Doctor Who on Television

Doctor Who's origin is in television, and for many fans is where the character belongs. The show first aired on the 23rd of November 1963 at 5.15p.m., the day after the assassination of American President John F. Kennedy. Because of the furor surrounding the real world events of the time (and a widespread power failure that meant many people didn't get to see that first showing), the first episode, An Unearthly Child, was repeated a week later just before the airing of the second episode. The format of the show was episodic, with stories running over several weeks and individual episodes ending in cliff hangers leading into the next part. At first each episode carried an on-screen title, but the actual overall titles were not widely known. Fans gave stories their own names, often the title of the initial episode, and when more "accurate" titles were discovered on BBC documents years later, a lot of (often pedantic) renaming began - hence several early stories are known by a variety of names.

The show rapidly grew into a British institution, and if one story can be pinpointed as the start of this process, it would have to be the second story, generally known as The Daleks, which introduced the Doctor's greatest enemies, a race of hate filled beings who travelled around in heavily armoured survival suits. Another landmark in the show's history came when the original lead actor left the show; deciding that since he was an alien, the producers recast his part and made it a feature of the story - the Doctor had become so old that his body had failed him, and so he was forced to rejuvenate (later regenerate was the term used). The success of this ploy guaranteed the show a longevity others could not match, allowing the show to reinvent itself every so often. It ran for 26 years, the final regular episode airing on the 6th December 1989, when ratings (and more truthfully a huge dollop of BBC internal politics and a Director General who admitted he hated science fiction) brought it to an end. Well, not really. Because the show, like the Doctor himself, is incredibly hard to kill. Since it "ended" there has been a TV movie (a pilot for a new series which didn't happen), an aborted thirtieth anniversary special, a charity thirtieth anniversary special (which the Beeb classified officially as a "pantomime" on their records), a 1999 Comic Relief special (apparently the highest rated part of the show), and an incredible number of novels and audio plays and comic strips, and so on. Like the Doctor, the show can turn up almost anywhere. And like the Doctor, although the form might change and initially be hard to recognise,  at heart it's still the same man (and show) that people grew up with. The Doctor lives!

Sadly though he's not all there. Thanks to a short sighted policy by the BBC in the sixties and seventies many episodes of Doctor Who were destroyed, to free storage space. Whole stories were  thrown in the incinerator. Over the years the odd episode has been discovered, often from foreign stations who had bought copies off the BBC to show abroad. But even with this, there are over 100 episodes of the show still missing, presumed lost forever.

First in our more in depth look at the show, is the obligatory story listing. I've listed alternate titles that have been in common usage for each show, but for information such as broadcast dates and synopsis, you'll have to wait until I get time to do an episode by episode breakdown - there are plenty of other sites and various reference books that can already provide this, so I'll be concentrating on stuff I feel is less well covered elsewhere first.

Season 1

100,000 BC, a.k.a. A Tribe of Gum, a.k.a. An Unearthly Child

The Daleks, a.k.a The Mutants, a.k.a. The Dead Planet

Inside the Spaceship, a.k.a. The Edge of Destruction, a.k.a. Beyond the Sun

Marco Polo, a.k.a. A Journey to Cathay

The Keys of Marinus

The Aztecs

The Sensorites

The Reign of Terror

Season 2

Planet of Giants

The Dalek Invasion of Earth

The Rescue

The Romans

The Web Planet

The Crusade

The Space Museum

The Chase

The Time Meddler

Season 3

Galaxy 4

Mission to the Unknown

The Myth Makers

The Dalek Masterplan

The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve

The Ark

The Celestial Toymaker

The Gunfighters - the last story to have individual episode titles.

The Savages

The War Machines

Season 4

The Smugglers

The Tenth Planet

The Second Doctor takes over

The Power of the Daleks

The Highlanders

The Underwater Menace

The Moonbase

The Macra Terror

The Faceless Ones

The Evil of the Daleks

Season 5

The Tomb of the Cybermen

The Abominable Snowmen

The Ice Warriors

The Enemy of the World

The Web of Fear

Fury from the Deep

The Wheel in Space - This story was followed by a repeat of Evil of the Daleks, shown as an in context continuation of the series through the plot device of the Doctor showing his new companion Zoe what she might be letting herself in for on a viewscreen. Thus:

Evil of the Daleks (repeat)

Season 6

The Dominators

The Mind Robber

The Invasion

The Krotons

The Seeds of Death

The Space Pirates

The War Games

Season 7

The Third Doctor debuts and the show moves into colour. The seasons also become far shorter, moving from over 40 episodes a year to between 24 to 26.

