Every introduction to a new Doctor, ranked

With the Thirteenth Doctor about to land on our screens, we thought we would take a look at each of the previous stories to introduce a new Doctor and see how they all stack up, from the not-so-great, to the greatest of all time.

12. The Twin Dilemma (The Sixth Doctor)

There’s a lot to unpack in The Twin Dilemma (it may be the most notorious Doctor Who story of all time), and it’s probably impossible to do it all justice in such a short space. Nevertheless it should be said that whilst the production has a litany of flaws, the central idea of the new Doctor’s seemingly unlikeable characterisation is in fact a good one – that the Doctor’s swerving from overconfidence to self-loathing from moment to moment can still provoke a sense of unease so many years on is a testament to just how compelling an idea it is. Unfortunately, this idea is hampered at almost every turn (there’s Peter Moffatt’s flat and uninspired direction, the lack of an emotional through-line for the Doctor’s companion Peri and that scene just to name a few) and whilst there is some improvement in the second half, there’s still a feeling that what should be the most exciting thing about the story comes across as merely another troubled element in an introduction that’s a bit of a mess.

11. Robot (The Fourth Doctor)

Whilst the Fourth Doctor remains one of the most popular in the series history, his first adventure feels like a bit of a misfire. Robot is more a victory lap for the Third Doctor’s era than a bold new beginning, with the overall tone being cosy and comfortable. There’s a cartoonish quality that permeates the story – complete with a cardigan-wearing scientist and an envelope containing nuclear codes with ‘TOP SECRET’ written in large, friendly letters on the front – so ultimately it’s hard not to see this story as something of a lightweight. A few eccentricities aside, the story doesn’t have anything terribly interesting for the new Doctor to do, so Tom Baker’s first performance in the role is competent, but hardly remarkable – much like the story itself.

10. Castrovalva (The Fifth Doctor)

Coming off the back of seven seasons of Tom Baker’s boisterous and confident Fourth Doctor, Castrovalva’s big new idea is to make the new Doctor vulnerable. It does this by putting him in a fragile post-regenerative state, to the extent that complex architecture makes him feel a bit faint (no, really). There’s an interesting structure to the story, with an initial plot centred on the regular cast segueing into a larger plot concerning the titular city, all stitched together by the Doctor’s need to recuperate. This does well for introducing the new Doctor, showing off some of his strengths early on despite his poor condition, but the rest of the regular cast are underused – Adric is kept away from the main action until the story’s climax, whilst newish companions Tegan and Nyssa spend several scenes talking about the plot or climbing over rocks instead of properly getting to know eachother. The end result is a story that is pleasantly odd in its own quiet way.

9. The TV Movie (The Eighth Doctor)

The TV Movie boasts some impressive visuals, with loads of great directorial and design touches – the decision to intercut the regeneration scene with footage from Frankenstein is inspired. But its best moments are when it’s being a bit self-aware and undercutting the cheesy cliches that come with the kind of story it is telling, though sometimes it can’t help but play them straight. As an American co-production it also has to burden itself with a fair bit of continuity, plonking in an extended cameo from the Seventh Doctor and some hefty dollops of Time Lord mythology, as if to say ‘yep, it’s still the same show’. Despite some good moments, the script may be the weak link – with a clock motif that feels a bit too literal and dialogue that occasionally feels dumbed down.  Ultimately, the TV Movie probably benefits from being a one-off, with the sense of it being a temporary interlude helping to forgive some of its stranger missteps. For one night only, Doctor Who is a ’90s American TV show, for better or for worse.

8. The Christmas Invasion (The Tenth Doctor)

With the return of Mickey, Jackie and the Powell Estate, much of this feels like a business-as-usual continuation of the Ninth Doctor’s era – and largely it is. There’s the same sense of fun, with some neat sight gags in the shape of deadly brass band Santas and a destructive whirling dervish of a Christmas tree. The new Doctor gets a mini-plot dealing with the ‘pilot fish’ Santas in the first act of the episode, allowing him to then be out of the action again until the climax. When he’s not unconscious, the Doctor isn’t really given anything particularly interesting to do, but he is noticeably cheekier, and friendlier than his predecessor. Whilst there isn’t anything particularly bad about the episode, there’s nothing amazing either and there’s an overall sense of okayness about the whole thing.

7. Deep Breath (The Twelfth Doctor)

Doctor Who was in a strange place around the time of Deep Breath – the recent 50th anniversary saw the program ascend to the height of its powers in terms of popularity, but creatively it was feeling as if it was starting to stagnate. Deep Breath has the paradoxical task of refreshing a show that is stuck in a rut whilst reassuring the audience that nothing has changed and the show is still a smash-hit. Unsurprisingly, the end result is a bit of a mixed bag, with some elements that work (an unknowable, unpredictable new Doctor who has a fantastic dynamic with companion Clara) and others that don’t (the shoehorning of a crush on the old Doctor into Clara’s characterisation, the Paternoster Gang not being given much to do), but by and large it succeeds where it really matters

6. Time and the Rani (The Seventh Doctor)

The fan community tends to take introductory stories rather seriously – they are meant to be big, momentous occasions tasked with the important job of jettisoning what didn’t work in the previous era, retaining what did and demonstrating a confidence that reassures fans that the show can keep going. Time and the Rani doesn’t bother with these fannish expectations at all, instead delivering some lively action, weapons-grade goofiness and the odd bit of physical comedy to re-establish the idea that Doctor Who is a show that is actually fun to watch. It’s something close to a classic series version of Partners in Crime, with the Doctor and his companion Mel narrowly missing each other on a number of occasions and then later each accusing the other of being an imposter. Much of the supporting cast aren’t anything to write home about, but Sylvester McCoy (the Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Mel) and Kate O’Mara (The Rani) bring a sense of fun to proceedings that is positively infectious. You’d have to be a total killjoy to not get some entertainment out of this.

It’s also the source of this gif, which has to count for something.

5. The Eleventh Hour (The Eleventh Doctor)

Back in 2010, this felt like the new showrunner Steven Moffat playing it safe – and, given how popular the Tenth Doctor had become, perhaps it was sensible to do so. Looking at it now however, it seems so full of Moffat’s signature double meanings and structural cleverness that it’s hard to not see this as a bold statement piece. Many of the main themes of the era are present from the beginning – perhaps most notably the theme of childhood. There’s a great scene where the Doctor convinces new companion Amy of who he is by reminding her of her childhood memories, metaphorically reminding the audience that this is the same character that many viewers hold a strong childhood affection for. It’s not without its failings, with the pace dragging in some of the final scenes and a Doctor whose characterisation doesn’t go much beyond ‘has drunk too much red cordial’, but this makes for a confident start to a new era.

4. Spearhead from Space (The Third Doctor)

Spearhead From Space signals one of the biggest changes in Doctor Who’s history. After many years as a show that could be set anywhere, anywhen, Doctor Who came down to Earth to be set in what was more or less the here and now. Making UNIT a key part of the ongoing show was part of the new format, and the story handles this by making the UNIT characters, including commanding officer Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and scientific adviser Liz Shaw (soon to fulfil the role of the Doctor’s companion) drive the main action for the first two episodes before the Doctor comes into his own in the back half. Liz is a great, if underrated, character with an intelligence and maturity that makes her a great match for the new Doctor. There’s also a (sadly temporary) transition to shooting the whole programme on location and on film, which kicks the production values up several notches and results in some of the best action sequences in the series to date. There’s an annoying poacher character and a slightly embarrassing tentacle monster at the climax, but by and large this is sterling stuff.

