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

Part Three - The Modern Series

2005: Russell T Davies, best known for his show Queer as Folk, resurrects Doctor Who. Christopher Eccleston, who had worked with Davies in The Second Coming, signs on as The Ninth Doctor. Pop star Billie Piper plays working class girl Rose Tyler.

In the new series, stories usually last 45 minutes, although, throughout the entire new series, you'll find occasional two and three parters.
All Episodes 2005

: By the end of the initial new episode, titled "Rose", The Doctor has saved Rose from certain death and Rose has saved The Doctor from certain death. Thus formed the first Doctor and Companion teaming of the new series.

To simplify the series backstory for newcomers to the show, Davies created The Last Great Time War, which took place sometime between the end of the old series and the beginning of the new one. The Time Lords and The Daleks battled each other across the Universe, hurting not just themselves but many other species in the cosmos. In the end, The Doctor is the last man standing. The last of his kind.
The End of the World: We meet The Face of Boe, who will become important in Seasons Two and Three.
The Unquiet Dead: The first historic episode for the new series. The Doctor and Rose go back in time and meet beloved writer Charles Dickens, played by Simon Callow.

Eve Myles plays clairvoyant housemaid Gwyneth. The actress will become a lead figure in the Torchwood series.
Aliens of London/World War Three: In this first two-parter, we meet Harriet Jones, MP Flydale North ("Yes, we know who you are."). Played by Penelope Wilton. She will return in a small handful of episodes during the Davies years.

Doctor Sato, played by Naoko Mori, would move to the spinoff series Torchwood.
Dalek: The first appearance of a Dalek in the new series. There will be more.
The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances: Writer Steven Moffat's first contribution to the new series is an immediate classic. Not only is it a compelling story, but it also introduces time traveler Captain Jack Harkness (played by John Barrowman), a charming scallywag who would quickly become one of The Doctor's closest allies.

It also introduces the phrase "Are you my mummy?" into Doctor Who lore.
The Parting of the Ways: Christopher Eccleston bows out of the series at the end of Season One. David Tennant becomes The Tenth Doctor.

Captain Jack
is left behind and discovers that he cannot die. The character would not appear again until Season Three.
The Christmas Invasion: The first Doctor Who Christmas Special. There would one every year until the first Chris Chibnall/Jodie Whittaker season in 2018, in which show runner Chibnall decided to change it to a 2019 New Year's Special.
All Episodes 2006

Tooth and Claw: The Doctor and Rose meet Queen Victoria and battle what seems to be a werewolf. At the end of the story, The Queen establishes The Torchwood Institute to help keep Britain and the world free from aliens bent on destruction.

Davies creates the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, starting John Barrowman as Captain Jack. It lasts four seasons.
School Reunion: Sarah Jane Smith, played by Elisabeth Sladen, is the first and so far only Classic Companion to also appear in the new series. She brings K9 the mechanical talking dog with her.

Davies creates a Doctor Who spinoff: Elisabeth Sladen stars in The Sarah Jane Adventures. It lasts five seasons and only ends when Elisabeth Sladen dies.
Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel: The first appearance of Cyberman in the new series, though now with a much more sophisticated design.
Army of Ghosts/Doomsday: The first Doctor Who TV story ever to feature both The Daleks and The Cybermen at the same time.

Billie Piper leaves the series after two seasons. In the story, Rose winds up in a parallel universe from which she can never return. Yeah, right.

After several auditions for various parts, Freema Agyeman has a small part as Torchwood Institute worker Adeola Oshadi. Russell T Davies picks her to play Martha Jones, The Doctor's next companion.
The Runaway Bride: In this Christmas Special, The Doctor meets Donna Noble, played by comedian Catherine Tate. She will return to the series in Season Four.
All Episodes 2007

Smith and Jones: Freema Agyeman joins the cast as Martha Jones, The Doctor's new companion. While Rose's boyfriend Mickey Smith traveled with The Doctor on odd occasions, Martha Jones is usually recognized as the first full-time black companion.
Gridlock: The Face of Boe tells The Doctor that he is not alone - in short, that there is one other Time Lord in the Universe.
Blink: Recognized by many to be one of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever made. The Doctor and Martha are stuck in 1969 thanks to the villains known as The Weeping Angels. Steven Moffat wrote the episode and invented The Weeping Angels.

Both Tennant and Agyeman have limited scenes in the story so that they could get started on the three-part finale to the season.
Utopia/The Sound of Drums/The Last of the Timelords: The Master returns, played this time around by John Simm.

