For me, the ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’, written and directed by Peter Davison (the Fifth Doctor) was everything I really wanted out of the 50th anniversary. It was filled with Classic and NuWho humor, and as a dutiful Whovian, I thought I’d do you up a nice guide to every reference made.

Things, such as Colin Baker‘s stint on ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!” and John Barrowman’s singing career have not been added in as they aren’t really Who references, but for the most part this should a thorough list.


1. Sean Pertwee and Oliva Colman

On the left is Sean Pertwee, actor and son of Jon Pertwee (The Third Doctor). On the right is Olivia Colman, who you may recognize from the episode, “The Eleventh Hour”, where she played the mother whose image Prisoner Zero was using. She is also in a crime drama called ‘Broadchurch’ with David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor).

2. Watching “The Snowmen”

Peter Davison and his children are watching the Christmas Episode, “The Snowmen“.

3. Three of Peter Davison’s Favorite People

This is a tribute to Peter Davison’s favorite three people on the set of ‘Doctor Who’, his makeup ladies.

4. Tegan Still Bosses The Doctor Around

This is Janet Fielding, who played Tegan Jovanka, a Fifth Doctor Companion who accidentally wandered onto the TARDIS while trying to phone the police for help after her car broke down.

5. Doctor Who?

While in the car, the DJ on the radio talks about Peter Cushing being his favorite Doctor. For those of you new to the ‘Doctor Who’ trivia game, Peter Cushing is the apocrypha Doctor that appeared in two movies ‘Dr. Who and the Daleks’ and ‘Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2051 AD’. Though based off of ‘Doctor Who’ serials, they are not considered canon.

6. Celery

Georgia Moffett, who is both Peter Davison’s daughter  and the actress who portrayed Jenny, the Doctor’s daughter in the eponymous episode, “The Doctor’s Daughter”, is eating peanut butter with celery, a callback to the celery that is on the Fifth Doctor’s lapel.

7. Who’s the Ood?

Peter Davison is standing next to an Ood, who first made an appearance in “The Impossible Planet”, the first of a two-part Tenth Doctor episode. They speak with the Orb they are holding and are not as evil as they appear.

8. Ignoring Dad in Favor of…

It’s hard to tell, but it’s likely that Davison’s children are playing the game “Doctor Who: Return To Earth” which features Amy Pond and the Eleventh Doctor.

9. “Now I’ll Never Know”

Okay, this is a lot of references in this scene, so strap in.

Firstly, let’s talk about the companions that show up.

Katy Manning: Jo Grant, Third Doctor companion
Louise Jameson: Leela, Fourth Doctor companion
Carole Ann Ford: Susan Foreman, First Doctor’s granddaughter/companion
Deborah Watling: Victoria Waterfield, Second Doctor companion
Sophie Aldred: Ace, Seventh Doctor Companion
Sarah Sutton: Nyssa, Fifth Doctor Companion
Lalla Ward: Romana II, Fourth Doctor Companion
K-9: Fourth Doctor Companion
Anneke Wills: Polly, First and Second Doctor Companion
Lisa Bowerman: Karra from the last episode of Classic Who aired, “Survival”, and Big Finish companion, Professor Bernice Summerfield, a Seventh and Eighth Doctor companion.
Matthew Waterhouse: Adric, Fifth Doctor companion

Lastly, the final joke/reference is Matthew Waterhouse asking “Is it me?”, then saying “Now I’ll never know if I was right.” just before he explodes. This is in reference to his character, Adric, and his death in the episode “Earthshock” where he dies before he can learn if his calculations were correct.

10. Davison’s Secret Contact

The contact that has a Scottish accent and is married to Peter Davison’s daughter is David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor.

11. Paul McGann

This is one of the more obvious references, and I put it in only because a great deal of people forget about the Eighth Doctor. In any case, this is Paul McGann, one of Britain’s hardest working actors. The jokes about him filming a television series, and his absence from the rest of this reboot are in reference to that.

He did actually appear in more 50th Doctor Who festivities in this excellent minisode titled ‘The Night of the Doctor’.

