5for5: 53 Facts You Might Not Have Known About DW


  Happy Doctor Who Day! 53 years young and still going, the phenomenon that is Doctor Who continues to inspire, amaze, occasionally frustrate but more often delight millions of viewers across the planet. To celebrate DW Day, 5for5 is pulling some overtime and has collected 53 facts you might not have known about our favourite Time Lord…


  •  A small asteroid belt discovered in 1984 is named TARDIS in honour of the show
  • If all of the on-screen evidence is to be believed, The Doctor has been married at least 4 times; on Gallifrey to an unknown person, to River Song, to Marylin Monroe, and to Queen Elizabeth the 1st. He was also accidentally engaged to an Aztec woman after they shared a cup of cocoa.
  • Tom Baker would frequently rattle off phone numbers for the BBC production offices when the scripts called for him to relate galactic co-ordinates or other long sets of numbers.
  • The term “regeneration” was not introduced until 1974’s Planet Of The Spiders. Time Lord was not used until 1969
  • Hugh Grant, Tim Curry, Jim Carey, Tom Selleck, Harrison Ford, Ron Moody, Richard Griffiths, Benedict Cumberbatch, Bill Nighy, Eric Idle, and many others were offered or considered for the role of The Doctor over the years.
  • Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, was working in the BBC production department in the early 60s, and had he still been there at the time the Daleks were introduced to the series, would have been responsible for coming up with their design. (Scott left the BBC just a few weeks before DW began filming)
  • Unlike today, the original series never had a “bible” or continuity guide to keep it consistent. In later years, producers would often consult fans on continuity matters.
  • The Daleks had their own novelty Christmas record. Seriously.

  • There are actual lyrics to the DW theme which were “sung” by Jon Pertwee. Serioulsy.

  • The BBC own the copyright to the Police Box; it was purchased from the Metropolitan Police when the Police Boxes were discontinued.
  • Verity Lambert, the show’s first producer, was the BBC’s first ever female producer.
  • Peter Capaldi is a life long superfan of the show who had letters and artwork published in DW Magazine in the 70s.
  • The Beatles cameo appearance in The Chase was intended to be a full guest spot with the band members appearing as older men in the 90s, but Beatles manager Brian Epstein vetoed the idea. The performance that was used is footage from a Top Of the Pops episode, which, like many DW serials was lost due to the BBC policy of erasing and taping over video to save money.
  • David Tennant is married to Georgia Moffet, who played his genetic offspring in The Doctor’s Daughter.
  • And Moffet is the daughter of Fifth Doctor portrayer Peter Davison.
  • Torchwood was a anagram Russel T Davies used on labels of the final prints of DW episodes to prevent leaks. He liked the title so much he used it as the name for his Who Spin-off.
  • In the U.S. the syndicated version of the show was not shown in it’s cliffhanger, multiple part format. The American networks would edit all the parts together and air it as a packaged “DW movie” version on weekends or late nights. In Canada, the multi-part format was maintained.
  • Taking away the actor who appeared as The Doctor when he was a child in Listen, Matt Smith was the youngest actor to be cast in the role, at age 27. John Hurt is the oldest to be cast, at 72.
  • Although Russel T Davies rightly receives much credit for reviving the series, it was BBC One Controller Lorraine Heggessey who was largely responsible for the return of the show; she convinced BBC Worldwide (who had control of the DW rights at the time) to let go of their plans to make a feature film version of DW so a TV series could be produced. She also hired Davies as show runner.
  • Ian Marter, who played Harry Sullivan, also wrote several novelizations of the series
  • The TARDIS materialization “sound” is classified a piece of music and owned by the BBC
  • Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart has appeared in the most episodes as a companion, having been featured in 23 episodes. Jamie McCrimmon is the longest serving continuing companion, having featured in 20 consecutive episodes, as well as in The Two Doctors and a cameo in The Five Doctors
  • There is a actual medical condition, called Synaethesia, in which patients report they can “see time” in a manner similar to that described by The Doctor.
  • Kate Winslet was considered for the role of River Song.
  • Just as it is described in the show, producers wanted the TARDIS to blend into the surroundings of each story by use of the oft-mentioned chamelion circuit. Budget concerns dictated that the circuit be rendered ineffective in the pilot episode to explain why the ship maintained the Police Box form.
  • The pilot episode, An Unearthly Child, was repeated the week after it aired for two reasons; it first aired a day after the JFK assasination which led to low audience numbers, and there was a wide spread power outage that prevented it airing nationwide.
  • When the series was put on hiatus in 1985, the BBC was flooded with angry phone calls. Patrick Troughton was on hand at the BBC at the time and reportedly helped out by fielding several phone calls, identifying himself to one surprised caller.
  • There is not one scene set inside the TARDIS during Season 25. This was due to the fact that the TARDIS console set was visibly damaged and badly in need of replacement.
  • Tom Baker joined a monastery at age 15.
  • And during his time with the show he tried to produce a big screen movie called “Doctor Who Meets Scratchman”, which reportedly was to co-star Vincent Price as The Devil and feature a climatic battle on a galactic Pin-Ball machine.
  • Unlike the current series, the original DW was totally unsuccessful at getting any spin-off programs off the ground. Planned series focusing on the Daleks, UNIT and the Jago and Litefoot characters from The Talons Of Weng Chiang never made it to the pilot stage. The only spin-off that did make it to production was K-9 And Company: A Girl’s Best Friend starring Liz Sladen and John Leeson as Sarah Jane and K-9. The pilot aired as a Christmas special in 1981.
  • A Welsh Priest, Father Dean Atkins, once held a DW themed service in a Cardiff church to attract the attention of young people, in 2007. The next year Priests were encouraged to use examples from the series in their sermons to follow up on the success of Atkins service.
  • In the 80s, series co-creator Sydney Newman wrote a scathing letter to BBC controller Michael Grade calling on him to make changes to address the program’s dwindling ratings. Newman’s suggestion was to recast The Doctor as a woman.
  • And speaking of Michael Grade, although he is widely lambasted by Who fans for being  the executive who finally cancelled the original series, it was actually Johnathan Powell who axed the show.
  • And speaking of Sydney Newman, he also co-created The Avengers, although he didn’t get on screen credit for it and took the BBC to court to try to get recognition.
  • Unlike the current series, sexual tension and flirtation between the Doctor and his companions was strictly forbidden by John Nathan Turner during his time as producer in the 70s and 80s. Peter Davison reported that he was not even allowed to put his arms around his female companions for fear it might suggest “hanky-panky”
  • Although Ron Grainer is credited as the creator of the iconic theme, it was actually BBC Radiophonic Workshop technician Delia Derbyshire who provided almost all of it’s contents using first of it’s kind sampling techniques. She received no royalties from the theme or on screen recognition due to the BBC’s policy of not crediting technicians.
  • The BBC were close to cancelling the revived series when David Tennant announced his departure; they felt he had become so popular that replacing him would damage the ratings. Russel T Davies convinced them to carry on.
  • The Weeping Angels are not props; they are played by actors who have to stay very, very still.
  • Captain Jack Harkness is named after Agatha Harkness from the Fantastic Four comics.
  • "So is this Agatha...single?"

