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Cultural references to the Doctor Who universe

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Occasionally, elements of the Doctor Who universe are referenced in the broader popular culture. This page exists to throw a spotlight on some of these casual references made in television, comics, films and other media.

Television

  • In one episode of Liv & Maddie, Liv tries to get into the Brain Olympics by showing people that she's smart and references time travel. "He doesn't believe in time travel and he's like Doctor who?"
  • In one episode of Orphan Black, a picture of the TARDIS is seen in the background.
  • In one episode of Rugrats, purple Dalek toys can be seen in the background on a shelf.
  • In one episode of Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean plays around with toy animals in front of a diorama of Jesus's birth. He eventually begins to bring out a toy Dalek, and pretends that it killed a toy lamb.
  • "Get Off My Cloud", the final episode of the third season of the BBC's anthology series Out of the Unknown was partly set in the subconscious mind of a science-fiction writer. It featured in-character appearances by the Daleks as fictional creations in the mind of the writer. (The episode's designer was Raymond Cusick, who was responsible for the original Dalek design.)
  • "Arrivederci Roma", the first episode of Channel 4's comedy programme Chelmsford 123, showed the TARDIS materialising in the background in one scene. The Doctor briefly stepped out before going back in and dematerialising.
  • The Fourth Doctor has appeared several times in The Simpsons and twice in Futurama.
  • In The Venture Bros. The TARDIS appears in season 5, owned by St Cloud.
  • In an episode of Archer titled "Archer Vice:House Call", Archer asks how much the "stock" is worth in pounds. Cyril, confused, says that the weight is in kilograms and not in pounds. Archer then explains that he was talking about the currency called pounds but he gets interrupted by Malory. He then says "Exactly, as in 'Doctor Who' money."
  • "Green Courage", an episode of Fox Kids' children's action series Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy, featured an on-screen note claiming that a meteoroid field that had just collided with a planet was located at "ten zero eleven zero zero, by zero two from galactic zero," in the constellation of Kasterborous. In TV: Pyramids of Mars, these coordinates are given as the location of Gallifrey.
  • In "420", an episode of Family Guy, Brian says that ever since weed was legalised "crime is down, productivity is up and the ratings for Doctor Who is through the roof". Another episode, the Star Wars Episode IV spoof "Blue Harvest", incorporated footage from the Tom Baker-era opening credits in the scene in which the Millennium Falcon enters hyperspace.
  • Several episodes of the 2008 series The Middleman include references to Doctor Who. In one episode a character is identified as "Lethbridge-Stewart". Only twelve episodes were produced, with the decision made not to produce a thirteenth. That episode, The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalpyse, also contained several references to Doctor Who, most notably having the Middleman recite the First Doctor's farewell speech to Susan Foreman in The Dalek Invasion of Earth ("There must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties..."). The script for this unmade episode was performed by the cast in a "read through" at the 2009 San Diego ComicCon, and adapted into a graphic novel by Viper Comics, both with the Doctor's speech intact. Given the series' acknowledged debt to Doctor Who, the fact that the lead character is never referred to by name, only as "the Middleman", is probably a reference to the fact that the Doctor's real name is never revealed. (The final episode, however, does reveal the Middleman's real name.)
  • In the fifth episode of the second season of the ABC television series Better Off Ted, the scientists Phil and Lem name the small robot designed to clean up spills in their laboratory Chumbley. This is the name that Vicki Pallister gives the robots that she, Steven Taylor and the First Doctor encounter in Galaxy 4. Later in the same episode, Phil and Lem enter a room full of used robot parts. A Dalek can be seen clearly in the corner nearest the door.
  • Several episodes of Leverage reference Doctor Who, including one in which Nathan Ford is asked what ID's he has on him so that he can board an airplane. He replies, "I've got a Peter Davidson, Sylvester McCoy and a Tom Baker." Sophie adds, "I've got a Sarah Jane Baker." Hardison pronounces them man and wife. Another episode had Hardison mentioning that he had been torrenting the latest episode of Doctor Who. In the episode "The 10 Li'l Grifters Job", one of the clients said she used to work at, "McGann, McCoy, and Baker".
  • In one episode of The Sarah Silverman Program, one character (Brian Spukowski, played by Brian Posehn) buys a DVD boxset of a science-fiction show called Dr. Lazer Rage. He later feels regret at buying the expensive boxset. Ninth Doctor actor Christopher Eccleston makes a cameo as "Dr. Lazer Rage" coming to life on the cover of the box. In the same episode, one character calls another from a blue telephone box. Interestingly, this is the only example of Eccleston participating in a guest appearance that directly references and parodies his involvement in Doctor Who, * The pilot for the 2000 series The Invisible Man contains at least four references: A doctor named Troughton, a business card reading I.M. Foreman and a magazine cover with the headlines "Time and Relative Dimensions in Space!" and "Playing the game of Rassilon!"
