The Doctor's Acquaintances
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Winston Churchill
The Beast Below, Victory of the Daleks, The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang & The Wedding of River Song
Ian McNeice
Winston Churchill
(2010 - 2011)
Ian McNeice
 Ian McNeice was born in October 1950 in Basingstoke in Hampshire. He went to Taunton School in Somerset and then had two years at the Salisbury Playhouse as an Acting ASM before going to LAMDA (1971-74). The next few years were spent in theatre, including four years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, ending with Nicholas Nickleby on Broadway.

His television breakthrough was as Harcourt in the BAFTA award-wining series Edge of Darkness in 1985. His American screen breakthrough was playing opposite Jim Carrey as Fulton Greenwall in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls in 1995.

He played the part of the Newsreader in 20 episodes of Rome (2005 - 2007). Other television appearances include: 3 episodes of the Ruth Rendell Mysteries "Murder Being Once Done" (1991), 2 episodes of Pie in the Sky (1994), 3 episodes of Dune (2000), Hornblower (1998), 3 episodes of Children of Dune (2003), New Tricks (2007) and Jonathan Creek (2010).

His most memorable television appearance however, is as the character Bert Large in Doc Martin which he has been playing since 2004.
 Although he is most prominently known in history as the Prime Minister who led Britain against Hitler’s forces during the Second World War, Winston Churchill was also a close friend of at least three Doctors, providing them with aid and assistance in various adventures and forming a close friendship with them despite some potential personality clashes. Born the son of a cabinet minister, Churchill began his life in the military, but his initial attempt at a political career failed, resulting in him taking on a new job as war correspondent for the Daily Mail during the Boer War.

Book - Players
(Terrance Dicks)
When forced to take command of an effort to move a train after it had been knocked off the railway by a bomb, Churchill encountered the Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown, the two having landed in Africa by accident while trying to travel to London in the same era. Although The Doctor and Churchill were able to effectively coordinate the effort to move the train back onto its tracks - The Doctor and Peri also thwarting an attempt by The Players, powerful beings who manipulated history for their own amusement, to assassinate Churchill just to see what would happen to history without him -, they were both subsequently captured and locked in a Boer prison. Fortunately, another faction of Players provided Churchill with the means to escape, while The Doctor and Peri were able to reacquire the TARDIS - which had been taken into the prison storage for later examination - and escape after triggering an explosion in the ammunition shed to distract the guards.

During the public acclaim he received after his heroic escape, Churchill returned to the military for the duration of the Boer War, later returning to politics and rising to become First Lord of the Admirality by the beginning of the First World War. However, a political scandal after the failure of his attempt to attack Turkey via the Dardanelles prompted Churchill to return to the field, rejoining his old regiment and returning to France as a Major. During an ambush staged by another group of Players, Churchill was rescued by the Second Doctor and his friends Lieutenant Jeremy Carstairs and Lady Jennifer Buckingham; having recently thwarted the War Games arranged by his old friend the War Chief, The Doctor had asked to see for himself that some of his friends from the Games had been returned to their proper places in time before doing some work for the Time Lords. When they were subsequently captured by the Players known as the Count and Countess, who planned to send Churchill to Germany (Although they were unconcerned about whether the Kaiser intended to kill Churchill or claim that he had defected),
Book - The Shadow in the Glass
The Shadow in the Glass
(Justin Richards & Stephen Cole)
The Doctor apparently sacrificed himself to hold the Count at gunpoint while Churchill, Carstairs and Lady Jennifer stole the plane that they had been planning to use to take Churchill to Germany and returned home. Churchill served in the trenches for a year before returning to Parliament, feeling that he had been redeemed in his eyes for his old failure, recognising that he could play a better role to aid the war effort in government.

