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Welcome to my inaugural diary for the newly materialised group WHOvians, or WHOligans if your predilection lies in that area!

The Opening sequence to the first ever episode of Doctor Who.  Broadcast by the BBC at 17:16:20 GMT on 23 November 1963.

Undoubtedly the ability to regenerate the main character is one of the main factors that has imbued this series with such long life.

In the early years of the 1960s The BBC commissioned a childrens' educational series.  It was meant to run for a single season.  Yet within a couple of episodes, the program evolved into the drama show many know and love to this day.  Using  time travel, it placed the characters within events in space and time and much like Star Trek, the show often dipped into moral questions of the day employing the dramatic framework of the show.

My earliest memories of Dr. Who are hazy at best but my mother, much to my chargrin, loves to regale others of the tale of me hiding behind the sofa at the sound of the opening theme.  I am proud to say, that I do not do that anymore,  although at the time I was joined in that particular repose by many boys and girls of a similar age.

My first Dr. Who, that I remember, was the third who played the part.  

The unforgettable Jon Pertwee.  He loved the role, revelling in the technobabble and gizmology of the show.  He coined one of the shows most immortal phrases, often whipping out his sonic screwdriver and "reversing the polarity of the Neutron flux" at the drop of a hat.  The 'classic' sonic screwdriver, almost universally recognised, was introduced by Jon Pertwee.  The sonic screwdriver had made an appearance earlier  with the second Doctor, played by Patrick Troughton, where it most closely resembled a penlight.  With Jon Pertwee it evolved. With a ring surrounding the central emitter atop an approximately cylindrical body it increased in size and gained new capabilities.  The third Doctor also introduced us to The Master, played by Robert Delgardo, Venusian Karate, Bessy, the WHOmobile and the Metabelis Crystal.  Released from confinement to Earth by the Timelords with the return of the Dematerialise/rematerialise circuit.  He met his demise on the planet of the spiders, Metabelis 3, returning the blue Metabelis crystal.

My Doctor, is however, the irrepressible Tom Baker.

Regeneration from  3 to 4

The fourth Doctor, and at seven consecutive series he also played the role for the longest period. A stand-out moment was in Genesis of the Daleks, he asked a profound question.  He held in his hands the means to wipe out the Daleks from all of history, and asked, "Even with all of their evil do I have the right to destroy them?"  In the end he left the decision to fate, dropping the wires on the floor.  There is so much more, that it would take a diary of its own, maybe several, to cover the Tom Baker years.  And that may happen.  The Tom Baker era ended with a climactic battle with The Master, fought on the Jodrell bank Radio telescope, whereupon Peter Davidson took over the role.

Famous for his love of cricket, (who doesn't love cricket) and stick of celery on his lapel. Peter Davidson  joined Dr Who after leaving "All creatures great and small" where he played the character Tristan Farnon.  Two notable changes coloured his years in the role as the Ddoctor. He was a much more vulnerable, less authoritarian  Doctor  also the show attempted to move into a more scientifically plausible model.  He was also the first since William Hartnell to forgo the sonic screwdriver. Interestingly, Peter Davidson also returned for a short special entitled Time Crash wearing his original costume,  declining the use of the Tenth Doctor's sonic screwdriver and eliciting the remark from David Tennant, "You were MY Doctor"  After Peter Davidson the show went into a bit of a decline, feeling directionless and submitting to a more slapstick version.  It was cancelled With Sylvester McCoy in the role. Only to re-materialise as a film with Paul McGann. Returning to the small screen with Christopher Eccleston in the role. Fantastic!!

And there I think we will leave the Doctor, travelling throughout all of history and space in his T.A.R.D.I.S.

There will be more, particularly at least one if not more about one of my all-time favorite props. the Sonic Screwdriver.  Including how it works, yes there really is a working sonic screwdriver.  How you can make one, and why you know you really want one.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for this, TG! (5+ / 0-)

    Solid summary about the start of it all.....

  •  Someone talked me into watching an episode (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Not much into watching blondes wander around a darkened basement going "hello?" For five minutes.

    So what is the attraction?

    •  Well, in my opinion, it's like Buffy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, shortfinals

      You had to be there. Buffy and Who fans have tried very hard to get me infected. I've watched hours and hours of those shows and I just don't get it.

      Now, Supernatural, I get. I'm addicted to that show. But I was there. I've been successful at addicting others to the show, unsuccessful at other times.

      You really have to be there to understand blonds going "Hello?" or two boys and their car.

      •  I was watching it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Not engaging whatsoever

        •  new incarnation of the series is much faster-paced (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Marti, shortfinals, cynndara

          You may find it more to your liking.

