Follow TV Tropes


Podcast / Who Back When

Go To

We're embarking on a voyage,
All through time and all through space.
Encountering Daleks, Thal, and Ood,
And the Cybertronic race.
Sontarans looked like 'taters,
And Silurians all had wonky scales,
And the Doctor has a TARDIS,
We're reviewing all his tales.
Who Back Whe~en
Reviewing all of
Who there is.
Who Back Whe~en
Subscribe and rate on iTunes, please.
Episode by episode,
We're trudging down this temporal road.
Come join this on this odyssey,
What other choice could there be but
Who~o Ba~ack Whe~en?
Who Back When!

Who Back When is a podcast dedicated to reviewing the episodes of Doctor Who. It began with the intention of reviewing Classic Doctor Who, starting with the first episodes with William Hartnell. It has since broadened its scope to also include New Doctor Who, as well as the New Eighth Doctor Adventures of Big Finish Doctor Who.There has also been the occasional bonus episode focused on the most recent episodes of the moment, such as Peter Capaldi's debut as the Twelfth Doctor, the Peter Cushing movies (Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.), or even an occasional Doctor Who comic book.

The show's primary host in every episode is Ponken. A number of co-hosts have joined him over the podcast's run. He started with Flapjack, who eventually left the show but has made an occasional appearance since. Doctor Who trivia master jD (a.k.a. MariusKane) primarily co-hosts the Big Finish audio book episodes and was the initial co-host for the New Who reviews. Later additions to the hosting cast include Nikulele, Rory "the Roarmeister", and Drew Back When (sometimes known as "the Drewd"), who have alternated between Classic and New Who reviews.

The typical formula for most episodes is a Mad Libs introduction beginning with "This is the one with..." and a description of what's to come. After that comes a "Bite Size Chunk of Who", or BISCOW for short. The majority of the episode is the hosts doing a synopsis of the Doctor Who story they're reviewing followed by their reviews and giving scores on a 0.0 to 5.0 system. After that they read aloud from reviews sent to them by listeners and close out the show.

On the 23rd of December 2015, the show celebrated its 100th episode. In that time they have gone through the entirety of William Hartnell's First Doctor, Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor, two and a half seasons of Paul McGann's New Eighth Doctor Adventures, and the first thirds of Patrick Troughton's and David Tennant's runs as the Second and Tenth Doctors.

This podcast provides examples of:

  • Catchphrase:
    • When Ponken has to edit in a note or correction after the episode was recorded, we'll get an interruption starting with
      Bing bong. Future Ponken here...
    • "Kablammo" frequently accompanies a change of scene when the hosts are recapping the episode.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The show's theme song describes that they're reviewing all of Who there is. The lyrics also vary depending on whether a given episode is reviewing Classic Who, New Who, or Audio Who.
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase
    • Every review episode opens with "This is the one with [noun], and [noun]"
    • Whenever jD has information about an actor's past work on Doctor Who:
      And [person] has a prior Doctor Who connection.
  • Malaproper: Any time Ponken mentions "The Edge of Destruction", he pronounces it "The Edge of Descrussion" unless he makes a conscious effort to avoid it.
  • Missing Episode: invoked Not in the podcast itself, but Ponken has also reviewed the lost episodes of Doctor Who, often running them as solo episodes so he doesn't have to make his co-hosts slog through the reconstructions.
  • The Nicknamer:
    • The hosts often give nicknames to the side characters of an episode, such as "Hunks 1, 2, and 3" for the Thals of "The Daleks." This extends to cast members as well, such as calling Barbara "Barb Wire" during "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", or referring to Barbara, Ian, and Vicki as "Notorious B.I.V." in "The Space Museum."
    • In the "No More Lies" episode, jD actually gets annoyed at Ponken because he hasn't come up for a nickname for the Monster of the Week, the Tor Madowk. Mostly because neither host can pronounce "Tor Madowk" to save their lives.
  • No True Scotsman: In their 100th episode, the hosts note that the most common trend they see when someone sends them hate mail is to ask how they can call themselves Doctor Who fans yet go on to rate episodes as anything less than perfect. Their own view is that the fact that some episodes are genuinely bad does not detract from their love of the series. Indeed, they see Doctor Who as something to be loved, warts and all.
  • Once per Episode
    • The BISCOW (Bite Size Chunk of Who), which gives a quick rundown of the current episode before beginning the synopsis proper.
    • The hosts' reviews, followed by their reading any reviews for that episode sent by listeners.
  • Parody Commercial:
    • For a brief period, Ponken would stop the show for an ad break, only to announce that Who Back When is brought to you by... Who Back When.
    • A few Bonus Episodes have featured fake Doctor Who audio book trailers, featuring Doctor sound bites and the screen names of people who provide reviews for the show on iTunes.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The series intros and ending are set to the "Can-Can".
  • Running Gag:
    • Due to jD's availability, their review of "Wirrn Dawn" was pending for quite some time - nine months, enough time to have a human child, only to produce a Wirrn Dawn review instead. Ponken would bring it up as the next Audio Who review in multiple episodes, each time mentioning that he still hated it. The hosts themselves noted that it was one of their longest running tropes. Nine months after initially announcing it, the "Wirrn Dawn" review finally aired in January 2016, ending the gag but not before Ponken became ill soon after recording the review.
    • A few times during the "No More Lies" episode, jD would become overly descriptive of the country house scenery, during which pleasant music begins to play
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Ponken and Nikulele both, independently, devised the nickname of "Scaramanga" for Salamander during the review of "The Enemy of the World."
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: invoked During their review of "Gridlock", a main complaint the hosts all had was that the inclusion of the Macra as Monster of the Week was pointless. Ponken and jD both leap on Drew's suggestion that people could've been compelled to go onto the motorway without knowing why as a way to justify their use.
  • Values Dissonance: invoked
    • The more casual racism and sexism prevalent in the sixties will frequently become a topic for discussion when the hosts notice such instances in Classic Who reviews.
    • In their "Web of Fear" review, they note Professor Travers is referred to as "Professor" throughout while his daughter, a scientist in her own right, is only ever "Miss". The hosts immediately notice the same thing happens to Liz Shaw in "Spearhead from Space".
  • Verbal Tic: When Ponken does an episode solo, such as with lost episodes, he notes that he says things like "um", "really", or "anyway" a lot.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: jd hates plant monsters and moving plants. Just hates them; even more than "Love & Monsters." So much so that he cannot watch certain serials such as "The Seeds of Death" or "Terror of the Vervoids" and he had a very difficult time getting through the review of the audiobook "Hothouse." Even the mere mention of "Hothouse", such as during the review phase of the "Wirrin Dawn" episode, upsets him.