48 Other Things We Love About Doctor Who

To celebrate Doctor Who’s anniversary today, here’s a gloriously pointless article about some of the little things about the show that we love

(opens in new tab)

Why do we adore Doctor Who ? There are thousands of reasons, and you can probably guess some of the more obvious ones – the TARDIS, the Daleks, the Cybermen, Sarah Jane… But there are countless little esoteric things that get us excited too.

So, what follows is a list of the trivial details that make us smile; the idiosyncratic and the offbeat; the recurring themes that delight. It’s highly selective and by no means definitive (indeed, this is a cut-down and updated version of a list of 100 things previously published in our 2010 Who special – 48 just seemed like the right number to pick out for this occasion).


(opens in new tab)

Cracks. Seaweed. The London Underground. Statues. Maggots. Spiders. Dolls. Mannequins. Teachers. Scarecrows. Policemen. Daffodils. TV sets. More policemen. Children’s drawings. Satnavs. Santas. Rocks. Chairs. Shadows. Lifts. Policemen again. Telephone cables. Old people. Balloons. Blimey, sometimes it seems like there’s practically nothing left that couldn’t be a murderous alien threat…


(opens in new tab)

The bits in the novelisations that weren’t in the stories as they were transmitted. Such as The Dinosaur Invasion ’s Shughie McPherson, a Glaswegian football supporter who wakes in an abandoned street, then comes a cropper to something lizardy. Or the prologue to The Time Warrior , which explains how Linx the Sontaran came to arrive on Earth. Then there were the books that provided completely new introductions to the characters; so in An Exciting Adventure With The Daleks , Ian meets the Doctor, Susan and Barbara on a foggy common after a car crash. Magic moments like this make any amount of barely dressed-up he-said-she-said bearable.


This Steve Parkhouse creation from the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip was a Whifferdill, a shapeshifter who could, theoretically, assume any form, but spent most of his time as a flightless bird… Yes, for nearly four years, the Doctor’s companion was a talking penguin. But the character was so darn likeable that you soon forgot how ludicrous that was. And he did take attention away from the Sixth Doctor’s coat (which, you may notice, doesn’t get a mention in this list, but feel free to post a complaint in the comments section about the omission). We urge you to buy the Voyager and The World Shapers graphic novels.


Two types here. Firstly, early roles for the likes of Martin Clunes, dressed in a ludicrous man-skirt and space-earrings in “Snakedance” (1983). Secondly, early sightings of fans who later “went pro”, like the rather supercilious reader letter in Doctor Who Weekly from a pre-Adric Matthew Waterhouse, or the one by “Human Nature” scribe Paul Cornell in Doctor Who Monthly #70, in which he remarks that Janet Fielding (Tegan) “looked like Kermit the frog” in a poster. But both are topped by a 1986 edition of BBC viewer-response show Open Air , in which a youthful new-series scribe Chris Chibnall (clad in flecked grey jacket and retina-scorching yellow tie) informed writers Pip and Jane Baker that their scripts for “The Trial Of A Time Lord” “could have been slightly better written”. Ouch.


(opens in new tab)

Right, let’s sort this out once and for all: what’s the lead character’s name – the Doctor, or Doctor Who? Silly question. It’s Doctor Oho, of course. Well, that’s what it says in the Hartnell title sequence, ever so briefly (in order to create a symmetrical howl-around image, or summat).


About Fox

Check Also

10 games like Assassin’s Creed to take a leap of faith on

If the latest Viking escapades with Eivor have given you a taste for games like …

Leave a Reply