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The Doctor Who Episodes You Never Knew Existed

Running out of episodes of your favorite show is a downer, especially if you don't know when the next season is coming out. And just more so if your favorite actor is leaving. Even if you know the real reason David Tennant left Doctor Who — or the real reason Peter Capaldi left Doctor Who — it doesn't make you miss them any less, no matter how much you like their respective replacements.

Doctor Who fans do have a bit of luck in this department, however. The show has been on for so long that there are plenty of episodes to explore. That said, they also have a bit of unique bad luck too, in that many of the show's earliest episodes were wiped out forever when the BBC reused the tapes they were recorded on. By the BBC's own estimates, there are 97 "missing episodes."

Fortunately, the popularity of the show with sci-fi fans around the world — and its status as something of a British institution — means the Doctor and his many companions often pop up in unexpected places. These are the Doctor Who episodes you never knew existed.

Doctor Who often appears in charity sketches

The Doctor has a soft spot for helping out humans. So they would probably approve of the many times Doctor Who sketches have appeared on British fundraising telethon-style shows Comic Relief and Children in Need. 

These sketches often involve crossovers with other British shows. For example, in 2007, David Tennant appeared on a Comic Relief sketch based on The Catherine Tate show, a hit sketch show which starred, yes, Catherine Tate as different characters. Tennant played the increasingly frustrated teacher of surly teenager Lauren (but this teacher has a Sonic Screwdriver). At that point, Tate had played Donna in a Christmas special, "The Runaway Bride," but it would be another year before she became an official companion.

Some of the sketches are straight-up parodies. For example, in 1999, an A-list cast including Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Grant, Jonathan Pryce, and Jim Broadbent appeared in a short Doctor Who film for Comic Relief called "The Curse of Fatal Death," which is available on YouTube.

However, one sketch for Children in Need showed a pivotal moment in the wibbly wobbly Doctor Who timeline. Known as "Born Again," the short clip showed the moments after the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) regenerated and became the Tenth Doctor (Tennant), who had to convince Rose (Billie Piper) that he was still the same Doctor. Just with very tall hair.

Doctor Who shorts make their way to DVDs

Not every extra Doctor Who sketch is created out of the goodness of the creators' hearts. Some are just for fun — and something extra for the diehard fans.

Doctor Who sketches have been created specially for the National Television Awards and for Doctor Who at the Proms. The Proms is an annual series of classical music concerts put together by the BBC. There have been three specials themed around Doctor Who, with music from the show performed by the BBC Philharmonic and London Philharmonic Choir as well as cast appearances. 

For the first of these, in 2008, Tennant and Russell T. Davies created an interactive sketch called "Music of the Spheres," which was played during intermission to the audience at the Royal Albert Hall and over the radio, and later on TV and DVD. Other shorts have found their way to DVD. For example, the season 7 DVD and Blu-ray box sets include a short of Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) having an argument with the TARDIS.

The interactive style — in which Tennant directly addressed the audience — was similar to another short, "Attack of the Graske." More like a game than a traditional sketch, this premiered on the BBC's Red Button feature — literally a red button on the TV remote that launched extra features — during the 2005 Christmas special "The Christmas Invasion."

Extra scenes have also moved online. In the week leading up to the release of season 7, the BBC uploaded a series of shorts under the collective title "Pond Life" to the Doctor Who website. The plot followed Amy (Karen Gillan), Rory Pond (Arthur Darvill), and the Doctor (Smith) during a TARDIS malfunction. 

Waiting for the next season of Doctor Who feels like forever. But these shorts will help in the meantime.