Doctor Who

Children’s TV – a box of digital delights?

Five members of the band Andy and the Odd Socks stand in a line, posing with their instruments, in front of a blue background

Hands up everyone who was told off for watching too much television. And hands up who watched Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Tele­vision Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead?, the BBC One series that ran between 1973 and 1995. Irony, dead? It was slaughtered, stuffed and displayed behind glass half a century ago.

But what about today’s children? If the primary school pupils of St Peter’s in Newchurch, Lancashire, and Holly Mount in Bury are anything to go by, television viewing is still popular.

BBC announces ‘Puppet Masterchef’ for Children in Need

A two-by-two grid of different puppets posing in the Masterchef kitchen. From top left clockwise, they are Tinky Winky, Hacker and Dodge T Dog, Basil Brush and Zippy and George

Amongst the furry friends making an appearance are Tinky Winky, Hacker T Dog, Dodge, Basil Brush and favourites from 1970s-90s series Rainbow, Zippy and George. Like any flesh-and-blood contestant, the puppets will be expected to wow judges Greg Wallace and John Torode with their culinary flair.

Tinky Winky made a name for themselves on hit CBeebies series Teletubbies, whereas Hacker T Dog first appeared in CBBC’s Scoop. The canine personality was later introduced as a presenter in the CBBC office, with half-brother Dodge joining soon after.

BBC announces further casting for Jenna Coleman-led crime thriller The Jetty

A five-by-two grid of headshots of the actors appearing in The Jetty

The show follows a rookie detective as she investigates a fire in her home town, bringing her into contact with more than one of the less savoury residents. 

Amongst the cast are Ralph Ineson (The Witch), Archie Renaux (Shadow and Bone), Laura Marcus (Bad Education), Amelia Bullmore (Happy Valley) and Ruby Stokes (Lockwood & Co.). Also joining the show are Weruche Opia (I May Destroy You), Miya Ocego (I Hate Suzie), Tom Glynn-Carney (House of the Dragon) and Nina Barker-Francis (The Flash).

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.

8 terrifying kids' TV characters that still haunt our nightmares

Gonzo, The Muppet Show

Gonzo isn’t the weirdest or wildest muppet, but the case could be made that he’s the edgiest.

He’ll do anything for a stunt. He’ll eat a tyre. He’ll wrestle a brick with the tenacity of Andy Kaufman. He shares a name with the style of journalism that favours substance abuse over objective fact.

In short, you never know what Gonzo’s going to do next. Add in his determination to meet the demands of the stunt, however colossal, and he becomes a wild, creative, dangerous blur. Fear him.

Doctor Who spin-off Tales of the TARDIS coming to iPlayer

In the TARDIS, the Seventh Doctor, played by Sylvester McCoy, stands next to Ace, played by Sophie Aldred, who is sat down

Each episode features an existing duo from Doctor Who, who will reunite on the TARDIS to reflect on their time together. New scenes of the pairs will be woven together with episodes from the classic era of the show, creating a feature-length omnibus episode.

The classic era lasted from 1963 until the show was put on indefinite hiatus in 1989, before the show was famously revived in 2005.

BBC reveals release dates for Doctor Who anniversary specials

The Doctor, played by David Tennant, looks into the camera, with Donna Noble and Rose Noble stood behind him. The white, fluffy alien Beep the Meep clutches the Dcotor's jacket. They are flanked on either side by two insectoid Wrarth Warriors

The three hour-long programmes will air on BBC One on 25 November, 2 December and 9 December, respectively, and will also be available on iPlayer. The episode titles have previously been revealed as ‘The Star Beast’, ‘Wild Blue Yonder’ and ‘The Giggle’.

After ‘The Star Beast’ airs, 30-minute behind-the-scenes programme Doctor Who: Unleashed will be broadcast on BBC Three, and will also be available on iPlayer. Doctor Who Confidential aired from 2005-11, and provided a similar peak behind the curtain of the show’s production.

Four unanswered questions about the Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials

The Doctor, played by David Tennant, leans out of the TARDIS with a look of shock on his face

Doctor Who returns in November, with three hour-long specials to celebrate 60 years of campiness across space and time.  

David Tennant (Good Omens) and Catherine Tate (The Catherine Tate Show) are back as the Doctor and companion Donna Noble. The Doctor first met Donna when she materialised in front of him in a wedding dress, and she quickly became a fan favourite. Her no-nonsense attitude and refusal to be impressed with the Doctor’s tight suits wowed viewers, who crowned her their favourite companion in a 2022 Radio Times poll.

BBC iPlayer to feature over 800 episodes of Doctor Who programming

The Sixteen Doctors from BBC sci-fi hit Doctor Who, including the War Doctor and the Fugitive Doctor, stand in a line in front of a blue and pink backdrop

This means classic episodes of the sci-fi juggernaut will be available to watch ahead of the three 60th anniversary specials. Though exact broadcast dates are yet to be announced, the BBC confirmed they will air at some point next month.

Every episode of programming will boast multiple accessibility options, including subtitles, audio description and sign language.