The 23 Most Annoying Things About Doctor Who

...Because we just couldn't think of 24…



The Doctor's "assistant"

Jo Grant and Jon Pertwee

Assistant? He's not a magician. Well, he is a bit, but still. Trouble is, the more commonly accepted "companion" isn't any better – it makes them sound like a couple of widowed pensioners keeping each other company on a day trip to Hastings. So what should we call the Doctor's… the Doctor's... the people who travel with the Doctor? His sidekicks? (Too Batman and Robin). His helpers? (Makes the TARDIS sound like a care home). Or maybe just his friends? Aww!


Sylvester McCoy's umbrella

Question marks

They were tolerable with Tom Baker. Like a little joke - Doctor Who?? Ha ha ha! When they returned with Peter Davison, the joke was wearing thinner. Doctor Who? Yes, yes, alright. Then Colin Baker. Phew. We get it, already. And then it was full-tilt boogie all over Sylvester McCoy's costume. And his muthafugging umbrella. It's no different (and probably saner) to having the Chinese symbol for "Hope" or "Massive Cock" tattooed on the base of your spine.


The stupid "T" in Terry Nation's signature

The stupid T in Tery Nation's signature

Any Terry Nation-sanctioned merchandise seemed to have his oddball signature slapped on it, to keep you in the knowledge that THE DALEKS! and BLAKE'S 7! were created by TERRY NATION! But dimmer consumers probably thought that Doctor Who's most fearsome enemies were created by Nerry Nation. A capital "T", Terry, is a horizontal line above a vertical one. Not an "N", mate. We're betting Raymond Cusick had a much more sensible signature, but of course, no-one buying Dalek merchandise got to see that, did they?



Sylvester McCoy with Ace

Sylvester McCoy's bellowed concern for his favourite companion. The best example that springs to mind being the chess scene with Fenric. Not so much shouting her name as he comes through the door, as getting to the end of a noise he's been doing all the time he's been running there, like a little boy running around with his arms outstretched making car/brake noises. Maybe he's not (not) shouting "Ace!" at all, maybe "EEEIIIIISSSSSSSS!!!!" is a Gallifreyan expression of fear in the same way "Yikes!" is for humans. Perhaps horror movie night in the Capitol is just a cacophony of "EEEIIIIISSSSSSSS!!!!" from everyone from Runcible to Rassilon.


Planet Of The Spiders, Part Two


Not so much the fact it exists, more the fact that as it's just an episode of long chase sequences, why don't I just skip it every time I watch the story? It would somehow seem like sacrilege, and for that weird reason I find myself sitting through it again and again and sub-consciously mirroring Lis Sladen's, "Oh, for fucks sake!" expression when the Whomobile takes to the air.


The concept of "canon"

Colin Baker and a boy discussing whether they're valid or not

Now, there's a reasoned argument to be had about what is and isn't canon in the world of Doctor Who, but my cut to the chase method that is pretty much a one-stop answer generator would be this (feel free to print it out and stick it to your mum if it helps) - "IF IT WASN'T ON FUCKING TELEVISION, OR WAS BUT WAS SOME SORT OF SILLY MUSHED TOGETHER BOLLOCKS WITH ANOTHER PROGRAMME FOR CHARITY, THEN IT ISN'T FUCKING DOCTOR WHO YOU STUPID PRICK!!!!" or IIWOFTOWBWSSOSMTBWAPFCTIIFDWYSP for short. Was the book, Human Nature, canon? No. Is the TV story, Human Nature, canon? Yeah, obviously. Comics, New Adventures, past-Doctor adventures, Radio Times short stories, Big Finish audios, stage plays, A Fix With Sontarans, Disney Time... NONE of them canon. So stop it. Stop trying to weave every single extraneous thing into the mythology of the show and maybe go for a nice walk outside. What's that? The ads for Sky Ray lollies? YEAH, why not?! It was the two-part opener to series 6B. (You sicken me to my guts)


Fans on Gallifrey Base

A screenshot of Gallifrey Base

Hell is other people. And there are a lot of other people on the net's premiere Doctor Who forum. It's full to bursting with RTD-haters, Moffat-haters, borderline (and sometimes overt) racists, borderline (and sometimes overt) homophobes, deluded-weirdoes (that guy who used to insist that Gallifrey was based on a real intergalactic civilisation), terrifying slash fiction writers, McGann-obssesives, shippers, knee-jerk posters who comment five minutes into the latest episode, people who put spoilers in thread titles, general ming-mongs, right-wing nutters, prog-rock fans, people who say, "but she's just a comedy actress," creepy Daniel Anthony stalkers and all the dudes in the DVD section griping constantly about 2|entertain (RIP).

