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The long-running science fiction television series Doctor Who has, over the years, been the subject of many parodies, including comedy sketches and specially made comedy programmes, from Spike Milligan's "Pakistani Dalek" to the Comic Relief episode Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death. There have been occasional parodies and references to Doctor Who on American TV shows such as Community, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Robot Chicken, and The Colbert Report. Some notable examples follow, categorized by medium.


It's a Square World (1963)

An early televised Doctor Who spoof was on the Michael Bentine sketch show It's a Square World in December 1963, only a few weeks after the series first aired.[1] Season 6, Episode 8, broadcast on New Year's Eve, featured Clive Dunn playing a scientist called Doctor Fotheringown ("Doctor Who?" / "No, not Doctor Who, Doctor Fotheringown!"), for which Dunn wore William Hartnell's First Doctor costume and wig. The sketch, which was recorded on 16 and 20 December 1963, also featured Wilfrid Brambell and Patrick Moore.[2]

Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death (1999)

Further information: Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death

An episode made for Comic Relief with celebrity appearances from Rowan Atkinson, Joanna Lumley, Hugh Grant, Richard E. Grant (later to appear in the webcast Scream of the Shalka and cast as Dr Simeon in the 2012 Christmas episode The Snowmen), and Jim Broadbent as various incarnations of the Doctor and Jonathan Pryce as the Master. The writer of the sketch, Steven Moffat, subsequently went on to become a writer and executive producer on the show proper following its 2005 revival.

Doctors (2008)

In an episode of the ninth series of Doctors, Sylvester McCoy made a guest appearance where he played a retired actor named Graham Capelli who played a time traveller in a television show called The Lollipop Man where he could travel through time with his traffic lollipop stick. Graham also has to provide commentary for the DVD release of the show.[3]

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (2010)

The series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic features occasional appearances by the character Doctor Hooves, sometimes also named Doctor Whooves and Time Turner. In the fifth season episode "Slice of Life" he is seen wearing a scarf of a similar coloration as the Fourth Doctor's.

Dorkly (2011)

In the episode "Chrono Trigger Time Travel Mix-Up" of Dorkly, the characters from the game Chrono Trigger meet the Doctor who tells them that Lavos was in fact a friendly being trying to return to its home planet.[4]

Community (2011) and Inspector Spacetime

During the episode "Biology 101" of Community, Britta searches for a new television series for Abed to watch. She eventually shows him a sci-fi series called Inspector Spacetime, a thinly veiled parody of Doctor Who. Troy and Abed have been seen watching Inspector Spacetime throughout the third season. The season four episode "Conventions of Space and Time" sees the group travel to a fan convention for the show, with Matt Lucas guest starring. Lucas would later go on to become the companion Nardole on Doctor Who in 2015.

Inspector Spacetime has proved popular with Doctor Who fandom, and has taken on a life of its own beyond Community. Many parodies, fleshed out backstories, and unauthorised straight-to-web videos (produced by and starring the original Inspector actor) have been created.[5]


Dr. Prune and the Electric Time Trousers (I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again) (1969)

This was a radio serial, stretched over 13 episodes of Series 7 of the popular radio comedy. This series went out on Radios 1 and 2 at 9.30 pm from 12 January to 6 April 1969 with the usual line-up (John Cleese, Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Jo Kendall, except episode 4 where Oddie was absent). The shows were produced by David Hatch and Peter Titheradge.[6]

Video games

Hugo II: Whodunit? (1991)

In this DOS video game, the player uses a telephone booth to travel to the planet Retupmoc where she meets a man who looks like Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor and identifies himself as "the Doctor". A "mechanical monster" appears to be a Dalek, and the phone booth looks like the TARDIS. The Doctor gives the player a "sonar screwdriver" for rescuing him.[7]

Print media

Dragon Magazine

In the Dragon Magazine AD&D adventure "The City Beyond The Gate", the Fourth Doctor can be met (but not interacted with) as a short one-time random encounter.[8]

Dalek Survival Guide (2002)

Dalek Survival Guide was a humorous book published by BBC Books and written by Justin Richards, Nicholas Briggs (who provides voice acting for the Daleks in the 2005 series), Stephen Cole, Jacqueline Rayner and Mike Tucker. Parodying The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbooks, the Dalek Survival Guide gives wry hints such as how Daleks work, how to recognise different Dalek variants, "How to survive enforced captivity with a Dalek" and "What to do if you see a Dalek".

This book became the subject of legal action due to copyright issues. However, the issues were ruled against, and the book continues to be sold.[9][10]

The Beano (2006)

Beginning in their 21 April issue, The Beano ran a three-part parody comic-within-a-comic by writer-artist Kev F Sutherland called "Hot-Rod Cow", about a superhero time-travelling talking cow.[11] "Hot-Rod Cow" is the favourite comic of The Bash Street Kids character, Plug.[11] The comic contained many in-jokes, for example Hot-Rod Cow wielded a "Sonic Moo-driver".[11] The phrase "Hot-Rod Cow" is an anagram of "Doctor Who". The comic also spoofed classic comic covers such as Amazing Fantasy #15 (Spider-Man's first appearance), as well as containing other superhero related jokes.



"I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek" (1964)

"I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek" is a song released the first Christmas after The Daleks was initially broadcast.[12] The British Go-Go's novelty single tried to turn the sinister Daleks into another version of The Chipmunks, and was originally released as one of the many products fueling Dalekmania.

However, as that craze fizzled out the song was largely forgotten, with snippets occasionally appearing in Doctor Who anthological products. It finally resurfaced in its entirety on the October 2000 album, Who Is Dr Who.[13]

"Doctorin' the Tardis" (1988)

"Doctorin' the Tardis" is an electronic novelty pop single by The Timelords ("Time Boy" and "Lord Rock", aliases of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, better known as The KLF). The song is predominantly a mash-up of the Doctor Who theme music, Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll (Part Two)" with sections from "Blockbuster!" by Sweet and "Let's Get Together Tonite" by Steve Walsh. The single became a commercial success, reaching number 1 in the UK Singles Chart and charting in the Top 10 in Australia and Norway. The song was also mashed-up with Green Day's Holiday for the album American Edit.

See also


  1. ^ "It's a Square World" Episode #6.8 (TV episode 1963) - IMDb
  2. ^ Pixley, Andrew (12 May 2004). "Do You Want To Know A Secret?". Doctor Who Magazine (DWM Special Edition #7, "The Complete First Doctor"): 17. ISSN 0963-1275.
  3. ^ How I brought back Sylvester McCoy as Doctor Who | Den of Geek Archived 3 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Fahey, Mike (16 November 2011). "In Which the Chrono Trigger Crew Meet a True Time Traveler". Kotaku.
  5. ^ "The Sudden Emergence of Inspector Spacetime Fandom". 29 September 2011.
  6. ^ "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again".
  7. ^ Interview of David P. Gray discussing "Doctor Who" appearance in "Hugo II" Archived 20 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Robert Schroeck: "The City Beyond The Gate". Dragon Magazine #100 (August 1985), pg. 47. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  9. ^ BBC wins battle over Dalek book Archived 15 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine. BBC News Online. 16 April 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  10. ^ Claim to Daleks copyright infringement exterminated by High Court Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Michael Simkins LLP. 16 April 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  11. ^ a b c Freeman, John (21 April 2006). "Down the News Archive: April 2006". Archived from the original on 11 February 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2006.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 June 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2009.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek". Archived from the original on 9 April 2006.