Tomorrow, the 23rd November, is the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Doctor Who. A special extended episode, called The Day of the Doctor, will be broadcast simultaneously across the world, and in 3D at selected cinemas.
Sadly I will be out at a friend’s birthday tomorrow and so will have to avoid any spoilers until I get to watch it on BBC iPlayer on Sunday.
The build-up to the 50th anniversary has been huge – doctorwhosavetheday.com has been unlocking short clips once a certain number of tweets and status updates with the #savetheday hashtag have been posted. There have been a number of specially-commissioned TV shows, such as last week’s The Science of Doctor Who with Professor Brian Cox (now sadly expired from iPlayer) and a documentary drama called An Adventure in Space and Time (iPlayer link). And miniature TARDISes have been popping up in other BBC programmes such as Eastenders and Holby City.
The biggest surprise of all was the release of the prequel to The Day of the Doctor, conveniently called The Night of the Doctor:
Without wanting to reveal too many spoilers, the mini-episode fills in some gaps in the Doctor’s timeline.
It’s a very different situation to ten years ago, at the fortieth anniversary in 2003. Back then, Doctor Who had been off our screens for several years, and had a reputation of being a low budget show with wobbly sets and cheesy special effects. Nowadays, the announcement of the new Doctor warrants a half hour special TV show, as happened earlier this year when Peter Capaldi was confirmed as the twelfth Doctor.
I was a bit too young to watch Doctor Who the first time around, so I picked it up with the revived series in 2005, and the ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston. And since then I’ve been hooked – never missing an episode and owning many of them on DVD and Blu-Ray. I even read up on some of the background information on the characters, on sites such as the TARDIS Data Core. And I’m not the only one, as many of my friends are fans of the show.
I’m really pleased that such a classic British show is still popular, and, if you excuse the pun, constantly ‘regenerating’ for new generations to enjoy. Let’s hope it’s still going in another fifty years. You never know, time travel may even be science fact in 2063, and not just science fiction… 🙂