Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Happy Birthday Doctor Who

On a cold, dark Saturday evening at 5:16pm in 1963, the screening of Doctor Who’s first ever episode was somewhat overshadowed by the assassination of U.S president John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas the evening before.

Because of this, coupled with a series of blackouts across the country, it was decided to repeat the first episode again the following week immediately prior to the transmission of episode 2. Ratings were good, pulling in an average of 6 million viewers.

But what began as a modest little family Science Fiction show would explode into a national phenomena some four weeks later with the arrival of the Daleks. Audience figures virtually doubled overnight and now, 47 years later, Doctor Who still occupies that coveted Saturday Tea-Time slot, and is more popular than it ever was.

And as we move ever closer to the programme’s Fiftieth Anniversary, Doctor Who is enjoying it’s second Golden Age, in the hands of Matt Smith and Steven Moffat.

How it all began - An Unearthly Child, Episode 1

Every year my fiancee and I celebrate the programme's birthday by sitting down to an episodic marathon based around a particular theme. Last year, for example, we watched one episode per 'classic villain' (Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Ice Warriors and The Master), while the year before we watched one episode for each of the (then) 10 incarnations of the Doctors.

This year we have chosen six of our favourite companions, and the evenings viewing will consist of :-

Ian & Barbara - The Romans, episode 1

Jamie - Evil Of the Daleks, episode 2

Jo Grant - Curse Of Peladon, episode 1

Sarah Jane Smith - Death To The Daleks, episode 1

Leela - The Horror Of Fang Rock, episode 4

Peri - The Trial Of A Time Lord, episode 4

And amongst all these birthday celebrations the BBC has also released the first full-length trailer for the 2010 Christmas special - A Christmas Carol

So, Happy Birthday Doctor Who. 47 years old today and looking as good as ever. And roll on December 25th for what looks like a fantastic brand new episode!

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