Doctor Who is a long-running (and we do mean long; it predates Star Trek) British science-fiction television show. And it is fantastic. The Doctor, an immortal/regenerating alien
(well originally he was a human scientist, but that was retconned) that has been portrayed by a variety of stellar actors since the show's inception, travels through space and time in a 1960s-era police box super-advanced, living spaceship called the TARDIS. Joined by a variety of companions (mostly female and often young), they solve kinks in time and sees the wonders of the universe. It's also famous for the various monsters it created, most notably the Daleks (cyborg space Nazis) and the Cybermen (cyborg space Communists)... and especially, the Silence, Weeping Angels, and those fuck terrifying gas mask zombies.
Doctor Who is the longest ongoing sci-fi series in the history of television. It started in 1963 and ran until 1989 where it was temporarily frozen. It attempted a restart with a 1996 movie, but the circumstances were not yet ripe. The show finally started again in 2005 and is currently still running. Throughout this history the show has maintained the same canon-less continuity, thanks to the fact that the main protagonist Doctor Who (aka The Doctor) is an alien capable of "regeneration" upon the time of death or when they grow old. This rejuvenates and replaces all the cells in their body, effectively changing their appearance and somewhat their mannerisms and personality (because it also changes the brain). In this way, the series has been able to continue with different actors without resorting to "remakes" or "reimaginings" or "spinoffs" like Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica. There were a couple of unsuccessful attempts at making spinoffs (One during the original run and one more recently, both based on the rather twee K-9 the tin dog), and three more successful, the recent Torchwood (on indefinite hiatus despite massive popularity... come on BBC, give us Season 5...), Sarah Jane Adventures (cancelled during its fifth year due to the death of the lead actress), Class (ended after one season)
and a bunch of independently produced movies that have a legal license to exist, so long as the don't mention the Doctor. They have The Chiropodist instead. The Sarah Jane Adventures depict the adventures and encounters with alien life that the ex-companion of the 3rd and 4th Doctor goes through with her alien-made son and his friends. Torchwood is Doctor Who with a large dose of GRIMDARK (if you're a horny 12 year old and just comedy for those who aren't, Children of Earth is when Torchwood becomes worth watching), along with a literally immortal lead character with a Charisma score so high that Alpenhorn-mancers turn gay for him within a sixteen mile radius. Everyone is gay for Captain Jack Harkness. He even has a sexuality test named after him. Class depicts what happens when the Doctor sets one of their long plans in motion, and then fucks off for a good while, letting all hell break loose in the meantime. The others? Well, there's a film about the "Cyberons", a Zygon porno, a bunch of films that aren't stupid, featuring many characters like the Brig, the Yeti, Sontarans, and more.
The main show is heavily episodic, with the Doctor travelling through time and space in their TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension(s) in Space) and landing in different historical periods on Earth and elsewhere in the universe, often when there is some sort of trouble or disturbance nearby. The Doctor protects the flow of history
except when you piss the Doctor off, preventing paradoxes and manipulations and attempts to stop evil and violence everywhere. This gains them the enmity of their own race, the Gallifreyan Time Lords who have pledged to use their time-travelling technology only to observe but not interfere. Even so they often ask the Doctor to act on their behalf. The Time Lords got a bit shit towards the end of the original run, and were unceremoniously killed off en masse during the gap between the original and new runs in an offscreen "Time War". As of the new revival series, there has been the theme of a season long arc within the episodes, which usually takes the shape of a recurring phrase or item, which is resolved in the two part finale at the end of the season.
The show has become iconic in British culture and science fiction fandom around the world for many reasons, amongst them:
- Having been around for fucking ever. Even if you were born during the window when Dr Who was not being made, the chances are you remember it from re-runs or carefully archived bootlegged copies made by that one uncle you had (No, not that one). On the brighter side, there were hundreds of really good tie-in books and audio dramas (and a few films).
- Not only has it been around for fucking ever, we don't even have all the episodes. Of the 253 episodes of the first six seasons, 97 are lost for all time because the BBC didn't think content was worth saving long term. Of the missing content, only fan audio recordings remain as very few people had VCRs before the 1970's.
- Cheesy low budgeted effects and monsters which gave the show a special charm and made it rely on story instead of flashy visuals.
- The TARDIS machine which has a "chameleon circuit" which allows it to change external appearance to fit into different environments where it "lands", its inside is much bigger than the outside, potentially infinite, thanks to the space-time technology it uses. The Doctor's TARDIS got its chameleon circuit busted and is permanently stuck in the iconic shape of a 60's British Police Box. And when we say iconic we mean the British police have to ask Doctor Who before they can use its likeness, not the other way around.
- The character of The Doctor and their eccentric figure, with their alien traits like regeneration and a double heart.
- The show has been known to be aimed at a younger audience but scare them at the same time, so "hiding behind the sofa" has become a phrase connected to it.
- It also retains a big following amongst older fans because its two-sided nature; it is largely easy-going, tongue-in-cheek and comical but often turns to darker and serious tones, with good storytelling.
- Writing for Doctor Who is something of a variety show of up and coming show writers. Terry Nation (creator of Blake's 7) wrote ten stories for Doctor Who. Chris Boucher (also Blake's 7) wrote three. Douglas Adams was credited with writing one but actually wrote a couple more uncredited and contributed on others. More recent guest writers include Neil Cross (Luther) and Neil Gaiman (Coraline).
