Doctor Who 50th anniversary: The Time Lord’s ‘Birthday’ Number 1s Reve

To celebrate 50 years since sci-fi smash Doctor Who first hit our screens, we reveal the Number 1 on the day each incarnation made his first appearance.

To celebrate 50 years since sci-fi smash Doctor Who first hit our screens, we reveal the Number 1 on the day each incarnation made his first appearance.

On 23 November 1963, TV changed for ever when a new sci-fi phenomenon was born. Doctor Who, featuring the adventures of a worldly wise alien, his granddaughter and a police telephone box was an instant hit and celebrates 50 years of being on screen this weekend with a special anniversary episode, The Day Of The Doctor.

There have been 11 incarnations of our friendly neighbourhood Time Lord, each one created when the Doctor regenerates – usually when his body is about to die. Doctor Who fans are almost as geeky as us chart fanatics, and as a hat-tip to that other Great British institution, we dug through the archives to reveal what was Number 1 when each Doctor made his first appearance.

What was Number 1 when your favourite Doctor was ‘born’?

Doctor Who

First Doctor: Gerry & The Pacemakers – You’ll Never Walk Alone

On 23 November 1963, the First Doctor, played by William Hartnell, took us for a turn in the TARDIS for the very first time in An Unearthly Child. Topping the charts for the third time were Liverpudlians Gerry & The Pacemakers, with this now-iconic song. You’ll Never Walk Alone is still sung at every Liverpool FC match, so it’s certainly got staying power! It would be the band’s last Number 1 – they had eight more Top 40 hits.

CHART FACT: You’ll Never Walk Alone has topped the charts three times. For Gerry & The Pacemakers in 1963, The Crowd in 1985 and Robson & Jerome in 1996.


Doctor Who

Second Doctor: Four Tops – Reach Out I’ll Be There

Three years later, on 29 October 1966, it was time for the Doctor to ‘renew’ (the term ‘regeneration’ hadn’t been invented just yet) in The Tenth Planet. At Number 1 that day was the Four Tops with their first Number 1, Reach Out I’ll Be There. Patrick Troughton taking over as the Doctor was a brave move, but paved the way for Doctor Who to continue for another 47 years! Like the Doctor, the Four Tops had a pretty good run too – they were still having hits over 20 years later. Their last was Indestructible (Also like the Doctor! – Sci-Fi Ed) in 1989.

CHART FACT: Reach Out I’ll Be There was also a hit for Gloria Gaynor in 1975 and Michael Bolton in 1993.


Doctor Who

Third Doctor: Rolf Harris – Two Little Boys

On 13 January 1970, Jon Pertwee made his very first appearance as Doctor number three, and the Number 1 playing on the radio would’ve been Rolf Harris’s Two Little Boys. The Doctor was banished to Earth with his TARDIS taken away from him, and viewers never got to see a regeneration as such. If you were wondering what was Number 1 when the Second Doctor made his last appearance on 21 June 1969 – and let’s face it, you were – it was the Beatles’ Ballad Of John And Yoko.

CHART FACT: Two Little Boys was Rolf’s last hit for over 23 years – he returned to the Official Singles Chart with Stairway To Heaven, a Number 7 hit in 1993.


Doctor Who

Fourth Doctor: The Rubettes – Sugar Baby Love

On 8 June 1974, it was time for the Doctor to have an extreme makeover yet again. This time, Tom Baker took control of the TARDIS, and so far is the longest-running Doctor yet. Perched atop the Official Singles Chart on that fateful day was the Rubettes’ Sugar Baby Love. The song proved prophetic, as the Fourth Doctor was well-known for his love of jelly babies. The Official Charts know all and see all – would you like us to read your palm?

CHART FACT:  The Rubettes had nine Top 40 hits. The last, Baby I Know, hit Number 10 in 1977.


Doctor Who

Fifth Doctor: Roxy Music – Jealous Guy

Almost seven years later, Peter Davison stepped into the Doctor’s shoes, making his first appearance in the fourth part of Logopolis on 21 March 1981. Ruling the Official Chart that day was Bryan Ferry’s band Roxy Music with their first and only Number 1 Jealous Guy, a John Lennon cover. Davison was the youngest Doctor yet, and probably made a fair few men jealous that they didn’t get picked to pilot the TARDIS. Right? Right.

CHART FACT: Roxy Music had nine Top 10 hits between 1972 and 1982.


Doctor Who

Sixth Doctor: Nena – 99 Red Balloons

Colin Baker was next to star as Gallifrey’s main bad boy – taking over on 16 March 1984. Meanwhile, over on the Official Singles Chart, a proper one-hit wonder was at Number 1. The lovely Nena, and their tribute to children’s party entertainers everywhere, 99 Red Balloons. The song was originally an anti-nuclear protest song – the Doctor isn’t a big fan of great big weapons either, so we reckon him and Nena (which was the name of the band as well as the lead singer) would’ve got on famously.

