Creative Commons license icon

The tin dog from 'Doctor Who' is getting his own movie

Your rating: None Average: 4 (5 votes)

k9.jpgThe long running British science fiction television series Doctor Who has somehow managed to avoid a film adaptation in this day and age when any property with even a bit of brand recognition is getting an expensive cinematic treatment, or at the very least a gritty reboot (admittedly, it was adapted back in the 1960s). However, K9, the robot dog who guest starred with the Doctor back in the 1970s, will star in K9: TimeQuake, which is planned to be released in 2017, which will mark the 40th anniversary of the character.

At this point, the only name (besides K9's, of course) attached to the project is that of the writer's, Bob Baker, who originally created the character (along with writing partner Dave Martin). Writers for Doctor Who were allowed to retain rights to their creations, allowing them to use the characters for their own purposes, so Baker can spin-off K9 (sometimes variantly written K-9). Besides his work on Doctor Who, Baker is probably best known for his work on the Wallace and Gromit series of animated films.

K9 was first introduced in the 1977 Doctor Who serial "The Invisible Enemy", where he was gifted to the fourth incarnation of the Doctor, played by Tom Baker, by Professor Marious, his inventor. Not originally intended as an ongoing "companion" of the Doctor, the character, as predicted, quickly became popular with younger viewers of the show, though problems with the prop meant he only made cameo appearances in some future stories. K9 has been primarily voiced by John Leeson since his first appearance.

During the course of the show, there were multiple versions of K9; it is implied that the newer versions retain the previous version's programming and memories, meaning the multiple versions of K9 are essentially the same character (and are therefore less drastic changes than the Doctor's own "regenerations"). The first was gifted to departing companion Leela, while the second appeared sporadically until the 1981 serial "Warrior's Gate", where he was gifted to departing companion Romana.

Continuing the theme of giving updated versions of K9 to his fellow travelers, the Doctor gifted a third K9 to former companion Sarah Jane Smith in the pilot for attempted spin-off K9 and Company, "A Girl's Best Friend," despite the fact two characters had never actually appeared in an episode of Doctor Who together. The pilot didn't result in a series, though the episode was aired as a stand-alone special in 1981.

However, K9 and Sarah Jane would become the only "classic era" Doctor Who companions to return after the 2005 relaunch, making their return in the 2006 episode "School Reunion" starring David Tennant as the tenth incarnation of the Doctor. K9 and Sarah Jane would cameo a few more times in the main series until 2010, but a spin-off featuring the characters would finally become a reality, though featuring Sarah Jane in the title role this time, with The Sarah Jane Adventures.

A version of K9 would get his own show in 2010, entitled simply K9, broadcast primarily in Australia and featuring no active continuity with the current Doctor Who show due to only having rights to K9. This version features a very different look for the robotic dog; the "canonicity" of this version is debatable, but as Doctor Who is a show about both history altering time travel and multiple universes, the very idea that Doctor Who has a canon is debatable.

To date, K9 is the furriest companion of the Doctor to appear on the television show; however, the sixth incarnation of the Doctor did travel with a shape-shifting alien who chose to take the form of a cartoon penguin "for personal reasons" in the comics (though the Sixth Doctor was more of cat person himself).


Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

On the TV program, maybe, but there is a Doctor Who paperback novel, “Mad Dogs and Englishmen”, by Paul Magrs (BBC Books, January 2002), in which the Doctor and his companions get involved in a civil war between sentient, gun-waving poodles dyed bright scarlet, orange, green, and other colors (or colours). There are also a boar hotelier, an aphid master criminal, and dozens of Nöel Cowards. You can order it through

Fred Patten

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <img> <b> <i> <s> <blockquote> <ul> <ol> <li> <table> <tr> <td> <th> <sub> <sup> <object> <embed> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <dl> <dt> <dd> <param> <center> <strong> <q> <cite> <code> <em>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This test is to prevent automated spam submissions.
Leave empty.