The Smithsonian understands that many history aficionados are also big Dr Who fans. In honour of this British sci-fi television program’s 50th anniversary this week, the Smithsonian’s history blog features a list of the Top Ten Doctor Who Stories for History Buffs.
The Smithson’s Top Ten includes the 1964 episode “The Aztecs,” in which the Doctor… and his companions become trapped in 15th-century Mexico. One of the companions, history teacher Barbara, is briefly hailed as a divine reincarnation of a high priest and tries to put an end to the Aztec practice of human sacrifice. Her efforts fail, and history moves on.”
Another early (1965) episode also features, where Dr Who traveled back even further in time to 12th century Palestine finding himself “caught in the middle of the conflict between the European crusaders, led by King Richard the Lionheart, who have conquered the land and the Saracens, led by Saladin, who are trying to kick them out”.
In more recent episodes Dr Who visited England in the midst of the industrial revolution and a luddite reovlt, the 1911 excavation of King Tut’s tomb, and Britain during the Second World War.
Check out the list – which includes some very entertaining episode clips. You may even be tempted to go all out in a Dr Who for History buffs marathon