10 Lies About Doctor Who You Probably Believe

Reverse the polarity? That's Doctor Who’s very own Mandela effect…

Doctor Who Eleventh Doctor Sonic Screwdriver
BBC Studios

Doctor Who has been around long enough to have gained mythical status. And wherever myths and legends are concerned, some things are always going to get misconstrued.

Sometimes, people simplify things for ease of understanding. Sometimes, they misremember. Or sometimes, they simply don’t know any different.

For instance, if you were to ask someone who’s never seen Doctor Who to summarise its central premise, they’d probably say something along the lines of “It's a man in a box fighting Daleks”. That’s true of certain episodes, yes, but it's merely a crude approximation of the show as a whole.

Of course, Doctor Who fans would never be so ignorant as to stereotype the show in this way, and would certainly never perpetuate falsehoods willingly. That said, it’s not always easy to distinguish fact from fiction.

So strap in, because in the words of the Master, “Everything that you think you know is a lie"...

10. Bernard Cribbins Was Always Donna’s Grandfather

Doctor Who Eleventh Doctor Sonic Screwdriver
BBC Studios

The late great Bernard Cribbins made his NuWho debut in the 2007 Christmas special Voyage of the Damned, as Donna Noble’s grandfather, Wilfred Mott. Except, it’s not quite that simple.

As written and filmed, Cribbins played an entirely different character, with an entirely different name: Stan. It was only later that he became Wilf.

The original plan for Series 4 was for Howard Attfield to return as Donna’s father, Geoff (a role he originated in The Runaway Bride). However, when Attfield’s health deteriorated, it became clear that a contingency plan was needed.

Rather than recast Geoff, showrunner Russell T Davies opted to rewrite the part as Donna’s grandfather, and brought back Cribbins to play the role.

But why the name change? Well, RTD thought that Wilf was a better name for a recurring character than Stan! And with Voyage of the Damned still a couple of months away from broadcast, this was easy enough to change – hence why, in the finished episode, Cribbins is indeed credited as Wilfred Mott.

Those wanting to find out more about how Stan became Wilf should check out RTD’s acclaimed book The Writer’s Tale, which tells the story in real time. It’s a fascinating read.

In this post: 
Doctor Who
Posted On: 

Doctor Who fan/YouTuber and now writer for WhatCulture!