Doctor Who stories to watch during isolation – Picked by the Cast and Crew

It’s safe to say that what the world needs right now is the Doctor. If you’re like us, and stuck in isolation with not much to do, you’re probably itching to watch some Doctor Who.

We sought advice from those closest to the show – the show-runners, writers, cast and crew – to bring you a list of their favourite and most comforting Doctor Who episodes to watch during this unprecedented time.

The Pirate Planet | Russell T Davies

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‘Given the length of this isolation, I’d say all of them!’ jokes former show-runner Russell T Davies. ‘But… The Pirate Planet. Enormous fun. Curiously underestimated, it rarely makes the list of favourite episodes – when it outstrips most of TV!’

Heaven Sent | Joy Wilkinson

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The Witchfinders writer, Joy Wilkinson, chooses Heaven Sent as her isolation episode. ‘I’m a big fan of Heaven Sent‘ she says. ‘It seems apt as a tale of bravery, tenacity and resilience against all odds, over a long time, alone. And I especially love how it’s embedded in the form that restrictions force creativity – in storytelling, as in life.’

Vincent and the Doctor | Matt Strevens

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‘I think now is the perfect time to revisit Vincent and the Doctor.” says current executive producer, Matt Strevens. ‘I love the historicals and this one is one of the best’ he explains. ‘It’s funny and witty and action packed, as always, but the metaphor of fighting your own monsters and the way it deals with mental health is perfection. I also defy anyone to keep a dry eye as the Doctor and Amy take Vincent (one of the great guest performances from Tony Curran) to the Musee d’Orsay to see his legacy. Despite the subject matter it’s totally uplifting and life affirming. A comfort watch must!’

The Green Death | Terror of the Autons | Dalek

Katy Manning

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70’s companion actress Katy Manning has not one, but three suggestions for us. ‘My first suggestion is Dalek by Robert Shearman’ she tells us. ‘This is one of my favourites of the new Who series from the brilliant Russell T Davies. This features daleks just the way I find them most disturbing – void of any human look or connection! With Christopher Eccleston & Billie Piper, such a perfect team!’ She then goes on to tell us her favourites from her run of the show. ‘From my era with Jon Pertwee I’d pick The Terror of the Autons with the introduction of the Master. I also love the character growth of Jo Grant and the wonderful relationship that blossomed between her Doctor (Jon Pertwee) that pays off so touchingly in The Green Death – both earth bound episodes which show awareness on the problem of plastics & pollution.’

The Lodger | Emily Cook

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‘Wouldn’t it be brilliant fun to be stuck in quarantine with the Doctor and Craig?’ Says Doctor Who Magazine’s Emily Cook. ‘If only for the fact that the Doctor makes amazing omelettes, which are my all-time favourite food!’ perfect lockdown dinner anyone?

‘I think Matt Smith and James Corden have amazing chemistry in this episode. Also, seeing the Doctor attempting to live a normal life never fails to cheer me up. I love domestic Doctor Who!’ Anyone for an indoor game of football or hallway cat chat?

Androids of Tara | City of Death | The Ribos Operation

Paul Cornell

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Fathers Day and Human Nature writer, Paul Cornell, couldn’t just pick one story! ‘I’d opt for anything with Tom Baker and Romana under Graham Williams, especially Androids of Tara, The Ribos Operation or City of Death. The most civilised and comfortable Who, all nonchalant clowning, expert detail and gorgeous world-building.’

The Girl in the Fireplace | Vinay Patel

‘It was the episode someone tried to introduce me to New series Doctor Who through – try saying that when you’re drunk!’ 13th Doctor writer Vinay Patel tells us. ‘I hadn’t paid attention – “he’s on a horse now?!” – but during my own journey through the series I was struck by how *full* it was. Creepy and funny and moving all at once – Doctor Who at its best.’

Robots of Death | Louise Jameson

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When we asked Leela actress Louise Jameson what her chosen lockdown story would be she picked a Leela classic, Robots of Death. ‘Especially the scene where Tom (The fourth Doctor) tries to explain why the TARDIS is bigger on the inside. All these years on and I still chuckle. What a glorious piece of writing!’ Leela and the fourth Doctor in a space murder mystery? Perfect comfort viewing!

Beverly Sandford | The Eleventh Hour

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Doctor Who author Beverly Sanford chooses The Eleventh Hour. ‘It’s a perfect episode, with the exact right amount of wonderfully silly japes and makes you fall in love with the eleventh Doctor instantly – even though you’re still pining for the tenth Doctor.’ Fish Custard always cheers us up.

Time Ladies Pick

Kezia | The Shakespeare Code

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I’m a sucker for a period drama, so the Doctor and Martha bumping into William Shakespeare is right up my street. And paired with witchcraft?! What larks! I love how quick witted and fun this story is – it knows exactly what it’s doing and doesn’t take itself too seriously, not even for a second. The joy of watching this Shakespeare flirt outrageously with both Martha and the Doctor and the fair maiden in ultimate hag-mode (not unlike me WFH at the mo) never fail to make me chuckle. This is a story that fits you like a cosy jumper; warming and comforting down to a T.

Beth | Arachnids in the UK

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Arachnids in the UK has all the elements of my favourite comfort Who. It’s set on Earth in the 21st century, we get a sneak peak into the companion’s family lives and there’s an invasion to investigate. At the heart of the story is an important message on environmentalism and capitalism – one of the things that Doctor Who does best. On top of that, there are terrifying giant spiders and and a mystery to figure out. It fills me with joy and nostalgia for a world where the TARDIS lands on an ordinary estate – where anything magnificent can happen!

There we have it – a perfect playlist of Doctor Who episodes picked by the wonderful people behind our favourite show. You can find all of the classic episodes mentioned on Britbox, and the new series ones on BBC iPlayer.

What is your favourite comfort episode of Doctor Who? Let us know @thetimeladies_ or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

‘We’re more than just a stereotype’ – Why a black Doctor matters to me

By Miranda Ashitey

Everyone has their “Doctor”. Even if you don’t particularly like Doctor Who, there has to be a Doctor that you either remember or identify with. As a “Xennial” (born in the early 1980s), my “Doctor” is Sylvester McCoy. You know… funny hat, funky jumper, umbrella with the question mark handle, companion also moonlighting as a CBBC presenter… Sylvester McCoy is MY Doctor. Or at least he WAS. Enter stage left Jo Martin, the first black Doctor Who.

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Jo Martin as Ruth Clayton – Doctor Who _ Season 12, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: James Pardon/BBC Studios/BBC America

Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s as a first-generation African immigrant, born in South London, tomboyish, not quite sure of her sexuality, I was always a bit of an odd bod because I didn’t do or gravitate towards stereotypical “black” things. I’d rather watch “Lost In Space” over “Love and Basketball” (Hey! It had Joey from Friends in it and Apollo 440 did the theme tune!) Sci-Fi wasn’t really something black girls were expected to be openly enthusiastic about. But I carried on regardless.

But going back to Jo Martin. The Doctor. The Black Doctor. The female Doctor. The BLACK FEMALE Doctor. Of course she can be the Doctor. I mean, she’s already in Holby City as a neurologist, so doctoring is already in her bag. Or TARDIS. Her unassuming confidence, her lack of black stereotypes, her articulation, her locks, her outfit… Totally loving the outfit! Anything remotely edging towards patterns resembling kente cloth is always going to be a massive plus for me! To be watching a show that has been going on for over fifty years and to have the main character look like me is something I didn’t realistically think would happen. At least, not in my lifetime. An alien Time Lord with two hearts? Totally believable. One that can change gender AND ethnicity?! You what?!?

