Today (26th March 2023), the Doctor Who Companion celebrates its seventh birthday. That feels quite mad, honestly. As you might or might not know, the DWC was created after Kasterborous seemingly sunk and the displaced crew was looking for somewhere else to enthuse about Doctor Who. I began writing for Kasterborous in 2011 and the DWC launched in 2016; while the K has been going long before that (indeed, I was an avid visitor and pitched to its editor, Christian Cawley – who, I’m happy to say, has become a good friend – based on my years of reading), I’ve now technically been working on the DWC longer than I had on Kasterborous.
The DWC launched on the anniversary of Rose airing, so today also marks a celebration for 21st Century Who.
Seven years, though. There’s something curious about seven years, isn’t there? There’s the old adage of the “seven-year itch”, of course, but you can find patterns and cycles relating to that number all over. Astrology, chakras, religions, science, psychology: all find seven-year milestones to be important. Our very minds and bodies change in seven years.
So what’s changed for Doctor Who in seven years? Everything and nothing, perhaps.
Fundamentally, it’s the exact same show and franchise as it was in 2016, as it was in 2005, as it was in 1989, as it was in 1963. To survive that long, of course, it’s got to change, although I shirk at that notion that “Doctor Who is all about change”. To me, “the more things change, the more they stay the same” is more so true. Doctor Who is about a traveller in all time and space fixing wrongs and fighting monsters. There it is. That’s true of every era: if it weren’t, it wouldn’t be Doctor Who.
The DWC debuted at a difficult period in Doctor Who, i.e. in the long gap between The Husbands of River Song and The Return of Doctor Mysterio, so the latter was the first episode screened while the DWC existed; but we’ve gone through more difficult periods since, both in the show and behind the scenes.
Still, in those seven years, we’ve had 45 episodes, from the aforementioned Return of Doctor Mysterio to The Power of the Doctor, including some classic stories like:
- The Pilot
- World Enough and Time/ The Doctor Falls
- Fugitive of the Judoon
- The Haunting of Villa Diodati
- Village of the Angels
We’ve had quite a few Doctors: Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, David Bradley (sort of) as the First Doctor, Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor, Jo Martin as the Fugitive Doctor, seemingly endless Timeless Children, David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor (albeit briefly so far, in the cliffhanger of The Power of the Doctor), and, looking ahead, Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor.
That’s the most significant thing to happen to Doctor Who: two complete changes of era in less than a decade. Steven Moffat handed the reins over to Chris Chibnall, and then, when Chibnall left, Russell T Davies made an unexpected return as showrunner. A surprising turn of events.
I think it’s fair to say that Chibnall’s era of the programme has been divisive, arguably more divisive than any other, at least in recent times. Personally, it made me fall out of love with Doctor Who — something I never really thought would happen — so maintaining this site has been tough, especially since Andrew Reynolds, the DWC’s co-founder, left and some personal issues raised their ugly heads. So what’s carried me on?
This team, of course. Or more accurately, this community.
I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the Doctor Who Companion in whatever capacity in the past seven years, whether they be writers, advisors, commenters, or readers. You all make the DWC what it is today.
The Doctor Who Companion started with a solid readership, grew pretty quickly, I’m proud to say, and has generally kept at a good level with a few slight and mercifully brief dips in readership. In one astonishing day in 2020, we had our most views ever: over 22,096. No one expected that, certainly not me. It’s overwhelming and means that, at the time of writing, the DWC has had 3,254,710 all-time views.
As for the number of news articles, reviews, features, and more we’ve published in seven years, that’s hardly to pin down. A few years ago, we migrated servers and lost a lot of content — it still exists, but in a back-up that’s hard to retrieve and sync with the current site. Even without those pieces, however, we’ve published 3,283 articles. Well, 3,284 now!
And of course, we’ve got a lot more planned in the future, including some exciting features across Easter.
If you’d like to write for the DWC, please do get in touch with us — firstname.lastname@example.org — and if you don’t hear back, our spam filters have been working in overtime, so prod me here in the comments section. We’re always open to more contributors, more voices, more thoughts, so contact us if you want to write one article, occasional features, or regularly. Whatever is on your mind.
Thank you for sticking with us, everyone. The best is yet to come!