a real world point of view
A note to editors: Before changing anything about this list, please make sure that you have thoroughly read and understood all footnotes. Of necessity, this list has several assumptions which may or may not coincide with your personal interpretation of Doctor Who history.
Several assumptions underlie the composition of the list. Most significantly, this list defines a "writer of Doctor Who" to be a person who received onscreen credit for a live-action, non-parodic story. That Terrance Dicks in fact wrote four of the six episodes of The Seeds of Death is irrelevant to this list; Brian Hayles is the only person whose name appears on screen so he's the only one who gets credit here. Where possible and necessary, notes have been included to shed light on what a particular writer actually did as opposed to what they were credited for. However, the best source of information about the writing of particular stories is more likely to be the story page itself.
Further details about the way in which this list was compiled can be found by clicking the footnote marker at the top of each column. Information on this list is current through The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe.
|Writer||Number of Stories||First Story||Last/Latest Story||Number of episodes||Run Time||Notes||Since first episode|
|Ben Aaronovitch||2||Remembrance of the Daleks||Battlefield||8||200||24 years, 226 days|
|Douglas Adams||1||The Pirate Planet||The Pirate Planet||4||100||Despite a wide-ranging influence on a number of scripts, he was actually credited with only one.||34 years, 231 days|
|"David Agnew"||2||The Invasion of Time||City of Death||10||250||"David Agnew" was a pseudonym used on several BBC programmes in the 1970s. On Doctor Who it was used exclusively by Graham Williams and his script editors, apparently under the direct orders of the then-BBC Head of Serials.On The Invasion of Time, it concealed the identities of Williams and Anthony Read, while on City of Death, it masked the involvement of Williams, Douglas Adams and David Fisher.||35 years, 104 days|
|"Norman Ashby"||1||The Dominators||The Dominators||5||125||Pseudonym for the writing team of Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln.||44 years, 282 days|
|Christopher Bailey||2||Kinda||Snakedance||8||200||31 years, 107 days|
|Bob Baker||9||The Claws of Axos||Nightmare of Eden||36||950||Co-wrote all but one story (Nightmare of Eden) with Dave Martin.||42 years, 67 days|
|Pip and Jane Baker||3.5||The Mark of the Rani||Time and the Rani||11||315||They received credit for episode 14 of The Trial of a Time Lord, while episode 13 went to Robert Holmes. This meant that they "split" a writing credit for the story segment known as The Ultimate Foe.||28 years, 106 days|
|Christopher H. Bidmead||3||Logopolis||Frontios||12||300||32 years, 80 days|
|Ian Stuart Black||3||The Savages||The Macra Terror||12||300||46 years, 356 days|
|"Robin Bland"||1||The Brain of Morbius||The Brain of Morbius||4||100||Pseudonym created by Robert Holmes when Terrance Dicks decided to take his name off this serial.||37 years, 136 days|
|Chris Boucher||3||The Face of Evil||Image of the Fendahl||12||300||36 years, 138 days|
|Ian Briggs||2||Dragonfire||The Curse of Fenric||7||175||25 years, 177 days|
|Johnny Byrne||3||The Keeper of Traken||Warriors of the Deep||12||300||32 years, 108 days|
|Chris Chibnall||3||42||The Hungry Earth / Cold Blood||3||135||6 years, 0 days|
|Kevin Clarke||1||Silver Nemesis||Silver Nemesis||3||75||24 years, 177 days|
|Barbara Clegg||1||Enlightenment||Enlightenment||4||100||Although Lesley Scott is the first woman to be credited as a writer on a Doctor Who story, Clegg is the first woman to actually write a story for the program.||30 years, 79 days|