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Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor, Jo Martin as Ruth Clayton – Doctor Who _ Season 12, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: James Pardon/BBC Studios/BBC America

When Jo first came on screen as Ruth Clayton, I thought, “Oh, a strong female black character. Let’s see how long SHE lasts in this episode”. After what happened to the awesome Grace (Like Graham and Ryan, STILL not over it!), I wasn’t holding much hope. Once it was revealed that Ruth was indeed the Doctor, a part of me did think, “Is this canon? Are they going to doctor-bait me like they did with David Morrissey?” So once it was quickly confirmed that a) it IS canon, b) she isn’t another version of the Doctor, c) I didn’t imagine it and d) they were going with another female Doctor, I could sleep soundly.

I always say that representation matters. Being able to see or hear someone and think, “They’re just like me” means the universe. It can be a friend to support you. The teacher you can learn from. The comfort blanket you can snuggle with. The parent you can depend on. Having a black Doctor Who shows that sci-fi CAN and SHOULD be for black people. We’re more than a stereotype. We’re more than having more melanin. We are fans, we are here to stay and a black Doctor shows we belong. For years, I had to watch characters in shows I loved that didn’t look like me but try to identify with. Now, I don’t have to. Not with Jo Martin. MY Doctor.

What do you think of Jo Martin as the Doctor? Let us know @thetimeladies_ or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

Time Ladies Debate: Orphan 55

The third episode of Doctor Who series 12, Orphan 55, has turned out to be a divisive one among fandom. Some of us love it, some of us loathe it – like marmite, but with added space adventures. The only thing we can all agree on is how iconic the line ‘BENNI!’ is. In order to cover all sides of the story, we present to you; Time Ladies Debate: Orphan 55!

ORPHAN 55? NOT FOR ME… says Kez

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In some ways, Orphan 55 is the very essence of Doctor Who – a base siege, a chase, a threatening monster… but it never truly landed for me. The first scenes of the fam landing at the plush spacey spa were brilliant – the pace from Spyfall was still there, as was sustaining the brilliant wit from the leading characters. I was overjoyed at the mental imagery being conjured of Graham lounging with a cocktail, and them all taking a damn break after wrestling with a deep-space squid, well deserved.

As in the series opener, the fam were expertly split off from each other, primed for different versions of the adventure. But alas, were (literally) crammed together again for large parts of the story, a massively missed opportunity. Talk about three being a crowd – when you have a main cast of four, adding another seven (!) onto that means that frankly, we’re not going to have time to become emotionally invested in these guest characters. You could barely keep track of who was there, who had died and who was left behind. Something that really highlighted this for me was the use of sacrifice in this story – something that should hold such impact – a total stranger giving their life for the Doctor and their friends. But this was done four times in one story. When we don’t have time to become invested in these characters, we probably care little when they die, let alone when it becomes a ‘thing’ that happens.

This need for sacrifice feels like it’s there to create peaks in a story that fundamentally is a constant chase. A chase that, instead of thrilling, completely flatlines when they leave the building. After the pacey beginning, where was the push and pull from each side? When the Doctor looked into the mind of the Dregs, she could see the terrifying reality of who they were. But why did we not have the opportunity to learn about this further, to hear about what happened, and how to help them now? Leaving the planet with no resolution apart from ‘hoping it’s just one possible future’ felt like they were running away from the problem rather than facing what had been done. Climate change is a real terror, it’s not something we can run away from. It felt callous and abrupt to simply leave it there.

I admit that as someone who was completely transfixed by the end of Spyfall, I may have been a little disappointed by the drop in focus. But a story centred around such an important message? It could have been better.

ORPHAN 55? THE BEST OF SERIES 12 SO FAR… says Beth

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Orphan 55 captures many aspects of my favourite parts of Doctor Who; Action. Adventure. Love. Danger. An important message. There are many layers and characters woven throughout the Tranquillity Spa – something I believe works well to establish the world we’re immersed in. Thanks to Ed Hime’s brilliant characterisation, everybody has a personality and a reason to root for them. Then there are the dregs, some of the scariest and well-designed Doctor Who creatures for a while. Not only do they look incredible, but the truth behind their existence is even more gruesome and hammers home the message of the tale. It’s great to see the Doctor teaching her friends too – even though she’s suffering. It’s particularly interesting to see the fam’s relationship changing out of mistrust and the Doctor’s sorrow, which ties in brilliantly to the storyline.

The truth of Orphan 55 is hidden inside a wrapper of capitalism and human fault – the planet is Earth’s future and the dregs are the human race, evolved and terrifying. This is the type of plot that Doctor Who was made for. In a similar vein to The Green Death, it educates and opens the mind to the climate crisis as well as providing fun and escapism on a Sunday night. There is a positive to come out of such an on the nose message. Because even though Doctor Who is an escape, a place to disappear away from the terrors of our world, it is also a reminder that we can be better and that we should be better – and that’s the most positive thing of all – that we still have hope. As the Doctor tells us at the end of the adventure; ‘Be the best of humanity.’ Hopefully, we won’t let her down.

 

After we discussed the story, we decided to put our differences aside and have a custard cream and a cup of tea. After all, Doctor Who is vast and complicated and beautiful – we won’t always love it or hate it!

Follow us on Twitter for more Series 12 content, news and reviews!

5 Questions we have after Spyfall

By Beth Axford

After a year’s wait, Doctor Who finally returned to our screens last week in the huge Series 12 opener, Spyfall. The two-part story exploded with twists and turns that took our breath away – leaving us with a whirlwind of questions and ponderings. The Kasaavin! The Master! Gallifrey! It’s more excitement than a Time Lady can handle. There are five main things we’ve managed to get our brains around and thoughts down, but a million more questions inside each one…

Who are the Kasaavin?

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The Doctor managed to stop the Kasaavin and their evil plan to upgrade human beings by travelling back in time and planting a virus in their tech. But just who are the Kasaavin? We know from what we’ve seen so far that the creatures are ‘alien spies’ who have been collecting information on the human race, but is there more to them than we’ve seen in Spyfall? We aren’t sure what they truly look like or the real reason they appear the way they do. Plus, their plan to upgrade and make humans better all seems a bit… Cybermen. We know the Doctor’s deadly foes are returning later this series (as seen in the S12 trailer) – could they be in on the plan too? We’re intrigued and hope series 12 expands more on these deadly villains.

Barton also nips off to an unknown location, leaving us questioning what became of him. As seen on the scanner in Part 1, He isn’t 100% human – so what is the other 7%? Will he stay in league with the Kasaavin? Where has he disappeared to? So many questions!

What happened to Yaz?

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Poor Yaz got zapped to the Kasaavin dimension during Spyfall Part One. The next time we see her, she is transported to Australia where the Doctor, Graham, and O are investigating – but what happened to her, and why was she taken? It’s unclear why she was moved between the dimensions and if anything significant happened to her there. She is visibly shaken and distraught from the experience, even telling Ryan she thought she was dead. It seems like something deeper might be going on here and that Yaz might not be the same person who went into Barton’s office.

Building on this, the Master pays significant attention to her and tells her to stick with him. This could just be his way of messing with the Doctor by teasing her friends – or perhaps something more is going on with the pair since we are unaware of what happened to Yaz in the Kasaavin dimension. One thing seems clear though; Yasmin Khan has been through a lot – who knows where her character arc will go next?

Who is the Timeless Child?