3. Rose (The Ninth Doctor)

Watching in 2018, Rose may seem like a small-scale, unremarkable story considering everything that has come since its first broadcast. However, there’s an awful lot packed into its 45 minute running length, communicating the foundations of the show in a pacy, entertaining way.  Back in 2005, Rose had the tricky task of reintroducing Doctor Who to a mainstream audience that was much less geeky than that of today. It manages this by placing the story in an everyday, unglamourous setting and then throwing lots of adventure and excitement into it, so that the Doctor crashes into Rose’s ordinary world in the same way that Doctor Who crashes into the ordinary, not-particularly-geeky world of the general audience. It helps that the balance between drama and comedy is just right, with the tongue in exactly the right spot of the cheek, making this one of the most well-judged episodes of Doctor Who ever made.

2. An Unearthly Child (The First Doctor)

There’s no doubt that the first episode of this adventure, introducing the two schoolteachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, their mysterious pupil Susan, a passive-aggressive old man called the Doctor and his impossible timeship the TARDIS is an outright classic. Some regard the remaining three episodes, featuring the four lead characters captured and threatened by a bunch of monosyllabic cavepeople, as less than stellar, but in fact the two portions of the story are enormously complementary – in particular, Barbara and Ian being out of their depth in the high-tech environment of the TARDIS is wonderfully mirrored by how out of depth all the travellers feel in the prehistoric setting that follows and there are strong themes throughout concerning the relationship between technology and power. The writing is full of tense and thrilling moments which the cast play deadly seriously and there’s a sense that everyone involved is giving this strange new show the best possible chance of success with the limited resources at their disposal. It’s not just the beginning of a legend, it’s a great piece of drama in its own right.

1. The Power of the Daleks (The Second Doctor)

At six 25 minute episodes in length, Power of the Daleks is the longest story on this list, but fortunately it has plenty going on to sustain it. Aside from the Dalek plot revolving around the scientist Lesterson and his experiments to bring them back to life to aid an Earth colony, there’s also the political machinations going on in the wider human population and a good chunk of material devoted to companions Ben and Polly trying to figure out just who really is this dark-haired stranger that claims to be the Doctor. All of these strands end up revolving around the relationship between the Doctor and the Daleks – both of them pretending to be something they are not, and yet each of them verifying the true nature of the other. The guest cast are strong (especially Robert James’ Lesteron), the Daleks are at their devious best and the unpredictable new Doctor is electrifying. When it comes to introductory adventures, Power of the Daleks is the one to beat.

And that’s how all the introductory stories stack up. Looking at them as a group, they are a diverse bunch of stories, each with their own distinct tone and each having their own particular goals when it comes to transforming Doctor Who. Additionally, there should be an honourable mention for The Day of the Doctor, the sole full-length War Doctor story, which manages to contain a pretty solid emotional arc for the troubled warrior incarnation amongst all the celebratory bells and whistles. It’s also worth pointing out that some of the most popular Doctors are in the bottom half of this list, so even in the event that the Thirteenth Doctor’s first episode doesn’t turn out to be the best ever, that doesn’t mean that she won’t go on to have a popularity that endures.

6 tips for getting into Classic Doctor Who

With the recent Australian releases of Season 12: The Collection on Blu-ray and The Enemy of the World Special Edition on DVD, the classic series has come back on the radar for many fans. But if you’re still yet to experience the show’s original run, here’s a handy guide to help you get started.

1. Don’t feel like you have to start at the very beginning

There’s a myth that in order to experience Doctor Who “properly” you need to watch it from the first episode and in original broadcast order. The reality is that you can start virtually anywhere amongst the 26 seasons of the classic series and get your bearings fairly quickly. As much of the classic series was made in an age before content could be easily be watched over and over again, it had to remain largely accessible, so complicated plotlines relying on knowledge of episodes from previous seasons, or even from a few months ago, were pretty rare. Even when this sort of thing does happen (such as Davros’ second appearance in Destiny of the Daleks), there is often some handy expositional dialogue that helps out the uninformed viewer. This gives you the option to start with a particular TARDIS crew and follow their adventures, or maybe a story with a recognisable monster in it, or maybe even picking a story at random if you’re feeling adventurous. You may feel a little lost on your first foray into the classic era, but as long as you understand the show’s basic premise, and you start with the first episode of whatever adventure you’re watching, you’ll find yourself enjoying the journey wherever you end up – a bit like the Doctor!

2. The World Wide Web can be your friend

If you do find yourself a little lost then there’s a huge repository of information on the classic series available online, including episode synopses, character arcs and any other niggling details that might be tingling your fan-senses. Of course, if you’re a spoilerphobe then you might want to tread carefully and wait until after you’ve finished watching a given story before looking it up. Be warned!

3. Resist the temptation to binge

In the age of instant streaming and TV on demand, we know how tempting it is to consume several episodes of a programme in one session. And with your standard classic series story being four, maybe six 25-minute episodes in length, that sounds like nothing to the hardcore binge-watcher. But television in the 20th century was simply not made to be watched all at once. Sure, the classic cliffhanger endings were designed to get you excited for the following episode, but they were meant to get the audience to tune in the next week, not a matter of seconds after the end credits. In the early years of the classic series, characters would often recap events from previous episodes, and in some instances plot elements repeat themselves (some stories play the ‘capture and escape’ routine more frequently than others) – things which you wouldn’t necessarily notice if you watched the story over a few weeks or even days, but are likely to find frustrating over the course of a single evening. So resist the temptation, enjoy the anticipation and space out your viewing – it’s going to be far more rewarding that way.

4. Think theatre, not film

It’s not only the way television was broadcast that has changed, but also how it was produced. Whereas today we can expect our television programmes to be fast-paced and full of high-quality special effects, the classic series (in the ’60s in particular) was more like going to a play – to the extent that early episodes were filmed more or less live and almost entirely in a single, small studio! So there’s less cutting during scenes, and more emphasis on storytelling through dialogue. Striking costume design is used as a short-hand to convey alien species or ancient cultures, while the production team were forced to be innovative with their limited resources in an effort to transport viewers all through time and space. In that way, watching the classic series is a bit like watching the evolution of television over three decades, with later episodes growing in visual sophistication, but ultimately it’s the stories that matter. If you do ever find yourself thinking that a classic episode looks a bit stagy, just imagine it’s being acted out in front of you.

5. Make your own journey

There are several stories from the classic series that have been firmly cemented over time as The Good Ones, as well as those considered The Not So Good Ones. But while it can be tempting for new viewers to seek out and prioritise the “best” stories and/or Doctors, fan consensus is often shaped by very specific circumstances. For instance, Tom Baker was certainly popular during his run on television, but it also helped that he stuck around for seven years, so he became the definitive Doctor for an awful lot of children growing up in the ’70s. Meanwhile, the 1996 TV movie was the only Doctor Who produced since 1989 and failed to spawn a new series, so is likely to be viewed as more of a disappointment by those who were there at the time than the curious newbies of today. Reputation can be a problem as well – a bad reputation can blind you to a story’s overlooked merits, whilst a good one can create unrealistic expectations. So while you’re certainly welcome to seek advice, remember you are your own person with your own opinions, and you are under no obligation to enjoy a particular story just because it topped a list you found on the Internet. It’s much more satisfying to wipe away any expectations and make your own mind up. It’s your journey – own it.