- Comical yet fearsome enemies like the Daleks (Genocidal mutant squid Nazi pepper-pots with death rays and the best E-VIL VOI-CES E-VER while exterminating FUCKING EVERYTHING, think of the already-overpowered and omnicidal Necrons mixed with Nazis and turned up to 11 billion), Sontarans (Huge domed heads, eyebrows and foreheads of a 4e Tiefling-basically Mr. Potato Head), Autons (Shop Dummies of Death), Weeping Angels (Scared the shit out of
childreneveryone everywhere, don't ever blink) and memorable "supervillain" antagonists like The Master, a rival Time Lord, and the ever-wrinkly Davros, who's basically Palpatine, the Joker, Honsou, Abaddon, Trayzn the Infinite, Asdrubael Vect, & Kheradruakh the Decapitator all rolled into one.
- Hiding behind the sofa from the aforementioned Daleks was such a common event in the lives of several decades of children that the phrase "Hiding behind the sofa" has entered Britfag slang as a slightly tongue-in-cheek way of saying "Scared shitless".
- Various toys, gadgets and gags the Doctor uses, including a 'Sonic Screwdriver' (a lazy but cool plot device) and the use of Jelly Babies candy to distract or bribe people.
- The theme tune. You know it, you love it. Yes you do, stop lying.
- Not being your average Science-Fiction story. While many normal Space Opera-style Sci-Fi stories are samey and bland, Doctor Who has practically every kind of adventure imaginable taking place. From dinosaurs on a space ship to gas-masked zombies (who are creepy as all Hell) to literally going to hell, Doctor Who has it all. If not, then the spin-offs have done it.
- For being a thorn in the side of Mary Whitehouse for the entirety of their parallel existence because of how scary it got in the mid-70s.
- Constantly being political, but in an accessible way. Ever since it's inception it has had political overtones, be that support for the civil rights movement, hatred of Thatcher, or raising concerns about climate changes eventual effect on society and the world. it does this however, in a medium that is accessible for children, which allows it to present the message of the week in very different creative formats - The Happiness Patrol being the best example of this.
Originally the Doctor could only regenerate 12 times (well, originally it was implied it was infinite, but this was forgotten about), resulting in 13 different versions of themself (12 because David Tennant once managed to regenerate into themself) but during the 2013 Christmas special they managed to restart a new cycle (something that the Time Lords offered The Master in The Five Doctors all the way back in 1983.). They are currently in their God-Knows-Whateenth incarnation (We know of over 100 across every medium, counting John Hurt who doesn't get an official number for watch-the-damn-show reasons), of which at least 16 have taken up the mantel of 'The Doctor'. This means that they've had fifteen official actors so far. We really need to update that image.
- William Hartnell (1963-1966): A mysterious grumpy old professor. He didn't like to have humans tag along with him, but changed his mind after a while. Extremely intelligent (like all Doctors, duh), but also short-tempered. And a pretty good fighter, despite being old: Once beat up a big man in fisticuffs, while laughing. The Daleks and Cybermen were introduced during his time. (Evidently, one of the replacement actors for Hartnell is a fan of 40k. Duncan got a request to paint flayed wracks from Bradley, as Hartnell been died in 1975, Hurndall in 1983, so it couldn't be them.) Some of these episodes are actually lost to the ages due to BBC at the time thinking that there was no reason to keep footage after it was broadcast. Notable episodes include The Keys of Marinus, The Aztecs, and The Tenth Planet. "Have you no emotions, sir?"
- Patrick Troughton (1966-1969): A cosmic hobo. He liked music, and played the recorder. More of an anti-authority figure than his predecessor. Looked like a total idiot, made his enemies underestimate him, and ran away quite a lot. It was also during his time that his race, the Time Lords, was first introduced. At the end of Troughton's run they banished him from Gallifrey for breaking the Prime Directive, and forced him to regeneration as punishment. The Great Intelligence was introduced along with the robotic yeti during this time period, as was UNIT (more on those guys later). He is also distinguished by the fact that he may just be the most influential Doctor ever - not only would the show have failed if he didn't succeed, but over half of the later actors have claimed inspiration from his performances when they first took the lead role. Most of these episodes are actually lost to the ages due to BBC at the time thinking that there was no reason to keep footage after it was broadcast. However, the BBC is now funnelling cash into animation studios to animate the lost episodes with the use of off-screen recordings, fan created recordings, and anything that they can scrape together to resurrect them. Some of them are even animated in colour! Notable episodes include The Power of The Daleks, The Enemy of The World, and The Mind Robber. The "Oh, my giddy aunt!".
- Jon Pertwee (1970-1974): A gentleman and a dandy. Spend a lot of time stuck on Earth, thanks to his stupid race putting him into exile (and not at all because the BBC decided to save money in the cash-strapped 70s by not set-building any more alien worlds, which cost more to look good on 625-line colour TV - ushered in by Pertwee - than they did on 405-line black & white). Could do Venusian Aikido, liked vintage cars, and at the end of the day was very much a less-womanizing, more science fiction-based James Bond. The Master, his arch-nemesis and a fellow Time Lord, was introduced: He tried to conquer the world with plastic chairs! We're not kidding. Notable episodes include Spearhead from Space, The Sea Devils, and The Green Death. "Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow!"
