The term is used to link characters, ideas or items which are seen across multiple productions, such as Sarah Jane Smith from Doctor Who, K-9 and Company (1981) and The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007-2011),Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood as well as K-9 from Doctor Who, K-9 and Company, The Sarah Jane Adventures, and K-9.
Unlike the owners of other science fiction franchises, the BBC takes no position on canon, and recent producers of the show have expressed distaste for the idea. The term has recently begun to appear in mainstream press coverage following the popular success of the 2005 Doctor Who revival.
In his 1983 book Doctor Who: A Celebration; Two Decades Through Time and Space, Peter Haining called his final chapter "The Whoniverse". The section assembled factual information about all the episodes to date, but also gave information about fan clubs and ancillary entertainments related to the programme. Thus, the term "Whoniverse" referred to everything connected with the programme behind-the-scenes. In this meaning, standing exhibitions, discussions about the filming of episodes and even fandom itself were considered part of the "Whoniverse". The term "Whoniverse" is still used with this definition today. including as the name of a Doctor Who convention in Australia.