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aka: Doctor Who

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The Whoniverse is The 'Verse inhabited by the Doctor. 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, while still being of fitting in anyway. In turn, the core canon can contradict or overwrite the expanded universe or even the main series itself, but can also canonise or restore 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. Indeed, while the TV series has contradicted the expanded universe, it has also directly referenced events and characters from it as well.

The Whoniverse tends to be a soft science fiction, 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-)
  • 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.
    • Recieved a Spiritual Successor entitled Doctor Who Unleashed, which began airing in 2023.
  • 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.

The Doctor Who Expanded Universe

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:

Common tropes:

  • Aliens in Cardiff
  • Alien Invasion: A signature trope.
  • Aliens Speaking English: It was only in the revival series that it was explained that the TARDIS translated what everyone was speaking, though in the original series the Doctor once explained that a companion could understand Italian because it was a Time Lord gift he allowed her to share, so presumably that applied to alien languages as well.
  • 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:
  • Continuity Snarl: The continuity for the Whoniverse is probably the most complicated time-wimey mess ever created. It eventually became unofficially canon that outside of a few exceptions, nearly every piece of Doctor Who media is canon with the explanation being that the constant time travelling and alterations to reality from things like the Time War means that history is in a constant state of flux.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Though The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood in particular allow the wizard to live.
  • Earth Is the Centre of the Universe: Not literally but a ridiculous amount of events take place on Earth while other planets tend to only have one major catastrophe the Doctor needs to save them from. Though it is somewhat justified during events where the Earth is in danger because of the Doctor or villains being aware that he cares about the planet.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Has its own page.
  • Fantastically Challenging Patient:
    • In the TV movie, the Doctor is shot as soon as he lands in San Fransico. He's rushed to hospital, where the human doctors successfully remove the bullet, but then they accidentally kill him with a heart probe while trying to figure out why his heart rate is so high. The Doctor tries to warn them that he's not human, but they think he's delirious.
    • In "Spearhead from Space", the Doctor is taken into a hospital after being found unconscious in a field nearby (having just been forced to regenerate by the Time Lords) and is given a routine series of examinations revealing his Bizarre Alien Biology for the first time in the show, most significantly an x-ray showing his two hearts. The hospital calls the Brigadier over to investigate these oddities, thus revealing to him that the Doctor (who he last saw during a Cyberman invasion) is back on Earth.
    • Comes into play a couple of times with medical student Martha Jones as companion in Series 3:
      • In "Smith and Jones", Martha is asked to listen for the Doctor's heartbeat (in disguise as a human patient). When Martha hears two heartbeats, she gets lambasted by her teacher for putting the stethoscope in the wrong place. She later successfully gives the Doctor CPR by pumping both hearts.
      • In "The Shakespeare Code", when the Carrionites stop one of the Doctor's hearts, the Doctor has to guide Martha through restarting it again.
    • In "The Tsuranga Conundrum", Graham and Ryan become the doulas for a humanoid alien man. Downplayed since neither are doctors, though Graham tries to use his knowledge of Call the Midwife as substitute.
  • 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.
  • The Future: Mostly a dystopian picture, although the new Who series in particular paints it in an exotic light. Mankind colonizes Mars in the 2050s amid a climate apocalypse on Earth, Earth is evacuated due to devastating solar flares, mankind goes through a number of interstellar "Great and Bountiful Human Empires", mankind fully assimilates into alien species, and mankind is one of the last surviving species at the natural end of the universe.
  • 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.
  • The Multiverse: The are a few examples of this:
    • The show has featured a few alternate universes like Inferno Earth from the episode Inferno and Pete's World from Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel, while also showing pocket dimensions like E-Space and alternate timelines. The Timeless Children reveals that the Doctor originated from an unknown universe while Survivors of the Flux showed an organization called the Division had a main base located between the universes in the multiverse, with the same episode identifying the main reality being Universe-1 while they were travelling to what they presume is the Doctor's original universe.
    • For a while there was an attempt to divide canon by suggesting that the books, comics and Big Finish audios (particularly those with the Eighth Doctor) took place in separate realities to each other. The Side Step audio series and the audio story Zagreus supported this idea before it fell out of favour.
    • The Unbound audios showed What If? alternate universes, some being specific such as What if...the Doctor had not been UNIT's scientific advisor? while others were more vague such as What if...the Doctor believed the ends justified the means?. The former eventually crossed over into the main universe, with that reality's Doctor and Master interacting with characters from the main reality.
    • The Whoniverse canonically exists in the multiverse established by Marvel Comics with the designation Earth-5556, as Marvel had the licensing rights to publish Doctor Who stories between 1979 and 1999 as mentioned by Canon Welding above.
    • As the Twelfth Doctor also appeared in LEGO Dimensions this makes the Whoniverse part of a multiverse that includes many different franchises, some associated with LEGO such as LEGO Batman and LEGO Harry Potter while others being unrelated like Sonic the Hedgehog and Teen Titans Go!.
    • As stated above, with the Doctor being an incarnation of the Eternal Champion the Whoniverse is part of Moorcock's multiverse.
    • The Doctor also travelled to the Star Trek universe in Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation¬≤, therefore connecting it to it's own multiverse.
  • 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.

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!

Alternative Title(s): Doctor Who


Hypnotising Sarah

Hieronymous hypnotises Sarah with instructions to kill the Doctor.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / HypnotizeTheCaptive

Media sources: