25 fascinating facts about modern Doctor Who

From Billie Piper and Matt Smith's steamy screen liaison to David Tennant's mind-bending Doctor Who family tree, top New Who trivia from Paul Kirkley's book Space Helmet For a Cow (Volume II)

16. Sherlock homies

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Matt Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch struck up a friendship while filming Doctor Who and Sherlock in Cardiff. “We have these mornings where we go, ‘Hi Sherlock!’ ‘Hi Doctor!’” Smith told The Times in 2010, adding that he thought they should do an episode “with these two great minds going ‘Ding-ding-ding, watcha got?’” Fans have been making the same suggestion several hundred times a day ever since.

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17. That Doctor Who dynasty in full 

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Okay, here goes: David Tennant’s wife Georgia played his daughter in The Doctor’s Daughter. In real life, she’s the daughter of Peter Davison, which means The Doctor’s Daughter is actually the Doctor’s wife AND his daughter, and the Fifth Doctor is his own father-in-law on account of his son-in-law playing an older version of himself, then marrying his daughter, who he met while she was playing HIS daughter. The Tennants’ children, meanwhile, have the Doctor as their dad AND their granddad and the Doctor’s daughter (and wife) as their mum. And, just to make things more confusing, Georgia was in the same class at school as Colin Baker’s eldest child Lucy, aka the Doctor’s daughter. Got that?


18. Bus-ted 

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In 2009, the Doctor Who team shipped a London bus all the way to the Dubai desert for the episode Planet of the Dead. Unfortunately, while it was being unloaded off the boat, a crane dropped a cargo container on top of it and smashed the top deck to pieces. Oops.

An unflappable Russell T Davies simply rewrote the script to suggest that’s what happens when a bus goes through an intergalactic wormhole – and who are we to argue? Meanwhile, the team in Cardiff set about smashing up a second bus to match the broken one.


19. The million pound question 

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Channel 4 quiz show The Million Pound Drop was forced to reinstate two contestants after fans pointed out their assertion that David Tennant had been a longer-serving Doctor Who than Sylvester McCoy was wrong (Tennant appeared in more episodes, but McCoy was technically the incumbent Time Lord for more years.) Though contestants Johnny and Dee had actually divided their bets between McCoy and Paul McGann – and anyone who thinks he was the longest-serving Doctor Who clearly needs to get out less.


20. Crack shot 

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A glimpse of John Barrowman’s naked bum in Series One’s Bad Wolf fell foul of BBC censors – but they were allowed to keep in the joke about Captain Jack carrying a gun between his buttocks. Probably best not to think about it.