Portal:Doctor Who

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Doctor Who is a British science-fiction television programme produced by the BBC since 1963. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called "the Doctor", an extraterrestrial being from the planet Gallifrey. The Doctor explores the universe in a time-travelling space ship called the TARDIS. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Accompanied by a number of companions, the Doctor combats a variety of foes, while working to save civilisations and help people in need.

The show is a significant part of British popular culture, and elsewhere it has gained a cult following. It has influenced generations of British television professionals, many of whom grew up watching the series. The programme originally ran from 1963 to 1989. There was an unsuccessful attempt to revive regular production in 1996 with a backdoor pilot, in the form of a television film titled Doctor Who. The programme was relaunched in 2005, and since then has been produced in-house by BBC Wales in Cardiff. Doctor Who has also spawned numerous spin-offs, including comic books, films, novels, audio dramas, and the television series Torchwood (2006–2011), The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007–2011), K-9 (2009–2010), and Class (2016), and has been the subject of many parodies and references in popular culture.

Twelve actors have headlined the series as the Doctor. The transition from one actor to another is written into the plot of the show with the concept of regeneration into a new incarnation – a plot device where a Time Lord whose body is too badly harmed to heal normally, can instead recover by transforming into a "new" body. Each actor's portrayal differs, but all represent stages in the life of the same character and form a single lifetime with a single narrative. The time-travelling feature of the plot means that different incarnations of the Doctor occasionally meet. The Doctor is currently portrayed by Jodie Whittaker, who took on the role after Peter Capaldi's exit in the 2017 Christmas special "Twice Upon a Time".

Selected quality article

Doctor Who's missing episodes are the many instalments of the long-running British science fiction television programme Doctor Who that are missing, with no known film or videotape copies existing. They were erased (or "junked") by the BBC during the 1960s and 1970s for a variety of economic and space-saving reasons. In all, there are 27 serials that do not exist in complete form in the BBC's archives, because 108 of 253 episodes produced during the first six years of the programme are missing, with many more thought to have been so in the past before episodes were recovered from a variety of sources, most notably overseas broadcasters.

Doctor Who is not unique in this respect, as thousands of hours of programming from across all genres were destroyed up until 1978, when the BBC's archiving policies were changed. Other high-profile series affected included Dad's Army, Z-Cars, The Wednesday Play, Steptoe and Son and Not Only... But Also. In addition, the BBC was not the only British broadcaster to carry out this practice, with ITV companies also destroying programmes; The Avengers, another series initiated by Doctor Who creator Sydney Newman, is a high-profile ITV victim of junking. Unlike other series, Doctor Who is unique in having all of its missing episodes surviving in audio form, recorded off-air by fans at home. Additionally, every 1970s episode exists in some form, which is not the case for several other series.

Efforts to locate missing episodes continue, both by the BBC and by fans of the series. Extensive restoration has been carried out on many surviving and recovered 1960s and 1970s episodes for release on VHS and more recently on DVD. The surviving soundtracks of missing episodes have been released on cassette and more recently CD.

Selected story

"Mission to the Unknown" is a single-episode Doctor Who story. It is notable as the only such installment in the original run of the series, and also for not featuring any of the regular characters, including the Doctor, although William Hartnell is still credited on-screen.

The story concerns three men struggling to repair their crashed spaceship in a hostile jungle on the planet Kembel. It serves as a prelude to the later serial, The Daleks' Master Plan.

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Happening soon...

Scheduled events:
Date Event
October 2018 Series 11 Premiere starring Jodie Whittaker, "TBA"
More at the Doctor Who News Page

Did you know?

...that Torchwood was the first spin-off from Doctor Who since the pilot for K-9 and Company in 1981?


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