55-and-a-half amazing(ish) facts about Doctor Who

Paul Kirkley presents 55 or so facts about the series you probably didn’t know


49. Time gentleman: While filming The Angels Take Manhattan in New York, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan couldn’t resist dropping in for a quick sherbert at a Doctor Who themed-bar in the city. “You could have heard a pin drop when we strolled in,” said Smith. It’s one way of getting a free drink, I suppose.

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50. Excessive Force: In 2013, David Tennant won an Emmy for his role in the iconic sci-fi franchise… Star Wars. But don’t tell fans in Norwich: a few months before he scooped the gong or voicing a droid in The Clone Wars TV series, a fracas between members of rival Star Wars and Doctor Who clubs at the University of East Anglia got so out of hand that the police had to be called.


51. Guess W.H.O. Peter Capaldi’s character in the 2013 film World War Z is listed as W.H.O. Doctor.


52. Doctor Who: The musical! The 1989 stage musical – yes musical – Doctor Who: The Ultimate Adventure featured actress and singer Judith Hibbert as Margaret Thatcher, no less. Judith’s daughter is Eleanor Tomlinson, aka Demelza Poldark. Eagle-eyed Poldark fans may also have spotted Gabriella Wilde – aka Lady Caroline Penvenen – as a sexy vampire in 2010’s The Vampires of Venice.


53. Can’t Get Who Out of My Head: 2007 Christmas special Voyage of the Damned wasn’t guest star Kylie Minogue’s first brush with the Doctor: her 2006 Showgirl tour had featured dancers in costumes inspired by the Cybermen and the Raston Warrior Robot, despite the latter only having made a single screen appearance 23 years earlier in The Five Doctors. (No sign of the Daleks, though. They’re rubbish dancers.)


54. Teeny Doctor: The teenage Peter Capaldi bombarded the Doctor Who office with so many annoying fan letters, production secretary Sarah Newman said she “wished the Daleks would exterminate him”. (She never did get her wish – it was the Cybermen wot did for him in the end.)


55. Top of the Bill: Companion Pearl (Bill Potts) Mackie’s grandfather Philip wrote the screenplay for seminal TV drama The Naked Civil Servant, starring “War Doctor’ John Hurt.


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… and a half. Name and shame:  Terry Nation claimed to have made up the word Dalek from the letters DAL–LEK on the spine of an encyclopaedia. But for that to be true, the authors would have to have dedicated at least one volume to the letters A-C, before dashing through the next nine letters in a single edition. It is true that ‘dalek’ means ‘distant thing’ in Serbo-Croat, though.

Paul Kirkley is the author of Space Helmet for a Cow: The Mad, True Story of Doctor Who Volumes I and II, published by Mad Norwegian Press, priced £10