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The Timeless Child was first mentioned in The Ghost Monument (2018). Surrounding the Doctor and the gang, the deadly shrouds hissed at the Doctor; ‘We see deeper though. Further back – the Timeless Child.’ At the time, none of us were sure if it was a hint at a story arc or just a throw-away line, but it looks like Chibnall has been planning this one for a while. At the end of Spyfall, The Master tells the Doctor that he destroyed Gallifrey because the Time Lords lied to them; ‘built on the lie of the Timeless Child.’

Who is the Timeless Child? What is the lie surrounding them? Will we find out this series?

Will the fam ever truly know the Doctor?

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During Spyfall, we see Yaz, Ryan, and Graham split up from the Doctor. Of course, a returning villain like the Master brings up LOADS of questions and the fam realise the absence of knowledge about their friend. At the end of the adventure, Graham asks, ‘Why don’t you ever share anything with us?’ Rightly pointing out that she knows everything about her TARDIS team but they don’t know much about her at all. She reveals where she’s from and the name of her race, telling her friends who the Master really is. But will their relationships be affected by how little they know about her? It seems like the lack of trust may be a continuing plot thread in this series, and we are very intrigued by this deeper look into the Doctor and her companions.

What will the Master do next?

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The biggest surprise of Spyfall has to be the return of the Master… seriously, who was expecting that?! Played by the incredible Sacha Dhawan, the Master disguised himself as agent ‘O’ in order to fool the Doctor and help the Kasaavin with their plan. Hell-bent on killing the Doctor and her friends, he puts them on a crashing plane with a bomb in the front seat. Of course, the Doctor isn’t letting her fam die in a hurry and manages to save them from their impending death. The Master follows the Doctor through time, trying to track her down and end her once and for all; even having time for a deep chat on the Eiffel Tower. Good will always win out though, and when the Kasaavin hear the truth of the Master’s plan they disappear to their realm, taking him with them. What will the Master do next? Will he be stuck there? If the Gallifrey storyline continues, we’re bound to see him pop up again…

What did you think of Spyfall? Do you have any other questions or theories? Let us know via Twitter, Instagram or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

How to style Doctor Who Merchandise

Doctor Who and fashion seem to go hand in hand. The Doctor’s friends are always suited up in the most on-trend gear or rocking a unique personal style. But when we want to show off our love for the show, just how do we wear it fashionably?

With the help of a few friends, we got to work creating a look-book to show you just how to wear your tee’s, bow-ties and badges!

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Bow-ties are cool – the Doctor says so. As well as being the second and eleventh Doctor’s signature look, the new series 12 trailer features the 13th Doctor sporting one as well! If you’re anything like us, preferring to stay indoors on the comfy sofa, you’ll probably not have a lot of reasons to dress up in a bow-tie either. With this in mind, we thought we’d try and re-purpose our bow-tie into something more casual – a cute hair accessory. Hairbands, scrunchies and clips are huge in the fashion world right now. They look fun AND serve a ‘please get this hair out of my face’ purpose!

We’re wearing the 11th Doctor Bow Tie clipped around the top of the head and under the hair for maximum cuteness. 

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When it comes to Doctor Who tee’s, it can be hard to make them match your style. We love to take inspiration from our favourite 70’s companion, Jo Grant, and wear ours with big chunky coats and flares. Add some autumnal vibes with cord and rusty colours and you have yourself an outfit fit for a UNIT adventure! Make sure to pair with chunky boots for a strong, comfy statement. 

Find your perfect Who Tee  HERE or HERE

Teddy Bear Coat

Flares

Chunky boots

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Another of our favourite ways to dress up a Who tee uses a famous winter fashion technique – LAYERING. Throw on your favourite jeans and a comfy roll neck as the base of your outfit. Add your favourite Who shirt over the top and tuck both the roll neck and t-shirt into your jeans to keep the warmth in. Pick out a stylish belt – chunky buckles are on-trend- and sink your toes into some chunky boots or platform trainers to complete the look. Continuing our Jo Grant theme, we love pastel coloured, fluffy coats during the colder months to channel that Three Doctors look.

We also love to jazz up outfits with jewellery and accessories to add a bit of personality and sparkle. Hoop earrings and long necklaces are staple items that match almost every outfit. Jewels and piercings aren’t for everyone though, so you might choose to bear your ears and wrists with pride!

Every Companion Ever T-Shirt

Black High-Waist Jeans

Belt

High Neck Tops

Fluffy Blue Coat

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BRRR! It’s cold here in the UK, giving us the perfect excuse to wear cozy, comfy clothing. Our favourite Doctor Who fashion trend right now is the thirteenth Doctor’s rainbow scarf worn in Resolution. The original is from Paul Smith, but luckily our friends at Lovarzi have created an alternative just as beautiful.

Based on thirteen’s rainbow T-Shirt, the TARDIS blue scarf is edged with the iconic pattern and made from 100% acrylic. It is super soft and will complete any outfit with subtlety – you’ll look stylish as well as repping your favourite show!

Complete your winter style with the Thirteenth Doctor Scarf

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If you want to embrace thirteen’s rainbow stripes and wear them across your chest with pride, it’s a great chance to create a fun outfit with a pop of colour. We love the bright fuchsia of the Doctor’s shirt variant in Series 11 – so we’ve chosen a pink theme for the rest of this outfit. As the shirt is so bright, choose a coat and bag that are more muted colours to compliment the accents on the stripes. To give the top half of the outfit more of a pop, finish off with a black high-waist skirt, tights and boots. If you’re not a skirt person, this is another great opportunity to rock some cords or jeans. Add a cosy beret and you’ll be channelling Romana two and the Thirteenth Doctor in one stylish outfit!

Get the Doctor’s fuchsia rainbow shirt here

Pink Coat

Bag

Beret

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Throwing a long coat, culottes and boots together is totally a Doctor look – personalise and change it up with patterns and colours to make it yours. For a bigger statement, take a colourful Who tee and add a bright coat. We’ve paired ours with 13th Doctor style culottes, but the look will work great with any trousers, jeans or skirts. Colourful rainbow earrings and rings add style and a pop to this already bold outfit. Colour blocking is a huge trend, so don’t be afraid to pair up big colours together.

Rust Coat

Teal Trousers

Retro Who T-Shirts

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 If you’re not into wearing Doctor Who themed clothing, then accessories are a great way to show off your love for the show. Add a badge or bag to your outfit for just the perfect amount of fandom subtlety. We love this mini backpack from Loungefly and the premium TARDIS backpack from the Time Meddlers. The detail is lovely on both and the TARDIS one is softer (as well as bigger) on the inside. With pockets galore and metallic detailing, these are the perfect bags to complete your look.

Premium TARDIS backpack

Loungefly Doctor Who Bag

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If you’re looking for something even more subtle, or you’d like to add more fun to your outfit, these replica badges from the series are just what you need. Choose from the 6th Doctor’s Cat, the 5th Doctor’s celery or the 4th Doctor’s paint palette and wear on your coat with pride. Add Chunky rings and sparkly nails for a fabulous, Jo Grant inspired look (we love her, can you tell?)

Replica Badges 

Now we’re wrapped up warm in our scarves and, we want to know what you think! Show us how you style your Doctor Who merchandise over on our Twitter/Instagram or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

 

Happy 56th anniversary of Doctor Who everybody! 

Which episodes will you watch to celebrate? Tweet us @thetimeladies_

23 Stories to Revisit on Doctor Who’s 56th Anniversary

The 23rd of November marks the 56th anniversary of Doctor Who – a milestone it wouldn’t be close to reaching without the passion and devotion of its incredible fan base. Over the years we’ve been treated to a number of specials that specifically celebrate each anniversary – all of which are obvious choices to re-watch each November. 

