If like me you’ve been a longtime fan of the BBC’s “Doctor Who,” you know we’re in for a real treat today. If you’re all, “Doctor Who?”—I’ll try to explain. *deep breath* “Doctor Who” is a science fiction series that follows the adventures of an alien, a so called Time Lord referred to as the “Doctor,” who travels through space and time in a craft designated (the) TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space)—often with an assistant or Companion. On the outside, the TARDIS looks like a regular sized London police box, but it’s “bigger on the inside.”
During his travels, the Doctor might meet other aliens—friendly or deadly—famous historical characters (real or imagined), formidable foes including others of his own race, Cybermen or hateful Daleks (mutant creatures encased in robotic outer shells);
he might have to solve a riddle or use telepathy to get information that could save the world, one human, or just himself. He carries a sonic screwdriver, a tool of all trades that can perform a few nifty tricks and open just about anything. He is seen as both benevolent and evil.; he can preserve or destroy. Created in 1963 (largely by the BBC Head of Drama, Sydney Newman), the original series ran through 1989, with the main character having been portrayed by several different actors. The Doctor (who looks human) has the ability to change his appearance by regeneration; a process wherein, when he is mortally wounded, his body is transformed, giving the Doctor a new physical presence…and a number designation. The First Doctor was played by William Hartnell:
The Second, by Patrick Troughton:
The Third, by Jon Pertwee:
And Four, my favorite (so far), and clearly the most fashionable Doctor—Tom Baker:
And so on it went, with Five (Peter Davison), Six (Colin Baker), Seven (Sylvester McCoy), and—after a break in the series from 1989 to 1996—Eight (Paul McGann) appeared in a television movie. The film was supposed to be a lead-in for an American reboot on Fox, but due to poor ratings, the series wasn’t picked up and the rights allowed to expire (thank goodness).
Now finally, the Doctor is again reborn (back on the BBC where he belongs).; this time in the form of English actor, Christopher Eccleston (28 Days Later, The Others, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Jude, Shallow Grave, “Our Friends in the North, Hillsborough, Cracker”). Since the series return was announced last September, news has trickled out in drips and drabs; first came word that writer and fan of the show, Russell Davies (“Bob & Rose, Queer As Folk, The Grand, Revelations, Children’s Ward”) will serve as chief writer, as well as executive produce, with Mal Young (“The Afternoon Play, Holby City, Murder in Mind, EastEnders”) and Julie Gardner (“Me & Mrs. Jones, Othello, Sunburn”). We got a peek at the new logo:
And earlier this year, it was confirmed Eccleston would star as the Ninth incarnation of the Doctor; his Companion Rose Tyler will be portrayed by actress and singer, Billie Piper (“Canterbury Tales, Bella and the Boys,” The Calcium Kid). While Piper is the unknown factor here, as long as Eccleston can capture the spirit of the Doctor, things should work out just fine.
Here is your first look at the new “Doctor Who”:
Eccleston certainly offers a modern, different take on the Doctor; Piper looks a little stiff there, but I’m willing to give her a chance. I cannot wait to hear the whoosh (the sound it makes when taking off or arriving) of the TARDIS once again. Even if you’ve never seen the old versions, I highly encourage you to check out this series—then go back and check out some of the earlier episodes and see which Doctor you fancy. There’s a lot of great history to enjoy. “Doctor Who: Rose” premieres Saturday, March 26th.