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 be showing you the key moments in Doctor Who history – every fortnight for the whole year. What better way to celebrate than that! Can you believe that we’re halfway through February already?
Doctor Who History: Week Seven – 13th February to 19th February
The Web Planet first aired on this day in 1965. The third episode of The Mind of Evil debuted in 1971. 2008 saw the debut of Adam (the fifth episode of Series 2 of Torchwood) and Reset, the episode that followed it. In terms of audios: The Sleeping City was put out by Big Finish in 2014. 2018 saw Big Finish’s initial release of Ghost Walk. Big Finish then released Time’s Assassin, Fever Island, and The Perfect Prisoners in 2019. For those who like their Doctors with a Scottish turn rather than a bohemian one… The Twelfth Doctor Chronicles was first released by Big Finish in 2020.
Born in on this day 1928, Mark Eden – who fans will most know for portraying the titular role in Marco Polo. The third episode of Doctor Who and the Silurians was first broadcast in 1970. Part three of The Seeds of Doom made its debut in 1976. The third part of The Keeper of Traken was first shown in 1981. That is a lot of third episodes/parts!
The White Ghosts and The Brood of Erys were originally made available by Big Finish in 2014. The Contingency Club was initially made available by Big Finish in 2017. Big Finish first released Deleted Scenes in 2020. Surprisingly, we don’t know of any Valentine’s Day Specials in the first 59 years of Whoniverse history but this year, we hear Torchwood has one with The Last Love Song of Suzie Costello…
The author Chris Boucher was born in 1943. Among many great sci-fi creations, Boucher was notably responsible for the creation of the Fourth Doctor companion Leela. 1964 saw the debut of The Brink of Disaster. The Seeds of Death episode four aired in 1969.(do you remember the fun little music and model shot over the title card? We do!) The first broadcast of The Ark in Space Part 4 occurred on this day in 1975, bringing the story to quite the conclusion. 1982 saw the initial airing of The Visitation Part 1. The first part of Terminus was broadcast in 1983. Resurrection of the Daleks Part 2 debuted on television in 1984. Well, it was Part 2 then… but now, it’s kinda Parts 3 & 4 now. It’s funny what Wimbledon matches can do to TV scheduling.
Big Finish put out The Eternal Battle in 2017. And then they released The Churchill Years: Volume Two in 2018. In 2022, Big Finish published Short Trips: Volume 11. (Speaking of Short Trips, earlier this month we interviewed two of the writers of Short Trips: Volume 12. We’ve got that linked down at the bottom of this article, if you’ve not yet read it…)
16th February – Who History made as a fantastic Doctor is born…
The Ninth Doctor’s actor Christopher Eccleston was born in 1964. What a fantastic birthday! (Nope! Just me who thought that was funny. For reference, the Ninth Doctor’s catchphrase was “Fantastic!”.) Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ sixth episode premiered in 1974. 1982 saw the premiere of The Visitation Part 2. The second episode of Terminus was first shown in 1983. 1985 saw the release of The Two Doctors Part 1. Big Finish first made Gallifrey V available in 2013. In spook-tacular fashion, The Haunting of Villa Diodati premiered on this day in 2020. Mary Shelley. Polidori. Ghosts. And a Lone Cyberman! The audio Ninth Doctor Adventures box set Old Friends was then released by Big Finish in 2022. Someone somewhere picked that date carefully!
The third episode of The Web of Fear debuted in 1968. It continues to be missing from the BBC Archives, though a copy is known to exist. It’s complicated. At any rate, many fans have created their own unofficial animations of the episode, and even an official 3D animation has come out… The fourth episode of Carnival of Monsters debuted in 1973 – though with a slight edit to the last scene, removing a section in which the director felt one of the performer’s bald caps was slipping off… 1979 saw the debut of The Armageddon Factor Part 5. And in terms of audio: Big Finish released Aquitaine in 2016.
18th February – a particularly sad moment in Who History…
The second episode of The Moonbase debuted in 1967. The third installment of The Invasion of Time debuted in 1978. And in notably sad reflection – the actress Jacqueline Hill, who played Barbara Wright, one of the very first companions, passed away in 1993.
Priest of Death made its television debut in 1966, being the third episode of The Massacre. The fourth episode of The Curse of Peladon debuted in 1972. 1977 saw the debut of The Robots of Death Part 4.
Doctor Who History: Week Eight – 20th February to 26th February
The Zarbi – one of the more bluntly named episodes of The Web Planet – aired in 1965. The fourth episode of The Mind of Evil was given its first broadcast in 1971. Anjli Mohindra, the actress who played Rani Chandra, was born in 1990. Another Torchwood episode: Dead Man Walking premiered in 2008. Big Finish released The Suffering in 2010.
The fourth episode of Doctor Who and the Silurians aired in 1970. The Seeds of Doom‘s fourth episode debuted in 1976. Episode four of The Keeper of Traken premiered in 1981. Now, it’s all for the Episode Fours…
On a more somber note: Ron Grainer, the composer of the Doctor Who theme, passed away in 1981. Though the utilised arrangement by Delia Derbyshire and company (and subsequent rearrangements since by others) strayed far from Ron’s vision of the tune – it remains the case that it was his composition. An incredibly important contribution in the production history.
22nd February – time for Time War in Who History
Marco Polo started with the episode The Roof of the World, which first aired on this date in 1964. The fifth episode of The Seeds of Death premiered in 1969. Part one of The Sontaran Experiment was broadcast for the first time in 1975. And 1982 saw the initial airing of The Visitation Part 3. It was relatively soon-after followed up by Part three of Terminus in 1983.
After months of ill health, Nicholas Courtney – who played Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart – sadly passed away on this day in 2011.one of my top three favourite companions
For audio: Big Finish published Infernal Devices in 2016.And then released Gallifrey: Time War 1 in 2018, bringing the Time War some really interesting exploration. Sonny, a Torchwood monthly range audio story, was first released by Big Finish in 2022.
Gerry Davis, co-creator of the Cybermen, was born in 1930. The first part of Death to the Daleks was broadcast in 1974. The Visitation Part 4 premiered in 1982. Part four of Terminus was televised for the first time in 1983. And Part one of Planet of Fire was first shown in 1984. Another one of those Davison-era yearly streaks!
Big Finish released the audio drama Casualties of War in 2017. The penultimate episode of Series 12, Ascension of the Cybermen, was broadcast in 2020, bringing with the return of Sacha Dhawan’s incarnation of the Master.
David Gooderson, who played Davros in Destiny of the Daleks, was born in 1941. The fourth episode of The Web of Fear was broadcast in 1968. The first installment of Frontier in Space was first broadcast in 1973. And Part six of The Armageddon Factor was first aired in 1979. Part two of Planet of Fire came along in 1984.
Episode three of The Moonbase premiered in 1967. Ingrid Oliver – who played Petronella Osgood and their Zygon double – was born in 1977. Part four of The Invasion of Time had its first airing in 1978. Big Finish released the audio stories The Chimes of Midnight and The Greatest Shop in the Galaxy for the first time in 2002. And many years later, they published Prime Winner in 2016.
The final part of The Massacre had its first broadcast – Bell of Doom – in 1966. In 1972, the first episode of The Sea Devils was broadcast. And Part one of The Talons of Weng-Chiang got its debut on this day in 1977. Big Finish first released the audio tale Sword of Orion in 2001.
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 the birth of the first NuWho Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, for one thing. Personally, I think it’s crazy that we’re 15% through the year.
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.