All In The Family
Is time travel a family business? Maybe not, but acting certainly is.
The actors who’ve played the Doctor and his companions may be universally known, but family members have been known to turn up – on TV and in numerous audio stories we don’t have time to document here.
And in anticipation of Father’s Day, here are a few performers who’ve popped into the TARDIS – or at least lingered just outside…
Jack Watling (The Abominable Snowmen, 1967 / The Web Of Fear (1968)
The Great Intelligence was the main villain in series 7 (2012-13), but years earlier, the Second Doctor encountered him twice – in the snowy peaks of the Himalayan mountains and then the depths of the London Underground.
On both occasions the Doctor and his companions Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Victoria (Deborah Watling) encountered the headstrong Professor Travers – played in both stories by Deborah’s father, Jack.
Here, the bearded professor argues with his (screen) daughter Anne over the whereabouts of a crucial sphere – the only thing that can control the Yeti…
David Troughton (The Curse Of Peladon, 1972 / Midnight, 2008)
If guest stars had a frequent flyer programme, David Troughton – son of Second Doctor Patrick – would be in the Gold Club.
Appearing as an extra in The Enemy Of The World (1968) and a soldier in The War Games (1969), he then went on to take a central role as the foppish King Peladon opposite Jon Pertwee.
But it’s David’s more recent role as Professor Hobbes in 2008’s Midnight that is arguably his finest hour. A late replacement for the unavailable Sam Kelly, he’s the picture of academic stuffiness – even before the knocking starts…
Georgia Moffett (The Doctor’s Daughter, 2008)
The Doctor ‘was a Dad once’ – but that’s all the information you’re getting.
In The Doctor’s Daughter he memorably became a father again, thanks to greatly accelerated (not to mention wildly implausible) cloning technology.
However, his on-screen daughter Jenny was played by former Fifth Doctor Peter Davison’s real-life daughter Georgia.
In a further twist, she went on to marry David Tennant, thus becoming the Doctor’s daughter and the Doctor’s wife. Please don’t tell River.
Caitlin Blackwood (The Eleventh Hour / The Big Bang, 2010)
When Karen Gillan was discussing her role as Amy Pond with producers, she suggested a cousin she’d never met to play the young girl who greets the Eleventh Doctor when he climbs out of the TARDIS.
Caitlin Blackwood went on to appear in the series finale, where she memorably disappeared in the middle of a museum (something my children do all the time), as well as cropping up whenever the writers needed a flashback.
Here she is in what is perhaps the seven-year-old Amelia’s most famous moment – although the legend goes that the young Caitlin was purposely fluffing her lines so that Matt Smith would have to keep eating the fish custard…
William Morgan Sheppard (The Impossible Astronaut, 2011)
2011 was the year Doctor Who went all out to conquer America – and filming in Utah was a good start.
The Doctor is mysteriously murdered during a picnic by the lake (except, of course, he isn’t), before travelling back in time to 1969 to deal with the Silence.
Mark Sheppard assists as FBI Agent Canton Everett Delaware III, but when the script called for an older Canton, Mark suggested his father William, who lends the scene the necessary gravitas.
Michael Troughton (Last Christmas, 2014)
Another year, another Troughton.
This time it’s the turn of David’s brother Michael, who appeared in the 2014 Christmas episode as Professor Albert Smithe, in a gloomy Arctic base where no one knows what’s real and what isn’t.
Sadly there really isn’t an awful lot for Michael to do before he’s dispatched by the dream crabs.
Honourable mention: The Five-ish Doctors Reboot (2013)
This light-hearted spoof doesn’t exactly count, but it’s brilliant.
With the fiftieth anniversary celebrations in full swing, three (and a half) former Time Lords do their utmost to get roles in Day Of The Doctor, by any means necessary.
The script is basically an excuse for half an hour of in-jokes and cameos from just about everyone who’s still alive – old companions are abundant, and there are appearances from Sean (son of Jon) Pertwee, Peter Davison’s children, and Colin Baker’s entire family.