Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Clear and Present Damon: Doctor Who: a Celebration:Part 1 ; the 1960's

Who would have thought that a low budget show about a 900 year old alien would last so long and touch the lives of so many Sci-fi fans across the globe.

For 47 years now, "Doctor Who" is the longest running Sci-fi show in history. Portayed by eleven actors, all British, The Doctor is a 900 year old alien from the planet Galifrey. The Doctor ran away from his planet, in his time travelling TARDIS, which stands for time and relative dimensions in space. First landing in England of the 1960's, the TARDIS disguised itself as a police box and it has remained one ever since. The Doctor is likely to take with him companions that he shares his adventures through time and space. Because of it's long history, this fast history lesson on the show will be split into volumes according to decades. This examines the first decade. The black-and-white filmed years in the 1960's.

The Classic series lasted from 1963 to 1989 and the lead role was played by seven actors. William Hartnell played an elder grandfatherly Doctor for the first four years of the shows history. In fact in the storyline, the Doctor was a grandfather. His granddaughter Susan tried to blend in as a regular teenager. Unfortunatley this failed and curious teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright stumbled upon the TARDIS while following Susan home from school. The Doctor was portrayed with a grumpy attitude in the first season and at first did not like having the two teachers travelling with him, but he eventually grew to be very fond of them. In the first black an white adventures the Doctor encountered many popular monsters and villains, including his greatest enemies, The Daleks from the palnet Skaro. It was fighting the Daleks when at the end of the serial "The Dalek invasion of earth" that the Doctor parted ways with Susan. Several episodes later Ian and Barbara also left, leaving Hartnell as the only cast member from the original first season.
After travelling with various companions, it was in 1966 because of ill health Hartnell decided to leave the show. The writers found an original idea. That the lead character, being a time lord, could regenerate into a new body if mortally wounded. In the debut story of the Cybermen called "The Tenth Planet", the regeneration was put to the test as the First Doctor regenerated into the Second Doctor played by Patrick Troughton.

Troughtons Doctor was more of a "Cosmic Hobo" called that because of his tattered costume. Troughton played the Doctor for three years until he too left the show in 1969. His regeneration involved him meeting with his own people the Time Lords as they exiled him to Earth and forbade him from travelling at the end of the ten part serial "The War Games". The Troughton era would be the last era of the sjow to shot in black-and-white film. "Doctor Who" would switch to color film as it's most populer decade approached.

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