- Tom Baker (1974-1981): The bohemian, a total weirdo, who liked candy and had an extremely long, very colourful scarf. Very good in playing a fool: to quote Count Scarlioni: "No one could be as stupid as he seemed". Could switch from manic to serious in a single moment. Oh, and they were written for by Douglas fucking Adams. Yes, that one. The most iconic Doctor from the old series, probably due to his long tenure. Davros, the creator of the Daleks and a total maniac, was introduced. Baker briefly married and then divorced Lalla Ward, who played his travelling companion; their marriage difficulties (On the question, which was the most terrible monster in Doctor Who, Ward quipped: "Tom Baker!"), alongside Baker's bad relationship with the incoming showrunner John Nathan-Turner, contributed to Baker's end in the role. While the maxim "Doctor Who is a barrel of pretty good serials mixed in with pure, refined emeralds" is true of all eras of the show, Baker's era probably epitomises this the most. Notable episodes include Genesis of the Daleks, The Seeds of Doom, and City of Death. "Just touch these two strands together, and the Daleks are finished... Have I that right?"
- Peter Davison (1981-1984): Created to be pretty much the complete opposite of his predecessor. Very much a human, very noble, liked cricket. Was also a complete sociopath. Davison was also the youngest actor in the role, until Matt Smith some 25 years later. Some people hated him just for replacing Tom Baker (seems like the Who fanbase never changes... unlike the lead). People died a lot during his time: Sometimes there was literally no one left but him and his companions - or, in case of his last story, only his companion. Is the father-in-law of David Tennant (Tenth Doctor), which means that The Doctor's Daughter played The Doctor's Daughter, and then became the Doctor's wife, meaning that the Doctor is his own Father in-law. God time-travel is confusing... Notable episodes include Earthshock, Ressurection of the Daleks (this has the highest on-screen body count of all time in Who), and The Caves of Androzani (an episode consistently voted as the best story in Who ever, even including the revival series). "When did you last have the pleasure of smelling a flower, watching a sunset, eating a well-prepared meal? … For some people, small, beautiful events are what life is all about!"
- Colin Baker (1984-1986, 2002): An unstable maniac. More violent than the rest of his incarnations put together, shocking the audience by dumping executioners into acid baths, and having the genetic torture of his companion broadcast live on TV - and they both happened in the same episode! The whole show became bloodier during his time. Thought he was awesome, despite always wearing that awful coat. Generally regarded as being the worst Doctor, at least in the TV shows, but became much more awesome in the Big Finish audio. Had already played a minor character in the series before he was cast as the Doctor, making this the first instance of a casting choice of a Who veteran, as it were. Notable episodes include go and listen to the Big Finish audios now, no, seriously, and why are you still here, go listen to The Marian Conspiracy. "I shall beat it into submission... with my charm."
- Sylvester McCoy (1987-1989, 1996, 2002): Started like a goofy wacky fellow, but quickly became more serious later on. Seemed like a god walking among lesser people, quite literally destroyed a pantheon of gods, and could
probablydefinitly out-manipulate Tzeentch. Often they had beaten the villain of the week before they even came onto the scene, because of some centuries-long plan concocted in a prior regeneration. During their time, they started to turn onto some big questions, like who the hell the Doctor actually is, but then the show got cancelled even as ratings increased. Bummer. He could also seem be a dick to his companion (even if his motives were good), taking her to a circus despite being told about her fear of clowns, taking her to a house that she burned to the ground even when she requested not to, and manipulating her into a sense of hopelessness/depression so that he could slightly weaken a cosmic entity. Had the first CGI intro; all previous intros were generated using some combination of optics and analogue electronics. Notable episodes include Remembrance of the Daleks (in which The Daleks finally conquored stairs), The Happiness Patrol, and the entirety of their last season. Seriously. You'll cry when you see that this is what they cancelledrested Dr Who on. "There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace. We've got work to do."
- Paul McGann (1996, 2003, 2013): A romantic. Told people to make the best use of their limited time on this world and embrace their lives instead of being all emo and crying in a corner. But he also stated that he was half-human, which is a lie. The books and Big Finish fleshed him out a bit. Too bad his movie didn't do well enough in America to spawn a new series
(damn you America!).There's an animated version of Shada with the Eighth Doctor that practically everybody has forgotten about, but it's an official animated story nonetheless, so there. Also turned up unexpectedly, but to everyone's surprise, in a quick minisode in 2013 written by Steven Moffat, which, by a rare fan consensus, is considered superior to the movie in every fashion. It probably had something to do with the lack of that wig he had to wear in 1996... Notable stories are The Chimes of Midnight, The Silver Turk, and Neverland/Zagreus/Scherzo. "I love humans. Always seeing patterns in things that aren't there."
- John Hurt (secret bonus Doctor, 2013): The Doctor as he was fighting in the Time War, known by some as the "War Doctor". In setting chronology, this incarnation fits between McGann's and Eccleston's, but due to committing some horrible war crimes in order to end the Time War, he denied himself the title of "the Doctor" and later regenerations refused to acknowledge his existence; so much so that Matt Smith's version is still referred to in-universe as the Eleventh Doctor, even in mysterious prophecies, despite technically being the twelfth incarnation. He was a rather grim and serious character and quite put off by the perceived sillyness and light-heartedness of his successors. He was seen only briefly in the finale of season 7 played a major role in the 50th anniversary special, and had a set of audio adventures, but probably won't be seen again (RIP, John). "Doctor no more."
- Rowan Atkinson (1999): The original Ninth Doctor from the Comic Relief special, Curse of Fatal Death, which contrary to popular belief, is not a parody, but simply a comedy. (Steven Moffat himself said so!) The Doctor was also portrayed by Richard E Grant, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, and Joanna Lumley in this fun episode.
- Richard E Grant (2003): This Doctor came after no. 8, and was a honest attempt to restart the show, but unfortunately the pre-production started on the 2005 continuation, so the forces behind The Scream of the Shalkaadmitted defeat and let it slip into obscurity.
