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For almost 14 billion years, from the Big Bang to the fall of the Roman Empire, extraterrestrial visitors have attempted to influence mankind’s evolution and development. Fortunately, one of them was the Doctor.
Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) as a Roman centurion in The Pandorica Opens (2010), Sutekh (Gabriel Woolf) in Pyramids of Mars (1975) and a cave-dwelling dinosaur from Doctor Who and the Silurians (1970).

History began with a bang, the creation of the universe in a spontaneous violent explosion some 13.8 billion years ago, hurling matter from a singularity to form stars, galaxies and planetary systems. Or so the scientific consensus tells us. Alternatively, we might choose to believe the Doctor’s theory, that the Big Bang was triggered by the explosion of unstable fuel jettisoned from a time-travelling space ship.

The TARDIS warns its crew that it’s heading for Event One in Castrovalva (1982).

The TARDIS data bank consulted by Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) in Castrovalva (1982) indicated that even the Time Lords were uncertain of the exact cause of the Big Bang, or ‘Event One’ as they call it. The text informed Nyssa that Event One might have been prompted by a huge in-rush of hydrogen, although the supposed source of that hydrogen was not stated. In Terminus (1983), having discovered that the eponymous space station was once a ship with time-travel capability, the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) speculated that the pilot had ejected his fuel into a void while in flight, starting a chain reaction that created the universe.

Whatever the explanation for what the Doctor called the “biggest explosion of all time”, the origin of the Earth itself is unequivocal. As witnessed by the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) in The Runaway Bride (2006), our planet formed 4.6 billion years ago around a war-damaged Racnoss Webstar, the alien ship’s gravitational pull dragging rocks, dust, gas and elements around it, imprisoning it at the Earth’s core. The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) must therefore have been offhandedly generalising about the date when he visited the volcanic surface of the newly-formed planet to take photos in Hide (2013). He told Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) it was “about six billion years ago” and “a Tuesday, I think,” but since the planet had a solid crust, it was unlikely to have been any earlier than 4.4 billion years ago.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

“History sometimes gives us a terrible shock, and that is because we don’t quite fully understand... We’re all too small to realise its final pattern.” Doctor Who’s first journey in 1963 took viewers back to the Stone Age. Since then the TARDIS has visited many other landmarks in a unique chronicle of the Doctor’s favourite planet. Purely historical stories were once a mainstay of the series, but for more than 50 years significant periods in Earth’s past have provided evocative settings for more fantastical adventures. This unprecedented guide takes a trip back in time with the people, places and classic episodes that are essential parts of Doctor Who history.