This year we decided to ask 23 contributors to share with us a story that sums up the magic of the show, no matter how unique or controversial. The results showed us that actually, it isn’t the big celebratory, spectaculars that capture what we love about Doctor Who. In fact, it’s the smaller and more personal stories full of life lessons and heart.

Surprisingly, hardly anyone picked the same story as another. The diversity of options and opinions shows that Doctor Who truly has something for everyone. So, if you’re having trouble picking a DVD from your shelf this anniversary, look no further than these 23 stories special chosen by female, trans and non-binary fans.

An Unearthly Child – @0hmyst4rs

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It wouldn’t be a Doctor Who anniversary if you didn’t watch the very first episode, would  it? The magic begins in 1963 as two teachers follow their student into a Junkyard to discover more about her, unaware the truth is bigger than they could ever have imagined. The relationship between the characters are wonderfully unique, these brief and chaotic encounters eventually blossoming into a magical TARDIS team. Full of black and white charm and 60’s vibes that makes me nostalgic for an era I never knew, this story is a special one for us all – the very beginning!

The Five Doctors – @Tardis_monkey

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The Five Doctors’ was the first-ever Doctor Who story I watched as a kid. It was the most fantastical story with five actors playing The Doctor, a menagerie of companions and a whole load of classic villains. What more could you want from a Doctor Who story that celebrates not only its history, but was in aid of a brilliant cause: Children in Need. It opened up so many doors to the world of Doctor Who and I have never looked back. Thank you, Terrance Dicks and happy anniversary Doctor Who.

Hell Bent – @Clara_paige

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I love Hell Bent! It’s perfect for an anniversary rewatch because it packs in so much of what works in Doctor Who. Before Jodie took to the TARDIS, Clara Oswald assumed the role of the Doctor and flew off to have adventures in her own right. What could be more inspiring?

Flatline – @vranouk

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From the tiny TARDIS to the iconic “goodness had nothing to do with it” closing line, Flatline is a work of genius that joyfully subverts nearly every rule in the Doctor Who playbook. It manages to turn a very simple concept – The Doctor is trapped and the companion has to get them out – into a thoughtful exploration of Doctor Who itself. The casual horror of the Boneless walking, the joy with which Clara calls herself the Doctor, ‘local knowledge’ Rigsy, the visual gag of the Doctor moving the tiny TARDIS Addams Family-style: all of these are stand-out moments in a near-flawless episode. But perhaps most importantly of all, Flatline is a story about the Doctor and the consequences of being around them. For 45 brilliant minutes, the roles of the Doctor and Clara are reversed, and she is confronted with the impossible choices the Doctor makes every day. Years before the Thirteenth Doctor, it was an absolute joy to watch.

The Husbands of River Song – @FaceofBoaz

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I love The Husbands of River Song because it gives us a glimpse into both how The Doctor sees the Companion role, and how a Companion behaves without The Doctor around (as far as she knows). While it’s all great fun, there is still a hurt that permeates – River doesn’t need The Doctor or care about him at all. The eventual revelation that she truly loves him and the counter revelation that he truly loves her is one of the most feel-good resolutions of an episode. Especially knowing that this is River’s last true interaction with the Doctor, it gives us a nice bow on their relationship, echoing her words from The Wedding of River Song – “I can’t let you die without knowing you are loved . . . and by no one more than me.” Watching relationships play out in often unorthodox fashions is one of my favourite elements of Doctor Who, and this episode is one of the best representations of that aspect of the show.

The Woman Who Fell to Earth – @Niamhmakennedy

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“We’re all capable of the most incredible change”

After Jodie was announced as the 13th Doctor, I couldn’t watch any of her trailers, or appearances in character, without crying. Bit weird, I’m aware. Turns out I was going through a personal experience just as monumental as the casting, to me, at least. Gender has never quite sat right with me. I didn’t know why, but being a ‘woman’ or ‘man’ felt restrictive and gross. Watching 13 bound onto the TV, improvising her way through saving the world, not only comfortable but rejoicing in her new body and personality while also not giving a frick that it happened to be a woman’s one, showed me the possibilities open to me if I did the same. A few months later, I came out as non-binary, and I’ve never been happier. (And yes, I cried all through the episode. It was awesome.)

Genesis of the Daleks – @abitmeddlesome

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Genesis of the Daleks is a story that captivates by the title alone. As the audience, we’ve seen the Daleks but were never given an origin. It begins with the Doctor and his friends dropped into a war to end all wars between two races: the Thals and the Kaleds. We watch as a mad scientist creates the Doctor’s most fearsome foes. Among the chaos, our hero is faced with a terrible choice: with his foreknowledge, does he allow these creatures to evolve knowing what they will become, or does he obliterate an entire race at their birth?

Demons of the Punjab – @NatalieRobyn812

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Demons is probably not the first episode that would come to mind when you think of a Doctor Who anniversary rewatch, but for me, it’s a perfect example of a type of story that Doctor Who does so well, yet you’d never really think about it. It’s all about the darkest side of human nature, think about stories such as the Caves of Androzani or Planet of the Ood or Oxygen. But what Demons does differently is provide us with a strong emotional connection to the story and the characters that it has, which leads up to a devastating conclusion. It’s just another case of the show being extraordinarily good at forming a connection with characters we barely know. And yet, it ends perfectly like Doctor Who, with the idea and theme of hope always being there.

Dimensions in Time – @JDenchen

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I’ve chosen this story as my entry into essential viewing for 56 years of Doctor Who, not just as it means so much to me on a personal level, but as I genuinely believe there is something for all fans here. If you look past the obvious lack of plot and shoehorned addition of EastEnders, which in fairness are huge things to look past, it has all surviving Doctors of the time, bundles of companion cameos, the madness of the JNT era (after all this was his last story in charge of the show) and the charm of 90s television. This story serves more as a celebration of the series rather than a plot-driven piece.

As far as John Nathan-Turner and David Roden were concerned this was the final legitimate Doctor Who story. I believe it celebrates the series in such a way, not with the plot, or cameos, or Doctors, or references, but the ambition.  I believe the same ambition went into bringing the show back and the eventual casting of the first female Doctor Jodie Whittaker. This story is one of those people either love or loathe, and hating it isn’t fair. Don’t take it seriously. Watch it for its comedic and bizarre nature and it’ll make for great viewing. This is why I think it’s perfect viewing to celebrate 56 years of Doctor Who. I’m not saying Dimensions in Time is “Heaven Sent” drama, but that its uniqueness will make a fun viewing.

Boom Town – @HarryLikesSuits

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Boom Town may seem like an odd choice of an episode to pick out as one to watch to celebrate Doctor Who’s anniversary, but it’s a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, has great moments for everybody in the TARDIS team, and that allows the viewer to simply enjoy themselves. After all, who could forget Margret the Slitheen’s dinner date with the Doctor? Or the TARDIS defeating her by turning her into an egg? No, it isn’t the most profound story that Doctor Who has ever had, but it’s pure fun – and, at the end of the day, isn’t that what the show is supposed to be?