|Anthony Coburn||1||An Unearthly Child||An Unearthly Child||4||100||Ironically, the first writer for Doctor Who wasn't British, but Australian. Although contemporary BBC internal documents reveal that C. E. Webber was really his co-author for the first episode, only Coburn's name made it to the screen. Coburn, however, is more or less completely responsible for the 2nd-4th episodes that comprise the bulk of the story, as his original brief was to write one of the middle serials of the first season. When his script was suddenly moved to the start of the season, his original first part was mostly replaced by C. E. Webber's script for the pilot episode.||49 years, 177 days|
|Paul Cornell||2||Father's Day||Human Nature/ The Family of Blood||3||135||8 years, 5 days|
|Donald Cotton||2||The Myth Makers||The Gunfighters||8||200||47 years, 215 days|
|Graeme Curry||1||The Happiness Patrol||The Happiness Patrol||3||75||24 years, 198 days|
|Russell T Davies||25||Rose||The End of Time||32||1593||Davies is the original head writer and producer of the BBC Wales version of Doctor Who. He has also written far more stories than anyone else in Doctor Who history, although Robert Holmes holds a comfortable lead in terms of number of episodes. Davies has the further distinction of receiving onscreen credit for writing the first episodes of Doctor Who (2005), Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Planet of the Dead was co-written with Gareth Roberts, the first occasion on which two writers have been credited for a single script since the programme returned in 2005.||8 years, 54 days|
|Gerry Davis||4||The Tenth Planet||Revenge of the Cybermen||12||300||Davis was the only script editor of the 1963 series to receive credit on the last episode of one Doctor and the first episode of another. He and Kit Pedler also introduced and held copyright to the Cybermen.||46 years, 223 days|
|Terrance Dicks||5||The War Games||The Five Doctors||23||750||He received onscreen credit for co-wiring The War Games with Malcolm Hulke. However, as the longest-serving script editor, Dicks had many uncredited contributions to scripts. One of the most glaring examples of this was The Seeds of Death, whose final four episodes are mostly Dicks' own work, but for which only Hayles retains credit. Though he does have a writing credit in the Troughton era, and he is indelibly linked to the Pertwee era, the bulk of his writing credits are actually for the Fourth Doctor. Ironically, while writing for script editor Robert Holmes, he got a taste of what it was like to be on the other end of a script editor's rewrites, and chose to take his name off of The Brain of Morbius"'.||44 years, 30 days|
|Terence Dudley||3||Four to Doomsday||The King's Demons||8||200||31 years, 121 days|
|David Ellis||1||The Faceless Ones||The Faceless Ones||6||150||He co-wrote this story with Malcolm Hulke.||46 years, 41 days|
|William Emms||1||Galaxy 4||Galaxy 4||4||100||47 years, 250 days|
|Paul Erickson||1||The Ark||The Ark||4||100||Shares writing credit on this story with Lesley Scott, but is wholly responsible for writing the serial.||47 years, 75 days|
|David Fisher||4||The Stones of Blood||The Leisure Hive||16||400||Also was the first writer on City of Death. Though some elements of his scripts for City survived, they were mostly abandoned when Douglas Adams and Graham Williams performed an "emergency rewrite" under the name David Agnew.||34 years, 203 days|
|John Flanagan||1||Meglos||Meglos||4||100||He co-wrote Meglos with Andrew McCulloch.||32 years, 234 days|
|Phil Ford||1||The Waters of Mars||The Waters of Mars||1||60||Co-wrote this episode with Russell T Davies. This list does not consider his sole writing credit on Dreamland or his work on Doctor Who: The Adventure Games, sometimes considered genuine TV episodes.||3 years, 185 days|
|Neil Gaiman||1||The Doctor's Wife||The Doctor's Wife||1||45||This episode was originally intended as part of series 5, but was put back due to budget issues.||2 years, 5 days|