  • In Insecurity, a March 2012 episode of Young Justice, a police box, clearly looking like the Doctor's TARDIS, is seen as one of the ends of a [[w:c:youngjustice:Zeta-Beam]] conduit. A character enters the box and teleports to [[w|c:youngjustice:the Cave]], the main setting for the heroes of the series. The design of the police box is comparatively detailed. It looks like the TARDIS as seen in The War Machines, because it bears an "out of order" sign. It's unclear how Warner Bros. would have been able to use the police box design legally. The appearance was not clearly parodic nor was it even historically accurate. The scene was set in America and the DC universe had never previously established the existence of British police boxes in the United States.
  • In Nightshifter, an episode of the series Supernatural, a character is convinced that a "mandroid" is responsible for several crimes and holds up a magazine with a Cyberman on its cover to illustrate his point. In "The Girl Next Door", Sam confronts a Kitsune with the name Amy Pond.
  • In the television cartoon, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, there is a recurring background earth pony named Dr. Hooves (formerly "Time Turner" and "Doctor Whooves") who bears a resemblance to the Tenth Doctor. His cutie mark is an hourglass. In the episode "The Super Speedy Cider Sqeezy 6000", Dr. Hooves can be seen wearing a tie similar to the Tenth Doctor's and operating an elaborate hourglass. Another reference is seen on one of the covers of the official comic, in which Dr. Hooves can be seen wearing the Fourth Doctor's scarf, holding the fob watch, and standing in front of a statue that resembles a Weeping Angel, and a street light that bears a resemblance to the TARDIS. On top of all his official trading card says "Time Turner keeps Ponyville's clocks in sync, sets the hourglass for cider competitions, and takes care of all things timey-wimey.". In the season 2 episode, "Sweet and Elite", pony versions of the Third, Fifth, and Eleventh Doctors are seen attending a party with Dr. Hooves. In the episode "One Bad Apple", Dr. Hooves wears a pear costume and a polka-dotted bowtie. It's also worth noting that various forms of the Doctor and possibly the Master have been seen in pony form. In the episode "It's Not Easy Being Breezies", he can be seen walking with a pony bearing a rose cutie mark. Official merchandise of Dr. Hooves such as t-shirts and collectible figures have been licensed by Hasbro.
  • The iCarly episode iPear Store introduces the character Trey as a romantic interest for the titular character, and then has the two go into a brief rendition of the "Who's on First?" sketch after Trey reveals that he's going to watch a Doctor Who marathon on television.
  • In Criminal Minds season 8 episode 23, Penelope Garcia, the BAU teams technical analyst, tells the team that she "found something stranger than a time-travelling police box". One episode shows Garcia and Dr. Reid dressed as the eleventh and fourth Doctors. In another, Reid defends Doctor Who after comparisions with Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure calling it "Bill & Ted's Excellent Ripoff"
  • Phineas and Ferb have made several references to Doctor Who, one example being a dimensionally transcendental room.
  • In an episode of ABC Family's The Fosters, Callie and Mariana are at a party. At one point, Mariana is talking to a girl in a room that has black light. Graffiti is seen glowing on the wall behind the girls and right between their heads are the words "Bad Wolf" printed above a non-detailed drawing of what appears to be the TARDIS.
  • Doctor Who is referenced several times in episodes of The Big Bang Theory. In "The Dumpling Paradox", Sheldon tells Leonard that every Saturday, he awakens at 6:15 and watches Doctor Who. Later in the episode, he says that he will watch the last twenty-four minutes of Doctor Who, though at that point "it is more like 'Doctor Why Bother?'". In "The Justice League Recombination", Stuart is seen wearing a Fourth Doctor costume. In "The Beta Test Initiation", Penny, Amy, Sheldon, and Leonard are seen watching Doctor Who. Though the screen is not shown, you can hear parts of the episode. In "The Holographic Excitation", Raj announces he may have a TARDIS at his Halloween party. This TARDIS can be seen later on in the episode. Also in the same episode, Sheldon and Amy are brainstorming couples costumes for the party, and one of the ideas seen on Sheldon's board is "The Doctor & a Dalek". Additionally, several TARDIS posters can be seen in Stuart's comic book store, as well as a Dalek in Leonard and Sheldon's apartment.
  • In an episode of South Park titled Funnybot, the Germans build a robot designed to be funny in reaction to being labelled unfunny. This robot looks and speaks like a Dalek, it even has a plunger and is found going on murder sprees saying, "Exterminate!"
  • In an episode of the Nickelodeon cartoon Sanjay and Craig, the snake, Craig, is talking into a walkie-talkie and speaking popular radio phrases — but one of the things he says is: "...wibbly wobbly timey wimey."