12. Tom Baker Gets Stuck in the Same Time Vortex

The scene where the three doctors call Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor, in reference to the 20th anniversary special, “The Five Doctors”, where rather conspicuously, only four Doctors showed up. At the time, Tom Baker was distancing himself from his tenure from ‘Doctor Who’, and elected not to join. The writers then had to write out the Fourth Doctor by using old, unused footage with some 80s-tastic special effects to make it look like he was swept away in a time vortex.

13. Baker’s DVD

The disk that Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor, puts in is “Vengeance on Varos”, which features he and his companion Peri. It is known as one of his darker serials.

14. Who’s That?

Of course, that is John Barrowman, or Captain Jack Harkness, informing Peter Davison that ‘Doctor Who’ is filmed in Cardiff. Peter Davison is standing in front of where Classic Who was filmed.

15. Name the Quote! (Part 1)

Here, Slyvester McCoy is quoting bits of a conversation that he had with an employee named John at a coffee shop in “The Remembrance of the Daleks”. The original conversation is as follows:

John: Sugar?
Doctor: Ah. A decision… Would it make any difference?
John: Would make your tea sweet.
Doctor: Yes, but beyond the confines of my taste buds, would it make any difference?
John: Not really.
Doctor: But what if I could control people’s taste buds? What if I decided that no one would take sugar? That’d make a difference to those who sell the sugar and those who cut the cane.
John: My father, he was a cane cutter!
Doctor: Exactly. Now if no one had used sugar, your father wouldn’t have been a cane cutter.
John: If this sugar thing had never started, my great grandfather wouldn’t have been kidnapped, chained up and sold in Kingston in the first place. I’d be a African.
Doctor: Every great decision creates ripples. Like a huge boulder dropping in a lake. The ripples merge and rebound off the banks in unforseeable ways. The heavier the decision, the larger the waves, the more uncertain the consequences.
John: Life’s like that. Best thing is just to get on with it.

16. Name the Quote! (Part 2)

Here, after McCoy mentions he messed up his quote about tea and sugar, Colin Baker quips “Ah, what’s the use of a good quote if you can’t change it?”

The original line was “What’s the use of a good quotation if you can’t change it?”, and it was said in the episode “The Two Doctors” which featured by Colin Baker and Patrick Troughton, the Second Doctor.

17. The Doctor Who Experience

This reference is more for American viewers than British, but the Doctors are visiting “The Doctor Who Experience”, which is a Doctor Who exhibit in Cardiff featuring props and fun info. It is also a traveling exhibit, and is often in different places around the UK.

18. It’s Not as Big as Davison Remembers

The obvious joke is that TARDIS is not in fact bigger on the outside, but most fans think it’s a call back to Peter Davison’s video message for Gallifrey One 2011, where he walks into a TARDIS at The Doctor Who Experience, and is in the old control room, just as if it were the real TARDIS. Watch the video here.

19. Mood Music

The music used while they sneak around outside is Classic Who music. When they get inside the studio, it is NuWho music.

20. The White Minimalist TARDIS

Basically, this entire scene is about the TARDIS control room they all shared, which was white, apparently not well made, and very bright.

21. Name the Daleks!

From left to right, the Dalek operators are David Troughton,  Nicholas Briggs, and Frank Skinner. Troughton’s father is Patrick Troughton, the Second Doctor. Nicholas Briggs is the current voice of the Daleks and the Cybermen. I haven’t really worked out why Frank Skinner is there, aside from the fact he’s a massive fan.

This isn’t really a reference, but they are adorably reading a “Dalek Operator Manual”.

22. Sontarans

A Sontaran wanders through in the background. Sontarans first appeared in the Third Doctor serial, “The Time Warrior” and have been a popular race in NuWho.

23. Exterminate

Baker says “Exterminate” as a reference to the Daleks (it is their catchphrase) they were playing earlier in the episode.

24. Russell “The” Davies

And finally, it’s Russell T. Davies, the original head of NuWho which brought ‘Doctor Who’ back to a willing and loving populace!

So, there you have it! All the references you never thought you wanted.