6. Have fun!

26 seasons can feel like an intimidating amount of content, so make sure you’re having fun along the way. Take things at your own pace so you don’t end up turning this magical series into a chore. Don’t feel like you need to commit yourself to watching a whole bunch of episodes just for the sake of it – if you’re finding you aren’t enjoying things much, then maybe give a different Doctor a try and come back later. Ultimately, Doctor Who should be an entertaining experience and the classic series is no exception – after all, it wouldn’t have gone on for so long if there wasn’t something to enjoy about it.

With these six tips, you should now be ready to embark on your voyage beyond the mind, your flight through eternity, your wanderings through the fourth dimension. As someone who has been through it all, I can confirm that the classic series is a fun, exciting, weird, charming, spooky, witty, camp, clever, never-quite-the-same-twice adventure and it’s well worth your time. Best of luck on your journeys through the classic Whoniverse, whatever path they may take.

Both Season 12: The Collection Blu-Ray and The Enemy of the World: Special Edition DVD are available now from the DWCA Shop. You can browse further releases from the classic series here.

12 actors who have written for the Whoniverse

The DWCA Book Club is on again Friday 6 April, this time discussing the Torchwood graphic novel World Without End, written by Captain Jack himself, John Barrowman, along with his sister Carole. But this isn’t the first time that one of the stars of the Whoniverse has written an adventure of their own. Here’s our list of 12 actors who have also written for the Whoniverse across a host of different media.

1. Ian Marter

Appearing as companion Harry Sullivan in Tom Baker’s first six serials as the Doctor, Ian Marter was one of the first to cross the actor-writer divide. He contributed his first Target novelisation, Doctor Who and the Ark in Space, in 1977, having appeared as Harry in the TV story the book was based on. This was followed by eight further novelisations, including The Sontaran Experiment (another story featuring Harry) and a controversial adaptation of Second Doctor story The Enemy of the World. Marter also wrote an original, Doctor-less novel titled Harry Sullivan’s War, catching up with the character 10 years after his travels in the TARDIS.

2. Colin Baker

Most famous for portraying the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker also has an unusually broad writing resume, having written Doctor Who stories in prose (in the form several short stories for Doctor Who Magazine and the Doctor Who Yearbook), on audio (The Wings of a Butterfly, released in Big Finish’s anthology collection Short Trips Volume 1) and as a comic (the 1994 graphic novel The Age of Chaos). The last of these also included a return appearance from Frobisher, a shape-shifting alien companion who often took the form of a talking penguin and remains one of the most popular characters to originate from Doctor Who comics.

3. Noel Clarke

Best known as Rose’s long-suffering boyfriend (and Martha Jones’ eventual husband) Mickey Smith, Noel Clarke is also an accomplished screenwriter, penning the screenplay for a trilogy of crime thriller films (titled Kidulthood, Adulthood and Brotherhood) and co-creating the forthcoming cop drama Bulletproof for Sky Television. One of his early writing credits is for the 2006 Torchwood episode Combat, which follows Owen Harper as he deals with the recent departure of his lover whilst also investigating a group of wealthy young men running an alien cage-fighting ring.

4. John Barrowman

The star of Torchwood has also penned a number of stories for the spin-off with his sister and frequent collaborator Carole. The pair contributed Captain Jack and the Selkie for Torchwood Magazine in 2009 and later wrote the full-length novel Exodus Code, set in the aftermath of the programme’s fourth series. Always keen ambassadors for Torchwood’s return, the Barrowmans have written all installments of Titan Publishing’s Torchwood comic since its launch in 2016. The first graphic novel collection from the range, World Without End, is the subject of this month’s DWCA Book Club and sees Jack in charge of a reborn Torchwood, their headquarters housed in the ocean-faring vessel The Ice Maiden.

5. Gareth David-Lloyd

Barrowman’s co-star has made a more recent leap into writing, authoring two Torchwood audio adventures due later this year through Big Finish. Both focus on David-Lloyd’s character Ianto: Blind Summit depicts his initial recruitment to Torchwood One in London, while The Last Beacon sees Ianto take a camping trip with his abrasive colleague Owen in order to stop an alien invasion.

6. Nicholas Briggs

Briggs has made a few low-key appearances in the TV Whoniverse (with a supporting role in Torchwood: Children of Earth and a brief cameo in the docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time), but he is best known for being the go-to voice artist for Doctor Who monsters since the series returned in 2005, lending his pipes (and his ring modulator) to a menagerie that includes Daleks, Cybermen, Zygons and Judoon. Briggs is also one of the most influential people in the world of Doctor Who audio, fulfilling a mulititude of production roles across scores of releases for Big Finish. As a scriptwriter, some of his more notable works include 50th anniversary special The Light at the End, Sixth Doctor regeneration story The Brink of Death and Big Finish’s first ever Doctor Who release, The Sirens of Time.

7. Barnaby Edwards

You might not know Barnaby Edwards’ face, but you’re almost certainly familiar with his work! Edwards’ performances as a Dalek operator span every major appearance of the Doctor’s arch enemies since 2005. Outside of his casing, Edwards is a seasoned director at Big Finish and has also dabbled in writing for the company, his scripts including Ice Warrior tale The Bride of Peladon as well as The Emerald Tiger, a Fifth Doctor adventure inspired by The Jungle Book.

8. David Banks

Banks is another monster actor to cross over into writing. Having portrayed the Cyber-Leader in every Cyberman story during the 1980s, Banks later wrote a non-fiction book on the Cybermen that also fleshed out several aspects of the Cyber-race’s in-universe backstory. He subsequently wrote the novel Iceberg for Virgin Publishing’s New Adventures series, which saw the Seventh Doctor square off against – you guessed it – the Cybermen. Given the programme wasn’t on the air when the novel was published in 1993, Banks was able to get away with a number of adult touches to the story, including rather a lot of naughty words!

9. Louise Jameson

To many Doctor Who fans, Louise Jameson is ‘70s companion Leela: a fierce warrior from the tribe of Sevateem and still one of the Doctor’s most distinctive companions. Jameson has also put her writing talents to use, partnering up with experienced Big Finish scribe Nigel Fairs for Fourth Doctor audio adventure The Abandoned in 2014. Set entirely within the TARDIS, the story sees the emergence of a malevolent presence deep within the workings of the ship. Leela also gets some strong character material in this adventure, coming to terms with the death of her father.

10. Dan Starkey

He may be known and loved for his turn as Strax the Sontaran Nurse/Butler, but there’s much more to Dan Starkey. Aside from a prosthetic-free appearance as Ian the Elf in the 2014 seasonal special Last Christmas, Starkey is also a frequent voice actor for Big Finish, playing various roles including priests, robophobic security chiefs and, yes, more than a few Sontarans. In 2015, Starkey teamed up with one of Big Finish’s best writing talents, John Dorney, for Terror of the Sontarans, an audio adventure starring the Seventh Doctor and Mel and featuring an adversary that strikes fear into the hearts of the clone warriors.

