8 Fantastic Doctor Who Continuity References That You Might Not Have Noticed

Rewarding the loyalist members of a fanbase is sort of a given. These are the people who have been with…

Mark White


Doctor Who Matt Smith

Rewarding the loyalist members of a fanbase is sort of a given. These are the people who have been with you from the beginning, stuck with you through thick and thin and loved you unconditionally. The least you can do is repay them. (No ComicCon trailer irony intended. Honest.)

The way to reward fans within the 45-minute time frame of a Doctor Who episode though is to reference something that we know and love. Maybe a past Doctor, a visited planet or one of our favourite stories. And as Doctor Who fans, we love the references. Frankly, it’s expected that the writers should be huge fans, like us, and so many of them are.

Here are 10 examples of NewWho writers paying tribute to the past – often Classic Who – in various different ways. What are your favourite references and nods? Please let us know in the comments!


8. Items And Objects

Matt Smith Doctor Who

It’s understandable how often the Doctor’s carried an umbrella when you consider that he lands in London more often than anywhere else in the universe. In ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, the Doctor meets two patchwork people that remind him of his old umbrella, and he’s probably referring the multi-coloured one that Colin Baker’s Doctor wielded in the 80s. Of course, he still owns the one he carried in his Seventh incarnation, as it’s seen in ‘Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS’ when Clara’s going through the Doctor’s stuff, Come Dine With Me-style.

Other than umbrellas popping up here and there though, the distress cubes from ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ were originally used by the Second Doctor in The War Games, the Tenth Doctor’s skill with a cricket ball (‘Human Nature’) probably comes from his Fifth incarnation (Black Orchid) and the jelly babies that the Fourth Doctor handed out were also a favourite of the Eighth Doctor (and John Simm’s portrayal of the Master). Also, the glass that the Doctor used to listen to Prisoner Zero with through the crack in Amy’s wall turned up in ‘The Power of Three’ during the meal that the Pond family had at the end. Was that deliberate? That can’t be deliberate, surely.

And then there’s the sonic screwdriver, first introduced in the Second Doctor’s era: perhaps he got the idea for it when trying to examine a spaceship in Trap of Steel with an ordinary screwdriver? And whilst there has been so much continuity within the series, from the Tenth Doctor remarking that Five went “hands free” (‘Time Crash’) to Tosh from Torchwood having a replica for a sonic on her desk, quite possibly the finest piece of continuity was in ‘Cold War’, when the Doctor used the “red setting” that River talked about three series before.