Which cities have appeared the most in Doctor Who?

The new cast of Doctor Who. Image: BBC.

This Sunday sees Sheffield join an elite club.

That’s right: along with Aberdeen, Bristol, Cardiff, Hull, Liverpool, Leeds, and London, Sheffield will become “a real UK city that has been featured in BBC TV’s Doctor Who”, which is clearly way more important than being a City of Culture or hosting an Olympics or whatever.

To celebrate this achievement, we’ve decided to count every appearance of a city on BBC TV’s Doctor Who to find out once and for all which city is the best at appearing in BBC TV’s Doctor Who.

(Excluding fictional space cities. For arbitrary reasons, in the old series we’ve counted appearances per story, in the new one we’ve counted by episode. And we’ve counted by the supposed setting, not filming location. Sorry, Cardiff.)

In reverse order:

8th equal – 1 appearance

Aberdeen – well, just about. Thirty years after the fact, an episode of the new series revealed that this was where Doctor Who had left companion Sarah Jane Smith at the end of The Hand Of Fear (1976).

Amsterdam – appeared, for spurious reasons, as itself in Arc of Infinity (1983).

Arles – was where Doctor Who met Vincent Van Gogh in the episode ‘Doctor Who meets Vincent Van Gogh’ (2010).

Beijing – Doctor Who won some elephants playing backgammon with the Chinese emperor that one time (Marco Polo, 1964).

Berlin – Let’s Kill Hitler! (2011)

Cambridge – or almost, because production of the story in question (Shada, 1979) was abandoned.

Florence – Doctor Who went to Leonardo Da Vinci’s house to hide the message ‘THIS IS A FAKE’ under six copies of the Mona Lisa in City of Death (1979). Blame Douglas Adams.

Hull – as represented by a generic bit of countryside in Blink (2007). Idea for future episode: Doctor Who goes to Hull and the TARDIS turns into a white telephone box.

Jaffa – The Crusade (1965).

Leeds – In a dark alternate timeline, in which Doctor Who died, companion Donna Noble was forced to move to Leeds. Chilling stuff. (Turn Left, 2008)

Liverpool – was apparently where Doctor Who confused some policemen in a lost Christmas-themed episode called The Feast of Steven (1966).

Pompeii – In The Fires of Pompeii (2008).

Rome – In The Romans (1965).

San Francisco – Setting of the American-made 1996 Doctor Who TV movie. San Francisco was mostly played by Vancouver.

Seville – Appeared as itself in The Two Doctors (1985), in no way so the production team could have a free holiday.

Sydney – The Doctor and Bill make a very brief stop somewhere with a good view of the opera house in, The Pilot (2017).

Tenochtitlan/Mexico City – The Aztecs (1964).

Tokyo – In a slightly questionable scene in The Return of Doctor Mysterio (2016) involving Pokemon Go.

Troy – In The Myth Makers (1965).

Venice - In Vampires of Venice (2010).


7th – Los Angeles – 2 appearances

Both in Christmas specials! The aforementioned lost 1965 episode The Feast of Steven features a sequence on a film set presumably intended to be in Hollywood. Doctor Who meets Bing Crosby and tells him he has a stupid name.

Just 45 Christmases later, A Christmas Carol sees Doctor Who stop off at (again, presumably) a Hollywood party, where he accidentally gets married to Marilyn Monroe. As you do.

6th – Washington D.C. – 3 appearances

The Impossible Astronaut, The Day of the Moon (both 2011) and Extremis (2017) all feature scenes set in The White House. Albeit that the last one turns out to be a simulation of the White House, but still. It counts.

5th – Paris – 5 appearances

In your face, Brexit – Doctor Who’s been making trips to the French capital since the first season, which ended with a trip to the revolution in The Reign of Terror (1964). He returned a couple of years later in The Massacre (1966).

And then, after a gap of ten years, Doctor Who went back to Paris – for real, in City of Death (1979). Tom Baker threatened to fly off the Eiffel Tower and everything!

3rd equal – Cardiff – 6 appearances

Chiefly in The Unquiet Dead and Boomtown (both 2005). The other four amount to Torchwood cameos, so are probably best forgotten, but that’s still lower than you’d expect given that almost all of it’s been filmed there since 2005.

(There is actually a canonical explanation, which amounts to “Doctor Who avoids going to Cardiff because looking at John Barrowman gives him a headache”.)

3rd equal – New York – 6 appearances

Doctor Who went once in The Chase in 1965, ran into Peter Purves doing an excruciatingly poor American accent on the top of the Empire State Building and avoided the place for the next 40 years.

Since then, though, it’s been the setting for four new series episodes and appeared briefly in another. The Angels Take Manhattan (2011) even features the real, actual Central Park. Other appearances: both episodes of “Rubbish Daleks in New York” (2007), The Return of Doctor Mysterio (2016) and the very end of Day of the Moon (2011).

We are definitely not counting New New York, home of space cat Father Dougal and a big face.

2nd – Bristol – 9 appearances

Doctor Who must have got a thing about Bristol after accidentally landing there in Flatline (2014) - because he spent much of the 2017 series teaching at a fictional Bristol University, St Luke’s. Hence Bristol’s unlikely position as ‘the second city of Doctor Who’.

1st – London – 80+ appearances

In a way it makes sense – perhaps the TARDIS, embarrassed that it got stuck as a London police box in 1963, is always attempting to steer back to the one place in the world where its appearance is at least slightly plausible.

What maybe makes less sense is that the series ramped up the number of London-based stories when it came back in 2005 – even though it was no longer made in London, necessitating the wanging of London Underground logos onto Cardiff shopping centres and so on. In fact, while Russell T Davies was running the show, over half the stories were set in the capital. Here’s a graph, in case you like graphs:

The propostion of Doctor Who stories set in London in each season, from 1963 to the present day.

This is partly due to a shift in the nature of the show – In 21st century Doctor Who the companions’ Earthly lives play a more important part than in the old series; and since companions have tended to be from London that necessarily means more stories set there. Note that in seasons 5, 6, and 7, featuring Amy & Rory, the percentage drops – because they’re from the made-up village of Leadworth, so we get scenes set there instead.

So maybe the debut of Sheffield heralds an end to the series’ recent London-centric ways – Doctor Who In An Exciting With The Northern Powerhouse, anyone?

Is this the terrifying new incarnation of Doctor Who’s nemesis, the Master?

The new series of Doctor Who, the first with new star Jodie Whittaker, begins on Sunday with ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’.

Ed Jefferson works for the internet and tweets as @edjeff.

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What’s killing northerners?

The Angel of the North. Image: Getty.

There is a stark disparity in wealth and health between people in the north and south of England, commonly referred to as England’s “north-south divide”. The causes of this inequality are complex; it’s influenced by the environment, jobs, migration and lifestyle factors – as well as the long-term political power imbalances, which have concentrated resources and investment in the south, especially in and around London.

Life expectancy is also lower in the north, mainly because the region is more deprived. But new analysis of national mortality data highlights a shockingly large mortality gap between young adults, aged 25 to 44, living in the north and south of England. This gap first emerged in the late 1990s, and seems to have been growing ever since.

In 1995, there were 2% more deaths among northerners aged 25 to 34 than southerners (in other words, 2% “excess mortality”). But by 2015, northerners in this age group were 29% more likely to die than their southern counterparts. Likewise, in the 35 to 44 age group, there was 3% difference in mortality between northerners and southerners in 1995. But by 2015, there were 49% more deaths among northerners than southerners in this age group.

Excess mortality in the north compared with south of England by age groups, from 1965 to 2015. Follow the lines to see that people born around 1980 are the ones most affected around 2015.

While mortality increased among northerners aged 25 to 34, and plateaued among 35 to 44-year-olds, southern mortality mainly declined across both age groups. Overall, between 2014 and 2016, northerners aged 25 to 44 were 41% more likely to die than southerners in the same age group. In real terms, this means that between 2014 and 2016, 1,881 more women and 3,530 more men aged between 25 and 44 years died in the north, than in the south.

What’s killing northerners?

To understand what’s driving this mortality gap among young adults, our team of researchers looked at the causes of death from 2014 to 2016, and sorted them into eight groups: accidents, alcohol related, cardiovascular related (heart conditions, diabetes, obesity and so on), suicide, drug related, breast cancer, other cancers and other causes.

Controlling for the age and sex of the population in the north and the south, we found that it was mostly the deaths of northern men contributing to the difference in mortality – and these deaths were caused mainly by cardiovascular conditions, alcohol and drug misuse. Accidents (for men) and cancer (for women) also played important roles.

From 2014 to 2016, northerners were 47% more likely to die for cardiovascular reasons, 109% for alcohol misuse and 60% for drug misuse, across both men and women aged 25 to 44 years old. Although the national rate of death from cardiovascular reasons has dropped since 1981, the longstanding gap between north and south remains.

Death and deprivation

The gap in life expectancy between north and south is usually put down to socioeconomic deprivation. We considered further data for 2016, to find out if this held true for deaths among young people. We found that, while two thirds of the gap were explained by the fact that people lived in deprived areas, the remaining one third could be caused by some unmeasured form of deprivation, or by differences in culture, infrastructure, migration or extreme weather.

Mortality for people aged 25 to 44 years in 2016, at small area geographical level for the whole of England.

Northern men faced a higher risk of dying young than northern women – partly because overall mortality rates are higher for men than for women, pretty much at every age, but also because men tend to be more susceptible to socioeconomic pressures. Although anachronistic, the expectation to have a job and be able to sustain a family weighs more on men. Accidents, alcohol misuse, drug misuse and suicide are all strongly associated with low socioeconomic status.

Suicide risk is twice as high among the most deprived men, compared to the most affluent. Suicide risk has also been associated with unemployment, and substantial increases in suicide have been observed during periods of recession – especially among men. Further evidence tells us that unskilled men between ages 25 and 39 are between ten and 20 times more likely to die from alcohol-related causes, compared to professionals.

Alcohol underpins the steep increase in liver cirrhosis deaths in Britain from the 1990s – which is when the north-south divide in mortality between people aged 25 to 44 also started to emerge. Previous research has shown that men in this age group, who live in the most deprived areas, are five times more likely to die from alcohol-related diseases than those in the most affluent areas. For women in deprived areas, the risk is four times greater.


It’s also widely known that mortality rates for cancer are higher in more deprived areas, and people have worse survival rates in places where smoking and alcohol abuse is more prevalent. Heroin and crack cocaine addiction and deaths from drug overdoses are also strongly associated with deprivation.

The greater number of deaths from accidents in the north should be considered in the context of transport infrastructure investment, which is heavily skewed towards the south – especially London, which enjoys the lowest mortality in the country. What’s more, if reliable and affordable public transport is not available, people will drive more and expose themselves to higher risk of an accident.

Deaths for young adults in the north of England have been increasing compared to those in the south since the late 1990s, creating new health divides between England’s regions. It seems that persistent social, economic and health inequalities are responsible for a growing trend of psychological distress, despair and risk taking among young northerners. Without major changes, the extreme concentration of power, wealth and opportunity in the south will continue to damage people’s health, and worsen the north-south divide.

The Conversation

Evangelos Kontopantelis, Professor in Data Science and Health Services Research, University of Manchester

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.