The Green Death – @IreneWildthyme

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The Green Death is to me, a perfect Doctor Who story. Love, environmental justice and fighting for what you believe in. Giant maggots in Llanfairfach lead The Doctor to BOSS and Jo Grant to Professor Clifford Jones, Biologist, expert of fungus, who she would marry by the end of the story. An ending Jo deserved and an adventure that has been long explored throughout the Who universe and continues to thrive, particularly through Big Finish. Mike Yates undercover, Metebelis 3 and The Doctor’s many disguises are all memorable, the most poignant being the subtle exit of The Doctor in Bessie after toasting the happy couple never fails to make one shed a tear. It is truly the end of an era for Pertwee fans but also the beginning of new adventures for The Doctor, Jo and UNIT. That is why this will forever be one of my favourite stories.

Love and Monsters – @strange_cherry

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I don’t know any episode as misunderstood as “Love and Monsters”. I know most of you probably cringed when you saw this name in this list. “What is this… thing is doing here? I am here to celebrate Doctor Who!” Indeed you are. But is it not a great way to celebrate Doctor Who than to watch again an hommage to its fans?

 L.I.N.D.A. is the most accurate representation of Doctor Who fans you can find… and it comes from the show itself! A group of people with various backgrounds, various hobbies, but united by one passion: The Doctor. Friends sharing many fond moments, even if they have nothing more in common than this Gallifreyan folk. If it is not the quintessence of the fandom, I don’t know what is.

The Doctors Wife – @christawolf94

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For me, one of the stories that is a perfect illustration of everything worth loving about Doctor Who is The Doctor’s Wife, Neil Gaiman’s first and best contribution to the show. By focusing on the TARDIS and giving her a voice, it changes how we see the show: not just the story a madman (or madwoman) with a box, but the story of two very close friends exploring the universe together. Even when the Doctor hasn’t got any human companions around, they’re never really alone. The TARDIS will always be there, ready to go on another adventure.

Journeys End – @jodieewhittaker

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As someone who grew up with the Tenth Doctor and his companions by my side, who fell in love with Russell T Davies’s new version of a very old show, there is no better episode that sums up my love for Doctor Who than Journey’s End. It has threat on the largest scale (the literal destruction of the universe), it has buckets of emotion (who doesn’t cry throughout the final fifteen minutes?) and, most importantly is has the friendships that make Doctor Who the show that is. Nothing celebrates this show, and particularly its revival, better than the display of family in the scene where everyone is towing the Earth back home and it’s the perfect episode to sum up the era of my childhood.

The Holy Terror (Big Finish) – @mumford_98

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Listening to The Holy Terror for the first time was an incredibly unique experience. I love the DWM 6 comics and their breezy, fun feel and Holy Terror is able to capture the dynamic between the two leads while still feeling unique thanks to the high concept setting and mesmerizing score. The episode plays with character archetypes ranging from dark fantasy to Shakespeare plays to biblical stories. This gives it an almost theatrical feel and managing to deconstruct said tropes in a way that is both funny and also plays into the ultimate narrative scope of the story; one that’s both powerful and puts much of the story in an entirely new context. The full story manages to be a piece on trauma, parenthood, hierarchy & tradition, the ethics of fiction and a humanistic perspective on the concept of godhood.

Twice Upon a Time – @timelesbians

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Twice Upon A Time remembers the First Doctor in a beautifully written story of self-discovery and new beginnings. A perfect anniversary watch, it honours old companions and new alike, honours those who fought for our country, and introduces Jodie Whittaker as the thirteenth, the first female aligned Doctor, after a lead up to just who she will be and what she will represent. The Twelfth Doctor meets himself in his first incarnation, both of them refusing a change, and follows their journey as they accompany each other in a story of self-contemplation to wrap up Capaldi’s time on the show. It is heart-warming and heart-breaking, powerful and brilliant, and encompasses everything Doctor Who is truly about.

Vincent and the Doctor – @brittanyplus

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 Vincent and the Doctor is one of the most quintessential episodes of Doctor Who. Very few episodes capture the heart and warmth of the show, while also reminding the audience that not everything can change. I believe it’s perfect for an anniversary rewatch because it captures the show’s essence. It will leave you feeling warm but heartbroken, just like all the best of Doctor Who should.

Fear Her – @Safarox8

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Although it’s not my favourite, Fear Her will always have a special place in my heart because it was, oddly, the first Doctor Who I ever saw. Although I enjoyed it, I didn’t properly discover the show for a few more years and was delighted when I came across the episode once again (“Oh, so *that* was Doctor Who!”). I love the humour and warmth it radiates while dealing with the heavy, and to me, personally meaningful topic of family trauma. That’s what I love about the show; even the most unlikely of stories can make a lasting impression.

Aliens of London/World War Three – @AlexFacemelter

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 Aliens of London and World War Three as one full story is, in my opinion, one of the most authentic interpretations of Doctor Who I’ve ever seen. The Doctor is portrayed more realistically than ever, the alien plot is creative but chillingly realistic, the arc of each character is phenomenal, and the dialogue is beautifully written. The Doctor’s reactions are so truly in character, he wants to experience and be in the middle of history and nothing could be more exciting than watching humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrial life. The character arcs of Jackie, Mickey, and Harriet Jones are realistic and wonderfully clever.

The pinnacle of the story is the Doctor. If the Doctor was a real person, I can bet he would be a lot like he’s shown here. The way he stands unafraid of the aliens and the way he bluffs them and the way he analyzes the fake alien in the hospital room, all of it is perfectly Doctor Who. You may be worried about the fart jokes, and while I hate them with a seething passion, I still think this story is one of the best that Doctor Who has to offer. That’s how good this story is. So if you want to watch some Doctor Who to celebrate its anniversary, I can wholeheartedly recommend this story. It is, in a word, fantastic.

Invasion of the Dinosaurs – @Jessicatzen

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Invasion of the Dinosaurs has everything a classic Doctor Who story should have – a big goofy looking monster, UNIT, and a bit of excitement. The best part, I think, is that it’s a true test of loyalty for some of the Doctor’s friends, and without spoiling anything, the Doctor and Benton make a really good duo!

The TV Movie – @bexpls

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The TV Movie is one of the first Classic DW stories I watched, and it’s one of my absolute favourites. It’s one of only two televised Eighth Doctor stories, and both of them are amazing, but that isn’t a reason to watch it. As a Doctor Who story, the TV Movie really shines for me because of how different it is, completely unique from the Classic and NuWho runs. It’s one of the best introduction stories to a Doctor and a great exit for the Seventh Doctor, whose scenes are superb. While I adore the Big Finish audios and BBC Books’s Eighth Doctor Adventures series (which people wanting to experience more of the DW Extended Universe should look into by the way), it really does make you wish the Eighth Doctor had more televised stories, because Paul McGann is honestly a delight. It’s a perfect anniversary-celebration story because it highlights the fantastic, often under-appreciated Eighth Doctor in one of his, including all the books, audios, and comics, best stories ever.

Resolution – @FetinSmiles

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For me, Resolution is the perfect episode to watch for the anniversary; it’s dramatic, tense, and nostalgic. For the first time in series 11, we find The Doctor faced against a monster from her past. What better way to end the Thirteenth Doctor’s first series than by having to stop a Dalek invasion from happening on Earth? There’s a real sense of danger, especially for viewers who know the history between The Doctor and the Daleks. The Team (Gang? Fam??) work brilliantly together, and the episode leaves us wanting to see what they will get up to next in series 12.

