Doctor Who/Timelines

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A timeline (or several) relating to Doctor Who.
  • 1963
    • November 23 1715–1740, first episode broadcast: An Unearthly Child, by Anthony Coburn, edited by David Whitaker, starring William Hartnell as Dr. Who, William Russell as Ian Chesterton, Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright and Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman (order as listed in Radio Times; order of appearance reverse), produced by Verity Lambert, directed by Waris Hussein; theme music by Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
    • December: first appearance of the Daleks, created by Terry Nation, realized by Raymond Cusick
  • 1964 November
    • 12 Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks, by David Whitaker after Terry Nation, first novelization
    • 14 first comic strip, in TV Comic
  • 1965
    • August 23 Dr. Who and the Daleks, first film adaptation
    • September first Annual
    • December 25: only Christmas day episode in the original production
  • 1966
    • February: The Sea Beggar and Priest of Death, only episodes (so far) where the Doctor does not appear in the cast list
    • May: change from episode titles to serial titles on screen
    • October: first appearance of the Cybermen, created by Dr Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis
    • October/November: Hartnell succeeded by Patrick Troughton in title role
  • 1967
    • January 7 The Highlanders Episode 4: up to this point many adventures were historical, not science fiction; this episode was the last purely historical one till 1982
  • 1968 October 12 The Mind Robber Episode 5, shortest episode (so far), 18 minutes
  • 1970 various changes
    • Jon Pertwee in the title role
    • reduced to half the year (previously only fairly short summer holiday)
    • in colour
    • the Doctor marooned on Earth, gets a job as scientific adviser to UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, later renamed UNified Intelligence Taskforce after complaints from the United Nations)
  • 1971: first appearance of the Master, played by Roger Delgado; he appears throughout the year
  • 1972/3: to start the 10th season, the BBC run a story called The Three Doctors, bringing back Hartnell (his last acting appearance) and Troughton; at the end of this, the Doctor's exile on Earth is lifted, and UNIT stories start to be phased out
  • 1974
    • Pertwee succeeded by Tom Baker
    • Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday by Terrance Dicks, directed by Mick Hughes, stage play
  • 1976
    • May: Doctor Who Appreciation Society founded
    • July: Doctor Who and the Pescatons, first audio
  • 1978/9: whole season with unifying structure, The Key to Time
  • 1981 December 28: first television spinoff, K-9 and Company (pilot only)
  • 1982 changes:
    • Baker succeeded by Peter Davison
    • programme moved from Saturday to Monday and Tuesday
    • similar numbers of episodes fitted into only 3 months
  • 1983
    • October: Revenge of the Cybermen, first video (from 1975)
    • November 23/25: 20th anniversary special, The Five Doctors. The late William Hartnell was included in the cast list on the strength of a brief archive sound clip, but was mainly represented by lookalike Richard Hurndall; Baker's appearance was confined to footage from a planned story abandoned owing to industrial action. Eleven companions also appeared: Carole Ann Ford as Susan; Frazer Hines as Jamie; Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier; Wendy Padbury as Zoe; Caroline John as Liz Shaw; Richard Franklin as Captain Yates; Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith; John Leeson as the voice of K-9; Lalla Ward as Romana; Janet Fielding as Tegan; Mark Strickson as Turlough. Four old enemies also reappear: a Dalek (voice Roy Skelton, operator John Scott Martin); Cybermen (David Banks, Mark Hardy, William Kenton), a Yeti (uncredited) and the Master (Anthony Ainley). This was the first episode prebroadcast elsewhere before its appearance in the series, the longest episode (so far), 90 minutes
  • 1984 March: Davison replaced by Colin Baker
  • 1985: programme returns to Saturday, with about half the episodes at twice the length
  • 1986
    • episode length halved, with no compensating increase in number
    • this year the entire season was screened as a single serial, The Trial of a Time Lord
    • afterwards, Baker was sacked
  • 1987: Sylvester McCoy as the new Doctor
  • 1988 October: in the runup to the 25th anniversary, the Doctor revisits Coal Hill School, the scene of much of the very first episode
  • 1989
