The Matrix Online

Season 8 is nearly upon us. Every day we see exciting photos and interviews with Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat. So while everything right now is shiny and new in the world of Who, let’s be as rebellious as the Twelfth Doctor himself and fly the Tardis back along the Doctor’s timeline. But how?

Digitised newspapers. Many tabloids and broadsheets have published back issues online – a  real-life Matrix of Who-related articles, all easily accessible from the comfort of your own keyboard! No need to grab the Key of Rassilon from the Keeper! (or is it the dastardly Valeyard – above)

Most online archives allow users to set a time range. “Mmm, why not 1963-1969?”, I thought. I chose my search terms carefully to make sure the results were relevant. They were “Doctor Who”, “William Hartnell”, “Patrick Troughton” and “Verity Lambert”. I didn’t forget “Dalek” and “Tardis” either.

I found a large number of tv listings and many gems, such as “Doctor Who Cut Off Wrong Leg Loses Licence” or “Doctor Who Shared Bunker Said Hitler’s Drug Use Was Staggering”. 

However among all the flotsam and jetsam I had struck gold. Gallifreyan gold! Fellow Whovians, read on…

Let’s look at an article featuring Carole Ann Ford before she became Susan in the ‘Ottawa Citizen’ – June 18th 1960.


Moving on, was ‘Doctor Who’ planned for 52 weeks from the start? Did it feature an amiable scientist? I think not. Maybe the Valeyard has been tampering with the Matrix…

(The Australian Women’s Weekly – January 8th 1964)

I wonder why the term “pepperpots” took precedence in Whovian lingo. It could have been so different…

(The Victoria Advocate – January 3rd 1965)

A Dalek fights for women’s rights…

(The Tuscaloosa News – May 13th 1966)

The arrival of the Second Doctor sees some interesting spelling choices and ‘radio-activated robots’. 

(The Age – September 12th 1967)

More interest in the “strangely new” Troughton for his second tale. Tardis without the ‘the’? And Scotland. Will the new Doctor bump into his Seventh or Twelfth persona? Oh my giddy aunt!

(The Canberra Times – 28th August 1967)

A colour picture of Bill Strutton as he looks on at his creation, the Zarbi. Is he thinking “Blimey! Is that what I dreamed up?” Or is he just looking past at the gorgeous Gina?

(Australian Women’s Weekly – March 24th 1965)

And finally from ‘The Lewiston Evening Journal’, April 7 1908, an eye-catching headline and quite literally a guy with a rather unusual surname. Hardly the most pleasant of circumstances though…

Why don’t you have a look online and see what you can find? What keywords would you use to find Whovian gold? Maybe you have found something already? All comments appreciated!

* Thanks to @SpacePirateOz for the Zarbi humour!


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