Doctor Who is a fantastic show for geeks. There’s plenty of space for discussion, fan-fiction and list making. So that’s what I’ve done. Taking inspiration from episodes in which The Doctor crosses paths with significant historical figures, such as Shakespeare, van Gogh and Queen Victoria, here are the ten people from history that I would love to see the Doctor meet, and what I anticipate would happen!
10. Nostrodamus or The Mayans
This is the most obvious pick, one which leads to plenty of tongue in cheek humour. When the Doctor finds himself in a spot of bother in the past he has to talk quickly to keep himself out of trouble. Spinning out stories of the future in order to prove that he’s not an enemy and the one person who hears The Doctor’s tales writes them down and uses them to make a living as a soothsayer, with lasting effects on the future of mankind as those prophecies, embellished and made up by The Doctor, get taken seriously by people thousands of years later.
9. Jack the Ripper
Plenty of misinformation spread about the horrific murders perpetrated by ‘Saucy Jack’ at the turn of the century, and plenty of wild rumours. He could leap tall fences and vanish into the fog. In spite of being only metres away at the time of the murders, police couldn’t arrive fast enough to stop him killing a woman with precision cuts in the space it took her to scream. Even after the murder the killer, who must’ve been splattered with blood, was not spotted by any person in the area. All the elements are here for a great monster tale.
8. Douglas Adams
Whilst most of these ideas concern stand alone episodes this is one that would better suit the role of a companion. Whilst passing through 1970’s London The Doctor picks up a new passenger – a befuddled, drunken English backpacker left confused after he happened upon a convention by blind, deaf and mute people. The Doctor takes the young man with a sly wit and a passion for travel with him in the TARDIS. After a few misadventures he returns to Earth to publish his memoirs as fiction, renaming himself ‘Arthur Dent’ and The Doctor ‘Ford Prefect’.
7. The Tooth Fairy
The Doctor is zooming around time and space, doing his thing, when he receives a distress call from an old friend on the psychic paper. He travels back to Earth to answer the call for help from The Tooth Fairy. An alien from an extinct race who has made her home on Earth and used her abilities to harvest lost teeth, something essential for her survival, thus creating the myth of The Tooth Fairy. Now something else is collecting teeth and leaving her weakened and needing the Doctor to step in and help an old friend (or lover?).
6. H.P. Lovecraft
What would be ideal is a Doctor Who script written by the macabre scribe. He shares many themes with the classic science fiction show, but alas it cannot be. Instead we’ll just have to pair them up on screen. Lovecraft, author of ‘Herbert West – Reanimator’ and ‘The Call of Cthulhu’, often writes of ancient rites, hidden knowledge and the deities of old. This is the set up for a story in which The Doctor discovers that Lovecraft is unwittingly archiving the history of an alien race. For what purpose? That’s what the Doctor needs to find out.
5. Amelia Earhart
Earhart vanished during an attempted round-the-world flight and was declared dead in 1939 after extensive search efforts. Conspiracies and claims cover everything from being a spy to being eaten by cannibals. Here’s a suggested for what really happened: her plane the Electra crashes midair into a just-materialized TARDIS. Rescuing the downed pilot the Doctor is quite taken with her attitude and bravado and seeks to set her back on her course – until a glimpse into the future reveals that history may not work out very well if she completes her missions.
4. Jesus of Nazareth
I don’t expect that this would actually go into production, being a touchy subject to tackle in science fiction, but there are plenty of stories that stem from the idea. The way I’d approach it would be the Doctor arriving in the Middle-East during Jesus’ rise in popularity, the era of his miracles, and the Doctor follows him around in the role of a disciple. Thinking that there’s something else behind his ‘abilities’, the Doctor tries to find the source. At the end of the day the Doctor is unable to conclude one way or another whether he’s the real deal.
3. William Blake
William Blake is an artist whose works influenced both free love movements and the Age of Enlightenment, and consisted heavily of religious themes and motifs. Many readers will be familiar with one series of works in particular – the Great Red Dragon that featured heavily in the Hannibal Lector story. Throughout his life Blake claimed to have visions, beginning with God pressing his face against his window when he was a child. Other claims included seeing demons, ghosts and angels. Did someone say Angels? There’s the makings of a great story.
2. Nicolas Tesla
The Doctor arrives at the turn of the century but the TARDIS is low on juice. Seeking out the resident genius of the era, Tesla, The Doctor needs access to his lab and his alternating current to jump-start the blue box. One hitch in the plan – rival inventor Edison is out to destroy Tesla using a device that he shouldn’t have. A device possibly alien in origin.
1. Leonardo da Vinci
One of the greatest inventors and artists in all of history – why wouldn’t the Doctor want to meet this great man?! Ah, but here’s the twist – The Doctor’s companions notice that da Vinci and the Doctor share some idiosyncrasies. The Doctor claims that this is just shared habits between geniuses…until da Vinci checks his fob watch. He’s really a future incarnation of the Doctor, trapped in time and with his personality stored in the watch. With no-one around to remind him he’s spent decades sketching ideas that float through his consciousness. The Doctor has to unravel the mystery of how he winded up here.
So…drop me a call if you happen to reading Mister Moffat **crosses fingers**.