|Created by||Sydney Newman
C. E. Webber
|Opening theme||Doctor Who theme music|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||786 (As of 8 September 2012)|
|Running time||about 25 minutes (1963–1984, 1986–1989)
about 45 minutes (1985, 2005–now)
also other lengths
|Original channel||BBC One|
|Original run||Original Series:
23 November 1963 – 6 December 1989
12 May 1966
26 March 2005 – now
|Related shows||K-9 and Company
The Sarah Jane Adventures
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television series. The series is about an alien time-traveller known as "the Doctor". In his space-and-time-ship, the TARDIS, the Doctor and his companions travel through space and time.
The television series ran from 1963–1989 and started running again in 2005 It is the oldest and the longest running science fiction television series in the world.
There were also two Doctor Who movies made in the 1960s Peter Cushing played the Doctor in these movies. In 1996, there was a television movie starring Paul McGann. There have also been many Doctor Who books, comics, etc.
The story is about a man who calls himself "The Doctor". He travels in his space-time-ship TARDIS ("Time And Relative Dimension In Space"), with which he can go anywhere in time and space. Because of an error in its chameleon circuit, the outside of the TARDIS always looks like a 1960s-style British police box (similar to a blue telephone box), but on the inside the TARDIS is much bigger.
The Doctor is an alien, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. At first he traveled only with his granddaughter Susan Foreman. Later the Doctor took other people with him, who are usually called "companions" or "assistants". The Doctor and his companions travel through space and time, have a lot of adventures, and often save many people.
An often made mistake is the name of the Doctor: Many people think that the main character is named "Doctor Who" like the series, but the character is just named "The Doctor".
Doctor Who was first shown in 1963. William Hartnell played the First Doctor. The series went on with different actors as The Doctor. The 2005 restart is currently on the Eleventh Doctor. In 1989, the series stopped. A television movie, also called Doctor Who, was made in 1996. Actor Paul McGann played the Eighth Doctor, who had regenerated from the Seventh Doctor in the beginning of the movie. In 2005, the show started again, with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor. In the Guinness World Records, Doctor Who is listed as the longest running science fiction television series in the world.
The Doctor is the central character of Doctor Who. He is an alien, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. The Doctor often takes other people with him, who are usually called "companions" or "assistants". They are most often human; the most recent companion was Clara Oswald.
As a Gallifreyan, The Doctor looks like a human on the surface, but there are differences. One well-known difference is that he has two hearts. As a Time Lord, The Doctor can also regenerate, if his body is badly hurt and he dies. During the regeneration, the body is healed and renewed, which includes a different appearance and personality. The regenerated person is the same person, with the same memories and basic personality traits; but the person also looks different and a changed personality. Because of this the Doctor could be played by different actors. This made it possible for the series to be filmed over a time of fifty years without having to actually "change" the character.
Incarnations and Actors of the Doctor[change]
Up until now, the Doctor has regenerated ten times, and each "incarnation" was played by a different actor.
- First Doctor - William Hartnell (1963–1966)
- Second Doctor - Patrick Troughton (1966–1969, 1983)
- Third Doctor - Jon Pertwee (1970–1974, 1983)
- Fourth Doctor - Tom Baker (1974–1981, 1983)
- Fifth Doctor - Peter Davison (1982–1984)
- Sixth Doctor - Colin Baker (1984–1986)
- Seventh Doctor - Sylvester McCoy (1987–1996)
- Eighth Doctor - Paul McGann (1996-2005)
- Ninth Doctor - Christopher Eccleston (2005)
- Tenth Doctor - David Tennant (2005–2010)
- Eleventh Doctor - Matt Smith (2010-present)
The Doctor has been played by 11 actors in other media: theatre plays, parodies, etc. These are not officially part of the Doctor Who story. The films Dr.Who & the Daleks and Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. star Peter Cushing as a human scientist named Doctor Who. Shortly after it was announced that the series would return from its nineties hiatus, Richard E. Grant voiced The Doctor in an animated serial. The BBC issued press releases identifying Grant as the "ninth Doctor" but this was later disregarded by the revived BBC television series.
The TARDIS is the Doctor's time and space machine. There are different types of models, the best seen in the series is type 70 (used by the upper class time lords of Gallifrey). The Doctor's TARDIS is in fact a type 40. It can travel through time and space. It normally has a special feature, called the Chameleon Circuit. The Chameleon Circuit makes the TARDIS' outside change shape, so that it is disguised in whatever time and place it appears. The Chameleon Circuit on the Doctor's TARDIS is broken. It is stuck in the shape of a police telephone box. (Real police-boxes were like telephone boxes, except they were only used for people to call the police, if they had a problem. They were used by the police, sometimes as workstations until the 1960s.)
The farthest the Doctor has ever travelled in the TARDIS is to the Big Bang (the beginning of the Universe) and 100 trillion years into the future (the end of the Universe)(in the episode "Utopia"). The inside of the TARDIS is much bigger than its outside (it is "dimensionally transcendental"). It has a lot of different rooms, but the most important is the "console room," where the Doctor pilots the TARDIS.
The TARDIS stands for "Time And Relative Dimension/s In Space".
The Doctor usually takes other people with him, who are usually called "companions" or "assistants". The Doctor and his companions travel through space and time, have a lot of adventures, and often save many people. The character of the companion was there so that the people watching the series could identify and feel close to a character. The companions were often present-time humans, so people could feel close to them, and they knew as much as the viewers. Because of this, the Doctor could explain things to his companions, and at the same time to the viewers. Almost all the Doctor's companions have been human, or human-looking aliens. Two companions were robots.
