This post is going to take a look at the story structure of a typical episode of Doctor Who. Every television series has a structure all its own that helps to add to the overall character of the show that typically involve a main “A” storyline, along with two “B” and “C,” minor story lines.
Each episode of Doctor who begins with a cold open that jumps right into the main, “A,” storyline. This story line contains the events that the Doctor and his companions face surrounding a dangerous alien species that is threatening a peaceful or defenseless species (most often humans). Normally, the cold open follows the Doctor and/or his companions preparing for battle or getting into trouble. For example, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship begins with the Doctor recruiting Queen Nefertiti of Egypt and a lesser known poacher from Africa named Riddell, along with the Ponds, of course, in order to investigate an unknown spaceship headed to Earth. Immediately after revealing the basis of the episode, the show’s theme song and opening credits play. This storyline progresses throughout the entire episode as they learn that the ship is a Silurian ship (Silurians are a peaceful species who were using the ship as a sort of arc to transport their species, as well as the dinosaurs, to a new world) that was commandeered by a black market trader who wants to profit from the dinosaurs on board and eventually have to defeat him.
The “B” and “C” storlyines of the show typically focus on relationships between characters. For example, in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, both minor storyline focuses on the Pond/Doctor family. For exanmple, the Doctor accidentally brought Rory’s dad along for the adventure. The Doctor keeps objecting his presence, but Brian “Pond” eventually proves his worth as he discovers a way to fly the ship out of the danger of Earth’s oncoming missiles. The family dynamic is also focused on in the “C” story line, when Amy is repeatedly worrying that the Doctor is trying to replace her and Rory with other companions such as Nefertiti and Riddell. The other minor storyline of the episode. She confronts him by describing how his time between visits is getting longer and longer. In the end, however, he assures her not to worry.
All three story lines are present throughout the episode and are resolved in the end. For the most part, the majority of Doctor Who episodes follow this same basic structure.