The Doctor’s visits to Earth

So, I got wondering the other night, what is the longest run of episodes in which the Doctor a) doesn’t visit Earth and b) doesn’t leave?

Possible answers to the first question:

  • The biggest gap between two episodes set mainly on Earth is 36 – the nine four-part stories between City of Death and Logopolis. Even if we break that run for the Tardis’s brief visit to Brighton in The Leisure Hive, that’s still 23 consecutive Earth-free episodes.
  • Close behind is the 22-episode, five-story interval between Image of the Fendahl and The Stones of Blood.
  • There are 18 episodes between The Stones of Blood and City of Death.
  • There are also 18 episodes between the second episode of The Three Doctors and The Green Death, if we don’t count the Doctors’ brief return to Earth after Omega is defeated.
  • There are 16 episodes between Fury from the Deep and The Invasion (The Wheel In Space, The Dominators, The Mind Robber), and also between The Seeds of Death and Spearhead from Space (The Space Pirates, The War Games).

If we are stricter, and look only at episodes set on near-contemporary Earth, there is a gap of 41 between the very first episode, “An Unearthly Child”, and the first story of the scone season, Planet of Giants, and, if we don’t count a fleeting visit to the Empire State Building, there are another 51 episodes between Planet of Giants and the TARDIS crew encountering the English police on Christmas Day, 1965.

Possible answers to the second question:

  • The first 39 episodes of the Pertwee era are basically set on contemporary Earth, though some of them on an alternate Earth and with some near-Earth space flight.
  • The middle stories of Season 5, five six-parters with 30 episodes, are all set on our Earth with some hopping around in time (The Abominable Snowmen, The Ice Warriors, The Enemy of the World, The Web of Fear, Fury from the Deep).

If we allow settings in space near Earth as well as those on our planet, the 29-episode run starting with the last season of Old Who, including the TV Movie and the entire Ecclestone era, and ending with the first Tennant episode, The Christmas Invasion, is also a close runner.

There, aren’t you glad you know that?

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