11. Geoffrey Beevers

Eleven years after a small role as a UNIT private, Beevers turned in a highly memorable performance as the Master in 1981’s The Keeper of Traken. Despite only one television appearance, Beevers’ decayed, desperate incarnation has been significantly expanded through several new audio adventures with Big Finish. Beevers published his first novel, The Forgotten Fields, in 2013 and is set to make his Whoniverse writing debut later this year with I Am the Master, a Big Finish Short Trip.

12. Mark Gatiss

Perhaps the most high-profile writer on this list, Gatiss’ first professionally published work was the Doctor Who novel Nightshade in 1992. Over the next 13 years Gatiss wrote a further three Doctor Who novels and two Big Finish plays whilst also developing his career as an actor and screenwriter, landing a cult hit with The League of Gentlemen in the late ‘90s. Since 2005 he has written nine TV episodes of Doctor Who and performed in four (most recently as The Captain in Twice Upon A Time). Gatiss was also nominated for a Hugo Award for his screenplay for An Adventure in Space and Time, which formed part of the 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013. His impressive string of credits makes him one of the few people to have appeared in episodes starring four different Doctors; one of the few people to have written episodes for four different Doctors, and certainly the only person to achieve both of these feats!

Honourable Mention: Peter Davison

Whilst Davison (aka the Fifth Doctor) hasn’t written anything that could reasonably be included in the Doctor Who canon, he did write and direct The Five-ish Doctors Reboot, an utterly charming tribute to the long history of the programme made as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations and full of more in-jokes and cameos than you can poke a stick at. Like Gatiss, Davison was nominated for a Hugo for his contribution to the anniversary.

It’s clear that the contributions of actor/writers to the Whoniverse are many and varied. Some actors have expanded on their onscreen characters, whilst others have made cheeky jokes about them, and others appear to love Doctor Who so much that they have to do more than just act in it. So the next time you pick up a book, press play on a Big Finish audio or sit down to a television episode, make sure you check who wrote it – the results might just surprise you!


The DWCA Book Club’s discussion of Torchwood: World Without End is taking place on 6 April – join the conversation by coming to the event or heading to our Facebook page. The Book Club meets once every two months to chat about a given book relating to the Whoniverse. With a vast history of books to choose from, including original novels, comic books, short story collections, biographies and classic novelisations, there’s always something different at Book Club! Keep an eye out on our website for news about future books!

A Brief History of Time Ladies

March is the month of International Women’s Day. To celebrate, we’re hosting a special event commemorating the achievements of women in Doctor Who both behind and in front of the camera on 25 March – you can find tickets here. But before all that, we’re taking a look at the long and rich history of Time Ladies – one that is set to become even richer with the arrival of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor.


The name of the Doctor’s species was a mystery when the series first began, but the first potential Time Lady was present at the very beginning in the shape of the Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan. The key word here though is ‘potential’ – due to an odd combination of subsequent continuity developments (can Susan regenerate?) and an understandable reluctance for a family programme to explain how Time Lord reproduction works (is Susan the Doctor’s granddaughter in a biological sense? If she isn’t, then is she of the same species as the Doctor?), her Time Lady status is somewhat in doubt.


Aside from Susan, Time Ladies were conspicuous by their absence for the first fifteen years of the programme, leading some fans to speculate that Time Ladies simply did not exist (!). This changed dramatically with Season 15 finale The Invasion of Time, which not only included the first depiction of a female living in Gallifreyan society, but also a female rebellious outsider living beyond the protection of the domed city of the Capitol. The former was Rodan, who worked as the Gallifreyan equivalent of an air-traffic controller and befriended the Doctor’s companion Leela. The latter was Presta, who was played by Australian actor Gai Smith, better known these days as businesswoman and horse trainer Gai Waterhouse (yes, really).

Later the same year, the Doctor began his travels with the Time Lady Romanadvoratrelundar, otherwise known as Romana (or, on one occasion, ‘Fred’). Whilst initially characterised as a sheltered academic, Romana soon developed a greater confidence and sense of adventure as she became more experienced. Played by Mary Tamm in her first incarnation and Lalla Ward in her second, Romana was the first character to be referred to as a Time Lady on screen, in 1979’s City of Death. She would often appear much more level-headed than her companion, fulfilling a Doctor-like role in the adventure whilst the Doctor goofed around elsewhere, and at times was even shown to be the Doctor’s intellectual superior. She also built her own sonic screwdriver, a sleeker design that the Doctor liked so much that he once tried to steal it!


Two more notable Time Ladies were introduced in Doctor Who’s 20th anniversary year. The opening story of the programme’s 20th season, Arc of Infinity, saw the introduction of Thalia, who sat on the High Council of Time Lords fulfilling the role of Chancellor, making her the first Time Lady in a position of power to be shown on screen. The anniversary special, The Five Doctors, saw another female Chancellor by the name of Flavia, who ascended to the position of President at the episode’s conclusion. With Flavia as the first female President of the Time Lords, Doctor Who managed to show us a female political leader at a time where such a thing was scarce in reality.


A striking new villain was introduced in the Sixth Doctor story The Mark of the Rani. Portrayed by Dynasty actor Kate O’Mara, the Rani was a female renegade with her own agenda, not merely a ‘female Master’. A brilliant biochemist, she had a detached, scientific outlook on the universe and firmly believed that the ends justified the means. She also had her own rather groovy TARDIS that was decorated with dinosaur embryos for undisclosed reasons. The Rani was her own woman whose plans didn’t revolve around trapping or tricking the Doctor – in fact in her first appearance she seemed irritated that the Doctor had become involved at all – and by leaving Gallifrey to embark on her own adventures the Rani was in many ways the Doctor’s equal.

A Comedic Interlude

Even though Doctor Who was mostly off the television between 1989 and 2005, there was plenty still going on in the Whoniverse. The Wilderness Years may have seen the flourishing of the expanded Doctor Who universe – the adventures continuing through various novels, comics and audio dramas – but they also saw a large number of spoofs, parodies and unusual ‘what if?’ takes on the programme. Two examples from the Wilderness Years notably included female Doctors – The Curse of Fatal Death, an affectionate parody of Doctor Who written by Steven Moffat for Comic Relief in 1999, and Exile, an alternative timeline audio drama produced by Big Finish in 2003. Whilst actors Joanna Lumley and Arabella Weir offered brief glimpses of what a female Doctor might be like in these two productions, both of the stories had a comedic tone that sometimes veered into the downright crude – perhaps reflecting just how seriously the idea of a female Doctor was taken at the time.


Thanks to the Doctor being made last of the Time Lords when the series returned to television in 2005, Time Ladies were once again thin on the ground for a while. Then along came Jenny, the progenated offspring of the Doctor (which means that whilst Jenny is the Doctor’s daughter, the Doctor is both Jenny’s mother and father in a biological sense). Whilst the Doctor rejects the idea that Jenny could be a Time Lady, she does have two hearts and over the course of an episode proves herself to be very much her father’s (and mother’s!) daughter. By turns, Jenny was inquisitive, rebellious, cheeky and resourceful and she’s even getting her own audio series from Big Finish later this year. Perhaps this could be the clearest indication yet of what the Thirteenth Doctor could be like?


