The Doctor Who Chronology
Here is my attempt at a complete, detailed timeline of the televised "Doctor Who" universe. As you can imagine, after more than 200 adventures broadcast over a period of several decades, most of those dealing with time-travel, things can get pretty complicated and, all too often, muddled. So, I decided, mostly for myself, to put things in order.
I was originally inspired to put this chronology together from reading Michael and Denise Okuda's excellent Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future. I thought to myself how great it would be to have a similar set-up for "Doctor Who". I started work in early 1996, before I knew that Virgin books would be releasing Lance Parkin's A History of the Universe later that year (although I have gratefully... ahem... borrowed one or two dates from Mr. Parkin's works). It took slightly over three to years to finish the original task, eventually reformatting the entire timeline so that it is visually more like my original inspiration, the Okudas' History.
Of course, many years later, along came a whole new series of "Doctor Who", not to mention two, count 'em, two successful spin-offs with "Torchwood" and "The Sarah Jane Adventures", which party led to this new 2.0 version of the Chronology. This version is still a work in progress, as I attempt to rewatch all the stories in more-or-less chronological order. Meanwhile, the original version is still available for your persual.
Some notes about this chronology:
- Be warned! Spoilers abound! I give away a lot of story resolutions here, but I'm assuming most of you know how the Doctor's adventures turn out before visiting here anyway.
- I have only used televised adventures. These run from 100 000 BC in 1963 to Survival in 1989 and now include the new series beginning with the story Rose in 2005. I also include the uncompleted story Shada, the spin-off special K-9 and Company and the 1996 Fox TV movie, and the spin-offs "Torchwood" (beginning with Everything Changes) and "The Sarah Jane Adventures" (beginning with Invasion of the Bane). I do not include the Virgin or BBC novels, the Doctor Who Magazine comic strips or any other sources. This is not a statement on the quality of these stories; this is just my personal version of "Doctor Who" canon.
- After each story name, I've added a short reference indicating with series it comes from. DW1 indicates the original 1963-1989 series, DW2 is the revival series from 2005, TW is "Torchwood" and SJA is "The Sarah Jane Adventures". K-9 and Company and the 1996 TV movie get their own reference codes, K9 and TVM respectively.
- I have very occasionally used dates given in novelizations of televised stories when there is a serious lack of any other dating evidence.
- For the most part, contemporary adventures have been set in the year the story was broadcast. If a story was shown over two calendar years (over December-January), it is set in the latter year.
- If a story takes place on another world which appears to have no connection to Earth whatsoever (e.g. "The Dominators," "The Horns of Nimon"), I am assuming it is contemporary.
- Real historical events are generally only included if specifically mentioned in the program. I am also going to start adding some dates of publication or release of books, movies, songs, etc., if a significant (or particularly entertaining) mention is made on the program confirming its existence in the "Who" universe.
- Figures given for past events are assumed to be exact, unless later elaborated on. For example, if an event is said to happen "about 100 years ago," I place it exactly 100 years ago. This is just to simplify my task. I don't generally do this for particularly large numbers such as "10 million years." Similarly, if an event is said to take place "almost" or "more than" a specific amount of time, I add or subtract one year from that date. For example, something that happened "almost 50 years ago" would be listed as having taken place 49 years previously.
- Although I've tried to avoid it as much as possible, sometimes, when unable to place an event, I have borrowed dates from other chronologies, including the one in Jean-Marc Lofficier's The Terrestrial Index, James C. Armstrong's timeline at the Nitro9 site, and, of course, Lance Parkin's A History of the Universe, published by Virgin, and his follow up AHistory: An Unauthorised History of the Doctor Who Universe from Norwegian Press. I have also used some information from The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping.
- When an event takes place at an unspecified time in a century, I use Lance Parkin's convention of using the story's "anniversary." For example, if a story takes place sometime in the 26th century and was broadcast in 1976, it is placed in 2576.
- The Trouble with UNIT
- Previously, in my attempt to organise every scene from the show, I had listed events that took place in the Vortex on their own. I have eliminated this section, as I feel it did not really add much to the overall project. The only regular episode which is not mentioned in the timeline as a result of this is the first episode of Inside the Spaceship. Do with it what you will.
- Also previously, I had made events on Gallifrey contemporary with Earth, given that the Time Lords' world had been portrayed as existing in the past, present and future. However, the revival series seems to indicate that Gallifrey had its own continuity outside that of the regular universe. Otherwise, the Doctor would likely be able to run into other Time Lords after his world's destruction. As that does not appear to be the case, I will eventually be giving Gallifrey its own timeline, seperate from the rest.
That about wraps it up. Please let me know what you think of my work here. Let me know if I've done well, feel free to disagree with some of my decisions, or point out the inevitable blunders. You can mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you kindly.
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