Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

Ireland and Doctor Who (Éire agus an Dochtúir Cé)

This is an update to a post I made in 2011.

Lá 'le Pádraig shona daoibh!

I've been making occasional notes about the relationship between Doctor Who and Ireland, but this seems a good enough day to pull it all together.

TV Who

No part of televised Who is set in Ireland. However Tom Baker visited Derry and Belfast, in character as the Fourth Doctor, back in 1978:

There are a number of Irish characters in TV canon, all male as far as I know:

  • The Underwater Menace (1967): Sean, a shipwrecked Irish sailor, played in excruciating stereotype by P.G. Stephens.

  • The Wheel in Space (1967): Sean Flannigan, an Irish space engineer, played by James Mellor, who also appears in The Mutants (1972) but with an English accent.

  • Terror of the Autons (1971): McDermott, the former plastics factory manager killed by a plastic chair, played with an Ulster accent by Harry Towb, who also appears in The Seeds of Death (1969) but with an English accent.

  • The Sea Devils (1972): Clark, the survivor of the Sea Devils' attack on the sea fort, played with an Ulster accent by Declan Mulholland, who also appears in The Androids of Tara (1978) with a very peculiar accent

  • The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977): Casey, the doorman at the Palace Theatre, played in excruciating stereotype by Chris Gannon.

  • Day of the Doctor (2013): UNIT scientist McGillop and his Zygon double, both played by Jonjo O'Neill.

  • Into the Dalek (2014): spaceship commander Morgan Blue, played by Michael Smiley.


If we are lucky, my compilation of the Norn Iron accents of Who may be visible here (probably not in the UK though).

Possibly also Irish (or at least possibly played with Irish accents): Rohm-Dutt in The Power of Kroll (1978-79), Chip in New Earth (2006), Thomas Kincade Brannigan in Gridlock (2007) and Luke Rattigan in The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky (2008).

NB that in the Torchwood episode Out of Time (2006), the Sky Gypsy flew to Cardiff from Dublin, but none of those on board seem to have been Irish.

In "The Feast of Steven" (the famous Christmas 1965 episode of The Daleks' Master Plan), a policeman asks the Doctor if he is English, Scottish, Irish, or Welsh. He responds that he is "a citizen of the universe, and a gentleman to boot".

There is occasional confusion about whether Gallifrey might be located in Ireland.


No Doctor Who novel is set in Ireland as far as I know. I have found one short story in a published collection:

"Screamager", by Jacqueline Rayner, in Short Trips: Monsters edited by Ian Farrington (2004). Features The Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria visiting Ireland in the 14th century and encountering a banshee. Here's how it starts:
It was late summer, and yet Victoria was cold.

She was wearing layer upon layer of thick cloth, too many layers for comfort, but a chill radiated from the stone walls of the house despite the slivers of sun struggling through the thin slit windows.

She wanted to run away, run far out into the fields and bask in the sunlight, but the Doctor had told her to wait here, wait in the house with Cormac and Sorcha where she would be safe, and she would do as the Doctor had said.

She hoped the Doctor — and her friend Jamie — would return soon. She wasn't entirely sure what they were ;doing, somewhere out there —something to do with robots, she thought — but surely the Doctor would soon solve the problem and defeat the menace so they could go back to the TARDIS. Oh, she liked Cormac, and Sorcha his wife, and Niall his brother, and she adored young Tadhg, eight-year-old son of the house —but as a pampered and fastidious Victorian she found it hard to bear the all-invasive stench of human waste, tainted in the evenings by the fatty smell of burning tallow — and worse still was the filthy bedding with its circuses of jumping insects, on which she was expected to sleep. But the Doctor had said that according to the lights of mid-fourteenth-century Ireland, this was perfectly acceptable, even luxurious, and by her own standards of courtesy, she could not complain — at least not within the hearing of her hosts.
I note also the following:

  • The first reference to Ireland in the Whoniverse was in Dalek World (1965), which includes a story, "The Five-Leaved Clover", in which the Daleks are conned by an intergalactic Irish stereotype called Pat Kelly. You can read it here.

  • Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters by Malcolm Hulke (1974) gives Major Barker a back-story involving his army service in Northern Ireland. (In the original 1970 TV story, Doctor Who and the Silurians, there is no such reference and his name is Baker.)

