1. What is a blooper?

From the New Oxford Dictionary of English:

blooper, n. (informal, chiefly N. Amer.)
  1. (Baseball) a poorly hit fly ball landing just beyond the reach of the infielders.
  2. an embarrassing error.

I'll give you a clue: this site has nothing to do with baseball! The type of blooper I'm talking about are basically mistakes, goofs and other on-screen errors. They can take many forms:

You get the general idea. This list of bloopers contains over 2,500 examples of incompetence, inanity and incongruity from all 30+ seasons of Doctor Who (classic and new series). Many of them are subtle, requiring a sharp eye and one finger on the Pause button to be noticed — while others are so obvious it's painful.

The bloopers in this list are marked with either of the following icons:
(Verified) – means that the blooper has been "verified" to ensure its accuracy (which means either I've watched the episode myself, or at least two separate contributors have reported the same blooper);
(Unverified) – means that the blooper hasn't been verified yet, so the description may not be 100% accurate, or it may not be a proper "blooper" as defined in this document.

Also, any new bloopers added since the last site update are highlighted in red.

2. What is NOT a blooper?

First of all, the term "blooper reel" in fandom is often used to refer to out-takes, i.e. goofs which were never broadcast as part of the finished programme. This is not what I mean here. All the bloopers in this list were actually broadcast on-screen as part of the Doctor Who story in which they're listed.

Also, to appear on this list, a blooper must be self-contained within the story in which it appears — continuity errors spanning more than one story don't count. For example:

Errors like this, while interesting in themselves, are far too numerous (and many of them too contentious) to conveniently list. Life's much less complicated for me this way if I stick to "straight" bloopers and not get into a lengthy debate over how old the Doctor is supposed to be or what years the UNIT stories are set in.

In addition, bloopers must be reasonably "different" or interesting to get into the list — there are a great many minor, trivial errors, which would make the list very boring if every single one were to be painstakingly listed. The kind of errors I generally do not include on the list include the following:

Note: Exceptions to any of the above are made if the blooper in question is especially blatant, prolonged, amusing, or otherwise interesting.

It may seem I'm making all this more complicated than it needs to be, but trust me — without the above restrictions, the Bloopers List would be hundreds of pages long, and incredibly boring to read!

3. Why have a Blooper List?

One or two people have asked me what the point of this list is — all this nitpicking seems somewhat "sad" or pedantic, and if I enjoy Doctor Who so much, why have I devoted time and effort into creating a list of the programme's worst moments?

To be honest, I don't really have a good answer! In my defence, this sort of path is well-trodden in sci-fi fandom, with the Nitpicker's Guide series of books (covering Star Trek, Star Wars and The X-Files), plus TV programmes like Mystery Science Theater 3000 purely devoted to finding fault with science fiction. Call it post-modernism, call it mindless pedanticism, but I hope you'll also agree it's good, harmless fun. :-)

In case you're curious, I started compiling the Bloopers List back in early 1993 after watching Pyramids of Mars and noticing the infamous "Hand of Sutekh" scene. I posted a message to the rec.arts.drwho newsgroup to ask if anyone had noticed any similar gaffes, and received literally dozens of responses via email, so I gathered them all together into one document and posted it to the newsgroup. From such humble beginnings, the list has grown in size ten-fold, moved to a permanent home on the Web in 1995, been published in numerous fanzines worldwide, and been incorporated into two separate books: The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day & Keith Topping, and The Doctor Who Error Finder by RH Langley. And all thanks to a nameless BBC stagehand who held down a cushion for a few seconds back in 1976!

4. How to submit a new blooper

If you've spotted a blooper which isn't already on the list, waltz on over to the Feedback page. Be sure to include as many of the following details as you can:

5. Acknowledgements

This site is maintained by Daniel O'Malley.

Literally hundreds of people have contributed to the Bloopers List since 1993, far too many to name. I thank them all, and especially the following individuals for their particular help: Andrew McCaffrey, Shannon Sullivan (and everyone else in Special.K), Paul Cornell, Richard Kernin, Michael R. Wall and Steven Cooper. Thanks also to the readers of Gallifrey Base and to the invaluable Doctor Who Transcripts site.