It is said that you never forget your first Doctor. Mine was Jon Pertwee, the third Doctor. I discovered Doctor Who on Channel 11 out of Concord, NH, a station barely within range of our television set. Back those days, television was sent as an analog signal broadcasted from antenna to antenna. The signal was susceptible it interface from any number of things; mountains and buildings blocking the path, bad weather, etc. My earliest memories of watching Doctor Who was on a television full of static. I decided quickly that the show was worth watching despite the static and poor reception. I was hooked from the first episode that I say at a time when very few people in the United States had ever heard of the Doctor.
The first episode of Doctor Who was aired by BBC TV on November 23, 1963. The Doctor Who franchise is over 50 years old, older than Star Trek. It is the World’s longest running science fiction television series.
The series follows the adventures of the Doctor, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. The Doctor travels about the Universe in the TARDIS, Time and Relative Dimensions in Space, a time machine. The TARDIS takes the outward appearance of a British Police Call Box due to its chameleon circuit failing during a landing in London. The Doctor rarely travels alone and often has one or more human companions tagging along. The series has been able to survive for so long with the same main character because Time Lords do not die easily. When they come close to death, they regenerate and end up with a new body, allowing a new actor to take over the role of the Doctor.
The classic Doctor Who episodes, those from 1963 to 1989 over the life of the first 7 versions of the Doctor, were produced with small budgets. This is obvious from the cheap sets and rubber suit monster. The show was campy. The show was adored by million and millions of fans worldwide. The reboot of the series, starting in 2005, has the budget similar to most shows today. Despite the campiness of the original series and the gap between the 7th and 9th Doctor, Doctor Who is as much a part of the British culture as Star Trek is a part in the American culture. “Exterminate!” and “Beam me up, Scotty”.
In addition to the television series, there are books, radio drama and movies in the Doctor Who franchise. The Doctor Who movie made in 1996 by an American/Canadian was a failed attempt to revive the series with an adventure of the 8th Doctor, played by Paul McGann.
Fans of the show call themselves Whovians. One such group is active in Roanoke, VA, US with both a Facebook presence and face to face gatherings.
Roanoke Valley Whovian|
The Roanoke Valley Whovians are both a Facebook Group and a group that meets regularly, about once a month. We gather to watch episodes of Doctor Who and to break bread together. One of our eating events took place at the Bad Wolf Restaurant in Roanoke.