Whovians gather at UQ to mark 60 years of the travelling Time Lord

21 November 2023

The University of Queensland will help mark a milestone for the world’s longest running sci-fi television show, hosting Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary Symposium on Friday 24 November.  

An international panel of 11 speakers will present short papers inspired by the show on the themes of renewal, recovery, regeneration and reinvention.

Symposium organiser and longtime Doctor Who fan, Dr Catriona Mills from UQ’s School of Communication and Arts, said the topics range from comedy and gender identity on the show to its monstrous sea creatures, finding solace in fictional characters and using Doctor Who for teaching.

Dr Catriona Mills

“I’m a 19th century scholar by training and have written a few papers about the Doctor’s ongoing obsession with the Victorian era, which he’s always travelling back to,” Dr Mills said.

“I was on a panel for the show’s 50th anniversary, and along with some other academics thought we should also mark this 60th year of the world’s longest running sci-fi television show.”

The event’s guest speaker is former cast member Mark Strickson who played Vislor Turlough, the Fifth Doctor’s companion in the early 1980’s.

“Mark took a break from acting to study a PhD in zoology here in Australia, and produced nature documentaries, including Croc Hunter Steve Irwin’s earliest programs,” Dr Mills said.

“He has some really interesting things to say about the intersection of academia and popular culture.”

Dr Mills said Doctor Who has some strong Australian – and Queensland – connections.

“Australian Tony Coburn wrote the very first episode and composer Ron Grainer who wrote the original theme music was born in Atherton in Far North Queensland,” she said.

“UQ alum Janet Fielding played one of the Doctor’s companions, Tegan Jovanka.

“One story was set in an Australia of the future and Brisbane even got a mention in episodes over the years.”

Dr Mills said Australian fans of Doctor Who are passionate and many, and include an active fan club based at UQ, WhoUQ.

The half-day symposium is open to the public but can also be streamed online. 

Event details:

Friday 24 November 9am-1pm

Room 101, ModWest building (11A) UQ St Lucia campus

Register here to attend in person, or join online.


UQ communications, communications@uq.edu.au+61 429 056 139.