The next notable Time Lady is unusual in that they never fully appear on screen (rather, bits of them do). The Corsair was mentioned in the Neil Gaiman-penned episode The Doctor’s Wife as being an old friend of the Doctor’s, and further dialogue stated that the Corsair had multiple female incarnations as well as male ones – establishing for the first time on-screen that Time Lords/Ladies can change gender when they regenerate.


Further evidence of gender-change regeneration emerged when the character of Missy revealed herself as the latest incarnation of the Doctor’s old foe, the Master, in the first instance of an established Time Lord character changing gender. Over the course of three series, Michelle Gomez gave many highly memorable performances in the role and stands shoulder-to-shoulder with her predecessors. Gomez’s Master has echoes of Delgado’s charm, Jacobi’s menace and Roberts’ camp deliciousness and bristles with a manic energy akin to Simm’s take on the role. Missy undergoes what is arguably the most interesting character journey of any Time Lady, from ambiguous frenemy territory to outright villainy to the hard path of redemption in the eyes of her oldest friend.


Just to prove outright that gender-change regeneration is definitely canon, the process itself was depicted in the Series 9 finale Hell Bent, with the General regenerating from a Time Lord into a Time Lady after being shot by the Doctor. In a neat twist, further dialogue established that all the other previous incarnations of the General had been female, thus proving that Time Lords/Ladies who change gender can also change back – and that just because a Time Lord/Lady remains the same gender for multiple incarnations, it doesn’t mean that their gender is fixed forever.


After so many lifetimes of dashing about and trying to make the universe a better place, the Doctor seemed ready to throw in the towel and finally die just to have some rest. A last-minute plea from the TARDIS cloister bell led the Doctor to a change of hearts, and instead of coming to an end, the Doctor embraced change in a way like never before. The newest incarnation of the Doctor is female. What exactly she will be like is still anyone’s guess, but one thing is for certain: she will be the Doctor that the universe needs.

Looking back, we can see that there have been many and varied depictions of Time Ladies throughout the history of the series. Time Ladies can be anything they want to be – they can be villainous renegades, or occupy the highest office on Gallifrey, or wander the universe as the Doctor’s best friend. They can even be the one that the monsters are afraid of, that brings hope to people however lost they may be, that can save the universe a thousand times over and still have time for some tea.

Our celebration of the women of Doctor Who is taking place on 25 March. Head here for more information and to grab your tickets.

A Timeline of the Capaldi Era

The last battle has been won, the final speeches have been spoken and the dust has begun to settle on the Peter Capaldi era. The Twice Upon A Time DVD and Twice Upon A Time Blu-ray are available from the DWCA Shop now, so we thought we would take a look back at the milestones of the Twelfth Doctor’s era, as well as all the nods to the Doctor’s Australian fans, both on and off screen.

The Reveal

On 4 August 2013, Peter Capaldi was unveiled to the world as the actor who would play the Twelfth Doctor.  Peter was given a rockstar reception in a live television event that announced his casting, complete with lasers, LED screens and a huge cheering audience.

The Tease

Fans were treated to a cheeky glimpse of the Twelfth Doctor on 23 November 2013, with Capaldi’s Doctor making his first on-screen appearance in a brief cameo in the 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor. Capaldi appeared in only two shots, one showing his hand operating the TARDIS controls, and another focusing on his eyes, in a move designed to conceal his character’s still-to-be-unveiled costume.

The Regeneration

Capaldi’s first full scene as the Doctor came on 25 December 2013, with the closing moments of The Time of the Doctor seeing the Doctor regenerate into their latest incarnation. Whilst all regenerations since 2005 had featured morphing faces and streams of glowing orange energy, this scene eschewed the usual style in favour of a brief flash of light, sparking some fans to compare the regeneration to a sneeze or, less flatteringly, a fart.

The Look

The Twelfth Doctor’s costume was unveiled on 27 January 2014. Sporting a sleeker look than his predecessor, Capaldi described the ensemble as “back to basics…no frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100% rebel Time Lord”. Whilst the costume would evolve over time, the overall look of a mid-length coat, dark trousers and boots would stick throughout the Twelfth Doctor’s era.

The Tour

Image credit: Catherine Cranston

August 2014 saw the most ambitious publicity blitz in the history of Doctor Who, with Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and sometimes Steven Moffat attending screenings, panels and press photo ops in six different countries. Doctor Who: The World Tour hit Sydney on 12 August 2014, with a photoshoot on Sydney Harbour and a public screening and Q&A at the State Theatre.  Peter also spoke to Julia Zemiro in a special one-off interview programme, When Julia Met The Doctor, for ABC TV.

The Arrival

Hot off the back of the World Tour, the Twelfth Doctor made his first full-length appearance in Deep Breath on 23 August 2014. At 76 minutes, this was one of the longest individual episodes in the history of the programme, and saw the first appearance of a mysterious new character called Missy. This episode was simulcast in the wee hours of the morning on ABC TV in Australia, and was available on iView immediately afterwards. Although the simulcasts were dropped after Capaldi’s first series, the iView launch right after UK broadcast was maintained for the duration of the era.

The Daleks

Capaldi’s second episode as the Doctor would prove no less significant than his first, with the newly minted Doctor facing the Daleks. Broadcast on 30 August 2014, this episode introduced a new recurring character, Danny Pink, as a love interest for companion Clara Oswald, as well as marking the first appearance of Rusty the Good Dalek who would make a surprise return in the Twelfth Doctor’s final episode.

The Frenemy

The finale of the Twelfth Doctor’s debut series boasted a number of firsts. Broadcast on 1 and 8 November 2014, Dark Water/Death in Heaven featured the Twelfth Doctor’s first encounter with the Cybermen, as well as Kate Stewart and Osgood of UNIT. Perhaps most significant of all was the revelation that Missy was a new incarnation of the Master, providing the first on-screen demonstration that Time Lords can change gender when they regenerate.

The Sunglasses

The Twelfth Doctor’s second series started with a bang, The Magicians’ Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar airing on 19 and 26 September 2015. The two-parter saw Doctor going head to head with the creator of the Daleks, Davros, in the character’s first television appearance since 2008’s The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End. What’s more, the Doctor’s trusty sonic screwdriver was all but destroyed, and a new device – a pair of sonic sunglasses – took its place. Whilst controversial at the time, the sunglasses would become part of the Twelfth Doctor’s distinctive look, and he would even continue to use them after being gifted a new screwdriver by the TARDIS.

The Festival

Members of the Doctor Who cast and crew embarked on a huge international  event with The Doctor Who Festival  in November 2015. The Australian leg featured costume showcases, monster parades, talks by Australian-based director Daniel Nettheim and plenty more, but perhaps the highlight came on the final day of the event (the day before Doctor Who’s 52nd anniversary) where a team made up of Steven Moffat, Peter Capaldi and Mark Gatiss entered the festival’s trivia competition alongside teams of fans. Their team, ‘The Time Wasters’, came third.

