“Over the years Iâ€™ve visited this planet on many occasions,” the Doctor tells Rose, “and Iâ€™ve been noticed.”
He certainly has!
Since his first visit to Earth in the early 1960s, the Doctor has been up and down Earthâ€™s time line like a yo-yo. He seems to have a particular fondness for the 20th century, a point noted by the Time Lords when he was exiled to Earth and forced to regenerate into his third body. Up until then his visits had been sporadic but, even when his sentence was lifted and he was once more free to roam the universe, the TARDIS keeps bringing him back to Earth. So, what does the Doctor find so interesting about our little planetâ€¦?
The exile period accepted, the Doctorâ€™s favourite year appears to be 1966. On no less than four occasions has he visited during that year, twice in his first incarnation and twice in his second. All this and not once did he manage to get a ticket to see England win the World Cup! Maybe thatâ€™s why he keeps coming backâ€¦
Of course, at the beginning of the 21st century he travelled with Rose Tyler and Martha Jones, both of whom had strong family ties, so whether or not the Doctor would have kept returning to 2005, 2006 and 2007 if he wasnâ€™t travelling with them is dubious. But, nonetheless, return he did.
1963 appears to be another favourite year, with no less than three Doctors on Earth at that time â€“ the first who was kidnapping schoolteachers, the seventh who was laying a trap for the Daleks and the ninth who was spotted in the crowd when President Kennedy was assassinated.
The earliest time in Earthâ€™s history that the Doctor has visited is four hundred million years BC, when following the Jagaroth back to the dawn of the planetâ€™s history. He did, though, go further back to view the actual forming of the planet to discover the Earthâ€™s core was moulded round the Racknos spaceship but, as he didnâ€™t actually have anywhere to land, that canâ€™t be classed as a proper visit.
The furthest into the future he has gone is the year five billion onto New Earth after previously witnessing the day the original Earth was destroyed.
The Doctor isnâ€™t, of course, the only alien to visit the third planet of the solar system in the barred spiral galaxy known as the Milky Way within the Virgo Supercluster. Over the years, Earth has been visited by, in date order, (deep breath)â€¦
The Racnos, Jagaroth, the Master, Daleks, Kronos, Sontarans, Mandragora, Carrionites, Cybermen, Terrileptils, the Rani, the Gelth, Weng-Chiang, Light, the Rutans, Sutekh, the Family of Blood, Yeti, Captain Jack, Nanogenes, Haemovores, the Wire, Gavroc, Weeping Angels, the Nestenes, Autons, Macra, Axons, Daemons, Gellguards, Kraals, Krynoids, Eldrad, the Fendahl, the Cailleach, Zygons, Omega, Mawdryn, the Black Guardian, the Malus, Androgums, Reapers, Cheetah People, Mordred, Salamander, Slitheen, Sycorax, Krillitane, the Absorbaloff, Toclafane, Isolus and Ice Warriors.
Of course, many â€“ such as Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, the Master, etc â€“ have visited more than once. And thatâ€™s without Silurians and Sea Devils who are actually Earth creatures.
Aside from the Doctor and the Master, both of whom were virtual natives between 1970 and 1972, the aliens we have had most visits from are the Daleks. The pepperpots have been on Earth in 2550 BC, 1866, 1925, 1933, 1950, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1971, 1984, 2012 and 2167, visiting such places as Egypt, London, Liverpool, Hollywood, Manhattan and Utah. Also, it appears that the mystery of the missing crew of the Marie Celeste in 1872 was down to Dalek intervention.
I wonder if theyâ€™re collecting those â€˜My Dalek creations went to
So, it seems our planet is possibly the most popular in the universe. Whether it is for conquering purposes â€“ those Daleks just wonâ€™t give up, will they? â€“ or just for a bit of sightseeing and a holiday â€“ weâ€™ve all seen Cybermen relaxing on deckchairs at Eastbourne with knotted hankies on their heads, wearing dark sunglasses and getting sticky candyfloss all over their chest units â€“ those pesky aliens just canâ€™t keep away. Who knows, maybe your boss is a Zygon or your little girlâ€™s dolly is really an Auton?
Itâ€™s just a good job the Doctor is generally on hand to sort things out for usâ€¦