The sorted history of the titles to Doctor Who stories

by Robert D. Franks
23 January 1998

     In the detailed study of any series the first, and usually easiest,
aspect is to list the stories by episode titles. During it's long
history, the BBC have broadcast a whopping 696 different episodes of
Doctor Who. Those episodes were featured in stories of varying lengths.
The tale of the story titles is a rather complicated one, especially in
the case of the first 25 serials.
     To begin with, we need to lay a few ground rules about not only the
production of Doctor Who, but the research that continues to go into the
series. Strictly speaking the production teams had the final say on not
only the story titles, but any aspect of the series. Over the years many
of the production details have been buried in mounds of paperwork stored
at the BBC's Written Archives Centre at Caversham. Over the years many
researchers have studied Doctor Who's history. Many of them have used
their own ideas when dealing with the issue of story titles. This
article deals with not only the history of those assumed titles, but 
also details the current and most thoroughly researched titles when
speaking of the first 25 Hartnell serials.
     Before 1972 there had never been a list of Doctor Who stories
published in one book and 'The Making of Doctor Who' started a
precedent. For the first time all of the serials through 'The Sea
Devils' were listed in order.  However it should be noted that this list
was far from complete. The book did list the credits for writers and
directors along with info on the monster and the serial code. However,
this early factual book had no story or episode titles - in fact no
indication of how long any of the serials were.[1]
     This was followed in 1973 by the Radio Times Tenth Anniversary
special 'Doctor Who'. For the first time titles were given for the
stories, including a preview of stories for Season Eleven. When
compiling this list it was discovered that the first 25 serials of
Doctor Who had featured no on-screen story titles, only the episode
titles, which were unique for each episode. With nothing else to base
any information on, the compilers decided to list each of these stories
by the title of the first episode.  Thus we end up with stories like 'An
Unearthly Child', 'The Dead Planet', and 'The Edge of Destruction' -
myths that persist to this day. Many of the other stories had
interesting titles as well; 'World's End', 'The Executioners' and 'A
Holiday for the Doctor'; stories better known as 'The Dalek Invasion of
Earth', 'The Chase' and 'The Gunfighters'. Also included in this list
were the number of episodes to feature in each story. This was plagued
by a few mistakes as well; 'The Faceless Ones' only had five (as opposed
to the correct, six) episodes according to this list.[2]
     In 1976 'The Making of Doctor Who' was revised and now included
stories up to 'The Seeds of Doom'. Terrance Dicks had altered the format
to include story titles. These were a mixture of sources and again the
first 25 stories appeared to be titled haphazardly. The first three
stories being the hardest to place they again were referred to only
by the title of the first episode.[3]
     A few years later, in 1981, with the assistance of Terrance Dicks
and John Nathan-Turner, Jean-Marc Lofficier turned the dossiers that he
had compiled into 'The Doctor Who Programme Guide'. In two volumes this
series logged all of the stories to the end of Tom Baker's era. Not only
did Volume One include story titles, but also the individual episode
titles for the first 25 stories along with cast lists and broadcast
dates. This book has been revised and updated twice. Although attempts
had been made to include the most accurate titles, again things slipped
     'Doctor Who Magazine' started as a weekly published by Marvel UK in
the late 70's. Jeremy Bentham was the first advisor to the fledgling
magazine and since that time it has featured many details on these
stories.[5]  Over the years the research into the series became quite 
detailed as more and more researchers started to publish their own
fanzines. The BBC's script unit provided details on many of these
early stories for a few of these researchers, principaly Stephen James
Walker. Then in the early ninties, with more historians such as Andrew
Pixley and Marcus Hearn, the Written Archives Centre was accessed for
the first time for the serious study into the history of Doctor Who.
Material discovered at the WAC was able to confirm and dismiss many of
the theories about these early stories.
     It immediately became apparent that a few details that had been
given over the years were incorrect. In fact the Archive has so much
material that details are still being found which open up new ideas and
thoughts about the series. After much detailed study into the first 25
stories the most accurate names have been applied.

