Children in Need: A History of the Doctor and Pudsey

When two big days fall close together, it’s always fun to turn them into one big party. So it’s no surprise that Doctor Who and Children in Need coincide to regularly! With November being the event’s month of choice and Doctor Who celebrating its anniversary on November 23, you’re likely to see the classic sci-fi roll out something special for the charity.

Today marks the big day — for Children in Need, that is — in the UK, as the BBC and organizations across the country band together to raise money for the underprivileged children of England. To celebrate, join us for a look back at the many times Doctor Who has given a bit of itself for the cause.


1983 – The Five Doctors

The four-part serial was made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Doctor Who — however, it originally ran as a 90-minute feature, and two days after the anniversary! The delay allowed it to coincide with 1983’s Children in Need telethon, which ran on November 25.


Dimensions in Time

In 1993, Doctor Who celebrated the Big 3-0 with a two-part story, Dimensions in Time. Not only was it a Children in Need special and an anniversary piece, it was also a crossover with popular UK soap opera EastEnders. The “plot” (such as it was) featured the Rani shunting the Doctor back and forth along his own timeline with various companions. Nowadays considered something of a conversation piece — if that — it doesn’t get much air time.


Born Again

Airing for Children in Need in 2005, Born Again featured David Tennant’s first extended scene as the Tenth Doctor, leading into The Christmas Invasion. The seven-minute episode gave us a chance to see Tennant interacting with Billie Piper, as well as a moment for fans new to the concept of regeneration to have a bit of reassurance before Christmas.


Time Crash

Featuring now in-laws David Tennant and Peter Davison, Time Crash was technically the new series’s first multi-Doctor jaunt. The Children in Need short aired in 2007, landing a skeptical Fifth Doctor in Tennie’s TARDIS as the former continued to mistake the latter for a rabid fan. (Well… he wasn’t completely wrong.) In the end, the light episode was a lovely referential piece, reminding fans of the special connection each has with “their” Doctor.


The Great Detective

One of the prequels released before 2012 special The Snowmen, The Great Detective reunited the now-famous Paternoster gang of A Good Man Goes to War. The second prequel aired closer to Christmas, with both setting up the scenario for the year’s Christmas special: the Eleventh Doctor had retired to Victorian England, and was now living atop a cloud. Little did we know how crucial the Paternoster Gang would become to the Doctor’s adventures!


Fantastic Beasts

Not strictly a Doctor Who special, but a cross Twelfth Doctor is one of Newt Scamander’s contacts as he calls through the BBC’s library trying to find Pudsey. Though 12’s impression of the adorable mascot is slightly more… uh. Bloodthirsty. Than the real thing.


This year’s telethon promises our first look at Twice Upon a Time, the Christmas special starring Peter Capaldi and David Bradley as the Twelfth and First Doctors. If, like us, you’re not in the UK, you can likely expect to catch it on YouTube later today.

And if you’re in the mood for a read, keep an eye out for Whoblique Strategies! The charity anthology mash-up features 70 writers (some of whom may be familiar to regular ReGen attendees) penning more than 275 pieces of flash fiction based on the series’s many episodes and Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards. Sales start November 23, with proceeds going (of course) to Children in Need. Look forward to it!

Want more chat about the history of Who with fellow fans? Register for (Re)Generation Who 2018! We’re welcoming Fifth Doctor Peter Davison, Sixth Doctor Colin Baker, Michelle Gomez (Missy/the Master), Terry Molloy (Davros), John Leeson (K9), writer Paul Magrs, and many more to be announced! Register early for the best price, and be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all the latest news!

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