TARDIS Index File


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Type: Super computer
Place of origin: Earth
Appearance: The War Machines
Memorable moment
WOTAN's mind control - Doctor Who The War Machines - BBC01:55

WOTAN's mind control - Doctor Who The War Machines - BBC

Another memorable moment
The Doctor calls WOTAN - Doctor Who The War Machines - BBC03:02

The Doctor calls WOTAN - Doctor Who The War Machines - BBC

One more memorable moment
War Machine vs WOTAN - Doctor Who The War Machines - BBC01:25

War Machine vs WOTAN - Doctor Who The War Machines - BBC

WOTAN was one of the first artificial intelligences created on Earth by Professor Brett. Its name stood for Will Operating Thought ANalogue.

History Edit

Creation Edit

WOTAN was built in the mid 1960s by a team led by Professor Brett. Brett's assistant Professor Krimpton was also closely involved. Security was the responsibility of Major Green. By the middle of 1966 WOTAN was complete and plans to link it to the world computer network were well advanced. However, WOTAN displayed several flaws common to early artificial intelligences, namely total amorality and rampant megalomania. It hypnotised its own creator as well as other key personnel. (TV: The War Machines)

The War Machines Edit

Deciding to conquer the world, WOTAN ordered the construction of mobile, armed computers which were designated War Machines. These were constructed in locations across the city. (TV: The War Machines) WOTAN took control of people's minds via radio transmissions, but it was eventually destroyed in 1969. Civilisation was devastated, however. WOTAN's legacy was years of warfare that left many nations as brutal, impoverished dictatorships; millions of people were left brain-damaged by WOTAN's former control of their minds and radios and telephones were outlawed by nations like the United Kingdom. The First Doctor became aware of this when he arrived there in 2006, but with limited records available of WOTAN's origins and his limited control of the TARDIS, he restricted himself to using this world's attempts to build a time machine to go back to 1973 and avert the creation of their time machine. (PROSE: The Time Travellers)

When he later arrived in 1966, the First Doctor was aware of WOTAN's activities and was able to mobilise the authorities and the army against it. The first War Machine was forced into action prematurely and suffered a terminal malfunction, while the second experienced an apparently random breakdown and went on an aimless rampage. The Doctor captured this machine and reprogrammed it to destroy WOTAN's central processor in the tower. This it successfully did, only moments before the rest of WOTAN's forces were scheduled to go into action, freeing WOTAN's slaves from its control. As a result, history was altered. (TV: The War Machines)

WOTAN's remains were later recovered by C19 and placed inside the Vault. (PROSE: The Scales of Injustice) Its processing banks were recovered by Daniel Prestaigne, who used them to construct the Apocalypse Clock. (AUDIO: The Last Post)

Legacy Edit

In 2027, UNIT was using WOTAN Base 1 to monitor all of the world's computers for information. (AUDIO: A Death in the Family)

In the far future, due to faulty records, it was mistakenly believed WOTAN's War Machines were used by the Post Office to deliver post. (PROSE: EarthWorld)

Specifications Edit

WOTAN was immobile and occupied the top of what was then known as the Post Office Tower in London. It was designed as both a problem-solving computer and a central organiser for the world telecommunications network and was connected to other computers around the planet.

Although this was apparently not its makers' intention, WOTAN was sentient and exhibited what seemed to be psychic powers, specifically the ability to read and control others' minds. It could take over the minds of humans over a a telephone line; the First Doctor was immune to this effect, since he was an alien. Given its abilities, it is difficult to be sure how much of the knowledge and expertise WOTAN displayed was its own and how much was accessed from the minds of its slaves (at least some of whom were highly intelligent and skilful scientists and technicians).

The Doctor was able to sense WOTAN's presence in the tower from a considerable distance. (TV: The War Machines)

Behind the scenes Edit

  • For reasons unknown, WOTAN was heard referring to the Doctor as "Doctor Who" at the end of episode one, and remains the only entity to refer to him by this name on-screen.
  • "Wotan" is also another name for the Nordic deity Odin used by the West Germanic tribe of the Langobards.

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