Doctor Who is the British time travel show that Americans love to watch due to its rich history and depiction of English customs.

The center of the show is a character called the Doctor, who is a Time Lord from another planet. He travels around in a police box which is called the TARDIS.

A number of people have portrayed the role of the Doctor over the years, particularly because it has been around since 1963. When the show rebooted in 2005, interest in the premise was renewed.

There have also been a number of spinoffs for this classic show, such as The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood.


If you are considering getting stuck into Doctor Who, here’s what you need to know before getting started. The Doctor is a Time Lord who travels the galaxy, usually with a companion he picks up from Earth.

The Doctor’s backstory is that he fled his home planet, Gallifrey, in a stolen time machine – the TARDIS. This word is short for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space.

While the TARDIS looks very small on the outside, those who are fortunate enough to step inside will see that it is vast – certainly large enough to serve as a home away from home.

There will usually be someone going on various adventures with the Doctor, and when the Time Lord experiences fatal damage to his body, he will regenerate into another human.

Cast and characters

There are thirteen Doctors at the time of writing. Those who have played the role are as follows:

William Hartnell – First Doctor, from 1963 to 1966

Patrick Troughton – Second Doctor, from 1966 to 1969

Jon Pertwee – Third Doctor, from 1970 to 1974

Tom Baker – Fourth Doctor, from 1974 to 1981

Peter Davison – Fifth Doctor, from 1982 to 1984

Colin Baker – Sixth Doctor, from 1984 to 1986

Sylvester McCoy – Seventh Doctor, from 1987 to 1989

Paul McGann – Eight Doctor, in 1996

Christopher Eccleston – Ninth Doctor, in 2005

David Tennant – Tenth Doctor, from 2005 to 2010

Matt Smith – Eleventh Doctor, from 2010 to 2013

Peter Capaldi – Twelfth Doctor, from 2014 to 2017

Jodie Whittaker – Thirteenth Doctor, from 2018

The Doctor has had a number of companions. These are as follows:

First companions – Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford), Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill), Ian Chesterton (William Russell)

Other early companions – Romana, a Time Lady (Mary Tamm and Lalla Ward), Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), Jo Grant (Katy Manning)

Ninth and Tenth Doctors – Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), Donna Noble (Catherine Tate)

Secondary companions to Ninth and Tenth Doctors – Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke), Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)

Eleventh Doctor – Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Cavill)

Other friends for Eleventh Doctor – River Song (Alex Kingston), Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman)

Twelfth Doctor – Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie)

Enemies include the following:

The Daleks




Time Lords



Great Intelligence

Ice Warriors





Weeping Angels

The Silence

Filming locations

Doctor Who has been filmed in a huge number of places. These include:

The London Eye, London, UK

Clearwell Caves, Gloucestershire, UK

Roald Dahl Pass, Cardiff, UK

Ragley Hall, Warwickshire, UK

There is a dedicated website which logs all Doctor Who filming locations.


Doctor Who was originally broadcast back in 1963 on BBC One, a British television channel. The production company and distributor is BBC Studios. The picture quality has improved over the years, going from 405 line black and white to 1080p in the present day. Similarly, while the audio format was initially mono back in the 60s, it is now 5.1 surround sound.

Doctor Who itself was created by Sydney Newman, CE Webber and Donald Wilson. The theme music composer is Ron Grainer, and the composer since 2018 has been Segun Akinola.

Episodes and reception

There are 861 Doctor Who episodes at the time of writing, of which 97 are missing. In total, there are currently 295 storylines. Regular episodes initially ran for 25 minutes, before being expanded to 45 minutes and eventually 50 minutes by 2018. Specials can last anywhere between 50 and 90 minutes.

A number of episodes are listed as missing due to the fact that the BBC had a habit of regularly deleting archive programmes between 1967 and 1978 due to reasons such as lack of space or lack of rebroadcast rights. This means that seasons 3 to 5 have a number of episodes missing, and 26 serials are not available in their complete format.

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HBO Max is built around HBO programming, with all of the titles people have enjoyed watching over the years being put in one central hub. There are also several notable acquisitions – for example, Friends was taken off Netflix in January 2020 in preparation for its move to the streamer. There is content from WarnerMedia companies such as DC Entertainment, New Line Cinema, Castle Rock Entertainment, The CW, CNN, TruTV, TBS, TNT, Crunchyroll, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, Hanna-Barbera, Turner Classic Movies and Turner Entertainment.

Pros and Cons


  • A strong library of HBO content, with classics that people associate with the brand.
  • Unique user interface with picks from influencers and talent.
  • Investments in popular titles such as South Park and the Studio Ghibli films.


