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’ll show you the key moments in Doctor Who’s history – every fortnight for the whole year. What better way to celebrate than that? In this article, we talk about Jon Pertwee’s death, episodes, audio dramas, and James Pardon’s birth.
We’re 38.5% through the year, which means we’ve got 27 more weeks till the 60th anniversary of the show we all love. Let’s look at what happened this fortnight in Doctor Who’s history.
Doctor Who History: Week Nineteen – 8th May to 14th May
The year 1965 saw the broadcast of The Search. Fast forward to 1971, when the fifth episode of Colony in Space was also broadcast. In 1983, our favourite photographer (who I interviewed), James Pardon, was born. In 2001, Big Finish released The Stone’s Lament. The Vampires of Venice was first broadcast in 2010, while Big Finish released The Lady of Mercia, The Apocalypse Mirror, and Phantoms of the Deep in 2013. 2014 Big Finish released Charlotte Pollard: Series One, followed by The Third Doctor Adventures: Volume Five in 2019. Big Finish in 2013 and 2019 on this day was busy!
The year 1964 marked the first broadcast of Sentence of Death. Seven years later, in 1970, the first episode of Inferno was also broadcast. Big Finish released the audio story Auld Mortality in 2003, while The Scapegoat: Part 2 was first released in Big Finish’s Eighth Doctor Adventures Series 3 in 2009. In 2017, Big Finish released Corpse Day.
In 1969, Rebecca Root, who played the Eighth Doctor’s companion Tania Bell in the Stranded audio series, was born. That same year, episode four of The War Games was first broadcast. In 1975, season 12 concluded with the broadcast of episode four of Revenge of the Cybermen. Fast forward to 2008, and The Doctor’s Daughter was first broadcast, resulting in Doctor Who becoming bonkers— how Donna Noble would say— as Georgia Moffett, who played the Doctor’s daughter, is the daughter of Peter Davison, the Fifth Doctor, and is now married to David Tennant, the Tenth and Fourteenth Doctor. Finally, in 2022, Big Finish released Battlegrounds for the first time.
1968 the third episode of The Wheel in Space was broadcast. Following a six year hiatus of no significant action, in 1974, episode two of Planet of the Spiders aired. Big Finish released the audio anthology Short Trips – Volume III in 2011. Two years later, in 2013, Nightmare in Silver was first broadcast.
In 1973, episode six of Planet of the Daleks was first broadcast. In 1996, Doctor Who: The Movie was released in Canada. Big Finish released Ferril’s Folly in 2011, while Shadow of the Sun was first released in 2020.
In 1967, the sixth episode of The Faceless Ones was shown on TV for the first time. Fast forward to 1972, when episode six of The Mutants was aired. In 2006, Rise of the Cybermen introduced the world to the Parallel world that would come up later on in the series. Then in 2017, Oxygen was broadcast, this episode was the episode that The Doctor became blind. But the excitement didn’t stop there! Big Finish released Scorched Earth in 2020. In 2021, Ravagers, a new adventure featuring the Ninth Doctor, was released.
In 1966, The Gunfighters’ episode, Johnny Ringo, made its debut on television. Fast forward to 1996, when the Doctor Who Movie was first broadcast in the United States, introducing Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. In 2005, Father’s Day tugged at viewers’ heartstrings as Rose Tyler travelled back in time to save her father’s life. Six years later, in 2011, The Doctor’s Wife gave fans a unique and emotional glimpse into the TARDIS herself. Meanwhile, in the audio world, Big Finish released Tomb Ship and Last of the Colophon in 2014, expanding the Doctor Who universe even further. And in 2020, fans of the Third Doctor were treated to The Third Doctor Adventures: Volume Six by Big Finish, with Tim Treloar reprising his role as the Third Doctor.
Doctor Who History: Week Twenty – 15th May to 21st May
In 1965, The Final Phase aired. 1971 was the year that episode six of Colony in Space kept audiences captivated until the very end. In 2010, Amy’s Choice gave viewers a complex and mind-bending story that played with the concept of reality. Meanwhile, Big Finish released The Worlds of Big Finish in 2015. And in 2018, fans were thrilled with the release of The Lure of the Nomad by Big Finish.