It's also worth pointing out that there are loads of brilliant, talented and funny people on there too. It's the best way to stay up-to-date with what's going on in the Doctor Who world, and the news page is excellent. And then there's Sparacus. He's either mad or a sublime comedy genius. No one knows which! He makes the whole experience worthwhile.


The adherents of the repeated meme

The army kicking a door down

No, not the Dawkins-riffing, anti-religious cult from The End of the WorldWe're talking about those stock Who phrases trotted out so often they've become lazy cliches: "reckless innocence", "cosmic hobo" "pseudo-historical", "Edwardian roadster," etc. Most recently, it has proved impossible for anyone on the production team to mention Christopher Eccleston without feeling the need to point out how he "kicked down the door" for the new series. Seriously, that man's kicked down more doors than the Sweeney.

And, just for good measure, we're usually told that, until Eccles came along, everyone assumed the new Doctor was going to be played by Paul Daniels. Apparently.


The big DW in the middle of the current logo

You don't pronounce Doctor Who as Doctor Dwhooo

So the show is now called Doctor DW Who? Pronounced "Doctor Dwooo"? "Kids up and down the country will be drawing it on the covers of excercise books!" they said. Yeah, and adults will be screaming at the screen to get that Fuc F king abomination out of our sight. We never had Coronation CS Street or Last Of The LOTSW Summer Wine fannying up on our screens! AND it turns into the TARDIS and flies off into the vortex! I know the TARDIS can change shape to suit its surroundings, but it's the height of self-awareness that it changes into a logo because it knows it's part of a title sequence on a television show that it's a prop in!


Brian Grant's DVD commentary for The Long Game

Brian Grant

Poor Brian Grant. Not only does he get to direct Rusty's least focused script of the first series, but he's also mistakenly referred to as Keith Boak in the boxset's booklet (go on, check), and finally, clearly doesn't understand the nature of DVD commentaries. Constantly hushing his co-blabbers lest they give away plot spoilers, he seems to genuinely believe that some viewers might have elected to listen to the commentary whilst watching the episode for the very first time. Silly Brian Grant.


Love & Monsters deniers

Peter Kay, Doctor Who

Look, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But if you honestly watch Love & Monsters and just see it as Peter Kay pissing about and a blow job gag, then you are mental. It's one of the finest scripts in Doctor Who, with a superb performance from Marc Warren as Elton. It expands the format of the show (funny innit, how fans always bang on about how flexible Doctor Who is, but then complain whenever it does something even slightly different), and adds a huge amount of pathos to Jackie's character. And then there's the quiet tragedy of Bridget and Mr Skinner. And Bella Emberg's cameo. And the flashback to the Auton invasion. And Elton's final speech. It's a classic. But no, you go back to your DVD of The Mutants and complain about how much better it was in the olden days, etc.


Getting KO'ed from a mild chop to the shoulder

Jon Petwee does the chop

It's not particularly unique to Doctor Who, this one. It happened everywhere on TV in the 60s and 70s, just like people getting knocked unconscious by a chloroformed rag being pushed under their nose. But the limp "Hai ya!" to the shoulder, particularly during the action-heavy Pertwee years, would hardly incapacitate Tori Amos, let alone a UNIT squaddie or brick-shithouse henchman. Try it the next time a knifed-up mugger looms up on you and see what happens...


RTD's "Marvellous!"

Russell T Davies "Marvellous!"

Maybe there's a slither of a hint of self-parody in there, but Doctor Who Confidential got increasingly grating after four years where everything was "marvellous", even though, sometimes, it patently wasn't. Fear Her was "marvellous." Chris Chibnall was "marvellous." The farting Slitheens were "marvellous." Keith Boak was "marvellous" (possibly, we didn't check this one).


The oldies in Doctor Who

DVD Commentaries on 1960s stories

Because nothing says "time waste" like listening to a gaggle of well-meaning but understandably memory-shy septuagenarians trying to recall a shred of information about something they were in nearly 50 years ago.



a set of Doctor Who DVD covers

Tell us that you haven't winced at your Doctor Who DVD collection's occasional inconsistency, like a mismatched 2|entertain logo or a BBFC certificate at variant height. Tell us that you haven't agonised over how to store the compilation releases and boxsets amongst their chronologically-filed single release brethren. Tell us that to give your DVDs an aesthetic uniformity, you print off fan-made "classic" covers of modern stories. Tell us how you know that this inconsequential piffle doesn't matter a jot, yet it still burns at you in the middle of the night. Tell us that you feel like this, because we feel it too.