  • Doctor Who and the Ambassadors of Death by Terrance Dicks (1987) gives Reagan a back-story involving IRA gun-running. (Likewise absent from the 1970 original TV story as broadcast, though reportedly it was in an earlier version of the script.)

  • Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark by Andrew Hunt (1992), one of the early New Adventures featuring the Seventh Doctor and Ace, is a confused pot-pourri of Irish and Welsh mythology, including a parallel world called Tír na n-Óg.

  • The Scales of Injustice (1996), a Missing Adventure featuring the Third Doctor, Liz Shaw and UNIT, Business Unusual (1997), a BBC Past Doctor Adventure with the Sixth Doctor and Mel, and Instruments of Darkness (2001), another BBC Past Doctor Adventure with the Sixth Doctor, Mel and Evelyn, all include the sinister Irish Twins who have been infected with Auton technology. They are all by Gary Russell.

  • Camera Obscura by Lloyd Rose (2003), an Eighth Doctor Adventure with companions Fitz and Angie, features a time-sensitive Irish woman, Elizabeth Kelly.

  • The comic story "Death to the Doctor!" by Jonathan Morris, published in DWM #390 (2008) and The Widow's Curse (2009), features an Irish enemy of the First Doctor called Questor.

  • "The Science of Magic" by Michael Rees in Short Trips: Indefinable Magic edited by Neil Corry (2009) has the Third Doctor and Liz Shaw fleeing to Ireland from a devastated Britain, but they only stay for less than a page's worth of story.

  • In The Lost Skin (2017), a novella by Andy Frankham-Allen in the Candy Jar spinoff series of Lethbridge-Stewart books, it is revealed that the annoying journalist Harold Chorley (from the TV story The Web of Fear) is originally from Monaghan and is just putting on his posh English accent.

I'm not aware of any substantial references to Ireland in any of the New Who written fiction, though I am ready to be corrected.


Big Finish has done much better by the Emerald Isle than the BBC. The Eighth Doctor has an Irish companion, Molly O'Sullivan, a nurse from the First World War played by Ruth Bradley, who appeared in four series of Big Finish audios as the owner of the eponymous Dark Eyes. The third play of the first series, A Tangled Web (2012), takes Molly and the Doctor back to her childhood in Ireland in 1893. I don't believe any of the rest share the Irish setting though. In The Night of the Doctor, Molly is the last of his companions named by the Eighth Doctor before he regenerates (at 5:36).

There are three other Big Finish audios set entirely in Ireland.

The Settling by Simon Guerrier (2006) is a pure historical story, bringing the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex to a well-imagined 1649 where Oliver Cromwell, played by Clive Mantle, is besieging first Drogheda and then Waterford.

The Book of Kells by Barnaby Edwards (2010) brings the Eighth Doctor and new-ish companion Tamsin (Niky Wardley) to the monastery of Kells in 1006, where the Abbot is played by Graeme Garden.

Iterations of I by John Dorney (2014) takes the Fifth Doctor, Adric, Nyssa and Tegan to an island off the coast of Ireland to unravel a spooky mystery. I haven't got to that one yet myself.

I note also the following:

  • The Rapture by Joe Lidster (2002, Seven/Ace): Catriona, an Irish clubber on Ibiza, played by Anne Bird.

  • The Sandman by Joe Lidster (2002, Six/Evelyn) and Bone of Contention (2004, Bernice Summerfield): Mordecan, a possibly Irish intergalactic wanderer player by Robin Bowerman.

  • Omega by Nev Fountain (2003) features an apparently Irish Time Lord, Professor Ertikus, played by Patrick Duggan.

  • Creatures of Beauty by Nicholas Briggs (2003, Five/Nyssa): Seedleson, a guard played by Michael Smiley.

  • Pest Control by Peter Anghelides (2008, Ten/Donna) features Miriam, an Irish centaur (!).

  • Louise Jameson struggles with a Belfast accent, and loses, in The Time Vampire (2010) by Nigel Fairs.

  • Sinead Keenan leads the guest cast in Iterations of I; she and her brother Rory Keenan have both appeared in a number of Big Finish productions, usually with Irish accents.

In fairness to the BBC, the 2001 radio play Regenerations by Daragh Carville, available on the Doctor Who at the BBC: The Plays album, is set at a Doctor Who convention in Belfast and stars Tom Baker and Sophie Aldred as themselves.

Further additions to this list will be gratefully noted.
Tags: #390, doctor who, world: ireland

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