In 1964, the First Doctor and his companions concluded their dangerous quest for the titular key with the broadcast of the sixth and final episode of The Keys of Marinus. Fast forwarding to 1970, viewers were treated to the broadcast of episode two of Inferno. Meanwhile, Big Finish released The Cannibalists: Part 1 in their Eighth Doctor Adventures Series 3 in 2009 and gave their fans even more exciting adventures to sink their teeth into with the release of The Elixir of Doom in 2014.
Three new releases from Big Finish arrived in 2016: Technophobia, Time Reaver, and Death and the Queen, each providing a unique and thrilling story. The following year, 2017, saw the release of Vortex Ice and Cortex Fire, two more exciting audio dramas from Big Finish. And in 2018, fans listened to four more thrilling new releases: The Shadow of London, The Bad Penny, Kill the Doctor!, and The Age of Sutekh, that’s a lot of Fourth Doctor audio stories. Finally, in 2019, Big Finish continued to keep fans engaged with three new releases: One Mile Down, The Creeping Death, and No Place, each offering more excitement and adventure in the Doctor Who universe.
In 1969, episode five of The War Games aired. In 2008, The Unicorn and the Wasp gave viewers a murder mystery set in the 1920s, complete with Agatha Christie. Big Finish released The Haunting of Malkin Place in 2017, an audio story featuring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and his companion, Lalla Ward as Romana II. Plus, in 2022, Big Finish continued to bring new adventures to fans with the release of Water Worlds.
In 1941, Miriam Margolyes, an actor, was born.
Spoiler alert: As of when this is published, it is unknown which character Margolyes will play in Series 14 of Doctor Who. The fourth episode of The Wheel in Space was first broadcast in 1968. Episode three of Planet of the Spiders was first broadcast in 1974, leaving Pertwee with 3 chronological episodes left. In 2011, Big Finish released Crime of the Century, an audio drama in their Eighth Doctor Adventures Series 2.
The Name of the Doctor was first broadcast in 2013, marking a crucial point in the Eleventh Doctor’s era, or should I say the Doctor’s life, as the true identity of Clara Oswald was revealed. Finally, in 2021, Big Finish released The Third Doctor Adventures: Volume Seven.
1935 was the year that Michael Wisher, the first actor to play Davros (the creator of the Daleks) was born. In 1973, the first episode of The Green Death broadcast. The episode, 42, first broadcast in 2007, which saw the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones trapped on a spaceship hurtling towards the sun. In 2011, Big Finish released Kiss of Death.
20th May– A saddening death to many
The first episode of The Evil of the Daleks broadcast in 1967, featuring the Second Doctor and his companions Jamie and Victoria. Fast forward to 1972, the first episode of The Time Monster was broadcast. Tragically, in 1996, Jon Pertwee, the actor who portrayed the Third Doctor, passed away in his sleep from a heart attack at the age of 76. Jumping to 2006, The Age of Steel was first broadcast.
Five years later, in 2015, Big Finish released Last of the Cybermen. Turning to 2017, Extremis was first broadcast, with the Twelfth Doctor investigating a book that can kill. Oh, and the Pope, obviously! Finally, in 2020, Big Finish released the Torchwood audio story, Iceberg, featuring Owen where there may or may not be a bridge between life and death.
The year 1966 saw the broadcast of The O.K. Corral. an episode of Doctor Who. Actress Juliet Cowan, who would later play Chrissie Jackson in The Sarah Jane Adventures, was born in 1974. Loups-Garoux, an audio story featuring the Fifth Doctor and Turlough, was released by Big Finish in 2001. Big Finish released The Time of the Daleks in 2002. Fans of Doctor Who still shiver at the 2005 episode The Empty Child, which first aired on television on this date. The Rebel Flesh, which first aired in 2011, saw the Eleventh Doctor, Rory and Amy encountering a group of doppelgängers on an island. In 2015, Big Finish released Suburban Hell.
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. We had a lot of Fourth Doctor audio adventures, Third Doctor adventures, and the death of Third Doctor actor, Jon Pertwee. The spookiest first part of a story ever, “Are you my mummy?” aired, and we had the introduction to John Hurt as the Doctor. The Doctor Who 1996 movie was finally released as well.
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.
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