme. References to Doctor Who have also appeared in the young adult fantasy novels Brisingr and High Wizardry, the video game Rock Band, the soap opera EastEnders, the Adult Swim comedy show Robot Chicken and the Family Guy episodes "Blue Harvest" and "420".

Doctor Who has long been a favourite referent for political cartoonists, from a 1964 cartoon in the Daily Mail depicting Charles de Gaulle as a Dalek, to a 2008 edition of This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow in which the Tenth Doctor informs an incredulous character from 2003 that the Democratic Party will nominate an African-American (Barack Obama) as its presidential candidate.

The word "TARDIS" is an entry in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

Museums and exhibitions

There is one permanent Doctor Who exhibition museum in the United Kingdommarker, at Red Dragon Centremarker, Cardiffmarker, the city where the series is filmed (opened in 2005). A previous exhibition at Blackpoolmarker closed permanently 8 November 2009.

In 2009–10, Doctor Who exhibitions will also be open in the following locations:


Since its beginnings, Doctor Who has generated many hundreds of products related to the show, from toys and games to collectible picture cards and postage stamps. These include board games, card games, gamebooks, computer game, roleplaying games, action figures and a pinball game.

Many games have been released that feature the Daleks, including Dalek computer games.


Doctor Who books have been published from the mid-sixties through to the present day. From 1965 to 1991 the books published were primarily novelised adaptations of broadcast episodes; beginning in 1991 an extensive line of original fiction was launched, the Virgin New Adventures and Virgin Missing Adventures. Since the relaunch of the programme in 2005, a new range of novels have been published by BBC Books, featuring the adventures of the Ninth and Tenth Doctors. Numerous non-fiction books about the series, including guidebooks and critical studies, have also been published, and a dedicated Doctor Who Magazine with newsstand circulation has been published regularly since 1979.

Blackpool Illuminations

In 2007, Doctor Who and a number of his enemies were portrayed in illuminated road features for Blackpool Illuminationsmarker. More pictures of the Doctor with his new sidekick Donna were added in 2008, along with new monsters such as the Ood and the Sontaran, plus some three dimensional models of the Tardis and the Daleks.


Although Doctor Who was fondly regarded during its original 1963–1989 run, it received little critical recognition at the time. In 1975, Season 11 of the series won a Writers' Guild of Great Britain award for Best Writing in a Children's Serial. In 1996, BBC television held the "Auntie Awards" as the culmination of their "TV60" season, celebrating sixty years of BBC television broadcasting, where Doctor Who was voted as the "Best Popular Drama" the corporation had ever produced, ahead of such ratings heavyweights as EastEnders and Casualty. In 2000, Doctor Who was ranked third in a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the twentieth century, produced by the British Film Institute and voted on by industry professionals. In 2005, the series came first in a survey by SFX magazine of "The Greatest UK Science Fiction and Fantasy Television Series Ever". Also, in the 100 Greatest Kids' TV shows (a Channel 4 countdown in 2001), the 1963–1989 run was placed at number eight.

The revived series has received particular recognition from critics and the public, across various different awards ceremonies. These include:


The British Academy Television Awards (BAFTA) nominations, released on 27 March 2006, revealed that Doctor Who had been short-listed in the "Drama Series" category. This is the highest-profile and most prestigious British television award for which the series has ever been nominated. Doctor Who was also nominated in several other categories in the BAFTA Craft Awards, including Writer (Russell T Davies), Director (Joe Ahearne), and Break-through Talent (production designer Edward Thomas). However, it did not eventually win any of its categories at the Craft Awards.

On 22 April 2006, the programme won five categories (out of fourteen nominations) at the lower-profile BAFTA Cymru awards, given to programmes made in Wales. It won Best Drama Series, Drama Director (James Hawes), Costume, Make-up and Photography Direction. Russell T Davies also won the Siân Phillips Award for Outstanding Contribution to Network Television. The programme enjoyed further success at the BAFTA Cymru awards the following year, winning eight of the thirteen categories in which it was nominated, including Best Actor for David Tennant and Best Drama Director for Graeme Harper.

On 7 May 2006, the winners of the British Academy Television Awards were announced, and Doctor Who won both of the categories it was nominated for, the Best Drama Series and audience-voted Pioneer Award. Russell T Davies also won the Dennis Potter Award for Outstanding Writing for Television. Writer Steven Moffat won the Writer category at the 2008 BAFTA Craft Awards for his 2007 Doctor Who episode "Blink".

The series also won awards at the BAFTA Cymru ceremony on 27 April 2008, including "Best Screenwriter" for Steven Moffat, "Best Director: Drama" for James Strong, "Best Director Of Photography: Drama" for Ernie Vincze, "Best Sound" for the BBC Wales Sound Team and "Best Make-Up" for Barbara Southcott and Neill Gorton (of Millennium FX).

In March 2009, it was announced that Doctor Who had again been nominated in the "Drama Series" category for the British Academy Television Awards; however, it lost out to the BBC series Wallander at the Awards on Sunday 26 April. The series picked up two BAFTAs at the British Academy Television Craft Awards on Sunday 17 May. Visual Effects company The Mill won the "Visual Effects" award for the episode "The Fires of Pompeii" and Philip Kloss won in the "Editing Fiction/Entertainment" category.

Other British awards

In 2005, at the National Television Awards (voted on by members of the British public), Doctor Who won "Most Popular Drama", Christopher Eccleston won "Most Popular Actor" and Billie Piper won "Most Popular Actress". The series and Piper repeated their wins at the 2006 National Television Awards, and David Tennant won "Most Popular Actor" in 2006 and 2007, with the series again taking the Most Popular Drama award in 2007.

