Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC since 1963. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called "the Doctor", an extraterrestrial being, to all appearances human, from the planet Gallifrey. The Doctor explores the universe in a time-travelling space ship called the TARDIS. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Accompanied by a number of companions, the Doctor combats a variety of foes while working to save civilisations and help people in need.
The show is a significant part of British popular culture, and elsewhere it has gained a cult following. It has influenced generations of British television professionals, many of whom grew up watching the series. The programme originally ran from 1963 to 1989. There was an unsuccessful attempt to revive regular production in 1996 with a backdoor pilot, in the form of a television film titled Doctor Who. The programme was relaunched in 2005, and since then has been produced in-house by BBC Wales in Cardiff. Doctor Who has also spawned numerous spin-offs, including comic books, films, novels, audio dramas, and the television series Torchwood (2006–2011), The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007–2011), K-9 (2009–2010), and Class (2016), and has been the subject of many parodies and references in popular culture.
Thirteen actors have headlined the series as the Doctor. The transition from one actor to another is written into the plot of the show with the concept of regeneration into a new incarnation, a plot device in which a Time Lord "transforms" into a new body when the current one is too badly harmed to heal normally. Each actor's portrayal is unique, but all represent stages in the life of the same character, and together, they form a single lifetime with a single narrative. The time-travelling feature of the plot means that different incarnations of the Doctor occasionally meet. The Doctor is currently portrayed by Jodie Whittaker, who took on the role after Peter Capaldi's exit in the 2017 Christmas special "Twice Upon a Time".
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|Captain Jack Harkness is a fictional character played by John Barrowman in Doctor Who and its spin-off series, Torchwood. The character first appears in the 2005 Doctor Who episode "The Empty Child" and subsequently features in the remaining episodes of the first series (2005) as a companion to the series' protagonist, The Doctor. Subsequent to this, Jack became the central character in the adult-themed Torchwood, which aired from 2006 to 2011. Barrowman also reprised the role for guest appearances in Doctor Who in its third series (2007) and fourth series (2008), as well as the two-part special "The End of Time".
In contrast to The Doctor, Jack is more of a conventional action hero, as well as outwardly flirtatious and capable of acts which The Doctor would view as less than noble. In the programme's narrative, Jack begins as a time traveller and former con man from the 51st century, who comes to travel with the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and his companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper). As a consequence of his death and resurrection in the Series 1 finale, "The Parting of the Ways", Jack becomes immortal and is stranded on 19th-century Earth. There he becomes a member of Torchwood, a British organization dedicated to combating alien threats. He spends over a century waiting to reunite with the Doctor, over which time he becomes Torchwood's leader. Eventually, he reunites with the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) for several appearances in Doctor Who. Aspects of the character's backstory—both prior to meeting The Doctor, and during his many decades living on Earth—are gradually revealed over Torchwood (and to a lesser extent, Doctor Who) through the use of flashback scenes and expository dialogue.
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