13 Things Non-Fans Always Get Wrong About Doctor Who

Fezzes may be cool, but factual inaccuracies aren't.

If there's one inescapable reality of TV fanaticism it's that, inevitably, every inoffensive medium with truckloads of fans will have more and bigger truckloads of non-fans. But the majority of said inoffensive media haven't been around for half a century, nor are there vast swathes of highly recognisable artefacts associated with them. There are only a handful of franchises that can tick all those boxes and Doctor Who is one of them. Half a century old? Check. A fan base that's almost unparalleled in its loyalty and fanaticism? Check. A volume of non-fans that seems to increase exponentially to the brand's ever-increasing exposure? Check. So much iconic imagery attached to it that even someone who's never watched a single episode wouldn't be able to avoid it entirely? Check. A program as old and widely recognised as Doctor Who is virtually inescapable. You don't need to be a fan to know at least something about it and there are oodles of non-fans who do... or at least they think they do. Fact is, non-fans - including virtually any member of the press who ever reports on anything to do with Doctor Who - have a tendency to get it wrong. And quite right, too. As non-fans it is their absolute right and prerogative - unless they're journalists in which case, given the existence of the internet, it's just lazy journalism. Non-fans frequently invoke a borderline impressed/exasperated reaction from their Doctor Who fan friends when they extol the virtues of the program as they understand it, or start asking questions about specific elements of its mythology. (There's rarely any genuine interest in the answers, particularly when the questions are asked in a pub). In particular there are a handful of specific elements of Doctor Who that non-fans tend to misquote, misrepresent or otherwise misunderstand most often. So non-fans, listen up: here's some clarification about thirteen critical details that raise the ire of your Doctor Who fan friends when you consistently get them wrong.
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I'm just a guy who loves words. I discover vast tracts of uncharted enjoyment by chucking words together and coming up with stuff that talks about the things I enjoy and love most. I'm also a massive listaholic, so I'm probably talking about a list, looking at a list or banging away at another What Culture list as you read this. My tone's pretty relaxed and conversational, with a liberal sprinkling of sparkling wit, wilting sarcasm and occasional faux-condescension - with tongue almost always firmly planted in cheek.

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