Doctor Who Blog

50 Glorious Years: Episode 23 - 1985

I know what some of you are thinking - 1985 wasn’t a glorious year for Doctor Who because the hiatus happened - a body blow against the show in which a BBC management that was anti-thetical to the show tried to cancel it resulting in a public knocking of the show and a loss of confidence by the British public, which ultimately led to the show being effectively cancelled after 1989.

It’s true that this happened in 1985 but it was still a glorious year for Doctor Who. First there was the content of the programme itself. Season 22 was Colin Baker’s first full year as the Doctor and the first season for the show to be made exclusively in 45-minute episodes, featuring the return of the Cybermen, the Daleks, the Sontarans and the 2nd Doctor and Jamie! A deeper foray into black humour than we’d ever seen before, contrary to what the reappearance of so many classic monsters and characters might suggest, the show was definitely breaking new ground 22 seasons in, which is no mean feat!

It was also a glorious year to be a 12 or 13 year old fan, at least in North America. We were still getting new Peter Davison episodes in my area in 1985 (the final “new” one not being The Caves of Androzani, but rather long-delayed The Five Doctors which the BBC always charged more for. With TVO unable or unwilling to purchase it and my local PBS station seemingly unable to afford the extra price tag, there was a time when I thought I’d never ever seen The Five Doctors. That might have been over 30 years since I thought that, but I still remember that feeling and don’t take it for granted today. A bunch of “new” Jon Pertwee’s were also shown in my area for the first time in 1985 - stories that for various reasons (much to do with not existing fully or at all in colour at the time) hadn’t been included in previous Pertwee packages. Target novels continued to flow into bookstores and then into fan’s hands after they purchased them. All in all, the notion of Tom Baker being the “only” or “main” Doctor had dissipated at this time amongst fans given the success Pertwee and Davison’s episodes during this time. The show was entering into a troublesome period in the UK, but in North America its popularity truly was at an all time high (and so was DWIN’s membership). On the verge of breaking into the mainstream, a shrewd BBC management would have tried to cultivate that, but that isn’t what the BBC had at the time in relation to Doctor Who. Still, this is a celebration, so the less said about that, the better. 1985 was still a great time to be a Doctor Who fan.

1 Comment...

There’s been some mention of conventions up until this point.  This really started to take off (I think) in August 1981 with the first Panopticon West event in Tulsa, with Peter Davison, Sandra Dickinson and John Nathan-Turner as VIPs.  The significance of Dr. Who conventions in North America by 1985 reached as far as Who Party 7 with Jon Pertwee, probably the largest Canadian convention up until that point.  By 1985 various Dr. Who actors, with JN-T often in tow (or in the lead…  not sure there) were doing what could be seen as frequent fan junkets in the USA. This extended as far as Janet Fielding participating on a Thanksgiving parade float in Philadelphia at some time before 1987, as reported in an early issue of Enlightenment.

Posted by Eric  on  06/21  at  09:42 AM

Post a comment




Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Submit the word you see below:

Recent Stories

Myth Makers Presents: Golden Years

Gold represents something long-lasting, something untarnished and unaffected by the passage of time. Myth Makers Presents: Golden Years celebrates the timeless elements of Doctor Who that have appealed to the show’s followers for half a century. Celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who with DWIN’s fiction anthology, Myth Makers!

An important message for DWIN members

Enlightenment will be switching to a digital only publication and membership fees will be ending. Find out more about this important change

New Doctor to be Announced LIVE on SPACE this Sunday!

Who will be the next Doctor? Find out LIVE on SPACE this Sunday at 2pm Eastern, 11am Pacific.

New Podcast from DWIN!

New from DWIN! Reality Bomb—the monthly podcast that explores the strange and uncharted world of Doctor Who through its fans.

Issue 170

Clara Who? : The 2013 season reviews begin! Plus…

  • Why the classic companions rock just as much as today’s
  • An interview with Stuart Douglas of Obverse Books
  • News and reviews

Is something broken?

©Doctor Who Information Network (DWIN) 2009