Unless you have totally removed yourself from current cultural events, yesterday marked the 50th anniversary celebration of the series, Doctor Who.
Fans collected from around the world were able to watch an event broadcast in 94 countries. Sci-fi fans haven’t had this much anticipation since the first Star Trek motion picture was produced. Fortunately for Doctor Who fans, their hopes weren’t dashed to the ground by bad writing or disappointing acting.
Doctor Who originated just the day after the assassination of President John Kennedy. Starting out as a show designed to be more educational than entertaining, it grew an audience. The management of BBC began to take the audience for granted and desired more to expand channels than keep quality programming. It finally met its own end in 1989 primarily due to budget cuts and production values at BBC. The hiatus lasted for several years. American production began on reviving the series. The Fox Network broadcast an in-house production on 14 May 1996 and on BBC One thirteen days later. The film was shot in Vancouver and the actual debut was on CityTV in Toronto, Canada.
Paul McGann was the Eighth Doctor, used in this film and he appropriately has been the principal lead-in for the 50th anniversary telecast. Support floundered for a series revival when audience share in the U.S. didn’t seem to justify the expense. Discussions droned on for a renewed Doctor series as well as management shifts at the BBC. It wasn’t until 2004 when the tide turned and production began with a new UK Doctor who series with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor.
From this time forward the series continued to pick up fan support right up and leading to this 50th anniversary extravaganza.
When Star Trek went off the air, the idea of landing the TARDIS on board the Enterprise went the way of the Dodo. As David Tennant remarked, “Can you imagine what their script department would have wanted, and what I would have wanted?” “It would have been the biggest battle.”
Well that battle never came about but the battle for ratings continues. It appears this battle has been won for now and the series continues going from strength to strength, even through budget cuts.
- Whovian News: Fans Demand the Return of the Eighth Doctor Paul McGann (nerdalicious.com.au)
- 10 Things About… Paul McGann (digitalspy.co.uk)
- Doctor Who: the fate of the Eighth Doctor revealed in new minisode (telegraph.co.uk)
- “Bring Me Knitting” – Analysis and Reactions to The Night of the Doctor (doctorwhomindrobber.com)
- The David Tennant Site
- Doctor Who – Com (fan site)
- A Brief History of Time (another fan site)
- BBC Doctor Who Home
- Doctor Who Theme 1 Revised