Doctor Who and the Terror of the Titles

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I thought I would look at the titles themselves of Doctor Who. The list of titles was taken from well known website beginning with “w” so is probably unreliable. I did wonder about The Curse of Sooty and Dr Who and the Go Go Dancers. Some titles have alternatives and some I have left out like Dimensions in Time and the Curse of the Fatal Death while including Time Crash for reasons of blind prejudice. This inevitably makes the list a bit subjective but hopefully might still indicate a few trends. I split the titles into words to see which are most frequent and whether any theme emerges. This covers the old and new series up to The Waters of Mars.


As you probably know or have guessed that "the" is the most frequent word appearing about 147 times. The total number of words is 649 so “the” makes up about 23%. "The" implies the most famous or important. By contrast "a" only appears once in "Trial of a Time Lord" where the "a" seems almost apologetic perhaps reflecting a lack of confidence in the programme. "An" makes just one appearance in the first story perhaps a rather more ambivalent beginning.

Time and Space

Although the series uses a time machine "Time" appears just 7 times and "Space" appears 7 times. However there is also "Time-Flight", "Day" 2 , "Nightmare" and "Midnight". Despite the Earth bound stories or perhaps because of them "Earth" appears only 3 times. There is also "Earthshock". Still keeping close to home are "Sun" , "Mars" 2 and "Moonbase". "Planet" manages an impressive 11 and "World" 3. A larger scale is suggested by "Galaxy" 2. Numbers are "Ones", "Two" ,"Three" 2 , "Four", "Five" , "Tenth" , "Last" , "Greatest" and "Infinity". There is the geometric with “Arc” , “Circle” and “Edge”. Science appears with "Experiment" 2 and "Evolution". More sci fi are "Android(s)" 2 and "Robots" 2.


"Nature" appears with "Caves", "Forest", "Orchid" ,"Seeds" 2 , "Rock", "Stones" , "Sky" , "Ice", “Fire” , "Sea", "Deep" , "Waters" and "Underwater". Creepy crawlies include "Wasp", "Spider", "Web" 2 and "Hive". Animals include "Wolf", "Snakedance" , "Dinosaurs" and "the" more mythical "Dragonfire" and "Unicorn". Also there are "Claws" 2, "Fang", "Horns" , "Tooth" , “Poison” , "Blood" 2 and "Talons".


"Human” includes “Face” , “Hand” , “Brain” and “Mind”. There are "Family" , "Father's" , "Daughter" ,"Girl" , "Her" , "Child" 2, "Twin" , "Bride" and "Partners". Famous people include "Shakespeare" and "Marco Polo" suggesting a more cultured vision together with trips to "The" "Library" and "Museum" then back to "School". Talking of which history suggests various peoples like the "Romans", "Aztecs" and "Highlanders" I hope they get on okay. There are also "Pirates" 2 , "Smugglers" , "Gunfighters" , "Savages" and a "Robber".

Companions don't appear until the new series "Rose" and "Jones" unless you count the K9 spin off. "Doctor(s)" appears 8 times while Tardis not once.
Turning to the domestic there are "Fireplace", "Gate", "Keys" , "Snowmen" even if they are "Abominable" and "Lantern". There is entertainment with a "Show", "Toymaker", “Drums” , "Carnival" , "Leisure", "Masque", "Dances" and "Games". However colour is limited to “Green” and “Black”.

Places to live are "Town", "City", "Colony" and if your Greek is reasonable "Logopolis". Well known places are part of the new series suggesting more ambition on Earth at least which include "London" , "Pompeii" and "Manhattan" whilst the old series has the “Pyramids”. Going places means “Voyage” ,”Journey’s” , “Wheel” , “Parting “ and “Visitation” which can lead to “Gridlock” and may be a “Crash”.


Dramatic titles include "Death" 6 with "Dead" 3, "Undead" and "Deadly" , "Terror" 5, "Evil" 4, "Fear" 3, "Doom" ,"Menace", “Destruction” , “Decay” , "Nemesis" , “Destiny” , “Vengeance” and "Horror". This tends to lead to "Power" 2 and "Reign" ,"Age" ,"King" , "Rani" .which may include "Stolen" , "Runaway" , “Chase” , "Crime" and a "Trial". There is also “Meddler” and “Idiot’s”. After all that there is also "New" , "Awakening" and “Love”.


Attention! In march the military with "Invasion" 6 , "Warrior" 4 , "War" 3 , "Army", "Battlefield" , "Operation" , “Plan” , "Attack" , "Massacre" , "Patrol", “Mission", "Crusades", "Strategem", “Code” , "Assassin", "Enemy" and "Spearhead" .All of which probably means "Doom" and "Boom".


"Monsters" 4 , "Creature" ,"Mutants" , "Aliens" , "Ghosts" 2 and "Giants" make up more titles. "Dalek(s)" rule with 16, "Cybermen" 4 and "Sontaran" 2. Strange that none of these monsters are named in their first appearance (The Daleks was originally titled The Mutants but you knew that) , Cybermen in the Tenth Planet, Autons in Spearhead from Space and Sontarans in The Time Warrior. Monsters that are named but I don't think have reappeared are Zygons, the War Machines, The Dominators and The Krotons. I expect you can add a few more.


Made up proper names abound Axos, Frontios , Meglos , Ribos , Varos , Marinus , Morbius, Bannermen , Cybermen , Castrovalva, Kinda, Macra , Mandragora , Shada , Sontaran , Traken, Autons, Dæmons , Krotons, Nimon, Peladon 2 , Zygons , Fendahl , Dalek , Fenric , Mawdryn , Ood and Androzani. There are quite a few with endings of "os" 5 and "on(s)" 6. There is no sign of Skaro or Gallifrey. Adaptations of existing names are Silurians , Tara , Dominators, Sensorites and probably Weng Chiang.
Amusingly there are also opposites like "Empty" and "Full", "Face" and "Faceless" and "Sound" and "Silence".


There are Biblical references implied I suppose beginning with "Genesis" , "Ark" 2 and "Eden", "St Bartholomew's" , "Resurrection" , “Revelation” , "Celestial", "Lazurus" , "Monk" and descending into "Damned", "Devils", "Demons" , "Satan" and "Inferno". There is also "Myth" and "Underworld".

The End

So I reach the "End" 2 , "Doomsday" 2 and finally "Armageddon" but fear not there is "Christmas" hooray! which can lead to "Happiness", "Utopia" and "Paradise".

I hope this provides some "Enlightenment" about themes behind the titles. Please remember this is just "a" set of statistics not "the" set of statistics. No doubt another set could be created using alternative titles , I expect more ideas can be found and words grouped in a different way. Thanks for your "Time". Bon "Voyage".

Top 15 of the most frequent words in Doctor Who Titles

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