- Christopher Eccleston (2005): The only survivor of the horrible Time War (which is a rip-off of the War in Heaven, a war that happened in the Eighth Doctor books which had horrible consequences for everybody involved), which will never be fully shown, but we have seen parts of. All the other Time Lords died in it (or did they?). Dark and moody, probably because of the survivor's guilt, tended to hide it behind a horribly manic and happy outward appearance. Was pretty dependent on his friends and companions when it came to moral issues. Often found himself in a kind of fix where he couldn't do shit without blowing the hell out of the area around him (the guy dropped missiles on his own head to kill a damn alien threat near him for fucks sake). The first Doctor not to wear (particularly) weird clothes. Notable episodes include Dalek, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, and Bad Wolf/The Parting of Ways. "You were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And you know what? So was I."
- David Tennant (2005-2010): Probably the outwardly happiest of all Doctors... or maybe the most Machiavellian.
Nah, this award goes to the Seventh Doctor.A total crackpot. Talks a lot of technobabble, at like 90mph, sometimes of something completely unrelated. If Time Lords could have ADHD, he probably does. Attracts a lot of women. For some reason, one of the last monsters featured was EAT. Yeah, that EAT. Oh and, when he'll offer you a chance of redemption and says that he can help you, you bloody well should take that offer! Because he doesn't believe in second chances, nor in letting someone walk away (Unless you're an arch villain). "I've gotten too old, Wilf, and too clever; I don't kill people, but I get them to kill themselves." (you just read that entire paragraph in his voice, didn't you?) Alternatively a child on Christmas morning and the MASTER of the resting bitch face whilst he destroys you, or he watches you destroy yourself. His performance was so good that BBC actually considered to end the series after his tenure because they thought that the show would fail without him. Notable episodes include Blink, Human Nature/Family of Blood, and Silence in the Library/Firest of The Dead (in which a future main character was introduced by being killed off, fuck you Moffat). "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
- Matt Smith (2010-2013): The biggest nutjob since Tom Baker's Doctor. His stories tend to feature fuck-terrifying monsters and situations, including: an army of quantum abominations who only move when you're not looking at them, but logically should be of no threat to anyone who owns a time machine, being trapped in a false-awakening loop, a crack in the wall that eats reality, and an entire fucking race of Slendermen (whom you completely forget even exist when you aren't looking at one). Two of his assistants are insanely hot and another spends most of his time getting killed (and rest of the time being awesome). Notable episodes include The Eleventh Hour, Vincent and The Doctor, and the Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon. "I wear a bow-tie now; bow-ties are cool."
- Peter Capaldi (2013-2017): Something in between the Ninth and Fourth Doctors, making him an all-out sinister badass if you know anything about those Doctors. The actor has appeared twice in Doctor Who (well, once in Torchwood) in other roles before becoming the Doctor, which was explained as the Doctor trying to tell himself something. Thus far fans have imagined him in the role as the Doctor in the same style Peter Capaldi has appeared on the show The Thick of It, where he was exceptionally foul-mouthed. It turned out he's pretty damn hilarious. And Scottish. Quite eccentric, though. Apparently a lot of the female fans were outraged that an older guy got the role. It says a lot that the closest thing he had to a catchphrase was "Shut up!". Despite that charming catchphrase, his character eventually got his head out of is arse, and then decided to try and make everyone see that we should all be kind to each other. Probably also the most stubborn and loyal Doctor ever, spending roughly 7000 years in a sort of prison to save the life of his companion. He was also the absolute GOD of speeches, with arguably his best episode being a 45 minute long monologue over the idea of grief. On top of that, he is the only Doctor thus far to bring the Master round to the side of good, has stopped Zygon terrorists with nothing but words, and he became the Lord-President of Gallifrey... again. His tenure as The Doctor had ginormous levels of character development, for both him, his companions, and his own rogues gallery. Did we mention that the actor is a massive Whoovian too?. Notable episodes include literally all of his season finales and christmas specials, The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion, and Oxygen. "Hey! I'm going to be dead in a few hours, so before I go, let's have this out. You and me, once and for all. Winning? Is that what you think it’s about? I’m not trying to win. I'm not doing this because I want to beat someone — or because I hate someone, or because I want to blame someone. It’s not because it’s fun. God knows it’s not because it's easy. It’s not even because it works, because it hardly ever does. I do what I do because it's right! Because it's decent! And above all, it's kind! It's just that. Just kind. If I run away today, good people will die. If I stand and fight, some of them might live — maybe not many, maybe not for long. Hey, maybe there’s no point in any of this at all, but it's the best I can do. So I'm going to do it, and I will stand here doing it until it kills me. You're going to die, too, someday. When will that be? Have you thought about it? What would you die for? Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall. Stand with me. These people are terrified. Maybe we can help a little. Why not, just at the end, just be kind?"
