As a part of Easter, many humans exchanged brightly-coloured chicken eggs or egg-shaped candy, typically by hiding them and then encouraging the recipients to find them.
A popular form of confectioner's Easter egg was made of chocolate and wrapped in coloured tin foil. The Tenth Doctor ate part of one of these before giving the remainder to Christina de Souza, concerned sugar might damage his teeth. (TV: Planet of the Dead)
With the advent of digital entertainment, it became possible to hide some portions of a recording. Principally employed on DVDs, Easter eggs were not obvious on casual inspection of the recording's menu. On more careful examination, or through the use of sequences entered into the playback device's remote control, these "bonus features" could be accessed. Often, the content (or even existence) of the Easter egg would be further obscured when the manufacturer deliberately failed to mention the content on the packaging or in the list of contents.
In 2007, an Easter egg featuring the Tenth Doctor was discovered on seventeen different DVD releases in Great Britain, leading to some interest among Internet users, including Larry Nightingale, due to the message's cryptic nature. It was later discovered that the message was recorded in 1969 and addressed to Sally Sparrow, as part of a temporal paradox caused by the interference of the Weeping Angels. Those particular seventeen DVDs were all the ones Sally owned at that time. Billy Shipton, a video publisher who was transported back to 1969, put the message on the DVDs in such a way that not even the makers of the discs were aware of it.
Unknown to anyone except the Doctor, the Easter egg message was encoded so that if any of the DVDs containing it was brought into the TARDIS, it activated a prerecorded message identifying it as a control disc, good for a single TARDIS journey. Upon inserting the disc into a DVD drive in the TARDIS' control console, the TARDIS dematerialised and returned to 1969. (TV: Blink)
Behind the scenes
- In CON: End of an Era, Billie Piper revealed that chocolate Easter eggs plagued the filming of TV: Journey's End. According to her, the cast of the interior TARDIS scene — during which Earth gets towed home — had consumed copious quantities of eggs during filming. As a result, many of the actors were on a sugar rush, and prone to bouts of hyperactivity and giggling.
- Many classic-series Doctor Who DVD releases contain Easter Egg content, usually accessible by highlighting hidden areas on menu screens or, in a couple of cases, by letting an episode play to the very end. Examples of this content have included outtakes, interview clips, and continuity announcements. Some of the more unusual Easter eggs have included a sample of a scene remastered via the VidFIRE technique included with The Tomb of the Cybermen, a hidden commentary track with David Tennant included with the Special Edition release of The Five Doctors, a short tribute to Anthony Ainley (consisting of an outtake from the Destiny of the Doctors computer game) which was appended the end of episode 4 of The Keeper of Traken and a continuity documentary of the episode select screen of The Brain of Morbius.
- When the third series of Doctor Who was released to DVD, the Blink Easter egg message was, appropriately, included in the set as an Easter egg.