Doctor Who

Forty-Five years ago today, 23rd November 1963, a new Saturday tea-time show aired on BBC TV. It featured an old man and his grand-daughter who traveled through space and time in a machine that looked like a Police Telephone Box, but was larger on the inside than outside. The program was called Doctor Who and the thirtieth season was broadcast earlier this year; the show was off air from 1990 until it was revived in 2005.

Even during this hiatus, interest in the show remained string with old episodes being released on VHS and then DVD, and new stories appearing in book form on a monthly basis. The first episode appeared with almost no fan-fare, even without the world shaking events of the previous day newspapers would have paid no attention to a new show aimed at children. In 2008 British papers are full of news and speculation about the program, changes to the writing staff and acting are front page news. The first episode received a small audience, the latest episode was the most watched program on UK TV that week. The name of the Doctor’s ship, TARDIS, has entered the English language to mean something that is surprisingly large inside.

The Doctor’s greatest foes, the Daleks, were introduced in the second story, and he has continued to battle them across the last 45 years. The word Dalek has also entered common usage in the UK.

One of the secrets of the show’s longevity is the conceit that the Doctor comes from a species who can re-generate their body when they become old or badly injured, thus allowing new actors to assume the lead role. The tenth actor to play the part of the Doctor has just announced that he will not return to the show for the 2010 series and the press is full of speculation on who will play the part next.

I came to the show as a six year old in 1971. I was at a friend’s house and her older brothers watched the show. I saw the first episode of “Mind of Evil”, the second story of season eight. I was hooked and badgered my parents into letting me see the rest of the story, then the rest of the season. When I left home go to University twelve years later , I had missed just five episodes; two of them due to power-cuts. I have now seen every episode that still exists and read the novelisations. I can list the names of every story in order. I have attended Doctor Who conventions and written fan fiction. I have met and talked with a Doctor, the Master, and a companion. I remember the date of the JFK shooting as being the day before a TV show started. However, I have never dressed as the Doctor or a character from the show, therefore I can safely say that I am not really obsessed by the show.

Happy Birthday to Doctor Who.

Published in: on 23 November, 2008 at 7:00  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. quote

    “However, I have never dressed as the Doctor or a character from the show”


    Does that include wearing a leather jacket like Christopher Ecclestones’ down to the pub? If I recall correctly you said something along the lines of “at last I can dress like The Doctor and not look ridiculous”.

  2. What happens in the pub, should stay in the pub.
    So, I dressed as one Doctor, but never with a large scraf or with celery in my lapel

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