Happy birthday, Doctor Who! 56 years ago today, the first episode hit our screens and the rest, as they say, is history!
But if you have a TARDIS, history is just a list of potential destinations. Travel with us down the timeline of Doctor Who and visit 13 fixed points in the show’s history that can never be changed!
An Unearthly Child
The beginning of the legend. School teachers Ian and Barbara followed one of their pupils home, ended up in a junkyard, met a strange old man and entered an impossible police box that was bigger on the inside. Little did they know, both in the show and behind the scenes, that it was kicking off the journey of a lifetime…
SEEK! LOCATE! EXTERMINATE! The Daleks glided their way into the Whoniverse and made their first appearance in the show’s second ever storyline. They captured the imagination of the nation, as well as sending viewers cowering behind their sofas for the first time! The Daleks were a hit with everyone, except for the Doctor and the TARDIS crew. Understandably, they weren’t so keen on the death machines from Skaro…
The Tenth Planet
Regeneration is one of Doctor Who’s defining features and (we might be a bit biased on this) one of the best science fiction concepts ever conceived. While we’ve seen the Doctor change a dozen(ish!) times, it was a brand-new concept in 1966. Brilliant, revolutionary and bold, the change from one Doctor to the next is exciting now as it was then.
Spearhead from Space
The title sequence was in colour, the Doctor was in colour, everything was in colour! The Third Doctor collapsed out of the TARDIS - now in full TARDIS blue - and back into the life of UNIT’s Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart to help him repel an Auton invasion.
The Three Doctors
As the title suggests, the first three Doctors came together to fight a single foe, the ancient Time Lord Omega! Celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the show, The Three Doctors set the standard for anniversary specials to come by uniting several incarnations of the Doctor to fight threats they couldn’t face alone.
Genesis of The Daleks
Genesis of the Daleks is notable for introducing Davros, the insane creator of the Daleks. The Doctor was returned to the Dalek home-world of Skaro by the Time Lords to prevent the creation of the Daleks. The Doctor and Davros continued to clash over their lifetimes, with Davros occasionally working against his own creations!
The Five Doctors
For the twenty-year anniversary, they took the template laid down by The Three Doctors and turned it up to five (Doctors)! It wasn’t just the Doctors who united this time, but their companions as well. The Five Doctors had it all - a Dalek! Cybermen! The Master! The perfect celebration of everything that had come before.
Season 26 was the final full season of adventures before the show regenerated in 2005. The last story Survival pitted the Doctor and Ace against the Master for the fate of the planet of the Cheetah people. It culminated in the Doctor and Ace heading back to the TARDIS to continue their travels. Even though we’d never seen the pair reunited for further TV adventures, it wasn’t the last we’d see of the Doctor before the next full series…
Doctor Who: The Movie
We never got much of a chance to see the Eighth Doctor, but the short time we had with him was glorious. The Eighth Doctor was a new, dashing, romantic hero who zipped around San Francisco to foil an evil scheme of the Master. Doctor Who: The Movie was all we had of Paul McGann’s incarnation of the Doctor on-screen for over a decade. He would get a final adventure that led into the 50th anniversary special, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves!
The wait for the debut of the Ninth Doctor was longer than the one for the Eighth Doctor, but it was totally worth it! Bursting into the life of Rose Tyler, the Doctor came to London to deal with an old enemy, the Autons. The Doctor was back on our screens, with a new TARDIS control room and a new companion. Fantastic!
The Day of the Doctor
To celebrate 50 years of Doctor Who, we got a story full of nods to the past and looks to the future. The Tenth Doctor reappeared and there was a brief glimpse of the Twelfth Doctor before we’d even see the Eleventh Doctor regenerate! Uniting all the currently-known incarnations of the Doctor (sorry Thirteen!), The Day of the Doctor teamed them all up to save Gallifrey from its destruction in the Time War. If that wasn’t enough, we met an incarnation of the Doctor we never knew existed played by John Hurt!
The Woman Who Fell to Earth
The Thirteenth Doctor arrived with a literal bang! Crashing into a train carriage after falling to Earth, she burst into the lives of Graham, Ryan, Yaz and the hearts of everyone watching. The four of them came together to become ‘Team TARDIS’ and began travelling the universe, sorting out fair play wherever they went.
From then to now. Along the way, we’ve seen that the best anniversaries not only look at what has been, but also at what’s to come! So, here’s a pulse-pounding, thrilling sneak peek of what the future holds!
Here’s to many more momentous dates to come!