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The Doctor in the desert

One of the ways you can tell that Doctor Who is a British creation, apart from the Doctor’s accent, is the amount of stories which are set on British soil, within British mythology. It’s odd, when you think about it. Here’s a fella who can travel anywhere and anywhen in the universe, but no matter how many times he saves his favorite planet from certain oblivion, he doesn’t seem as bothered about exploring, say, Belarus, or Chile, as he does returning to contemporary Britain.

Or rather, those visits have not been recorded. Chances are he goes to those places when he’s got time off from all the running around. The point is, it’s only a source of excitement that the Doctor would visit America if you take yourself out of the story for a moment and think about the logistics of making a television show with actors and a film crew. Luckily we’re all intelligent beings, we can handle a bit of dual reality, right?

Right, so here are the Doctor Who stories (TV show only) which are substantially set in America, not counting the odd cameo here and there:

The Gunfighters (1966)

Our first trip to the states: the First Doctor is mistaken for Doc Holliday in the Wild West. Develops an affection for desert landscapes and becomes involved in the gunfight at the OK Corral. It will be 30 years, and six regenerations before he returns.

Doctor Who (TV movie, 1996)

In which the Seventh Doctor, en route to Gallifrey with the Master’s ashes, crashes into San Francisco and gets shot. He changes into a very pretty man, and picks up a human girlfriend (also a doctor). It’s like Rod Stewart all over again.

Dalek (2005)

Under the desert, in Utah, near Salt Lake City, we discover the secret world of Henry Van Statten, collector. He’s got all sorts: bits of Cybermen, the stuffed arm of a Slitheen… oh and a real life Dalek, kept as a pet. Cue one very angry Ninth Doctor.

Daleks In Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks (2007)

Sadly the chance to introduce a chorus line of Daleks, all singing “We’ll Take Manhattan” was not taken up. Still, you can’t have everything.

Dreamland (2009)

Another desert scenario (albeit an animated one), only this time set in Dry Springs, Nevada, in the ’50s. And ending up at Area 51.

The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon (2011)

And again, back to the desert, back to a diner, back to Utah. Oh except we’re also off to the White House to see President Nixon and there are some terrifying aliens around who… well they… hang on… no it’s gone.

And of course we still have the Weeping Angels in New York to look forward to in Series 7.

But where should he go next? Yellowstone? New Orleans? Tell us here:

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Filed Under: Doctor Who
By Fraser McAlpine