By William G. Muir
In November of 1963 there was an event of historical significance, one that has continued to touch the lives of so many people till this day. It was such an important event that something like the assassination of the President of the United States led to the BBC to rebroadcasting it the very next week. So if you were lucky enough to be a British citizen back then you were able to witness history two weeks in a row.
What could this event of epic proportion be, you must be asking yourself? One that BBC would dare take umbrage over being dwarfed by the dead of John F. Kennedy. It could be none other than the greatest science fiction show to grace our television screens in the past forty-nine. Of course I am talking about the all time Sci-fi classic Doctor Who.
On November 23 1963 Doctor Who was first broadcast on the BBC. I don't think anybody at the BBC could have imagined that Doctor Who would be still be going strong nearly five decades later. The show was originally conceived as a means to educate the British children on the subjects of history and science. By the time the show would hit the airwaves it would lose the goal of being an educational tool. Instead the show would become a science fiction series with locations set in both time and space.
Back in 1963 the show was very different from the show that we know today. First off this was still the era of black and white television. Now I am not a fan of B&W TV or photography. I know there are those that are great fans of it, but I need the color. I feel like there are dimension missing when something is in B&W. When the color is gone there just seems like all the dept and warmth is missing from the show. To me it feels very flat with just its shades of gray.
Also gone from the show was the younger action hero of the Doctor we have all come to know and love. Well maybe Matt Smith is a little bit of a throw back to the first two Doctors, but those early Doctors were not the source for action in the shows. Unlike the more recent Doctor (excluding the 11th Doctor) the Doctor had a male companion to do the physical lifting that needed to be done. Our first two Doctors where older men, much like a grandfather and an uncle.
The Doctor has been a mysterious character, but even more so in those early years. During the time of the first Doctor the only information we had about him was that he was not from our time or from our planet. The only thing we knew about the Doctor and his granddaughter Susan was that they were aliens. It wouldn't be until the of the Second Doctor's run that we would even learn the name of his people., Time Lords. It would take several more years after that until we learned the name and location of his home planet.
Another difference between the show we know today and the classic series is the formatting. While the new series is comprised of thirteen stand alone episodes that form a loose story arc and a Christmas episode in one season, the original show\ was made up of series of serial that made up the season. For the most part each serial was independent from the rest of them during the season. There were season when every serial was tied together to form a story arc, such as The Key of Time and The Trail of a Time Lord
There have been two things that have remained constant over the years. The first of these are the TARDIS; The name TARDIS was coined by Susan by taking the first letters of Time and Relative Dimension In Space. The TARDIS are the vehicles of the Doctor's people the Time Lords. The TARDIS not only allows them to travel through time but in space as well. The main defining characteristic of the TARDIS is that it is bigger on the inside. Also the TARDIS has the ability to blend into it surroundings by taking any shape. Unfortunately for the Doctor the Chameleon Circuit which allows the TARDIS to camouflage has become stuck and the Doctor's TARDIS is stuck in the shape of a 1960's Police Box.
The other aspect of that show that remains from those early days is the Doctor's number one enemy, the Daleks. Not only are the Daleks the Doctor's number one enemy, they are his very first enemy as well. First appearing in the series second serial, The Daleks, these power mad cyborgs have been causing the Doctor trouble from the very beginning. Now while the Daleks have gone through some minor changes over the years, like they no longer depend on static electricity to power themselves, and they can now go up stairs. The Daleks have remained the same blood thirsty creatures that sent British children scrambling to hide behind the sofa all those years ago.
There is my brief introduction to a series that I truly love. While some people are Trekkies or fans of Star Wars, Doctor Who is my geek out show. I may not be the most well informed Doctor Who fan there is out there, but I have tried to learn all I can about the show. With this introduction I am hoping to bring to you the show that I love. Hopefully I can show to you why I am such a fan of this show and just maybe convince you to check it out if you have never done so before.