|Stephen Gallagher||2||Warriors' Gate||Terminus||8||200||32 years, 136 days|
|Mark Gatiss||4||The Unquiet Dead||Night Terrors||4||180||8 years, 40 days|
|Matthew Graham||3||Fear Her||The Rebel Flesh / The Almost People||2||45||6 years, 329 days|
|Stephen Greenhorn||2||The Lazarus Experiment||The Doctor's Daughter||2||90||6 years, 14 days|
|Peter Grimwade||3||Time-Flight||Planet of Fire||12||300||31 years, 58 days|
|Mervyn Haisman||2||The Abominable Snowmen||The Web of Fear||12||300||He co-wrote all of his stories with Henry Lincoln, including The Dominators, for which they were both credited as "Norman Ashby".||45 years, 231 days|
|"Stephen Harris"||1||Pyramids of Mars||Pyramids of Mars||4||100||After Robert Holmes' rewrites, Lewis Greifer requested his name be removed from this serial. "Stephen Harris" is thus a fiction which indicates both Greifer and Holmes.||37 years, 206 days|
|Brian Hayles||6||The Celestial Toymaker||The Monster of Peladon||30||750||He co-wrote The Celestial Toymaker with Donald Tosh, and The Seeds of Death with Terrance Dicks, but neither script editor got a co-writing credit.||47 years, 47 days|
|Robert Holmes||15.5||The Krotons||The Ultimate Foe||64||1660||Bob Holmes was the most prolific writer of the classic era. Until the BBC Wales version, no one had written more stories. As of 2012[update], his episode record remains daunting, even to Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat, the only writers with a chance to beat him. Holmes rewrote The Ark in Space, for which its original writer, John Lucarotti, was fully paid. He also based his version of The Talons of Weng-Chiang another script for which the original writer, Robert Banks Stewart, was fully paid. Neither Lucarotti nor Banks, however, received on screen credit for their efforts.||44 years, 142 days|
|Don Houghton||2||Inferno||The Mind of Evil||13||225||43 years, 10 days|
|Malcolm Hulke||7||The Faceless Ones||Invasion of the Dinosaurs||47||1350||He co-wrote The Faceless Ones with David Ellis and The War Games with Terrance Dicks. He also co-wrote, but was not credited for, The Ambassadors of Death. His somewhat surprisingly large run time derives from the fact his stories averaged 6.71 episodes.||46 years, 41 days|
|Matthew Jacobs||1||Doctor Who||Doctor Who||1||89||Contrary to popular belief, the "American" version of Doctor Who was in fact written by a British screenwriter. Jacobs' script was the last to feature the Seventh Doctor and the first (and as of 2012[update], the only) televised story to feature the Eighth Doctor.||17 years, 7 days|
|Elwyn Jones||1||The Highlanders||The Highlanders||4||100||Though Jones did receive co-writing credit on The Highlanders, he in fact wrote very little of it. The BBC drafted him to revive Z-Cars before he could even finish a proper outline of the whole story.||46 years, 153 days|
|Glyn Jones||1||The Space Museum||The Space Museum||4||100||48 years, 24 days|
|Matt Jones||1||The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit||The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit||2||90||6 years, 350 days|
|Malcolm Kohll||1||Delta and the Bannermen||Delta and the Bannermen||3||75||25 years, 198 days|
|"Guy Leopold"||1||The Dæmons||The Dæmons||5||125||"Guy Leopold" was the pseudonym of Barry Letts and Robert Sloman. "Guy" was the name of Sloman's son and "Leopold" was Letts' middle name.||41 years, 362 days|
|Henry Lincoln||2||The Abominable Snowmen||The Web of Fear||12||300||He co-wrote all of his stories with Mervyn Haisman, including The Dominators, for which they were both credited as "Norman Ashby".||45 years, 231 days|
|Peter Ling||1||The Mind Robber||The Mind Robber||5||125||Derrick Sherwin wrote episode 1 of this story and Ling wrote episodes 2-5. Only Ling is credited for all five episodes. Sherwin received no onscreen credit for episode 1.||44 years, 247 days|