The Masterpiece

From the ridiculous to the sublime: Heaven Sent, arguably the Twelfth Doctor’s finest episode, was broadcast on 28 November 2015. With virtually all the dialogue spoken by the Doctor and no guest cast other than a monster and some very small cameos, Heaven Sent features a tour de force of a performance from Peter Capaldi and a script from Steven Moffat that is a masterclass in storytelling. This was proof that, even after 52 years, Doctor Who was still capable of producing something utterly unique.

The Wife

The Twelfth Doctor’s first encounter with his wife came on 25 December 2015 with the broadcast of The Husbands of River Song, This Christmas adventure looked at the character of River from a different angle, showing what River gets up to when the Doctor’s not around (or at least, when she thinks he’s not around!). This episode also introduced the character of Nardole, who would make the unlikely journey of being a comedy head for a giant red robot to being a loyal friend of the Doctor’s and a companion loved by many fans.

The Companion

23 April 2016 was the day we learned that Pearl Mackie would be joining the Doctor Who team, playing the Doctor’s new companion, Bill. In a first of its kind, the casting was announced in a special short scene broadcast on BBC One and released on social media shortly afterwards. A shorter version of the same scene would end up in Bill’s first episode.

The Spin-off

2016 would be a year without much Doctor Who on television, but in its place came the new spin-off, Class. Aimed at a young adult audience, Class told the story of a group of students at Coal Hill Academy (whose past teachers included Clara Oswald and Danny Pink) who defend the Earth against alien threats whilst navigating the messy business of growing up. Peter Capaldi made a special guest appearance in the series, stepping in at the climax of the first episode broadcast on 26 October 2016. Despite boasting lots of potential and including a hugely memorable anti-hero in the shape of physics teacher Miss Quill, the series suffered from muted publicity and oddball scheduling, meaning many Doctor Who fans were unaware of its existence. The series was cancelled after one season, the final cliffhanger featuring the Weeping Angels left unresolved.

The Announcement

To the surprise of many fans, Peter Capaldi announced his departure from Doctor Who during a radio interview on 30 January 2017. Speculation as to the identity of Capaldi’s successor began almost immediately, with Ben Whishaw and Olivia Colman amongst the early favourites with bookmakers.

The Harbour

Capaldi’s final series as the Doctor launched on 15 April 2017 with The Pilot. Aside from introducing Bill, the episode also included a brief visit to Sydney Harbour, marking the first time the Doctor had visited our shores on screen since The Enemy of the World in 1967/8.

The Masters

World Enough And Time, along with its companion episode The Doctor Falls, would conclude Capaldi’s final season in explosive fashion on 24 June and 1 July 2017. Aside from featuring the return of the original iteration of the Cybermen, unseen on screen since 1966, it was also the very first televised multi-Master story and heavily reflected on Missy’s journey of redemption throughout the Twelfth Doctor’s era.

The End

The Capaldi era came to a close on with Twice Upon a Time on 25 December 2017 – exactly four years after his first full scene in The Time of the Doctor. It was a special occasion with the return of many familiar faces, including the First Doctor, now played by David Bradley. Having cemented his reputation as an impressive orator, the Twelfth Doctor gave the last of his signature speeches during his regeneration scene before passing the baton to the Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker.

Capaldi’s Doctor was infinitely mercurial – sharp, warm, passionate and playful all at once. Himself a fan since childhood, Capaldi was very generous with fans even under the pressure of the intense Doctor Who production and promotion schedule – a generosity that Australian fans experienced first-hand at the Doctor Who Festival. It may be a small part of his legacy as the Doctor, but the Capaldi years gave a real acknowledgement of the love that Australians have for Doctor Who – and we love him a little bit more for it.

Want to grab a copy of Twice Upon A Time? You can pick up a special release packed with extras on DVD and Blu-ray from the DWCA Shop now. Don’t forget to check out our full range of classic and new series DVDs and Blu-rays here.

10 Things We Love About the New Shada

We caught Shada at the cinemas late last year and we loved it. The Shada DVD and Shada Blu-ray are available from the DWCA Shop now, so we thought we would take a look at what makes the new version of the Douglas Adams classic so great.

1. The Animation

The task of bringing Shada’s missing scenes to life fell to Charles Norton, who had previously helmed the animated reconstruction of Power of the Daleks in 2016. Anyone who has seen both Power and Shada can attest that Norton and his team of animators are going from strength to strength and have produced some charming scenes full of colour and character that manage to recapture the sense of fun of the 1979 studio scenes. Any fears about jumping back and forth between live action and animation are completely unfounded – after a wonderful first transition that really sells the move to animation, the animators are able get on with the story, which moves so fluidly between the two visual styles that the viewer scarcely bats an eyelid. There are some lovely sight gags included too, especially in the early scene where Chris investigates the book. Whilst the animation generally recreates that 1970s look and feel, some scenes get a little more imaginative with how much could be achieved on a BBC budget, but ultimately the new scenes stay true to the original because they finally give us…

2. The Full Length Adventure

The animated scenes give context to the original studio material, finally allowing the story to live and breathe as a complete television story – just as it was originally intended. If you have already seen the 1992 VHS version that bridged the missing scenes with Tom Baker’s narration (now available as an extra on the Blu-ray release), you’ll find that the 2017 version is smoother, more immersive and altogether more fun.

3. The HD Location Scenes

The scenes shot in Cambridge all look gorgeous, popping with colour and texture and a level of detail never seen before – in one early shot you can even make out a distant Pepsi truck in a very rare example of Doctor Who including a real world product logo! The marvellous restoration carried out on the location film makes the Blu-ray edition the best possible viewing experience.

4. The Sound

Watching raw studio footage cut together can be a dull affair – it’s the soundscape that really sells a story. The new score by seasoned Doctor Who composer and audio guru Mark Ayres not only gives the right emotional cues to the audience and breathes life into some of the stagier scenes, but is also a loving tribute to the scores of the late ‘70s period of Doctor Who. It is a bittersweet tribute, with the recent passing of classic composer Dudley Simpson who provided the majority of the music at this period in the programme’s history. Appropriately, the end credits of the new edition include a dedication to him. Even the sound effects, the unsung hero of any soundscape, are lovingly crafted to fit the period to the extent that it is hard to tell whether the effects are sourced from a ‘70s sound effects library or are new creations in a classic style.

5. The Model Effects

Sticking to the usual practice of ‘70s Doctor Who, spaceship sequences were realised using model miniatures for the new edition, covering shots of the Think Tank facility and Skagra’s ship as well as the Doctor’s and Chronotis’ TARDISes in flight. With Doctor Who effects veteran Mike Tucker and his team on board, it is no surprise that the new model shots are impressive whilst also in keeping with the classic style – not only are the new models based on designs from the original effects designer in 1979 but there’s also a model scene that so effectively recaptures that authentic feeling that it is not too dissimilar from one of the shots from Shada’s Season 17 stablemate The Horns of Nimon!

6. The Easter Eggs

The team behind the new Shada has tucked away a few hidden treats for the fans to spot. There’s an animated sequence fairly early on that includes footage from some other Doctor Who episodes, and there’s also the ‘set’ used for the TARDIS workshop scenes featuring a host of old ‘props’, including a Movellan gun, a Dalek bomb (both from Destiny of the Daleks), the Polyphase Avitron (from Douglas Adams’ own The Pirate Planet), and a gadget going all the way back to The Time Monster, among other things!