- Jodie Whittaker: (2017-2022)): The first female Doctor in canon
THERE IS NO CANON. The precedent for Time Lords changing gender was established earlier during the Fourth Doctor's era, and reinforced during the Eleventh Doctor's era, when they mention banging a Time Lord named The Corsair when they had a sex change. An actress from Broadchurch to go along with the producer of the same show. Her first season was distilled Dr Who, in that it ranged between mediocre viewing to absolute god-tier TV at times with a well-written season finale that made the Daleks the powerful threat they should have been during Eleven and Twelve's tenure, where a Scout takes out an a whole armored British Platoon with no effort. However it seems that the BBC is trying to compete with Paramount, CBS and Disney on who can run a decades old franchise into the ground first, as regardless of quality, the following season wasn’t out until (very) early 2020. Making Capaldi's comments about "The Beeb" neglecting the show prophetic. Season 12 was divisive, to say the least, although almost everyone agrees that it was miles better than the previous season. Oh, and the Master is back. Again. Series 13 is set to premier later this year, but with a lower episode count because of our current situation regarding Covid-19. Notable episodes (so far) include Demons of the Punjab (the aforementioned god-tier TV), Spyfall, and The Haunting of Villa Diodati. "You want the whole universe. Someone who has seen it all, and that's me. I've lived longer, seen more, loved more, and lost more. I can share it all with you, anything you want to know about what you never had. Cause he's an idiot with a daughter who needs him. So let him go, and I will give you everything."
- "Doctor Ruth" - Another "missing" Doctor played by Jo Martin who debuted in Series 12 of the modern era. It's unknown where she fits in the timeline but she is confirmed to be a pre Hartnell Doctor. As it's now revealed The Doctor is "The Timeless Child" and isn't a Time Lord or from Gallifrey
this was done first in the 1990s, but then retconned, and unretconned some more, but a being from a different universe stolen and experimented on by the Time Lords, she is confirmed to be a real Doctor and not a trick or a misunderstanding. She is the result of trying to fix a plot hole created all the way back in the classic era episode The Brain of Morbius. Where the battle between Four and the Time Lord war criminal Morbius revealed several Pre-Hartnell Doctors. Whether this was a plot hole worth fixing is a matter of Skub among fans. Something that other writers have tried to explain in side materials before now. An attempt to explain said plot hole was used earlier during the McCoy era to make him not just "an ordinary Time Lord" and restore mystery to the character with the incarnation called "The Other".
There have been a number of Doctors who were either the Doctor in strange circumstances, were later retconned or were never intended to be canon in the first place.
- Peter Cushing (1965-66): Yes, THAT Peter Cushing, the guy that played Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars and was so oldschool he once played alongside Laurel and Hardy. He played a human scientist called Dr. Who (yes, his last name is Who) in two movie-length remakes of early episodes featuring the Daleks. The movies were not very good, as one would expect when they didn't use the iconic theme tune, had blaring jazz instead of electronic music, were directed by someone who'd never actually watched Doctor Who and didn't even realise that the Daleks' head lights are supposed to flash in modulation with their voices, and rumours had it that Cushing was taking any work he could to keep his mind off the recent loss of his wife. He is easily the best thing about the movies, mind, and his sweet, grandfatherly Doctor is a flavour almost worth seeing if you don't mind wading through all the crap. It also featured a set of groovy-coloured Daleks (who had decorated their base with lava lamps!), which was considered silly because Daleks are supposed to be drab... at least until they returned in Matt Smith's run as a group of happy fascist murderous rainbows. This particular Doctor has the dubious honour of having successfully defeated the Daleks' latest world-domination plan by quite literally pointing at nothing and yelling "Look!"
- Rowan Atkinson, Richard E. Grant, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Joanna Lumley (1999): The BBC has a tradition of making silly parodies of their shows for charity. Dr. Who got one called Doctor Who and the Curse of the Fatal Death, where the aforementioned actors played the Ninth through Twelfth Doctors in quick succession. Rowan Atkinson played the role magnificently as the Time Lord Blackadder. He announces to the Master that he is going to marry the only companion he ever had, but the Master enlists the help of the Daleks to kill his archenemy once and for all. Belayed explanations, Zektronic energy, communication based on breaking wind, a couple of Dalek chairs, and LOTS of hijinks later, the Doctor burns through pretty much all of his regenerations in two minutes. It is a very funny short and should be watched, if only for the magnificent snark that only Rowan Atkinson can produce.
- Richard E. Grant (2003): Just a few years after playing the Tenth Doctor in Curse of the Fatal Death, Grant returned as the Ninth Doctor for the "webisode" Scream of the Shalka. This incarnation was angry, moody, looked like a vampire, and compared to Sherlock Holmes by the actor himself (which is funny when you consider that Benedict Cumberbatch, of Sherlock fame, was in the running to be the Eleventh Doctor), but he was still a good man who left no monster rampaging (or at least unstudied) and no woman unsaved. He fought the exeptionally creepy Shalka, whom he defeated with... no, no spoilers, you wouldn't believe it anyway. He also traveled alongside none other than the Master, who was confined to an android body stuck in the TARDIS. They share homoerotic subtext to the level it becomes homoerotic SUPERtext; the author commented that this was intentional.
- As a side note, while they were making the special, some kid pretty much kicked down the door, ranted about how much he loved Doctor Who, and begged for a role in the short. The producers gave him one, causing the kid to all but explode. The kid's name? David Tennant.
- David Morrissey (2009): In the episode The next Doctor, the 10th Doctor stumbles upon cybermen, cybermonkeys, and a man who calls himself the Doctor, played by David Morrissey, in 1851. He claims to be an incarnation of the gallifreyan time-traveler we have had for 50 years, but something is amiss; his memory is practically gone, his sonic screwdriver isn't sonic, and his TARDIS is a balloon. In the end, it turns out he was actually a regular person who absorbed all information the cybermen had about the Doctor and only thought he was him.
Villains and Big Players
Sufficed to say when you have hundreds of episodes of the week format over half a century of TV as well as tie in novels, comics, audio dramas and whanot with a a guy that can go anywhere and any when with an episode of the week mentality you'll build up quite a rogues gallery. Here are a few of the more notable groups and prominent non doctor characters.
