References to the United States in Doctor Who

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During its original run, from 1963 to 1996, Doctor Who featured quite a few references to the United States of America. So, sit back and make yourself comfy:

  • Doctor Who debuted the night of the day following President John F. Kennedy's assassination...
  • An Unearthly Child: Barbara says that the United States has a decimal system for currency, and the Doctor reminds Susan of the American Indians seeing the first steam trains.
  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth: Barbara refers to the Boston Tea Party, and to General Lee and the Fifth Cavalry.
  • The Romans: The Doctor mentions he once trained the Mountain Mauler of Montana.
  • The Chase: Ian selects Lincoln's 19th November 1863 Gettysburg address on the time / space visualiser. The TARDIS lands on the viewing platform of the Empire State Building in New York City. Cheesy American accents are given by the non-American actors who appear in the scene: Arne Gordon as the tourist guide and companion-to-be Peter Purves as the Alabama hillbilly Morton Dill, who thinks the Doctor is from Hollywood. He mentions Cheyenne Bodie, (from the television series, Cheyenne). Later the same episode, the TARDIS and the Daleks land on the deck of the Mary Celeste, which is crewed by (ersatz) Americans.
  • The Time Meddler: Vicki mentions her visit to New York.
  • The Daleks' Master Plan: The second half of episode 7 is set in a Hollywood film studio. There are references to real actors Douglas Fairbanks and Bing Crosby.
  • The Gunfighters: Set in Tombstone, Arizona. The entire cast is playing Americans, and in some cases very poorly! With the exception of Shane Rimmer, the rest of the cast is British. There are references to place such as Alabama, Fort Griffin, Montana, New Mexico and Dodge City. The Doctor refers to westerns actor, Tom Mix. Outlaws Billy the Kid and Jesse James also get name-checked.
  • The War Machines: One of the reporters at the Royal Scientific Club, Roy Stone (played by Ric Felgate), is from the (fictitious) New York Sketch. A second reporter (Carl Conway) files a report to "Johnny" in New York in a later episode. WOTAN is to be connected with computers located at the Whitehouse, and the Telstar satellite. Washington DC is the second city to fall under WOTAN's control.
  • The Tenth Planet: Robert Beatty plays the American General Cutler (with an authentic accent given that Beatty is Canadian), Callen Angel his son Terry, and John Brandon is billed as the American Sergeant. Astronaut Williams is played by black actor Earl Cameron. There are other minor American characters at the snow-base. The ZEUS IV capsule flies over San Francisco and Hawaii. The Washington Television News reports on the arrival of Mondas. The Mount Palomar observatory also reports sightings. Ben sees part of a Western movie on the film projector he activates to blind one of the Cybermen. Ben calls Polly "Nanook of the North" (after the 1922 film about Eskimos of the same name?)
  • The Moonbase: Surprisingly none of the moonbase crew is American. The Hawaiian Islands and Miami are threatened when the Gravitron fails. Ben mentions Harry Houdini, an American magician, escapologist and illusionist.
  • The Tomb of the Cybermen: Astronauts Ted Rogers (Alan Jones), Jim Callum (Clive Merrison) and Hopper (George Roubicek) are (it would seem from their very authentic accents!) Americans.
  • The Ice Warriors: There was an ioniser base in America.
  • The Enemy of the World: Salamander's favourite wine comes from Alaska. The announcer at the conference in episode one has an American accent.
  • The Web of Fear: There is a poster for the 1967 film "In The Heat Of The Night" in the underground tunnels. Anne Travers was in America when her father sent for her.
  • The Invasion: The Travers have gone to live in the States for a year. New York goes "off air" following the Cyberman invasion.
  • The Seeds of Death: New York and Washington (DC?) are two of the T-Mat locations. T-Mat HQ is located in New York.
  • The Space Pirates: Major Warne (Donald Gee) and Milo Clancey (Gordon Gostelow) are American.
  • The War Games: One of the war time zones is the American Civil War, with characters such as Leroy (Leslie Schofield), Harper (Rudolph Walker), Thompson (Bill Hutchinson) and Riley (Terry Adams). The alien von Weich (David Garfield) adopts a Southern accent from time to time.
  • Spearhead from Space: The Brigadier mentions the Institute of Space Studies in Baltimore. At Madame Tussaud's wax museum we see facsimiles of Presidents Richard Nixon, George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Ike Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, F. D. Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
  • The Ambassadors of Death: The American Space Agency launches an unmanned satellite. There is also a mention of Houston (Texas).
  • Inferno: The Doctor mentions comic superhero Batman.
  • The Mind of Evil: Senator Alcott (Tommy Duggan) is America's representative at the first World Peace Conference.
  • The Claws of Axos: Bill Filer (Paul Grist) has come from the States to investigate the Master. A reference is made to Cape Kennedy. Axonite is distributed to New York, Washington DC and the Pentagon.
  • Day of the Daleks: One of the delegates at the conference is American (one of the cars is flying a US flag).
  • The Time Monster: Stuart Hyde says "Good thinking, Batman", a possible reference to the 1960s Batman TV series.
  • The Three Doctors: Dr Tyler (Rex Robinson) mentions NASA, Cape Kennedy and Houston.
  • Carnival of Monsters: Clare Daly mentions actor/dancer Fred Astaire. The Doctor once boxed with John L. Sullivan, a famous American boxer. There is also mention of the Mary Celeste (see The Chase above).