|John Lucarotti||3||Marco Polo||The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve||15||375||Although Lucarotti was paid in full for writing The Ark in Space, his scripts bore only a passing resemblance to what eventual writer Robert Holmes delivered. Thus only Holmes got credit for Ark in Space. Lucarotti shared screen credit on "Bell of Doom", the final instalment of The Massacre, with Donald Tosh.||49 years, 86 days|
|Tom MacRae||2||Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel||The Girl Who Waited||3||135||7 years, 6 days|
|Louis Marks||4||Planet of Giants||The Masque of Mandragora||15||375||48 years, 200 days|
|Dave Martin||8||The Claws of Axos||The Armageddon Factor||32||850||42 years, 67 days|
|Philip Martin||2||Vengeance on Varos||Mindwarp||6||190||He introduced the character of Sil.||28 years, 120 days|
|Glen McCoy||1||Timelash||Timelash||2||90||27 years, 71 days|
|Andrew McCulloch||1||Meglos||Meglos||4||100||He co-wrote Meglos with John Flanagan.||32 years, 234 days|
|Steven Moffat||12||The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances||The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe||19||925||7 years, 363 days|
|"Paula Moore"||1||Attack of the Cybermen||Attack of the Cybermen||2||90||"Paula Moore" was a pseudonym for Paula Woolsey, the ex-girlfriend of Eric Saward. It's unclear to what extent she actually participated in the writing, which seems to have been done principally by Saward. Ian Levine may have been involved as well.||27 years, 134 days|
|James Moran||1||The Fires of Pompeii||The Fires of Pompeii||1||50||To date, Moran is the only "new Who" writer other than Russell T Davies whose episode ran longer than the time slot originally agreed with the BBC.||5 years, 37 days|
|Rona Munro||1||Survival||Survival||3||75||23 years, 178 days|
|Terry Nation||10.5||The Daleks||Destiny of the Daleks||56||1400||Nation only received credit for half the episodes of The Daleks' Master Plan.||49 years, 149 days|
|Peter R. Newman||1||The Sensorites||The Sensorites||6||150||48 years, 333 days|
|Simon Nye||1||Amy's Choice||Amy's Choice||1||45||3 years, 4 days|
|Geoffrey Orme||1||The Underwater Menace||The Underwater Menace||4||100||46 years, 122 days|
|Kit Pedler||3||The Tenth Planet||The Tomb of the Cybermen||12||100||Kit (Kitt) Pedler is something of an exception amongst original series writers. He was only given formal scriptwriting credit for three stories. However he does receive formal story credit for three more stories. Uncounted in his totals to the left are: The War Machines, The Wheel in Space, and The Invasion. Virtually no one else in the history of Doctor Who has received a "story by" credit.||46 years, 223 days|
|Victor Pemberton||1||Fury from the Deep||Fury from the Deep||6||150||45 years, 64 days|
|Marc Platt||1||Ghost Light||Ghost Light||3||75||Platt wrote the final story produced in the original Doctor Who series. He was given special thanks on Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel, presumably for some ideas common to his Big Finish audio, Spare Parts.||23 years, 206 days|
|Eric Pringle||1||The Awakening||The Awakening||2||50||29 years, 120 days|
|Helen Raynor||2||Daleks in Manhattan/ Evolution of the Daleks||The Sontaran Stratagem/ The Poison Sky||4||180||6 years, 28 days|
|Anthony Read||1||The Horns of Nimon||The Horns of Nimon||4||100||He also co-wrote The Invasion of Time with Graham Williams under the name David Agnew.||33 years, 148 days|
|Richard Curtis||1||Vincent and the Doctor||Vincent and the Doctor||1||45||Previously, the executive producer of Comic Relief parody, The Curse of Fatal Death||2 years, 348 days|
|Gareth Roberts||5||The Shakespeare Code||Closing Time||5||240||Planet of the Dead was co-written with Russell T Davies. His first writer's credit for the BBC Wales franchise was actually Attack of the Graske, but Graske is not counted in this list.||6 years, 32 days|
