it’s occurred to me that i’ve been out of classic who fandom so long that some of you doubtless have not seen it. if that is the case, here are some honest-to-god, hand-over-heart true facts about classic doctor who:

  • an entire fake season of the show had to be made up to make a single companion’s timeline possible
  • the last story of the entire run involves the master turning into a cat furry
  • a companion nearly gets eaten by a giant clam
  • there is an entire season where every villain is the master but in different ludicrous disguises. one time he summons satan
  • one time the production team forgot colin baker tied to a pole in the woods
  • tom baker’s scarf was supposed to be normal scarf-length, but the person who bought the yarn had no idea how much yarn you need to make a scarf and bought way too much, and the person who was hired to make the scarf wasn’t told to stop. so she just. didn’t
  • the fifth doctor had a robot companion who had to be abruptly written off the show after the only person who knew how to operate the robot died
  • there is a serial where people are eaten by inflatable furniture and people complained to the bbc that it was too violent
  • an alien exiled to a boys’ boarding school on earth was convinced to kill the doctor by a man with a bird shellacked to his scalp. he failed so badly at killing the doctor that he became a companion instead

Oh man. We are only scratching the surface of the joyously weird thing that is classic Doctor Who. To wit:

  • There is a sequence where the villain rises from the throne on which he has been imprisoned for thousands of years, and you can clearly see a stagehand holding his cushion in place.
  • Tom Baker proposed at one point that the Doctor’s new companion should be a talking cabbage, which would sit on his shoulder and be operated by a string.
  • There is an entire story where they didn’t have the budget for sets, so they just built miniatures and did the whole thing in front of a blue screen from Part Two on.
  • One of the actors got chicken pox during the filming of one of the 60s stories, so they wrote in a sequence where his face gets removed by aliens and the Doctor puts it back on wrong so he looks like a different actor that week.
  • Honestly, the ways they covered for actors taking vacations during the era when the show filmed fifty-two weeks a year could be a whole post in and of itself. The Doctor spent an entire episode “sulking” so that William Hartnell could take a week off.
  • At one point, they tried to demonstrate a man’s dramatic transformation into a slithering grub monster by wrapping his hand in bubble wrap and spray-painting it green.
  • Likewise, a Dalek time machine was represented by a plasma globe from Spencer’s Gifts.

Wait, which companion got a whole fake season dedicated to them? I haven’t heard about this.

Regarding the bubble wrap, to be fair, at that point, it was a fairly new product, and the average viewer wouldn’t have recognized it as “packing material”. The effect just hasn’t aged well (this is true of many classic Who effects)