Saturday, November 23

The Weekend of the Doctor

Well, I do not remember the premier of Doctor Who fifty years ago today.  For one thing, it was only in England, and for another, I was only two years and five days old!  And, honestly, I'm only a very recent "convert" to Doctor Who fandom.  I was vaguely aware of the property maybe as early as the 1970s, when reruns ran here in the States on PBS, but it was only during my college years in the early 1980s that I knew anyone who actually watched the show, and under his influence I made a brief effort to get into it.  That attempt was fostered by the fact that the new Doctor at the time was Peter Davison (fifth from the left above), whom I already liked from his role as Tristan Farnon on All Creatures Great and Small, a show that I watched -- again in reruns on PBS -- with my father, who was a huge fan of James 'Erriot (giving it the proper Yorkshire accent my father always mimicked with reference to the show).  Nonetheless, the show really did nothing for me and I drifted away from it fairly quickly.  Frankly, the primitive special effects were a major reason, I admit.  It was only a few years ago, with the premier of Matt Smith (far right) as the latest Doctor, that I gave the show a chance again, and this time I was hooked, and have been ever since.  I even went back and watched Christopher Eccleston's tenure (third from right) on Netflix, as well as some of David Tennant (second from right).  But mainly I have gotten far more interested in the property as a whole, although I've not sought out and watched any of the "classic" episodes.  It's a bit overwhelming -- Where to start?

Well, this weekend, marking the fiftieth anniversary, has been wonderful from beginning to end -- literally.  Last night saw BBC America's broadcast of a docudrama about the creation of the series and the years of the First Doctor, William Hartnell (far left above), An Adventure in Time and Space.  Centered around a wonderful performance by David Bradley (right, best known these days as Argus Filch in the Harry Potter films) as Hartnell, this was a fascinating, sensitive, and wonderfully touching gaze back at the origins of the Doctor Who phenomenon.

And just a few minutes ago I finished watching the worldwide, commercial-free simulcast of latest episode, the fiftieth-anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, in which current show-runner Stephen Moffat once again delivers a tour-de-force, mind-bendingly timey-wimey and perfect blend of science-fiction drama and comedy that simply has to be seen to be believed, and obviously watched multiple times to be understood.  Mainly centering around the latest two Doctors, Matt Smith and David Tennant, as well as the recently-introduced "forgotten" Doctor, John Hurt (left), (with a surprise appearance by Tom Baker (fourth from left above) as well as virtual appearances through the magic of editing by every Doctor including (I think) a glimpse of the next who hasn't even officially premiered!), we learn something totally new about the worst day in the Doctor's 1200 (?)-year life.  Great stuff!

And we got to see our first glimpse (I believe) of this year's Christmas Special episode.

This truly was The Weekend of the Doctor.


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