An Event Time Line
Firsts, Lasts, Spoilers and Interesting Tidbits:
The Whole Doctor Who Section Boiled Down to the Basics

Part One - From Sidney to Leela

The Big Bang: 13.8 Billion Years Ago. After that, not much happened... until...
January 8th, 1908: William Hartnell is born. (The First Doctor)
July 7th, 1919: Jon Pertwee is born. (The Third Doctor)
March 25th, 1920: Patrick Troughton is born. (The Second Doctor)
January 20th, 1934: Tom Baker is born. (The Fourth Doctor)
January 22nd, 1940: John Hurt is born. (The "War" Doctor)
June 8th, 1943: Colin Baker is born. (The Sixth Doctor)
August 20th, 1943: Sylvester McCoy is born. (The Seventh Doctor)
April 12, 1951: Peter Davison is born. (The Fifth Doctor)
November 14th, 1951: Paul McGann is born. (The Eighth Doctor)
April 14th, 1958: Peter Capaldi is born. (The Twelfth Doctor)

March 1963: Head of Drama at the BBC Sydney Newman envisions a science fiction slotted between the sports show Grandstand and the musical show Juke Box Jury. This show eventually becomes Doctor Who. After much trial and error, four characters are created for the show – The Doctor, an elderly gentleman who is not from this planet, his grand-daughter Susan, and Susan's teachers, who would eventual be named Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright.

P.S. Even back then, bow ties were cool.
June 1963: Verity Lambert is the show's first producer.
Veteran TV and movie actor William Hartnell is cast as The Doctor.
William Russell and Jacqueline Hill are cast as the characters that would eventually be named Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. Young Carole Ann Ford is cast as Susan Foreman, The Doctor's grand-daughter.
Warren Hussein becomes the show's first director.
Writer Anthony Coburn invents the idea that The Doctor's ship should look like a Police Telephone Box, a money-saving maneuver which would become one of the most memorable icons of science fiction - the box that is bigger on the inside.
August 1963: Composer Ron Grainer and The BBC Radiophonic Workshop create the unforgettable theme music while graphic designer Bernard Lodge devises the weird and wonderful title sequence. While the title sequence would change every few years, the theme music would last through every incarnation of the series, although with new and bigger arrangements as time when on.

November 1963
: The first installment of the four part story An Unearthly Child is broadcast. Unfortunately, the assassination of President Kennedy the day before and a power outage on the day of the transmission meant that many people did not see the initial episode. The episode is repeated the following week to decent ratings.

The name of the Doctor's time and space ship is a Tardis, which, according to Susan Foreman, stands for "Time and Relative Dimension in Space".

The Mutants (1963): The first episode of the six-part story The Mutants (aka The Daleks) is transmitted. At the end of that episode (“The Dead Planet”), the first Dalek is seen on screen. By the end of the sixth and final installment, the show is a genuine hit, thanks in large part to the popularity of the villainous Daleks, who would go on terrorizing humanity and the Universe for years to come.

Writer Terry Nation invented The Daleks (though Davros would probably take umbrage at that idea).

February 16th, 1964: Christopher Eccleston is born. In 2005, he will become The Ninth Doctor. "Fantastic!"
Marco Polo (1964): Writer John Lucarotti's Marco Polo is the first historical Doctor Who episode, i.e. the first time The Doctor and friends travel back in time to an actual historical moment in history and/or meet real historical figures.
The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964): Carole Ann Ford exits. At the end of this six-part adventure, Susan has fallen in love with a human, and The Doctor, out of love, locks her out of the Tardis and flies away, in the hope that she will have a more safe and stable life.  It is the first instance of a companion leaving The Doctor, although in this case, it is more of an instance of a Doctor leaving a companion.

The Rescue (1965
): Maureen O'Brien steps in as Vicki, the Doctor's new companion.
The Crusade (1965): Jean Marsh and Julian Glover, both of whom will become more famous for other work in their careers, appear in The Crusade. Individually, both performers will return several times to the series.
June 1965: Despite The Doctor's objections, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright steal a Dalek Time Machine and use it to return home to Earth. William Russell and Jacqueline Hill leave the series. Hill returns 15 years later in the 1980 story "Meglos", but she doesn't play Barbara Wright.

Astronaut Steve Taylor, played by Peter Purvis, soon becomes The Doctor's new companion.
August 23rd, 1965: Doctor Who and The Daleks hits the theaters. It is the first of two Doctor Who movies based on Dalek stories from the television show. Peter Cushing stars as "Doctor Who".