By 1936, Churchill’s career, despite having held several prestigious posts in Parliament, was in decline due to his opposition to the policy of appeasement practised by most of his peers, with only a few close friends such as the now-Colonel Jeremy Carstairs recognising that his fears about Hitler’s plans were correct. During this time, Churchill was reunited with the Sixth Doctor and Peri as they investigated the Players’ continued interference - the two posing as their own descendents to account for the fact that they hadn’t aged since meeting Churchill in Africa -, Churchill introducing them to the future King Edward and his American mistress Wallis Simpson. While spending time with Churchill, The Doctor and Peri discovered a German conspiracy to allow Edward to take the throne and dismiss the government in favour of a new cabinet that would be more sympathetic to Hitler’s policies, Churchill helping them dismantle the conspiracy by tricking Edward into incriminating his treasonous plans after Peri acquired a list of those involved in the conspiracy.

The exact details of Churchill's next encounter with The Doctor are unknown, but it would appear that, at some point between the abdication of Edward VIII and the Second World War, an unknown incarnation of The Doctor met with Churchill and told him the truth about their history together. After learning the truth about The Doctor, Churchill would sometimes express an interest in acquiring the TARDIS for Britain, but in general he appeared to accept The Doctor's decision to let Britain fight the Nazis on their own, in turn understanding that The Doctor would step in to help Britain when the situation became particularly desperate.

Audio - Their Finest Hour
Their Finest Hour
(John Dorney)
Early in the Second World War, Churchill contacted The Doctor for help investigating reports of what appeared to be an advanced enemy plane attacking British troops in 1940 ("Ravenous 1 - Their Finest Hour"). Responding to this call, the Eighth Doctor and his companion Liv Chenka learned that the advanced technology of the new plane came from the Heliyon species; the Heliyons avoided fighting wars of their own by essentially wagering on the outcome of wars on more primitive planets, with one of the Heliyons who had placed a wager on the current war on Earth discreetly undermining Britain’s forces to tip the odds in their favour. The Doctor was able to deal with their interference by providing some RAF planes with force fields that could help them find the alien ship, subsequently contacting the Heliyon homeworld to expose the attempted cheating and force them to withdraw from the war, allowing The Doctor and Liv to let history unfold as it should.

Victory of the Daleks
Victory of the Daleks
Churchill would call The Doctor for help once again in 1941, asking his old friend for advice regarding a new weapon developed by the genius Professor Bracewell, which Bracewell referred to as his ‘Ironsides’, robots equipped with powerful weapons ("Victory of the Daleks"). However, the Eleventh Doctor swiftly identified the Ironsides as Daleks, realising that Bracewell was a robot that the Daleks had created; the entire scenario was set up to lure in The Doctor so that the Daleks could trick him into activating the ‘Progenitor Device’, which would allow them to recreate their virtually-extinct species from new DNA (The Daleks couldn’t do it themselves as they registered as being ‘impure’ after they were created from Davros’s cells ("The Stolen Earth/Journey's End"), but the device responded to them after the ‘testimony’ of The Doctor, the Daleks’ greatest enemy, confirmed their identity as Daleks). While The Doctor confronted the Dalek ship, Churchill and Amy Pond were able to convince Bracewell - shaken at the discovery of his true identity - to help them modify fighter planes to confront the Dalek ship in the upper atmosphere, although The Doctor was forced to allow the Daleks to escape when they threatened to detonate Bracewell.

In 1943, Churchill's government were attempting to expose the Nazi sympathies of suspected collaborator Sir Davenport Finch, with their plan involving a fake copy of the Amulet of the Wastelands, an artefact so powerful that even the Time Lords were concerned about its presence on Earth ("Operation: Hellfire"). Seeking to ensure that the amulet was secure, the Time Lords sent the Third Doctor back to 1943 to retrieve the amulet, where he became involved in Churchill's 'Operation Hellfire' as government agents tried to expose Finch's agenda. The Doctor was able to retrieve the amulet while Finch's fascist allies were all captured or killed by Churchill's forces.

