Shout Out / Doctor Who


  • In "Inferno", the Doctor complains about the Mirror Universe UNIT's scepticism about his TARDIS, by asking them if they expected "Batman at the controls". Also a Take That! as, at the time, Batman was what ITV were running against Doctor Who.
  • In "Terror of the Autons", the Time Lord who comes to warn the Doctor about the Master appears dressed in a conventional English suit with a bowler hat and floating in a blue sky with no apparent means of support. The visual reference here is to Magritte.
  • Harry's disguise in "Robot" is a Whole Costume Reference to Steed in The Avengers. Sarah Jane intentionally mixes up her pop culture when she sees him and compares him to... James Bond.
  • In "The Robots of Death", "Grimwade's Syndrome", a fear of robots, was named after production assistant (later to be both director and writer) Peter Grimwade, who hated to do robot stories. The story also had characters named Ander Poulnote , after Speculative Fiction writer Poul Anderson, Uvanov (Isaac Asimov), and Taren Capel (Karel Capek).
  • "The Talons of Weng-Chiang":
  • "Destiny of the Daleks" shows the Doctor amusing himself by mocking a book by Oolon Colluphid.
  • "Dragonfire":
    • In this 1988 serial , the Doctor and a philosophically-minded guard debate the concept that "the semiotic thickness of a performed text varies according to the redundancy of its auxiliary performance codes." This is a direct quote from an academic media studies book entitled Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text, and roughly translates into laymen's terms as "the less relevant an in-joke is to the plot, the more cultural significance it has."
    • Almost every character in that story was named after someone famous to film history.
  • To Norse Mythology: During the Sylvester McCoy era, the Doctor battled the Gods of Ragnarok and the Wolves of Fenric.
  • Way back in "Ghost Light", the Doctor asked "Who was it who said Earthmen never invited their ancestors to dinner?"
  • "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" seem to contain a Shout Out to The Importance of Being Earnest with Jack shagging Algy, since Jack and Algy (short for Algernon) are main characters in that play.
    • Not to mention Rose asking the Doctor "I think you should scan for alien tech. Give me some Spock. For once, would it kill you?"
  • "The Christmas Invasion":
    • A reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "Not bad for a man in his jim-jams. Very Arthur Dent. Now, there was a nice man."
    • In the same episode, the Doctor entreats the Sycorax to leave the humans alone. He makes a heartwarming speech about how from the day they arrive on the planet, and blinking, step into the sun, there is more to be seen than can ever be seen... whereupon he remarks, "Wait, that's The Lion King."
  • In School Reunion, Anthony Head (who played Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer), in clear Buffy Speak, calls K9 (a robot dog with a laser cannon) a "Shooty Dog-thing".
  • "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit" features a lot of use from the Doom Doors. Given that it involves a gigantic demon possessing people and an archeology dig digging up said demon, this is most likely intentional.
  • "Army of Ghosts" sees the Tenth Doctor donning a "triangulation kit" consisting of a power-pack and three TARDIS roundels; the finished getup resembles the Ghostbusters' infamous Proton Pack. Cue a brief rendition of Ray Parker, Jr's classic theme tune.
  • "The Shakespeare Code": New companion Martha remarks that the apparent witchcraft being done "all sounds a bit Harry Potter", The Doctor enjoins her to wait till she reads the 7th book (which hadn't come out when the episode aired). Later, they and Shakespeare have to, on the fly, say the right words to banish the Carrionites:
    Shakespeare: Banished like a tinker's cuss, I say to thee... (looks to the Doctor)
    The Doctor: Uhh... (looks to Martha)
    Martha: Expelliarmus!
    The Doctor: Expelliarmus!
    Shakespeare: Expelliarmus! (it works)
    The Doctor: Good old J.K.!
  • "42":
    • This 2007 episode plays out in real time, à la 24.
    • The title, of course, is another The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference.
    • It's also the number of minutes in a New Who episode, so the former is probably a bonus.
