Thursday, 27 June 2013

Dr Who Turns Fifty

50th Anniversary Stamps

It seems like it was only yesterday that I sat down as a kid, turned on the tele, and watched Dr Who battling some form of terrible evil. Well folks, it's now been fifty years since this iconic BBC series first aired on 23 November 1963. The recent release of a set of Dr Who stamps by Royal Mail has brought back a lot of great memories for me. I wasn't yet on this earth when Dr Who first started. I rather wish I was. The early Black and White stories, to me, are the best! So let's take a journey back to where it all began. Join me in my time machine as I go back to 1963...

It is now 1963 and the world is a very different place. No ipods, no mobile phones (cell phones), no laptop computers. This was a time when families huddled around their Televisions to watch shows transmitted Black and White. I wonder what someone from 1963 - if transported ahead in time to 2013 - would think of our huge flatscreen HD TV's?

Now that we are in 1963 why don't we find a house that has its TV on and take a peek at what they are watching? It is now 5:15pm and I have it on good authority that a brand new Science Fiction show is about to start...

Just to the left. A house with the TV on. Let's hurry. Oh good. It's just starting. The strange swirly white mist accompanied by riveting music has the family in this particular house transfixed. The story that evolves on the TV on 23 November 1963 is now very well known. The show was Dr Who. The episode was entitled An Unearthly Child.

In this very first episode of Dr Who we meet two school teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. They are both intrigued by a gifted student named Susan. The pair decide to follow Susan home. To their horror they discover that Susan lives in a junkyard at 76 Totters Lane. They follow Susan into the junkyard. There thy are accosted by a strange old man who, Susan claims, is her Grandfather. He has appeared from inside an old blue Police Box. The school teachers then find themselves inside this Police Box. They are amazed!! The inside is huge. It's a spaceship. Then the old man turns on the spaceship...

The rest is history!!

That crazy old man in the junkyard turned out to be the 1st Doctor played by William Hartnell (who happens to be my favourite). Hartnell played the Doctor for 4 seasons until his final story The Tenth Planet, the final episode of which aired on 29 June 1966. Quite a few episodes from the 1st Doctor are, sadly, today missing, including most of the scene in which Hartnell regenerates to the 2nd Doctor... 

William Hartnell

The 2nd Doctor first appeared at the end of The Tenth Planet. He was played by Patrick Troughton. The 2nd Doctor's first story was called The Power of the Daleks. It first aired on 5 November 1966 at 17:50pm. Sadly, most of the stories of the 2nd Doctor were destroyed to make space (if only they knew how popular the show was to become!). Sigh!!

Patrick Troughton

To find out more about the stories of the first 8 Doctors, check out this great site: Click here!

Stay Stamp Crazy!