See also the BBC's episode guide
Many of the First and Second Doctor episodes (97 to be precise) are no longer accounted for in video format — though only one, "The Daleks' Master Plan" part 7, "The Feast of Steven", is known to have been exterminated
, so a delicate flicker of hope remains for the other 96. And even that isn't enough to stop fans from thinking the 97th episode has a copy lurking somewhere. All missing episodes are available in audio format with stills, and some have been animated by dedicated restoration teams for official DVD releases funded by the BBC, though some of these old things have been deleted
for all eternity.
Cross-reference recaps pages for The Sarah Jane Adventures
, and Torchwood
, which are also part of the Whoniverse
, as well as for the many tangled continuities and timelines of the Big Finish audio series
, which are broadly canonical.
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First Doctor era
There is some dispute as to what a number of the serials up to "The Gunfighters" should be called, as these stories had individual episode titles rather than an on-screen full title. Many of the titles have been gleaned from surviving BBC
paperwork, but for the very early stories, you may see alternative names being used. The names seen below are those on the DVD or video releases.
Season 3 (45 episodes of which 17 survive, 11 September 1965 to 16 July 1966)
- "Galaxy 4" (4 episodes, only episode 3 known to survive)
- "Mission to the Unknown" (1 episode, missing; only classic episode to not feature the Doctor)
- "The Myth Makers" (4 episodes, all missing)
- "The Daleks' Master Plan" (12 episodes, only 2, 5 and 10 known to survive. The Christmas episode is the only one confirmed to be Lost Forever, in all likelihood)
- "The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve" (4 episodes, all missing; title commonly shortened to "The Massacre")
- "The Ark" (4 episodes)
- "The Celestial Toymaker" (4 episodes, only episode 4 known to survive)
- "The Gunfighters" (4 episodes)
- "The Savages" (4 episodes, all missing)
- "The War Machines" (4 episodes)
Season 4 (43 episodes of which 10 survive, 10 September 1966 to 1 July 1967. No story from this season survives in a complete form.)
- "The Smugglers" (4 episodes, all missing)
- "The Tenth Planet" (4 episodes, episode 4 missing but restored with animation)
Second Doctor era
The Second Doctor's appearance in "The Two Doctors"
is ambiguously placed in his timeline. The BBC nowadays agrees that it fits into the "Season 6b" theory, meaning it takes place during otherwise unseen adventures set after "The War Games"
Third Doctor era
The actual regeneration sequence from Patrick Troughton
to Jon Pertwee
was not televised, but was depicted in a comic shortly before Season 7 began. From this point onwards, all episodes survive and can be found in the BBC archives. This era also marked the start of the series being in full colour, although a handful of Third Doctor episodes survive only in black and white. Current DVD releases, however, have seen the color restored, though viewers do have the option of watching them in black and white anyway.
Fourth Doctor era
From this point onwards, no episodes were ever junked, so all episodes survive. Furthermore, from Season 16 on, no episodes were ever in danger of being junked, as it was in 1978 that the BBC ended its junking policy. A twelve-regeneration (=thirteen incarnations) limit was also put into practice during Tom Baker's tenure for the sake of explaining the return of an old villain, and as a way of bringing a definite end to the series if the need arised, back during the days when its future was iffy.
Season 16 (The Key to Time)
Fifth Doctor era
The Sonic Screwdriver was retired during this era, and remained out of use onscreen until the TV Movie. Also, due to an oversight regarding what date "Mawdryn Undead" took place in-universe and vagueness over the date of retirement of Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart
, it became impossible to tell if any stories featuring UNIT while he was an enlisted officer took place in the 1970s or 1980s without narratives contradicting each other
. This became known as the "UNIT dating controversy", and was finally explained away during the Eleventh Doctor's era, with UNIT stating it depends on "dating protocol".
Sixth Doctor era
Colin Baker's era is notable for starting at the tail end Peter Davison's final season, and for experimenting with the show's format. However, due to troubled production values, criticisms and Executive Meddling
, Season 23 was placed on hiatus and retooled into a large story arc, causing several planned stories featuring him to be dropped entirely.
Season 23 (The Trial of a Time Lord)
Seventh Doctor era
This was the last era of the classic series, after Doctor Who
was not renewed for a 27th season. The series underwent a downsizing to 3-parters, suffered a timeslot bump that pitted it against Coronation Street
, and alloted only 4 stories per season on permanent basis before finally being placed on indefinite hiatus. However, Sylvester McCoy made guest appearances as the Seventh Doctor on children's shows throughout the 1990s, such as Search Out Science
and a Children in Need
special, before finally returning for the 1996 Doctor Who
Eighth Doctor era
Paul McGann did not receive a full televised tenure, due to the the television movie not being picked up for a new series. Instead, his character was explored in a very wide range Expanded Universe
material. His two on-screen appearances act as bookends to his life, with his 2013 regeneration story name-checking his Big Finish Doctor Who
audio companions. The Eighth Doctor's second on-screen appearance, "The Night of the Doctor"
, is listed under the Eleventh Doctor era.
The TV Movie
Made-for-TV Special (1 episode, 12 May 1996 [Canada], 27 May 1996 [UK])
War Doctor era
The War Doctor, played by Sir John Hurt
, was introduced retroactively in 2013 as a bygone, concealed incarnation of the Doctor who fought in the Last Great Time War. His on-screen appearances are contained to the Eleventh Doctor era, and are listed in that section below: "The Name Of The Doctor", "The Night Of The Doctor" and "The Day Of The Doctor".
Ninth Doctor era
This series marks the beginning of the revived TV series. All episodes before this series are considered "Classic Who". Notably, Christopher Eccleston limited his tenure to one season for personal reasons. Unfortunately, this era was first time an episode of the series got leaked to the internet before its premiere broadcast. Though the internet was still in its budding stages, illicit torrent sites had emerged by then, and a stolen workprint for "Rose" was propagated across them.
Tenth Doctor era
David Tennant's era re-introduced old companions, such as Sarah Jane Smith and K9. It also bore witness to the creation of the spin-off series Torchwood
and The Sarah Jane Adventures
These specials are part of production Series 4, but are listed separately due to being a mini-series.
2009 Specials (5 episodes, 25 December 2008 to 1 January 2010)
- "The Next Doctor" (2008 Christmas special)
- "Planet of the Dead" (2009 Easter special)
- "The Waters of Mars" (2009 Fall special)
Dreamland (6 mini-episodes, 21 November 2009 to 27 November 2009)
- "Dreamland" (set some time between "The Waters of Mars" and "The End of Time")
2009 Specials (Continued)
- "The End of Time" (Part 1 – 2009 Christmas special, Part 2 – 2010 New Year's special)
Eleventh Doctor era
Matt Smith's era a change in format, splitting 13-episode series up into halves which dealt with separate story arcs. This practice was later dropped in favour of returning to an uninterrupted run. It also overcame the 12-regeneration limit.
Web Specials (14 November - 21 November 2013)
50th Anniversary Special (23 November 2013)
- "The Day of the Doctor" (multi-Doctor, with War and Tenth Doctors, as well as cameos by all Doctors so far, including Twelve)
Christmas Special (25 December 2013)
Twelfth Doctor era
Series 8 was the first series of the modern era to contain less than 13 episodes, but the differential was made up by extending the runtime of Peter Capaldi's debut to feature-length and treating the Christmas special for that year as a coda to the rest of Series 8. Sadly, an even worse episode leakage took place- unfinished workprints for the first five episodes of Series 8 were stolen during a preliminary screening and made it online, much faster due to the now widely embraced file-sharing nature of the internet.
Expanded Universe recaps