A Beginner’s Guide to Doctor Who

In a stylised graphic, different versions of the Doctor, played by David Tennant and Ncuti Gatwa, stand in front of a maze. The TARDIS is at the centre of the maze, with the Toymaker, the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler in the maze

Who is the Doctor?

You probably know the basics. The Doctor is an alien who appears human, but is in fact a Time Lord. This means they have two hearts and can cheat death by regenerating, a process which involves changing their body and personality.

The Doctor travels around in the TARDIS, a spaceship whose name stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. This enables the Doctor to travel anywhere in the universe, including – you guessed it – across time.

Comfort Classic: Doctor Who

Sixty years ago this November, a day after the assassination of John F Kennedy, William Hartnell stepped out of the Tardis and into the Stone Age in the very first Doctor Who story, An Unearthly Child.

Ratings were disappointing for a Saturday tea-time slot; the BBC’s new sci-fi show attracted an average audience of 6 million over its four-part run. Reviews were mixed, too: “There was little to thrill [and the] wigs and furry pelts and clubs were all ludicrous,” sniffed The Guardian.