Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

The A-Z of Doctor Who

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A Autons

Switch on the first episode of the new Doctor Who and you'll see the return of one of the old series' most unusual monsters: a race of aliens formed from sentient plastic. Jon Pertwee encountered the Autons as inflatable plastic armchairs, killer gonks, lethal artificial daffodils and murderous window dummies in kipper ties and Stayprest slacks. The new Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, will do battle with psychotic Auton wheelie bins.

B Baker, Tom

Recently voted the greatest Doctor of them all. In his heyday, a goggle-eyed bohemian with a thing for jelly babies. Now a white-haired gentleman who loves to boast of his power to make elderly bosoms tingle with the memory of the children who used them as a place to hide from the Cybermen. Also known for saying very rude things on the soundtrack of Little Britain.

C Cardiff

The Doctor's new production base. Doubles very nicely for contemporary London and any number of creature-filled alien planets. Welsh persons of restricted growth who don't mind being encased in rubber are said to be coining it.

D Davies, Russell T

The executive producer and chief writer of the new shiny, breathlessly fast Doctor Who. His appointment was no surprise to anyone who saw his series Queer as Folk -- the only TV drama in which the romantic climax is a love-test involving naming all the Doctors in order. (William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, should you ever find yourself in this position.)

Also, of course, Daleks

Not robots, but gruesome little mutants who gad about in metal travel machines. Being hideously ugly, it's very important for them to dress well: the Daleks in the new series sport a chunky gold look. Much more bling than their old gun-metal grey livery.

E Eccleston, Christopher

The latest Doctor -- leather trenchcoat, black T-shirt, sticky-out ears, toothy grin, Salford accent, doesn't stay still for a second.

F Fanboys

Men who understand the following words and phrases: Cartmel Masterplan, Divergent Universe, Sinister Slithers of Strikk. Approach with caution.

G Grade, Michael

The Doctor's arch-enemy, who signed the show's death warrant in 1986 by halving the number of episodes in a season. Now he's back at the BBC, and the return of Doctor Who is the media event of the year. Cigars all round.

H Home Counties

The magnet for alien invasions. Daleks favour Bedfordshire, Axons are keener on Kent. This series, the action is moving to Dyfed and Anglesey.

I Internet

This is where closely guarded details about the new series of Doctor Who (and one entire episode) have mysteriously appeared before the show's transmission on BBC One. Time travel is clearly possible.

J Jacobi, Sir Derek

He is among the actors to have played the Doctor in audio dramas, webcasts and TV comedy sketches since the BBC sent the Tardis into oblivion. David Warner, Richard E Grant, Hugh Grant, Joanna Lumley, Arabella Weir, Rowan Atkinson and Jim Broadbent have also had a bash at being Gallifreyan.

K Karn, Sisterhood of

A club for gay Doctor Who fans, named after some mystic ladies in floaty frocks from The Brain of Morbius (1976). The Doctor Who universe has always been a little pink: the 1973 story "Carnival of Monsters" reveals that on the planet of the Lurmans, the population speaks 1950s gay Polari like Julian and Sandy on Round the Horne. Fantabuloso!

L Lambert, Verity

The first producer of Doctor Who, who was told by her superior, Sydney Newman, "no bug-eyed monsters".

M McGann, Paul

Star of the 1996 attempt to relaunch the series as an American co-production. His prediction that he would become "the George Lazenby of Doctor Whos" would seem to have come true.

N'No, not the Mind Probe!"

Exclaimed by a character in "The Five Doctors" (1983), and thought to be the most melodramatic line in the history of Doctor Who. So celebrated that a fanzine used it as a title.

O Outing

Now Doctor Who seems to be -- gulp -- cool, fashionable fans are leaping from the closet: Liz Hurley, Rob Lowe, Stephen Poliakoff, Slipknot and, er, Tim Collins, Tory transport spokesman.

P Piper, Billie

Chris Evans's former consort is the Doctor's new companion, Rose -- and unlike in the old days, the show is focused as much on her character as the Time Lord's. The tabloids have applauded this recognition that things have moved on since 1963, which is why they've printed so many photographs of her in her knickers.

Q Quillam

Character from the Colin Baker story "Vengeance on Varos" (1985), awarded Doctor Who's campest line -- "I want to hear you scream until I'm deaf with pleasure!" Hurrah!

R Radiophonic Workshop

Responsible for the timeless collage of noise that is the Doctor Who theme. Imagine listening to it for the first time. Would you be able to tell whether it was composed 40 years ago or yesterday? Delia Derbyshire is the woman responsible: a pioneering genius who left the BBC and ended up working for the gas board.

S Sofa, behind the

Best place for viewing Doctor Who, if an old lady's bosoms are unavailable.

T Tardis-like

Term used by estate agents to describe any flat that appears to be bigger on the inside that it is on the outside. Can only be used accurately about properties boasting a swimming pool, cloister, library, boot cupboard and food machine dispensing Mars bars that taste of bacon and eggs.

U Unfolding Text, The

1980s academic textbook containing musings on the "semiotic thickness" of Doctor Who -- so funny that it was quoted in the Sylvester McCoy story "Dragonfire" (1987).

V Vortex, space-time

That swirling tunnel you can still see in the Doctor Who title sequence.


Evil supercomputer in the Post Office tower which (in "The War Machines", 1966) had a cunning plan to link itself up to every other computer in the world, forming a vast telecommunications web with which it hoped to control the world. Wonder what happened to that idea?

X Xerophytes

Race of villainous cacti from the planet Zolfa Thura, seen in the story "Meglos" (1980), and a stark warning for any actor taking on the part of Doctor Who: you may be required to be covered in green paint and have your face and hands planted with cactus spines.

Y Yeti

Jon Pertwee said that finding one sitting on a loo in Tooting Bec was the most terrifying image he could imagine. In the Doctor Who universe, these creatures were not shy Himalayan beasties but the hairy robot pawns of the Great Intelligence -- and therefore clearly not good company in the gents.

Z Zaroff, Professor

Mad scientist with a plan to blow up the planet by draining the Atlantic into the Earth's core. Catchphrase: "Nuzzink in de vurld can stop me now!" Unlikely to be making a return in the new series.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Sweet, Matthew (2005-03-19). The A-Z of Doctor Who. The Daily Telegraph p. Arts & Books, p. 4.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Sweet, Matthew. "The A-Z of Doctor Who." The Daily Telegraph [add city] 2005-03-19, Arts & Books, p. 4. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Sweet, Matthew. "The A-Z of Doctor Who." The Daily Telegraph, edition, sec., 2005-03-19
  • Turabian: Sweet, Matthew. "The A-Z of Doctor Who." The Daily Telegraph, 2005-03-19, section, Arts & Books, p. 4 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=The A-Z of Doctor Who | url= | work=The Daily Telegraph | pages=Arts & Books, p. 4 | date=2005-03-19 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=29 February 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=The A-Z of Doctor Who | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=29 February 2024}}</ref>