          The one thing I did not like about the old series (and increasingly the new series is doing this too) is the carrying of storylines over several episodes (or an entire season). So if you miss a show or two, you're out of touch with the rest.

          I've never liked shows that did that--I refer to them mockingly as "soap operas". That's one reason why I liked Star Trek Next Gen and the early years of DS9 (where each episode was self-contained, though with occasional references to others), but didn't like the later years of DS9 or Enterprise.

          •  This was the new series (0+ / 0-)

            Soap opera is apt since cultivating drama seems to be the main premise.


          •  I am not sure I agree. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Marti, shortfinals, IreGyre

            I enjoy the old programs because they had time to develop the story, it didn't feel as though the tale had to be compressed into a 45 minute slot.  The last couple of series have reinstated that idea by putting the stories within an arc that develops.  

            Much like King of the Rocketmen and Flash Gordon, if you miss a couple of episodes you may well lose your place.  But after all that is the aim, to get you coming back for more.

            In all of the world's problems religion has never been the solution

            by Tailgunner30uk on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 09:20:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I suppose it's a matter of personal taste (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tailgunner30uk, The Marti

              Me, I just don't like the long story arcs, and prefer stand-alone episodic stories.

              Alas, the current trend in TV is against me.

              •  I partially agree with you (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                The Marti, shortfinals, cynndara

                I think creating long open-ended story arcs is problematic because it definitely can lead to soap opera and to ridiculous situations like the latter years of the X-files.

                However multi-episode story lines that are written as a complete story with a definite end point are often quite good.  The old Doctor Who serials were mostly (with the exception of a couple of season) self contained stories.  They were essentially one long episode that was cut into pieces.  I do find that the 6 and 7 part ones drag on a bit.  I really loved it when they showed them as individual episodes with the cliff-hangers.    Later when they were all edited together (on PBS)  it just wasn't the same.

                I think the trend to longer stories is quite common today in all media (think movie sequels, fantasy novels in endless series, etc.).  I'm not sure how much of this is culturally driven and how much is driven by marketing.  I've become more and more a fan of short fiction as I get older.

                "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

                by matching mole on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:23:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Ever since Star Trek TOS (0+ / 0-)

                I've believed that the real artistic forte of television IS the opportunity to develop characters and story arcs over the course of multiple episodes, seasons, or an entire series.  That doesn't mean I find it appropriate to actually watching TV.  That bit about invariably missing the critical second episode used to drive me ape.  Now that we have entire seasons available on DVD or download, though, problem solved.  I got to watch all of Babylon 5 -- every SINGLE EPISODE, in order, and watch the story arc from ho-hum to high drama and true Space Opera.  I got to watch all of Buffy.  All of the spinoff, Angel.  And now I'm being fed ALL  of Dr. Who, a show I could never understand when it was available in random episodes months apart, in series from start to finish, and I LOVE it.

                But then, I don't read short stories.  Never did.  Give me a six-part series of novels, please.  If it doesn't have at least 1500 words eventually, what's the point?

    •  Each to their own... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Marti, shortfinals

      I really liked Eureka, but couldn't get into Warehouse 13 at all.  I haven't developed a liking for Continuum, Walking Dead, Defiance, but really enjoyed Firefly.  Now Doomwatch, Blakes 7, Quatermass I will watch for hours on end.

      Some people dislike Star Trek,  I cannot abide Downton Abbey, and my son hates mushrooms.  Ce la vie!

      Now where did I put my sonic screwdriver.

      In all of the world's problems religion has never been the solution

      by Tailgunner30uk on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 09:04:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Horace, it does take a bit of getting (4+ / 0-)

      used to.  I may have watched the same episode you described, I'd complain about the quality of production values, but there simply weren't any.

      If you get a chance, try one of the rebooted Doctors, my preference is the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, but the 9th and 10th Doctors were backed up by modern productions.  I don't know if you have cable, but Comcast has a goodly number of Doctor Who "On Demand", mostly David Tennant and Matt Smith, but they also have the Doctors Revisited, so far the have 1-4 available.  The series also has a presence on Netflix.

      “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

      by markdd on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 09:57:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Love it, TG! (7+ / 0-)

    I watched the first episode and thoroughly enjoyed it.  In poking around yesterday, I learned that many of the early episodes have been lost.  Very disappointing, because I took a liking to the first Doctor and companions, none of whom I had ever encountered before.

    As for scary things on tv, the earliest that I remember was Klingons.

    TY, TG!

    Dwell on the beauty of life. ~ Marcus Aurelius

    by Joy of Fishes on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:33:00 AM PDT

    •  Thank you. (5+ / 0-)

      Yes, unfortunately, the BBC decided to have a clear out and a huge amount of material was lost, not just Doctor Who, but many other early programs.  Thankfully there has been a drive to find the missing episodes and although there are still some missing, many have been reconstructed.

