Australia in Doctor Who

Most of Doctor Who, obviously, has taken place in England (or alternatively, on planets with earth-like quarries), but occasionally the show has stretched its wings and gone farther afield…and Down Under.

Looks a little like an alien planet, right?

(Daily Doctor Who #174)

To be clear, we’re not talking about Doctor Who in Australia–that’s a different thing that we can look at some day. But this is where Australia, the country or the continent, has put in appearances on Doctor Who.

For the sake of brevity we’re limiting ourselves to TV here.

Starting simple, there are a number of Doctor Who characters who are connected with Australia. Notably, the Fifth Doctor’s companion, Tegan Jovanka (as played by Janet Fielding) was from Brisbane. Magnus Greel, the Doctor’s enemy from The Talons of Weng-Chiang was a cruel government enforcer who had earned the title “The Butcher of Brisbane” for atrocities he had committed. Greg Sutton, the Doctor’s ally during Inferno, was apparently also from Australia. And Kirkutji was an Indigenous Australian who had been kidnapped by Monarch and his people many thousands of years earlier.

To my knowledge, the Doctor has been seen actually to visit Australia at least four times on television

The Enemy of the World

The first couple of episodes of the Second Doctor story, The Enemy of the World, are set in Australia. The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria frolic on a beach there, stated to be a ten miles west of Cape Arid. In real life, Cape Arid is on the southern coast of Western Australia (my state, although a good distance from Perth, which is my city). There, they get wrapped up in government intrigue surrounding a public figure called Salamander, a corrupt and ambitious world leader who happens to resemble the Doctor.

This is, as far as I know, the Doctor’s only portrayed visit to Australia in the classic series.

A Christmas Carol

The 2010 Christmas special, A Christmas Carol, is the first of several times that we saw the Doctor in Australia in what amounted to quick parts of a montage. Much of the story shows the Eleventh Doctor, Kazran Sardick, and Abigail on a series of fun outtings spent on successive Chrismas Eves. In one quick moment, we see a picture of the three of them in front of Uluru in the Northern Territory.

The Pilot

In The Pilot, the Twelfth Doctor and Bill spend a bunch of time running around through time to escape the sentient oil that has come to resemble Bill’s friend Heather. On their first such effort–and on Bill’s first journey on the TARDIS–they go to Sydney, by the Sydney Harbour Bridge. They are only there for a few moments before they take off again.

Spyfall

I was almost going to count Resolution, when the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends talk about spending a succession of New Year’s Eves together. Ryan’s favorite is the 2000 New Year in Sydney, watching the fireworks from the bridge. But then I realized we don’t actually get to see Sydney here. No, it wasn’t until the next story that we had some of the Thirteenth Doctor, Ryan, Yaz and Graham actually going to Australia, in the first part of Spyfall.

There, the “fam” goes to see an old friend of the Doctor’s who turns out to be an older enemy, in the outback of Australia–specifically, the Great Victoria Desert. This, by the way, is not in Victoria as one my guess, but Western Australia and South Australia. It’s not specified which state they are in, as far as I know, which leaves it forever ambiguous which Australian state the Doctor has visited the most.

Interestingly, though, the Doctor claims to have actually lived in the Australian outback for 123 years…which means maybe Australia is the country the earth country the Doctor has spent the most time in!

Oh well, until it’s proven otherwise, we’ll own it!

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