The Doctor and Churchill met again in 1944, when the Sixth Doctor asked for his friendís help in sneaking him into France to infiltrate a planned German raid on the English village of Turrelhampton. The Doctor had been investigating the existence of a Fourth Reich in 2001 and had determined that the Nazis had acquired alien artefacts from a ship that had crash-landed in that village a few months ago. Although The Doctor was only able to provide Churchill with a limited amount of information about what he was attempting to accomplish, Churchill and his cabinet were able to plant forged documents in Germanyís records for The Doctorís alias of Major General Johann Schmidt of the Berlin Fifth Medical Corps, The Doctor sabotaging the raid while allowing the Nazis to recover the items that he knew they would possess in the future.

The Wedding of River Song
The Wedding of River Song
Although he did not meet The Doctor personally, Churchill helped The Doctor discover a trap that his greatest enemies were preparing for him when he came into possession of one of the last paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, another friend of The Doctor’s ("Vincent and The Doctor"), which depicted the TARDIS exploding, Churchill’s subsequent attempt to call The Doctor being diverted to River Song when The Doctor didn’t answer his phone, allowing River to recover the painting in the future and take it to Earth, where The Doctor deciphered coordinates written on the TARDIS door in the painting to help him track down the trap’s location ("The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang").

Audio - Subterfuge
(Helen Goldwyn)
The Seventh Doctor had a particularly solemn encounter with Churchill when he visited 1945, learning that his old foe the Meddling Monk ("The Time Meddler") was acting as a political consultant to Churchill's post-war campaign for re-election ("Subterfuge"). The Doctor was able to assist Churchill in thwarting an attempt by a Nazi spy in MI6 from using alien technology to steal various works of art to fund the spy's plans to go into hiding, as well as fund The Monk's own efforts to establish himself as an independent political figure. The Doctor was able to help the aliens escape Earth by retrieving a vital component of their engine, but The Doctor was also forced to 'sabotage' Churchill's re-election campaign by altering his final speech so that it would create the impression of Churchill as a war leader who was still relying on the more brutal measures where Britain wanted to focus on rebuilding. The Doctor tried to apologise for what he had done, protesting that it was in the name of preserving history, but Churchill declared that, as far as he was concerned, this Doctor was no longer a friend of his.

In a reality where time was fractured so that all of history was happening at once, Churchill was the Holy Roman Emperor of Earth, questioning The Doctor - now the captured ‘soothsayer’ - to learn what had happened to history. Although The Doctor was able to explain that the damage to time was caused by an attempt to avert the fixed point that was his death, his demise being apparently ‘necessary’ to prevent him from answering the question that would reveal a great secret, Churchill was prevented from responding to this turn of events when The Silence - a mysterious race who people forgot about as soon as they stopped looking at them - attempted to attack him and The Doctor, only to be driven off by Amy Pond and her assembled forces, The Doctor later managing to put history back on track by faking his death (The Wedding of River Song").

Although The Doctor and Winston Churchill have experienced the occasional personality clashes that one would expect from two such strong-willed individuals working together, their goals have generally been aligned and they have shown a great deal of trust and respect for each other’s abilities, making Churchill a worthy and willing ally to The Doctor when he needs him.

Memorable Moment
Television Stories
Format Story Doctor Fellow Companions Season Episodes
Television The Beast Below The 11th Doctor Amy Pond Season 31 (New Series 5) 1
Television Victory of the Daleks The 11th Doctor Amy Pond Season 31 (New Series 5) 1
Television The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang The 11th Doctor Amy Pond, Rory Williams and River Song Season 31 (New Series 5) 2
Television The Wedding of River Song The 11th Doctor Amy Pond, Rory Williams and River Song Season 32 (New Series 6) 1
Total Stories:   4 Total Episodes:   5
Other Stories
Format Story Doctor Fellow Companions Season Source
Book Players The 2nd Doctor &
The 6th Doctor
Peri Season 22 The Past Doctors Stories
Book The Shadow in the Glass The 6th Doctor The Brigadier and Claire Aldwych Season 22 The Past Doctors Stories
Audio Subterfuge The 7th Doctor     The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Their Finest Hour The 8th Doctor     The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Operation Hellfire The 3rd Doctor Jo Grant   The Big Finish Audio Stories
Total Stories:   5
Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at
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