As you might have noticed from previous posts: I am a Whovian – a fan of the British (Sci-Fi) series Doctor Who.
A series about a time-traveling alien, a Timelord, (credited as Dr. Who, Doctor Who or The Doctor) that picks up (mostly) human companions to show them all of time and space in his spaceship the T.A.R.D.I.S (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), that also has the „convenient“ ability of completely changing his body (regenerating) when he is about to die.
Today (23.11.2013) it has been 50 years since the very first episode „An Unearthy Child“ aired (in 1963, with William Hartnell as Dr. Who) in British television.
Happy 50th anniversary Doctor Who!
And a big „Thank you!“ to all the people involved in the creation of this brilliant show, for all your hard work and efforts to make this show into this special something that it is!
Within the Who(ni)verse
I have to admit that I haven’t been in the Who(ni)verse for that long, but I blame that on the weird scheduling and synchronization of the German version of the episodes. It was either too early or too late for me to watch it. But I do not regret ever setting foot into this strange world. A world with brilliant characters, incredible stories and quite a strange fanbase…
The first ever episode that, I think, I watched was „Tooth and Claws“ with David Tennant as The Doctor. I decided to watch this episode because it had Werwolves in it and as I am actually not that much into Sci-Fi and more into Fantasy stuff I just wanted to see how they did that. Needless to say I was pretty confused by it and didn’t watch more of it for quite a while.
But as I still also had enjoyed watching it and some other snippets from flipping through the TV channels and I later wanted to know what all these quotes and pictures on Tumblr pages were about, I gave it another try.
And what can I say? I’ve been hooked ever since.
Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor with his grinning in the face of danger just made me keep watching. It’s a pity he’d only been with the show for one season, but it was a fantastic season.
He was succeeded by David Tennant, who smiled differently, but still had three seasons of great stories and companions, including my favourite: The utterly brilliant Catherine Tate as Donna Noble.
When Matt Smith took on the role as The Doctor it was strange, as there was a longer time to get accustomed to his predecessor as before. He was so different to both Nine and Ten, yet he put as much heart into the role as both of them. I enjoy his childishness and the way he can switch from goofy to serious in the blink of an eye. He had some really brilliant speeches throughout his run, but I think I still never completely warmed up to him. Especially with all this family-stuff going around him, but he still is a great Doctor.
As you can see, my experiences are more with New-Who than the classic series, which was never really broadcasted in Germany. Nevertheless I have seen a couple of episodes from the very first Doctor and the movie of the Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, and of course scenes and stuff surrounding the other Doctors. When I have a little more time at hand I am going to watch the old stuff. (Some more thoughts on the classic Doctors here)
Anyway, this year – this day – marks the 50th anniversary of a show that managed to capture an audience all across the globe with its uniqueness. The special that will air later today is simultancast in about 80 countries, in cinemas and on television, and has many other specials accompanying it. But as I am not sure if I’ll be able to watch the The Day of the Doctor right away, I’ll only cover the other specials I have seen so far.
Many fans have created stuff to celebrate the anniversary throughout the year and this month especially. Among them Diana Dekajlo and Michael Nixon from Geek Crash Course, who made short clips about one of the Doctors each month and this month they made special videos, with additional information. For someone who hasn’t seen much of Classic-Who the monthly specials helped me to get a better overview about it. If you want to catch up before the big thing tonight, I highly recommend it.
The BBC itself obviously made many things for the celebration and I am pretty sure I don’t know every last bit of it.
The most intriguing thing they created were two prequels to the special:
The Night of the Doctor and The Last Day
As it is tradition for anniversaries in this one there will also be more than one Doctor: The Tenth, the Eleventh and an unknown incarnation that has been introduced in The Name of the Doctor – the last episode of the seventh season.
The Night of the Doctor adds a piece to the unknowns puzzle: It shows how the Eighth Doctor chooses to regenerate into the War Doctor, played by John Hurt.
After 17 years Paul McGann was given a chance at reprising his role from the TV movie and he did so brilliantly. I clearly wouldn’t mind seeing more of his adventures.
The Last Day shows Gallifrayan soldiers – I suppose – who discover that their worst enemy a Dalek, a being without consciousness and full of hate, had indeed managed to break through the impregnable barrier surrounding the city. With weird transmission signals interfering this one is quite bizarre and a bit creepy.
Judging from the trailers The Day of the Doctor includes the long foreshadowed, well rather after-shadowed, Time War. The war between Timelords and Daleks that effected all of creation until The Doctor ended it. By the time of The Night of the Doctor people seem to fear the Timelords as much as Daleks, which subsequently let to the choice the Eighth Doctor had to make. Incarnations Nine and Ten still suffered greatly from it and Eleven is at least capable of hiding it better than them.
Something that covered the beginnings of the show was the making-of-drama
An Adventure in Space and Time
written by the brilliant Mark Gatiss. It shows how Doctor Who was created in 1963, what struggles they had to go through until William Hartnell (portrayed by David Bradley) left the show. It was really interesting to watch, quite emotional at points and with a glorious finale, where (SPOILER if you still haven’t seen or read about it) the first Doctor takes a look across the TARDIS console and sees a glimpse into the future of what he was a part of creating, in the form of Matt Smith, fondly smiling back at him, before proceeding to turn switches on the console. (SPOILER END)
You just can see how much Gatiss is a fan of the show himself with all the effort he put into its writing. I clearly enjoyed it.
There are several more things that accompanies this landmark: An audio play from Big Finish Productions with the Doctors 4 to 8 called, The Light at the End for one and a lot of other stuff that I feel too lazy to add, just have a look at this compilation from BBC America: *click*.
I really look forward to watching The Day of Doctor, it will be spectacular and funny and weird and wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey and so much more.
It will be especially weird to SEE John Hurt, as I only know his voice from Merlin – I know he was in Harry Potter too, but I haven’t seen his scenes in English yet – as gigantic dragon… I’m curious what that will be like. (Judging from trailers and stuff: It will probably take me a while to get used to it…)
If I find the time, I will write my thoughts on the special afterwards.
I hope you all have fun on this day, The Day of the Doctor! 🙂