In S01E12 of Nu-Who, in the final round of the deadly quiz game show that parodies The Weakest Link, the Anne Droid asks Rose Tyler the question:

In geography, the Grand Central Ravine is named after which ancient British city?

The answer to which is Sheffield.

As a native of Sheffield, this makes me a little more proud than it probably should, and my curiosity lead me to search Sheffield in the Tardis Wikia. That link brings up what seems to be a disproportionately high amount of references to a city that hasn't been very popular since the industry of its primary export - steel - collapsed a few decades ago.

In the amount of references to Sheffield that Doctor Who contains, it far outdwarfs York, and just about matches Manchester, which is a far more famous, thriving city, and one that also has better links to the BBC due to being the home of its regional headquarters.

I'm curious as to whether there's a reason for this high level of representation. I'm not expecting an in-universe reason, obviously, but I figured there may be an out-of-universe reason - something like a disproportionate amount of the show's writers or staff hailing from there.

So is this the case? If it's not, is there a likely reason other than pure coincidence?

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    I believe in the same episode Jack Harkness kind of does a little tribute to The Full Monty too. Apr 9, 2017 at 9:42

1 Answer 1


Mentions of a particular place in Doctor Who seem to largely follow the size of a city with the exception of London which is massively (dare I say, comically) over-represented.

London - Pop 8m - Mentions; 100+
Birmingham - Pop 1.1m - Mentions; 7
Leeds - Pop 750k - Mentions; 4
Sheffield - Pop 550k - Mentions; 5
Manchester - Pop 514k - Mentions; 3

You're right that Sheffield is over-mentioned, but not dramatically so, unlike Glasgow which has a population of just 600k but merits 10 mentions on TV.

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    "London! What a dump." "London's OK." "No it's not, it's a dump." "You spend an awful lot of time here, considering it's a dump." "I spend an awful lot of time being kidnapped, tortured, shot at, and exterminated. Doesn't mean I like it." (done from memory because I'm too lazy to Chakoteya it)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 9, 2017 at 0:39
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    @Randal'Thor - It's rather frustrating being someone who doesn't live in London. The media in the UK (not to mention musicians, artists, arts funding, etc etc) seem to treat London as "the place to be" and everywhere else as the barbarian lands.
    – Valorum
    Apr 9, 2017 at 0:46
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    The new Who is produced by BBC-Wales, which would account for a more Northerly perspective.
    – Joe L.
    Apr 9, 2017 at 15:09
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    @Naib - Actually, the 1542 Act of Union made Wales a part of the Kingdom of England. It was only in the 1700s that it became a separate country again.
    – Valorum
    Apr 9, 2017 at 15:44
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    @JoeL. Doctor Who is produced in Cardiff (Wales) which is almost the same latitude as London, so I'm not sure it accounts for a more "northerly perspective". Although it has probably made the series less London-centric (and also spawned the Cardiff-based spin off Torchwood).
    – user22478
    Apr 9, 2017 at 19:54

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