Doctor Who Blog

50 Glorious Years: Episode 1 - 1963

It’s 2013. Doctor Who started in 1963. This is it. This is THE Anniversary year, what should be the biggest Doctor Who Celebration yet. Doctor Who’s 50th Birthday.

At the Doctor Who blog we want to take part in our own small way with the countdown to the 50th Anniversary in November, by doing a year-by-year retrospective. Even for the years there was no new televised Doctor Who, because there was always something new happening.

1963 is when it all started. There were only 6 episodes shown that year (then again, there were only 6 episodes shown on tv this year, although they were all about twice the length of the classic series episodes). The first was even shown twice since (it has been alleged) few people had their minds on a new science-fiction series with US President John F. Kennedy having been assassinated the day before.

The story behind how Doctor Who came to be is actually going to be dramatized for broadcast on BBC2 at some point close to the actual anniversary in November - filming is supposed to start shortly though still no casting has been announced. We look forward to seeing how 1963 is depicted in An Adventure in Time and Space (which is the name of the docudrama in question). No matter how good it is, it will be difficult for the docudrama to encapsulate what an incredible story it is in real life for a programme that began that long ago to still be around today. Nobody could have thought it would be this successful. With the show’s leading character being a fairly unlikeable anti-hero in the six episodes broadcast in 1963, that typically isn’t exactly the blueprint for success and longevity. And yet here we are today.

Let’s put things in perspective. In the first episode Doctor Who predicts the future for the UK by stating that the UK would move to the decimal system. The decision to do so was made in 1966 and it was implemented for British currency in February 1971. Which means that the future which Doctor Who correctly predicted in its first episode back in 1963 has itself already been a reality for a whopping 42 years…...

1 Comment...

As with most North American fans at the time , I did not get to see any of the William Hartnel episodes until the mid to late 80’s. I remember even before it was televised on PBS in my area, I was able to get a copy of a copy of a copy of An Unearthly Child. It was a recording from the “Five Faces” series that had been done on the BBC back in 1981. What a thrill I was having. I had a friend of a friend make a VHS tape for me and I had no idea what was on it, only that it was some Hartnell and Troughton episodes. By the way the Troughton episodes were episode 7-10 of The War Games and while An Unearthly Child was “a copy of a copy of a copy” this was something like a 23rd generation copy. It was in pretty rough shape and would give anyone a headache if you watched it in the dark. But I didn’t care it was Doctor Who I had never seen.

Posted by Doug Grandy  on  01/16  at  01:47 PM

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