- Daleks: Nazism distilled into octopus form riding around in pepper shakers. Each Dalek is a psychopathic genius riding around in what is basically it's own tank motivated by an unending hatred and desire to Exterminate every living thing that's not a Dalek. They're also notable for being as indestructible as the show needs them to be; that is to say they have been pushed out of a window one story up and exploded, died from baseball bat attack enhanced by a Macguffin of the week, and been spun around too much and died, but at the same time a single Dalek is capable of downloading the internet, and taking on a full platoon of highly trained soldiers. Yay for consistency! Notable episodes include Genesis of The Daleks, Remembrance of the Daleks, and Revolution of the Daleks (if there's one thing this era does well, it's classic villains. Probably helps that the current showrunner is a lifelong hardcore Whovian).
- Davros: Creator of the Daleks (at least twice), Davros is one of the Doctor’s worst enemies. Startlingly similar to the God-Emperor of Mankind, as both are geniuses in genetics who regard their creations as their children (or tools), but Davros is a twisted evil genius who would destroy all life - hell, all reality - if given the chance, basically just so he could say that he did. His relationship with the Daleks is complicated, as while they don’t view him as a Dalek, they also acknowledge him as their creator and that they wouldn’t exist without him. As such, they tend to spare him and sometimes follow his orders, on occasion even letting him be the emperor, but may just as easily turn on and kill him if the situation arises - or they feel like it. Covertly created a second generation of white-and-gold "Imperial" daleks that actually did revere him as their emperor, after the first generation of grey-and-black "renegade" Daleks rejected him. Needless to say, these two different Dalek factions (arguably subraces, since Davros genetically engineered the first batch from the last survivors of his own species, the Kaleds, and the second batch from human bodies he stole on Necros) did not get along very well. As of Capaldis era he seems to have a very love-hate relationship with the Doctor that stems from 12 saving his life as a child... watch this space, there could be a long story in this.
- The Supreme Dalek: Likes shouting orders and being on the cusp of victory before it all turns to shit. Notable for having one of the coolest designs for a Doctor Who monster EVER (seriously, Google it), and effectively being the Darth Vader to Davros's Emperor.
- The Cult of Skaro: Created by the Dalek Emperor (no, not Davros, the other one) to think like the enemy, act not as Daleks, and to experiment. The four members were specifically chosen for their incomprehensible ability to innovate, and were tasked with ensuring the survival of the Dalek race, no matter the cost. Evidently three of the members forgot this, because when their leader was one step away from recreating the Daleks race as a better species, they mutinied and killed him. The final member, Dalek Caan, later went on to save Davros's life and then went insane, betraying the Daleks and summoning the Doctor to stop Davros from using his reality bomb, which was the Infinity Gauntlet before the Infinity Gauntlet was a thing - in the MCU anyway.
- Rusty: The Good Dalek. The 12th Doctor got miniaturised, stuck himself inside of a malfunctioning Dalek, and fucked around enough with the circuits enough that the Dalek started hating the Daleks, and then left it to go do it's thing. A grand speech was also involved, but with 12 there's always a grand speech somewhere. Noteable for having one of the most fucking metal lines ever in Doctor Who, when the Doctor said "good man!" to it, it replied "No - you are a good Daaaaaaaaaalek!".
- Cybermen: Borg before the Borg, an army of Cyborgs which seek to turn everyone else into a Cyborg. Absolutely fucking terrifying when done in the right way, and generic robots when not. There are some *amazing* audiobooks with them in, notably Spare Parts and The Silver Turk. Due to their faceless, "we are all alike" aesthetic, there are very few 'special' Cybermen, but there are a couple. Notable episodes include Earthshock, World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls, and the Haunting of Villa Diodati/Ascension of The Cybermen/The Timeless Children.
- John Lumic: In the parallel universe, John Lumic is the creator of the Cybermen as a way to prolong his own life due to a debilitating and terminal illness. As such he gives himself the flashiest suit of armour, and a massive silver throne as life support. Now where could we have seen that before...
- Bill Potts: The 12th Doctor's companion who has the dubious honour of being the first Cyberman. Ever. However due to some very strong willpower she keeps emotions, and eventually dies in a badass explosion, wiping out thousands of Cybermen at once.
- The Cyberking: Evil Victorian woman installed into a battleship class cyber-suit. Unfortunately for the Cybermen, she likes emotions, and starts stomping on London before the doctor can blow her up and throw her into the Time Vortex.
- Ashad/The Lone Cybermen: Arguably the coolest Cyberman EVER, he was a patchwork creation from various cyber-suits, but without an emotional inhibitor. Could time-travel, and actually singlehandedly defeats the Doctor without blinking an eye, and without repercussion later. Seems to have been a willing volunteer to become a Cyberman(?), as he slit his own kid's throats when they joined the resistance. Other Cybermen are so terrified of him that they actively scream upon seeing him. Unfortunately is no match for The Master, who yeets him out of existence without breaking a sweat.
- The Master: The arch-enemy of the Doctor. Once their childhood friend, the two have become bitter, flirtatious, and homoerotic enemies. The flirtatious part isn’t an exaggeration as when the Master regenerated into a woman she kissed the Doctor as soon as they met, though she was just messing with him - and didn’t take it kindly when the Doctor called Davros his greatest enemy. For what it's worth, the Doctor's confession dial, essentially the time lord equivalent of a last will, is addressed to the Master. The Master's motivation invariably boils down to infatuation with the Doctor, be it wanting his acknowledgement, or wanting to beat him at something, or wanting him to break his principles and be more like the Master. He is as intelligent and cunning as the Doctor, but unscrupulous, egomanical, and makes no effort to hide his contempt for lesser beings. Though there have been several moments where he seems to have died, the Master always manages to come back. This is what happens when you’re in a fifty-year old franchise and are one of its most iconic villains. Notable episodes include The Auton Invasion, Survival, and Spyfall. (Also World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls, but that's already been recommended above.)
