Was the Doctor’s original name really Doctor Who?

In the latest TV Legends Revealed, find out if Doctor Who’s original plan was for The Doctor character to be called “Doctor Who.”

URBAN LEGEND TV: The Doctor from Doctor Who was originally intended to be called “Doctor Who”.

Recently, reader Philip S. wrote to me asking about the origins of the name Doctor Who, basically, why is the show called Doctor Who if the character is simply called “The Doctor” on the show?

Philip wrote:

{A]Like a lot of people I’m actually a fan of the Doctor Who TV series but like a lot of DW fans outside of the UK I’m only familiar with the ‘New Who’ era so that’s maybe just me not knowing the classic show with my problem.

But one thing that I see being constantly piqued and talked about in the fandom is that the character itself is not called Doctor Who but The Doctor and naming the character The Doctor is wrong. Some even call out others and pop culture references to confuse the series name with the character name (like in Big Bang Theory). On the one hand it’s of course kinda dumb to be too serious and nitpick offensive but I’ve always wondered WHY the show is called “Doctor Who” if it’s not even supposed to be the (on )character name as some point out. Seems weird. Did anything change during the original run? IS Doctor Who even supposed to be a name for him? If I remember correctly, Ecclestone was even credited as Doctor Who and it was Tennant who changed that.

Like I said, this might be a very minor “issue”, but I thought it might be interesting to see what’s really behind the series title and character name.

I explained to Philip that the name of the series is basically a recurring joke in the series, i.e. when The Doctor showed up, people often ask “Doctor Who?” and that’s why the show is called Doctor Who as Doctor Who? probably wouldn’t fit as a title.

RELATED: Did Hulk Hogan Seriously Pass A Chance To Endorse The George Foreman Grill?

However, what interested me was that while I was looking into Philip’s question, I discovered that it was really true that there was a major change at the start, not in the show itself- same, but in the DEVELOPMENT of the series and Doctor Who was, in fact, was originally going to play a character who would be known as “Doctor Who!”

The genesis of Doctor Who was something as simple as British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) theater manager Sydney Newman, who was told that “we have a gap in our schedule on Saturday afternoons between a sports show and a pop music show, find something to fill that gap.” Newman decided that the best idea for a show between these two relatively distinct types of shows would be a science fiction series. When the show actually went into production, it was produced by Verity Lambert (the first-ever female producer in BBC history) with David Whitaker in charge of the show’s stories. However, there was a very significant period before the show was produced during which the series was in development and longtime BBC producer Rex Tucker was the temporary producer during this period.

Newman worked alongside the head of the BBC’s script department, Donald Wilson, and writer Cecil Edwin “Bunny” Webber to come up with the basic concept for this new series, with Newman coming up with the idea of ​​calling the “Dr. Who” show (and yes, I believe he was using “Dr.” at the time). The three men talked a lot about the new series, and then Webber finally sat down and wrote a three-and-a-half-page outline for the show called “General Notes on Background and Approach.”

Newman heavily edited these notes (and it was Newman who came up with the idea to take a trip through time and space that would be bigger on the inside than on the outside) and few of these original ideas made it the actual show, but some of the early parts of the series were evident in Webber’s writing.

You can read everything on Doctor Who News, including Newman’s commentary, but first I want to specifically quote the list of characters from the series:

RELATED: Was Star Trek Almost Accidentally Released into the Public Domain?


BRIDGET (BIDDY) A 15-year-old girl with that, coming to the end of her high school career, hungry for life, from lower to middle class. Avoid dialect, use a neutral accent mixed with the latest teenage slang.

MISS MCGOVERN (LOLA): 24. Teacher at Biddy’s school. Shy but capable of sudden rabbit courage. Modest, with many normal desires. Although she tends to be the one in trouble, she doesn’t have to be masculine: she’s also a character of loyalty.

CLIFF 27 or 28. Master in the same school. Could be classified as ancient by teenagers except that he is physically perfect, strong and brave, a magnificent dish. Oddly enough, when brains are needed, he can even be smart, in a shy way.

These are the characters we know and sympathize with, the ordinary people to whom extraordinary things happen. The fourth basic character still remains something of a mystery, and is seen by us rather through the eyes of the other three…

DR. WHO A frail old man lost in space and time. They give him that name because they don’t know who he is. He doesn’t seem to remember where he came from; he is suspicious and capable of sudden malevolence; he seems to have an indefinite enemy; he seeks something at the same time as he flees something. He has a “machine” that allows them to travel together in time, space and matter.

Yes, the Doctor was called “Dr. Who” back then, and it was the same basic idea that the show ended up going with, “I am the Doctor.” “Doctor Who?” only in this case the characters decide to continue calling him “Doctor Who” as his real name in the future and the name obviously stuck for the entire program.

The legend is…


Be sure to check out my TV Legends Revealed archive for more urban legends from the world of TV.

Feel free to (hell, please!) write in with your suggestions for future installments! My email address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

KEEP READING: How Was TV Almost Changed Forever By… A Hot Wheels Cartoon?

Boba Fett's Book Didn't Need To Be A Separate Show

Boba Fett’s Book Didn’t Need To Be A Separate Show – Here’s Why

About the Author

About Frank Torres

Check Also

Kate Middleton’s secret codename looks like a comic book character

When Prince William and Kate Middleton walk through the gates of Kensington Palace to live …