The Daleks are one of the most powerful races in the Doctor Who history and are the Doctor's worst enemies. They cry "EX-TER-MIN-ATE!" when they are about to kill someone. They look like small tanks or very large pepper pots. They first appeared in the first season episode of the series (in "The Daleks") and they were last seen in the recent episode "Asylum of the Daleks" (2012). They are not robots, but horrible aliens kept in a metal casing, because they were mutated from Kaleds by their creator Davros during a war on their planet, Skaro. They can not be easily hurt by guns as their casing reflects or destroys the bullets.
Cybermen are another of the enemies of the Doctor. In the original series they come from the planet Mondas and in the new series they come from a parallel universe. Cybermen travel across the universe taking people and turning them into machines. They stomp around saying "DELETE!" and kill by electrocution. They are also vulnerable to the metal gold, and thus can be killed by gold bullets. They change their look over time but stay recognizable by "handlebars" on their heads.
The Doctor has faced them many times: the first was in "The Tenth Planet" (William Hartnell's final episode) and most recently in "A Nightmare in Silver" (Matt Smith). They are one of his worst enemies.
The Sontarans are a group of aliens that believe in war over anything else. They must face their enemy in combat because of their weak spot on the back of their neck. They have been mentioned to look like baked potatoes.
The Doctor first met them in The Time Warrior (Jon Pertwee). They have been on the show and its spinoffs repeatedly.
The Sea Devils and the Silurians lived in the time of the dinosaurs until the catastrophe of the Moon's approach drove them into hibernation. They slept longer than planned and emerged late in the 20th century. The human scientist who discovered the Silurians estimated their era incorrectly; in a later Doctor Who story it's said that they should have been classified as the Eocines. A second species of hibernating Earth reptiles lived primarily underwater. They were labeled "sea devils" by a frightened, superstitious construction worker who encountered them.
The Time Lords are the alien race the Doctor comes from. They have two hearts and can change their bodies when they get hurt. There are only a couple of them left, because many of them perished in the time war fighting against the Daleks. The Doctor and The Master are the only ones that we know of, aside from the Doctors Daughter who was created artificially so is not truly a Time Lord.
All of the Time Lords except the Doctor and the Master were killed in the "Time War", a very big war with the Daleks. The Doctor ended the war by blowing up his planet, Gallifrey, killing the Daleks and his own people. It has made him sad ever since.
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 Gordon Tipple in the ultimately unused pre-credits voiceover, then Eric Roberts, and in the three-part finale of the 2007 series, portrayed by Derek Jacobi, who then regenerated into John Simm at the conclusion of the episode "Utopia". More recently he appeared in the last (and two-part) episode of the Tenth Doctor.
An ice warrior is a species of war-like alien which previously lived on the planet Mars and ate Martian fish. When their home planet became too hot for them to live in, they moved to planets such as Peladon.
The Doctor has been played by eleven actors so far including William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, John Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGan, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith.
In the story, when Time Lords are dying, they "regenerate." This causes a Time Lord's body to completely change, healing itself at the same time. Each time this happens, Time Lords have a different appearance and a different personality. Even with such big changes, Time Lords do not become different people, and will keep their memories each time they "regenerate." This periodic change greatly extends their longevity.
A Time Lord is believed to only be able to regenerate 12 times. This means that Time Lords can have a total of 13 different incarnations. It is not clear if this was a law that the government on Gallifrey made or if this is just the way Time Lord bodies work.
A criminal incarnation of the Doctor was somehow spawned between his 12th and 13th lives. It tried to sacrifice the sixth Doctor so that he could obtain more "regenerations," allowing himself to live even longer.
The Master was already in his 13th life when he was introduced to the series. His 14th and 15th incarnations were obtained by taking over the bodies of innocent victims. When the character returned to the show in 2007, the Master was in his 16th incarnation. Soon he regenerates into his 17th incarnation. He later explains that the Time Lords resurrected him to be a great soldier when the Time Lords were fighting the Daleks in an event known as the Time War. It is likely that, having been resurrected, he had 12 more regenerations available to him.
A Time Lord can choose not to regenerate. It appears that the process happens all on its own when a Time Lord is dying, but it can be stopped if the Time Lord does not want to regenerate. This was seen when the 17th incarnation of the Master chose to die from a gunshot wound instead of living on as a prisoner in the Doctor's TARDIS.
A Time Lord's body makes a huge amount of energy when regenerating. There is so much of this "regeneration energy" that a Time Lord can regrow a body part that gets removed, as long as it happens soon enough after regenerating. When the Doctor regenerated into his 10th incarnation, his hand was cut off in a sword fight. Because it had been less than 15 hours since he had regenerated into this incarnation, he was able to quickly grow a new hand.
If a Time Lord has kept a part of his or her body that had been removed (like the 10th Doctor's hand, from before), it can be used to keep a Time Lord from regenerating. The 10th incarnation of the Doctor kept the hand that was cut off in the sword fight in a jar on board the TARDIS. Eventually, he was shot by a Dalek, and his body began the regeneration process. After his body had finished healing, but before his body could change into a new one, the Doctor sent all of the extra energy into the hand in the jar.
- Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #2, 5 September 2002, [subtitled The Complete Third Doctor], page 14
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- "Gallifrey 2011 Gallifrey One's Catch 22: Islands of Mystery". gallifreyone.com. http://www.gallifreyone.com/. Retrieved 11 April 2010.