Doctor Who in the end titles

The Doctor being credited as "Doctor Who" in the end titles

That on-screen credit only died out in 1980, with season 18, at JNT's insistence. And then it returned for Eccleston's single series, only to be jettisoned when David Tennant pointed out to the supposedly fanboy production team that the character's name was "the Doctor" (unless you're one of those insufferables that count The War Machines as proof that he is called "Doctor Who" after all).


The talk show TARDIS

Peter Davison and Colin Baker emerge onto a talk show from the TARDIS

Question: have you ever seen a Doctor Who actor on a chat show in which he or she – and, more often than not, the presenter as well – didn't arrive by materialising in the TARDIS? Of course you bloody haven't. Has nobody ever pointed out that this trick might be getting a bit old now? We reckon Terry Wogan alone has made more trips in that police box than Colin Baker ever managed.


Tom Baker's insistence that the Doctor "isn't an acting part…"

The two masks of acting

We usually worship at the alter of the Tom Baker quote, but this one keeps cropping up, and it's so damned wrong! According to Tom, it's only acting if it adheres to the very narrow criteria of the character undergoing some sort of transformative revelation. Which is clearly bollocks as, rather than simply starting out as one thing and ending up as another, the character of the Doctor changes minute-by-minute, requiring the performer to turn on a sixpence to inhabit childlike joy, sadness, seriousness, youth, age, awkwardness, confidence, anger, hope and despair - often within the same scene. If someone made Baker sit down and watch, say, the emotional gauntlet run by Matt Smith in The Big Bang, he would see that Doctor Who is very much an acting part.


The speeding up of Bessie

Bessie going really fast, but really slowly

It didn't make Bessie look fast, it just looked as though we'd accidentally tuned into The Goodies.




Ian Briggs used to claim that Ace was actually based on three real-life teenagers. As someone who WAS a teenager in 1987, I knew no girls like Ace. A Waitrose-shopping, middle-class RADA graduate trying to do class rage within a Doctor Who context was always going to be thuddingly embarrassing. The most accurate example of late 80s youth culture was in Ace's smack-addled activist friend that we glimpsed in Survival. The real Ace of 1987 would have been down the Hacienda, off her head on E and would have had Technotronic badges pinned to her sick-stained bomber jacket, not fugging Fanderson ones.


The teensy weensy missing bit of the neon logo on the Target book covers

The Target book cover for Terminus

Quite a specialist one, this, granted. And, back in the cut-and-paste, pre-digital era, it's easy to see how a bit of artwork might have got snagged on the end of the office Pritt Stick, or whatever. But the fact publisher WH Allen allowed an incomplete version of the Doctor Who logo to be splashed across the front of no fewer than 21 - count 'em! - titles (from The Keeper Of Traken to The Dominators, if you want to go check, which we know for certain you will) is nothing less than an affront to human diginity. Okay, maybe a bit less.



Adric doin' the walk

Adric's walk

We all know Matthew Waterhouse couldn't act. We got over that a long time ago. But he could barely move convincingly either. Every leg movement seems like he's been asked to walk over steaming hot coals, or that someone's told him him he'll drop dead on the third step. The Artless Dodger indeed...


"Something for the Dads"

Peri in The Planet of Fire

Oh cheers JNT, thanks a bunch. As if it's not difficult enough convincing the fairer sex that the show isn't largely a sexually-retarded boy's-only club (to the point that using the phrase, "fairer sex" seems somehow acceptable), he goes and creates a Doctor Who-specific label to describe the process used by 99% of television casting – award roles to the most beautiful people to garner the attention of easily-impressed, would-be masturbators. We'd like to be able to state that this method of creative selection has zero impact on fandom's collective appreciation, but the sheer volume of "Favourite Companion's Arse?"* threads on Gallifrey Base seem to suggest otherwise. Dammit, the truth hurts.

*Martha, in case you were wondering


Words by Steve O'Brien, Paul Kirkley, Miles Hamer, Johnny Candon, Callum Smith, Graham Bell, Neil Humphries



The 23 Most Annoying Things About Doctor Who
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