Doctor Who

This year, Doctor Who fans the world over are celebrating 50 years of the iconic British sci-fi show. And that includes me. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know what Doctor Who is. I have vague recollections of seeing the Third Doctor regenerate into the Fourth Doctor back in 1974–one of my earliest memories. I remember being seriously freaked out by the 1978 story “Robots of Death” (and I still think it’s one of the creepiest–and best–of the classic series). So, I’ve been a fan of the show for a long time.

If all of the above makes absolutely no sense to you whatsoever, or if you are fairly new to Doctor Who, then hopefully the videos below will give you a fun crash course in Doctor Who history. First we have Babelcolour’s (that’s Stuart Humphryes) celebration of Doctor Who, where he reviews every single Doctor Who story, spin-off, and special from the first episode in 1963 through to the end of last season (New Series 6)… in 10 minutes!:

[UPDATE: When I wrote this article, Babelcolour’s video was alive and well on YouTube. Since then, the BBC has forced Mr. Humphreys to remove–or at least make private–many of the clips on his YouTube site. This, despite the fact that he just finished working with the BBC on colorizing the first episode of the classic Who story “The Mind of Evil” for DVD release later this year. There’s gratitude for you! *sigh*]

[UPDATED UPDATE as of April 11, 2013, from Babelcolour’s YouTube page: “BBC WorldWide have been kind enough to phone me and reassure me that they support the output and that the copyright strikes were unintentionally punitive. I shall be back!” YAY!!]

Next up we have The Doctor Who Years. This is a video series produced by some professional TV people with access to the BBC archives (Ed Stradling has also worked on the official BBC Doctor Who DVD range), that marries clips from every classic episode (1963-1989) with music from the period. Each video is about 30 minutes long, and I think they’re an excellent way to introduce people to the series. They’re also very entertaining:

Β The 1960s

The 1970s

(Unfortunately, YouTube has blocked the first part of this video for copyright reasons…)

The 1980s

The latest series of Doctor Who (New Series 7) started up again this past Saturday. If you’ve never seen it before, what better time than the 50th anniversary year to become a fan? See you behind the sofa…

23 thoughts on “Doctor Who

  1. Jaime

    Still need to get around to watching Doctor Who, though I’ve been so busy lately it’s hard to find time to watch anything let alone start a series from the beginning (ish). I did, however, watch “Blink” this past Halloween and it was sufficiently freaky for the occasion. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      I am so glad you’ve seen “Blink”–one of the best of the new series, IMO. I hope you get to see more Who in the near future! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Robin Moran

    The 50th anniversary sounds interesting. Cinema screenings, I think. πŸ™‚ But I’m hoping that we’ll more Doctors than Matt Smith and David Tennant if they’re doing cameos. I know this is the new series but I hope they acknowledge more than Tennant. He was a good Doctor but not THE Doctor.

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      I would especially like to see Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston make an appearance. Going back any further, however, you run into the problem that… well… the actors are not as young as they were! Maybe Sylvester McCoy could still get away with it, but the others… it would be a stretch. I completely agree that it would nice if the special is more than just the Tennant-Smith show. Let’s celebrate the character, not just the actors.

      Reply
  3. Allison

    I’m so excited for the 50th anniversary and the return of David Tennant!! It’s gonna be legendary. I wonder who else will turn up.

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      I’m hoping Steven Moffat does it justice. As a fan, I’m sure he feels the responsibility of making the 50th anniversary special something REALLY special. It will be great to see Doctors 10 and 11 together, but it would be nice if the other Doctors can get in on the story somehow.

      Reply
  4. Debbie W

    Hello Colin,

    I am dropping in from the A-Z challenge.

    My claim to fame is that I have the same initials as Dr Who. In fact I am convinced my parents really wanted to name me Dr Who.

    My favourite episode of the more recent Dr Who is Sally Sparrow and the angels. I want to see more creepy episodes like that. Saying that, the cyber men used to really creep me out.

    Good luck with the A-Zedding challenge.

    Debbie W
    http://writingworkshopsandcompetitions.blogspot.co.uk/

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      Your last name wouldn’t be Who, would it? And maybe your middle initial “R”? πŸ™‚

      “Blink”–the episode with Sally Sparrow–is one of the all-time greatest Who episodes, IMO. And that’s counting both Classic and Modern Who. I think since Steven Moffat has taken over show-running duties, his scripts, while good, have not been as good as “Blink” or “The Empty Child.”

      Thanks for dropping by, Debbie! πŸ˜€

      Reply
  5. tracykuhn

    Christopher Eccleston was brilliant, but then I’m a bit of fan of his anyway. As I’ve mentioned before, my favourite was Tom Baker but mainly because he was the Doctor when I started watching it and I think the Doctor of your childhood is always special. I remember knitting my dad a Dr Who scarf that was about as long as him while only being about an inch wide.
    I’ve still got my Dr Who annuals somewhere and am really pleased that now my children get as much out of it as I did then.

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      While I was alive for the Pertwee era (just), Tom Baker was my Doctor growing up. My appreciation for Patrick Troughton grew as I watched more of his stories on video.

      I recall we had one Doctor Who annual–possibly for 1978? I don’t recall precisely. I’m sure it’s long gone from the family archives. πŸ™‚ Good for you for keeping yours. I know my kids would love it if we’d kept ours.

      Reply
      1. Ian

        Ahem… you honestly, and with straightened face, believe that for one micro-second that I would allow a Dr Who annual to escape? We have several from the 70’s and 80’s, and one from the 60’s. πŸ˜€

        Reply
        1. cds Post author

          Really? Cool! I thought they had all perished with your mountain of Doctor Who Monthlies. You’ll have to bring some over next time you visit. πŸ˜€

          Reply
    1. cds Post author

      Yay! Another Whovian!! If you start from the very beginning (1963), it’ll take you a while to catch up–but what FUN! πŸ˜€ Even with the new series, there are lots of stories to enjoy. Welcome to the Whoniverse, Valerie!

      Reply
  6. Cindy Dwyer

    That was a little before my time. I’ll have to try to catch the new series, but I gave up TV to make more time for writing…maybe I’ll cheat a little. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      You can watch all but the latest season of Doctor Who on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other places. And that’s the Internet–not TV. Right? πŸ˜‰

      And I’ll take the “before my time” comment in my stride–unless you’re talking about 60s Who–and that was before *my* time too. πŸ˜€ Seriously, though, I don’t mind being old enough to have watched Who in the 70s. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  7. Miss Jersey

    I love Doctor Who (as you probably already know!). I really want to watch all the classic episodes, but haven’t got round to it yet. I agree with one of your previous comments, the new Steven Moffat episodes haven’t been as good as the ones he did when Russell T Davies was the head writer. I felt slightly let down with the past couple of series’, because I was expecting them to be brilliant with Moffat as the head writer. Blink will always be one of my favourite episodes, and the one that scared me more than the rest! Each time I watch it, a part of me wants to hide behind the sofa!

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      I rate “Blink” as one of the all-time great Doctor Who stories–up there with classics like “Robots of Death” and “The Talons of Weng Chiang.” So well written, well paced, well acted… *sigh*. I think we’ve seen some flashes of the old Moffat in some of the Eleventh Doctor stories, but he’s not as consistently good as he was during RTD’s time.

      Reply
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