Time travel and zany adventures, with opportunities to reach into science fiction as well as history, Doctor Who is a storyline that has gained a cult following over its six decades of existence. Featuring the Doctor, who is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, and his various companions make their way through the world in random times and places where they take on alien villains, rescue victims of kidnapping and perform other heroic deeds.
Becoming one of the top dramas on the BBC in the network’s history, Doctor Who certainly deserves a day of celebration that is all its own!
History of Doctor Who Days
In November 1963, the Radio Times revealed that a new Saturday afternoon show of adventure and time travel would be appearing on the BBC. Still filmed in black and white, this first show starred William Hartnell as a mysterious, cantankerous Time Lord who traveled with his granddaughter, Susan. Daleks quickly make their appearance into the story and the stage is set for decades of action and fun.
Sadly, just a couple of years into the show, Hartnell became ill and could no longer work. Yet, because of the sci-fi nature of the story, the idea of a character regeneration was written into the plot and the Doctor found himself taking on a new body and a changed character. This concept of regeneration is part of what has allowed the show to continue its presence throughout its sixty years of life!
With the series ending in 1989 and then finding various opportunities for comebacks in the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, Doctor Who has seen a regeneration not only of the doctor himself (or herself!) but also of the fan base that now spans generations. With fan favorite actors like David Tenant, Peter Capaldi and Matt Smith, as well as many others, there are plenty of Doctors to choose from, all with their different quirks and personalities.
Doctor Who Day is celebrated on the anniversary of the first episode that aired in 1963, and it offers an annual opportunity to take a peek into the past, the future, and anywhere that TARDIS will take you!
Fans of the show may also want to engage a bit later in the year with International Dalek Remembrance Day.
Doctor Who Day Timeline
November 23, 1963
Doctor Who first airs
This series of adventures in time and space first shows on the BBC on Saturday afternoons, starring William Hartnell.
Tom Baker becomes the Doctor
After three previous iterations, Tom Baker brings an iconic take on Doctor Who and plays the role for 8 years.
Doctor Who series leaves television
Though it still holds the hearts of many, falling ratings usher in the end of the show’s production.
Doctor Who series is revived
After a long hiatus, the Doctor makes a comeback on the BBC, and later this year the popular David Tenant offers his take on the character.
Doctor Who is played by Jodie Whittaker
For the first time, a female version of the Doctor appears, providing a unique version of the thirteenth doctor.
How to Celebrate Doctor Who Day
With literally hundreds of episodes spanning a timeline of many thousands of years, the ideas and options for celebrating Doctor Who Day are almost endless! Get creative and celebrate with some of these superb ideas:
Watch Doctor Who
Obviously, the best way to get on board with celebrating this Doctor Who Day would be to search up some of the most classic episodes or specials from the series and watch them. Grab a friend or family member who is a fan and enjoy some of the adventurous fun from the different versions of the Doctor. With more than 850 episodes of this amazing show to choose from, it could be difficult to even decide which ones to start with!
Not sure where to begin? Check out some of these episodes which some fans have voted as their favorites, some recent and one from the more classic episodes:
- Blink (2007). This one regularly comes up in the top ten, no matter which poll is considered. David Tenant and Carey Mulligan feature in this tenth episode of the third series, complete with creepy weeping angels.
- Vincent and the Doctor (2010). Matt Smith and his sidekick travel to France to have a heartfelt visit with none other than Vincent Van Gogh.
- The Day of the Doctor (2013). This one teams up with not one, but TWO Doctors! David Tenant and the next doctor, Matt Smith, are also able to introduce the concept of the War Doctor.
- The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1966). For those who need to know the background of these arch nemesis characters of Doctor Who check out the second episode from the classic series.
Represent with Doctor Who Swag
Show the world how cool the doctor is and what a real fan looks like by celebrating with some super swag on this important day. From t-shirts to coffee mugs, from tote bags to key chains, it’s easy to get outfitted with Doctor Who merch for your person, at the office or at home. Order online or find them at various local gift shops that feature merchandise for this Doctor Who Day!
Host a Doctor Who Party
For fans of sci-fi in general, or this series specifically, what could be a better way to celebrate Doctor Who Day than to throw a little party?! Invite guests to dress up as their favorite character, including iterations of the Doctor, various companions or even the dreaded Dalek!
Arrange to have various snacks and treats that are all centered around the theme of Doctor Who. From fish fingers and custard (but perhaps make the “fish fingers” out of cookie dough!) to Adipose treats made from marshmallows, from pretzel “sonic screwdrivers” to a bowl full of Jelly Babies, the options for creativity are almost endless when it comes to serving themed snacks. Timey-wimey cupcakes would certainly hit the spot as well.
For decorations, obviously, the best idea would be to re-create a life sized version of the blue TARDIS! Whether using a refrigerator box for a 3D version or just making a paper version of the blue police box to post on a door or on the wall.
Enjoy Some Doctor Who Books
Sure, the story started as a television series. But out of that spun a collection of books that are certainly worth taking a look at in honor of Doctor Who Day!
These books can be found from a variety of different sources. For instance, from 1973 to 1991, more than 150 books were published by Target Books that covered the various stories from the classic television series. Later, Virgin books made their own series that included more than 100 books featuring the newer doctors. BBC also had its own book series, as well as a range of others that included some Make Your Own Adventure books.
Doctor Who Day FAQs
Who was the 9th doctor?
The Ninth Doctor, in the series revival of 2005, was played by Christopher Eccleston.
Who is the tenth doctor?
One of the most famous and beloved iterations of Doctor Who, the tenth doctor is played by David Tenant from 2005-2010.
Can Doctor Who die?
Instead of dying, the Doctor can regenerate into a different form, a process which some say is limited to 12 times while others say it is unlimited.
Did Doctor Who end?
Doctor Who ran as a series from 1963-1989, was revived briefly in 1996 and again with various series and specials from 2005.