A History of the Whoniverse
'Obviously, the records of those times are now so fragmentary that any conclusions we draw from the surviving evidence must remain speculative. We cannot know what evidence we are missing, thus the linking of events posited by the presentation of these documents must remain a tentative hypothesis at best.'
- Apocrypha Bipedium (Short Trips: Companions)
Doctor Who first aired in November 1963. Since then there have been literally thousands of stores in a variety of media - particularly TV, books, audio plays, comics, short stories, and computer games. These stories describe a vast fictional universe from the big bang all the way through to the big crunch. This part of the site attempts to put these events into some sort of logical order. It is not a definitive history - a project like this requires far too many judgement calls for any version to be definitive.
It also does not cover the history of the planet Gallifrey. Gallifrey exists in a special relationship with time, and its history cannot be given even an approximate date on the human calendar, although some events in their earliest history do happen within the main timestream. An extensive chronology of Gallifreyan history can be found on our sister site Rassilon, Omega, and that Other Guy.
Which stories count?
We ultimately aim to include every officially licensed story that takes place within normal continuity. Currently we cover most of the TV Series and the novels, and some of the audios, comic strips, and short stories. For more on this, see The Whoniverse Guide to "canon". We have occasionally added in some facts from reference material (most commonly the ages of companions from writers guides where these have not been stated in-universe).
What goes where? / How do you deal with contradictions?
If a story doesn't tell us when it happens, we make an educated guess - possibly using information from other stories. If two stories contradict each other, we try to find a solution that allows both to be equally true using an in-universe explanation. For example if the Doctor claims to know an historical character, but later on meets him for the first time, we just assume that he was name-dropping. If we cannot find an in-universe explanation, we follow the following process:
- If there is a massive amount of evidence for one date or version of events over the other, we go with the consensus
- If a story's date does not affect any other stories, information within the story trumps information outside the story
- If a story is part of a block of stories (e.g. the UNIT stories from the 1970s), then we pick the most plausible dating scheme and everything has to fit into that
- If an event is historical but not dated we go with the real world date unless this is contradicted.
- If an event is historical but another date is given, we go with the in-universe date unless there is a good reason not to
- If all else fails we go with whatever fan theory we happen to prefer
If a story exists in two versions, we may take the approach that both versions happened separately (we do this with the two versions of Human Nature). Alternatively, we treat one version as the main version, and add in details from the other one when they don't contradict anything else (we do this with TV stories that have been novelised).
What's in the footnotes?
Every entry has a footnote [contained in brackets below the description] explaining how we came up with the date. It will also explain how we've resolved any continuity problems. Where possible and relevant, we've provided episode numbers or page references to dating information so you can check if we've got it right. Note that page numbers may not be consistent between different editions of a book.
What story titles do you use?
If we actually saw (or read or heard) an event happen within a story then it will have a story title (though we've treated minor flashbacks in prose as happening outside of the story). If we only heard about it, then it won't. Because there is debate about what titles to use for certain stories, we've had to make choices.
- For William Hartnell stories, we've used the titles for the DVD releases. For The Massacre (of St Bartholomew's Eve), which does not have a DVD release, we have used the shorter title The Massacre.
- For Season 23 we've used Trial of a Time Lord for the trial scenes, and the commonly used titles The Mysterious Planet, Mindwarp, and Terror of the Vervoids for the three stories presented as evidence.
- For the 1996 TV Movie, we've used The TV Movie, although early drafts of this history used the semi-official Enemy Within.
- New series multi-part stories with a different title for each episode are usually listed separately, but sometimes referred to by both titles (e.g. Aliens of London / World War Three).
Sometimes we've added a qualifier to the title. This is displayed in brackets after the title. This is most common with short stories, where we tell you the anthology title.
What's the format of the entries?
We have used the following conventions:
- Dates are in bold type.
- Story titles are either in a larger and bolder font or in CAPITALS.
- Explanation of the dating and other speculation is in [square brackets].
- Story names are colour coded to indicate the type of story it is. Colour codes are as follows:
|Blue||The Doctor Who TV Series, Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Adventures|
|Red||Novels and short stories|
|Purple||Audio plays and audio books|
What if I think you've got something wrong?
In a work of this scope it is inevitable that we will make a few mistakes. If you think we've got something wrong then we will gladly correct the mistake unless it turns out to be a matter of subjective opinion.
Why haven't you covered my favourite story?
Probably because we simply haven't got around to it yet. Remember that we are making this site in our spare time. In some cases it might be that the story simply doesn't have any information that would allow us to date it.