The Whoniverse is The 'Verse inhabited by the Doctor and by Torchwood. It is a large and unwieldy beast full of internal contradictions. Fortunately, it's a really, really big universe encompassing all of space and a history stretching from the Big Bang to 100 trillion years in the future (plus an alternate universe or five).
Due to the nature of the show, any timeline described here can be overwritten, split, or contradicted — both by its own canon and by the countless spin-off media of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe. In turn, the core canon can contradict or overwrite the expanded universe, but can also canonise bits of it at times. This flexibility is thanks (per various different Word of God sources such as series writer Paul Cornell) to the fact that other than a general rule that says no one should be expected to have purchased expanded universe content to understand any episode in the TV series itself, The BBC has never put in a hard and fast rule as to what is "canon", which contrasts with the Star Trek franchise where its owners (Paramount) and creator (Gene Roddenberry) put in a longstanding rule that only what appears on screen counted.
The Whoniverse resides in (or sometimes near) the Softest end of the Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness, though it started off generally harder. Sometimes it's another genre entirely, just with Aliens and Monsters.
Television series set in the Whoniverse:
- Doctor Who (1963-1989; 1996; 2005-present)
- K-9 and Company (1981): A sixty minute pilot which the BBC declined to pick up as a series, aired as a one-off Christmas special. In it, Sarah Jane Smith and K-9 Mark III investigate mysteries in the English countryside.
- Torchwood (2006-2011)
- The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007-2011)
- K9 (2009-2010)note
- Class (2016)
Behind-the-scenes TV series (unless noted, obviously they do not take place within the Whoniverse itself):
- Doctor Who Confidential (2005-2011): A behind the scenes look at the revived series of Doctor Who.
- Its final episode in 2011 included a mini-episode, "Death is the Only Answer".
- Revived in 2014 as an online-only series titled Doctor Who Extra.
- Totally Doctor Who (2006-2007): Another behind the scenes series, but geared to younger viewers.
- Its second and final season included an animated Doctor Who serial, "The Infinite Quest".
- Torchwood Declassified (2006-2011)note : The equivalent to Confidential for Torchwood. Moved to a DVD feature after series 2.
A full listing with accompanying tropes, release dates and background information of these stories can be found on the Doctor Who Expanded Universe page. Works and media with their own pages on this website include:
- Doctor Who Magazine (including a comic strip that has run since 1979)
- Big Finish Doctor Who
- Numerous spin-offs and related works. Some Big Finish stories were based on Doctor Who Audio Visuals
- BBC Books Doctor Who Graphic Novels
- Doctor Who Novelisations
- Doctor Who New Adventures
- Doctor Who Missing Adventures
- Continuity Errors
- BBV Probe
- Eighth Doctor Adventures
- Past Doctor Adventures
- Time Hunter
- New Series Adventures
- Time Lord Fairy Tales
- A Brief History Of Time Lords
- Doctor Who Meets Scratchman
- Third Doctor Radio Dramas
- Death Comes to Time
- Scream of the Shalka
- Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death
- Doctor Who (IDW)
- Doctor Who (Titan)
- Dr. Who and the Daleks
- Torchwood: The Lost Files
- Iris Wildthyme
- Doctor Who: Worlds in Time
- Doctor Who Pinball
- Time Lord
- Doctor Who Legacy
- Nothing O Clock
- Aliens and Monsters: In about 85% of any television set in the Whoniverse. K-9 & Company, in a subversion of viewer's expectations, had a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax. Torchwood has humans as the main enemy or a threat alongside alien creatures in several instances, and in one episode had humans as the "monsters" with no known extraterrestrial or supernatural influences. Early seasons of Doctor Who also averted the trope by featuring occasional purely historical stories in which the only alien aspect was the Doctor himself (this format was common between 1964 and 1966, and was revived for a one-off story in 1982, but has yet to be revisited in the modern era).
- Aliens in Cardiff
- Alien Invasion: A signature trope.
- Aliens Speaking English
- All Myths Are True: Vampires, werewolves, fairies, Satan and minotaurs have all appeared, more or less as described by mythology. Other variants of the above have also appeared, including minotaurs... again. And let's not forget two different explanations for the Loch Ness Monster!
- Ancient Astronauts
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy
- Broad Strokes: Continuity tends to operate on this basis in regards to the universe itself, less so for the characters.