    “So is this Agatha…single?”

  • Richard Dawkins, who appears as himself in The Stolen Earth, is married to Lalla Ward, who played Romana II in the original series.
  • Scriptwriter Anthony Steven claimed that while writing Colin Baker’s debut episode The Twin Dilemma his typewriter spontaneously exploded. 
  • Although they both appeared in The Five Doctors, it was not until 2006’s Doomsday that the Cybermen and The Daleks met face to face on screen.
  • And speaking of the Daleks, they almost didn’t appear in the new series; the estate of Dalek creator Terry Nation owned the copyright to the characters and could not come to terms with the BBC over the use of them. The dispute got very nasty for a time, with the estate accusing the Beeb of “trying to ruin the brand of the Daleks” before an agreement was struck just a few weeks before production began.
  • Diana Gabaldon was inspired to create her best selling Outlander series after seeing an episode of The War Games on PBS. 
  • The word TARDIS is so well known in the UK it has been added to the Oxford Dictionary.
  • Wendy Padbury, who played Zoe Heriot, is now an agent and discovered Matt Smith as a young actor.
  • Even more Daleks! In 2009, volunteers clearing a pond in Hampshire found a submerged Dalek. Nobody quite knows how it got there.

OLD DALEK HEAD FOUND IN POND...EX-POND-INATE! Dalek rescued from village pond. A pond-clearance team got the shock of their lives when a Dr Who Dalek head popped up from the murky depths. Team members were using rakes to bring up debris from the pond, in the New Forest, Hampshire. Marc Oakland, clad in waders, had already fished out an old table football game, dozens of lager cans and even a muddy skateboard. But then he noticed something round and grey rising up from the muddy water. "I'd just shifted a tree branch with my foot," said Marc. "I noticed something dark and round slowly coming up to the surface. I got the shock of my like when a dalek head bobbed up right infront of me! The sales executive, 42, said: "It must have been down there for some time. It was covered in mould and water weed, and had quite a bit of damage. "But the eye-stalk was intact and the head and neck stayed in one piece as I carefully lifted it out." Pond warden Tony Brown, 70, was leading the volunteer squad clearing dumped rubbish from the pond in a village near Beaulieu, Hampshire. He said: "We made a very thorough search of the rest of the bottom of the pond and there were definitely no alien remnants lurking. "We've all agreed it best to keep the pond's exact location under wraps. The last thing we want are sci-fi fans descending on the pond frantically seraching for other dalek parts!" Mr Brown, who trained as a pond warden with Southern Water, has been helping clear out the area for the past eight years. He said many wildlife species lived happily in the secluded waters, but children regularly threw beercans, broken bottles and fence posts into it. "We've dredged up everything from shopping trolleys, toys, and bicycles. But this is the first time a dalek's appeared. And we have no idea how it ended up in there, or how long ago." Pictured: Marc Oakland Contributed Charles Baker/Solent News 02380 458800 WEBSITE USAGE: 50 per image, unless written agreement already in place wit

  • The 1965 episode Mission To The Unknown is the only one to not feature The Doctor, the TARDIS or any companions




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s