back to article GALACTIC YO-YO: Doctor Who’s trips to Earth... and beyond

We’ve seen how much of a tendency the Doctor has for visiting Earth relative to other planets in the universe, so what are the trends over his own timeline in his movements between Earth and elsewhere? When has the series felt most tied to our planet? For this chart, each story was assigned a score of +1 if it predominantly …


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  1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge


    I would wonder how that trace overlays with the show budget over the years (in normalised terms of course)? Presumably the Earthbound episodes would be a bit cheaper to produce (with set re-use or just location work) compared with specific sets and costuming for more alien stuff.

    And with all these swings to the left and jumps to the right, are you sure we're not just doing the Time Warp (again)? ;)

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Re: Budget

      AIR a lot of the 3rd doctors adventures were filmed outdoors - which is very expensive compared to a studio. One of the conditions of Blackadder 2, after the lukewarm reception to "The Blackadder" (which had a *lot* of film scenes) was that it be filmed entirely in a studio.

    2. Mike Richards

      Re: Budget

      The earthbound Pertwee episodes were a decision by the BBC to rival the glossy look of ATV's series such as 'The Avengers' and raise viewing figures which had fallen quite steeply in the later Troughton era.

      What's odd about the new obsession with Earth stories is that the BBC finally has the money and effects people to render semi-convincing extraterrestrial settings. With all their millions imagine what they could do with the Zarbi - actually don't...

  2. Simon Harris Silver badge


    Didn't four of the Dr Who stories during Christopher Eccleston's tenure ( The End Of The World, The Long Game, Bad Wolf, The Parting Of The Ways) take place in Earth orbit, so that severe Earthward swing in that series should be curtailed somewhat as they didn't actually take place 'on Earth' ?


    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Err...

      I think when you have the whole of spacetime to play with, LEO is as close to the surface of the planet as makes no difference.

  3. Ade Vickers

    Lack of ambition

    Personally, I think the whole Earth-centric thing was a bit of a mistake. Dr Who is supposed to be SciFi/SciFantasy. By setting the wilder stories off-planet, one didn't get into the tedious hassle of "well, THAT didn't happen" which plagues the reboot; and frequently the only thing that's actually dated are the special effects/props/acting...

    Mind you, I also mourn the lost art of the cliff-hanger. For me, as a child of the Tom Baker era, the 3-parter was a classic format that every single week left you wanting more. Today's American-friendly 45 minute episodes with only the very occasional cliff-hanger are nothing like as edge-of-the-seat.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Lack of ambition

      Upvoted for both points, but most especially the lack of cliff hangers. There's too much of the "lets finish the story with yet another clever use of the Sonic Screwdriver" and little plot development.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Lack of ambition

      My recollection is that they were typically 6.

      I didn't actually get to experience them the same way you did. I was watching PBS rebroadcasts. Long after the original episodes had aired I believe. They'd show them back to back, not even editing so it was continuous. So I'd see the cliff hanger, watch the closing credits, then get to watch them set up the cliff hanger for the start of the next episode before they ran the opening credits for the next episode.

      It was sort of charming in a twisted way.

      1. Petrea Mitchell

        Re: Lack of ambition

        The episode count was typically 4 episodes in the Tom Baker and later eras, but typically 6 before that.

        I do remember watching movie-style edits of some Baker stories, with opening credits only at the beginning, and closing credits only at the end, on my local PBS station-- they'd run individual episodes on weekdays and then the movie versions Friday or Saturday nights. IIRC, when BBC America first came into being, part of their programming was a seemingly random rotation of the movie edits.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about Wales?

    Could we see how many times he visited Wales or a Buckinghamshire gravel quarry? :P

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: How about Wales?

      Wasn't there an old legend about actors from Dr. Who running away from something on an alien world (i.e. disused quarry) and bumping into the cast of "Blakes 7" running the other way ?

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: How about Wales?

        They did use the same quarries on a number of occasions (Binnegar Heath for one), but the story of them accidentally meeting up is quite possibly apocryphal...

  5. Just_this_guy

    Be fair, he does have a granddaughter here.

  6. SirDigalot


    and previews of next week?

    how about no!

    I know we all want to be able to time travel but I really do not need spoilers thanks, I am either going to watch the show or not showing me stuff that will happen next time is not going to make me come back if I already like it, and is not going to change my mind if I do not like it.

    less like cliffhangers and more like clothes hangers

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: cliffhangers?

      Not just spoilers, but sometimes completely spoil the episode.

      The preview of "The Runaway Bride" was such an inappropriate thing to put at the end of "Doomsday" - completely spoilt the mood of the parting of The Doctor and Rose.

  7. David Paul Morgan

    missing a colour code?

    I think you need a slightly different colour for the episodes set in contemporary earth, but in an alternative world.

    eg fascist britain in Inferno (liz shaw, 3rd Doctor)

    or the Airship world with the Cybermen (10th Doctor)

    Incidentally, I think the Doctor changes reality more often than he likes to think.

    EG I suspect the 'emperor dalek' of the 1st Doctor is not what's left of Davros.

    Davros 'becomes' the emperor dalek because of 4th Doctor & timelord interference in 'Genesis'

    (Penguin - for Frobisher...)

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