- Delgado!Master: The original one on screen, just turned up one day and immediately set about causing a mess. If you think they come off as a bond villain at points, then well done, guess what was very popular while Delgado had the role! Had some of the wittiest conversations with The Doctor ever "Come now Doctor, you mut see sense." "No.", and frequently invaded Earth with another monster of the week to act as the supporting cast and meatshields. Was going to be revealed as The Doctor's brother but then the actor died in a car crash in Turkey, and so one day they just never came back on screen.
- Crispy Master: Played by two different actors because their appearances were like half a decade apart minimum, showed the Delgado!Master at the end of their life and literally just running on energy drinks and spite. Had a really dark ending, by literally possessing and killing the body of Five's companion's father. Also is anyone going to talk about the fact that the prior actor died in a car crash, and then the next time we see the Master, they look like a really bad burns victim?
- Ainley!Master: Ran around the show like a saturday morning cartoon villain, with a costume and goatee to match. Seemed to want power for the sake of having power, and was killed multiple times on-screen, only to turn up a few episodes later to the surprise of no one at all. Also admitted on-screen that they were unable to die ever, which explains recent developments.
- Roberts!Master: Appeared for the TV Movie and
that's itSIKE, Big Finish have finally got the actor to make a series, and apparently it's pretty damn good, which is nice to hear. Hopped between being The Terminator, Hannibal Lector, and saturday-morning cartoon vilain depending on the scene they're in. Notable for this absolutely hilarious line in what is otherwise a really serious scene.
- The War Master: A fairly tragic and callous figure, played by none other than Sir Derick Jacobi. This editor would love to add more about the character but made a really silly descision to only listen to Big Finish releases in order of release date, so they are going to have to wait a while before they can update this page.
- Simm!Master: An absolute nut-case who at one point gains superpowers? This iteration of The Master has trauma to spare, and a deep-seated hatred of The Doctor, to the point that they end up spoiler alert! killing themselves to stop themselves from aiding The Doctor. Their madness and batchit crazy shenanigans can be explained because it turns out that The Time Lords planted a whole-ass Doomsday weapon into their head, and then set an audibal countdown noise inside it too. bang-bang-bang-bang. You just heard it didn't you? Managed to get kicked out of Gallifrey for being too annoying, and then proceeded to do some of the most fucked up shit to The Doctor and their current companion seen to date on screen. No, seriously.
- Missy: Missy is pure refined character development. She starts out trying to make The Doctor like her by giving them an army of cybermen with which to conquor the universe with, but when that fails decides to change tactics and attempts to be good, with mixed consequences. Oh yeah she also created heaven. Notable for firmly impressing upon the modern audience that Time Lords could change sex, and also for continuing the New Who trend of making the Master's first appearance in a given incarnation an absolute surprise to everyone. Also fits the standard Steven Moffat trope of "horny bisexual flirtatious top" that he seems to fall into whenever writing powerful women. He matures out of this though, and not a moment too soon. Again a rare point of fan consensus in that the majority of fans consider her to be the best onscreen version of The Master, with only the Delgado!Master getting a similar level of appreciation.
- Dhawan!Master, or The Spymaster: So yeah, nobody saw this one coming! Out of the blue Chibnall hit the entire viewership in the nutsack with a new, maniacal Master who really has it out for The Doc. Continues the trend of using the Cybermen as background villains for some reason, and also uses a Tissue Compression Eliminator! No one quite knows when they'll turn up again, if they'll turn up again (though odds are on considering the largely positive audience reception to them), or where the fucking hell this incarnation fits in the timeline, considering the last one was apparently permakilled. Ah well, that's never stopped this big bad before, and probably won't ever.
- Time Lords: Ancient Civilisation who long ago mastered Time Travel. Insanely powerful scholarly types who are mostly True Neutral isolationists. Currently all dead. Again. For fuck's sake Chinball, give them a break! At times their assholes who are no better than the Daleks. Mostly because their Founding members were jerks too. The fact that these guys produced some of the Doctor's greatest enemies and their own is a testament to their assholery. Small wonder that the Doctor doesn't come home to visit very often. Notable episodes include The Deadly Assassin, Trial of a Timelord, and The Day of The Doctor.
- The Rani: John Nathan Turners's attempt to make a 'mad scientist' character that wasn't an homicidal manic in a space wheelchair. Appeared in stories that are universally considered shit, and then never appeared again. Notable for being far cleverer than both The Master and The Doctor - she was top of her science classes.
- The Valeyard: If the Doctor was a villain, he’d become the Valeyard. Literally. The Valeyard is an evil incarnation of the Doctor with none of his good qualities and all of his intelligence. Showed up for one story arc which encompassed an entire season where the Doctor was on trial but once revealed to be the Doctor, everything changed and went pear shaped. Notable for being capable of scaring the Master. Hasn’t shown up again after his one story arc, despite being either the Doctor’s darker nature given form or just the Doctor turning evil, but hey, you never know...
- Rassilon: Surprisingly not a ripoff of Shiv Palpatine, if only because Doctor Who came first. Basically Time Lord Mussolini, an incompetent warmongering dick with a serious hateboner for the Doctor.
