Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Let Me Through - I'm a Doctor

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11 Lords a-Leaping: Doctor Who from A to Z

It started as a filler between Grandstand and Juke Box Jury — 47 years on, it's the BBC's best-loved show As Dr Who returns, new boy Matt Smith talks about the pressure of the role, and we take you through time with our mind-bending quiz. But first Robert Colvile recites the Time Lord alphabet

A is for Aliens

Whether created using make-up, CG1 effects or a pot of green paint and a sheet of bubble wrap. these terrifying creatures are at the heart of the show. Sydney Newman, who came up with the original idea for the series, was initially adamant that he didn't want any "bug-eyed monsters", but the success of the Daleks rapidly changed his mind.

B is for Bafta

... and Best Drama and Best Actor and Best Actress. Since returning in 2005, the show's stars and creators have scarcely had time to do any filming between picking up Baftas, National Television Awards and the like. Good thing the Tardis has plenty of storage space.

C is for Companions

The Doctor's loyal assistants, whose duties usually consist of running, screaming, getting kidnapped and providing a sounding board for technobabble-based exposition. They have also provided an emotional anchor for the recent series (and an excuse to set stories on Earth).

D is for Doctor

The star of the show, a two-hearted, time-travelling hero who's approaching his 1,000th birthday. lie's the last of his kind, after his people - from whom he absconded as a young tearaway - were killed in the Time War.

E is for Exterminate!

War-cry of the Daleks, the Doctor's pepper-pot-shaped nemeses, created by lunatic geneticist Davros. Mastery of the ability to climb stairs (via nifty hovering capability) means that the only thing still keeping them from universal domination is the fact that they've been exterminated themselves. Or at least, so it seems...

F is for Fear Factor

Famously, Doctor Who has never been afraid to send its younger viewers scurrying behind the sofa - indeed, Mary Whitehouse labelled Tom Baker's, storylines "teatime brutality for tots", winning an apology from the BBC and an enforced lightening of the tone. What she'd make of modern terrors like the Weeping Angels or Vashta Nerada is anyone's guess...

G is for Gaillfrey

The Doctor's home planet, presumed destroyed in a war between his people, the Time Lords, and the Daleks. Reappeared this Christmas in David Tennant's last adventure, when it was revealed that they had become such a threat to the universe that the Doctor had been forced to eliminate both sides.

H is for Hartnell, William

The first Doctor, who lasted for three years from 1963 before being replaced by Patrick Troughton (1966-6). Followed by Jon Pertwee (1970-4), Tom Baker (1974-81), Peter Davison (1981-4), Colin Baker (19846), Sylvester McCoy (1987-9), Paul McGann (in a one-off Anglo-US co-production in 1996, in which the Doctor shocked fans by kissing his companion), Christopher Eccleston (2005), David Tennant (2005-10) and now Matt Smith.

I is for Invaders

If there was an award for most-invaded planet in the universe, Earth would be an absolute shoo-in. Strangely, however, the various alien races never seem to bump into one another; apart from the fan-pleasing encounter between the Daleks and Cybermen in 2006 (winner by knockout: the Daleks).

J is for John Smith

The Doctor's most common pseudonym (others include "Dr Caligari" and "Doktor von Wer", the German for "Doctor of Who"). The character's true name is unknown, although his nickname at school was "Theta Sigma", which is presumably Gallifreyan for "speccy git".

K is for K-9

The Doctor's robotic pet, who made his first appearance in 1977. Frequently damaged in his master's service, K-9 now on his fourth incarnation - has been passed on to former companion Sarah Jane Smith, to help out on her CBBC series (and also appears in an Australian-made, non-BBC spin-off). Was originally to be called FIDO, for "Phenomenal [sic] Indication Data Observation".

L is for Lost Episodes

Until 1978, the BBC routinely deleted old episodes of its series to reuse the tapes. As a result, more than 100 Doctor Who episodes (and many more from other programmes) are missing, although the audio and various photographs remain.

M is for Master

The Moriarty to the Doctor's Holmes: a fellow Time Lord with a neat line in beards, sinister plots and megalomaniac laughter. As played by John Simm in the new series, was briefly elected Prime Minister, with backing from Ann Widdecombe and others; plan to murder the Cabinet, US president and much of humanity wasn't mentioned in his manifesto.

N is for Newman, Sydney

Canadian television executive who, as head of BBC drama, needed to come up with a show to fill a Saturday evening gap between Grandstand and Juke Box Jury, and decided on a science-fiction drama about a strange old man who lived in a police box. The first episode, in 1963, got off to a shaky start, partly because it aired the day

O is for Oooh-wee-oooh...

The famous Doctor Who theme tune, composed by Ron Grainer with electronic arrangement by Delia Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Combined with Gary Glitter's Rock and Roll (Part Two) in the novelty single Doctorin' the Tardis, which reached No 1 in June 1988.

P is for Parallel Universes

Home to zeppelins, Cybermen and - since a few years ago - Rose '4,1er (played by Billie Piper), the Doctor's closest companion, who was granted a happily ever after in the form of a part-human clone of the Doctor, grown from David Tennant's hand.