   * Serial A - '100,000 BC' This story had the working title 
     of 'The Tribe of Gum', but an internal memo dated 
     01 Nov 63 refers to this story by the eventual title the 
     production team decided upon. The note is from series 
     producer Verity Lambert. It gives details on the first 
     three serials including the final titles, writers and 
     directors.[6]  'An Unearthly Child' was only ever
     intended to be the title of  the first episode.  However 
     over the years with the vast amount of inaccurate titling 
     of this story (including the BBC adopting it for the video 
     release) it has become an accepted title when referring 
     to the story.  However, for the intent of being strictly 
     true to the ideas of the production team, '100,000 BC' 
     is most accurate.
   * Serial B - 'The Mutants' Another hard one; after 
     accepting that 'The Dead Planet' was not the serial title, 
     many people (including BBC Video) have referred to this 
     story as simply 'The Daleks' in order to avoid confusion 
     with the 1972 story of the same name. It is now pretty
     much accepted that either story title can be applied, but 
     again 'The Mutants' is the most accurate.[7]
   * Serial C - 'Inside the Spaceship' Along with serial A, 
     this story still gets referred to by the title of the first 
     episode, 'The Edge of Destruction'. On the same 
     internal memo the production team gave this less than 
     imaginative name to the hurried two episode story.[8]
     Of note is the title 'Beyond the Sun', which for years 
     has been associated with this story. At first it was 
     thought that this title referred to the aborted Malcolm 
     Hulke storyline 'The Hidden Planet'.[9]  For a long
     time it was thought that 'Inside the Spaceship' was 
     a quick replacement for that story.[10]   However it
     can now be confirmed that 'Inside the Spaceship' was 
     only written to fill the original 13-week run of Doctor 
     Who and not to replace any serial.  'Beyond the Sun' was 
     a working title for serial B, which later became 'The 
   * Serial T/A or DC - 'Dalek Cutaway' This is one that still 
     annoys people. The camera script definitely refers to this 
     as 'Dalek Cutaway'.[12]  Fans unfamiliar with the
     details of Doctor Who's production at this time may still 
     argue that as this is a single episode, the episode title 
     should also be the story title. However the production 
     team at the time always referred to separate story titles
     on both camera scripts and internal documents.[13]   
     Similar confusion has also lead to the problem with the 
     titles on the first three stories. 'Dalek Cutaway' is the 
     title that the production team chose to refer to this story.

     The other Hartnell serials have all had their titles verified by
the following sources. It should be noted that the order for priority
for sourcing any story title has always been 1) on-screen title, 2)
camera script, 3) Radio Times, 4) overseas sales documents and various
other documents ranging from internal memos to storybreakdowns.

Camera scripts (i.e. the final scripts)[14]:

   * Serial E - 'The Keys of Marinus'
   * Serial F - 'The Aztecs'
   * Serial G - 'The Sensorites'
   * Serial H - 'The Reign of Terror'
   * Serial M - 'The Romans'
   * Serial P - 'The Crusade'
   * Serial T - 'Galaxy 4' Note the use of the numeric.
   * Serial V - 'The Daleks' Master Plan' This exact spelling 
     is used on the majority of the scripts. The other scripts 
     use variations such as 'The Dalek Master Plan' or 'The 
     Daleks' Masterplan'.
   * Serial W - 'The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve'
   * Serial X - 'The Ark'
   * Serial Y - 'The Celestial Toymaker'
   * Serial Z - 'The Gunfighters'

Radio Times[15]:

   * Serial J - 'Planet of Giants'
   * Serial L - 'The Rescue'
   * Serial N - 'The Web Planet
   * Serial Q - 'The Space Museum'
   * Serial R - 'The Chase'

BBC Enterprises Overseas Sales documents[16]:

   * Serial D - 'Marco Polo'
   * Serial K - 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth'
   * Serial S - 'The Time Meddler'

Contemporary documents[17]:

   * Serial U - 'The Myth Makers'

Other serial titles that have caused problems:

   * Serial BBB - 'Doctor Who and the Silurains' This serial 
     is sometimes referred to in shortened form as just 'The 
     Silurians'. The full on-screen title is always accepted as 
     the most accurate.[18]
   * Serial 7A, 7B & 7C - 'The Trial of a Time Lord' All three 
     serials were given the same name to cover the umbrella 
     season.[19]  Accurately speaking these can only be
     broken down by referring to episode titles.  This does not 
     stop people from using the accepted working titles on 
     the scripts. Among the more common of these are the 
     titles adopted by the novelizations, 'Mysterious Planet'[20], 
     'Mindwarp'[21], 'Terror of the Vervoids'[22]  and 'The 
     Ultimate Foe'[23]; all of which featured on the
     novelisations of these stories. The final serial also 
     featured more accuarte working titles taken from the 
     camera scripts, namely 'The Ultimate Foe' (for Parts 
     Nine-Twelve) and 'Time Inc.' (for Parts Thirteen and 

