Doctor Who – 10 incredible facts you may not know

Posted on 22 November 2013
By James McAllister
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The Day of the Doctor is almost upon us and to celebrate we have compiled a list of 10 Doctor Who facts that you may not know about the show.

10) The ‘Whomobile’ was never meant to be called the ‘Whomobile’.

The infamous ‘Whomobile’ was privately commissioned by the third doctor John Pertwee for his own collection of gadgets.

Pertwee designed the ‘Whomobile’ with the help of car customiser Peter Farries before his producers had even agreed to use it in the show.

The car was designed under the name ‘The Alien’ but Pertwee unofficially referred to it as the ‘Whomobile’ in an interview and the name stuck.

This angered the show producers who had a strict rule that forbid any puns on the name of the show, but fans had already adopted the name for the vehicle.

The car only ever appeared in two TV episodes, Invasion of the Dinosaurs and Planet of the Spiders.

On the ‘Whomobile’s’ first outing the model wasn’t ready, so producers substituted the custom car with a road legal motor boat for wide angle shots.

9) 103 episodes have been wiped from time and space.

The BBC wiped a total of 103 episodes from its archives between 1960 and 1970 in an attempt to save space. This makes a proportion of the early Doctor Who episodes, including Fury From The Deep, The Power Of The Daleks and Marco Polo extremely rare and valuable.

Since the show has begun filming in digital, which is easier to store, fans have asked for the episodes to be returned to complete the BBC archive.

International collectors and recordings are being compiled by the BBC to fill in any missing gaps, but the show is still missing episodes; reportedly from as late as 2011.

8) The Daleks take inspiration from the Nazis.

Terry nation, the man who was responsible for creating the Daleks, originally drew inspiration from Nazi Germany.

Growing up during WWII the writer originally scripted the Daleks to be, “the unhearing, unthinking, blanked-out face of authority that will destroy you because it wants to destroy you.”

But, BBC Head of Dramas Donald Wilson hated the idea and ordered a rewrite of the original script.

Some subtle Nazi similarities survived the rewrite, but you have to look hard to spot them.

The plunger, raised in front of the Dalek is a subtle hint to the salute that’s synonymous with German soldiers in WWII, as is the Dalek’s heel clicking salute.

But, possibly the most obvious connection is the Dalek’s plan to destroy the human race which is referred to as the ’final solution’. This is a direct reference to Hitler’s attempt to eradicate the Jewish population from the human race.

7) The BBC has patented the blue police box used for the Tardis.

In 2002 the BBC successfully filed a patent to the distinctive image of the blue police box, despite objections from the Metropolitan police.

The blue police box was a familiar site on London streets in the 1960s when the show was conceived.

The Metropolitan police lost the argument that claimed they should be the trademark holders of the Tardis because they believed people more commonly viewed it as a police box.

When a judge ruled that the Metropolitan police had no such rights over the design of the police box, the BBC were allowed to continue using the image on all Dr Who merchandise.

6) Sylvester McCoy is the only actor to span two generations of the Doctor.

When the show’s ratings began to fall in the 1980s BBC execs panicked and sacked Colin Baker, blaming him for the shows demise.

As a result the disgruntled actor refused to return for the shows regeneration scene that saw Sylvester McCoy take over the role as he seventh doctor.

To remedy this McCoy had to stand in for Baker to create what has been voted as one of the worst death scenes in science fiction history.

5) The actors that could have been.

Many actors have been asked to take on the role of the Doctor, but many have also refused.

It’s often been commented that when playing the Doctor, you don’t just take on the role, you also take on franchise, which turns a lot of actors off the role.

More recently both Benedict Cumberbatch and Bill Nighy have turned down the role of the doctor.

Cumberbatch said: “I didn’t really like the whole package – being on school lunch boxes.”

Other actors that have turned down the role include Hugh Grant, Ron Moody and Micheal Bentine.

4) Ridley Scott should have created the Daleks.

Famous science fiction director and producer Ridley Scott was working at the BBC during the 1960s and was slated to design the infamous Daleks.

The Aliens director reportedy had a schedule clash which meant the job went to Raymond Cusick instead, who based the design on a man sitting in a chair.

3) Tom Bakers accidental scarf.

Tom Bakers iconic over sized scarf that has become synonyms with Doctor Who was created entirely by mistake after costume designer James Acheson provided knitter Begonia Pope with too much wool.

The knitter misunderstood the instructions given to her by Acheson and used it all to create the bohemian scarf.

When the scarf was presented to Tom Baker he claimed he liked it and chose to wear it for the remainder of his time on the show.

2) Codename: Torchwood.

It is a commonly known fact that Torchwood is created as an anagram of Doctor Who. It has also more recently been used as the title of the Doctor Who spin off show featuring John Barrowman.

But, what many fans won’t realise is that it was originally a codename used for the show by BBC executives who thought the shows popularity would lead to the film reels being hijacked during transportation.

To counter this they were labelled Torchwood.

1) The Doctor could have been a woman.

In another effort to improve the shows failing ratings in the 1980s Sydney Newman, show creator, suggested to the BBC that they should introduce a female incarnation of the Doctor.

Newman suggested the character should be ‘a trumpet playing schoolgirl in “John Lennon-type spectacles” and her graffiti-spraying “yobbo” elder brother’.

But, the advice fell on deaf ears when show writers decided to stick with the all male tradition and cast Sylvester McCoy in the role instead.

The show was cancelled two years later.

The Day of the Doctor airs tomorrow (Nov 23)at 7.50pm on BBC One in and in 3D at select cinemas.