8 Times Doctor Who Mocked Itself

Doctor Who doesn't always make perfect sense, and hilariously, the writers know it.

Doctor Who The Curse Of Fatal Death Rowan Atkinson

Doctor Who is that rare TV show that's older than most of its fans. The kids who grew up watching the Doctor's adventures in the '60s, '70s, and '80s are now in charge of producing those adventures today, meaning that the show has become more and more self-aware as the decades have slipped by.

From subtle jokes to clear sight gags, Doctor Who is not afraid to poke fun at itself and point out its biggest flaws, whether it's those notoriously cheap production values, messy continuity, or the many, many tropes that have followed the Doctor through nearly 60 years of time-travelling hijinks.

Modern audiences are smarter and more clued-in than ever before, so it's always great to see that the writers are acutely aware of this, dropping nuggets of meta mockery that everybody - fans and creators alike - can all laugh at together.

But because Doctor Who has been running for such a long time, this type of humour isn't just a recent development - it's something that's been a part of the show from the heart of the classic days...

8. The Fourth Doctor Mocks The Overpowered Sonic Screwdriver

Doctor Who The Curse Of Fatal Death Rowan Atkinson

It's one of the most iconic and important parts of Doctor Who, but over the years, the sonic screwdriver has evolved into something of a joke.

Rather than having a firm set of rules about what this device can actually do, its functions seem to be generated on the fly, based on the needs of the script. Does the Doctor need a pen? Well, guess what - the sonic is a pen! Does the Doctor need to open an impossible-to-open door? Well, that's no problem for the sonic!

Fortunately though, the writers are aware that the sonic is ridiculously overpowered. Not only have they attempted to lean into the joke by giving it funny weaknesses - like wood - but they've also directly mocked its near-limitless capabilities.

In the second episode of The Invasion Of Time, the Fourth Doctor tries to use his sonic to open a door, assuming it will work - because why wouldn't it?! However, he quickly realises that it isn't going to work, at which point, he looks straight into the camera, and delivers a memorable one-liner:

"Even the sonic screwdriver won't get me out of this one."

It's a clear-as-daylight dig at the sonic's overuse - as well as its extreme power. Could the writers have gone with a subtle remark here? Probably. But for such a pressing topic... only a fourth wall break will suffice!


Video editor and writer WhatCulture/WhoCulture. Bought a 4K copy of The Martian in 2016 and still haven't watched it.