Listen – @lookingfortelos

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I got into Who in 2014. Series 8 was the first time I watched live. Also, sad coincidence, 2014 was when my life took a stark downturn. Depression is bad, especially when it’s been brewing for a long time and feeds on your issues with sexuality and gender. And I think that’s why this season of Who in particular stuck with me: not just because it’s really good (although, it is), but also because it was the one that was most helpful to me, personally. “Listen” is a story about how the whole canon of Who, all the mysteries and the lore and the cleverness, ultimately are irrelevant, because what truly matters is that it can be present, in the end, to comfort a crying child. It’s a ghost story where the ghosts are the characters’ own pasts and neuroses, and where they have to find beauty and balance in their inner turmoil. And as someone who was very afraid for a very long time, being told by the Doctor that it was alright – that was invaluable.

Happy 56th anniversary of Doctor Who everybody! 

Which episodes will you watch to celebrate? Tweet us @thetimeladies_

Halloween from Behind the Sofa

By Bronte Henwood

We’ve reached that time of year where we’re all looking for a fright. It’s October – the height of the spooky season, and Halloween is coming! We all love to feel the tingle of fear that something is behind us or will jump out from behind a corner. When looking for a scare, what better place to look than Doctor Who?

Since returning to our screens in 2005, Doctor Who has continued to bring us stories of friendship and fun – but also, fear. In many episodes, there is something to make you want to cover your eyes, particularly in most fan-favourite stories.

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Sometimes it comes in the form of a monster, alien or creature. The ones that don’t look particularly nice and make it clear they want to cause harm from the moment they appear on the screen. This fear is something the audience can share with the characters under threat in the story. This is what makes Doctor Who stand out from classic shows that just put in scares *because they can*. As a family centred show, it provides us with the perfect combination of fun and frightening thrills, making it perfect for everyone to watch together. Not a lot of shows in the science fiction genre are able to create stories that can make audiences of all ages laugh and gasp at the same time.

One monster that has scared audiences for generations are The Daleks; one of the most iconic villains from the show. From their metal exteriors to their slimy interior selves, the Daleks have both thrilled and terrified children ever since they first appeared on screen in 1963. Sometimes it’s the suspense of not knowing what they’re going to do next, other times it is their endless killing sprees that haunt us. Bringing them back for the New Who era meant that adults and children alike could experience The Daleks in a whole new way, with updated graphics and designs to enhance the shocks and scares. They have always seemed like the furthest thing from human, which is what makes them worth fearing.

Fear can also be present in the things that the audience never get the answer to. Midnight is, in my opinion, one of the most haunting episodes to come out of the modern era of Doctor Who so far. Not because of the characters, time or place it is set, but because of the creature that has no face; only knocks. You don’t know when it’s coming, you don’t know how or why. All you know is that it wants you and it will get what it wants in the end. While the Doctor tried to find a probable cause of the creature’s existence and what it wanted, the audience is left wondering. To many of us, not knowing something is the worst kind of fear. It’s something that we usually have no control over and cannot change. That is why it’s scary, why we fear it, and why it’s so effective when used in a great Doctor Who story. After all, not everything worth fearing lives under the bed.

The Doctor and Clara investigate the unknown in Listen (2014)

Because it’s Doctor Who though, there is, of course, an episode that explores our fear of what is hiding under our beds. Like Midnight, it begins with a creature that the audience doesn’t know anything about. Playing again and again on that fear of the unknown that anyone of any age will understand. The Doctor is questioning if we’re ever really alone, a concept terrifying to even think about. The episode explores the possibilities that when we wake up from our nightmares, someone is waiting there in the dark – a dream that seemingly everyone has had. Mixing the ordinary with the extraordinary, the story is truly some of the scariest Doctor Who there is.

Fear comes in all different shapes and sizes. While traditional jump scares and the odd gory death are more traditionally scary, the fear of forgetting can also send chills down everyone’s spines. This is where the Silence come in. As soon as you turn away, you’ll forget you’ve ever seen the huge, terrifying creatures. It’s the type of scary that’s hard to run away from (because you literally cannot get away from them).

The Silence terrified audiences during the 11th Doctor’s era.

The Weeping Angels also tap into our nightmares similarly by moving as soon as anyone looks away or blinks. The cruelty in being sent back to another time to live out your life is petrifying in itself, but the fact that merely blinking could cause this makes them one of the most genius creations in Doctor Who history.

Doctor Who brings people many things, making it a place for everyone to find something they like. Some might prefer to be caught off guard and jump out of their seats, while others may prefer horrific creatures, blood and gore.

The Weeping Angels first appeared in Blink (2007)

I love the combination of things that Doctor Who can bring to its audience. Being on the edge of your seat and fearing for the characters while pondering the underlying meaning of each episode is truly something special that connects people of all ages across the world.

Have you found the thing that makes your heart race and hairs stand on end? Let us know your scariest Doctor Who monsters, villains or moments @thetimeladies_ or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

Art by Fetin Sardaneh

 

Doctor Who and Mental Health: Why does it have such a positive effect on ours?

by Beth Axford

The discovery of a world like Doctor Who tends to start a personal journey that many usually do not forget. Whether you discovered it as a child or found it whilst going through a difficult period, the show remains a part of you forever. Maybe you stumbled upon it whilst searching through Netflix, or a family member/friend/ex-partner introduced you to it. Perhaps Doctor Who shone out of your television (or preferred device for media consumption) and wrapped its arms around you. Either way, there is no denying that the 55-year-old show has impacted thousands of people, transforming lives with its message and community. But what is it that makes Doctor Who so good for our mental health, and why does it have such a huge impact on the people that love it?

‘There is, surprisingly, always hope’

Writer and Doctor Who fan Heather Challands thinks that it is the message of hope that the show portrays: ‘It meant, and continues to represent, a lot of hope for me. I would watch Doctor Who under my covers, after being unable to face school that day. It made me think that the next day, I might be brave.’

Bravery. A sentiment that has passed through the show since the very beginnings in 1963, when school teachers Ian and Barbara were kidnapped by the Doctor and taken on a trip of a lifetime. The original TARDIS team faced history, human evils and alien monsters, representing bravery and courage to inspire children all over the UK. This message has continued consistently throughout the years. 2015’s Face the Raven saw companion Clara Oswald sacrifice herself, facing her death with courage whilst telling herself to be brave. Last year the show presented bravery in a different way, in the form of facing up to prejudice, racism and sexism. The portrayal of these issues on screen empowered many and gave them hope. Hope for the world, for themselves and for the future. The Eleventh Doctor told Amy Pond that ‘There is surprisingly, always hope.’ – a quote that engraved itself into many viewers minds from 2010’s The Big Bang, and the thirteenth Doctor talks about being hopeful across most of her stories so far, stating that ‘love is a form of hope. And like hope, love abides in the face of everything.’ The man behind this quote, Vinay Patel, explained to us why he thinks people have such a deep connection with the show: ‘Beyond the Doctor’s innate compassion and instinct for fairness, I think the answer lies in their embrace of the stranger side of life and the universe. That willingness to engage, to be curious when others condemn. The Doctor always seeks to understand – in turn, we ourselves might hope to be understood.’

