WOTAN – the Font of Doctor Who and the War Machines

by @edent | # # | 6 comments

As part of my silly floppy artwork, I wanted to find a retro computer font. Then I remembered that there’s a 1960s Doctor Who serial with this beauty.

The War Machines is a cracking slice of 60s sci-fi. It’s very groovy.

The War Machines title card.

But what font is it?

It isn’t Westminster.
The text in Westminster.
The W is completely wrong. And the letter T is mirrored.

Westminster has a surprising and interesting history.

It isn’t Data 70.
1960S COMPUTER FONT.

Which, in any case, was released a few years after the episode. Time travel is complex though.

It isn’t a modern font like Computer Font
A computer style font.

As far as I can tell, it is an original font which is heavily inspired by Westminster. The T is a particular giveaway.

There are only a few title screens, so there are only a limited number of characters available.

A montage of letters.

With a bit of jiggery-pokery, we can grab a few more character. A flipped E easily becomes a 3, for example.


I am indebted to my producer Clayton Hickman for his original investigative work.

6 thoughts on “WOTAN – the Font of Doctor Who and the War Machines

  1. I so need to use this on a retro video! 🤓


  2. Isn’t it MICR – the magnetic ink font widely used for machine-readable text on documents such as cheques?

    Westminster is a derivative

  3. Caroline Jarrett says:

    Oops – double-checked and of course MICR doesn’t have alphabetical characters.

  4. Alan Ralph says:

    Given that this was the 1960s and the era of Letraset lettering, I’m wondering if the BBC just got a designer to make up the lettering they needed.

  5. This may be peak Terence.


  6. Hales says:

    Mirrored letters: could be the method used to make these slides. Did they have them on transparencies and could place them backwards? They wouldn’t notice for letters like ‘T’.

    (This doesn’t explain the ‘W’ however)

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