This Past Fortnight no. 9 | March 27th – April 9th
Doctor Who has had an expansive history, from what happens in the show to what happens outside the show. And as we go through this 60th-anniversary special year, I’m continuing in my quest to show you the key moments in Doctor Who history – every fortnight for the whole year. What better way to celebrate than that!
Doctor Who History: Week Thirteen – 27th March to 2nd April
In 1965, The Lion made its first appearance on air. The Claws of Axos‘ third episode was broadcast in 1971. Big Finish released The Turn of the Screw in 2018, while Doctors and Dragons followed in 2019.(We wonder what franchise inspired that particular title…)
28th March – a big birthday & a sad loss in Who history
In 1964, Mighty Kublai Khan – an episode of the story Marco Polo – was first broadcast. The Ambassadors of Death aired its second episode on this day in 1970. In 1981: Gareth David-Lloyd, best known for his portrayal of Ianto Jones in Torchwood, was born.
In sadder news: Patrick Troughton, who played the Second Doctor, passed away on this day in 1987. He had been in the middle of attending a convention in Vermont when he suffered a heart attack.
The Dark Flame was released by Big Finish in 2003, followed by Hothouse: Part 2 in 2009. In 2017, Big Finish released Charlotte Pollard: Series Two, and The Death of Captain Jack was released in 2018.
In 1969, audiences were introduced to the fourth episode of The Space Pirates. Seven years later, in 1975, audiences were treated to the fourth part of Genesis of the Daleks. Though it would reconfigure bits of the history of that famed foe, the titular Daleks, it would become legendary in general fandom.(Funny how the tides of Who history work sometimes…) In 1982, the third part of Time-Flight was broadcast. In 1984, the third part of The Twin Dilemma aired, continuing the Sixth Doctor’s story as he struggled with his regeneration.
In 1965, Romana III voice actress Juliet Landau was born. The third episode of Fury from the Deep aired in 1968. Part two of The Monster of Peladon transmitted in 1974. In 1982, the fourth part of Time-Flight aired. The fourth part of The Twin Dilemma was first aired in 1984. The second part of Revelation of the Daleks was first broadcast in 1985.
The Bells of Saint John was first aired in 2013. We also had another sad loss in Who history on this day as Kate O’Mara, who portrayed the first incarnation of the Rani, passed away in 2014. In 2021, Big Finish released Master!, and Mind of the Hodiac was first released in 2022. Mind of the Hodiac is fabled for a connection to much earlier in Who history, as Russell T Davies originally sent it as a unsolicited pitch to the production office back in the late 1980s. (back then, they allowed people to send in script ideas!)
In 1973, the sixth episode of Frontier in Space aired. Twenty-eight years later, in 2007, the first episode of the third series of the revival of Doctor Who, titled Smith and Jones, broadcasted. This episode introduced Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones. Finally, in 2020, Big Finish released Decline of the Ancient Mariner.
1st April – a monumental birth in Who history
Sydney Newman, the mastermind behind Doctor Who, came into the world in 1917. Fast forward to 1967, when the fourth episode of The Macra Terror was first broadcasted. The excitement continued in 1972 with the sixth episode of The Sea Devils, a fan-favourite among Whovians. Finally, in 2013, Big Finish released Babblesphere, a must-listen for any die-hard Fourth Doctor fans. No April Fools Day fooling around here!
In 1966, viewers were introduced to the whimsical and dangerous The Celestial Toyroom episode of Doctor Who – part of the story we nowadays call The Celestial Toymaker.(even though the character’s correct name is The Toymaker, but that’s a long story.) Just over a decade later in 1977, audiences were thrilled and chilled by the sixth and final part of The Talons of Weng-Chiang story. Moving ahead to 2005, the second episode of Series 1 of NuWho – The End of the World – transported viewers to a spaceship spectating future apocalyptic Earth with an array of alien species.
Doctor Who History: Week Fourteen – 3rd April to 9th April
3rd April – Who history says hello to Matt Smith!