  • "Human Nature":
    • The Doctor's human alter-ego gives his parents' names as Sydney and Verity. Sydney Newman was one of the original creators of the show, and Verity Lambert was its first producer... they could very well be considered the "mother and father" of Doctor Who! This is reprised in "The End of Time", the 2009 Christmas special, with a cameo appearance by one of Joan Redfern's descendants, who has written a book based on John Smith's journal under the name "Verity Newman".
    • Also, during the fast-forwarded part of the Doctor's instructions to Martha, David Tennant notes that he now has to talk for about a minute "without hesitation, deviation, or whatever the other thing is".
  • Some Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons fans were quick to note that the Valiant from The Sound of Drums looked a lot like Cloudbase. Or the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier from Marvel Comics. Death in Heaven lampshades this by having a character directly compare the Valiant to Cloudbase (though he initially misidentifies it as being from Thunderbirds), leading to a followup shout out to Sylvia Anderson.
  • In "Planet of the Ood" where the saleswoman talks about the Ood's voice modifications one of them says "Do'h" in a way that sounds like Homer Simpson.
  • "The Unicorn and the Wasp": "I've gathered you all here in the Accusing Parlour..."
    • To say nothing of the number of Agatha Christie titles dropped into the dialogue ("Well, that's put the Cat Among The Pigeons", "It's a trick, an illusion, They Do It with Mirrors", "The Moving Finger points to...", "Why Didn't They Ask - Heavens!")
    • Word of God is that the episode was inspired by the board game Clue ("Cluedo" in the UK).
      Professor Peach: (in the library) I say! What are your doing with that lead piping?
  • "Forest of the Dead" has Donna's two "children" called Josh and Ella. Josh is the name of Steven Moffat's son, with Ella being a friend of his.
  • Almost all of "Planet of The Dead" is a shout out to "The Langoliers" by Stephen King. From the vehicle falling through a wormhole into a strange and empty world, the ominous but vague something lurking on the horizon that turns out to be a horde of creatures that devour everything in their path, to the psychic sensing their approach.
  • In the special "The Waters of Mars":
  • In "The Eleventh Hour", The Doctor's rejection of one food after another is reminiscent of the scene in Winnie the Pooh in which Tigger says "Tiggers like honey/yuck, Tiggers don't like honey." It even sounds similar: "Oh, I love apples" — *chomp* "Yech! I hate apples." It seems to fit the Doctor's personality as a bumbling, manic, impulsive genius.
  • During "The Beast Below", Amy runs around in her nightie and a dressing gown the whole time, a bit like a female version of Arthur Dent. Or a reference to Wendy from Peter Pan; a girl who runs off with the mysterious boy to another land in her nightgown the night before she has to "grow up".
  • in "The fires of Pompeii" the Roman characters are named after the Romans from the 'Cambridge Latin Course' textbooks. (Lampshaded in "The Vault" tie-in book, where a fake cover from the Cambridge Latin Course books and identical chapter intro images show the Doctor, and the characters from both the real coursebook and the show.
  • The sequence in "The Time of Angels" with the Weeping Angel slowly emerging from the television screen in is quite possibly a reference to The Ring.
  • The Eleventh Doctor tells Amy he's like, "I dunno, Gandalf! A space Gandalf. Or the little green one in Star Wars, *lightsaber noise*"
  • Of course, the Cybermen and Borg have obvious similarities, but they made it even more obvious when a Cyberman said "YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED!" in the episode "The Pandorica Opens".
  • The Doctor's Only Mostly Dead quote in "The Big Bang" is a clear homage to The Princess Bride.