    • May: The Nightmare Fair by Graham Williams, first new novel
    • December 6: Survival Part Three, last episode of the original production; series suspended pending finding someone else to produce it in place of the BBC
  • 1993
    • August/September: The Paradise of Death, first radio story
    • November 26/27: for the 30th anniversary and the Children in Need appeal the BBC broadcast a spoof "story", Dimensions in Time, featuring five Doctors (the Bakers, Davison, McCoy and Pertwee) and thirteen companions: Carole Ann Ford (Susan Foreman), Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), Caroline John (Liz Shaw), Richard Franklin (Captain Mike Yates), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Louise Jameson (Leela), John Leeson (Voice of K-9), Lalla Ward (Romana), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown), Bonnie Langford (Melanie) and Sophie Aldred (Ace). They were joined by the cast of EastEnders
  • 1996 May: second production, an unsuccessful pilot programme by Fox TV, with the BBC as apparently only nominal coproducer; McCoy appears at the start, with Paul McGann as the main star; for the first time the main actors are credited at the start; uniquely (so far), the only title appearing is the programme title (alternatively, it might be interpreted as an episode title with the programme title missing)
  • 2001 February: Remembrance of the Daleks, first DVD (from 1988)
  • 2003 November/December: Scream of the Shalka, webcast animation starring Richard E. Grant
  • 2005
    • March 26: Rose, first episode of the third production, by BBC Wales, with Christopher Eccleston as Doctor Who
    • series pattern for the new production is roughly as 1985, with added Christmas specials
    • whereas for most of the original production companions travelled with the Doctor from one adventure to the next without returning home, except sometimes at the end of their stint, now they return home frequently, having home adventures intermixed with travelling ones; the nearest parallel in the original production was the later UNIT period
    • at the end of the series Eccleston replaced by David Tennant
  • 2006 October 22: Torchwood, first successful television spinoff, starts
  • 2007
    • May/June: first television story adapted from an earlier publication, Human Nature by Paul Cornell, 1995
    • June 9: first appearance of the Weeping Angels
  • 2009: no regular series this year, only three specials
  • 2010: Tennant succeeded by Matt Smith
  • 2011: 11-week break in mid-season
  • 2012/13: season split between two years, with Christmas special between
  • 2013 November 23: 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, including 13 or 14 Doctors: Smith is joined by Tennant, and by John Hurt, revealed as a Doctor between McGann and Eccleston; all the earlier Doctors appear on the cast list on the strength of brief archive clips; the next Doctor, Peter Capaldi, also appears briefly, without credit; and Tom Baker returns as the Curator, who hints he is a future Doctor who looks like a past one
  • 2013/14: Capaldi replaces Smith
  • 2015 November 28: Heaven Sent, shortest episode cast list, 3
  • 2016: another year off, with only a Christmas special
  • 2017/18: Capaldi succeeded by Jodie Whittaker, the first female Doctor
  • 2018:
    • programme moves to Sunday
    • season reduced to 10 episodes, but lengthened to 50 minutes
  • 2019: another year off, with only a New Year special in place of 2018 Christmas special
  • 2020: series starts on New year's Day, a Wednesday, but continues thereafter on Sundays
  • 2021: after New Year special, 6-episode season broadcast; for the first time, screen captions included serial title (Flux) and episode numbers and titles
  • 2022: 3 specials to end Whitaker tenure; the last of these, to celebrate the BBC's centenary, includes 7 other Doctors (David Bradley for Hartnell, Davison, Colin Baker, McCoy, McGann, and Tennant, into whom Whitaker regenerates, and Jo Martin, an incarnation not mentioned until recently), 8 companions (Ian, Jo Jones, formerly Grant (Katy Manning), Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding), Melanie Bush (Bonnie Langford), Ace (Sophie Aldred), Graham O'Brien (Bradley Walsh), Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) and Dan Lewis (John Bishop)) and 3 old enemies (Daleks (operated by Barnaby Edwards and Nicholas Pegg), Cybermen (Simon Carew, Jon Davey, Chester Durrant, Mickey Lewis, Felix Young, Richard Price, Andrew Cross and Matt Doman), both voiced by Nicholas Briggs, and the Master (Sacha Dhawan)); this episode has the longest cast list so far, 37
  • 2023: 3 specials to star Tennant
  • 2024: Ncuti Gatwa to be the new Doctor