      As for scary, I still think there is nothing scarier than an oversized lethally armed pepperpot with a really bad attitude.

      In all of the world's problems religion has never been the solution

      by Tailgunner30uk on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 09:11:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was quite the problem with early TV (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Marti, BusyinCA, shortfinals, Debby

        on both continents.  Lots of the early "Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" were recorded on Kinescope, most of the copies disintegrated over time.  Others were on video tape, the got reused for other programs in "budget cutting" moves.

        To see the delta in quality, check out the Ed Ames tomahawk throw (Kinescope), George Gobel "Ever feel like the whole world is a tuxedo, and you're a pair of brown shoes" video tape clip (watch Dean Martin and Bob Hope on the couch for the real laughs) against any of the final show highlights.

        “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

        by markdd on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 10:07:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful, TG! The first episodes I saw were (5+ / 0-)

    in black and white; those memories are hazy after all these years.

    Hearing the theme music put a smile on my face, much as the theme from Star Trek still does.  It's like a greeting from an old friend.  You just know you're going to have a wonderful time.

    I really appreciate learning the backstory to the show, as I really only became an avid watcher when the series returned.

    I'm looking forward to more--many thanks!


    We cannot call ourselves a civilised society if we refuse to protect the weakest among us.

    by The Marti on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 09:14:41 AM PDT

  •  OMG, John Cleese clip is a classic (5+ / 0-)

    by itself.  I just love those gems hidden in many series that try not to take them selves too seriously.  

    Sample from NCIS:
    Kate: What did Ducky look like when he was young?
    Leroy Jethro Gibbs: Illya Kuryakin

    Thanks T30, really enjoyed this post.

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 10:20:55 AM PDT

    •  Time for a game of 6 degrees... (4+ / 0-)

      of separation methinks

      NCIS to Doctor Who.

      NCIS featured David McCallum as Ducky.

      David McCallum also played Steel in Sapphire and Steel alongside Joanna Lumley.

      Joanna Lumley played the Doctor, in a Children in Need special called the Curse of Fatal Death for the 40th anniversary.

      They're Dalek bumps!

      I didn't need six, probably not very good at this game.

      In all of the world's problems religion has never been the solution

      by Tailgunner30uk on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 10:36:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My son excels at six degrees or less (3+ / 0-)

        Is there a Pierce Brosnan link in here any where?  Both Remington Steele (Brosnan) and Tony DiNozzo (NCIS) solve crimes via old movie references.....

        “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

        by markdd on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 10:53:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not sure. (4+ / 0-)

          A correction first, The Curse of Fatal death was written and produced for Comic relief not Children in Need.

          I can however extend the chain to six and directly to the current series.

          NCIS-David McCallum-Saphire and Steel-Joanna Lumley-Absolutely Fabulous-Julia Sawalha-The press gang-Steven Moffat(writer)- Doctor Who (Producer and writer)

          Interestingly several of the cast of Curse, have links to Doctor Who.

          Richard E Grant was tipped for the role of the Doctor, he played the Doctor in an animated production Scream of the Shalka.
          Joanna Lumley was also tipped for the role of the Doctor.

          Julia Sawalha was to be a new companion for the Doctor in the original series, for the 27th season.

          Hugh Grant was offered the role but turned it down resulting in Christopher Eccleston taking the role instead.


          In all of the world's problems religion has never been the solution

          by Tailgunner30uk on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:16:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Come on people!!! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Otteray Scribe

        Julia Sawalha who played in 'The Curse of Fatal Death' played with Joanna Lumley in 'Absolutely Fabulous'....(insert where required for the sixth link)   :)

        'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

        by shortfinals on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 02:27:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I remember the art critic scene (4+ / 0-)

      from 'City of Death' vividly.  I almost fell out of my chair laughing the first time I saw it (over 30 years ago now).

      "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

      by matching mole on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:12:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes...Eleanor Bron! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        matching mole

        along with John Cleese. Eleanor Bron later appeared as 'Kara' in the 'Revelation of the Daleks', a two-part story that closed the 22nd season and was the last before an 18 month hiatus! (Actually, despite the appearance of the Daleks - both 'good' and 'bad' versions, and Davros - this wasn't the best 'Dalek story')

        'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

        by shortfinals on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 02:43:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I need to rewatch the 80s episodes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I only saw most of them once and my memories are very vague.  The 22nd season would have been Colin Baker's first season?  I know I saw that but I'm afraid it is lost in the mists of time (so to speak).

          "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

          by matching mole on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:17:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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