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We're for the whole family
Not just kids

Doctor Who is a family programme. It's not kids' television. People of all ages watch it. That means some stories are for kids — but some aren't. (We're lookin' at you, Torchwood.)

You should be aware that DWU characters have had every kind of sex imaginable. And they regularly die violent deaths — sometimes while chewin' tobacco, drinkin' whiskey and/or droppin' some acid, man. As a parent, you should remember that Doctor Who is a time travel show. That means it regularly depicts things we now frown on, because they used to be commonplace. In the same way Mad Men features offices thick with cigarette fog, you should expect that the Doctor will sometimes relish brandy with a 17th century pirate — or even go window shopping for a bong at a head shop in 1967 San Francisco. Also, because it's over 50 years old, Doctor Who is a bit of a TARDIS itself: some of its attitudes and conventions are of the time a particular episode was made.

Furthermore, we host videos which showcase DWU actors in candid interviews or in other roles they've had in their careers. Such videos give valuable information about those actors — but they may include strong language. If an actor or crew member as worked on Doctor Who, their entire career is fair game here — not just the kid-friendly bits.

The only thing we can promise parents is that we will ruthlessly root out any pornography, violent imagery, or racial hatred that has absolutely nothing to do with DWU stories or the people involved in making them. Our motto is that if it ain't on the show, it ain't on this site. If you ever see any objectionable material on this site has no connection to Doctor Who or its related shows whatsoever, please contact one of our administrators immediately.

TardisDataCoreRoadway

Breakdown by medium

It's tempting to believe that the main part of Doctor Who is the television series, and anything in other media is just "that bit on the side". In fact, the Doctor Who franchise broadly consists of five main television programmes and then a variety of prose, comic, and audio formats that support these television shows. Stories in non-televised media far, far outnumber those on television — even though the franchise's parent programme started broadcast in 1963. If your kids get hooked on Doctor Who or one of the other shows in the franchise, they'll probably want to at least pick up a comic book or an audio. So it's important to be aware of concerns across all media.

The following guide serves to give a fairly complete overview of the DWU in all its forms. We don't claim it's exhaustive, or that it will be fit for your particular parenting style. Obviously, we can't mention every detail of a franchise with as much material as this one. But we believe this is a reasonable effort at pointing out areas of possible parental concern.

Television


Audio

There's lots of different audio out there, but none of it throws up any serious red flags to parents. Nothing made by Big Finish Productions or AudioGo contains swearing or overt sexuality or gory sound effects.

Loups-Garoux

This probably won't scare you — but might it scare your child?

Because it's audio, however, every listener has their own idea of what exactly is going on in a particular story. It's difficult therefore to absolutely guarantee that your kid won't have issues with certain audios.

If you're really worried, you could join some other concerned parents at The Parent's Guide to Big Finish Doctor Who, an active thread on the Big Finish forums. It's dedicated to helping parents calculate the probability their younger kids will freak out listening to a particular audio in the car ride home.

Comics

The World Shapers

This is about as graphic as violence gets in most Doctor Who comics...

In the long history of Doctor Who comic stories, almost none have been formally rated by any comics authority. Of course, few, if any, are at all troubling for parents. Doctor Who comics are typically mild, with almost no hint of sexuality and little in the way of gory depictions of violence. Language in Doctor Who comics is very mild.

Burning corpse

...But some are more explicit.

That said, modern Doctor Who comics are split into two basic reading levels, if not content levels. If you're looking for comics that are easier for your younger child to read, you probably want to give the Doctor Who Adventures comic stories a try. Doctor Who Magazine, IDW, and Titan Comics stories are written to more of a teenage/young adult standard.

Films

Two films were made in the mid-1960s, both based on earlier television serials. These films pre-date film ratings systems, but they would likely be classed as having "mild fantasy violence" today. They are completely peripheral to this wiki's focus, though.

Games

MInes of terror screenshot

Most Doctor Who games are pretty primitive

Video games haven't been a huge part of the DWU experience, but none have received anything greater than an ESRB "E for everyone" rating. Most games, however, weren't written in the 21st century and so weren't rated at all. But they were made in the 1980s and 1990s, so their graphics weren't sophisticated enough to offend anyone. (Except embarrassed game designers.)

Many 21st century video games, particularly those in The Adventure Games range, actually have a strong educational element to them. Almost every Doctor Who game ever made is either in the strategy or adventure genre. At a minimum they reward players for problem solving. Some, such as The Gunpowder Plot and Amy's History Hunt, go further and actually teach kids some genuine history. Others, like Cyber Assault, are just Doctor Who versions of classic strategy games like Risk.

Prose

Novels

Doctor Who novels range the gamut from books for young readers to books for adults. Like comics, Doctor Who books are written to various reading standards. Target novelisations and New Series Adventures are typically for younger readers. Quick Reads can also be enjoyed by kids who are under 12, but they're actually written for adults with literacy issues. These books do not contain any significant areas for parental concern.

The tricky books for parents are those written from about 1992 to 2004 — that is, the period of time when Doctor Who was off the air. In particular the Virgin New Adventures line was interested in "pushing the envelope". Although there is no formal book rating "system" out there, parents are advised to read these novels first before allowing children under the age of 15 read them. The same applies to Torchwood novels. These books contain everything from significant swearing to illegal drug use to frank sexuality.

Short stories

Short stories are also written for different audiences. Those in Doctor Who annuals are definitely written with kids in mind, and parents are unlikely to find objectionable content there, other than simplistic plots.

Those stories written for the Short Trips and Decalog series are intended for older readers. It would be laborious in the extreme, however, to point out which of the individual stories offer which specific parental concerns. If you're worried about the short stories your child is reading, we recommend that you at least skim them for yourself.

Interviews, clips from other shows

DP 30 In The Loop, director Armando Iannucci, actor Peter Capaldi

DP 30 In The Loop, director Armando Iannucci, actor Peter Capaldi

This video with Peter Capaldi talking about his The Thick of It character contains stronger language than he uses as the Twelfth Doctor.

We host some videos that are interviews with actors about their larger careers. We also occasionally put up clips from other shows, if they help illustrate what an actor's body of work was like, or, rarely, if they amplify an in-universe article. These videos are meant to amplify our readers' understanding about the production personnel involved, but obviously some interviews can stray into areas that are more adult.