header banner

Thirteen actual historical events that the doctor confirmed they were part of

Doctor Who's meddling Time Lord has watched human history unfold throughout the centuries, and they have even been a key player in some of the events.

The Silence and Rosa Parks in front of the Doctor and Donna in Doctor Who


VIDEO: The History of Doctor Who Viewing Figures: Season 13 (1975/76)
Adam Martyn
  • Doctor Who expertly blends history and sci-fi, with the Doctor saving the world and interfering with events throughout time.
  • The Doctor's impact on Earth's history is profound, from triggering the eruption of Mount Vesuvius to being present during the Moon landing.
  • The show explores famous historical moments and figures, including the Titanic sinking, Agatha Christie's disappearance, and the Battle of Hastings.

The BBC's Doctor Who deals with history mixed with sci-fi, and it does so brilliantly by having a seemingly immortal Time Lord called the Doctor save the world and occasionally interfere with the natural course of events. The Doctor and their companions travel to the past and to the future, causing ripples in time, and sometimes even tidal waves, although that is highly not advised. In fact, certain established events in human history have more connections to the extraterrestrial than people are aware of, and they are all usually associated with the Doctor by no fault of their own.

Over the course of their lives, the Time Lord has met and mingled with plenty of historical figures, including the Doctor's love interest and legendary actress Marilyn Monroe, world-renowned painter Vincent van Gogh, brave explorer Marco Polo, and brilliant inventor Nikola Tesla. The Doctor's impact on the Earth's history does not stop there — he has also been part of many defining moments for humanity, such as the Battle of Hastings and its aftermath, the Moon landing, and World War II. Doctor Who has explored history from a brand new angle, and the Doctor has been the central figure of it all.

13 Mount Vesuvius' Eruption In Pompeii

New Who: "Fires Of Pompeii" (Season 4, Episode 2)

In Doctor Who season 4, episode 2, "Fires of Pompeii," the Tenth Doctor intended to take Donna to Ancient Rome, but the TARDIS ended up landing in Pompeii the day before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD instead. The episode's heartbreaking truth lied in the fact that the Doctor had to be the one who triggered the catastrophic eruption to stop the Pyroviles from taking over the planet. Fortunately, Donna convinced the Time Lord to save one family in Pompeii, which included the very person whose face the Doctor would be taking two regenerations later.

12 The Titanic's Sinking

New Who: "Rose" (Season 1, Episode 1)

The Ninth Doctor Before the Titanic's Sinking in Doctor Who

The Titanic sinking was one of the events that the Doctor visited a few times. In the extended universe, the Seventh, the Eleventh, and the Sixth Doctors all happened to stop by, but only the Ninth Doctor was involved in the event in the on-screen Doctor Who canon. In season 1, episode 1, "Rose," Clive showed Rose a picture of the family that the Doctor prevented from getting aboard the Titanic, and in the next episode, "The End of the World," the Time Lord told Jade that he was on the Titanic when it sank. Ironically, the original wasn't the only Titanic the Doctor was on.

11 Agatha Christie's Disappearance

New Who: "The Unicorn And The Wasp" (Season 4, Episode 7)

Donna and the Tenth Doctor meet Agatha Christie in Doctor Who

Doctor Who season 4 was a treasure trove of well-written historical episodes, and in episode 7, "The Unicorn and the Wasp," the Doctor and Donna met Agatha Christie, the great novelist herself, on the eve of her disappearance. In the real world, Christie's 10-day-long absence remained a mystery, even to the writer herself. In the show, the author suffered memory loss due to her connection to the necklace that was used to drown the Vespiform, and the Doctor simply dropped her off in Harrogate 10 days later.

10 The Battle Of Hastings

Classic Who: "The Time Meddler" (Season 2, Serial 9)

The First Doctor, Steven, and Vicki in Doctor Who

The Doctor's habit of saving human history started way back in the classic series, and the First Doctor's Northumbria adventure in 1066 was a fine example of that. In Doctor Who season 2, serial 9, "The Time Meddler," the time traveler had to face a fellow Time Lord, the Monk, as he wanted to change the outcome of the Battle of Hastings and let Harold Godwinson reign victorious. The Monk's motivation presumably had to do with his desire to stabilize England, but thankfully, the Doctor, Steven, and Vicki managed to stop him and restore the natural order of things.

9 The Moon Landing

New Who: "Day Of The Moon" (Season 6, Episode 2)

The Moon landing took place exactly the way it was supposed to, except for the fact that its live broadcast included the Silence's order to humanity to kill them "on sight." It was a big moment in the Eleventh Doctor's battle against Madame Kovarian. In Doctor Who season 6, episode 2, "Day of the Moon," the Doctor, Amy, Rory, River, and Canton continued their fight against the enemy that they couldn't remember, and that recording toppled the chances in their favor.

8 The 2012 London Olympics

New Who: "Fear Her" (Season 2, Episode 11)

The Tenth Doctor at the Olympics in Doctor Who

Doctor Who season 2, episode 11, "Fear Her" was prophetic on a whole other level since not only did it have the Doctor be present during the 2012 London Olympic Games several years before they happened, but it also predicted that the Doctor would be the torchbearer. Although it was in reality Matt Smith who carried the torch at the 2012 Olympics, not David Tennant, it was still rather impressive on the show's part. After the Doctor and Rose helped the Isolus get home, the Doctor had to pick up the torch and light the Olympic Flame because the original torchbearer collapsed on the ground completely out of the blue.

