November 01, 2023
With over 14 regenerations, hundreds of stories and all of time and space at its disposal, the Whoniverse is a vast world to explore. Read on to find the best starting point!
For newcomers to Doctor Who, the upcoming 60th anniversary special The Star Beast will be a fantastic place to start. But there’s also 60 years of Whoniverse-related content now readily available and waiting to be discovered!
For those in need of a list of some of the very best Doctor Who stories to begin their deep dive into time and space , look no further. Whether you’re new to the Whoniverse, or perhaps looking to initiate your own companion ahead of your adventures, consider checking out these helpful recommendations of where to start!
By Steven Moffat
“Don't turn your back, don't look away, and don't blink. Good luck.”
Heard of the Weeping Angels? The terrifying Doctor Who villains – statues that only move when unobserved? This episode marks their chilling debut. Hollywood star Carey Mulligan plays Sally Sparrow, a photographer interested in old things. “They make me feel sad,” she muses as she drags her friend Kathy along for an impromptu visit to the abandoned house, Wester Drumlins. “Sad is happy for deep people.”
The house is occupied by Weeping Angels – so-called ‘lonely assassins’ that appear as statues when you’re looking at them, but as soon as you turn your back, they’re faster than you can believe. If you’re touched by an Angel, you’re sent back in time, where you’re doomed to live out the rest of your days, while the Angels feed on the ‘potential energy’ of the life you never lived. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens to Kathy.
Luckily, Sally has a friend to help her. Peeling back layers of wallpaper, she discovers messages from a time gone by that have eerie relevance to her current situation. The Doctor is trapped in 1969 and can communicate with her through these messages and through Easter eggs hidden on DVDs.
This adventure is a timey-wimey tale, and one that explores how the Doctor’s world can touch the lives of regular, everyday people. Even though it’s Doctor-lite, it’s classic Doctor Who, complete with peril, time travel and plenty of reasons to hide behind the sofa. A brilliant story to start with!
By Richard Curtis
“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”
When the Doctor takes the charismatic Amy (played by Guardians of the Galaxy star Karen Gillan) to see the work of Vincent Van Gogh at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, they notice there’s something wrong with one of the paintings. Peeking out from behind a window of The Church at Auvers is a creature that shouldn’t be there. The pair hops into the TARDIS and jumps back in time to meet Vincent and find out what’s going on.
Upon arriving in Auvers-sur-Oise, it’s clear that things are amiss. A young girl has been murdered, and the blame is put squarely on Vincent and his ‘madness’. Never appreciated in his time, unpopular artist Vincent was a commercial failure. He grappled with depression and was prone to frequent emotional outbursts. However, the way he perceived the world around him was unique. Colours spoke to him, making him obsessed with capturing nature’s mysteries and enabling him to create works that we describe as magnificent today, but were dismissed as rubbish in his time.
It's this unique perception that enables Vincent to see the very thing no one else can see – the creature in the church window, and perhaps the very thing responsible for the recent murders. Together with the Doctor and Amy, they pursue this invisible beast, developing a close relationship along the way. The Doctor and Amy know that they can never change Vincent’s inevitable ending – it’s written in history. But at least they can add to his pile of good things. The heartwarming tale is a perfect emotional beginning!
By Jamie Mathieson
“You are monsters! that is the role you seem determined to play. So it seems that I must play mine. The man that stops the monsters.”
The TARDIS is normally always bigger on the inside, but when a malevolent force begins draining its energy, the outside gets even smaller. So small that the Doctor gets trapped inside! Thankfully he can still just about hand his companion Clara (Jenna Coleman) the sonic screwdriver and psychic paper through the miniaturised Police Box doors, so that she can find out exactly what’s going on. With people disappearing from the streets of Bristol, Clara has no choice but to become the Doctor herself!
Joining forces with Rigsy, a graffiti artist on community service, Clara explores the home of the first disappearance. There, she discovers that the painting on the wall is in fact a human nervous system, turned into a two-dimensional shape! It soon becomes apparent that a murderous alien force originating from a two-dimensional universe is turning people into murals. What’s worse is that they can enter the third dimension by taking the form of the people they’ve killed! With the Doctor in her ear and tiny TARDIS in her bag, Clara has to be resourceful to win against these unsettling monsters.