In 1924, a voice acting legend was born: Peter Hawkins, who would go on to bring life to two of Doctor Who‘s most iconic foes, the Daleks and the Cybermen. Fans eagerly tuned in to watch The Knight of Jaffa in 1965. Sadly, now it is one of the two missing episodes of this story. We live in hope for a recovery or an animation one day though…
In 1971, the final episode of The Claws of Axos broadcast. Then, in 2010, the world was introduced to the Eleventh Doctor, portrayed by Matt Smith, in the thrilling and aptly-named episode The Eleventh Hour. (Fun side trivia fact: the 3rd of April is now regarded as National Fish Fingers and Custard day due to this episode.) And for Big Finish fans, 2014 brought the release of Jago & Litefoot: Series Seven, another exciting installment in the beloved audio drama series.
The thrilling episode Assassin at Peking captivated viewers in 1964. Sadly, the BBC wiped out this episode and its serial, making it impossible to watch. In 1970, viewers watched The Ambassadors of Death, which broadcasted for the first time, six years later. In 2008, Torchwood‘s second season came to a dramatic close with Exit Wounds, leaving fans eagerly anticipating what was to come next. Meanwhile, Big Finish delighted listeners in 2009 with The Beast of Orlok: Part 1, the first episode in the third series of the Eighth Doctor Adventures. In 2017, Act Two of The Jago & Litefoot Revival released.
In 1969, episode five of The Space Pirates was first broadcast. In 1975, fans watched in terror as the Daleks made a comeback in the fifth part of Genesis of the Daleks. Three decades later, in 2008, the Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble teamed up in the hilarious and fat-tastic Partners in Crime. In 2016, Big Finish released Zone 10, offering fans another thrilling adventure for Torchwood.
In 1968, viewers tuned in to watch the fourth episode of Fury from the Deep, which brought the Second Doctor and his companions face to face with a deadly seaweed creature. In 1974, The Monster of Peladon Part Three aired for the first time. Jumping ahead to 2013, the Eleventh Doctor brought Clara Oswald for her first trip in The Rings of Akhaten episode. In 2015, Big Finish released The Ghost Trap, an exciting audio drama featuring the Fourth Doctor and Leela. And in 2022, fans of the Eighth Doctor were treated to Stranded 4, the final instalment in the popular Big Finish audio series.
In 1973, the first episode of Planet of the Daleks aired, taking viewers on a perilous adventure with the Third Doctor and Jo Grant. Jumping ahead to 2007, the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones travelled back in time to meet William Shakespeare in the captivating The Shakespeare Code.
In 1967, viewers were introduced to the sinister Chameleons for the memorable cliffhanger of the first episode of The Faceless Ones. Five years later, in 1972, audiences witnessed the beginning of a new adventure with the first episode of The Mutants.
Jumping ahead to 2002, Big Finish released Excelis Rising, an audio story featuring the Sixth Doctor. Moving to this decade, in 2020, Big Finish delighted fans with Tropical Beach Sounds and Other Relaxing Seascapes #4, a Torchwood audio story. Finally, in 2021, fans of the Eleventh Doctor era were thrilled with the release of The Lone Centurion: Volume One by Big Finish, featuring the adventures of Rory Williams.
In 1909, C. E. Webber, the writer of An Unearthly Child, was born. Jumping ahead to 1966, viewers were treated to The Hall of Dolls, a spooky episode of Doctor Who. In 1972, Neve McIntosh, who played the iconic character of Madame Vastra, was born. Thirty-three years later, in 2005, The Unquiet Dead was first broadcast, taking the Ninth Doctor and Rose to 1869 Cardiff. Moving to 2014, The War To End All Wars was first released by Big Finish, featuring Steven Taylor and Sida. Finally, in 2019, Big Finish released Ravenous 3, the third volume of the Eighth Doctor’s Ravenous series.
Doctor Who History: Conclusion For This Fortnight
All, in all, this fortnight has been quite an eventful one in Who-istory, or Doctor Who history, if you prefer to put it that way. Some of the highlights of this fortnight is the first appearance of The Face of Boe, the birth of Gareth David-Lloyd who played Ianto Jones in Torchwood, the introduction of Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones, and the first adventure of Clara Oswald, and the release of many audio dramas by Big Finish.
I’ll be back in a fortnight to tell you more Doctor Who history…
With many thanks to the work of the esteemed editors at Tardis Wiki – their work has been particularly integral to our fact-checking of Big Finish release dates.