Q is for Quarries

One of the great mysteries of the universe is why so many alien worlds visited by the first seven Doctors resembled disused gravel pits outside the M25. Of course, that changed when the series was brought back - is it was filmed in Wales, the gravel pits were nearer Cardiff.

R is for Regeneration

Both the method by which the Doctor can change from actor to actor, after receiving a fatal injury (up to a theoretical maximum of 13 incarnations) and an apt metaphor for the show's astonishing recent resurrection after it was cancelled in the Eighties.

S is for Spin-Offs

Doctor Who has always been a cash cow, spawning books, a long-running magazine and two movies featuring Peter Cushing as the Doctor.

However, since its revival it has become perhaps the BBC's most profitable brand, with a host of toys, comics, books and other merchandise, as well as companion series Torchwood (starring John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness, an immortal, 51st-century 'omnisexual") and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

T is for Tardis

The Doctor's time-travelling abode, which stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space and is, of course, bigger on the inside than the outside. Stuck in the form of a blue police box after the -chameleon circuit" broke, although some secretly suspect the Doctor prefers it that way.

U is for UNIT

The Unified Intelligence Taskforce deals with tackling alien activity on Earth, which during the Seventies mostly took place in Britain, for budgetary reasons.

V is for Vworp! Vworp!

The wheezing, groaning sound of the Tardis as it materialises on another planet. The original effect came from sampling a front-door key being scraped up and down a length of piano wire.

W is for Writers

The tribe of creatures that have done more to ruin the Doctor's life than all his enemies put together. Distinguished members include Douglas Adams, Terry Nation, creator of the Daleks, Russell T Davies, who oversaw the Doctor's return in 2005, and Steven Moffat. Davies's replacement as creative supremo and the man responsible for many of the new series' best episodes.

X is for Xoanon

A schizophrenic supercomputer that mostly serves to illustrate the writers' penchant for silly names. Other examples include the Moxx of Balhoon, Zodin the Terrible and the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius.

Y is for Youth Appeal

The actor playing the new Doctor, Matt Smith, is the youngest ever, at the age of just 27, while his micro-skirted companion Amy Pond is played by 22-year-old Karen Gillan. Scenes of the Doctor swigging alcopops and asking the Daleks what new bands they're into have apparently been left on the cutting-room floor.

Z is for Z-Neutrino Energy

Recently used by Davros and the Daleks to make off with Planet Earth and use it as part of a giant machine to destroy the universe. Don't bother looking for it in your physics textbook.

Doctor Who starts at 6.20pm tonight on BBC One

Caption: Monster madness: Doctor Who's extraterrestrial enemies have Included (clockwise from above) Davros; the Ood and the Spiderwoman Empress of Rachnos

Caption: Who's Who of Who: the Doctor has been played by (l to-r) William Hartnell; Patrick Trouqhton; Jon Pertwee; Tom Baker; Peter Davison; Colin Baker; Sylvester McCoy; Paul McGann; Christopher Eccleston; David Tennant and Matt Smith

Caption: Hired help: The Doctor's companion has been played by (clockwise from above) Karen Gillan, Billie Piper, Louise Jameson and Bonnie Langford

Look Who's Back

Tweed suits, bow tie, a quiff — Neil Midgley meets youngest ever actor, Matt Smith

Today is the day that Matt Smith really finds out what it's like to play the Doctor. Yes, it's 16 months since Smith was announced as the new Time Lord. And he has been shooting the series for half of that time, with the last scenes of the 13-episode run filmed two weeks ago. But tonight, at 6.20, the moment arrives when he gets to crash-land his Tardis on to the screens of more than 10million fans.

"What's funny about this job is that people often ask me questions about it mild they're questions that I can only respond to in six months' time, because they are questions about what it will be when it hits, whatever it' is," Smith said, when I met him during a break in filming in December.

So far, he said, nobody had been going through his bins or following him. "I don't have any perspective on that sort of stuff yet: At the moment, I just turn up for work every day, I work 14 hours a day, I learn lines, and that is my life." It's a life of almost full immersion, lived mainly at Who HQ on a light industrial estate outside Cardiff. An interview between scenes means, disconcertingly, that Smith turns up in full Doctor garb: tweed jacket, bow tie, boots. This new look may well, if reports are to be believed, save the Harris tweed industry from extinction. It may also, I suggest, spawn a million copycat quiffs. "Really? Do you think?" Smith says. "Let's coin the name now, shall we? The wave. No, let's not call it the wave, that's appalling."

Smith's musings - on hairdos, or his own stardom, or where it might take him next remain those of a diffident young English actor. You would never tell that he has gone from virtual unknown - a role in the little-watched BBC Two political drama Party Animals was the highlight of his CV - to one of Britain's most prominent television actors, almost overnight. On set, he is relentlessly diligent and relentlessly charming, even when it rains. or is cold, or the sonic screwdriver hurts his hand as it explodes.

And he is at his most animated when he talks about his mother. "Get this. They came up to visit me on Saturday, my mum and dad, so I could sign all these cards. My mum takes care of all my fan mail, which she's quite excited about. But they got on the train to come and see me with a thousand of these things, and then realised they'd left them in the car. So it was a source of great contention for my mum and dad on the train on the way up. 'Oh, it was your fault. "No, it was your fault.' They're like a double act, they're very funny."

