Wikipedia:WikiProject Doctor Who/Manual of style

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Style guideline

Our style guideline includes the following guidelines aimed to standardise Doctor Who articles:

  1. Adherence to the Wikipedia Manual of Style;
  2. Adherence to the Television WikiProject MoS;
  3. Adherence to the MoS with regard to fiction;
  4. Categorisation;
  5. Verification and citations;
  6. Organisation;
  7. Image usage;
  8. Geolocation;
  9. Terminology.


  • The article name, when first mentioned, should be bold, or bolded and italicised if it is a serial title.
  • Where mentioned in subsequent text, serial titles from the classic series, The Sarah Jane Adventures or any other multi-episode series or serial such as The Talons of Weng-Chiang or Torchwood: Miracle Day, should be italicised. Episode titles from the new series or Torchwood, such as "Rose", "The Night of the Doctor" or "The New World", as well as individual episodes within serials from the classic series such as "The Cave of Skulls", should be put in quotation marks. This is in line with the Wikipedia Manual of Style on titles.
  • British English spelling should be used, and dates should place the number first. With the exception of episode synopses and ongoing events, the past tense should be preferred in the main article text.
  • Names should be used in a context suitable to their role in the episode. For example, companions, protagonists, and neutral characters should be referred to by their forenames or nicknames, and antagonists (such as Max Capricorn) or officials (such as Harry Saxon or Harriet Jones) by their surnames.
  • Articles should be categorised in the correct subcategory at Category:Doctor Who.
  • Quotations in general are not encyclopaedic, and are better added at Wikiquote; see Doctor Who.
  • Statements which recall episodes or serials other than the article's subject should be cited to the relevant episodes.

This infobox is an example of how {{Infobox Doctor Who episode}} should be filled in. Production codes should be used where available. For the new series, we should follow the production team's designation of series and episode. The story numbers are only used to give an idea of where the story stands in the overall context of the series. The numbering scheme should reflect that used in Doctor Who Magazine issue 407's reader poll, "The Mighty 200!", which reflects current internal practice.

Episode pages[edit]

175 – "The Girl in the Fireplace"
Doctor Who episode
Aspect ratio 16 9 example.jpg
Directed by Euros Lyn
Written by Steven Moffat
Script editor Helen Raynor
Produced by Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T. Davies
Julie Gardner
Production code 2.4
Series Series 2
Length 45 minutes
Originally broadcast 6 May 2006
← Preceded by Followed by →
"School Reunion" "Rise of the Cybermen"
List of Doctor Who serials

An episode article should be set out roughly to the guidelines below; however, these guidelines are not set in stone and the structure may be altered depending on the amount of available source material.

The infobox ({{Infobox Doctor Who episode}}) should contain information about the episode, in a style similar to the credits. Subsequent fields should be filled out, such as the episode's broadcast date. When the cast is mentioned in the infobox, the actor should be mentioned before their character. If two actors play the same role, or an actor performs two roles, list the roles and/or actors in the order they appeared in.
Lead section
The lead section should summarise the article in three to five paragraphs. Preferably, the first paragraph should talk about when the episode aired. After that, the episode's production, its plot, and how it was received should be written in one paragraph each.
This section discusses the plot, and is split into two sections:
A concise but legible summary of the episode written from the real-life perspective. A common length is approximately ten words per minute, however this can be lengthened in the case of a complicated plot. When mentioning characters for the first time, include their actors' names in brackets (e.g. Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), or Sarah Jane Smith (Sladen) if Sladen is mentioned in the lead as portraying Sarah Jane).
This section should discuss relevant links to the show's continuity in a verifiable, unsynthetic and neutral manner. Special care must be taken to limit redundancy between the continuity section and other sections[cont 1] and original research;[cont 2] if possible, try to limit the extent of these sections by incorporating the text into other sections and limiting inclusion of continuity points to matters discussed by sources, preferably secondary ones; the existence of these sections often encourage unexperienced editors to include unsourced information or original research.
The production section should focus on how the episode was made. Depending on how much can be written, between none—i.e., all the information is in the "Production" section—and eight subsections can be used to segregate information. Generally, the following subsections should be used:
Notes about how the idea for the episode was created, and how the episode was written. Any outside references that have been noted by the production team or the BBC should be included in section. If an actor's performance is enough to make the production team call him/her back (such as Freema Agyeman's appearance in "Army of Ghosts"), this should be discussed alongside the episode's conception.
This section should talk about when and where the episode was filmed. If possible, you can include coordinate templates when you mention locations; see the filming locations section below.
Broadcast and reception
This section should deal with newspaper stories, its broadcast, and release. In particular, the following sections should be used.
Publicity and broadcast
For notes relating to the episode's pre-publicity - for example, the Christmas specials normally get some publicity months before broadcast, its original broadcast, and any other subsequent broadcasts (such as Doctor Who Confidential, or Torchwood's watershed and American broadcasts). For incomplete early stories, list the missing episodes, with a contextual sentence about them.
Sourced analysis of the episodes by noted Doctor Who analysts, normally seen in the Telos Publishing books (e.g. Stephen James Walker, Lawrence Miles, Shaun Lyon). Can be used in lieu or alongside the Critical reception paragraph.
Critical reception and release
These should detail how well the episode was received by critics, and its later release in video or novella format.
Any statements that are not in the synopsis or lead sections should be adequately cited using inline citations to reliable sources.
External links
Various external links, including links to various reference sites and reviews from Outpost Gallifrey and the Doctor Who Ratings Guide. See Wikipedia:External links for more advice.