Flatline is a fantastic gateway episode showing exactly how creepy Doctor Who can be, plus what it means to be the eponymous hero, the Doctor. Plus, who can resist that tiny TARDIS?
By Chris Chibnall
“Because something seems impossible. We try, it doesn't work, we try again, we learn, we improve, we fail again, but, better, we make friends, we learn to trust, we help each other. We get it wrong again, we improve together, then ultimately succeed. Because this is what being alive is.”
Ever felt stuck in a loop? It probably wasn’t like this one. Following the events of the Flux in the previous series, the Doctor attempts to correct some of the damage to her beloved space-time ship by resetting the TARDIS. Only, by doing so, she triggers a time loop, attracts the attention of the Daleks and even worse, gets stuck repeating the same visit to a storage facility over and over. If that wasn’t bad enough, these aren’t just any Daleks; they’re a special execution squad with increased firepower, sent to take revenge on the Doctor for destroying their war fleet.
Meanwhile, Nick has a crush. Every New Year’s Eve, he makes a visit to ELF Storage, just to see the owner, Sarah. Sarah has always dreamed of travelling the world but is instead stuck celebrating New Year’s Eve on her own at the storage unit, without the help of her colleague. The Daleks then proceed to arrive and kill everyone.
Except, of course, this is a time loop. Time resets and everyone finds themselves back where they were minutes ago. Realising the nature of their situation, the Doctor, Yaz, Dan, Sarah and Nick must come up with a plan to defeat the Daleks and escape the loop. But with midnight approaching, and the loop getting shorter every minute, they have to be very clever...
Time loops? The Doctor’s classic enemy, badder than ever? Unrequited love? All classic ingredients for a Doctor Who adventure!
By Terry Nation
“Tomorrow, we will be the masters of planet Skaro!”
Time for some Classic Who now, and what better story than the first appearance of the Doctor’s immortal enemy! The Daleks took the world by storm when they made their debut, sucker-first, in 1963. They have gone on to fight almost every Doctor on-screen, with their pepper-pot design, chilling movement, and rasping scream of ‘EXTERMINATE!’ all originating here. The Daleks are an integral part of Doctor Who history, and their introduction is a must-watch for anyone wishing to know the origins of these fearsome beings.
Landing in a jungle on the Daleks’ home planet of Skaro, the Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara know nothing of their future adversaries. The crafty old Doctor coerces his companions into exploring the nearby city, claiming the TARDIS needs mercury for the ‘fluid link’ to function. In reality, he sabotaged the ship to force them to explore. He quickly realises that this was a mistake once he meets the Daleks for the first time and discovers that he and his friends have been exposed to lethal radiation.
These Daleks thrive on radiation and plan to irradiate the planet’s surface, which is a pity for Skaro’s other indigenous species, the Thals. Finding themselves stuck in the middle of a war, the Doctor and his companions must cure their radiation poisoning and help the Thals retaliate if they have any hope of escaping!
The Doctor’s first adventure in space and time, two humans’ first experience with aliens, and the most merciless creatures in the universe? A great place to start!
By David Agnew (Douglas Adams, Graham Williams and David Fisher)
“There we are, the Louvre. One of the greatest art galleries in the whole galaxy.”
With its witty script, on-location filming in Paris and delightful soundtrack, City of Death wouldn’t be so out of place within a modern episode of Doctor Who. While enjoying a relaxing break in Paris, the Doctor and Romana notice some suspicious alien activity at the Louvre. Someone’s been scanning the security systems that protect the Mona Lisa and the ill-tempered detective Duggan suspects that a certain Countess may be hatching a plan to steal it…
Featuring a villain fragmented across time, a brief journey back to visit the Doctor’s old pal Leonardo Da Vinci and another trip to the dawn of life on Earth, City of Death is the perfect story for those in the mood for something a little more timey-wimey. Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor delights in experiencing art and culture across the ages, using the TARDIS to enjoy life to the fullest. In fact, the TARDIS itself is even considered to be a work of art at one point! A great start for anyone looking to get into some Classic Who.
Where would you recommend to start?