  • Frontier in Space: American actor Ramsay Williams has a brief appearance as Congressman Brook who wants war against the Draconians. With the story set in 2540, the fact that there is a Congress suggests that the American political structure is pretty much the same in the 26th century as it is in the 20th. There is a mention of riots in Los Angeles.
  • The Green Death: BOSS plans to link up to the computer at Global Chemicals' New York office; later, 7,580 "slave units" in New York had been readied.
  • The Time Warrior: Lavinia Smith is on a lecture tour of America.
  • Planet of the Spiders: The Doctor refers to Harry Houdini.
  • Robot: Mention is made of Fort Knox, the gold reserve located in the States. The United States is one of the super-powers that had given its destructor codes to Britain.
  • Revenge of the Cybermen: The Doctor mentions Houdini again.
  • Terror of the Zygons: Tony Sibbald (another Canadian actor) plays Huckle from the apparently American Hibernian Oil Company Ltd.
  • The Android Invasion: The Mary Celeste gets yet another mention.
  • The Brain of Morbius: The Doctor mentions the Sargasso Sea, off the east coast of the States.
  • The Seeds of Doom: The Doctor mentions and quotes American humorist Franklin Adams (1881 to 1860).
  • The Face of Evil: The Doctor quotes (or misquotes!) 1930s' feminist Gertrude Stein.
  • The Stones of Blood: The Doctor says he has met Albert Einstein. Although the noted scientist was born in Germany, he lived in the States from 1933 until his death in 1955. Emelia Rumford once lectured in New York. She also mentions Princeton. The Doctor tells her that robot dogs are all the rage in Trenton, New Jersey.
  • The Horns of Nimon: The Doctor likens the Gravity Whirlpool to the Sargasso Sea.
  • K9 and Company: The Cornell University Press in New York invited Sarah's Aunt Lavinia went on a lecture tour of the States.
  • Time-Flight: The first missing Concorde was flying from New York to London.
  • Mawdryn Undead: By 1983 Harry Sullivan was working for NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which includes USA. Tegan mentions the Mary Celeste.
  • Enlightenment: Jackson mentions a racing vessel called "The America".
  • Planet of Fire: This story introduces Perpugilliam (Peri) Brown (Nicola Bryant), who lives in Pasadena, California (as stated on her passport). In that story we meet her step-father Howard Foster (Dallas Adams). Peri mentions her mother, a Mrs van Gysegham, an octogenarian from Miami Beach, and the Albuquerque Women's League. Peri says she has cashed in her return ticket to New York.
  • Attack of the Cybermen: Peri refers to the Lone Ranger.
  • The Mark of the Rani: The Rani once visited the period of the American Civil War.
  • The Two Doctors: The Doctor refers to Columbus' discovery of America.
  • Revelation of the Daleks: The DJ says he has modelled his patter on the DJs of Earth. He plays "Swinging 60s'" and "good old 50s' Earthtime Rock 'N' Roll", including Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley. Given that he also refers to the United States of America by name, it would seem that the USA still exists even that far in the future. There is a poster of Marilyn Munroe in the DJ's studio. The Doctor says that America doesn't have the monopoly in bad taste.
  • The Trial of a Time Lord: American author Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick.
  • Time and the Rani: Albert Einstein is kidnapped by the Rani. The Doctor confirms that Strange Matter was discovered by a Princeton scientist in 1984. The Doctor mentions Elvis Presley.
  • Delta and the Bannermen: The late American actor Stubby Kaye (at the time, the only Doctor Who actor to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!) appears as Weismuller, and Morgan Dearne as the dim-witted Hawk, both posted in Wales in search of a missing American space satellite launched from Cape Canaveral. They contact the President at the Whitehouse in Washington DC. The Navarino Nostalgia tours regularly visit Disneyland of 1959. Many of the songs heard are from America. Hawk listens to the "Voice of America" radio station.
  • Dragonfire to Survival: The patches on Ace's bomber jacket illustrate several American icons: on the right sleeve is a patch for the Enterprise landing-test shuttle (1977), a small 'smiley-face- with-blood' pin from the Watchmen graphic novel. On the right breast is a pin with the American flag, and a patch for the space shuttle Atlantis (1985). On the left breast is a patch for the doomed Challenger shuttle (1986), and a smaller pin in the shape of a space shuttle. On the left sleeve there is a small badge of Spiderman, a large patch for the American telephone company Bell Atlantic, and a US Paratrooper patch.
  • Remembrance of the Daleks: Both president John F. Kennedy and human rights activist Martin Luther King are heard in the opening moments of this serial. Elvis Presley features on the jukebox.
  • The Happiness Patrol: The second of several Season 25 Americans appears in the form of Earl Sigma, a travelling musician, played by Richard Sharp.
  • Silver Nemesis: The third American of Season 25 is Mrs Remington from Virginia (American actress Dolores Gray). The Doctor mentions that Nemesis was influential in the assassination of Kennedy in 1963.
  • The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: American actor Ricco Ross plays the rapping Ringmaster.
  • The Curse of Fenric: Jean and Phyllis name Hollywood actresses, Lana Turner, Betty Grable and Jane Russell.
  • Survival: "Darth Vader", the brain-dead plumber, was married to Flo. A Land of the Giants annual is visible in the bric-a-brac stall.
  • TV Movie: Set in San Francisco 1999 (although filmed in Vancouver, Canada), apart from the Doctor, all the other characters are American, played by American or Canadian actors. The Doctor has previously been to San Francisco, both before and after 1999.
  • Phew!