Captain Jack returns and sticks around for all three episodes.

In the final episode, Martha Jones leaves The Doctor as a full time companion. Uniquely, unlike just about every other companion ever in both series, who usually just disappear off the face of the Earth, Martha remains in the Doctor Who universe, working at Torchwood and UNIT, keeping her friendship with The Doctor and being part of several more adventures.
Voyage of the Damned: In this Christmas special, singer/actress Kylie Minogue plays The Doctor's "almost" companion.

Bernard Cribbins
has a small part as Stan the newspaper man. He would later become Wilfred Mott, Donna Noble's grand-father. It would later be established that Stan and Wilf were the same person, though no explanation for the name change.
All Episode 2008

Partners in Crime:
Catherine Tate returns to the show for a full season, playing The Doctor's companion Donna Noble.

We get a short glimpse of Rose Tyler at the end.
The Fires of Pompeii: An episode with two pre-Doctor Who performers. Karen Gillan plays a soothsayer (it took me two viewings to realize it was her). She would later play Amy Pond in the Matt Smith years. Peter Capaldi has a major role as the Roman known as Caecilius. In 2013, he will become The Doctor.
The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky: Martha Jones calls on The Doctor for help. After the two-parter she would wind up in a third episode, "The Doctor's Daughter" and would feature in the Season Four finale. I told you she's be back.

In "The Poison Sky", The Doctor, wearing a gas mask, asks the head of UNIT "Are you my mummy?", a phrase that goes back to the Christopher Eccleston season, where a young boy keeps asking every body "Are you my mummy?". ("Mummy" meaning "Mommy", not "Boris Karloff").
Silence of the Library/Forest of the Dead: We meet River Song, played by Alex Kingston. River Song would become a major player in the Matt Smith years and would end her Doctor Who career (we assume) in 2015's The Husbands of River Song, starring Peter Capaldi.
Turn Left: Another sighting of Rose Tyler, this time working with UNIT and a Donna Noble who is stuck on a timeline in which she never met The Doctor.
The Stolen Earth/Journey's End: Rose Tyler is back! Martha Jones is back! Captain Jack is back! Sarah Jane is back! Just about anybody who knew The Doctor is back, including people who have never actually met The Doctor!

Davros and The Daleks are back!

Massive housecleaning of companions as Rose Tyler, Martha Jones and Donna Noble all part ways with The Doctor.
The Next Doctor: The yearly Christmas Special. After this, there would be no regular Doctor Who episodes in 2009, but there would be four specials, all starring David Tennant.
Planet of the Dead (2009): Actress Michelle Ryan (EastEnders, Jekyll, Bionic Woman, Merlin) is The Doctor's "almost" companion.
David Tennant appears as The Doctor in the Sarah Jane Adventures story "The Wedding of Sarah Jane".
The End of Time Parts 1 and 2 (2009): The Master returns, The Doctor battles him. The story ends with The Doctor dying of radiation poisoning and revisiting his companions before regenerating. Thus we get to say one last goodbye to the likes of Rose, Martha, Donna, Captain Jack, etc. In the final moments, The Doctor regenerates, and Matt Smith becomes The 11th The Doctor.

Russell T Davies resigns as the show runner. Steven Moffat takes over the reigns for 2010.
All Episodes 2010

The 11th Hour: Matt Smith takes over as The Eleventh Doctor
. His first companion is Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillan. We also meet  her boyfriend Rory Williams, played by Arthur Darvill.

Victory of The Daleks: First sighting of The Daleks in the Matt Smith era.
Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone: Steven Moffatt brings back The Weeping Angels.

First appearance of River Song in the Matt Smith Era.
Vampires of Venice: First time Rory joins The Doctor and Amy in the Tardis. Rory is an official companion.
The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood: The Silurians return decades after their last encounter with The Doctor, then played by Jon Pertwee.

Rory dies for the first time.
Get used to it.
The Lodger

Actor, comedian and TV host James Corden plays the part of average bloke Craig Owens, who lives in a flat that has some stranger living upstairs. He will play the character again in Season Six.
Matt Smith appears as The Doctor in the Sarah Jane Adventures story "Death of the Doctor". Katy Manning, who played Jo Grant, companion to The Third Doctor, is also in the story.
All Episodes 2011

The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon

The first episode of the two-part story is dedicated to Elisabeth Sladen, who had passed away.