‘You see Doc, the thing about grief is it needs time’

Doctor Who is a television drama set in a fantasy world – but deals with very real, very human situations. The nature of travelling the universe battling monsters and aliens is that nobody is guaranteed to be safe, leaving the stakes high for the characters that we adore. Through the loss of companions and Doctors, we are taught about life, death and grief. When researching for this piece, it became apparent that Doctor Who had helped many people through difficult times over the years, with grief topping the list. ‘It’s funny, the day you lose someone isn’t the worst. At least you’ve got something to do.’ said the Twelfth Doctor. ‘It’s all the days they stay dead.’ Our hero uttered this harrowingly relatable line during Heaven Sent (2015) whilst reeling over the death of Clara Oswald. The Ninth Doctor’s whole personality centred around his grief-stricken mind after the events of the time war and the loss of his entire race. Throughout series one we see the ways in which the Doctor is saved – by Rose and the universe and helping people. We also see his rage, pain and sorrow. There is plenty of relatable grief in Doctor Who, which in a way is helpful to us. It helps us to cope and understand the ways to deal with life after losing someone, as well as providing a distraction from the worse of the pain. Doctor Who fan Daisy Price told us ‘My mum sadly passed away when I was 18 and I pretty much stayed in all the time and watched Doctor Who. It helped me and gave me real comfort. Every time I watched I felt like I was out of the real world for a while.’ That comfort and familiarity is something that many of us feel towards the show – even the bits we don’t like or agree with, we still connect to the feeling of Doctor Who. Sometimes grief is the thing that starts somebody’s journey with Doctor Who, sometimes it is the thing that makes them stay. Most importantly though, grief is more bearable to lots of us because of Doctor Who – a gift that is not easily found in the world.

‘Please save me from the monsters’

The Doctor, through fighting real monsters, helps us to fight our personal monsters. The creeping presence of anxiety that many suffer from can feel like a real monstrous being, mentally and physically taking a hold of its victims and turning their lives upside down. Anxiety takes many horrible forms, making us question ourselves and altering our grip on reality. It could be social interactions, personal trauma, health worries or stress. In these times, we want comfort. We want familiarity. We want the escapism that Doctor Who offers and to feel safe in the TARDIS with our friends. Joy Wilkinson (Writer of The Witchfinder’s, 2018) explains how she thinks Doctor Who can help us feel less alone:

‘Doctor Who is such a vast universe of stories that whatever you’re going through, there’s a place where you can escape it or a place where you can face it and hopefully come back feeling stronger in some way, if only because you know you’re not alone. The community beyond the show is also second to none, so you can feel part of something bigger than yourself, which may be helpful if you’re feeling lost.’

The sense of community and inclusion that the show offers seems to be a big help to many fans who suffer with anxiety, giving them something to concentrate on and people to share passions with. It has to be mentioned that anxiety can be hard to deal with if you are involved in online fandom – where opinions cannot be had, and hatred fuelled people can ruin it for others. But let it be said – I have suffered some of the worst of this hate, and yes it has most certainly changed Doctor Who for me. But no matter the situation, the show has brought me more good things than bad – from close friendships and relationships, to jobs and opportunities. Anxiety should be the reason people watch the show. It’s one of the best types of escapism there is. Let us talk about it, destigmatise it and use Doctor Who to improve the lives of people suffering from it, because at its heart, that is what the show is about.

‘You’re unique in this universe. There is only one you and there will never be another’

There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK alone. A theme that seems to be especially prominent with fans who fall under the autistic spectrum is that the Doctor was one of the only people or characters in the world that they could identify with. Thirteenth Doctor fan Katie Maxwell told us her story, and how the character of the Doctor helped her: ‘One of my favourite things about the Thirteenth Doctor is how much of myself I see in her, in a way. I have Asperger’s syndrome, which is a form of Autism. Before series eleven came out, I was ashamed and depressed over how people have treated me in the past.’

‘Seeing a character who is just like me, having problems with communication, people acting like she is a freak and not having good fashion sense – it’s given me acceptance in who I am. It made me think that if the Doctor can be the leader in the room, then maybe I can be like that as well. This had led me to giving a speech in front of my NHS colleagues about Autism and how it has affected me – I definitely would not have done this before Doctor Who came into my life.’

‘You don’t just give up. You don’t just let things happen. You make a stand!’

The term ‘social justice warrior’ is thrown around the internet as an insult to those who believe in, well, social justice. This is odd considering that being a ‘social justice warrior’ seems to be the very basis of the Doctor’s essence. Our hero has traversed the universe for over 55 years now, saving civilisations and standing up for what is right. The show has tackled subjects such as racism and equality in between its monsters and aliens – taking on the darkness at the depths of our humanity. There’s something about Doctor Who that seems to play into our inner social justice warrior, making us feel better about the bad things in life, because the Doctor always saves the day.

We spoke to Doctor Who writer and fan of the show, Paul Cornell, about why we connect to the Doctor and their fight for social justice: ‘I think that because the Doctor has only his or her wits, and stands against those with greater power, that really connects with people who are similarly unarmed, and face opponents, inner or outer, that would otherwise daunt them.’ He explains. ‘Also, the Doctor is just a person, in that they don’t display a hard-line code or set of ethics, like a superhero. They’re someone who makes moment by moment decisions, like we all do, and sometimes gets them wrong. That’s very relatable too.’ We’re all unarmed in the world before us, just trying to figure it out and do our best. For those of us who find it harder to deal with inequalities and discrimination, the Doctor is there for us to look up to, to hope for, and most importantly; believe in. And sometimes, in order to give us purpose, we just need something to believe in.

‘We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.’

Not bad for a little old show known for its wobbly sets and overtly emotional plots, eh? It’s those sets that give it charming re-watchability, the emotion that makes us relate and love it. It may seem odd from the outside, but if it changes people’s lives to this extent, maybe Doctor Who should be taken more seriously. In fact, fandoms should be taken more seriously and celebrated for what they bring people around the world. After the way that a show like Doctor Who has improved people’s lives, it’s hard to imagine a world without it. We are incredibly lucky to have not only the show, but hundreds of books and audio adventures to keep us company throughout the difficult times. We have spin-offs, live events, games and many more ways that will keep the universe of Doctor Who alive for years to come. But wherever and whenever we may be, there is one thing for sure; The Doctor will always be there with open arms, ready to take us on an adventure.

 

 

Thanks to everyone who contributed and gave their thoughts! Let us know what you think about Doctor Who and it’s effect on mental health @thetimeladies_ or email us: thetimeladies@yahoo.com

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International Friendship Day: My Friend the Doctor

by Beth Axford

Dear Doctor,

Down here on planet Earth we like to celebrate things. In the turbulent times we’re living in, it’s easy to forget the amazing things we have, so we celebrate them with special days and events. From doughnuts and cats, to kissing or sleeping – there is a dedicated day for everything you could possibly think of. Today – July 30th, is quite the important one. It’s International Friendship Day!

I enjoy the warmth and positivity of a day like this, when everyone is reminded of one of the most important things in life: friendship. There are posts all over social media, friend dates being had, and moments taken to appreciate. So, I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate you and the friendship *we* have.

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Doctor, you are always there for me. You make me smile, laugh and cry (in a good way). You make me feel safe and loved, even when things aren’t that great. Your adventures empower me to take a stand and do what is right, even when everybody else just runs away.

Your friendship means everything to me and thousands of others. Your kindness reverberates through our souls. Even during those weeks in the year that you do not grace us with your weekly presence, there are plenty of other places where your adventures are documented that we can enjoy. There are hundreds of people out there collecting and documenting your travels, sharing them with us so that we can be by your side always.

Some of these people are my friends too – you’ve let me reach more amazing people than I could ever imagine. When you can’t be there for me because you’re too busy saving the world, they are. When you’re stuck on a different planet or recording your adventures on camera, we have each other. This is one of the greatest gifts your friendship has given me.

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Good friendships are meant to teach you and help you grow. Doctor, you have taught me so much. Every day I learn to be a better person and I wouldn’t have had such good foundations for this if it wasn’t for you (and my mum, probably.) Your intelligence and bravery inspire me to try harder every second of the day. You touch so many people and never stop to be thanked – I aspire to one day be like you.