7. The Voice Work

Hats off to all the cast and the director for getting the new vocal performances just right. Everyone locks straight back into how they were back in 1979: Chris is still likably befuddled, Romana is still assured yet warm and the Doctor exudes charm, wit and intelligence. The new production team even managed to work some indefinable magic and fill in some holes within the cast caused by the sad passing of Denis Carey (Professor Chronotis) and David Brierly (K-9) a number of years ago.

8. The Live Action Work

Spoiler alert: one of the biggest surprises in the new version of Shada is that it contains a small but crucial amount of new live action material, including a number of shots that use the K-9 prop. The team sourced a studio camera from the period so the new shots slot in seamlessly.

9. That Cameo

If you’ve seen it already, you know the one I’m talking about.

10. The Story

Of course, the main things that we love about the new Shada are the same things that made the old Shada great: the delicious humour, the mad ideas, the ludicrous chase sequence that involves a male acapella group and the cast having a whale of a time together. All the new stuff just complements the original ingredients to produce a story that sings. This is the definitive edition of Shada.

Want to grab a copy of Shada? You can pick up a special release packed with extras on DVD and Blu-ray from the DWCA Shop now. Don’t forget to check out our full range of classic and new series DVDs and Blu-rays here.

A Short History of Shada

A classic Doctor Who story is coming to the big screen, and boy is it a special one. Shada is unlike any other Doctor Who story ever made, because they never properly finished making it. Originally slated as the final story of Season 17 and scripted by the soon-to-be-famous Douglas Adams, the production was ultimately abandoned due to industrial action.

Now, 38 years after its conception, the BBC is completing the six-part epic by complementing the original studio and location scenes with animated sequences featuring voices from the original cast. But this certainly isn’t the first time that someone has tried to ‘complete’ the legendary incomplete story; in fact, Shada has managed to pop up in a whole bunch of different places over the years. Here’s a quick guide to them all:


Fans first caught a glimpse of Shada during the 20th anniversary special, The Five Doctors. Originally scripted to include all five incarnations of the Doctor (including a recast First Doctor with the permission of William Hartnell’s widow), plans changed when Tom Baker declined to return to the role that had made him a household name, citing the fact that he had only relatively recently left. Producer John Nathan-Turner still wanted the Fourth Doctor to be a part of the special, and so arranged to include two short scenes originally shot for Shada. The Fourth Doctor’s absence was explained as being trapped in a time vortex as a result of a botched kidnapping, and his role in the plot was largely taken by the Fifth Doctor. 1983 also saw the screening of an unofficial reconstruction at a fan convention.


Douglas Adams was never one to let a good idea die, and incorporated a few elements from Shada into his novel, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. The novel, which featured an electric monk, a satire of the fledgling computer industry and a time-travelling visit to a 19th century poet, subsequently spawned a sequel (1988’s The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul) as well as a radio adaptation, a comic series and two television adaptations, the latter starring Samuel Barnett and Elijah Wood.


The appetite to experience a complete version of Shada led one fan to take extraordinary measures:  working in collaboration with fellow fan Jon Preddle, New Zealander Paul Scoones wrote an unofficial novelisation that saw publication in the same year that the classic series came to an end. The novel was one of a series of non-profit books published by the New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club that adapted television stories that, for one reason or another, had not been tackled by the official publisher, Target Books. A second edition of the fan novelisation was published in 1991, and a third in 2001, each with a different cover.


The first official, full-length release of Shada came in the form of a special VHS release uniting all the original footage with new linking material that had Tom Baker summarising the unfilmed scenes. As the original story never entered post-production, a new score was composed by Keff McCulloch in the style common to many late ‘70s Doctor Who episodes. A number of new special effects shots were also created for the release, and K-9 voice actor David Brierly even recorded his outstanding dialogue. The VHS release was also bundled with a book of the original script.


The first full dramatisation of Shada came in the year of Doctor Who’s 40th anniversary. Big Finish Productions, the producers of many Doctor Who audio dramas, set out to create an audio adaptation. Their efforts caught the attention of BBCi, who partnered with Big Finish to create limited, Flash-based animations to accompany the audio production. Whilst Tom Baker was initially approached, he declined, and the story was reworked to star Paul McGann as the then-current Eighth Doctor. This had the fortunate side-effect of reconciling the story with The Five Doctors, with the Eighth Doctor catching up with Romana and wanting to attend to their ‘unfinished business’ from years ago. Lalla Ward returned to the role of Romana, but the cast was otherwise completely different to the 1979 version, including Sean Biggerstaff of the Harry Potter films and original K-9 voice actor John Leeson replacing David Brierly. The episodes were released as a webcast – a kind of pre-Netflix, pre-YouTube model of digitally streaming drama – over the course of six weeks and an expanded, audio-only version was released on CD later in the year.


Whilst the return of Doctor Who to our screens in 2005 was the start of many good things, it was also the end of the adventures of past Doctors in print, with the BBC’s Past Doctor Adventures line ceasing publication. The release of an official novelisation of Shada (along with an audiobook read by Lalla Ward and John Leeson) broke the drought and was followed in subsequent years with original novels featuring past Doctors, as well as numerous short stories.  Novelisations are set to make a comeback in 2018, with new books based on the television adventures of the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors.


The 50th anniversary year of the programme saw two new iterations of Shada – a remastered edition of the 1992 VHS release (along with a slew of new bonus features and the 1993 documentary More Than Thirty Years in the TARDIS) was bundled in a DVD boxset titled The Legacy Collection, and an unofficial fan version that completed the missing scenes through full-motion animation. Whilst several cast members reprised their original roles, Tom Baker was notably absent – the role of the Fourth Doctor instead being played by a soundalike.

2017 & BEYOND

Fast-forward to today, where the cinema release of the official animation is imminent. Made by the same people behind last year’s animation of The Power of the Daleks, the latest version of Shada completes the story using full colour animation with newly recorded dialogue featuring members of the original cast including, crucially, Tom Baker. Rather than merely fill in the blanks of the 1992 version, the 2017 version goes back to the source material for a brand new edit and music score. All the original footage has been newly remastered, with location scenes in HD for the first time and studio scenes originally shot in SD upscaled for the big screen. As the first full dramatisation of Shada to star Tom Baker, this version looks to be the most faithful rendition of the story yet. Shada opens in cinemas on 24 November (the day after Doctor Who’s 54th anniversary!) and a release on DVD and Blu-Ray – including brand new extras – will follow early next year.

And there you have it! With so many permutations of Shada out there, it is no wonder that it has acquired mythic status among so many Doctor Who fans. In fact, Shada has spawned so many different versions, it is enough to rival that other thing Douglas Adams is known for: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!

The 6 Types Of Actor Who Could Be The Next Doctor


We’re still reeling from the news that Peter Capaldi will be leaving the role of the Doctor at the end of this year. As fans, we now begin the process of grieving the loss of a Doctor whilst also looking forward to seeing who will step into Capaldi’s shoes and take the show in an exciting new direction. Chris Chibnall, and the powers that be at the BBC, face the daunting task of deciding who the Thirteenth Doctor will be.