  • Word of God has confirmed that the scenes of Amy and Rory running through the TARDIS while it is possessed by House in The Doctor's Wife are a "very intentional" reference to Harlan Ellison®'s "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream". [1]
  • "The God Complex":
  • "Asylum of the Daleks" has a possible reference to Coupling when Rory asks, "What colour?" because all the good questions were gone. Similarly, in "The Man with Two Legs", Patrick asks Jeff — who has fallen in love with a girl's leg — "Left or right?" When Steve stares at him, he protests "It's a leg! What else is there to ask?" The others look shocked at him when he queries about the colour. It's possibly a reference to the backlash against the brightly coloured Paradigm Daleks in "Victory of the Daleks".
  • "The Rings of Akhaten" - Neil Cross was apparently having a lot of fun with references.
    • The episode contains an array of new species. One of these seems to be a reference to CHIKARA, as not only are they called the Ultramanti (meaning the singular is Ultramantis), but there is a resemblance between them and one UltraMantis Black.
    • There's also the Doctor's mention of a species named the Hooloovoo. An eponymous species in a certain book series is referred to as "an intelligent shade of blue".
    • Clara, being a newbie on the TARDIS team, refers to the Doctor's signature gadget at one point as a "spanner". He politely corrects her with "screwdriver".
    • There are homages to works like the Indiana Jones film series (the Doctor's Indy Hat Roll moment with the screwdriver, Malevolent Architecture and traps in an ancient temple, Ravenwood being the maiden name of Clara's mum, even the poster for the episode) and 'Blade Runner (the shot of Clara's eyes reflecting a stylised scenery, the Doctor's and Clara's speech in the finale having similarities to Roy Batty's famous final monologue). Interestingly enough, an interview with Jenna Coleman at the time had her mentioning that Matt Smith recommended she watch Raiders of the Lost Ark before filming Series 7.
  • "Hide" - another episode written by Cross, with references such as:
    • The setup of the episode, with a group of ghost hunters in the 1970s using period technology to detect paranormal activities, is a nod to British horror films like The Stone Tape.
    • Clara asks where they're going with the TARDIS and the Doctor insinuates that the question isn't where, but when.
    • The Doctor quotes some lines from a Cole Porter song in the epilogue.
    • The cold spot and the music room being 'the heart of the house' are direct references to The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (it was the nursery in the book).
  • "Nightmare in Silver" has a galaxy spanning human empire, with an emperor that they revere as a god, who is engaged in a Robot War and destroys entire planets if it means stopping the enemy. To store their knowledge, the Cybermen also have an artificial shared consciousness at their disposal - called the The Cyberiad.
  • In The Day of the Doctor, as the Doctors enter the TARDIS to return to the present day from the 1500s, the 11th Doctor says "Right then, Back to the Future."
  • The climax of the next story (the Christmas Special), "The Time of the Doctor", was also extremely reminiscent of the climax of Back to the Future.
  • "Deep Breath"'s restaurant scene is similar to the ones in both Sherlock Holmes films: In Victorian London a highly intelligent, gorgeously-costumed girl meets an eccentric genius in a restaurant who proceeds to insult her (they make up later). Then, it turns out all the patrons were in on the bad guy's plot; they get up simultaneously and leave the girl to her fate (though Clara fares better than Irene).
  • "Into The Dalek" features a dark Shout-Out to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and/or Crying Freeman when Clara suggests that Danny Pink "shoots people and then cries about it."
  • "Time Heist":
  • "Flatline":
    • The registration on the train that's going to crush the TARDIS is A113. (That one would is definitely deliberate, as correct headcodes start with a digit, not a letter.)
  • "In The Forest of the Night":
    • Although it isn't seen that way in the episode, the angle from which the Trafalgar Square lion's head is seen in the episode's main publicity shot (see above) makes it look a lot like the face of Swamp Thing. Which is appropriate given the resemblance between the fairy-dust entities and "the Green" in Swamp Thing.
    • The Grimm's Fairy Tales of Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel get explicitly referenced with Maebh's red coat, the wolves wandering around the woods, and Maebh dropping items to make navigation around the forest easier. The Doctor even namechecks both fairy tales.
  • "Dark Water":
  • The Running Gag of the Doctor replacing enemies' guns with bananas is a reference to the Buster Keaton film The High Sign, where Keaton does the same thing to a policeman.