The Wedding of River Song

The Doctor attempts to call The Brigadier, only to find out that he has passed away. This scene was in recognition of Nicholas Courney, who had died in February 2011.
SEASON SEVEN (part one)
All Episodes 2012

Asylum of the Daleks:
While traveling with Amy and Rory, The Doctor meets the mysterious Oswin Oswald, played by Jenna Coleman. He will meet her again in the past and the present.

In 2019, she was voted Cutest Modern Companion Ever.

By me.
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship: We meet Rory's father, Brian Williams, played by Mark Williams, well known for playing the patriarch of the Weasley Family in the Harry Potter movies.

Another Harry Potter refugee, David Bradley, plays the evil Solomon. Bradley played Argus Filch, the caretaker at Hogwarts in the Potter movies.
The Power of Three: Mark Williams makes his second and last appearance in Doctor Who.

Jemma Redgrave makes her debut as Kate Stewart,
head of UNIT and Daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
The Angels Take Manhattan: Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill leave the show. Therefore, so do Amy and Rory. It is not a happy ending.
The Snowmen: In this Christmas special, which takes place in the past, The Doctor once again meets Oswin Oswald, now known as Clara Oswin Oswald.

The Doctor
teams up with the Sontaran Strax, the Silurian Madame Vastra and her wife Jenny. This mini-team would pop up several times in the next two years, and are known as The Paternoster Gang.

For the first time since the Patrick Troughton days, The Doctor battles wits with The Great Intelligence.
SEASON SEVEN (part two)
All Episodes 2013

The Bells of St. John: The Doctor meets Clara Oswald. By the end of their second episode together, she has become his companion.
The Crimson Horror: Diana Rigg, of The Avengers and James Bond fame, makes her first and so far only appearance in Doctor Who. (Of course, I mean The Avengers TV show from the 60s, not the Marvel movie blockbusters).
Name of The Doctor: We finally find out why and how The Doctor met three different versions of Clara Oswald. At the the end of the episode, we are shown The War Doctor, played by John Hurt.
Night of The Doctor

A surprise mini-episode, revealed some time before Day of the Doctor.
It clocks in at under seven minutes and features Paul McGann as The Doctor. McGann had played the same Doctor in the 1996 Doctor Who movie.

At the end of the mini-sode, The Eighth Doctor changes into The War Doctor, played by John Hurt.

In the same short film, we see The Sisterhood of Karn, who first appeared in the 1976 episode "The Brain of Morbious" starring Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen.
August 4th, 2013: Peter Capaldi is announced as the next Doctor.
Day of The Doctor: The 50th Anniversary Special featuring Matt Smith, David Tennant, Billie Piper, Jenna Coleman and John Hurt, among others. Lots of fun, even if Steven Moffat destroys Russell T Davies's ideas concerning The Last Great Time War.
Time of The Doctor: A Christmas Special and Matt Smith's last episode. Karen Gillan makes a cameo in the final moments, and then The Eleventh Doctor regenerates into the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi.
All Episodes 2014

Deep Breath: Peter Capaldi's first full episode. He is joined by The Paternoster Gang and Clara Oswald, who remains his companion. The Doctor battles mechanical clockwork fiends who are of the same family as the ones from the 2007 story "The Girl in the Fireplace".

Matt Smith makes a cameo at the end.
Mummy on the Orient Express: The Doctor says "Are you my mummy?". Doctor Who writers love their running gags, even if the running gags are set apart by several years.
Dark Water: The Doctor meets The Mistress, aka Missy, a female incarnation of The Master. Missy, played by Michelle Gomez, will pop in and out of the series until the end of The Capaldi years.
All Episodes 2015

The Magician's Apprentice/The Witch's Familiar: Davros returns. His last appearance was in 2008's Journey's End. Davros never appeared in the Matt Smith era.

The Doctor now plays guitar and has "sonic sunglasses".
Face the Raven: Clara Oswald dies. She gets better.
Heaven Sent: A virtual one-man show starring Peter Capaldi, locked in a strange tower and filled with anger over the death of Clara. If you don't just love Peter Capaldi's Doctor after this, there is no hope for you.
Hell Bent: Jenna Coleman's last full episode. Obviously no longer a companion, but... she's still not dead yet!
The Husbands of River Song: A Christmas special that is not only one of the most amusing episodes ever but also beautifully wraps up (for now, I guess) the story of River Song, which started in the David Tennant/Donna Noble series and went all the way through the Matt Smith series.