Because we’re fans, we’ve made a list. A list of what sort of actor could fill the role – but rather than focus on speculation over individual actors, we are pondering the pools of talent that the production team may want to pick from. We’ve ordered our list from the most likely to be the next Doctor, to the least, based on nothing but fan intuition


Given the immense popularity of the programme, taking on the role of the Doctor can be seen as a great career move for an actor. At the same time, the Doctor Who production team may well be looking to snag a young, talented performer before they grow too big for a long-running TV series.

The Rising Star is the sort of actor who has been popping up in the odd TV guest part and minor film role for a few years and has ‘potential’ written all over them. They light up the screen in any scene they are in, and are probably destined for stardom: they’re just waiting for their big break.

There’s past precedent for this sort of thing to happen, with David Tennant being cast as the Doctor fresh off the back of RTD’s Casanova just as his career was starting to build a real momentum. There’s a whole universe of rising stars to choose from, with Andrew Gower, Wunmi Mosaku and Lydia Rose Bewley to name just a few, so the size of the pool and the amount of talent in it makes this our most likely pick.



There are plenty of actors who have long, respectable careers but who haven’t quite reached international stardom. Chibnall and co may be looking for a proven talent with a large body of work, who seems to crop up in almost everything but has never really shone in the limelight. The kind of person that makes you go ‘oh, it’s them’ whenever you see them on screen.

There are plenty of examples of this from the show’s history: past Seasoned Professionals to take on the role include Christopher Eccleston, the outgoing Peter Capaldi, and the man who kicked the whole thing off, William Hartnell. Some of the early favourites for the Thirteenth Doctor firmly fall under this umbrella, including David Harewood and Olivia Colman, so the chances of a well-versed actor assuming the role seem quite likely. We can easily imagine someone like Tim Roth, Tracey Childs or Lennie James taking on the role.



It’s now an uncommon occurrence to see actors with major film careers diverge into television. While it is unlikely that we will ever see an actor at the height of their popularity take on the small screen commitment of Doctor Who (those who are desperate for Benedict Cumberbatch to play the Doctor may want to moderate their expectations), there could be some iconic talent who could be coaxed into the TARDIS if they are looking for a new phase in their career. The production team could benefit in casting someone with star power, who is immediately recognisable and brings a sizeable audience with them. Someone with a kind of credibility that would ground the show as it makes the transition between the old and new showrunners.

Movement between the big and small screen has rarely been as free as it is now, but there is a near enough example from Doctor Who’s past (if you squint hard enough): at the time of the Fifth Doctor’s casting, Peter Davison was something of a major TV star, at least in the UK, having played a lead role in the veterinary comedy-drama series All Creatures Great and Small.

We can think a little bigger now, and the prospect of someone like Tilda Swinton (Eighth Doctor actor Paul McGann’s personal pick), Chiwitel Ejiofor or Hugh Laurie taking over in 2018 seems tantalisingly plausible.



It’s almost as plausible that the powers that be could select someone who has virtually no profile whatsoever, who brings no baggage with them (remember how the spectre of Malcolm Tucker hung over the early part of Peter Capaldi’s tenure?). It would make a powerful statement of intent from an incoming showrunner – this is someone fresh who is going to be unpredictable in the role. It really could be anyone’s game.

Past Doctor Matt Smith was barely heard of at the time of his casting, but perhaps an even better example comes in the form of the newest lead to join the series, Pearl Mackie, whose past CV is mostly theatre credits. It could be a risky path to take, but the possibility of the new Doctor being played by someone completely unfamiliar to audiences is incredibly exciting.



Catherine Tate was a revelation as Donna Noble way back in 2008, proving that a comedic actor’s decision making and sense of timing can be just as valuable when playing drama. It’s now pretty commonplace to see British comedy actors do good work in dramatic roles, so much so that Miranda Hart can play a midwife and Joanna Scanlan can play a gritty detective and without anyone batting an eyelid. In looking to capture the Doctor’s distinctive sense of wit, the new production team could do worse than look amongst the scores of talented actors who have their roots in comedy.

The role of the new Doctor could represent a great opportunity for a gifted funny person to transition to the world of drama – it certainly was for Jon Pertwee back in 1970, when Pertwee was best known for his appearances in multiple Carry On films and his role in the long-running radio series The Navy Lark.

Suggestions of The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade, along with the aforementioned Hart, have already been doing the rounds. We think some well-loved comedy actors who have already had a stab at playing it straight, such as Tamsin Greig, or Sanjeev Bhaskar, could give highly memorable takes on the part. However, it may be even more exciting to see the dramatic potential unlocked in someone who so far has not strayed far from the world of comedy – perhaps someone like Matt Berry?



The worst possible choice that the production team could make would be to pick someone boring. The Wild Card definitely isn’t boring. There’s something about them that breaks the mould. Perhaps they are best known for something other than acting. Perhaps they aren’t British. Perhaps they’re Australian. Perhaps they’re, wait for it, American. Chibnall could do something hugely unexpected and go with a completely gonzo decision. It would certainly get people sitting up and paying attention.

Remarkably, this sort of thing has happened before. Sylvester McCoy’s formative career was in experimental theatre, and he also had a string of children’s television credits prior to accepting the role of the Doctor. That’s before we even get to past companions, which have included the likes of pop singers (Billie Piper), former child stars (Bonnie Langford) and talent competition winners (Wendy Padbury).

The idea of a completely off-the-wall choice, like singer-songwriter Morrissey, Australian actor Elizabeth Debicki or American rapper and sometime actor Mos Def, has us tickled.


Of course, Capaldi’s eventual successor might not neatly fit in one of the above categories – they might be a highly experienced comedy actor, or a non-British up-and-comer, or, well, anybody. Whatever decision Chibnall and his colleagues end up making, we’re sure it will be a fine one. Casting the Doctor may be a difficult process, but no-one’s made a bad choice so far.


DATE: Sunday 11 October 2015

TIME: 4pm

VENUE: 2nd Floor Club Burwood, 97 Burwood Road, Burwood NSW

AGENDA: The purpose of this meeting will be to consider and vote on four proposed amendments to the club constitution:

  • Item 1 – Modify procedures for the right of appeal of disciplined members (Section 12)
  • Item 2 – Modify responsibilities of committee members (Section 13.1)
  • Item 3 – Modify procedures for the appointment of committee members (Section 15.2)
  • Item 4 – Modify procedures for the removal of committee members (Section 19)

The proposed amendments can be found here.

To be eligible to vote, you must be both:

  • A fully paid-up DWCA member for at least the previous 12 months (1 year), and
  • 16 years of age or over.

If you are unable to attend the meeting but would like to vote, please send a letter to this address by 8 October:

The Returning Officer DWCA
95 Hamrun Circuit
Rooty Hill
NSW   2766

The letter must include the following:

  • Your name
  • Your DWCA member number
  • A list of the proposed constitutional amendments (Item 1, Item 2, Item 3 and Item 4) and a clear statement indicating whether you are FOR or AGAINST each individual item.

A vote in respect of only one membership number per envelope is allowed.