Doctor Who Day Date in the current year: November 23, 2024

Doctor Who Day Doctor Who is one of the longest-running, as well as one of the most popular and beloved science fiction television series, so it is not surprising that its anniversary is a big deal. Whovians (members of the Doctor Who fandom) around the world celebrate Doctor Who Day on November 23 every year.

Doctor Who is a British sci-fi television series depicting the adventures of a human-looking alien called the Doctor who travels through space and time in a space ship called the TARDIS, exploring the universe and helping those in need. The Doctor belongs to the ancient race of Time Lords who have the ability to regenerate to survive mortal damage. Showrunners use regeneration as a device to introduce new actors for the role of the Doctor and keep the show going.

As of 2023, thirteen actors have portrayed the “principal” incarnations of the Doctor as series leads: Willian Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant (as the 10th and 14th Doctor), Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, and Jodie Whittaker (as first female incarnation of the character). Ncuti Gatwa, the first non-white actor in the role, was cast as the Fifteenth Doctor with his first series set to premiere in 2024.

Additionally, a number of actors portrayed alternative or previously unseen incarnations of the Doctor (John Hurt as the War Doctor, Jo Martin as the Fugitive Doctor, etc.) or replaced Hartnell as the First Doctor after his death (Richard Hurndall in The Five Doctors and David Bradley in The Doctor Falls, Twice Upon a Time, The Power of the Doctor).

Doctor Who first aired on BBC One (then the BBC Television Service) in 1963. The show was produced for 26 seasons from 1963 until it was effectively canceled in 1989. In 1993, a Doctor Who television film starring Paul McGann as the Eight Doctor was broadcast on the Fox Network. Finally, the series was revived in 2005 and has been airing ever since.

In addition to the series and television film, the Doctor Who franchise includes several spin-offs (Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, K9, Class), audio dramas, novels, and comic books. Doctor Who has developed cult following over the years and is a significant part of pop culture not just in its native UK but also internationally.

The very first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast on November 23, 1963. The anniversary of its broadcast is celebrated by Doctor Who fans as Doctor Who Day. The celebration has been officially acknowledged by BBC; to mark milestone anniversaries, BBC has aired several anniversary specials that typically feature several versions of the Doctor and sometimes also returning companions and/or adversaries. Even when the show was on hiatus, fans were treated to some quality Doctor Who content:

  • 10th anniversary: The Three Doctors (aired in four parts from December 30, 1972 to January 20, 1973, opening the anniversary year)
  • 20th anniversary: The Five Doctors (aired on November 23, 1983)
  • 30th anniversary: Dimensions in Time (a charity special crossover between Doctor Who and EastEnders, aired in two parts on November 26 and 27, 1993)
  • 40th anniversary: Scream of the Shalka (animated series, released in six parts from November 13 to December 18, 2003 on Doctor Who website)
  • 50th anniversary: The Day of the Doctor (aired on November 23, 2013 and shown concurrently in 3D in some cinemas)
  • 60th anniversary: The Star Beast, Wild Blue Yonder, and The Giggle (aired from November 25 to December 9, 2023)

If you’re a long-time Doctor Who fan, you probably already know how you’re going to celebrate Doctor Who Day. But you’re relatively new to the fandom, here are some ideas to you: binge the show (you can rewatch your favorite episodes, or all episodes featuring a particular incarnation of the Doctor, or all Christmas specials, etc.), pick up a Doctor Who novel, cosplay a character from the show, watch a Doctor Who spin-off, purchase some official merchandise, or share your fan fiction or fan art with fellow Whovians. And don’t forget to spread the word on social media with the hashtag #DoctorWhoDay.

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