Films

  • In the Pixar film Cars 2, while a British spy trapped in the Big Ben was attempting to "turn back time" (as in the clock), she said, "If I can just reverse the polarity..." This was the Third Doctor's catchphrase.
  • In the early brick film The Magic Portal, the three main characters find themselves in a dimension that later found themselves being chased by Daleks after they heard a gunshoot.

Comics

Adventure Time

  • In one issue, after Jake failed to fix a broken time machine, he stated it didn't do "the timey wimey thing" anymore.
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume III: Century 1969, a Dalek can be seen during a psychedelic hallucination by Mina Murray.

Marvel UK

  • Marvel UK created more than one character who appeared in titles owned by the company, including Doctor Who Magazine. The characters of the Special Executive (troubleshooters employed by the Time Lords, who had appeared in 4-D War and Black Sun Rising) appeared with Captain Britain in the "Jaspers' Warp" storyline written by the Special Executive's creator, Alan Moore.
  • The Doctor Who comics version of Merlin appeared briefly in Captain Britain in a sequence demonstrating that Merlin had several alternate appearances and personalities that he could adopt as he saw fit. The Doctor has also appeared in cameos in several prose novels based in the Marvel Universe.
  • In The Crossroads of Time, published in Doctor Who Magazine, the Seventh Doctor ran into (literally) Death's Head, who was thrown from the Transformers Generation 1 universe into the Time Vortex; he sent Death's Head to the future Earth of Dragon's Claws (a Marvel UK title that may be set in the Doctor Who universe, since Dogbolter and Keepsake are both residents of this Earth). Later, the Doctor guest-starred in Death's Head's comic book from Marvel UK, a crossover that ended with the Doctor depositing Death's Head in the main Marvel universe (Earth-616) atop the Fantastic Four's headquarters, Fours Freedom Plaza - providing a direct link between the Doctor Who universe and Marvel's universe. Death's Head himself interacted with mainstream superheroes from the Marvel universe, which provides another, indirect, link between the mainstream Marvel Universe and the Doctor Who universe.
  • Both Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four and Alistaire Stuart of Britain's Weird Happenings Organisation (WHO, a nod to Doctor Who) have obliquely mentioned being friends of the Doctor.
  • In an issue of The Spectacular Spider-Man concerning paradoxes, alternate realities and time travel, the words "BAD WOLF" are grafittied on an alley wall.

DC/Wildstorm

  • JLA Classified #1 reveals that Batman keeps a Dalek in his "Sci-Fi" closet.
  • The Wildstorm title Albion, scripted by Leah Moore and plotted by her father Alan Moore, featured a Cyberman and an Ice Warrior. It is unclear whether the Cyberman was meant to be "real" or a costume, as the scene was set in an SF-themed bar (although the "real" Robot Archie is also on display). Like The Establishment, which featured a Doctor Who pastiche character, Albion was deeply rooted in English popular culture.

