Have you ever heard the of the “TARDIS” or “dalek” and thought someone was making up words? Have you seen people cringe when a weeping angel statue is near? Do you have friends who say the word “spoilers” and then grin? Do you have friends who love bow ties or
weirdly long colorful scarves?
These are all related to the wonderful world of Doctor Who and if you have ever wanted to learn more about this show, here is your beginner’s guide. Step right in and let me take you on a brief tour of the Whovian universe, but watch your step: this fandom is bigger on the inside.
So what is Doctor Who?
To put it simply, Doctor Who is a science-fiction TV show that debuted in 1963. It began as an educational show meant for a family audience, using time travel to teach about historical moments and science. It follows the main character called the Doctor — a time lord from the
Why is the police box important?
The TARDIS (which stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space) is a spaceship that can travel through space and time. It used to have the function to change its appearance, but is now stuck in the form of a police box. Looks can be deceiving on this show: the police box may look small, but it is quite a bit larger on the inside. (This is another common Whovian joke, so if you hear other fans saying, “It’s bigger on the inside,” they are referring to the TARDIS and people’s usual reaction to it.) Oh, and a side note about the TARDIS: the Doctor stole it while leaving his home planet.
Why does everyone speak English?
Good question! While it is often the case in science fiction (shows or movies or books) that beings from other planets and places speak English, this is one of the few shows I’ve encountered that actually explains it. To put it simply, the TARDIS has a telepathic field that can get inside the traveler’s brain and translates any languages they hear to English for them.
Why does the Doctor have a number?
Ah, yes. You may often hear Whovians (what the fans of Doctor Who are called) ask each other
who their favorite Doctor is and the answer is often a number. The first Doctor was played by William Hartnell, and when he began to have health issues, the writers had to find a creative way to replace the main character. Thus the idea of regeneration was born: when a Time Lord sustains an injury, the process of regeneration helps them to heal. As I said before, the show first aired in 1963. It ran through 1989 and was relaunched in 2005 with the ninth Doctor. The most current doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker, is the thirteenth doctor. Whittaker is also the first female doctor.
Does the Doctor have sidekicks?
The Doctor often travels with another person (or two), and those people are called companions. This is another common conversation topic among Whovians: who is their favorite or least favorite companion? The companions can act as a moral guide for the Doctor and are most often human. The relationship between the Doctor and companion(s) vary: one was the Doctor’s granddaughter, one was a potential love interest, and others have simply been friends. Each
companion has his or her own story, adding to the narrative in his or her own way.
Are there villains?
Yes! Doctor Who is all about preserving time, stopping those who would harm the innocent and not much violence. The Doctor’s weapon is a sonic screwdriver, so he often has only his wits and creativity to save the day. There is a wide range of villains, but there are some recurring bad guys such as the Daleks and the Cybermen.
You said this fandom is bigger on the inside?
Oh wow, yes. What started as one show has led to multiple spin-off shows (Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures), two movies, books, podcasts, an aftershow (Doctor Who: The Fan Show), and more!
So where should I start?
One rule to being a Whovian is to not skip number nine. Doctor 9, played by Christopher Eccleston, is the first doctor in the relaunch that began in 2005. It can be hard to watch Doctors 1 through 8 as many episodes have been lost, but there are episodes that can be found online or through other sources. But Doctor 9 episodes are the place to start. These can be found on
BBC and Amazon Prime.
Any more questions? No? Good. I have one: Why are you still reading this instead of watching?
Go out and get your geek on!