Spearhead from Space

Doctor Who and The Silurians

The Ambassadors of Death


Season 8

Terror of the Autons

The Mind of Evil

The Claws of Axos

Colony in Space

The Dæmons

Season 9

Day of the Daleks

The Curse of Peladon

The Sea Devils

The Mutants

The Time Monster

Season 10

The Three Doctors

Carnival of Monsters

Frontier in Space

Planet of the Daleks

The Green Death

Season 11

The Time Warrior

Invasion of the Dinosaurs

Death to the Daleks

The Monster of Peladon

Planet of the Spiders

The Fourth Doctor takes over

Season 12


The Ark in Space

The Sontaran Experiment

Genesis of the Daleks

Revenge of the Cybermen

Season 13

Terror of the Zygons

Planet of Evil

Pyramids of Mars

The Android Invasion

The Brain of Morbius

The Seeds of Doom

Season 14

The Masque of Mandragora

The Hand of Fear

The Deadly Assassin

The Face of Evil

The Robots of Death

The Talons of Weng-Chiang

Season 15

Horror of Fang Rock

The Invisible Enemy

Image of the Fendahl

The Sun Makers


The Invasion of Time

Season 16

The Ribos Operation

The Pirate Planet

The Stones of Blood

The Androids of Tara

The Power of Kroll

The Armageddon Factor

Season 17

Destiny of the Daleks

City of Death

The Creature from the Pit

Nightmare of Eden

The Horns of Nimon

Shada - never finished because of a strike, and hence never aired.

Season 18

The Leisure Hive


Full Circle

State of Decay

Warriors' Gate

The Keeper of Traken


The fourth Doctor gives way to the fifth.

Season 19


Four to Doomsday


The Visitation

Black Orchid



Season 20

Arc of Infinity


Mawdryn Undead



The King's Demons

20th Anniversary Special, not part of a Season

The Five Doctors

Season 21

Warriors of the Deep

The Awakening


Resurrection of the Daleks

Planet of Fire

The Caves of Androzani

The fifth Doctor bows out and the sixth replaces him.

The Twin Dilemma

Season 22

Attack of the Cybermen

Vengeance on Varos

The Mark of Rani

The Two Doctors


Revelation of the Daleks

Season 23 (delayed by the BBC, meaning the original stories were junked - see the Missing Adventures section)

The Mysterious Planet


Terror of the Vervoids

The Ultimate Foe

Season 24

The Doctor hits his head and regenerates into the Seventh Doctor

Time and the Rani

Paradise Towers

Delta and the Bannermen


Season 25

Remembrance of the Daleks

The Happiness Patrol

Silver Nemesis

The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

Season 26


Ghost Light

The Curse of Fenric


The TV Movie

Doctor Who - the seventh Doctor departs, and the eighth arrives.

As well as the series, the Doctor has made appearances in a number of other shows, most often in comedy sketches or charity specials (and in one notable case, a special that fitted both of those descriptions).

In character appearances of the Doctor

Disney Time 1975 (presented by Tom Baker in character as the Doctor)

Prime Computers Adverts

The Master (five minute short)

U.N.I.T. Recruitment Film

In A Fix With Sontarans (special spot within Jim'll Fix It Show)

Search Out Space (part of the Search Out Science educational series, presented by Sylvester McCoy in character as the Doctor, Sophie Aldred in character as Ace, and John Leeson, in character as K-9)

Dimensions in Time

Comedy Sketches with New Doctors


Lenny Henry

Lilly Savage

Curse of the Fatal Death

The Pitch of Fear

The Web of Caves

The Kidnappers


Lively Arts: Whose Doctor Who

Bigger on the Inside

The Antique Doctor Who Roadshow

Missing In Action

I Was That Monster

Resistance Is Useless

(More Than) Thirty Years In the TARDIS

Doctor Who Night - including Adventures in Time and Space; How to Live Together; Carnival of Monsters; How to Build a TARDIS.

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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