7 The Montgomery Bus Boycott

New Who: "Rosa" (Season 11, Episode 3)

The Thirteenth Doctor and Rosa Meet on the Montgomery Bus in Doctor Who

Racial segregation is a difficult topic to tackle, but Doctor Who season 11, episode 3, "Rosa" did the impossible and paid its respects wonderfully. In the story, the Thirteenth Doctor, Graham, Ryan, and Yaz arrived in Alabama on the eve of the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott. Krasko, a time-traveling racist criminal, was there too, and he wanted to change the outcome of Rosa Parks' decision not to give up her seat, which influenced the civil rights movement. Thankfully, Krasko wasn't successful, and the boycott went as planned.

6 The Magna Carta's Signing

Classic Who: "The King's Demons" (Season 20, Serial 6)

The Fifth Doctor and the Master in Doctor Who

The Monk wasn't the only frenemy of the Doctor who tried to interfere with the Earth's history. In Doctor Who season 20, serial 6, "The King's Demons," the Master tried his hand at overthrowing King John of England via the Doctor's companion-to-be, robot Kamelion. The Master strove to prevent the signing of the Magna Carta, as he knew that it would jumpstart parliamentary democracy as the world knows it. His plan didn't work out in his favor since the Fifth Doctor, Tegan, and Turlough were all right there to stop it from happening.

5 Frankenstein's Birth At Villa Diodati

New Who: "The Haunting Of Villa Diodati" (Season 12, Episode 8)

Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, the first true science fiction novel in history, one fateful night at Villa Diodati where Shelley, her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron, among a few other authors, had an informal ghost story contest. In Doctor Who season 12, episode 8, "The Haunting of Villa Diodati," the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions arrived in 1816 to bear witness to the birth of Frankenstein, only to discover that a lone Cyberman, Ashad, tampered with history. The Time Lord stopped Ashad from robbing the world of Mary Shelley's greatest work, but had to give him the Cyberium regardless.

4 Love's Labour's Won's Destruction

New Who: "The Shakespeare Code" (Season 3, Episode 2)

The Tenth Doctor and Martha in Doctor Who

William Shakespeare was too great a mind not to have crossed paths with the Doctor at some point. Indeed he did when the Tenth Doctor and Martha found themselves in 1599 right in the middle of the conception of Shakespeare's sequel to Love Labour's Lost. In Doctor Who season 3, episode 2, "The Shakespeare Code," Martha and the Doctor discovered how Love Labour's Won got destroyed thanks to the Carrionites' interference, making for a fun take on the lost play attributed to Shakespeare by historians.


10 Things Harry Potter & Doctor Who Have In Common

Harry Potter and Doctor Who are two of the most popular franchises in the world, but what else do they share in common?

3 The Blitz

New Who: "The Empty Child" & "The Doctor Dances" (Season 1, Episodes 9 & 10)

Rose and Jack in Doctor Who

One of Doctor Who's best two-part stories took place during the London Blitz in 1941, and it was also the arc that introduced Captain Jack Harkness. In season 1, episode 9, "The Empty Child," as well as the following episode, "The Doctor Dances," the Ninth Doctor and Rose ended up in the middle of World War II and had to deal with a scary child who had a gas mask stuck to his face. The scene where Rose hung on the cable of a barrage balloon with the Union Jack plastered across her chest was an instant classic.

2 The Partition Of India

New Who: "Demons Of The Punjab" (Season 11, Episode 6)

The Thirteenth Doctor made her mark on Earth beyond Great Britain as well — she was present at the partition of India in 1947. In Doctor Who season 11, episode 6, "Demons of the Punjab," the Doctor took Yaz to the Punjab to meet Umbreen, Yaz's grandmother, and find out how the shattered watch she gave her granddaughter broke in the first place. The gang got involved in the events preceding the partition, during which Umbreen's first husband tragically died.

1 John F. Kennedy's Assassination

New Who: "Rose" (Season 1, Episode 1)

The Ninth Doctor at JFK's Assassination in Doctor Who

JFK's assassination was a big event in American history, so naturally, the Doctor was there, perhaps even several times if the extended universe's Third Doctor novel Who Killed Kennedy was considered. In the Doctor Who TV series, the Ninth Doctor was the one who was canonically present at the assassination. In the pilot episode, "Rose," Clive showed Rose a photo featuring the Doctor in the crowd as proof that he was an alien being who was there for humanity's most pivotal points.

  • Doctor Who Poster
    Doctor Who

    Release Date:




    Season List:

    As the last of the alien species known as the Time Lords, the Doctor travels through time and space in his TARDIS, a time machine thats bigger on the inside than the outside, seeking out adventures in the ancient past and unimagined future while also serving as the protector of Earth and mankind. With a human companion by his side, the Doctor meets extraordinary – and sometimes deadly - characters and creatures from across the universe.

    Doctor Who

    Story By:
    Sydney Newman C. E. Webber Donald Wilson




Article information

Author: Bobby Hudson

Last Updated: 1702137721

Views: 679

Rating: 3.9 / 5 (36 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Bobby Hudson

Birthday: 1991-09-01

Address: 75431 Heather Pine, Port Timothymouth, OH 11248

Phone: +3566517868922506

Job: Article Writer

Hobby: Mountain Climbing, Chess, Chess, Baking, Hiking, Robotics, Painting

Introduction: My name is Bobby Hudson, I am a dedicated, unwavering, capable, artistic, bold, Open, irreplaceable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.