Ever wondered how current events in the Real World affected Dr. Who stories? Wondering where and how to watch Dr. Who in the U.S.? Wondering about ways to be a Time Lord? Just want links to lots of Doctor Who goodies?
Set the TARDIS to materialize below the Orange Omnilepticon, and we'll commence.
Oops - looks like my TARDIS is broken…
Speaking of years, one of the consequences of being an American Dr. Who fan is that by the time the early episodes made it to this side of the pond, some time had elapsed from when they were first seen in the U.K. That's less of a problem now, but a BBC article by Tim Masters (No, not "The Master") writes up some events in the real world that were mirrored in Doctor Who story lines.
Just as the 2013 Doctor Who story The Bells of Saint John featured new London landmark The Shard, the 1966 story The War Machines saw William Hartnell's Doctor visit the Post Office Tower (now the BT Tower) - which had officially opened the previous year.Masters discusses a numbers of examples of how, over the 50 year run of the series, the show has mirrored both contemporary concerns, popular culture, and larger issues. It adds an interesting side to the show. Science fiction and fantasy are often derided as 'escapist' - but sometimes they're a way of looking at serious issues from a different perspective.
The tower contains Wotan, a super-computer that creates an army of intelligent, armed mobile machines in order to take over the world.
"The War Machines is a story in which computers go mad and produce these war machines. It's The Terminator way before its time.
The story tapped into the topical debate about technological progress. "I think Doctor Who is always more interesting when it's commenting on issues that are just bubbling under," says Dr Saunders.
IF the Doctor can go anywhere in Space and Time - How can I find a way to watch him where I am?
The Guardian has a nice write up by Amanda Holpuch in New York, of a dilemma for American fans - how to watch the show?
Clad in bow-ties and tweed jackets, American Doctor Who fans prowl the streets with little recognition from their fellow citizens. Though the show is a British television institution, the average American has no idea what a Dalek is.And for those of you on the West Coast:
On Saturday, the show's 50th anniversary episode is airing live at 2pm eastern, on BBC America and in some movie theaters. Across the country, scattered groups of American fans will watch in bars and cafés which have become gathering places for those desperate to find a place where their fandom is understood.
New York City's center of Doctor Who is The Way Station bar in Brooklyn, known for its life-size TARDIS (it's the bathroom, and yes, it's bigger on the inside). Earlier this year, Matt Smith and Steven Moffat stopped by to watch the finale of the latest season. The Way Station's owner, bartender and Doctor Who fan-in-chief, Andy Heidel, has enlisted four neighboring bars to handle the crowd he expects on Saturday.
...At the opposite end of the country, The Fish and Chip Shop in Portland will also offer drink specials, Who-themed activities and giveaways – starting at 7am.(If you're interested in how to find theaters showing the Doctor Who special, this short post from a few days ago has some links that may be of use.)
A Londoner, Mick Shillingford, opened the Fish and Chip Shop in 2008. It became a gathering place for Who fans in 2011, when he painted the bar-room door to look like a tardis. After a local magazine called it Portland’s Doctor Who bar, he committed himself by decorating the bar with Who-themed items and creating a themed menu – which includes fish fingers and custard.
“We get a lot of people who just want to come here and hang out," Shillingford said. "It’s not really a commercial thing. I’m not selling T-shirts; I’m not trying to capitalize it that way.”
So you want to be a Time Lord?
Jacob Aron and Michael Marshall at New Scientist get in on the fun with an article Dr. Who anniversary: 12 Ways to become a Time Lord. It's a bit of a tease, because it's more about connections with things currently available on this "third rate mud ball of a planet orbiting a third rate star" - but beggars can't be choosers. IE:
2. Ultrasonic screwdriverBut wait - there's more!
With the ability to get out of any impossible situation, a device called the sonic screwdriver is one of the Doctor's most important tools. In the real world, ultrasonic devices are able to levitate and manipulate particles and liquid droplets, though they aren't available in handheld form just yet.
For even more fun, the BBC page for Doctor Who is loaded with all kinds of linky goodness. Warning - you can probably kiss goodbye quite a few hours of your one-time-around human life span following up on them all. And, the Mirror article linked up in the intro is also loaded with lots of Doctor Who info.
Before there was Fifty, there was Twenty Five
At some point in the previous century, there was a 25th anniversary of Dr. Who, and somewhere around that time an American Tour! (That's where the image at top comes from - more on that below.) I might have missed it if my brother hadn't found out one of the stops would be near where I was living at the time. The details are a little fuzzy now, but I remember it as being out doors on a clear if chilly day. The main draws on the tour were: Bessie, some version of the TARDIS, and Louise Jameson (Leela). There was some merchandise as well - like the sweatshirt I picked up, see below.)
At the time, Doctor Who was one of those many British shows PBS was importing to fill out schedule slots. It was drawing a small but devoted fan base. (I remember local station fund drives, with Doctor Who fans manning the phones, and pledge bonuses that included a sheet of instructions on how to knit a Tom Baker Doctor Who scarf…
Where does the time go?