Comedian Matt Lucas makes his Doctor Who debut as Nardole.
October 2016: Patrick Ness, a producer during the Steven Moffat era, creates the spinoff "Class", about a group of students in the Coal Hill Academy. Peter Capaldi is in the first episode as The Doctor. The series ends after eight episodes.
December 2016: The Return of Doctor Mysterio: Between Husbands of River Song (2015) and this Christmas Special, there is an entire year without Doctor Who.

Nardole is officially a companion.

All Episodes 2017

The Pilot: Pearl Mackie joins the cast as Bill, The Doctor's new companion. She is the first openly gay companion of the series.

The Daleks have their shortest appearance ever, as they briefly battle with The Movellans, a battle that goes back to 1979's Destiny of the Daleks, starring Tom Baker and Lalla Ward.
Knock Knock: David Suchet, famed for his long-running portrayal of detective Hercule Poirot, stars as a creepy landlord. Years before, Peter Capaldi appeared in the 1991 Poirot episode titled "Wasp's Nest".
Empress of Mars: Ysanne Churchman lends her voice to the character Alpha, several decades after doing the same forty-plus years before in the 1972 Jon Pertwee era story "The Curse of Peladon".
The World and Time Enough/The Doctor Falls: The Doctor battles with both Missy and her previous incarnation The Master, played by John Simm. The first and so far only time two Masters were on the same screen.

Bill is turned into a Cyberman. Later, it is implied that she is dead. In any event, Bill and The Doctor part ways.

Nardole leaves The Doctor
, though not on his own volition.

The Doctor is mortally wounded but refuses to regenerate.
On July 16th, 2017, after the Men's Wimbledon final, the BBC reveals the 13th Doctor: Actress Jodie Whittaker. Approximately five seconds later, all hell breaks loose on the internet.
Twice Upon a Time: In this Christmas Special, The 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) meets The First Doctor, played by David Bradley. It is the first multi-Doctor story since 2013's "Day of the Doctor".

Last time we will see Nardole, Bill and Clara (unless they wind up in a later season).

In the end, both Doctors regenerate. The First Doctor regenerates into Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor. The Twelfth Doctor regenerates as a female Time Lord, The Thirteenth Doctor, played by Jodie Whitaker.

Steven Moffatt resigns as the show runner. Chris Chibnall takes over for Seasons 11.
Between Seasons

New show runner Chris Chibnall reveals there will be no characters or monsters from the past in the eleventh season of Doctor Who. He also reveals that instead of the usual 12 or 13 episodes, there would only be ten, but they would be 50 minutes instead of 45.
All Episodes 2018

The Woman Who Fell To Earth: In her first adventure of the season, The Doctor comes upon four separate individuals: Graham O'Brien (played by Bradley Walsh), Ryan Sinclair (played by Tosin Cole), Yasmin  Khan  (played by Mandip Gill) and Grace (played by Sharon D Clark). Three out of four would become the  12th Doctor's companions.

The villain in the story is called T'zim Sha, or, as The Doctor immediately named him, Tim Shaw.

Not having a a Tardis,
The Doctor creates her own sonic screwdriver from handy things found around a local warehouse. She will get her Tardis back in the second episode "The Ghost Monument".

The story opens without the usual Doctor Who theme music.
Arachnids in the UK: American actor Chris Noth appears as a Donald Trump-like tycoon. Because we didn't have enough snarky Trump references in Season 10.
Kerblam!: The Doctor finally receives a package her 11th incarnation sent away for - a fez.

The Doctor retains the talent for Venusian Akido that the 12th and 3rd Doctors had.
The Witchfinders: Alan Cummings (Emma, Goldeneye and the American series The Good Wife) and Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey) guest star.
New Year's Day 2019: Chris Chibnall, having stated that there would be no Christmas special because there were no more good ideas for Christmas stories (don't get me started), then puts together a New Year's Eve special in which The Doctor and companions battle a rogue Dalek.
May 2019: Judoons spotted on location of the filming of Episode One of Season 12.
To Be Continued:

Go Back: Doctor Who Time Line Part 2

Doctor Who Main Page

The Secret Vortex

"Goodbye, Doctor... Doctors... Splendid fellows... all of you."
- The Brigadier, "The Five Doctors"

"Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand, is where I fall. Stand with me."
- The Twelfth Doctor, "The Doctor Falls"

"One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then,
there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties."
- The First Doctor, "The Dalek Invasion of Earth"

"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep,
and the rivers dream. People made of smoke, and cities made of song.
Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice,
and somewhere else the tea's getting cold.
Come on, Ace, we've got work to do!"
- The Seventh Doctor, "Survival"


"This is my Timey-Wimey Detector.
It goes 'ding' when there's stuff."