2000 AD

  • The 2000AD strip Caballistics, Inc. features Doctor Who references so often that they are practically part of the series' format. However, it also depicted a character clearly intended to be Tom Baker being murdered by Scottish nationalist demons. This would appear to undermine the frequent suggestion by Caballistics, Inc fans that the series is unofficially set in the Doctor Who universe.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Sergio Bonelli Editore

Prose

  • In Christopher Paolini's novel, Brisingr, a reference is made to a 'lonely god' 'adrift on the seas of time.' Paolini later admitted in the acknowledgements that he is a massive Doctor Who fan and that he believes the Doctor might have visited his world of Alagaësia at some point. In the sequel to this novel, Inheritance, the herbalist Angela begins to tell another character what she has inscribed on her blue hat- "Raxacori- Oh, never mind. It wouldn't mean anything to you anyway." Also, someone mentions having seen rooms that are bigger on the inside.
  • In the novel High Wizardry by Diane Duane, part of the Young Wizards series, a "Mysterious Stranger" helps the protagonist out of a sticky situation. He seems oddly familiar.
  • Barbara Hambly's Star Trek novel Ishmael contains references to Doctor Who and a cameo appearance by the Fourth Doctor and Leela.
  • Lady Jennifer Buckingham from The War Games appears in the second volume of Kim Newman's crossover-intensive Anno Dracula universe. Charles Beauregard, the hero of several Anno Dracula stories, is referred to in All-Consuming Fire. One of Newman's books in the Dark Future series makes references to an alternative timeline, ultra-nationalist, pro-English version of the Doctor Who television series in which the Doctor visits famous events in English history while fighting off extraterrestrial threats to the Crown. Newman's Life's Lottery, a playful exploration of the concept of alternate universes, references Inferno in some detail (and a character fantasises somewhat colourfully about Jo Grant).
  • Michael Moorcock, an admirer of Doctor Who, had "Doctor Who" and a Dalek appear, amongst many other fictional characters, in his The Condition of Muzak.
  • Richard Calder's Dead trilogy features numerous dark alternative time lines involved in a sex war between men and woman. At least one features a version of Doctor Who. The last scene of the final volume, Dead Things, shows the young protagonist watching a scene of the "Daleks exterminating the slave girls of Skaro" on television.
  • The Red Dwarf novels have a number of references. Kryten, for example, owns a sonic screwdriver.
  • The Bunny Suicides book, Bunny Suicides return, involves a Doctor Who themed suicide.
  • In the The Serpent's Shadow the British character Sadie tried to create a Shabti out of a Thermos, which resulted in it flying around, yelling "Exterminate". In another part of this series, a challenge posed to Sadie is completed by stalling a huntress with tales of "fearsome" jellybabies, similar to the fourth doctor.

Video games

Borderlands 2

  • A random citizen will sometimes say "I'm missing the new episode of Constable What!", a parody of Doctor Who.
  • After blowing up the dam in a mission, Jack will list four names of workers killed in the flooding, all of which are the names of the first four actors playing the Doctor in Doctor Who. These are William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, and Tom Baker.
  • At the beginning of the game Claptrap says "Allons-y!", a catchphrase by the 10th Doctor.
  • The NPCs constantly knocking on walls in Sanctuary seem to be doing so in a similar beat and fashion to the subliminally-controlled humans in the Doctor Who episode "The Sound of Drums." The Master also refers to Captain Jack Harkness as "Handsome Jack" in that episode.
  • ECHOs found in Lynchwood bandits named 'John' and 'Barrowman' reference Doctor Who and Torchwood actor John Barrowman, who plays Jack Harkness.
  • There is a skin for Maya called Rose Tailor, a play on Rose Tyler.
  • In the Bloodshot Ramparts, there is a small platform aside a crane that has a teddy bear with a bow tie and 3-D glasses, referring to both the 10th and the 11th Doctor.
  • Hyperion robots can often be heard uttering "Deleted!" which is a popular phrase of the Cybermen.
  • In the character selection screen, CL4P-TP sometimes says, "I need to pee," which will trigger him to go into the outhouse. Said outhouse will then vanish, and pop back up, much in the same manner of the Doctor's TARDIS.
  • The character Maya was given to the Order of the Impending Storm, a play off of the nickname Oncoming Storm, given to the Doctor by the Daleks.
  • During the final mission in which you kill Handsome Jack. He has a pocket watch which reveals his true identity, similar to the Fob Watch owned by Time Lords.
  • During the Quest “Fake Geek Guy” in Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, Tiny Tina asks Mr. Torgue a question which is a clear reference to Doctor Who. The question she asks is: “In the 23rd episode of the 15th season of Blue Box Adventures. What is the name of the ship that abducts the Blue Box?”

Fallout

  • The TARDIS can be found in the Desert, although it disappears after a while. K9 can also be found.
  • On an NCR Emergency Radio Broadcast references The Doctor, and the BBC. ("Bravo Bravo Charlie the Doctor is coming")

Fallout New Vegas

  • In the Z-43 Innovative Toxins Plant in one building, a man in a suit with a skeleton rather than a head says, "Hey, who turned out the lights?" referring to the episode Silence in the Library

Lemmings 2: The Tribes

  • The exit for the "Shadow Tribe" level is clearly the TARDIS.

