As the title asks, is there any in-universe explanation for why the Doctor almost exclusively ends up in England when traveling to Earth? Apart from a few exceptions, it seems that whenever he is on Earth, whether by accident or by choice, it is England he adventures in.

Or is my perception merely tinted by the fact that Doctor Who is a BBC program, and he actually does end up in alternate locales as much, or more often?

  • Well, there is the fact of the rift being in Cardiff. I don't know whether the frequency of visits being to England was the same in DW:TOS... though I would imagine so, if for no other reason that, as you stated, it being a BBC show.
    – eidylon
    Mar 6, 2014 at 4:31
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    @eidylon though of course, Cardiff is in Wales, not England... :) Mar 6, 2014 at 8:11
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    A short hop and £6.10 - Wish I had a Tardis so I didnt have to travel the 50 miles to Gloucester and down the other side of the channel to avoid the bloody bridge Mar 6, 2014 at 8:49
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    The Doctor might just enjoy a good cup of tea. The real question is, why do the Daleks keep invading England? :-) Mar 6, 2014 at 9:03
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    @maccooper - just the adventures we see. .. It's made pretty clear that he's off doing stuff when we're not watching
    – Valorum
    Mar 6, 2014 at 10:01

3 Answers 3


Out of Universe: Financial reasons. Simple as that.

In Universe: He says he likes Earth (and often the TARDIS takes him where he "should" be, according to the lore, as opposed to where he thinks he wants to be), but has usually ended up in the UK (a couple times in USA or other Terran locales).

EDIT: Oh yeah! I completely forgot about the rift in Cardiff that The Doctor sometimes uses to recharge the TARDIS, mentioned in season one (2005) episode 11, "Boom Town." (Not England, but a similar region.)

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    More recently he's been going to America quite a lot. Purely a coincidence obviously
    – Valorum
    Mar 6, 2014 at 12:47
  • This! Out of universe, they only do a couple of days shooting in the far-away locale of London. Most of the shooting is done in Cardiff (IIRC).
    – Pulsehead
    Mar 6, 2014 at 14:34
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    Why does everything bad that happens on Earth occur in the UK? That's the question the Doctor should be answering.
    – BBlake
    Mar 7, 2014 at 12:53
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    @BBlake: Because wherever he goes trouble follows and he only goes to the UK? Damn, we figured it out boys: the Doctor is the real villain here.
    – Saturn
    Apr 30, 2014 at 22:35
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    @Voldemort: I'm pretty sure that was the entire point of the Pandorica. To Stop him from screwing everything up.
    – NotMe
    Oct 14, 2014 at 23:12

The creation of Torchwood by Queen Victoria possibly caused 'Aliens' to believe that the UK is the dominant authority when it comes to contact.

The first doctor went to non UK locals. The Inca's and Marco Polo and the one about the Yeti are the first to come to mind.


As Meat Trademark's answer points out, the clear out of universe answer is that the show originated in England (although is now produced in Wales) and the majority of its domestic audience is English.

In universe, there isn't much to explain the Doctor's connection to England, but I can offer some clues.

He is certainly committed to defending the Earth

In The Christmas Invasion, the 10th Doctor beats the leader of the Sycorax in single combat as Earth's Champion. He then tells the Sycorax:

By the ancient rites of combat, I forbid you to scavenge here for the rest of time. And when go you back to the stars and tell others of this planet, when you tell them of it's riches, it's people, it's potential. When you talk of the Earth, then make sure that you tell them this. It is defended.

Revived series, 2005 Christmas Special: The Christmas Invasion (Transcript from chakoteya.net)

In The Eleventh Hour the 11th Doctor acknowledges (but downplays) his connection to Earth:

ATRAXI: You are not of this world.
DOCTOR: No, but I've put a lot of work into it.

Revived series, Season 5, Episode 1: The Eleventh Hour (Transcript from chakoteya.net)

He then goes on to show the Atraxi the many enemies who have tried to invade the earth and all the Doctors who have stopped them.

He admires the English

He does express admiration for the English from time to time. For example in The Empty Child the 9th Doctor says to Nancy:

Right now, not very far from here, the German war machine is rolling up the map of Europe. Country after country, falling like dominoes. Nothing can stop it. Nothing. Until one, tiny, damp little island says no. No. Not here. A mouse in front of a lion. You're amazing, the lot of you. Don't know what you do to Hitler, but you frighten the hell out of me. Off you go then do what you've got to do. Save the world.

Revived series, Season 1, Episode 9: The Empty Child (Transcript from chakoteya.net)

He gets attached to what is familiar

While the Doctor has shown his appreciation for Earth in general and the English in particular, there is no need to assume that they are especially deserving of this appreciation. We know that he becomes attached to his companions and can't bear to lose them.

I believe we should think of the people of Earth and of England as similar to companions. He probably didn't choose them, but by chance the TARDIS took him to England several times. He got used to the place and an affection developed.

UNIT has bases in England

In The Stolen Earth (episode 12 of season 4 of the revived series), we see that UNIT HQ is in New York, but UNIT clearly has significant bases in England as well. For example:

  • The Third Doctor worked for UNIT in England.
  • In The Day of the Doctor (50th Anniversary Special) we learn that the Black Archive is in London.

The Doctor often works closely with UNIT, so it makes sense for him to visit places with UNIT Facilities.

Footnote: Revived series episodes set on Earth but not in England

I reviewed all the stories of the revived series from season 1 through 11, and while the overwhelming majority of Earth-based episodes took place mainly in England (I counted 54), there were many primarily set elsewhere.

  • 8 in the USA. Dalek. Daleks in Manhattan, The Impossible Astronaut, The Day of the Moon, A Town Called Mercy, The Angels Take Manhattan, The Return of Doctor Mysterio, Rosa.
  • 4 in Scotland. Tooth and Claw, Under the Lake, Before the Flood, The Eaters of Light.
  • 2 in Wales. The Unquiet Dead, Boom Town.
  • 2 in Italy. The Fires of Pompeii, The Vampires of Venice.
  • 2 in Scandinavia. The Girl Who Died, It Takes You Away.
  • 2 in France. Vincent and the Doctor, The Girl in the Fireplace*.
  • 1 in Germany. Let's Kill Hitler.
  • 1 in Central Asia. The Pyramid at the End of the World.
  • 1 in South Asia. Demons of the Punjab.
  • 1 at the North Pole: Last Christmas.

* Partly in 18th century France, partly in 51st century space

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    My mind queued up "Jerusalem" and played it while I was reading this....
    – Spencer
    Aug 3, 2019 at 1:14

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