The junkyard was one of the forms assumed by the complex space-time event I.M. Foreman's One-Species Nongenetically Engineered Travelling Show, which travelled the universe and assumed new appearances on each planet, 'shedding' these forms as it moved on. The show spent a few months on Earth in early 1963 before it moved on, the junkyard and its passing creating a "dent" in space-time that attracted the First Doctor to the junkyard. (PROSE: Interference - Book Two)
In 1963, Susan Foreman, the First Doctor's granddaughter, attended the nearby Coal Hill School, and gave the school the junkyard's address as her home address. This raised suspicion in her teacher, Barbara Wright, who followed Susan home one evening to find the junkyard where a house should have been. (PROSE: Time and Relative, TV: An Unearthly Child)
The same day, Barbara and another teacher, Ian Chesterton, entered the junkyard and discovered the TARDIS sitting in it. Hearing Susan's voice inside the TARDIS, Ian and Barbara went inside. Knowing that his ship couldn't be found out, the First Doctor kidnapped Ian and Barbara in the TARDIS, taking Susan away from the 20th century against her wishes. (TV: An Unearthly Child)
The next day, the Fourth Doctor and K9 Mark II returned to Totter's Lane to retrieve a Heshrax insect which he had been tracking the day that he left. While there, they met Debbie, Susan's best friend from Coal Hill School. Debbie, who turned fifteen that day, was concerned about Susan's sudden disappearance as she knew that Susan would never miss her birthday. She had met the First Doctor on one occasion, but the Fourth Doctor did not recall seeing her before. He also did not remember Susan ever mentioning Debbie, but admitted that he was not always the best listener.
The Doctor offered Debbie the chance to travel with him, telling her that he could show her the crystal temples of Canopus or the signing of the Magna Carta in June 1215 but she declined the opportunity. He told Debbie that Susan decided to stay on 22nd century Earth but then amended this by adding that he chose for her, expressing the hope that this decision was for the best.
For her birthday, he gave Debbie a framed black and white photograph of Ian and Barbara standing by a police box, waving at the camera and hugging each other. The frame contained a plaque that read simply "1965." Debbie was thankful that she met the Doctor as, while she knew that she would never see Susan again, she could at least live her life safe in the knowledge that she was safe in the future rather than spend it wondering what happened to Susan and fearing the worst. (PROSE: Those Left Behind)
Several days later, a battle between a Renegade Dalek and Group Captain Ian Gilmore's Intrusion Countermeasures Group took place there. It was witnessed by the Seventh Doctor and Ace. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks) Shortly before this, a time disruption had briefly changed history so that the name on the gates said "I M Forman". The Seventh Doctor and Ace later returned here, eighteen minutes before their past selves had arrived, to confirm that the spelling had changed. (PROSE: The Algebra of Ice)
In 1997, the TARDIS landed in the junkyard once more after the Eighth Doctor fell victim to a trap by the Master that erased his memory; subconsciously aided by Rassilon, the Doctor was attempting to visit his first incarnation to regain his lost memory, but he entered the wrong temporal coordinates. Sam Jones entered the junkyard to get away from Baz Bailey and his gang, who were swiftly driven off by the Doctor, although he was then taken into custody by police under suspicion of being Baz's supplier. When the Doctor and Sam returned to the junkyard — Sam looking for the Doctor while the Doctor was trying to escape Baz — the Doctor briefly left Sam at Baz's mercy when he returned to the TARDIS, but after regaining his memories he was sent back to the junkyard by Rassilon where he defeated Baz and left him for the police, Sam diving into the TARDIS before he could leave and swiftly becoming his new companion. (PROSE: The Eight Doctors)
21st century Edit
In October 2021, the Seventh Doctor kept his TARDIS at parking bay number seventy-six of a carpark on Totter's Lane while investigating the Cybermen at St Gart's Brookside Hospital. By this time, Totter's Lane was a commercially zoned area of Shoreditch which was mostly made up of office blocks. (AUDIO: The Harvest)
Behind the scenes Edit
Worlds in Time Edit
- Totter's Lane appeared in the video game Worlds in Time as the place where the TARDIS set in London.
Shooting locations Edit
- In the pilot episode of Doctor Who and in An Unearthly Child, a studio set represented 76 Totter's Lane (both inside and out). In Attack of the Cybermen and Remembrance of the Daleks, actual exterior London locations represented the yard. In the latter story, due to a mistake, the letters on the outside gate say "I.M. Forman" rather than the original "I.M. Foreman" of An Unearthly Child. A narrative explanation for this was given in the novel The Algebra of Ice, where a time disruption had briefly altered history, altering the name.
A submission from an 81-year-old Mrs. Smith mentions her working as an usherette at the Ritz Cinema in Totter's Lane, which was later demolished and turned into flats. In 1963, she encountered a version of the Doctor with white hair, and a younger girl Mrs. Smith presumed was his granddaughter. While watching a film on the fall of Rome at the cinema, she recalled the Doctor continuously tutting and muttering that it wasn't historically accurate. She "gave him a piece of [her] mind and sent him packing". He stormed towards the old junkyard and she never saw from him again. She presumed Clive's Doctor posted on the website, the Ninth Doctor, was some sort of relation, rather than another incarnation like the first.
A submission from Steven Hudson claimed that Steven saw the Doctor "a couple a years ago" [sic] wearing an Edwardian outfit, rather than his usual leather jacket, but still the individual in Clive's photographs — the Ninth Doctor. He saw the Doctor wandering around a building development on Totter's Lane. According to Steven, he was muttering "They're all gone, I'm the only one left", alluding to the Doctor's involvement in the Last Great Time War.
Other matters Edit
- The name "Totter's Yard" was first used in part one of Logopolis.
- In the Doctor Who Confidential episode Bigger on the Inside, Neil Gaiman reads from his script for the episode The Doctor's Wife, in which his stage directions describe the junkyard in the bubble universe as "the Totters Lane at the end of the universe."