Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord—a time travelling, humanoid alien with two hearts known as the Doctor. He explores the universe in his TARDIS, a sentient, telepathic time machine that flies through time and space. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, a common sight in 1963, when the series first aired. Along with a succession of companions, the Doctor faces a variety of foes while working to save civilisations, help ordinary people, and right wrongs.
The show has received recognition from critics and the public as one of the finest British television programmes, including the 2006 British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series and five consecutive (2005–10) wins at the National Television Awards under Russell T Davies’ reign as Executive Producer. In 2011, Matt Smith became the first Doctor to be nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The programme is listed in the Guinness World Records as the longest-running science fiction television show in the world and as the “most successful” science fiction series of all time—based on its over-all broadcast ratings, DVD and book sales, and iTunes traffic. During its original run, it was recognised for its imaginative stories, creative low-budget special effects, and pioneering use of electronic music (originally produced by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop). The show is a significant part of British popular culture;and elsewhere it has become a cult television favourite. The show has influenced generations of British television professionals, many of whom grew up watching the series. The programme originally ran from 1963 to 1989. After an unsuccessful attempt to revive regular production in 1996 with a backdoor pilot in the form of a television film, the programme was relaunched in 2005, produced in-house by BBC Wales in Cardiff. Series 1 in the 21st Century, featuring Christopher Eccleston as the ninth incarnation, was produced by the BBC. Series 2 and 3 had some development money contributed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which was credited as a co-producer. Doctor Who also spawned spin-offs in multiple media, including Torchwood (2006), The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007), K-9 (2009), the four-part video series P.R.O.B.E. (1994), and a single pilot episode of K-9 and Company (1981).
The Doctor has been principally played by eleven actors. The transition from one actor to another is written into the plot of the show as regeneration, whereby the character of the Doctor takes on a new body and, to some extent, new personality. Although each portrayal is different, and on occasions the various incarnations have even met one another, they are all meant to be aspects of the same character. The Doctor is currently portrayed by Matt Smith, who took up the role after David Tennant’s final appearance in an episode broadcast on 1 January 2010.
Series 5 of the relaunched programme was first broadcast in 2010, in which the Eleventh Doctor is accompanied by Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), who is joined later in the series by fiancé (later husband) Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill). This was followed by Series 6 in 2011, with Darvill appearing as a regular companion. A seventh series, scheduled to begin broadcast in late 2012, entered production in February 2012. The series will mark its 50th anniversary in 2013.
The new first series of British science fiction series Doctor Who began on 26 March 2005 with the episode “Rose”, which marked the end of the programme’s 16-year absence from episodic television following its cancellation in 1989, and aired its finale episode “The Parting of the Ways” on 18 June 2005. The show was revived by long time Doctor Who fan Russell T Davies, who had been lobbying the BBC since the late-90s to bring the show back. The first series comprised 13 episodes, eight of which Davies wrote. Davies, Julie Gardner and Mal Young served as executive producers, Phil Collinson as producer.
The show depicts the adventures of a mysterious and eccentric Time Lord known as the Doctor who travels through time and space in his time machine, the TARDIS, which normally appears from the exterior to be a blue 1960s British police box. With his companions, he explores time and space, faces a variety of foes and saves civilizations, helping people and righting wrongs. The first series features Christopher Eccleston as the ninth incarnation of the Doctor, marking it his only series as the Doctor. Billie Piper as his first and main companion Rose Tyler, whom he plucks from obscurity on the planet Earth and to whom he grows increasingly attached. He also travels briefly with unruly boy-genius Adam Mitchell, played by Bruno Langley, and with 51st-century con man and former ‘Time Agent’ Captain Jack Harkness, portrayed by John Barrowman. Episodes in series one form a loose story arc formed around the recurring phrase “Bad Wolf”, the significance of which goes unexplained until the two-part series finale.
The series premiere was watched by 10.81 million viewers and four days after the premiere aired Doctor Who was renewed for a Christmas Special as well as a second series. Series one was well received by both critics and fans, it won for the first time in Doctor Who‘s history a prestigious BAFTA Award. Most surprising was the approval from Michael Grade, who had previously forced an 18-month hiatus on the show in 1985, and has postponed Doctor Who out of personal dislike on several occasions. The show’s popularity ultimately led to a resurgence in family-oriented Saturday night drama.
PLOT SUMMARY (SERIES ONE)
The show depicts the adventures of a mysterious and eccentric Time Lord known as The Doctor who travels through time and space in his time machine, the TARDIS, which normally appears from the exterior to be a blue 1950s British police box. With his companions, he explores time and space, faces a variety of foes and saves civilizations, helping people and righting wrongs. The first series features Christopher Eccleston as the ninth incarnation of the Doctor, marking it his first and only series as The Doctor. Billie Piper as his first and main companion Rose Tyler, whom he plucks from obscurity on the planet Earth and to whom he grows increasingly attached. He also travels briefly with unruly boy-genius Adam Mitchell, played by Bruno Langley, and with 51st-century con man and former ‘Time Agent’ Captain Jack Harkness, portrayed by John Barrowman. The episodes in series one adopt a loose story arc, “Bad Wolf” is a recurring phrase which first appeared in “The End of the World”, and then grew in prominence. The Doctor and Rose first realised the phrase had been following them around in “Boom Town”, and these occurrences are recounted in the episode “Bad Wolf”. The meaning of the phrase is ultimately explained in “The Parting of the Ways”, where it was revealed to be a message spread by Rose throughout time after infusing herself with the power at the heart of the TARDIS. The phrase reappears in later episodes of the programme, usually in relation to Rose.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this television series: