After more than half a century, Doctor Who remains a giant on the televisual landscape.
However, as they say, opinions are like favorite Doctors — everyone’s got one (although some will swear they’re all equal). Fandom can be a very argumentative place to be, and that even extends to podcasts. Fortunately, most of these are populated by fans who argue with reasoning, kindness, and respect. And are sometimes backed up by an army of Dalek action figures.
If you’re looking to get your regular fix of Whovian news and opinion, here are some excellent Doctor Who podcasts to help you pass the timey-wimey.
How do you fancy listening to a podcast created by MakeUseOf’s Security and Linux Editor, Christian Cawley? If so, then The PodKast With A K is the one for you!
It began in 2007 as two mates chatting about the latest news, and comparing reactions in the U.K. and U.S. But it’s grown considerably to become something of a podcasting giant.
While co-founder, Brian Terranova, has since moved on, Christian remained alongside James McLean and new team members, James Baldock and Simon Danes. They naturally discuss the latest headlines, reminisce about older episodes, and talk about TV in a wider context.
And because Doctor Who fans typically enjoy similar genre topics, sister podcasts gather together a wider crew to talk about science fiction. You’ll particularly enjoy the nostalgia-fueled Coaxial, in which Christian is joined by Vworp! Vworp! fanzine editor, Gareth Kavanagh, to ruminate on classic television. They kicked off with a chat about the BBC’s classic sitcom season, but have since discussed arcades, children’s TV, and the much-missed BBC Television Centre.
Set up in 2006, Radio Free Skaro has gained a big fanbase and drawn acclaim from even Doctor Who Magazine.
Sunday on RFS #615, ring in the new year with three Doctors! Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy onstage at Chicago TARDIS! pic.twitter.com/zY84PSKSd1
— Radio Free Skaro (@RadioFreeSkaro) December 29, 2017
Warren Frey, Steven Schapansky, and Chris Burgess — jokingly referred to as “The Three Who Rule” — are based in Canada, but also have live coverage of the huge Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles.
This also means special editions feature numerous guests, like this packed one in which they chat to Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy; legendary producer, Philip Hinchcliffe; two of the Paternoster Row Gang, Dan Starkey and Neve McIntosh; Stephen Thorne (Omega); and Richard Hope (The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood).
As you can imagine, there’s an extensive back catalog of podcasts to listen to, but thanks to the trio’s witty takes on news, contemporary accounts feel like important time capsules.
It’s incredibly difficult to talk about or listen to the Diddly Dum Podcast without singing the Doctor Who theme tune. You’re doing it right now, aren’t you.
The crew consists of the enigmatic Doctor Whom, Hayden Gribble (whose book, Child Out Of Time recalls growing up in the Wilderness Years AKA the 1990s), Allan Lear, and Mark John. Together they are… “The Five Faces of Delusion!” (That’s one for Snakedance lovers.)
Their fan credentials are impressive, but this isn’t a Doctor Who podcast dragged down by stuffy geekery: it’s irreverent, smart, and quirky.
You can head over to the Diddly Dum blog, which also includes detailed shownotes with regular links to the associated Tumblr page.
The first female Doctor debuted in the Christmas 2017 episode, and some members of fandom heralded this as progressive. However, Doctor Who has a history of strong women in the show and behind-the-scenes. Just look at who this particular podcast is named after: the wonderful Verity Lambert, a true trailblazer and the BBC’s first female TV producer.
— Verity! (@VerityPodcast) December 20, 2017
As well as being a feminist show, it’s interesting to hear how Who is perceived around the world: Verity!‘s hosts hail from the U.K., the U.S., Australia, and Canada; which is testament to the series’ international impact.
Erika Ensign, Kat Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Deborah Stanish, and Lynne M. Thomas prove a spirited rotating crew, and their frequent games make for a warm and lively listen. That’s why it was nominated for “Best Fancast” at the 2014 Hugo Awards.
Time. It’s a funny thing. We question where it disappears to, we waste it, we never have enough of it, we look back with regret and happiness. Quite often, we can only find brief instances to indulge in our passions. That’s what the Two Minute Time Lord is all about.
Did I fail to enunciate?
Or did the barista think I am the new showrunner? pic.twitter.com/hZuabGYb8e
— That Chip Guy (@2minutetimelord) October 22, 2017
It’s not quite what it says on the tin, but you get the point. The podcast focuses on an aspect of Doctor Who in the strictest time frame possible. Moderator Chip aims for two minutes each edition, but, as travellers in the fourth dimension will accept, it’s only fair that such limitations are sometimes stretched.
Nonetheless, a typical episode lasts less than five minutes. That’s all. Perfect for a short commute, for a lunch break, or to listen to at bedtime.
It went on hiatus in 2017, but a release before Twice Upon A Time hints at a welcome return.
Here’s something a bit different: comedy shows recorded live, mainly as a celebration of Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary in 2013.
The first episode of Splendid Chaps actually debuted in December 2012, setting up its premise. Subsequent editions toured Australia (though mainly found a home in Melbourne) and were released on the 23rd of each month, covering the (then-) eleven Doctors in turn. Founders, Ben McKenzie and John Richards, are the main performers, but are backed up by Petra Elliott, David Ashton (sound engineer), and a variety of guests to discuss all things Doctor Who.
The cheery songs and frequent gags make this one of the most joyful Doctor Who podcasts out there. Yes, the core editions are a little old, but the debates remain relevant and some newer episodes have been released.
It’s also given life to Night Terrace, an audio comedy series starring Neighbours star, Jackie Woodburne.
We have Russell T. Davies to thank for sending generations scurrying behind the sofa. But he relaunched the show because he loved its earlier incarnation. Anyone solely watching the 2005-Present series without exploring the 1963-1989/1996 run is doing it a disservice.
— Old Doctor Who Show (@TODWShow) July 19, 2017
“Classic Who” is the sole subject of The Old Doctor Who Show. You can find discussions of Eccleston, Tennant, Smith, Capaldi, and Whittaker elsewhere: Eric Grissom and Dan Johnson are here to review every serial from the first seven (or maybe eight) Doctors.
They go into each episode fresh, and in some cases, without having previously seen them before. It’s essentially two longterm mates chewing the fat and giving their honest opinions on the good, the bad, and The Mind Robber.
Traveling the Vortex was set up with a similar premise as The Old Doctor Who Show: introducing a newbie to Doctor Who. That’s what life-long fans, Glenn Bartlett and Shaun Collins, set out to do. Some newcomers might be sneering and sceptical, but instead, we were introduced to Keith Miles, a man well-versed in science fiction but who had yet to voyage in the TARDIS.
Across some 350+ episodes, the trio’s remit has expanded to include reviews of stuff other podcasts seldom cover. Namely, novels, short stories, comics, and and audiobooks.
This variety keeps the podcast engaging and entertaining. Listeners are sure to discover something different to dip their toes into, whether that be a medium they’re still to explore or a range they haven’t invested in before.
Billed as the “Doctor Who podcast limited to a minimum of 20MB,” weekly episodes are generally longer than your typical podcasts, with an average duration of nearly two hours. There are over 350 editions currently available, so you’ll need a lot of time on your hands if you want to binge them.
Fortunately, it never feels that long, due to the range of presenters in the team. Producer, Adam Pearson, is its focal point, but the current team are Debbie Melrose, Kirby Bartlett-Sloan, Mary Blitz-Lang, Isabella Pearson, and Andy Nunney — plus regular contributions from eight more.
Various guest presenters and interviewees include Doctor Who alumni like Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi, producer, Andrew Cartmel, artist, Alistair Pearson, Toby Hadoke (comedian and DVD commentary moderator), and young Amelia Pond actress, Caitlin Blackwood.
With this many people in the mix, you get lots of opinions on Doctor Who new and old, so it feels like a great discussion with friends. Sponsored by Lovarzi and Who One, it’s a fun show, especially its regular “You Won’t Get This One” segment.
10. 42 to Doomsday
42 to Doomsday takes a similar tone to The 20MB Podcast, but abandons the reviews and commentaries in favor of singling out one topic each time.
Hosts Rob and Mark keep an upbeat attitude as they turn their attention to such niche topics as Who computer games, reference books, and dodgy continuity. A particular highlight is a recent edition in which they engage with listeners to learn what made them fall in love with the TV series.
And who doesn’t love a good ranking? That’s certainly what made BuzzFeed popular. 42 to Doomsday follows this trend by arguing about the best stories to feature UNIT, the most overrated monsters, and the top WTF moments in Doctor Who history.
Interestingly, this is a very popular Doctor Who podcast that’s also finite. There’s 76 episodes in total, the run concluding in January 2018. Alas, Doctor Who teaches us that all good things must come to an end.
If Doctor Who was to be cancelled tomorrow, its fandom would survive and thrive based on the amount of stories told in other mediums. Indeed, you could while away a couple of years solely listening to the above podcasts.
— Joel? (@Joel_T_Crofts) December 25, 2017
If that’s not enough for you, there are plenty more out there. You could even start your own Doctor Who podcast! After all, with a Timelord present it’s always the right time to immerse yourself in the Doctor Who universe.
Which Doctor Who podcasts do you listen to? Have you heard of all the podcasts listed above? Or are some completely new to you? Have you considered creating a podcast yourself?