     It is also a common misconception that Doctor Who stopped using
episode titles after 'The Gunfighters: The OK Corral'. The unique
episode titles did cease, but the much more standard practice of using
'Episode 1', Episode One' or 'Part One' was introduced.[25]
     Even this varied to some degree over the years. The episodes of
'The Ice Warriors' were merely referred to as 'One', 'Two', etc.[26] 
and 'The Dominators' featured no on screen title for 'Episode 3.'[27]
Finally 'The Five Doctors'[28] and the tele-movie 'Doctor Who'[29] 
had no episode titles whatsoever .
     'Resurrection of the Daleks' has also caused some problems with
episode titles. Produced and edited as a four-episode story, it was
hurriedly re-edited into two 45-minute episodes before broadcast.
Strictly speaking it should be referred to in it's accurate 4-episode
version and not the special edit that aired on BBC1. Again this is down
to the intentions of the production team as, over the years, many
special edits have appeared.  Indeed the broadcast version is referred
to in BBC documentation as "Long Version" to differentiate it from
regular Doctor Who broadcasts. This variation is also incomplete as new
credits were not prepared (utilising the closing credits for Part One
and Part Three respectively).[30]

(c) copyright Robert Franks, 1998.


1) Terrance Dicks & Malcolm Hulke, _The Making of Doctor Who_ (London : 
Pan, 1972), 43-64.

2) _Doctor Who_ (London : Radio Times, 1973): 8-9, 12-13, 16-17, 20-21, 
24-25, 28-29, 32-33, 36. [one-shot periodical published to celebrate
Doctor Who's tenth anniversary]

3) Terrance Dicks & Malcom Hulke  , _The Making of Doctor Who_ (London : 
Tandem, 1976), 53-97.

4) Jean-Marc Lofficier, _The Doctor Who Programme Guide: Volume 1_  
(London : W.H. Allen, 1981), 8. [edtions also in 1989 and 1994]

5) _Doctor Who Magazine_ (London : Marvel Comics UK, 1979-present). 
[This periodical has had six titles to date: _Doctor Who Weekly_ Nos. 
1-43 (October 1979 - August 1980), _Doctor Who: A Marvel Monthly_ Nos.
44-60 (September 1980 - January 1982), _Doctor Who Monthly_ Nos. 61-84
(February 1982 - January 1984), _The Official Doctor Who Magazine_ Nos.
85-98 (February 1984 - March 1985), _The Doctor Who Magazine_ Nos. 
99-106 (April 1985 - November 1985), _Doctor Who Magazine_ Nos. 107-on
(December 1985 -  present)]

6) David J Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker, _Doctor Who 
The Handbook - The First Doctor_ (London : Virgin, 1994), 230.

7) Ibid.

8) Ibid.

9) Ibid, 243-244.

10) John Peel, _Files Magazine Spotlight on Doctor Who - Season One: 
Part I_ (Canoga Park : PsiFi Movie Press, 1986), 37.

11) Howe, 225.

12) Keith A Armstrong, David Brunt and Andrew Pixley, _The Doctor Who 
Production Guide Volume Two: Reference Journal_(London : Nine
Travellers, 1997), 226.

13) Howe, 285, 294-295.

14) Armstrong, 226.

15) Ibid.

16) Ibid.

17) Ibid.

18) "Doctor Who and the Silurians," _Doctor Who_, (London : BBC Video, 
1993), PAL video cassette. [also available as (Beverly Hills : Fox
Video, 1995), NTSC video cassette.]

19) "The Trial of a Time Lord," _Doctor Who_, (London : BBC Video, 
1993), PAL video cassette. [also available as (Beverly Hills : Fox
Video, 1993), NTSC video cassette.]

20) Terrance Dicks, _Doctor Who - Mysterious Planet_ (London : 
W.H. Allen, 1988).

21) Philip Martin, _Doctor Who - Trial of a Time Lord: Mindwarp_ 
(London : W.H. Allen, 1989).

22) Pip and Jane Baker, _Doctor Who - The Trial of a Time Lord: Terror 
of  the Vervoids_ (London : W.H. Allen, 1988).

23) Pip and Jane Baker, _Doctor Who - The Trial of a Time Lord: The 
Ultimate Foe_ (London : W.H. Allen, 1988).

24) David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker, _Doctor Who - 
The Eighties_ (London : Virgin, 1996), 85.

25) Armstrong, 230-246.

26) "The Ice Warriors,"_Doctor Who_, (London : BBC, 1967), monochrome 
video recordings of episodes 1, 4-6 in the possession of the author.

27) "The Dominators," _Doctor Who_, (London : BBC Video, 1990), PAL 
video cassette. [also available as (Beverly Hills : Fox Video, 1994), 
NTSC video cassette.]

28) "The Five Doctors," _Doctor Who_, (London : BBC Video, 1985), PAL 
video cassette. [also available as (New York : CBS Fox Video, 1989),
NTSC video cassette.]

29) _Doctor Who_, (tele-movie), (London : BBC Video, 1996), PAL video 

30) Andrew Pixley, "Doctor Who Archive Feature: Serial 6P: 
Resurrection of the Daleks," _Doctor Who Magazine_ No. 194 (23 December,
1992): 29-30.

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