This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the actors currently on strike, the movie/series/feature being covered here wouldn't exist.
BY ALEX GILSTON NOVEMBER 7, 2023
In the lead up to Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary - plus the return of Russell T Davies, David Tennant, and Catherine Tate - the BBC has introduced the ‘Whoniverse’. A Marvel style moniker that will act as an umbrella for all things Doctor Who moving forwards. An absolute treasure trove of time-travelling goodies have been added to BBC IPlayer, and this article is a guide to traversing it all.
Classic Doctor Who (1963-1996)
Although there are some omissions - like the Doctor's first ever adventure, An Unearthly Child - 644 (!!!) episodes of the original run of Doctor Who have been added to IPlayer. You can adventure with Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee, Baker, Davison, Baker, McCoy, and even McGann in episodes spanning over 33 years. A highlight is the first episodes included, the 7 part story entitled ‘The Daleks’ which saw the Doctor face his most iconic foe for the first time ever.
The inclusion of this era on the service opens up the opportunity for old and new fans alike who might not have seen these episodes to chart the evolution of the show prior to its return in 2005. Another incredible feat was marked in an Instagram post by Russell T Davies who praised a massive team of people who have worked hard on making these episodes accessible. Every episode is subtitled, has audio description and even sign language available.
Doctor Who (2005-2022)
Nothing new here as all of the episodes of the show’s revival have been available on BBC iPlayer for as long as they’ve been around. But it gives fans the perfect chance to rewatch the Russell T Davies era in preparation for him taking over as showrunner for the second time from the end of this month (And who are we kidding if you’re a Doctor Who fan you won’t stop at The End of Time, another 12 years of episodes await beyond David Tennant’s regeneration).
The most notable thing about this era’s inclusion is that it’s marked as (2005-2022) sparking speculation that Ncuti Gatwa’s first series as the man himself - which would have been series 14 - might reset the count back to 1.
Tales of the Tardis
Tales of the Tardis is the first new, and original, thing to be added to the ‘Whoniverse’ it sees the return of some famous Who faces including Peter Davison as the fifth Doctor and Janet Fielding as Tegan, Sylvester McCoy as the seventh Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace, and Katy Manning as Jo and Daniel Anthony as Clyde Langer. These pairings meet up on the Dream Tardis - a beautiful amalgamation of all of the Doctor’s console rooms - to chat about their adventures together. These conversations bookend an omnibus version of a classic adventure, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the hundreds of episodes available then this is a nice digestible way to expose yourself to these stories. Whilst also giving you the opportunity to see these actors inhabit these parts once more.
The reboot era of Doctor Who also came with a handful of spin-off shows which are now all available in one place. Every episode of Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Class, and Doctor Who Confidential are ready and waiting to be watched. If you were feeling especially bold you could try and attempt a timeline based watchthrough.
Switching between Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures, and Torchwood in narrative order to really get the most out of that specific era. It’s a mammoth task but the feeling you get watching Journey's End after fitting everything in is nothing short of euphoric.
Doctor Who at 60: A Musical Celebration
Doctor Who would be nothing without its music. From its iconic theme tune all the way to character specific pieces of score it really underpins all of our emotions of the show. To celebrate this Radio 2 held a concert in Cardiff which saw the BBC National Orchestra of Wales performing the most iconic songs from the past 60 years. Murray Gold and Segun Akinola’s scores are immortalised and rightly so. As well as celebrating the music from Doctor Who’s past the Orchestra also played three new songs composed by Murray Gold for the upcoming new series. These included the 15th Doctor’s theme, Ruby’s Theme, and of course the iconic theme tune which has been revamped for a new era.
There are plenty of other little tidbits included on BBC iPlayer like a new documentary, Talking Doctor Who, hosted by David Tennant as he looks back on Doctor Who’s legacy, the Doctor Who Proms from 2008, 2010, and 2013, and even some animated adventures from David Tennant’s time as the Doctor. The 25th November - which marks the air date for the first special The Star Beast - might seem like a lifetime away, but there is plenty of stuff to sink your teeth into on BBC iPlayer’s Whoniverse to keep you going till then.