- Sontarans: Mr Potato Men who live to fight and die in glorious combat for the Sontaran Empire. So balls to the walls crazy for war that they genetically designed themselves so that they can never retreat; their only weak spot being a probic vent at the back of their neck. Susceptible to tennis balls, however. They plan like Tzeentch itself designed them, fight like Khorne himself had designed them, and look like Nurgle himself had designed them. Now all that's missing is Slannesh. I guess that probic vent is used for more than just food then... Notable episodes include The Time Warrior, The Sontaran Experiment, and The Sontaran Strategem/The Poison Sky
- Silurians: "Homo Reptilia" who owned the planet before humankind had evolved, and will rule it again! They went to hibernation/into space when the Moon came near to the Earth, and their scientists predicted that it would collide with them. And then it didn't. And they stayed sleeping. Almost all of their stories are the same - mining operations woke up a small colony; they fuck up all humans in a ten kilometre radius; The Doctor shows up; a peace settlement that will change the planet forever is written; and then the armed forces fuck things up for everyone and lots of people die. Actually serve to show a very cynical attitude towards humanity if you look at the subtext of most plots, particularly The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood and The Silurians. Notable episodes are Doctor Who and the Silurians (should have just been called The Silurians, but a rookie forgot to remove the "Doctor Who and the" bit before the final production and so it stuck), The Sea Devils (please this technically counts), and The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood.
- Weeping Angels: Don't blink. Blink and you're dead. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't blink. In essence, the scariest damned things to be spawned from the revival. They aren't statues and they aren't angels, they just look like them. When someone sees one, they turn to stone, but if you so much as blink, they can snap your neck in a fraction of a second or send you back in time to die, while they feed off your energy from the life you could have lived. Worse, they don't have to appear solely as angels. They can be any kind of statue - though when one of them became the Statue of Liberty it kind of nullified the scare factor. Notable episodes are Blink, The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, and The Angels Take Manhattan.
- Zagreus: A Time Lord fairy tale that came to life and was some scary shit. (Listen to Neverland, Zagreus, and Scherzo for more details.
Miniatures and Doctor Who
Miniatures based on Doctor Who have been around since the Eighties. In fact, one of Citadel's earliest plastic kits was a Dalek and a Cyberman, and a few Who-inspired models were also manufactured and sold by Games Workshop itself. FASA also made a few models.
The license got picked up by Harlequin in the Eighties, who made a few minis as well as some skirmish rules. The game was a skirmish combat affair that didn't really fit the show. Harlequin went bust decades ago and the official license lapsed at some point, but BlackTree Miniatures "own a huge stock" of unsold models (or they own the moulds and simply claim they have a huge stock. No one really cares).
Character Options produced a version of Heroclix called Doctor Who Microuniverse. It wasn't really a game, and the minis were pretty awful pre-painted, 28mm-scale minis. It is now out of print, thankfully.
Warlord Games acquired the license for a Doctor Who miniatures game in 2016, which has yet to be released as of 2017. Gale Force Nine is also licensed to produce a card game based on the series.
The Doctor Who Miniatures Game
In part thanks to so many terribly produced games and models in the past, small firm Crooked Dice wrote a scenario based action adventure miniatures game and called it The Doctor Who Miniatures Game. Slick, clever, quick to play and simple to get in to, it went down very well amongst nerds.
Originally produced for fun, it found a great deal of popularity in the part of the UK wargames community who wore tweed and smoked pipes. Buoyed by this success, Crooked Dice approached the BBC for an official license. Auntie Beeb said it would cost ££££ for an official license, but then it was aluded that they could continue to produce the game provided no direct profit was made.
Crooked Dice gave the Doctor Who Miniatures Game away for free, and also produced a more generic action-adventure scenario based game called 7TV (Seventies TV, you see). So in a weird reversal of the way things are done, the generic rules cost money but the specific rules are free.
Unfortunately Crooked Dice, who already was producing "look alike" miniatures - started selling hard copies of the rules. This led to problems for them when Warlord Games acquired the Doctor Who license to produce a Miniatures Game and Miniatures - and not only was their Ruleset dropped, but also their range of unofficial Miniatures.
There have been three Doctor Who RPGs published to date. The first was produced by FASA, using the Star Trek RPG system . The FASA game was notable for its strange use Doctor Who continuity and official fluff. For example, it overused the Celestial Intervention Agency from the The Deadly Assassin episode. An odd choice.
The Time Lord RPG was closer to the series and sported a simpler system, along with mechanics that tried to emulate the show (macguffins, bench thumping etc). Published by Virgin and written by Ian Marsh and Peter Darvill-Evans, it can easily be found on the web. Legendary in the Australian con scene for one of the fastest Total Party Kills ever (GM: "You're in a moving TARDIS..."; Players: "We get out.")
A new game was made in 2010 (and remade in 2011) by Cubicle 7 Entertainment (SLA Industries, Victoriana, Starblazer Adventures), this time in conjunction with the BBC and based on the most recent series. It is rules lite, and biased against combat (much like the teevee show itself). For example: initiative depends on what you're doing, and goes in this order: Talkers, Movers, Doers and Fighters. It is a much better game than the last two, in the sense that it has modern mechanics and actually reflects the show.
- Doctor Who Minatures Game website with free downloads. Regularly updated.
- Time Lord RPG by Marsh Now out of print, but you can download this game for free.
- Cubicle 7 RPG store (10th Doctor edition) Cubicle7 doesn't have any promo material of it's own about the game. Odd.
- http://tardis.wikia.com A wordy wiki if you want to read up on the series and lore.