Doctor Who is a British science-fiction drama series produced by the BBC from November 23, 1963 to December 6, 1989, and again since March 26, 2005, with a television movie in 1996. It depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known simply as "the Doctor", who, as of 2017, has been portrayed by fourteen different actors (excluding spinoffs that included other Doctors, such as Dr. Who and the Daleks and Doctor Who Unbound, a Big Finish audio series).
A video compilation of all the title sequences up to 2018 was posted by the BBC here.
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The original Doctor Who title sequence, for the original Doctor (played by William Hartnell), designed by Bernard Lodge, used a distorting visual effect known as "howlaround", caused by pointing a TV camera at its own monitor. This effect had been accidentally created by Norman Taylor, at the time a technical operations manager at the BBC.
For the 50th anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor, this title sequence was recreated in high definition, with the BBC logo being added under the Doctor Who logo.
In March 1967, four months after Patrick Troughton succeeded William Hartnell as the Doctor, the decision was taken to refresh the titles. These retained the "howlaround" effect but additionally featured the Doctor's face, a practice that continued until the show was brought back in 2005, when this practice was stopped. It returned, however, in 2012, when Matt Smith's face was shown during the title sequence. The series logo was also refreshed, being rendered in Times New Roman font.
January 1970 saw the introduction of colour to the show, as well as the third Doctor: Jon Pertwee. Accordingly, Bernard Lodge refreshed the titles again, retaining the "howlaround" effect once more and introducing a specifically-designed series logo.
A completely new title sequence, once again designed by Bernard Lodge, was introduced in December 1973. This made use of a technique known as "slit-scan", first used in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Here, multiple exposures of light refracting in polythene plastic were filmed through different-shaped slits in black card on a rostrum camera, thus creating time-tunnel effects.
To go with this sequence was another specifically-designed series logo, in the shape of a diamond. When Tom Baker took over as the Doctor in December 1974, the sequence was revised, with the "slit-scan" technique being further applied to an image of the Doctor's time machine, the TARDIS.
In 1980, the diamond logo was replaced by a neon sign-style logo. The theme of the title sequence this time was space, rather than a time tunnel theme, this time by Sid Sutton. Peter Howell also did a new rendition of the Doctor Who theme.
When Colin Baker was introduced as the sixth incarnation of the Doctor, the production team decided a new logo and title sequence was needed. It was more colourful, trying to fit into Colin's colourful outfit as the 6th Doctor and is slightly curved. After an 18-month "hiatus" during Colin's run, a new rendition of the Doctor Who theme was made by Dominic Glynn to accompany the "Trial of a Time Lord" series of episodes.
When Sylvester McCoy was introduced as the seventh incarnation of the Doctor, a new title sequence, and a new rendition of the show's theme song were introduced. The logo comprises the word 'Doctor' in a gold script font and "WHO" using a purple, thick-set sans-serif font, with a red glow effect. The title sequence was the first to be made in CGI for Doctor Who. It was also the first time we saw the TARDIS in the title sequence since the Tom Baker title sequence.
When the 1996 TV movie was released, it used a remastered version of the 1970 logo used during the time of Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor, which is coincidental because Pertwee died in 1996, the year the TV movie aired. The only changes were to the letters C, T, R, and W, as well as slightly increasing the letter spacing. As the last logo used before the show's relaunch in 2005, it became used for most pieces of Doctor Who media and merchandising relating to the classic series, continuing after the relaunch to distinguish merchandise from the new series (which used their respective logos below). This lasted until 2018, when all Doctor Who media in both the classic and revived series began to use the latest logo, marking the end of this logo's continual 20-year usage. The first releases to switch to the new branding were the official magazine, Big Finish Production's monthly audio releases, and The Collection: Season 12 Blu-ray of Tom Baker's first season.
The metallic shield logo was used for the first two revived series (the Ninth Doctor's only series, and the Tenth's first series). This version was only seen on-screen, as promotional material and merchandising used the coloured 2006 logo below.
In 2006, during the tenure of the Tenth Doctor played by David Tennant, the on-screen logo was altered to include white glows and a brighter color scheme, matching the one used for merchandising. Despite the logo being replaced by a new one in 2010, it was still used in the Doctor Who DVD Files partwork up until its final issue in 2014.
When Steven Moffat started as showrunner, and the Eleventh Doctor played by Matt Smith began his tenure, a new logo was introduced, comprised of two main parts: the main logo and the "DW" icon. In the title sequence, the icon rotated and turned into the TARDIS, which then flew down the time vortex. The "DW" icon was used in isolation in other media, such as advertising and books. In 2011, the Doctor Who logo in the titles was slightly altered, and the BBC logo was added in the bottom right corner.
For each episode of Series 7 in 2012, the logo is retextured with a theme based on that particular episode. The font is identical to the previous logo, however the shaped "DW" icon in the middle of the title has been removed from the on-screen logo, featuring afterwards.
For the second half of Series 7 the title sequence was redesigned, using close-up and space-themed imagery and restoring the Doctor's face to the title sequence. The previous logo's wordmark was kept, removing the shaped "DW" iconic (however it remained in use separately in promotion and merchandising until 2018). For the 2012 Christmas special, The Snowmen, the title was textured with a snow theme, in the same vein as the first half of Series 7's variant titles. The rest of the second half of the series from The Bells of Saint John to The Time of the Doctor instead had a silver-white metallic texture.
This is the final iteration of the 2010 logo, used for the entirety of Peter Capaldi's era as the Twelfth Doctor (from Deep Breath to Twice Upon a Time). The custom typeface remains the same, however the "slits" in the letters have been widened, giving the text a bolder appearance.
The latest logo was introduced on February 20th, 2018, ending the usage of the 2010 logo which went through many modifications throughout the years. This logo uses a modified version of the Gotham typeface, adding angled serifs to some of the letters alongside a stroke and some distortion through the center of the logo (shown in the reveal video to be the flight path of the TARDIS).
It was first revealed at the BBC Worldwide Showcase, with the new logo debuting on-screen in Jodie Whittaker's first series as the Thirteenth Doctor in 2018, beginning with the second episode The Ghost Monument. The title sequence is reminiscent of the first three sequences' "howlaround" effects, albeit with the Doctor's face not making an appearance, and beveled metallic text added for the credits.
- For other related logos and images see: Doctor Who/Other
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