|Professor Challenger as envisioned by Dave Elsey|
A time traveler both in fantasy and BBC longevity, the Doctor fits in a tradition that spotlights a distinct variant of the stiff-upper-lip British hero — the rationalist-scientist who, in the name of humanity, confronts and counters a string of utterly bizarre and often global science-fictional menaces.
The Doctor is a direct descendent of Professor Bernard Quatermass, the protagonist in a series of chilling, high-grade British radio and television serials which became films, as well as of John Wyndham’s “cozy catastrophe” novels like “Day of the Triffids” and “The Midwich Cuckoos.”
But Quatermass himself is an heir to the 19th century sage Professor Edward Challenger, that loud and egotistical genius whose adventures included the discovery of living dinosaurs in South America and the rescue of mankind from a seemingly fatal “poison belt” in space.
So the father, or maybe the grandfather, of the Doctor is clear.
Doctor Who? Doctor Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, that’s Who.