Smith will be caught in the national consciousness as part of his own double act, with actress Karen Gillan, who plays the Doctor's new assistant, Amy Pond. Due to a malfunctioning Tardis, the Doctor shows up in Amy's young life no fewer than three times before she finally steps inside for her own time-travelling adventures. Although their chemistry is spiky, Smith says it's real if platonic.

"Karen's a good mate of mine and I'm very fond of her," he says. "And we're very closely connected. With this job and this part, there needs to be a degree of affection that's real."

Viewers will also be introduced tonight to Rory, played by Arthur Darvill, who is - or at least believes himself to be - Amy's boyfriend. Rory will return later in the series and even do a little time travelling. That, Smith says, sets up an interesting dynamic between the three characters.

"The Doctor meets Amy in quite a brilliant and beautiful way," he says, explaining that the arrival of a Time Lord would miff any provincial boyfriend. "A romantic relationship is about balance, if it works, and the Doctor can see the balance of things tipping between Amy and Rosy. He quite likes Rory, but that doesn't stop him asserting himself as alpha male on a daily basis."

Smith has - with his tongue, perhaps, a little in his cheek described Gillan as "a remarkable specimen", and the sexiest Doctor Who assistant ever. Certainly, dads countrywide will be far from displeased by the sight of her dressed as a kissogram. Can the Doctor stop himself from falling for her, despite those legs? "Despite those legs, the gangly Karen legs? She's going to love me for that," Smith says. Then he offers the answer he has given so many times to these kind of journalistic enquiries, the one that from tonight will finally start to be replaced by real answers on screen. "You'll have to wait and see."

Doctor Who 1963-2010 A mega-quiz by Gavin Fuller

1 What relation was Susan, the teenage girl who was travelling in the Tardis when the series began in 1963, to the Doctor?

2 What historical event took place at the climax of the 1966 story "The Gunfighters"?

3 Which monsters did the Doctor encounter on the London Underground in the 1968 story "The Web of Fear"?

4 A What gadget made its first appearance in the 1968 story "Fury From the Deep", the Doctor observing: "Neat, isn't it?"?

5 What name was given to the shop-window dummy monsters first encounter by Jon Pertwee's Doctor?

6 Who was journalist Sarah Jane Smith impersonating when the Doctor first met her?

7 In which story did the I Doctor encounter war criminal Magnus Greel, the savage Peking Homunculus and a giant rat?

8 What was the shortened version of the name of the Fourth Doctor's Time Lady companion, although she'd have preferred to have been called Fred?

7 Which vegetable did the Fifth Doctor wear in his lapel?

10 Which aircraft was central to the 1982 story "Time-Flight"?

11 Who tried to cancel Doctor Who in 1985, causing an outcry?

12 Which explosives-enthusiast companion of the Doctor was christened Dorothy?

13 In which city was the 1996 Paul McGann movie set, although it was filmed in Vancouver?

14 Where did the Doctor take Rose in her first trip in the Tardis?

15 What question did the Empty Child ask?

16 Which comedian played the Absorbaloff (pictured, left), a 2006 monster designed by a Blue Peter competition winner?

17 Headquarters of the security of the organisation the Torchwood Institute, where was Torchwood One located?

18 Companion of the Tenth Doctor, what was Martha's surname?

19 What was Murray Gold's contribution to the series since it returned in 2005?

20 What did the Doctor say was made for him by Madame de Nostradamus?

Gavin Fuller, a librarian at 'The Daily Telegraph'. was Mastermind's youngest ever champion in 1993 having chosen Doctor Who as his specialist subject

DOCTOR WHO QUIZ ANSWERS 1) Grand-daughter 2) The Gunfight at the OK Corral 3) Yeti 4) Sonic Screwdriver 5) Autons 6) Her Aunt Lavinia 7) The Talons of Weng-Chiang 8) Romana (short for Romanadvoratrelundar) 9) Celery 10) Concorde 11) Michael Grade 12) Ace (played by Sophie Aldred) 13) San Francisco 14) Platform One 15) "Are you my mummy?" 16) Peter Kay 17) Canary Wharf, London 18) Jones 19) He wrote the music 20) His (very long) scarf

Caption: Date with destiny: Matt Smith has become one of Britain's most prominent TV actors, almost overnight

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  • APA 6th ed.: Colvile, Robert (2010-04-03). Let Me Through - I'm a Doctor. The Daily Telegraph p. 4.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Colvile, Robert. "Let Me Through - I'm a Doctor." The Daily Telegraph [add city] 2010-04-03, 4. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Colvile, Robert. "Let Me Through - I'm a Doctor." The Daily Telegraph, edition, sec., 2010-04-03
  • Turabian: Colvile, Robert. "Let Me Through - I'm a Doctor." The Daily Telegraph, 2010-04-03, section, 4 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Let Me Through - I'm a Doctor | url= | work=The Daily Telegraph | pages=4 | date=2010-04-03 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=12 April 2024 }}</ref>
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