September 1965:
The first Doctor Who Annual is published.
Mission to the Unknown (1965): Terry Nation's single stand-alone episode Mission to the Unknown features none of the main cast.
The Myth Makers (1965): Vicki falls in love and opts out of Team Tardis. Katarina, played by Adrienne Hill, takes her place (but not for long!).
August 5th, 1966: Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. hits the theaters. Once again Peter Cushing stars as "Doctor Who". Bernard Cribbins plays Constable Tom Campbell. Forty years later, he would play Wilf, grand-father of Donna Noble in the David Tennant era of the show.
The Daleks' Master Plan (1965/66): A milestone of the early series, The Daleks' Master Plan is twelve episodes long, covering a span of roughly five hours overall. Early in this epic, the short-lived (literally) character known as Katarina dies when she goes out the Tardis airlock, a villain in tow, to keep The Doctor and the rest of the crew safe. It is the first death of a companion in the show.

Jean Marsh
returns to the show, this time as Sara Kingdom. She's also dead by the end of the final episode.

At the end of one episode, The Doctor (William Hartnell) breaks "the fourth wall" and wishes viewers a pleasant Christmas.

All this plus Nicholas Courtney's debut on the show, although he is not The Brigadier yet.

Pictured: Adrienne Hill as Katarina.
The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve (1966): Dodo Chaplet, played by Jackie Lane, fills in the Vicki/Susan slot as a new companion.
The Savages (1966): Steven Taylor, played by Peter Purves, exits as a companion.
The War Machines (1966): Dodo Chaplet's character is whisked out of the story rather abruptly. Not one to cry over spilt companions, The Doctor immediate hijacks... er... recruits Ben and Polly, played by Michael Craze and Anneke Wills.

The Tenth Planet (1966)
: Four milestones in Doctor Who history: the first appearance of The Cybermen, the final full episode William Hartnell will helm as The Doctor, the first "regeneration", although it would not be called that until a few years later, and the first appearance of Patrick Troughton as The Doctor.

The Cybermen, usually noted as the most popular villains not named The Daleks, were developed by Kid Pedler and Gerry Davis.
The Power of the Daleks: (1966): Patrick Troughton's first full story as The Doctor. And just like that, another one of the show's iconic ideas shows its timey-wimey head, that of The Doctor  being able to "renew" himself when necessary, usually when he is on the brink of death. New body, new face, new personality yet... still the same person.
The Highlanders (1966): Jamie McCrimmon, played by Frazer Hines, joins Team Tardis as the latest companion. Jamie, who is from 18th century Scotland, becomes one of the most popular companions of the early years. Hines holds the record for most appearances in the series as a companion.
The Faceless Ones (1967): Ben and Polly leave.
The Evil of the Daleks (1967): Deborah Watling joins the cast as Victoria Waterfield.
The Invasion (1968): John Levene is cast as Sgt. John Benton of UNIT.

The Web of Fear (1968): Nicholas Courtney, who had been in the show previously, arrives as the character for which he will always be remembered, Colonel and then later Brigadier Alistair Gordon  Lethbridge-Stewart.
Fury from the Deep (1968): Victoria (Deborah Watling) steps down as a companion.
The Wheel in Space (1968): Zoe, played by Wendy Padbury, becomes a companion.
The War Games (1969): Another milestone. The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe are all written out of the series in one fell swoop. We don't even get to see The Doctor regenerate. We also finally meet The Time Lords, who are responsible for regenerating The Doctor, sending him to to Earth without a working Tardis, and mind-wiping Jamie and Zoe.

Spearhead from Space (1970): Jon Pertwee steps in as The Doctor and by the end of the story, he has picked scientist Liz Shaw, played by Caroline John, as his companion, although his adventures in Season Seven are mostly all earthbound. Having already met the second incarnation of The Doctor, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (and no, I will not be typing that name again), officially makes "The Third Doctor" a special advisor at UNIT, which at that time stood for for United Nations International Taskforce.

The show is now in color. If you didn't have a color TV back then, it was in black and white.
Doctor Who and the Silurians (1969/1970): Bessie, The Doctor's yellow roadster, makes its first appearance.
Inferno (1970): The final appearance of Liz Shaw. Sadly, we don't even get a goodbye scene, as actress Caroline John was replaced between seasons. I honestly think she was one of the greatest early companions.
April 18th, 1971: David Tennant is born. In 2006, he will become the Tenth Doctor. "Alon'sy!"

