The ten best and five worst Doctor Who bike connections

By Phil West -

General news

 24 December 2012 09:00

There have only been a handful of bikes appeared in Doctor Who over the years. Here, we run through the best and worst biking connections to Doctor Who.

1 - Matt Smith
It’s no secret that this year’s Christmas special The Snowmen (BBC 1, Christmas Day) features the Time Lord riding a bike, namely a Triumph Bonneville Scrambler, with new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman – nor that the eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, took a tumble during filming. But what’s less well known is that bikes have cropped up in the BBC sci-fi series far more often than you might realise...

2 - Jon Pertwee
Not just arguably one of the best Doctors ever (and third in the series) but also a committed biker. Pertwee grew up in a circus, started riding the Wall of Death at 16, rode a Triumph Bonneville T120 in an episode (pictured) called The Daemons and carried on riding his last bike, a Honda VT500E, until the age of 74, two years before his death. Good man.

3 - Sylvester McCoy
The seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) was friends with Billy and Ray, two bike enthusiasts. Billy owned a bike called ‘The Vincent’, which, conveniently enough, happened to be a classic Vincent Black Shadow fitted with a Steib sidecar which, old Sly used quite a lot in the episode Delta and the Bannermen. And, yes, that’s sidekick ‘Mel’ played by grating Bonnie Langford, in the car.

4 - David Tennant
One of the longest-serving and most-popular Doctors, David Tennant, also took to two wheels during his tenure as the tenth Doctor – but this time on a scoot. In an episode dubbed The Idiot Lantern, the Doc, along with companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) was seen on a Vespa supposedly with the intentions of seeing Elvis perform in New York. Of course, it didn’t work out like that…

5 - Paul McGann
The one most have forgotten. Paul McGann (of Withnail & I fame) played the eighth Doctor in a one-off feature-length TV movie in 1996, during which he pinched a motorbike from a San Francisco policeman, and upon which, with companion, Dr. Grace Holloway (played by Daphne Ashbrook) on the back, he raced off to some boffin institute or other.

6 - Tom Baker
Fourth Doctor Tom, reknown as much today for his honey-toned voice-overs on the likes of Little Britain, is another of the longest-serving (between 1974 and 1981) and most popular Docs. He’s also a surprising bike fan. “I wanted to use a motorbike in the series and so I did a course at the police school in North London. But nothing came of the idea and I forget why.”

7 - Arthur Darvill
Rory Williams to Matt Smith’s Doctor got quite excited at the prospect of riding a military BMW in a chase scene around 1939 Berlin for Let’s Kill Hitler. Sadly it didn’t work out. “The producer phoned up and was like, ‘Can you ride a motorbike?’ and I was like, ‘No – but I’ll learn! Just give me a few lessons.’ But then they said ‘No’ and got a stunt rider. I was quite disappointed.”

8 - Karen Gillan
Of course Rory’s not the only character involved in the same Let’s Kill Hitler sequence (which was actually filmed in Cardiff) – his future wife, Amy Pond (played by Karen Gillan) hops on the back – although in the action sequences she’s also doubled by a stunt woman; and the two of them are pursuing ‘daughter’ Melody (AKA River Song) aboard another BM. Confused? Read on...

9 - Alex Kingston
…Because it gets even more so. River Song is played by Alex Kingston, but her section along with the whole sequence had to be cut short. The intention was for an extended chase inspired by the motorcycle sequence in Terminator but with the addition of Rory and Amy being chased by some kind of Nazi/robot thing. Ultimately, it had to be cut quite short due to costs.

10 - Sophie Aldred
Who remembers little-loved Sylvester McCoy? Quite. Who then remembers his sidekick ‘Ace’, played by Sophie Aldred? Thought so. None of you’ll have probably noticed, then, that Ace, although never actually portrayed on two wheels, was something of a biker chick, wearing a jacket festooned with BSA, Triumph, Harley and even Villiers patches. Oh, and a Blue Peter badge too…

 

Not exactly Doctor Who, but close...


1 - Catherine Tate

Donna Noble to the tenth Doctor and… has nothing to do with bikes at all. BUT is currently romantically linked to TV presenter and bike fan Adrian Chiles and can often be seen on his FJR1300.

2 - Billie Piper
Apart from that foray on a Vespa her character, Rose Tyler, never gets near bikes in Doctor Who. In real life, however, as wife of bike mad actor Laurence Fox (of Lewis fame) she regularly rides pillion.

3 - Carey Mulligan
The rising star cut her teeth in a 2007 episode of Doctor Who. Since then she’s dated A-lister Shia LaBeouf and shared his Streetfighter and is now married to bike mad Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons.

4 - Kylie Minogue
The pop princess not only starred as Astrid Peth in 2007 festive special Voyage of the Damned, she’s regularly hitching rides around London and being an inappropriately clad pillion in a recent video.


5 - Yamaha R1
OK, so this is about as tenuous as it gets, although the sixth Doctor did briefly transform the Tardis into a motorcycle, this R1, complete with ‘Tardis’ signwriting down the belly pan was a fan’s tribute.