|Eric Saward||4||The Visitation||Revelation of the Daleks||12||380||Saward's name appears on the credits of only four stories. Two of these stories, Revelation and Resurrection of the Daleks were originally broadcast as two, 45-minute episodes. This means he received on-screen writer's credit on twelve episodes. Nevertheless, strong evidence exists that he wrote, but did not receive credit for, Attack of the Cybermen. Most recently on the DVD release of Trial of a Time Lord, he also claims to have mostly written part 13 of that story, as well as several courtroom scenes for all four serials in the arc.||31 years, 93 days|
|Lesley Scott||1||The Ark||The Ark||4||100||Shares writing credit on this story with Paul Erickson. She was the first woman to be credited as a writer on a Doctor Who story, although she did not actually write any portion of the script.||47 years, 75 days|
|Robert Shearman||1||Dalek||Dalek||1||45||8 years, 19 days|
|Derrick Sherwin||1||The Invasion||The Invasion||8||200||Out of necessity to stretch a four-part story into five, he wrote the first episode of The Mind Robber, although Peter Ling got screen credit for all five episodes. He then co-wrote The Invasion with Kit Pedler.||44 years, 198 days|
|Robert Sloman||3||The Time Monster||Planet of the Spiders||18||450||He co-wrote all of his stories with Barry Letts, whose main job as producer prevented him from receiving any on-screen writing credit. The two also collaborated on The Dæmons, where their efforts were credited to "Guy Leopold".||40 years, 364 days|
|Andrew Smith||1||Full Circle||Full Circle||4||100||Smith remains the youngest writer ever for Doctor Who. He was 18 when Full Circle was produced.||32 years, 206 days|
|Dennis Spooner||3.5||The Reign of Terror||The Daleks' Master Plan||20||500||Spooner was the programme's second script editor. He was solely credited on half the episodes of The Daleks' Master Plan, which is why he gets credit for half a story. Spooner's work on The Power of the Daleks went uncredited, although he is often cited as a co-writer.||48 years, 284 days|
|Anthony Steven||1||The Twin Dilemma||The Twin Dilemma||4||100||29 years, 58 days|
|Robert Banks Stewart||2||Terror of the Zygons||The Seeds of Doom||10||250||Stewart's work on The Talons of Weng-Chiang went uncredited, because he didn't get much beyond an outline before he resigned the commission.||38 years, 30 days|
|Bill Strutton||1||The Web Planet||The Web Planet||6||150||48 years, 95 days|
|Keith Temple||1||Planet of the Ood||Planet of the Ood||1||45||5 years, 30 days|
|Steve Thompson||1||The Curse of the Black Spot||The Curse of the Black Spot||1||45||2 years, 12 days|
|Donald Tosh||.25||The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve||The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve||1||25||Script editor Donald Tosh only received credit for "Bell of Doom", the last episode of The Massacre. With Brian Hayles, he co-wrote, but did not receive credit for, The Celestial Toymaker. He therefore holds the record for the shortest run time credited to a writer.||47 years, 26 days|
|David Whitaker||8||The Edge of Destruction||The Ambassadors of Death||40||950||Whitaker was the programme's first script/story editor. Aside from the authors of The Three Doctors and The Five Doctors, he is the only person to be credited with writing at least one story featuring each of the first three Doctors. The writing of his final adventure, The Ambassadors of Death, was particularly precarious. Both Malcolm Hulke and Trevor Ray were required, uncredited, to get a final set of scripts completed.||49 years, 100 days|
|Toby Whithouse||3||School Reunion||The God Complex||3||145||7 years, 20 days|
|Stephen Wyatt||2||Paradise Towers||The Greatest Show in the Galaxy||8||200||25 years, 226 days|
- ↑ On mobile Wikia, sorting functionality is disabled.
