TODAY is Doctor Who day, celebrating the well-loved and long-running sci-fi adventure series.

On November 23, 1963, the British sci-fi first premiered, with the episode The Unearthly Child and the series quickly became prominent in the UK, later becoming increasingly popular in the United States.

In the original run new episodes were made for 26 years until 1989, with new episodes – continuing from where the plot left off – created since 2005.

The BBC show follows 'the Doctor', an extra-terrestrial Time Lord, who travels through time and space in his TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) – the iconic blue British police box.

Along with the series - which was originally meant to be family entertainment but has become more sci-fi focused - Doctor Who has led to films, spin-offs, literature, comics and plenty more - becoming a pop cult classic in Britain.

Doctor Who frequently references places throughout the UK - including Newport. In 1999 one of the characters saved Newport from a an alien creature known as a spiroform, in 2008 there is ghost hunting in Newport, and in a 2017 comic a caravan trip is planned to Newport.

Plus, plenty of content for Doctor Who has been filmed in Newport, including in the episodes Love & Monsters and Blink.

Newport Market was used for filming in The Shakespeare Code (2006) and Celtic Manor Resort was used to film Arachnids in the UK.

Earlier this year filming took place at West Usk Lighthouse which you can read about here. You can read about some older Doctor Who locations in Newport here.

How many Doctors have there been?

It depends who you ask.

The original run of the show featured seven Doctors, and Paul McGann appeared as the character in a 1996 TV film. Since the show re-started 15 years ago there have been five actors to take on the role formerly - while Sir John Hurt also appeared in a one-off role as a secret incarnation of the Time Lord between Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston in the 50th anniversary special Day of the Doctor - referred to by fans as "The War Doctor". And the most recent series muddied the waters yet further - revealing there had been many versions of the Doctor before what was originally thought to be their first incarnation, played on the screen by William Hartnell.

Tom Baker, who played the fourth doctor, had the longest run as the character – playing him for more than six years.

Jodie Whittaker, the first woman to play the Doctor, is currently in the role.

The original eight:

  • William Hartnell: November 1963 – October 1966
  • Patrick Troughton: October 1966 – June 1969
  • Jon Pertwee: January 1970 – June 1974
  • Tom Baker: June 1974 – March 1981
  • Peter Davison: March 1981 – March 1984
  • Colin Baker: March 1984 – December 1986
  • Sylvester McCoy – September 1987 – December 1989
  • Paul McGann: May 1996.

Since 2005:

  • Christopher Eccleston: March 2005 – June 2005
  • David Tennant: June 2005 – January 2010
  • Matt Smith: January 2010 – December 2013
  • Peter Capaldi: December 2013 – December 2017
  • Jodie Whittaker: December 2017 – present.

Who was your favourite Doctor? Let us know in the comments.

Who are the bad guys?

It's no surprise that the Doctor has made many enemies from all over the universe - too many to list here, but a handful of well-known space monsters are:

  • The Master, another Time Lord and known as The Doctor's arch-enemy.
  • The Daleks, terrifying creatures clad in fearsome metal armour, well known for their battle cry "Exterminate!"
  • The Cybermen, who are made from steel and lack empathy, making them extremely dangerous.
  • The Weeping Angels, chilling creatures which look like statues and only move when nobody is looking.
  • The Ood, who have tentacle like faces are a peaceful species and allies of the Doctor, but when controlled by evil beings they are a force to be reckoned with.

How can I celebrate Doctor Who day?

Celebrating is simple - you can dress up and watch (or binge watch) some of your favourite episodes.

There’s plenty to choose from – the original run of Doctor Who (1963 – 1989) has 26 seasons and, since 2005, an additional 12 series have been introduced with details of series 13 - expected in 2021 - to be announced.

Alternatively, sci-fi fans can enjoy one of the Doctor Who films - there is Dr Who and the Daleks and Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. from the 1960s, plus the TV film Doctor Who from 1966, starring Paul McGann as the TARDIS travelling Time Lord.

How are you celebrating? Let us know in the comments.