Team Fortress 2

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney

  • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney during the Turnabout Serenade case, Trucy Wright states that her hat is "like a little universe! Bigger on the inside than on the outside!" At this, Apollo muses that this reminds him of a sci-fi show he used to watch.

Web Comics

Homestuck

  • In the webcomic's 8th soundtrack album release, AlterniaBound, the song, Arisen Anew, themed around Aradia, The Maid of Time's, regeneration, uses an audio clip of the Tenth Doctor's famous "Wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff" quote from the episode Blink.

Out-of-universe references

A number of TV series have made reference to the Doctor Who franchise itself:

  • Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory has said that he wakes up and watches Doctor Who every Saturday morning.
  • The Big Bang Theory also featured a costume contest hosted by the character Stuart Bloom (who owns the comic book store) dressed up in Fourth Doctor garb.
  • In another episode of The Big Bang Theory, a poster of Vincent Van Gogh's "The Pandorica Opens" can be seen prominently displayed in a comic book shop.
  • A 2009 episode of NCIS, "Power Down", includes the character of McGee comparing the unexpectedly spacious interior of a cargo container to the TARDIS. McGee briefly explains the meaning to his co-worker, DiNozzo, who replies with "Doctor Who - who watches that?"
  • A reference to Doctor Who also occurs in the CSI: New York episode "Time's Up". Flack says "Paging Doctor Who." Later in the episode, the time travel machine makes a noise very much like the noise the TARDIS makes.
  • In the Christmas special in which the title character of The Vicar of Dibley got married, her bridesmaids were dressed as the Tenth Doctor and two Daleks.
  • The 13 May 2010 episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is titled "Doctor Who."
  • In the Lead Balloon episode "Karma," Rick Spleen believes he could put himself up for the part of the Doctor.
  • The 2007 Extras Christmas special had Andy Milman appearing in an episode of Doctor Who opposite David Tennant's Doctor.
  • In the 20 August 2010 episode of Eureka on SyFy ("Stoned") Zane, while searching through government files mentions TARDIS blueprints as something he might be searching for.
  • In the episode "I Do Again" of Eureka, Zoe refers to her Aunt Lexi's boyfriend as her 'gorgeous Doctor WHO', meaning he's a doctor with the World Health Organisation, however, Vincent mistakes it as a reference to Doctor Who, exclaiming that he loves the tv show.
  • In the Eureka episode "Reprise", Zane call Jo's house as a TARDIS house, referring to how the house is bigger on the inside.
  • In the Disney Channel series Sonny with a Chance, two characters are trapped in a phone box and the title character asks why they built another time machine.
  • In the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, the title characters travel to a parallel universe via a phone box.
  • In the comedy show Coupling (made by Doctor Who show runner Steven Moffat), the character of Oliver runs a science fiction bookstore with a replica Dalek. In one scene he has a package that shouts 'Exterminate'.
  • In the UK version of Queer as Folk (created by Russell T Davies), the character of Vince makes various references to Doctor Who throughout the programme, and is bought a replica of K9 for his birthday. In episode three, a guy he brings home for a one-night stand lands up instead watching his Genesis of the Daleks tapes. In the same episode, Cameron comments on "the one with the shop dummies" and "that one with the maggots". He said the show scared him as a kid.
  • The comedy Spaced (starring and written by Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes) features a comic book store. The door to its back room is painted to look like the TARDIS doors.
  • In the American comedy Community, the character Abed Nadeer compares himself to various science fiction characters, including K9, while describing himself as a dispassionate observer of those around him.
  • Community would later make frequent references to the fictional TV show Inspector Space Time, an obvious parody of Doctor Who. A British programme, Inspector Space Time is said to be the oldest sci-fi show on television, dating from 1962, centring around "The Inspector" and his companion, who travel through Time and Space in a telephone booth. The main recurring villains are mechanical Dalek-like creatures named Blorgons, and a brief glimpse of the opening credit sequence is strikingly similar to the Doctor Who credits from the Ninth/Tenth Doctor. In an episode of season four, Abed wears a TARDIS shirt, indicating that he was also a fan of the real Who.

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