In Doctor Who: Star Tales, we get the stories behind all those times the Doctor name-drops the great and the good. Featuring six brand new stories from Doctor Who authors past and present, Star Tales looks back at old Doctors while keeping the stories modern with the incumbent Team TARDIS.
That got me thinking: many people the Doctor has met over the years were contemporaries. They probably even met! And what better way to break the ice than to bring up their remarkable mutual acquaintance?
So let’s play Six Degrees of Doctor Who. Starting from the Doctor and one of the people the Doctor has met, we’ll walk through history and see if it’s possible to find someone in their rolodex (Google it, millennials!) who also met the Doctor. We’ll keep going until we’ve found six.
Rules: it has to be a meeting in the TV series, audios, novels or comics. Meetings directly shown are preferred but passing references to an encounter may be used.
President, King & Prime Minister
The Eleventh Doctor met Richard Nixon – 37th President of the United States of America – in 1969 after landing the TARDIS in the Oval Office. The Doctor helped Nixon resolve a problem with The Silence and even got to travel in the TARDIS after the Doctor was caught fiddling with Apollo 11.
He famously met the King of Rock & Roll himself, Elvis Presley, in 1970. The Tenth Doctor ran into Elvis in Star Tales and later again in their Thirteenth incarnation. Presley worked with Frank Sinatra often, even lending the crooner an anachronistic mobile phone the Doctor left with him. Sinatra also partied with the Doctor, along with Albert Einstein and Father Christmas. Among Frank’s other friends was Marilyn Monroe, who married the Doctor. Meanwhile, Einstein and the Doctor got along well, even after Albert was turned into an Ood by the TARDIS and taken over by alien starfish in Star Tales.
Einstein met British politician Winston Churchill in 1933, just as Hitler rose to power in Germany. Seven years later, at the height of the Second World War, Churchill would be elected Prime Minister. Churchill would call on the Doctor numerous times over his life, even fighting the Daleks at one point.
Fry, Berry & Basil
When the Doctor needs to call in “the experts” during an Atraxi invasion, who better than astronomer Sir Patrick Moore? He was on the conference (led by Jeff) that developed the virus to expose Prisoner Zero and save the day. In 2011, Sir Patrick was joined on his astronomy show The Sky at Night by Professor Brian Cox, who got a pep-talk from the Doctor in 2013 ahead of The Science of Doctor Who.
Cox has made several appearances on the general knowledge panel show QI, including a 2012 edition hosted by Stephen Fry. Though Fry has not yet met the Doctor (as far as we know) he did marry River Song. And since we counted Marilyn Monroe earlier, it seems only fair we do the same here.
Among Fry’s other QI guests, we have Mel & Sue – who knew the Doctor well enough to give Eddie Redmayne his phone number and accurately describe what the TARDIS is. They used to present The Great British Bake Off alongside food writer and celebrity judge Mary Berry. With whom the Twelfth Doctor shared Christmas dinner with back in 2015.
Earlier that year, Mary Berry ran into another presenting double-act in the form of Ant & Dec at the BAFTA awards. When the Doctor took Dermot O’Leary to their dressing room, they begged the Doctor to free them from the torment of being stuck together.
Shelley, Lovelace & Victoria
For this one we need to start out in the audios. The Eighth Doctor met author Mary Shelley in Switzerland, 1816 and helped inspire her modern Prometheus – Frankenstein. Shelley would eventually travel with the Doctor, meeting Cybermen, witches and zombies along the way.
At their first meeting, the Doctor would also encounter George Gordon Byron – known best as Lord Byron – who helped the Time Lord recover. One year earlier, Byron’s daughter was born. The Fourth Doctor would meet this woman – Ada Lovelace – shortly before her death in 1852, having developed what we now acknowledge as the first instance of computer programming.
If the Doctor had waited, he might have run into another future friend. Lovelace was friends with author Charles Dickens, who reportedly read passages from his novels to Lovelace on her death bed. Dickens would meet the Ninth Doctor shortly before his own death when the pair fought ghosts in Cardiff. Shortly before that, Dickens had an audience with Queen Victoria, with whom the Tenth Doctor saw off a werewolf and founded Torchwood.
The reigning monarch of Great Britain for 64 years, Victoria inevitably met many people who had encountered the Time Lord. One of the most notable, however, was pioneering nurse and social activist Florence Nightingale. The Seventh Doctor, along with Ace and Hex, met her at a field hospital in Crimea.
There you have it, six people connected by acquaintance who also met the Doctor. Any connections I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.