As we reflect upon Doctor Who‘s 50 years on television, the folks over at BBC Future have released a stunning interactive graphic, mapping all of the Doctor’s journeys through more than 200 stories, dotting his paths with pop-up archive clips from episodes and dollops of information. You can pick a Doctor and follow his trajectory, or you can simply mouse over the feature for surprises.
Duncan Swain, Creative Partner at Information Is Beautiful studio, helped to bring the project to fruition: “We wanted to be able to capture this aspect of the show that we didn’t think had been captured before—what would the Doctor’s journeys through look like if they could be visualized. It’s a very different way of capturing and displaying this type of information, but it’s also powerful and illuminating.”
Swain made some surprising observations about the series once the visualizations took shape, noting “how some doctors made hardly any journeys at all. Even Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker, who were Doctors across numerous series, didn’t go far.” Also, the TARDIS was particularly attracted to the tail end of the Victorian era. “There are big clusters of activity in the past around 1880 to 1900.”
And, in an observation that would appear obvious, the Doctor quite often simply pops up in his present time. “Matt Smith is constantly traveling to and from 2010 to 2013. Doctor Who actually tries to be very contemporary about the time its set in even though time travel is a predominant tool used throughout it.”
A team of two creative directors, three designers, an interface specialist, and a four-person development team spent three months on the project, working closely with the staff at Doctor Who. “We used our own research team to produce a lot of the data. Other info we received directly from the Doctor Who production team and still more was crowd sourced.”