11 incredibly British things in Doctor Who explained

From Jammie Dodgers to teatime, it's our essential guide for non-native Whovians

Doctor Who is now a global phenomenon, and the Doctor himself isn’t exactly from Bristol. Nevertheless, the show remains thoroughly British, and many fans from overseas might have trouble picking up the in-jokes and subtle cultural references. Subtle cultural references like Jammy Dodgers. Here’s our essential guide…



Jammie Dodgers

A biscuit (cookie) in which two layers of shortbread are stuck together with (you guessed it) a smear of raspberry jam.

It’s a British favourite, and it’s British through and through. As well as bearing a passing resemblance to the patriotic ‘Empire Biscuit’ (two layers of shortbread, jam filling but with icing/frosting on top) the name ‘Dodger’ comes from the long running children’s comic book The Beano.

The Beano is the home of the original Dennis the Menace, as well as the character ‘Roger the Dodger’, a witty wannabe con artist. Of course the ‘Artful Dodger’ was also the name of a pickpocket in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

Fun fact: ‘Jammy’ is slang for ‘lucky’ in many parts of the UK. A sweet, lucky scamp who can talk his way out of anything? Remind you of anyone?

Fish fingers

One half of Eleven’s favourite meal is breaded frozen fish, often served to children at teatime. You might call them ‘fish sticks’, which is more descriptive but less poetic.

Jelly Babies

The favourite of Tom Baker’s Doctor are sort of like Gummi Bears. Well, not really. Instead of bears they are shaped like, well, babies and instead of feeling like you are chewing on a pencil eraser, they are incredibly soft and delicious. According to legend, George Harrison once said he liked them, and from that point on Beatles fans would pelt them at the band every time they stepped on stage. This was fine in Britain, but in Jelly Baby-less America fans took to throwing the much, much harder Jelly Beans. Ouch.


Ostensibly Jelly Babies are fruit flavoured and citrussy, but really they taste of Jelly Baby. JBs are probably the dustiest sweet out there, and not just because they have been made for over 100 years. The Babies tumble out of the packet coated in white starch powder, covering your fingers and your face as you eat them. The ones featured on Doctor Who always look like they’ve had a bit of spit and polish before appearing on screen.