Terror of the Autons (1971): Actress Katy Manning arrives as Jo Grant, a UNIT assistant and The Doctor's new companion. Newcomer Richard Franklin plays Captain Mike Yates. More importantly, Roger Delgado steps in as new Time Lord supervillain The Master, a character that would have a long shelf life and be played by several actors over the course of the original and modern series.
Colony in Space (1971): The Time Lords use The Doctor and his Tardis for one adventure but then Earthbound him again.

The Curse of Peladon (1972): Actress Ysanne Churchman voices the character of Alpha Centauri. Forty-five years later, Churchman once again lends her voice as Alpha Centauri in the the modern series episode Empress of Mars (2017). It's things like that that keep me loving Doctor Who.

The Three Doctors (1973): The first multi-Doctor story, celebrating ten years of Doctor Who. Jon Pertwee is still at the helm as The Doctor, but Patrick Troughton's Doctor shows up as well as William Hartnell's. Sadly, Hartnell was not in good health and could only appear in pre-filmed inserts in which he advises the other two Doctors on their quest to stop the rogue Time Lord Omega. Still, The First Doctor gets one of the show's best lines ever when he sees his other two incarnations for the first time: "Oh... so you're my replacements - dandy and a clown."

Having successfully dealt with Omega at the end of the story, The Third Doctor is rewarded by the Time Lords, getting a fully working Tardis again.
Frontier in Space (1973): Roger Delgado plays The Master for the last time. In June of 1973, the actor perished in a car crash in Turkey, while filming a movie. In real life, he and Jon Pertwee were best of friends.
The Green Death (1973): Katy Manning leaves the show as her character Jo Grant gets engaged.

The Time Warrior (1973/74): Elisabeth Sladen joins the show as journalist Sarah Jane Smith, The Third Doctor's new companion. Sladen will prove to be not only one of the most popular companions of all time, but one of the longest lasting, when you count her time in the modern series and then her own show The Sarah Jane Adventures.

We are introduced to Linx, our first glimpse of a Sontaran. The Sontarans are a race of clones who live only for war. They would appear occasionally throughout the classic series and into the modern series. They're usually a bunch of fun.

We finally learn where The Doctor came from - the planet Gallifrey, home of the Time Lords.
Planet of the Spiders (1974): Jon Pertwee's final episode as The Doctor. At the end of the final installment of the story, The Doctor, dying from radiation, regenerates into his fourth incarnation, played by the soon to be amazingly famous Tom Baker.

The series finally uses the word "regeneration". It's a keeper.

Robot (1974): Tom Baker arrives as The Fourth Doctor. He will stick around for seven full seasons - longer than any other Doctor.

Ian Marter joins the series as Harry Sullivan, a UNIT medical officer.
Genesis of the Daleks (1974): First appearance of Davros, the creator of The Daleks. He will be a recurring villain in both the classic and modern series. Played by several actors over both series, he never stops being fun. As with The Daleks, Davros is a creation of Terry Nation.

Davros is played by Michael Wisher.

April 23, 1975: William Hartnell dies.

Terror of the Zygons (1975): We meet the shape-shifting creatures known as The Zygons. Seemingly destined to be one-shot monsters, although good ones, The Zygons are surprisingly resurrected in 2013 by show runner Steven Moffatt, who uses them brilliantly in the 50th anniversary story "Day of the Doctor" and later the two-part "The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion in 2015.

Harry Sullivan leaves The Doctor and Sarah Jane.

The Hand of Fear (1976): At the end of episode, The Doctor is called back to Gallifrey and has to leave Sarah Jane Smith behind. Elisabeth Sladen would later return in the modern series.
The Deadly Assassin (1976): The Doctor travels without a companion for the first time in the series.

The Master returns, but as a burned-out, ugly monster with no regenerations left. It is established that Time Lords only have 12 regenerations. This rule would later be broken thanks to Clara Oswald.
The Face of Evil (1977): The savage and sexy Leela (played by Louise Jameson) becomes The Fourth Doctor's new companion.

The Invisible Enemy (1977): The Doctor engages the help of a robot dog. At the end of the episode, the robot dog's creator, Professor Marius, gives the dog to the Doctor as a present. And thus - K9 joins the fun as The Doctor's mechanical companion.

John Leeson voices K9.
The Invasion of Time (1978): After an adventure featuring The Sontarans, Leela stays behind when The Doctor is ready to leave. K9 stays behind too, to look after her. When The Doctor enters the Tardis, he retrieves a box that holds a more updated K9. And then looks right into the camera like this....

... because he's Tom Baker, damn it, and he does what he wants.

Next: Doctor Who Time Line Part 2

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