A scene from "The Doctor Dances" won "Golden Moment" in the BBC's "2005 TV Moments" awards, and Doctor Who swept all the categories in's online "Best of Drama" poll in both 2005 and 2006. The programme also won the Broadcast Magazine Award for Best Drama. Eccleston was awarded the TV Quick and TV Choice award for Best Actor in 2005; in the same awards in 2006 Tennant won Best Actor, Piper won Best Actress and Doctor Who won Best-Loved Drama.

Doctor Who was nominated in the Best Drama Series category at the 2006 Royal Television Society awards, but lost to BBC Three's medical drama Bodies.

Doctor Who also received several nominations for the 2006 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards: the programme for Best Drama, Eccleston for Best Actor (David Tennant was also nominated for Secret Smile), Piper for Best Actress and Davies for Best Writer. However, it did not win any of these categories.

A panel of journalists and television executives for the annual awards given out at the Edinburgh Television Festival voted Doctor Who as the best programme of the year in 2007 and in 2008.

Science-fiction awards

Several episodes of the 2005 series of Doctor Who were nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: "Dalek", "Father's Day" and the double episode "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances". At a ceremony at the Worldcon (L.A. Con IV) in Los Angelesmarker on 27 August 2006, the Hugo was awarded to "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances". "Dalek" and "Father's Day" came in second and third places respectively. The 2006 series episodes "School Reunion", "Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday" and "The Girl in the Fireplace" were nominated for the same category of the 2007 Hugo Awards, with "The Girl in the Fireplace" winning. The 2007 series episodes "Blink" and "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" also secured nominations in this category in the 2008 Hugo Awards, with "Blink" winning the award. The 2008 series episodes "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" and "Turn Left" secured nominations in this category in the 2009 Hugo awards.

On 7 July 2007, the series won three Constellation Awards: David Tennant won "Best Male Performance in a 2006 Science Fiction Television Episode" for the episode "The Girl in the Fireplace", and the series itself won "Best Science Fiction Television Series of 2006" and "Outstanding Canadian Contribution to Science Fiction Film or Television in 2006". It was eligible for the latter award because of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's involvement as co-producer of the series.

On 12 July 2008, the series won three Constellation Awards: David Tennant won "Best Male Performance in a 2007 Science Fiction Television Episode" for the episodes "Human Nature/The Family Of Blood", Carey Mulligan won "Best Female Performance in a 2007 Science Fiction Television Episode" for the episode "Blink" and the series itself won "Best Science Fiction Television Series of 2007".

On 19 September 2009, the series was the first winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Television Programme.

Overseas awards

On 8 November 2007, the series received its first mainstream American award nomination when it was nominated for the 34th Annual People's Choice Awards in the category of "Favorite Sci-Fi Show". The awards, broadcast on CBS on 8 January 2008 are voted on by the people via an Internet poll. Doctor Who faced competition from American-produced series Battlestar Galactica (itself a revival of an older series), and Stargate Atlantis. It was defeated by Stargate Atlantis. In June 2008, the series won the inaugural Best International Series category at the 34th Saturn Awards, defeating its spin-off, Torchwood, which was also nominated. The Seoul International Drama Awards 2009 honoured it with an award as The Most Popular Foreign Drama of the Year.

See also


  1. Gallery of Doctor Who
  2. Howe, Stammers, Walker (1994), p. 54
  3. Richards, p. 23
  4. Howe, Stammers, Walker (1992), p. 3
  5. Outpost Gallifrey: TV Series FAQ
  6. The War Games. Writers Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks, Director David Maloney, Producer Derrick Sherwin. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, London. 19 April 1969–21 June 1969.
  7. The Trial of a Time Lord. Writers Robert Holmes, Philip Martin and Pip and Jane Baker, Directors Nicholas Mallett, Ron Jones and Chris Clough, Producer John Nathan-Turner. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, London. 6 September 1986–6 December 1986.
  8. Black Orchid. Writer Terence Dudley, Director Ron Jones, Producer John Nathan-Turner. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, London. 1 March 1982–2 March 1982.
  9. The tapes, based on a 405-line broadcast standard, were rendered obsolete when UK television changed to a 625-line signal in preparation for the soon-to-begin colour transmissions.
  10. Flash Frames, a featurette included on the DVD release of The Invasion, BBC Video, 2006.
  11. Now an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary the word "TARDIS" is often used to describe anything that appears larger on the inside than its exterior implies.
  12. Earlier incarnations of the Doctor have occasionally appeared with the then incarnation in later plots. The First and Second Doctors appeared in the 1973 Third Doctor story, The Three Doctors; The First, Second, Third and Fourth appeared in the 1983 Fifth Doctor story, The Five Doctors; the Second appeared with the Sixth in the 1985 story, The Two Doctors; and the Fifth appeared with the Tenth in the 2007 mini-episode, "Time Crash".
  13. BBC - Doctor Who - FAQ - Plot and Continuity
  14. Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #2, 5 September 2002, [subtitled The Complete Third Doctor], page 14)
  15. ;
  16. Although Fuu is an accurate romanisation of the Japanese name, the Japanese version of the programme also employs the English name alongside the Japanese equivalent. Additionally, many speakers will pronounce Fuu as Huu. See also NHK's Doctor Who website.
  17. People's Choice Awards website. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  18. Saturn Awards Winners list. Retrieved 30 June 2008.

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