  • The Robin of Sherwood theme in '"Robot of Sherwood" carries an unmistakable riff from the theme of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, likely intended to underline just how ridiculously stereotypical Robin is.
  • The New Series Master feels like a Shout Out to Caligula in I, Claudius. He has a constant sound of drums in his head like Caligula has a sound of galloping in his head. Also the aged Doctor seems similar to Claudius who is mocked by Caligula. Suitable as in "Last of the Time Lords" the Master is The Caligula. If you watch the two characters you really feel the similarity between the John Simm Master and Caligula. John Simm had already played Caligula and claims he partially based his performance on this.
    • Although, ironically, the Master's previous incarnation was played by Claudius.
  • River's relationship with the Doctor, a woman who falls in love with a time traveller and meets him in the wrong order throughout her life is a pretty obvious shout out to The Time Traveler's Wife. (A previous episode, "The Girl in the Fireplace", as explicitly inspired by the novel, to the point where the author of Time Traveller's Wife later included a reference to Doctor Who in her sequel, and the Doctor is shown to actually possess a copy of the book in "Dark Water".)
    • There's also a suspicion that Van Morrison is getting a namecheck here: reference his ballad Crazy Love (and what sort of love could be crazier?)
      Yet I'm running to her, like a river's song
      She gives me love, love, love, love - crazy love!
  • The 2003 Doctor Who webcast "Shada", based on a script by Douglas Adams, included a Nutrimat drinks machine and a Ford Prefect car (neither appearing in the original script), both references to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The 2012 novelisation contains several more references, such as a reiteration of the famous digital watches joke, Chronotis switching out the book for "an Earth classic about space and thumbing lifts..." and a scene where the Doctor attempts to communicate with a man in ragged clothes and long hair whose first word is, for no apparent reason, "It's..."
  • The title of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel The Taking of Chelsea 426 is a triple reference: first (and most obviously) to the movie The Taking of Pelham 123, and second to the planet LV-426. Thirdly, the Saturnian city is the new location of the Chelsea Flower Show.
  • Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Taking of Planet 5 also homages Pelham 123.
  • In "Last Christmas", The Twelfth Doctor learns there's a horror movie called Alien, and thinks that's "really offensive". The War Doctor may have thought otherwise, however.
  • Clara and Ashildr's TARDIS, like how The Doctor's is stuck as a Police Box, is permanently stuck as a Route 66 diner. As they're both immortal, they decide to go to Gallifrey by going "the long way around," i.e. travel around the Universe until enough time has passed that they arrive physically on Gallifrey at the moment they left. Since Gallifrey is now situated near the end of the Universe, this means that their TARDIS will eventually be a diner at the end of the Universe.
  • The Tenth Doctor got his trademark trenchcoat from Janis Joplin, and while it's not officially canon, Peter Capaldi's suggested that Twelve's guitar may be a gift from Jimi Hendrix (his personal headcanon is that The Doctor at least helped Jimi figure out some problems with feedback, and Jimi in turn helped The Doctor work out some licks he was having trouble with).
  • "Sleep No More" was an homage to the "found footage" genre of horror film popularized by The Blair Witch Project.
  • "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" was one big shout out to the Christopher Reeve Superman films, with several scenes basically reenactments of sequences from Superman: The Movie.
  • The Doctor and Clara's relationship - a May–December Romance that saw Clara becoming more and more like the Doctor, and more powerful (becoming his Distaff Counterpart) and ultimately taking the Doctor to very dark places, emotionally, is very reminiscent of Merlin and Nimue.
  • In "The Bells of St John", when the Doctor and Clara find themselves on a crashing plane, the conversation about how neither of them know how to fly it, ending with the Doctor saying "Fine, we'll do it together" is a reference to a conversation in The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy where Zaphod establishes that neither he, Ford nor Trillian know how to pilot the Heart of Gold manually.