- ↑ A "writer" is defined by this list as the person or persons who received onscreen credit for writing the script. Note that this can include pseudonyms but exclude the actual person or persons known to be indicated by the pseudonym. Pseudonyms are indicated by the use of quotation marks around the name. This column sorts by the last name of the individual. It does not include such credits as: "based on an idea by", "story by", and other such creative credits that fall short of a scriptwriting credit.
- ↑ A "story" is a grouping of one of more episodes that form a single narrative. It is not to be confused with a story arc. In the 1963 version of the programme, a "story" was a single serial, which might have comprised anywhere from one to twelve episodes, although the most common number was four. Since the 1996 telemovie, most stories have been a single episode in length. Where multi-part stories have been produced by the BBC, the titles to both parts are given so as to indicate the entirety of the story. Episodes of unusually short duration produced by BBC Wales, such as "Time Crash", are considered to be single stories, for the purpose of this column. Writers may be credited with a fraction of a story if their name appears on only some of the episodes within a single story.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 This column sorted by the first word in the title which is not an article.
- ↑ An episode is considered to have whatever length it had on first broadcast on BBC One. For the purposes of this column, certain stories, like Resurrection of the Daleks and The Five Doctors have two parts and one part, respectively — even though these stories are often presented as four-parters. The following things are deemed to be single episodes: the 1996 telemovie, the "Children in Need Special", "Time Crash", "Music of the Spheres", and any other future non-parodic live-action "mini-episodes" produced by BBC Wales. Time and Space are considered one story. Prequels and the exclusive-to-home-video sketches included with the series 5 and series 6 box sets are considered part of other stories within those series, and are therefore not counted separately. Animated episodes are specifically excluded from this list, as is Dimensions in Time.
- ↑ "Run time" refers to the total amount, in minutes, of Doctor Who material contributed by the writer in question. Due to the differing format of episodes through the years, run time gives a better basis of comparison between writers than episode count. The math used for this column assumes a 25-minute run time for most episodes of "old Who" and 45 minutes for each episode of "new Who". Exceptions, such as the episodes of Colin Baker's first full season, part 14 of The Trial of a Time Lord and "Journey's End" shall be factored in based on their actual run time. As in the rest of the table, the format seen in the original broadcast on BBC One shall take precedence over later formats of the same story.
- ↑ "Since first episode" calculates the amount of elapsed time between today and the date of the original broadcast of the first episode for which a writer received on-screen credit. This is not the same as when their involvement with the programme may have begun — a figure that would be much more speculative. Nevertheless, it is a useful tool for broadly sorting the writers chronologically, especially for those users not intimately familiar with Doctor Who history.
- ↑ Profile of The Invasion of Time. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
- ↑ Profile of The Brain of Morbius. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
- ↑ An Unearthly Child: contemporary internal BBC memos. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
- ↑ Profile of An Unearthly Child. Retrieved on 2009-03-02.
- ↑ This figure is based on a combined run-time of 120 minutes for The Waters of Mars and the first part of the 2009 Christmas specials, along with 75 minutes for the second part.
- ↑ Profile of City of Death. Retrieved on 2009-03-02.
- ↑ Profile of Pyramids of Mars. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Profile of The Ambassadors of Death. Retrieved on 2009-03-02.
- ↑ Date given for this writer's debut in main table is based upon the first showing of the 1996 telemovie in the United States. Time elapsed since first airing on BBC One: 16 years, 357 days.
- ↑ Profile of The Highlanders. Retrieved on 2009-03-02.
- ↑ Profile of The Dæmons. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
- ↑ Time elapsed since first broadcast of BBC-produced parody, The Curse of Fatal Death: 14 years, 68 days.
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Profile of Attack of the Cybermen. Retrieved on 2009-02-28.
- ↑ Time elapsed since Pedler's first "story by" credit: 46 years, 328 days
- ↑ Profile of The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Retrieved on 2009-03-02.