1. 103 episodes of the series are lost
The BBC destroyed or wiped many episodes of Doctor Who in the 1960s and 70s for various reasons including saving space, leaving a huge gap in the series’ archives. In an attempt to recover the missing episodes, which mostly consist of First Doctor and Second Doctor appearances, the BBC and fans of the series continue requesting copies to be returned.
Various private collectors and overseas broadcasters have helped to re-build the collection with surprise findings of missing episodes, even as late as 2011.
2. Doctor Who began as a children’s educational show
When the series was first created by Head of Drama at the BBC, Sydney Newman, it was developed to engage the entire family on Saturday nights after the football. The show’s aim was to inform and educate children about science and history, using time travel and historical figures like Marco Polo.
3. Doctor Who employed the BBC’s first ever female producer
Verity Lambert was the former production assistant of Doctor Who creator Sydney Newman, and had no production experience when Newman first approached her to produce the series. When Lambert accepted the job, she became the youngest, (and the only female) drama producer at the BBC.
4. Torchwood is an anagram of Doctor Who used to trick pirates
When the first series of Doctor Who was being filmed, BBC execs were apparently so concerned about piracy that they code-named the tapes ‘Torchwood’ to protect them from being stolen in transit. The name was then an obvious choice for the later spin-off series.
5. Bill Nighy and Benedict Cumberbatch both turned down the role of The Doctor
Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock Holmes in the series Sherlock co-created by Doctor Who head writer Steven Moffat, was offered the role of The Doctor following David Tennant’s tenure. He turned it down due to the high-profile that comes with being part of such an enormous franchise, saying, “I didn’t really like the whole package – being on school lunch boxes.”