50 YEARS OF DOCTOR WHO FOR DUMMIES
50 years of Doctor Who. Well, 50 years and one month. But for the sake of this post we'll look over that fact. Although it actually enhances the brilliancy of the show that it still goes on after a milestone of 50 years... and a month. For the socalled dummies reading this, lets begin with the basics.
Doctor Who first aired on the 23rd of November 1963. Since then it has aspired to be the longest running Science Fiction show on television in the world ever. This year, as you've might gathered, is the 50th anniversary which aired on the same date only 50 years later (and oh boy was it a good one!).
It's wrong or even a crime to say that doctor who is just another British television series. And most Whovians (pet name for dedicated Doctor Who-fans) would claim that Doctor Who is everything. But of one thing we can be sure, since the excistens of the show they've left an distinct footprint on the world and Galaxy's beyond. Like Neil Armstrong once said when he left behind his footstep on the moon: "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." So may Doctor Who's lifetime be proclaimed. Ever since the first airing there've been many souls glued to their television screens. How they've kept this up for 50 years? We're hopefully going to find out when we pin point through the shows history.
What's the show about? Well to quote David Tennant who played the 10th Doctor:
“The thing about Doctor Who is the fact that its very hard to explain and not sound like a lunatic”.
So brace yourself and just go with the flow.
Basically it's about an alien, a Time Lord from Gallifrey. Time Lords receive their name for their non-linear perception of time, which allows them to see everything that was, is, or could be at the same time.
The Doctor is the main character through the show. Thanks to a time travel machine called the T.A.R.D.I.S. (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) he can travel through time, space and matter.
Together with a companion, often a good looking young girl, he explores our surroundings. When doing that he mostly stumbles on adventures. These adventures of course implying saving the whole universe from disasters.
This all sounds rosy, but how can a serie run for so long? The answer is diversity and creativity.
William Hartnell played the very first Doctor. After three years he retired from his roll (or as rumours go: the producers replaced him for a younger specimen). Both theories aside, there's a problem and there's a need for a solution. So cleverly they came up with a plan, whereby the show could be running forever. Regeneration. The Doctor could “regenerate” a tired, injured or near dead body, taking on a new persona along the way (also known as re-casting the lead role). Hereby giving each Doctor their own marks, quirks and character. So, an alien who can be and do anything with a machine that can go anywhere, gives the creators (as I may say) a lot of space.
Besides that, Doctor Who isn't bound on a specific genre or story. The first episode can be full of slap-stick, while the second can be a full on thriller. Even in the same episode it twists around. Basically the ultimate formula of forever and ever and ever and ever... right?
Sometimes forever and ever can't last forever. Or atleast not forever on end. As said earlier, the first episode of Doctor Who aired on the 23rd of November 1963. Since then Doctor Who has been broadcasted to our television screens, but not always following eachother up. There's the so-called Classic Who and New Who.
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to affect, but actually, from a non-linier, non subjective point of view, it is more like a big ball of wibbily wobbly timey wimey... stuff”.
Classic Who runs from 1963 to 1989 with an extensial in 1996.
In February 1985 the BBC announced the show would be temporarily rested in affect of falling viewing figures.
Almost a year later in September 1986 it returned back on the telly. Unfortunately with only 14 episodes a year and with no reassurance to remain there. In 1989, after 26 seasons, the Seventh Doctor and current companion Ace walked off into the sunset. Bye, bye Doctor.
After some shed tears, independant companies tried to buy the concept from the BBC, with no succes.
Believe it or not, but these dark times gave new live to that what's been thought lost. The idea of Doctor who lives beyond the show among the fans. The fans now can freely outplay their own take on the concept.
It takes some time, but in 1996 the Doctor was back. Not as a new serie, though. The BBC co-produced a ninety-minute television film. Targetting not only the British market, but also the American. The Britsh loved it, with a satisfying nine million views. The Americans on the other hand weren't as enthusiastic.
It went quiet around the Doctor. The show's savely wrapped away, out of sight, waiting for someone to look at it with a new insight. With a new appreciation and even with a new value assignment. The 40th anniversary, celebrated by a two-part special with the remaining Doctors, went by. The show's been exproppriated from its primitive situation. Ideas began to form. Old fans from then, new producers/screenwriters/actors from now. And so it happened. A new erea of Doctor Who begun on the 26th of March 2005. Popular than ever (even in America).
The thing about Doctor Who is that they aren't fixed on the present and what's now being made, they also honour the past, but without fear for the future.
Between now and then, there's been 11 Doctors and that number will soon go up. Not trying to make it complicated, but these 11 Doctors have been played by 12 actors (just accept the fact).
Each and everyone of them have been molding their Doctor in an unique person. Every Doctor has his own trademarks. May it be a questionmark, a long coloured scarf, all-stars sneakers combined with a suit or a bowtie (with a few second appearence of a fez).
Doctor Who, as popular as it is, has a wide range of A-list actors who are desperate to play a role in the series. However this hasn't made them vain. Doctor Who is somewhat of a platform for unknown actors. A good example is our current and soon to be regenerated Doctor played by Matt Smith. Before, the name said nothing. Now it will be shouted at him everywhere he goes.
Not only has Doctor Who been good in introducing new Doctors, it's also responsible for the scary nightmares after viewing one of their episodes. Monsters or aliens play a main role in the life of the Doctor and his companions. Although the most famous of the bunch must be the Dalek (who in his own right celebrated their 50th anniversary last Saturday -21 December 2013)
A deadsworn enemy to the Doctor that looks like a roling tin and ragingly screech “EXTERMINATE!”, sounds not that scary. But let this outer layer not deceive you. These aliens are only looking for war. And extermination. But that's quite obvious. So everyone who isn't a Dalek has to look out for their own sanity.
Besides the Daleks, you've got for instance the Cybermen, the Weeping Angels and all other scary things you can think of.
To conclude with the words of Steven Spielberg:
“The world would be a poorer place without Doctor Who”.
- The BBC thought that the programme was proving so expensive to make that it might not be able to go beyond four episodes. Donald Baverstock wrote in 1963: "Such a costly serial is not one that I can afford".
- The ethereal theme tune was the first in the world to be made up entirely from electronic sounds.
- The sound of the Tardis is made in 1963 by scraping a key along a string of a piano. This sound has never been changed since then.
- The BBC owns the copyright to the design of the Police Box as used as the design for the Tardis. It was bought from the Metropolitan Police.
- The word “Dalek” became so familiar to British audiences that it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
- There are an everage 100 effects per episode.
- Tom Baker (the 4th Doctor) appeared in 173 episodes of the series, more than any other actor.
- The 4th Doctor’s costume was inspired by a painting of French artist Tolouse Lautrec. The now legendary scarf was a happy accident - the result of a freelance knitter not realising she didn’t have to use all the wool she had been given.
- The 10th Doctor's suit is blue when they go forward in time and brown if they go back in time.
- The 11th Doctor's bowtie is red if the episode takes place in the future, and blue if it's in the past.
- In 2010, after introducing the 11th Doctor (a keen bowtie-wearer), there was a 94% increase in the sale of bowties.
- There's a music genre called Trock (Timelord Rock). This has been created by a group of Britsh Youtubers who formed a band called “Chameleon Circuit”.