CHART FACT: 99 Red Balloons was originally released in German as 99 Luftballoons, and that version was a US hit.


Doctor Who

Seventh Doctor: Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up

Just as Sylvester McCoy was starting out as the Doctor for the first time and battling a flame-haired enemy in the classic story Time And The Rani, another young redhead from Newton-le-Willows was embarking on a pop career. Yes, Rick Astley was topping the Official Singles Chart on 7 September 1987. Never Gonna Give You Up became famous once more 20 years later when it was part of the ‘Rickrolling’ phenomenon. ‘Hilarious’ internet japesters would send each other links which pretended to be for other things but were actually all links to Rick’s debut hit. Funnily enough, the Rani pretends to be the Doctor’s assistant Mel for much of this story – so the poor old Doctor was getting Rickrolled long before any of us.

CHART FACT: Rick had a run of eight Top 10 hits until 1991. Since then, he’s only had one Top 40 hit – Hopelessly in 1993.


Doctor Who

Eighth Doctor: Baddiel & Skinner & Lightning Seeds – Three Lions

The UK was gearing up for Euro 96 fever when the Doctor returned after a seven-year break on 27 May 1996. Paul McGann was in charge of the TARDIS in this episode, for just one appearance only (until he appeared in the Night Of The Doctor web episode in 2013). At the top of the charts, Baddiel & Skinner teamed up with Lightning Seeds with this anthemic admission that England wasn’t always that great at football.

CHART FACT: Three Lions returned to the top spot in 1998 during the World Cup in France.


Doctor Who

Ninth Doctor: Tony Christie FT Peter Kay – (Is This The Way To) Amarillo?

It was the Time Lord’s big comeback on Easter weekend in 2005. After nine years, he was back to save the world once more. Christopher Eccleston was in the hot seat this time, teaming up with former popstrel Billie Piper as companion Rose. Another comeback was in full swing on the Official Singles Chart: veteran crooner Tony Christie was at Number 1 with (Is This The Way To) Amarillo? Thanks to a hilarious video with comic Peter Kay and other celebrity guests, a new singalong classic was reborn.

CHART FACT: (Is This The Way To) Amarillo? Originally reached Number 18, 35 years before the song was rereleased and hit the top.


Doctor Who

Tenth Doctor: Crazy Frog – Axel F

It’s perhaps fitting that one of the Doctor’s zaniest incarnations should have Crazy Frog’s Axel F as his ‘birthday’ Number 1. First appearing at the very end of The Parting Of The Ways on 18 June 2005, David Tennant had quite a lot in common with the cartoon frog who could sing you anything you liked, as long as it was ‘ding- ding- ding- ding- ding- ding- ding- ding’. David Tennant was one of the most memorable Doctors – will Crazy Frog go down in history? We’re more than wiling to nip into the TARDIS and check out the future, but we think we know the answer to this one already…

WEEKS AT NUMBER 1: Four (really!)
CHART FACT: Crazy Frog has had five Top 20 hits. Five. FIVE! Honestly.


Doctor Who

Eleventh Doctor: Joe McElderry – The Climb

Matt Smith must’ve felt like he’d won the jackpot when he took over as the Doctor on New Year’s Day 2010. The floppy-haired funster was the youngest Doctor ever, despite being over 900 years old. Another winner was young Joe McElderry, who had romped to victory in The X Factor a couple of weeks earlier. His debut single The Climb was a Miley Cyrus cover, of course. No word yet if Joe is planning to rework Miley’s Wrecking Ball, complete with flesh-baring video. Joe? Any chance?

WEEKS AT NUMBER 1: Just the one.
CHART FACT: Joe McElderry’s The Climb was kept from the Christmas Number 1 slot by Rage Against The Machine, following a high-profile Facebook campaign.



Doctor Who 50th anniversary

The War Doctor: Daft Punk – Get Lucky

Our most recent incarnation isn’t really the Doctor at all. Between the Eighth and Ninth is the War Doctor, the warrior who fought in the Time War and, in the Time Lord’s head doesn’t deserve to carry the name of the Doctor. He is something of a mystery, but all is soon to be revealed. When megastar actor John Hurt made his shock appearance as this Doctor on 18 May 2013, a veritable chart warrior was at Number 1. Daft Punk’s big comeback Get Lucky, surprised us all when it became a massive seller. With Pharrell Williams on vocal duties and legendary producer Nile Rodgers on guitar, this was a star-studded affair.

CHART FACT: Get Lucky is the second biggest seller of 2013 so far, with over 1.2 million copies sold. Wowser.


Watch the trailer for the 50th anniversary episode:

Find your Birthday Number 1!

Want to know what was topping the charts on the day the stork brought you? Take a look at the big blue box in the top-right of any page on, and under ‘Access the archive’ select ‘Charts’ and enter your birthdate and before you can say “Please let it be something really cool and not a puppet or comedy character” you’ll be presented with the Top 10 from the day you were born.

What’s yours? Tweet us using #BirthdayNumber1 and tell us!