Doctor Who: 10 Historical Figures That Need To Be Explored

These 10 famous historical faces are begging to get the Doctor Who treatment...

doctor who jack the ripper
BBC / Discovery Channel

The 'celebrity' historical episode, in which the Doctor and crew mingle with famous faces from times gone by, has been a staple of Who since its inception - as early as its fourth ever serial, Marco Polo (no points for guessing who featured in that one). It's no surprise, then, that since the 2005 revival, we've seen one of these episodes in almost every season, sometimes more than one.

There's a certain excitement to the What If? scenarios the show's format is able to pull off. What if Charles Dickens really did encounter ghosts? What if Shakespeare did battled the three witches at the Globe Theatre? Or the much anticipated answer to the question we'd been asking in unison for a great many years: What if Agatha Christie faced off against an angry 8-foot megawasp?

You might think that, over its many years, Doctor Who has dropped almost every significant historical figure into the middle of an alien plot - but there are still plenty of famous faces from the past that simply need to be featured in the show.

There's so much potential that's been untapped as of yet, as well as some quite frankly obvious fits for the show that you won't believe haven't been done already. Which brings us to this list - who knows, maybe if we shout loud enough, some might even turn up (a couple of years ago, Nikola Tesla would have topped this list, so fingers crossed for more wish-fulfillment).

Some of these famous faces are included due to unsolved mysteries surrounding them, some because their period of history is too interesting to pass up, and others would simply make for some excellent chemistry and/or rivalry with the Doctor. It's also important that a story can be built around them, playing with both the characters and their historical setting, which, for fun, we've tried to do for each entry (BBC, you can have any of these for free - just give me a job).

Some of these characters may have appeared in expanded media over the years, or been referenced in TV episodes in the past, but they are yet to have a starring role on the show itself - so they will still be included. Buckle up and dust off your history books, we're going in.

10. David Bowie

doctor who jack the ripper
British Lion Films

This might seem like a strange choice, but it would be interesting to see the show take on a more recent historical figure, and break the mold with a musician - something a little different. Bowie often tops lists of dream castings for The Doctor, and it's not difficult to see why - he has a certain quirky, unearthly quality that would lend itself very well to the show.

In fact, Eleven once traveled with character called Jones in the Titan Comics range (Jones was essentially a royalty-free Bowie, a way to insert the famous popstar without having to directly acknowledge what they were doing), and his run as a companion in that series is evidence enough that this would work, in its own totally weird way.

This is a historical figure that would better suit being dropped into a futuristic or space-based episode as a one-time companion, rather than a historical, so that we could see him in his element, and witness the events that would go on to inspire him to write the likes of Space Oddity and particularly Starman, which feels as if it's written for a certain time-travelling hero.

You could adapt one of The Doctor and Jones' stories to the screen, here. The SERVEYOUInc story arc, in which The Doctor and company face off against a creativity-stifling galactic corporation and a demonic talent scout by playing them at their own game, is a popular choice (especially given, without spoiling too much, it could give the character of Bowie the opportunity to take over The Doctor's role, even briefly).

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Sci-fi and fantasy swot, writer for WhoCulture and Moffat fanboy. Enjoys very small cats and very big cups of tea.