  1. ^ For example, the reason London was evacuated in "Voyage of the Damned" is explained in the plot summary, so it should not be repeated in the continuity section.
  2. ^ The easiest way to do this is to limit continuity points specifically to those that are referenced by reliable sources or self-evident, undisputable facts from inspection of the source material; for example, Sarah Jane Smith encountered Davros in the serial Genesis of the Daleks.


Because most Doctor Who images are not under a free license, they must be used judiciously with regard to the non-free content criteria. The non-free content guideline also offers guidance. Between them, the policy and the guideline offer two salient pieces of guidance:

  1. Non-free content should not be used if they can be portrayed just as well using free media (i.e., encyclopedia text or freely-licensed images).
    • As a corollary, non-free images of living people should never be used if a free alternative exists and can serve the same encyclopedic purpose.
  2. Non-free content should only be used if it provides critical commentary to an article and its omission would be detrimental to the article's quality.

While this guidance is vague and has led to countless disputes in the past, precedents have formed regarding how non-free media should be used on Doctor Who articles:

  • Use of non-free images before an episode is broadcast is not supported by critical commentary and is not counted as acceptable use of non-free media.
  • The "purpose" field of a non-free media rationale template should not explain why the image should not be deleted; rather, it should explain why that specific shot or scene should be used.
  • Non-free screenshots should not solely rely on a plot point to justify their use, e.g. "This image portrays an important plot point". While the image may rely on the plot to justify its use, it must also rely on other sections of the article; for example, a key part of the production of the episode, or an aspect of the episode which is notable among television critics.
  • Refrain from using relatively simple scenes, for example, a shot of two characters in the show which is otherwise unremarkable.
  • If possible, make sure that you have written the text of the article before including an image. This will allow you to analyse the text for a recurrent and important theme of the episode and justify the image's case for inclusion.
  • Give all non-free content a relevant and detailed—but not overwhelming—caption with each use: for example, when using a screenshot in an article infobox, mention relevant production and plot facts.
  • Ensure that all screenshots in infoboxes reflect the whole article, and not just one section.

However, in some cases, we are able to use free media in Doctor Who articles. While the rules regarding free media are less strict, to make sure that the article is of the best possible quality, do not overload the article with free images with no relation to the text; instead, include pictures of actors/personalities in casting sections and recognisable pictures of filming location in filming sections; e.g. "The Stolen Earth": Casting and "Planet of the Dead": Filming.

Filming locations[edit]

If it is possible to locate where episodes have been filmed, you may want to include this in an episode article for interested readers. The current practice of doing so is:

  1. At the end of the clause, insert a grouped reference; that is, a reference tag which is coded as such: <ref group="location" name="referencename">Footnote</ref>, or <ref group="location" name="referencename" /> if a reference is referred to twice.
  2. In the reference tag, fill out the following template: {{coord|a|b|region:c_type:landmark}}, where:
  3. In the references section, create the sub-header ===Filming locations=== and include the code {{reflist|2|group=location}} below it.
  4. In the external links section, add the template {{kml}} below the {{Wikiquote}} template.


Due to Doctor Who's history, there may be ambiguity in discussing episodes. The following terms should be used consistently across Doctor Who entries as appropriate.

A single television broadcast, generally falling within the normal season schedule. So far, with a few rare exceptions, all episodes have been either 25 or 45 minutes long. In the classic series, an episode would usually only constitute part of a story, while in the new series many stories are single episodes, with others spreading out the story over 2 or 3 episodes. Example from the new series: "Rose"
A broadcast that falls outside the normal season schedule, and may be of any length. Examples: The Five Doctors, "The Christmas Invasion."
A group of episodes from the classic series which together form a single story. Example: Logopolis.
A group of serials or new series episodes which have some loose story connection. Example: Doctor Who: The Key to Time
A year's worth of episode broadcasts from the classic series. Although against UK convention, the term "season" is accepted usage for the classic series. Its first usage in an "official" tie-in appears to have been in the first Programme Guide in 1981; prior to that there appears to have been no particular convention. This usage can also be sourced on the current Doctor Who Episode Guide on the BBC website. In the new series, they changed to use "series" and reset the numbering.
A year's worth of episode broadcasts from the new series. Note that this can also be used to refer to the show as a whole, though this may occasionally be confusing to readers. In these cases, use instead either "show" or "programme."
Classic series
The original broadcast run of Doctor Who, from 1963 to 1989.
New series
The current broadcast run of Doctor Who, from 2005 to present.