Welcome to my inaugural diary for the newly materialised group WHOvians, or WHOligans if your predilection lies in that area!
The Opening sequence to the first ever episode of Doctor Who. Broadcast by the BBC at 17:16:20 GMT on 23 November 1963.
Undoubtedly the ability to regenerate the main character is one of the main factors that has imbued this series with such long life.
In the early years of the 1960s The BBC commissioned a childrens' educational series. It was meant to run for a single season. Yet within a couple of episodes, the program evolved into the drama show many know and love to this day. Using time travel, it placed the characters within events in space and time and much like Star Trek, the show often dipped into moral questions of the day employing the dramatic framework of the show.
My earliest memories of Dr. Who are hazy at best but my mother, much to my chargrin, loves to regale others of the tale of me hiding behind the sofa at the sound of the opening theme. I am proud to say, that I do not do that anymore, although at the time I was joined in that particular repose by many boys and girls of a similar age.
My first Dr. Who, that I remember, was the third who played the part.
The unforgettable Jon Pertwee. He loved the role, revelling in the technobabble and gizmology of the show. He coined one of the shows most immortal phrases, often whipping out his sonic screwdriver and "reversing the polarity of the Neutron flux" at the drop of a hat. The 'classic' sonic screwdriver, almost universally recognised, was introduced by Jon Pertwee. The sonic screwdriver had made an appearance earlier with the second Doctor, played by Patrick Troughton, where it most closely resembled a penlight. With Jon Pertwee it evolved. With a ring surrounding the central emitter atop an approximately cylindrical body it increased in size and gained new capabilities. The third Doctor also introduced us to The Master, played by Robert Delgardo, Venusian Karate, Bessy, the WHOmobile and the Metabelis Crystal. Released from confinement to Earth by the Timelords with the return of the Dematerialise/rematerialise circuit. He met his demise on the planet of the spiders, Metabelis 3, returning the blue Metabelis crystal.
My Doctor, is however, the irrepressible Tom Baker.
Regeneration from 3 to 4
The fourth Doctor, and at seven consecutive series he also played the role for the longest period. A stand-out moment was in Genesis of the Daleks, he asked a profound question. He held in his hands the means to wipe out the Daleks from all of history, and asked, "Even with all of their evil do I have the right to destroy them?" In the end he left the decision to fate, dropping the wires on the floor. There is so much more, that it would take a diary of its own, maybe several, to cover the Tom Baker years. And that may happen. The Tom Baker era ended with a climactic battle with The Master, fought on the Jodrell bank Radio telescope, whereupon Peter Davidson took over the role.
Famous for his love of cricket, (who doesn't love cricket) and stick of celery on his lapel. Peter Davidson joined Dr Who after leaving "All creatures great and small" where he played the character Tristan Farnon. Two notable changes coloured his years in the role as the Ddoctor. He was a much more vulnerable, less authoritarian Doctor also the show attempted to move into a more scientifically plausible model. He was also the first since William Hartnell to forgo the sonic screwdriver. Interestingly, Peter Davidson also returned for a short special entitled Time Crash wearing his original costume, declining the use of the Tenth Doctor's sonic screwdriver and eliciting the remark from David Tennant, "You were MY Doctor" After Peter Davidson the show went into a bit of a decline, feeling directionless and submitting to a more slapstick version. It was cancelled With Sylvester McCoy in the role. Only to re-materialise as a film with Paul McGann. Returning to the small screen with Christopher Eccleston in the role. Fantastic!!
And there I think we will leave the Doctor, travelling throughout all of history and space in his T.A.R.D.I.S.
There will be more, particularly at least one if not more about one of my all-time favorite props. the Sonic Screwdriver. Including how it works, yes there really is a working sonic screwdriver. How you can make one, and why you know you really want one.