You’re also not perfect. You are flawed, as we all are. Sometimes you do the wrong thing. You get angry and mess things up, or make stupid mistakes. You wallow and get sad and don’t always deal with things in the best way. But that’s okay – its how you deal with it and grow that really matters. You are so inspiring, Doctor! You make me feel like it’s okay to not be perfect, as long as I am trying my best.

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Doctor, we need your friendship now more than ever.
There are people out there who are choosing unkindness, intolerance and inequality. These people are ruling our countries. They decide who we can love and who we can be, where we can settle, and even the future of the earth we live on. Others do not quite have that power, but have authority in their own corners. Some of them even claim to be your friend, but we know that you would never condone their behaviour. I hope these people choose to do what is right and follow what you really stand for; hope, love and acceptance. I will never stop fighting to make the world a better place and that is because of you. Please continue to teach your lessons and show us that these people will never win.

I hope you’re spending this International Friendship day somewhere up there in space, eating custard creams with Yaz, Ryan and Graham. I’ve sent this via a Kerblam man, but if it doesn’t turn up, it will be circulating the internet here on earth – I hope it makes its way to you.

Thank you for being my friend, Doctor – it really means more than you know.

Is Doctor Who doing enough to create awareness about our environment?

By Beth Axford

Doctor Who has always been known for wading in on things going on in the real world. From it’s very beginning in 1963, the show has been to educate, inform and get people thinking. The world around us is heavily featured in the show with many stories set on Earth in present day, so it is hardly surprising that our environmental issues are portrayed in Doctor Who’s canon. 1973’s The Green Death is famous for its climate change themes and Russell T Davies’ era of the show featured a running gag regarding the ‘bee’s disappearing’ – a nod to the worries that environmental impact may be causing bees to become extinct.

More recently, in last years Arachnids in the UK, the Doctor and her friends are faced with giant spiders that have mutated from toxic waste at a landfill site. The story is a tale in real life terror – what horrors await us when we treat our planet badly? It portrays the flippancy of unconcerned leaders who only care about money and the lack of understanding towards waste and climate change that many corporations seem to have in our world. The outside of the episode is a spider themed horror, but deep down there is an important message for the audience.

The Doctor discovers the truth about Sheffield’s spider infestation.

There is an obvious science fiction exaggeration in Arachnids, but underneath its heart is set on telling a truth to the audience – that we’re harming our planet. The conversation is everywhere you go in 2019 – Recent protests have spread awareness all over the world about the effects of our actions, leading the UK government to declare a national Climate Change emergency. Adding to this, BAFTA have recently called for more TV shows to feature environmental themes in their story lines in the hope that it will spread awareness and change people’s attitudes towards climate change. So how has Doctor Who led the way over the years?

One of the first portrayals of human interference when it comes to our planet happens in 1967’s The Moonbase. The classic story features a system in which humans are controlling the Earth’s weather from the moon. They’re soon intercepted by the deadly Cybermen who try to destroy the planet using the machine – so that they can have the Earth all to themselves. The sentiment here and in a few stories mentioned below is that messing with the Earth = BAD NEWS.

In a similar vein to Arachnids in the UK, the events of The Green Death (1973) feature some giant nasties that you wouldn’t want to come face to face with. In this adventure, the third Doctor and Jo discover some giant maggots created by – yes you guessed it – dumped global chemicals! Aggressive and deadly, the maggots killed anyone who tried to get near them and caused a whole load of havoc. Luckily, Jo and her environmentalist boyfriend stop them using fungus. We love an environmentally aware team! Today’s lesson: DISPOSE RESPONSIBLY KIDS. For a story nearly 50 years old, The Green Death is incredibly relevant to the society we live in today.

Giant maggots – YUM!

Series four (2008) regularly slips in little mentions to climate change too – perhaps because it was becoming more and more prominent in the news around the world. Planet of the Ood brings the Doctor and Donna to the far future where Donna mentions that she is surprised humans still exist on Earth. She tells of the news in 2009 predicting human extinction and, notably, the disappearance of the bee population due to global warming.

Another notable environmental impact in-plot happens in The Waters of Mars. We’re on Earth in 2040 and agriculture has become so harmed by climate change that new ways of growing food needed to be developed to feed the world. The human race resort to growing food on Mars – leading to a horrific alien discovery and almost causing the end of life on the planet altogether.

DOCTOR WHO - The Waters of Mars - Hi res
The Waters of Mars (2009)

2010 brought us our first Moffat era focus on how humanity messes with the Earth in The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood. Nature seems to fight back after a team of humans attempt to drill deeper into the planets surface than ever before to retrieve rare minerals. There, they find an ancient civilisation of Silurian’s and a war almost erupts among the races. The story points out the dangers of tearing the earth apart for our own gain and the Silurian plot is almost a mirror to how many species lose their homes thanks to human interference.

Following this, series 8 episode In the forest of the night uses underlying themes to portray how important trees are for us and the planet. The story goes that one day, hundreds of trees grow over night all over the world, covering the planet in thousands of huge forests. As the Doctor, Clara and Danny struggle to work out why this has happened, the people of Earth try to burn and remove the new trees without success – because nature is trying to save the planet. The trees have sprouted overnight to protect the Earth from a solar flare! The plot-line seems to be a comment on the power of our world and the natural elements that inhabit it – and that we really shouldn’t mess with them because they’re doing their job.

Production art for In the forest of the night (2014)

With our most recent environmentally aware Doctor Who episode airing last year, it seems that the show is actually doing pretty well to spread the word about climate change. It’s certainly a brilliant way to teach children (and even adults) the errors of humanity and must be a front contender for shows that mention the environmental changes the world is facing. But does it need to be more obvious? Recent stats show that we have approximately 12 years to sort out our environmental problems to stop catastrophic changes and danger to the people of Earth. Seeing the Doctor deal directly with the effects of climate change would be a huge step in terms of creating awareness of our issues, but for now we should celebrate that Doctor Who has been pushing the agenda for over 50 years.

 

What are your thoughts? Let us know @thetimeladies_ or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

Doctor Who Quotes to Live By

By Beth Axford

It’s the beginning of the year. The weather is gloomy, the world of politics is rife with anger and confusion and a new series of Doctor Who is still (what seems to be) a lifetime away. Dear friends, whatever must we do?

Aside from rocking back and forth to the sound of the Doctor Who theme (we’re fine), we love looking to our favourite quotes and moments from the show to keep us going. So, if you’re in need of a little motivational boost – or just a little bit of Who to fuel you through the week, we’ve got you covered. Here are ten Doctor Who quotes to live by and take with you through each day:

1 – Love abides in the face of everything

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._

2. Make a stand and do what’s right

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (2)

3. Make the most of your story

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (3)

4. Appreciate small beautiful events

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (4).png

5 – Always be kind

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (5)

6. Know your worth

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (6).png

7. Embrace change

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (7).png

8. Live life your way

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (8)

9. Be childish sometimes

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (9).png

10. Never give up

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (10)

What has Doctor Who given you? 55 stories for 55 years

To celebrate the 55th birthday of Doctor Who we asked our wonderful Twitter followers to share what the show has given them. And what a response. From career inspiration, relationships, a sense of self… it seems there’s no end to what the Doctor has done for us. We chose 55 answers we particularly loved – see if you can spot yourself!

Happy birthday Doctor Who, from us at the Time Ladies and everyone below. We love you.

Don’t forget, we’ll be shouting out our 5 favourite entries, who will each win a prize.
Want to join the conversation like everyone above? Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.