- Canon Welding: From least complicated example to most:
- Chris Boucher's Fourth Doctor novel Corpse Marker and "Robots of Death" spinoff audio series Kaldor City weld together Doctor Who and Blake's 7, through the presence of a Blake's 7 supporting character and quite possibly a series lead too.
- There have been many sneaky references to Bernard Quatermass and his British Rocket Group over the years. Outside the TV series, they were even more explicit - Liz Shaw eventually worked for the BRG. (Though this would probably have annoyed Nigel Kneale if he found out - he didn't much like Doctor Who.)
- Sherlock Holmes is either a real historical figure (who met the Seventh Doctor and Benny), or a fictional character (that Henry Gordon Jago thinks is based on himself and Litefoot, and the Great Intelligence thinks is based on Vastra and Jenny), Depending on the Writer. A Faction Paradox story (which is fairly separate from the mainstream narrative) even implied he used to be a real person, but a change of history made him fictional instead.
- During the period when Doctor Who Magazine was owned by Marvel UK, there were some variously subtle hints dropped about links between the Whoniverse and the Marvel Universe, and one unusual incident where Death's Head was taken from the Transformers universe to the Marvel one via the TARDIS.
- Michael Moorcock's Eleventh Doctor spin-off novel The Coming of the Terraphiles is a full-on Intercontinuity Crossover with Moorcock's "Second Ether" novels, which means that the Whoniverse is also linked to Moorcock's multiverse, and the Doctor is an incarnation of his Eternal Champion.
- Douglas Adams (and the occasional later writer) made some contradictory references that imply that at least some aspects of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently intersect with the Whoniverse, but usually only when it makes for a good joke.
- Doing In the Wizard: Though The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood in particular allow the wizard to live.
- Earth Is the Center of the Universe
- Eldritch Abomination: Has its own page.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink (especially so in the Expanded Universe)
- The show drifted this way over the course of its very long run, starting out as relatively hard science fiction, with some lapses, such as the Celestial Toymaker and the Land of Fiction. The turning point was possibly the Key to Time Story Arc, which featured two god-like Anthropomorphic Personification of Order and Chaos, respectively, and then did not try too hard to call them anything else. Even so, fans complained when Silver Nemesis depicted Lady Peinforte using magic and naming it as such, though this was handwaved the next season as not literal magic, as such, but really the work of a Cosmic Horror called Fenric.
- Heroes "R" Us: UNIT, Torchwood, Sarah Jane's bunch...
- Invisible Aliens: (The Whoniverse also has several species of literally invisible aliens.)
- Magic from Technology
- Masquerade: Some modern stories set in the Whoniverse have suggested that ordinary humans have now gotten to accept that aliens exist... Took them long enough.
- Mr. Exposition: The Doctor, Captain Jack, Sarah Jane, K-9, Mr Smith...
- Omniscient Database: Torchwood and Sarah Jane have the literal kind. The Doctor's (and Captain Jack's) wealth of knowledge and experience serves as the equivalent.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: More commonly, setting things right before they go wrong, often by means of a Stable Time Loop.
- Sufficiently Advanced Alien
- Space Is Magic
- Technobabble: The Technobabble phrase Reverse the Polarity, while not originated in it, is widely credited with becoming popular with Doctor Who.
- There Are No Global Consequences: Played straight in earlier years, but mostly averted on Torchwood and Russell T. Davies' run of Doctor Who.
- Thin Dimensional Barrier: There are various places where the Doctor popping in and out too much has led to weak spots, which are then used as an excuse for spin-offs stuck in one place. In particular, the Cardiff Rift in Torchwood, and the rift at Coal Hill School in Class (2016).
- Time Travel (as you may have gathered already)
- Timey-Wimey Ball: With a universe this large and unwieldy, the time-line is so knotted that nobody could ever untangle it.
- Weird Science
- World of Ham: You absolutely have to be a Large Ham in order to exist in the Whoniverse. Even BRIAN BLESSED got in on it.Tenth Doctor: I! DON'T! KNOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!
For tropes associated with Doctor Who, specifically, see that article.
Debate on the content of the Whoniverse is the stuff of legends. Countless works of the Universe Concordance kind (some official, some not) try to keep them straight. Good luck, folks!