Three of Doctor Who's most iconic Timelords revealed how the TV show has transformed the way Britain invested in dramas while also poking fun at the BBC's Michael Grade for trying to axe the world's longest running sci-fi series.
Speaking on a panel at the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Celebration event in London, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Peter Davison laughed, joked and reminisced about the TV show that has captured the love and imagination of 77 million fans worldwide.
"Doctor Who didn't just transform the BBC when it was rebooted in 2005, it made all the other networks reinvest and think about how to make fantastic dramas," said Baker, the sixth Doctor.
"The budget for Doctor Who at the BBC is now better, the love for the series is infinitely better and the technology means so much more can be done."
McCoy, the seventh Doctor, animatedly described how Doctor Who started to steer networks away from the deluge of low-brow shows and into something with substance and character.
"TV was going through a bad time before they re-launched Doctor Who with Christopher Eccleston," said McCoy.
"All I saw were cookery programmes and reality shows and drama was going downhill. Doctor Who encouraged all other companies and networks to make solid dramas again."
Michael Grade's Fatal Mistake
Indeed, the love for Doctor Who brought fans from around the world to the London ExCel centre while the Day of the Doctor episode led to a Guinness World Record for the world's largest ever simulcast of a TV drama.
"The popularity of Doctor Who [when I was the Doctor] is incomparable to what it is now," said Peter Davison, the fifth Doctor.
"It's a prestigious programme to be part of but the love and budget for the show now, compared to when we were in the 20th anniversary episode, is unmatchable."
However, Baker, McCoy and Davison didn't mince their words over the BBC's former boss Grade for trying to axe the show.
"[Grade] ended up telling fans he was only suspending Doctor Who after his attempts at cancelling it led to a backlash," said Davison.
McCoy, who was in the middle of his stint as the Doctor, had to endure an arduous timeout from the show.
"[Grade] ended up calling it a hiatus but he intended to cancel it," said McCoy.
"I remember he took a skiing holiday straight after he cancelled the show and then after two people, with the word 'Press' stamped on their hats, accosted him downhill on the slopes about the show, he realised it wasn't probably such a good idea to cancel."
The Doctors all agreed that one of the most ingenious ingredients for the show's recipe for success is the difference in each person who took the heavyweight role as the universe's favourite Timelord.
"The show is very clever at casting the Doctor. Every person is different and incomparable to the last," said Baker.