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Who is Doctor Who?

Updated on August 18, 2014

The Last of the Time Lords

A great icon of classic British science-fiction, Doctor Who has been on our televisions since 1963, and has seen a recent revival. Now in his 11th reincarnation, the Doctor travels through time with his companion, having amazing adventures and saving the Universe again and again.

Find out more about the Doctor, and some of the infamous adversaries he has had to fight over the years.

Don't miss new Doctor Who Season 8 starting on August 23rd...

Doctor Who
Doctor Who

Who is Dr. Who?

The Mysterious Timelord

Doctor Who is a long-running British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC about a mysterious time-travelling adventurer known as "The Doctor", who explores time and space with his companions, fighting evil. It is also the title of a 1996 television movie featuring the same character.

Dr. Who first appeared in black and white on 23 November 1963. Since that time, it has gone through many changes and has broadcast over 700 episodes. Ten actors have taken on the role of the Doctor over the years. The spawning of a new Doctor is called regeneration. The Doctor regenerates his body, conveniently allowing a new actor to take on the role.

Often due to the age and unreliability of the TARDIS's navigation system the Doctor explores the universe at random, using his extensive knowledge of science and technology to avert whatever crises he encounters. The Doctor generally travels with one or more companions. Most of these choose to travel with him, while others are accidental passengers.

The show was originally intended to present an educational view of history for children. The educational theme was soon dropped, and science fiction elements quickly took over as the main plotline. Dr. Who would battle many villains, such as his nemeses the Daleks and the Cybermen.

Before it became a cult favorite, Dr. Who was regarded as long-running joke. The special effects used in the early series were widely laughable. Comparing the special effects at the time to the effects used in films today is similar to comparing two tin cans and a piece of string with a mobile phone. Dr. Who only needed to run upstairs to escape the terrifying force that was the bubble-wrapped tin can on wheels, the Daleks.

Even though the special effects were laughable, the show was considered by some to be too upsetting for children. A moral campaigner in the 1970s, made a number of complaints to the BBC. These complaints only led to an increase in the popularity of the show.

The vehicle used to transport Dr. Who and his always female assistant around the universe was known as the Tardis. This was basically a 1950s police box. Although about the size of a portable toilet cubicle from the outside, once inside, it became very spacious. With its white interior and hi-tech chrome feel, it was remarkably similar to a 1980s bachelor pad.

Dr. Who is now going through something of a revival both in Britain and around the world. The last series drew audiences of around ten million. However, Christopher Eccleston, a highly respected actor who played Dr. Who in the 2005 season, became time-travel sick after one season and decided to jump Tardis. Dr. Who has a strong cult and inexplicably looks set to have a continued large fan base for many years.

by Vinay Choubey

Matt Smith is the New Doctor

Matt Smith is the New Doctor
Matt Smith is the New Doctor
Daleks and Cybermen
Daleks and Cybermen

From Daleks to Cybermen!

The Adversaries of Doctor Who!

The monsters in Doctor Who are legendary for their frightening nature and their rubbery, comical appearance. Whether it is the darkly efficient Master, the menacing Daleks, the fearsome Autons or the chilling Cybermen the baddies were bound to send you scurrying to hide behind the sofa.

When the series was first commissioned, the producers wanted to avoid the typical bug eyed monsters that had been popularised by science fiction. Monsters of all shapes and sizes have appeared through the life of Doctor Who.

The revival of Doctor Who in 2005 introduced us once more to the Autons. These fearsome creatures first appeared in 1970 when Jon Pertwee encountered them. These plastic, life size creatures are controlled by an alien intelligence called the Nestene Consciousness. In both the 1970 and 2005 episodes, the Autons smashed through shop windows and began to rampage the streets, attacking pedestrians.

The Cybermen are another famed adversary, due to make a re-appearance in the 2006 series. The Cybermen are cold, ruthless robots who appear virtually indestructible are hell bent on conquering the galaxy and propagating their species, as most bad guys are. Their one weakness is gold rubbed into their 'breathing' system. Responsible for many a child's nightmares, the Cyberman continued their species through forcibly converting people into Cyberman through a process known as cyber-conversion.

The renegade Time Lord known as The Master is probably the most troublesome of the Doctor's many enemies, first appearing in 1971. An extremely intelligent, cunning and cold person, the Master is obsessed with his quest for power. A master manipulator, he using hypnotism and his ability to prey upon the weak minded to gain control and further his schemes.

Possibly the most famous of the Doctors adversaries are the Daleks, a ruthless, evil race who terrified entire generations of children. These fearsome, menacing machines first appeared in 1963 and were intended by their creator, Terry Nation, to represent the Nazis, their one mission being to exterminate everyone and anything.

The Daleks came from a planet Skaros and were created by a mutant scientist called Davros. Before they donned their robotic vehicles, they were a race called the Kelad. They fought a terrible nuclear war and the few mutated survivors were further mutated by Davros who was determined to destroy his own race. Using genetic engineering he removed all emotion from the mutants and created Dalekinium for their protective robotic vehicle. Fitting them with gun sticks, the Daleks were born and set on their mission to exterminate. How many of us can remember hiding behind the sofa when their "Exterminate" cry sounded out across the airwaves!

Having been the subject of two movies and appeared in many episodes, the Daleks reappeared in the 2005 series were Christopher Eccleston encountered and defeated them.

Of course, these are just a few of the most well known adversaries the Doctor has faced, there are many more less well known foes. Whether it is Sil, Omega, the Yeti, Ice Warriors, Sea Devils, The Rani or the Sensorites, the enemies of Doctor Who have scared generations of children and entertained their parents.

by Paul Duxbury

If you are fascinated by Doctor Who then you will want to check out

The Doctor Who Guestbook

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love everything about Dr. Who. :)

    • profile image

      seegreen 6 years ago

      My daughters recently discovered a comic book store down town but it has far more than comics, they have lots of Dr Who paraphernalia too! They will be taking me down there soon and I can't wait.

    • profile image

      Tijgerdaemon 7 years ago

      Not a bad summary but the Doctor's companion is certainly not always female: Ian Chesterton, Steven Taylor, Ben Jackson, Jamie McCrimmon, Harry Sullivan, Adric, Vislor Turlough and Wilfred Mott were also companions.

    • profile image

      pembosopinon 7 years ago

      Love this show can not wait for this years special

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 7 years ago from California

      I still can't believe Gallifrey's gone! I gotta catch up. I still have all my Who paraphenelia from the 70s and 80s. Key of Time, little pewter Daleks, pinup of Nyssa, all that good stuff. :D

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Great lens! I love Dr. Who! Tom Baker is my favorite Doctor. While I don't like some aspects of the new Dr. Who (too modernized), I still enjoy watching it. I got used to David Tennant as the Doctor and will miss him. Does anyone know when the Sci-Fi channel is going to run Dr. Who again?

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 7 years ago from London

      i remember the very first episode as a kid, and the very first appearance of the Daleks really terrified me...I gave up in the Tom Baker Years, but became an ardent fan again with the new series. Can anyone replace David Tennant?

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image

      eclecticeducati1 7 years ago

      I am so sad that David Tennant is leaving the show! :( He has been a great Doctor. Great lens!

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 8 years ago

      Hopefully I will have a chance see this. I was only able to catch a few episodes of the original series as a kid and loved it! Thanks for heads up, I'll be on the look out for new episodes.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 8 years ago

      I just discovered the new series!

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 9 years ago from Cheshire UK

      I love the whole Dr Who thing and this is an excellent lensTake carePaul

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 9 years ago

      I loved those old Dr Who shows. It's been 20 years since I've seen one.