Doctor Who and statistics


  • Author: Statistics Views
  • Date: 26 November 2013
  • Copyright: Image appears courtesy of iStock Photo

In the week where the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who premiered on television on the exact day it was first televised 50 years before, we take a look at the statistics for a bit of fun.

799 episodes have been broadcast between Saturday 23 November 1963 and Saturday 23 November 2013, lasting 15 days, 10 hours and 9 minutes.

97 episodes are missing from the archive, representing 39 hours and 6 minutes of material (10.6%).

thumbnail image: Doctor Who and statistics

The longest serving doctor was Fourth Doctor Tom Baker, who from his first appearance on 8th June 1974 to his surprise cameo in Saturday’s episode, has appeared in a staggering 177 episodes, lasting 74 hours and 54 minutes according to Doctor Who Guide but the Guardian’s Datablog has worked it out as 71 hours and 27 minutes. In comparison with the Eleventh Doctor, David Tennant appeared in 50 episodes, lasting 40 hours and 58 minutes. (N.B. Tennant would now be the Eleventh Doctor now after John Hurt's guest spot on Saturday revealed him to be the 'Secret' Ninth Doctor who fought in the Time War before Christopher Eccleston, who declined an invite to return for the anniversary, so the 'Modern Doctors' were all shoved forward one spot!)

The longest serving companion was Frazer Hines’ Jamie, who appeared in 117 episodes, overpassing Tennant himself at 48 hours and 59 minutes. However, in terms of the number of stories, Whovians have worked out that recent companion Amy Pond played by Karen Gillan, scores the highest by appearing in 28 whilst Rose Tyler is surprisingly behind at 26.

Matt Smith is the youngest ever doctor, aged 27 when his first episode aired.

In terms of the crew, Ron Grainer and Delia Derbyshire, who composed and arranged the title music respectively, appear the most times on the credits, Ron 799 times and Delia 526 times when later her contribution was finally acknowledged.

The most watched episode was Tom Baker’s City of Death, watched by 16.10 million on Saturday 20th October 1979 but may now have been surpassed with Saturday’s The Day of the Doctor reportedly drawing in a worldwide audience of 70 million and Doctor Who Guide’s current statistics may be based on a UK only audience?

242 stories, 806 episodes, 16 mini episodes and 1 film. 479 planets, 12 Tardis interiors, 7 Tardis exteriors, 8 sonic screwdrivers, 93 companions (57 female, 31 male, 5 robotic).

Villains? This is where it gets complicated according to Whovians and other recent reports but let’s go with Doctor Who Guide again. 29 Dalek episodes, 17 Cybermen stories, 11 Sontaran stories, 10 Silurian stories,  shall we leave it there?

One final note – when looking up Doctor Who and statistics on Google, renowned statistician Hans Rosling is listed third. Is Peter Capaldi REALLY the thirteenth doctor? Possibly not, but perhaps Rosling is OUR doctor for statistics.

Happy 50th Doctor Who!

1. Doctor Who Guide
2. Guardian Datablog
3. Doctor Who Statistics – Jonathan Hull

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Published features on are checked for statistical accuracy by a panel from the European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics (ENBIS)   to whom Wiley and express their gratitude. This panel are: Ron Kenett, David Steinberg, Shirley Coleman, Irena Ograjenšek, Fabrizio Ruggeri, Rainer Göb, Philippe Castagliola, Xavier Tort-Martorell, Bart De Ketelaere, Antonio Pievatolo, Martina Vandebroek, Lance Mitchell, Gilbert Saporta, Helmut Waldl and Stelios Psarakis.