The “Whoniverse” is a complicated place. Ever aware of this, and the confusions that can arise, your friendly Oodcasters present the beginning of the end of your confusions… The Oodcast Guide. Each entry in this weighty online tome will be compiled using the very best of what remains of the Oodcast’s collective memory, and therefore absolutely and thoroughly under-researched.
So, let’s get cracking. First up, we’ll take you through the most important part of the series… The Doctor.
The Doyen of doctors, the original was a crotchety old man who insisted on surrounding himself with young people and wearing a hat the shape of a fur-lined cone (which, combined with his white hair gave him the appearance of a time travelling Mr Whippy…) He also chose the TARDIS with the broken chameleon circuit, presumably, so we can’t assume his judgement in travelling methods was any less flawless than his fashion sense.
He travelled with teachers, space pilots, resistance fighters, rescued spaceship passengers, secretaries and sailors before collapsing and regenerating for the first time.
Tremendously knowledgeable on scientific matters, but curiously awful at flying his own time machine, was the first to encounter Daleks and Cybermen, as well as taking jollies to Mexico, Ancient Greece, China and revolutionary France, met cowboys, cavemen and the Celestial Toymaker.
Oh yes, and he had a library card (see Vampires of Venice). Eventually, old age took its toll and he regenerated for the first time, into a time-travelling bad-hair-day.
Slightly shambolic and unpredictable, the second doctor had the appearance of a tramp that wandered into Mr Benn’s favourite costume shop: with a shaggy pudding-bowl haircut, the occasional massive fur coat and Rupert Bear’s favourite trousers.
But there was more to him than fashion statements. He was mercurial and fascinatingly clever, while clumsy and caring towards those in distress. He also established the formidable team with Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, and was the first to openly (and shamelessly) use a sonic screwdriver on screen.
Surrounded by frightened Victorian teenagers, certain UNIT officers, hot-headed Scottish warriors and stupidly intelligent young women, he took on the cybermen and daleks again with nothing but his intelligence and a recorder, is still the only Doctor to take on the Ice Warriors as enemies, guided his friends through an attempted mind robbery, faced creatures from the deep and Yetis in the London Underground before being forced to become Worzel Gummidge by the Time Lords.
Geriatric jujitsu exponents everywhere raised a cheer – for this was their doctor…
Beginning as a victim of friendly fire, and then becoming a confused clothing and vehicle thief as well as saviour of mankind in a plastics factory was something of a rollercoaster of a first day. If it was possible for a Time Lord to have a mid-life crisis, this was it: fast machines, short-skirted female companions and more action than is seemly for someone of advancing years, this doctor was a kind of Budget Bond. With his own Blofeld too: enter… the Master.
During the course of his careering about, he encountered the daleks again, the Master, daemons in Bronze age barrows, the Master, giant green poisonous maggots, the Master, fascist versions of reality, the Master, two sets of underwater cousins (who’s idea of “self-defence” is creeping aboard sea forts and murdering people), the Master, mind control machines, the Master, lost aliens, the Master, potato-headed warrior Sontarans, the Master, and the giant spiders which would ultimately be his end. And the Master.
Did remarkably little travelling around his immediate environs for someone with itchy interstellar feet confined to just the one planet. He did, however, reverse the polarity of more things than any other doctor.
Radiation brought his dashing about to an abrupt halt, and he regenerated soon after into that one-legged sailor in Blackadder II that drank his own wee and wanted to marry Nursey.
Described as looking like a “Space vagrant”, the fourth incarnation was eccentric both in action and dress sense (although not quite as much as the previous doctors, it has to be said). He pioneered the use of scarves as weaponry (see Hand of Fear), the use of confectionary to calm agitated beings, and the construction of jacket pockets from Mary Poppins’ old carpet bags.
Superbly intelligent, witty and fond of jelly babies, this doctor would stick around longer than any other and inspire thousands of children to beg mothers everywhere to get knitting.
In the TARDIS, which gained a glorious oak-panelled look for a time, he entertained journalists, (oddly clumsy but very likeable) UNIT medical officers, savage warriors, Time Ladies, robotic dogs, one rather annoying stowaway boy genius, an aristocratic brainbox and, just before his end, a loudmouth air hostess.
His battles though, were many and varied – taking on all manner of robots (giant ones, servile mining ones, mummified ones, half-human pirate captain ones and reproduction human ones), ancient alien powers, criminal time lords, Sontarans again, female radioactive creatures conveniently buried for centuries under a quarry, disturbing scary mannequins, amphibious lifeforms hiding in lighthouses, art-dealing monsters and – perhaps most famously – the daleks.
His end came when he met the Master again, and fell from a radar dish. Thus becoming the chap off of All Creatures Great and Small.
Next time… Doctors 5 – 8…