  • Higher price point than other streaming services on the market.
  • Parent company is a telecoms business, so is inexperienced in video streaming.
  • A later launch date than Apple TV+ and Disney+ – will people still be considering new services?

Types of content available

In July 2019, it was reported that HBO Max would feature 10,000 hours of content upon launch. This library features exclusives such as the complete run of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Big Bang Theory and South Park. All 21 of Studio Ghibli’s animated films are also part of the library, with notable titles including Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro.

Original content includes DC Comics shows from Greg Berlanti called Green Lantern and Strange Adventures, a Riverdale spinoff called Katy Keene, an adaptation of The Last of the Mohicans, Grease: Rydell High, a comedy called Made for Love and a limited series called Station Eleven.

All 11 seasons of the modern Doctor Who have been picked up by HBO Max, and there are further seasons being planned. When they have made their debut on BBC America, they will move to the streaming service.

The DC Extended Universe superhero movies are also available, as are the Godzilla and King Kong films. The Lord of the Rings franchise is a part of the library, too. However, Harry Potter’s Wizarding World won’t be available until 2025 due to an exclusive streaming rights deal purchased by NBCUniversal.

J.J. Abrams signed a $250 million production deal to produce new content for HBO Max, and a number of original series can be expected on the platform. Other originals with big names behind them include at least two original movies from Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine. 

Further recognisable names include The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco producing and starring in The Flight Attendant, Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort appearing in Tokyo Vice, Anna Kendrick’s work on romantic comedy Love Life and a film from comedian Rose Matafeo called Starstruck. 

Existing content being picked up includes a Gossip Girl reboot, an animated Gremlins prequel and a Dune spinoff called Dune: The Sisterhood.

Top HBO Max TV shows and movies

  • Made for Love – A woman married to a tech CEO tries to escape him. However, he becomes obsessed with finding her and forcing her to connect with him using brain chips.
  • Dune: The Sisterhood – A series comprising ten episodes which is based on the Dune sci-fi novels. The Bene Gesserit women are focused on.
  • The Flight Attendant – The titular character wakes up next to a dead body in a hotel room in Dubai. Kaley Cuoco from The Big Bang Theory stars and produces.
  • Gossip Girl – The classic series is back in a reboot, centering on rich teenagers who go to private schools in New York City.
  • Tokyo Vice – Centers on the Tokyo Metropolitan police and stars Baby Driver actor Ansel Elgort.
  • The Boondocks – The animated series makes a comeback in a revival on HBO Max. The original is also available in the library.
  • Legendary – A competition series which focuses on people who participate in voguing battles. 
  • Love Life – Starring Anna Kendrick, this is a romantic comedy series spanning half an hour.
  • Raised by Wolves – Ridley Scott is the director for this science fiction series.
  • Karma – A competition show for kids who solve puzzles and challenges while off the grid.
  • Americanah – A limited series, starring Lupita Nyong’o. It focuses on a young Nigerian woman who moves to the US.
  • Circe – A limited series based on the novel. The central focus is the Greek mythological god Circe.
  • Looney Tunes – There are 80 new shorts, each lasting 11 minutes. Classic characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck make a return.
  • Adventure Time – The TV series is back with four specials, each of which is an hour in duration.
  • Gremlins – The Animated Series – The creatures from the two movies make a comeback in an animated series on the streamer.
  • Station Eleven – A dystopian series which focuses on how the world goes on after most of its population is killed in a pandemic.
  • The Greatest Space – A competition series featuring contests between interior designers.
  • Grease – Rydell High – Based on the classic 1950s Broadway and movie musical, this musical TV show brings back original characters and introduces new ones.
  • Craftopedia – A competition where kids complete crafting challenges.

User interface

Content on HBO Max is available for offline viewing, which means you will be able to keep up to date with your favorite shows while on the go. Furthermore, there are measures such as a PIN system in place for parental control. This way, you can be sure that kids won’t log into the streamer without your knowledge and watch content which is inappropriate for them.

HBO Max is similar to Disney Plus in that it has content hubs based on brands – much like Disney has hubs for Star Wars, Marvel and so on. Another measure is ‘co-viewing’ homepages, with suggestions that represent the viewing tastes of multiple people in a household. This makes viewing easier for couples or families, as a profile won’t just contain recommendations for one person.

While Netflix provides recommendations based on their famous algorithm, HBO Max focuses on featuring pics from ‘talent’ and ‘influencers’. There are short videos alongside the content they choose. This is similar to the way some physical book shops recommend particular books, with a note on why they have been chosen. Some of the talent featured on HBO Max includes Bill Hader and Regina King. 

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