The Time Lord is fast approaching his 50th Anniversary special so what better time to look at some of his more unusual appearances on his home station, the BBC, than now. Having a time machine does have its advantages and it makes the Doctor able to appear in some of the strangest places. Here is a very small sampling of some of his adventures in time and space.
1. Dimensions in Time from Children in Need (1993)
Children in Need is a yearly event to raise money for the said charity in question and the Doctor has appeared countless times. This appearance was a special for the Doctor Who fans because it was a delayed celebration of his 30th anniversary (something the BBC did not properly complete because they pulled the series). It is a strange short with Tom Baker really hamming it up in his small role and a welcome return of John Pertwee (his last on-screen appearance as the Doctor) as well as many other companions and Doctor regenerations. The short is set in the fictional town Albert Square (from UK soap opera Eastenders), which adds an even weirder feel to it. It is not the greatest appearance of the Time Lord but for novelty alone it certainly is a worth a view.
2. Tennant meets Davidson from Children in Need (2007)
This is another Children in Need short and is a heck of a lot of fun. Due to some temporal mix up Peter Davidson’s Doctor meets up with David Tennant’s Doctor for a brief visit in the T.A.R.D.I.S. Although short, it is a great piece of writing and very tongue in cheek with Tennant’s Doctor giving reasons for Davidson’s more rotund appearance and a very heartfelt piece about what Peter Davidson’s Doctor meant to people.
3. Red Nose Day 2011 Rowan Atkinson as The Doctor
Red Nose Day like Children in Need is a yearly fundraiser with the emphasis on jokes for cash. Here Rowan Atkinson (of Mr Bean and Blackadder fame) puts his own comical spin on The Doctor. This has the funniest use of regenerations you will see this side of Gallifrey. It’s obvious the team behind this love Doctor Who and even for a comedy they keep the general feel of the show alive.
4. Red Dwarf Night (1997)
While the popular UK Sci-Fi show Red Dwarf celebrated with a full night showcasing its history, a certain Doctor Who menace popped up to voice their dismay at the series. Those pesky Daleks get every where it seems!
5. The Science of Doctor Who
Professor Brian Cox takes us through Doctor Who’s world and explains in detail how parts of the show could be explained by science. The great thing about this short (aside from the breathtaking array of scientific knowledge Mr Cox throws out at you) is the fact that the show is inter-cut with a pre-recorded section where Brian walks into the T.A.R.D.I.S and meets Matt Smith’s Doctor and basically becomes his new companion for half an hour. Silly, yet entertaining, it plays out like a little mini episode of the show.
6. Doctor Who At the Proms (2012)
What could be better than celebrating some of the best in classical musical tunes? Well if you throw Doctor Who in there it certainly helps! This show was superb not only because we got to hear some classic Doctor Who tunes belted out by a live orchestra, but also because The Doctor (Matt Smith) and some of his friends popped in throughout the thing to say hi!
7. Olympics 2012 Doctor Who Sound Effect
During the 2012 London Olympics Danny Boyle put on a montage covering all that is great about Britain. During this montage a very distinct sound can be heard, that’s right, it’s the sound of the T.A.R.D.I.S. It is only heard for a few seconds, but the fact it was used at all at such a big event helps to show how much Doctor Who has become part of the UK zeitgeist.
8. Lenny Henry as Doctor Who (1985)
This was an ongoing spoof sketch featuring the comedian Lenny Henry as The Doctor. It feels a little dated today, but anyone that fancies seeing black 80s comedians take on The Doctor should be well advised to check it out.
9. David Tennant on Never Mind the Buzzcocks (2009)
David Tennant is the special guest on this musical comedy quiz show. But the show is so crammed packed with references to Doctor Who every fan should really check it out. Not only do we get to see The T.A.R.D.I.S and The Ood (as well as Tennant mucking about which is always fun) the guests on each of the teams is Catherine Tate (Tennant’s former Doctor Who companion) and Bernard Cribben (Catherine’s Tate’s granddad in the series) so it’s full of Doctor Who goodness.
10. Christmas Day with The Doctors from Dead Ringers (2005)
A comedy show from the BBC where impressionist Jon Culshaw would regularly put Doctor Who in weird places (seeing Tom Baker having trouble buying a ticket is brilliant). This episode is great because of the sheer amount of Doctors being parodied. It is worth it just to see Tom Baker’s Doctor getting annoyed because he has yet another scarf for Christmas!
11. Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor Who
As we come close to seeing a brand new Doctor it is great to relive this small scene where he is actually introduced to us. The whole show was a pleasant puff piece, mainly padding out 10 minutes of info into half and hour. But the excitement felt while watching this live and waiting to see who had been chosen was incredible. Watching it again even if this is the first time you do get a feeling of wonderment knowing we have a brand new Time Lord to take us through 2014.
12. The Night of the Doctor – Spoilers
To end this article with a bang, we leave you with this mini episode in preparation for the big 50th episode. No doubt huge Doctor Who fans will already know about this incredible short which will have all fans hair standing on the back of their necks. But for those who have managed to stay away from the hype then all I will say about it is that it has the return of one of the most underused Doctors in Time Lord History. SPOILER ALERT Yes Paul McGann returns to the role of The Doctor after 17 years. This little gem should keep most Who fans happy until the 50th. So until then enjoy.
Oh okay, here is one more video to help you rock the day away. Welcome to the stage The Time Lords with their 1988 novelty hit Doctorin the Tardis.