Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month: A Guide to Doctor Who


A lot of the Sci-Fi Month participants are big fans of Doctor Who. But what about those of you that aren’t? As today is the fiftieth anniversary of the show I’ve put together a guide to the show (as best as I can…) for people who don’t know much about it and would like to know more, or any new fans!  Don’t forget to check out the schedule for the rest of today’s posts. You can also Tweet about the event using the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.


What is Doctor Who? It’s a British TV series that started in 1963, about a Timelord known as ‘the Doctor’ who travels through space and time in his TARDIS. Aided by a variety of trusty companions, he saves people, civilisations, worlds – even the universe.

Or, if you’d like the more long-winded Wikipedia synopsis:

Doctor Who is a British science-fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord—a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor. He explores the universe in his TARDIS (acronym: Time and Relative Dimension in Space), a sentient time-travelling space ship. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Along with a succession of companions, the Doctor faces a variety of foes while working to save civilisations, help ordinary people, and right wrongs.

Timelord? TARDIS?? Timelords are time-travelling humanoid aliens from the planet Gallifrey. They are able to see all of time, as it was, as it is and as it will be – hence their name. They prevent time from being altered or re-written. Timelords also have two hearts and are capable of regenerating, meaning they change their appearance and essentially are reborn, instead of dying (each different appearance is known as a ‘regeneration’). A Timelord can be killed though, if they use up all their regenerations or are killed whilst regenerating. The number of maximum regenerations was stated as thirteen, but the shows producers and writers have recently hinted that more regenerations are available.

And as for the TARDIS… well you must have seen this at least once before:

Vrrrrroom… vrrrrrooom!

The TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) is the preferred method of transport for a Timelord. It is a spaceship, and the Doctor’s takes the appearance of a police telephone box. Doesn’t look very roomy does it? Well… it’s bigger on the inside.

The TARDIS interior often changes with each regeneration, and this particular TARDIS interior belongs to the Eleventh Doctor. We’re often told (but don’t get to see) about the various rooms in the TARDIS, including a swimming pool and a library (or occasionally a swimming pool in the library).
Regenerations? Do explain… Time for a handy infographic!

These are the many faces of the Doctor. He has currently changed his face eleven times, and as Matt Smith is leaving this year, will regenerate for a twelfth time soon. Each regeneration is like a different person, with his own personality and traits. For example, Eleven is rather childish, and has an obsession with bow ties. In comparison, Nine was much more serious (and Northern). Four was unpredictable, with a quirky sense of humour but could also be rather somber. However the Doctor retains all memories from previous regenerations.
You mentioned the Doctor has ‘companions’? Yep, throughout the show the Doctor has always had at least one other person travelling with him (apart from the occasional special episode). It would take a long time to talk about all the previous companions, so I’m going to introduce you to the companions from New Who (the rebooted version of the show from 2005). You can read about the others here though (may contain spoilers). 

What about all the evil that the Doctor fights? The Doctor never really fights, a lot of his battles involve outwitting the enemy. I don’t want to go into too much detail about the villains of Doctor Who, as part of the fun is seeing what they can actually do, so instead I’ve put together a collage of various monsters and villains! If you want to read more about the creatures that the Doctor and his companions encounter, the BBC website has some great monster profiles.
1. Weeping Angels  2. Cybermen  3. Vashda Nerada  4. Daleks  5. Judoon  6. Vampires/Sisters of the Water  7. Sontarans  8. Silurians/Homo Reptilia  9. Smilers  10. The Silence  11. Peg Dolls  12. Gangers   13. The Ood
So… where does the Doctor actually go? To the past AND the future! He’s been back in time to Pompeii at the time of the eruption of Vesuvius, visited good ol’ Will Shakespeare, met Queen Victoria (and protected her from werewolves)… and as for the future, there’s just so much that he and his companions have seen – you should watch it for yourself.

I hope this has encouraged you to give the series a shot, or been a fun read if you’re already a fan!


24 thoughts on “Sci-Fi Month: A Guide to Doctor Who”

  1. AWW happy 50th!! 😀 I’ve never watched Doctor Who, but that’s because there are already too many episodes for me to catch up on XD I really wanna try it out though, because a lot of people say it’s pretty amazing 🙂 Thanks for the guide Rinn! Definitely inspired me to try it out some time 😉

    1. If you’re eager to try out the show, feel free to ask me or some of the other Whovians for a list of episodes – we already put together some episodes for Jorie to watch when she started the show last month for this event =)

    1. It’s a toss up between Ten and Eleven, I’m really not sure! It’s such a tough call.And the 50th anniversary episode was AMAZING. It made so many lovely references, opened up so many new possibilities and generally paid tribute in the best way possible =)

    1. Well I kind of consider his Doctor a bit of a spoiler, or at least it’s something that I didn’t want to add into the guide for people who had just started watching 😉

  2. I just watched like 1 episode the other day because I finally got around to it (was really surprised to see a looooooooooong list of seasons and serials and episodes of it listed on wiki that for a moment, I had to ask my blogger friend which one to start on)! It was the episode with Rose and the Ninth doctor so I think I’m off to a good start if I don’t keep getting distracted by other series I’m on. XD But it is definitely an intriguing series!

  3. Great post! Believe it or not, but I actually find the peg dolls to be almost the scariest villains for me. Dolls, or even some toys, that come to life are something I just don’t like! Thankfully I don’t have long to wait now until I see Day of the Doctor. I’ve stayed off Facebook and Twitter so I can remain spoiler free.

    1. They are certainly creepy – I’ve only seen that episode once actually, I would rewatch it but UK Netflix only has up to series 5, which is odd seeing as the US Netflix apparently has up to series 6, maybe some of series 7 =/I really hope you enjoy the special!

  4. Yayee, I love this blogpost, Rinn! There is so much love for Doctor Who and it feels great to be a part of this. I am loving the ninth doctor (he is my first Doctor) and he might end up being my favorite. I think.

    1. Thanks, Sana =DI know, it’s so brilliant when so many people get passionate about the same thing =) When did you start watching the series?

  5. I’m going to see the screening tonight with a few friends at a movie theater 🙂 I’ve only recently started watching Dr. Who but I am enjoying it 🙂

  6. Wow, thanks for this super handy post! I actually watched the first season of the rebooted Dr. Who a few years ago and always wondered why that Doctor was called the ninth one. I stopped watching because it was kind of strange and I didn’t like the fact that the Doctor switched bodies (and actors). I’ve heard so many good things about this show, however, and I heard that the show gets much better with the tenth doctor, so I think I’ll have to give it a try again!

    1. DEFINITELY give it another shot! =D A lot has changed. Personally I prefer the series from the Tenth Doctor onwards too (maybe I’m biased because I sort of started with him).

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