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 fifth series of British science fiction television series Doctor Who began on 3 April 2010 with “The Eleventh Hour” and ended with “The Big Bang” on 26 June 2010. The series was led by head writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, who took over after Russell T Davies, who ended his involvement with the show after The End of Time. The series comprises 13 episodes, six of which Moffat wrote. Piers Wenger and Beth Willis served with Moffat as executive producers, while Tracie Simpson and Peter Bennett served as producers. Though it is the fifth series since the show’s revival in 2005 and the thirty-first since it began in 1963, it was produced and intended to be marketed as “Series One”.
This is the first series to feature Matt Smith as the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor, an alien Time Lord who travels through time and space in his TARDIS, which appears to be a British police box on the outside. It also introduces Karen Gillan as the Doctor’s new companion Amy Pond and Arthur Darvill as her fiancé Rory Williams, who is in six episodes and travels with the Doctor and Amy. Alex Kingston returns as River Song, a mysterious woman from the Doctor’s future who summons the Doctor twice in this series. The main story arc concerns a pattern of cracks in the universe which appear over several episodes, sometimes going unnoticed by the characters. It is discovered that they have the power to erase things from existence, and this happens to Rory, causing Amy to forget him. In the series finale it is revealed that the cracks were caused by the TARDIS exploding and the Doctor is forced to reboot the universe to the state which it was in without the cracks.
The seven episodes of the series which were not written by Moffat were penned by guest writers. Mark Gatiss, Toby Whithouse, Simon Nye, Richard Curtis, Gareth Roberts each wrote one episode each, while Chris Chibnall wrote a two-episode story. The series was meant to be fantastical to stand out among other science fiction and fantasy shows and the production team pushed a fairy-tale quality because Moffat believed media aimed at children was some of the most popular among adults. The episodes were directed by directors who were all new to Doctor Who. Filming started in late July 2009 and lasted for approximately nine months and was filmed mostly in Wales with the exception of “The Vampires of Venice” and “Vincent and the Doctor”, which had scenes filmed abroad in Trogir, Croatia. There were design changes from the previous series including a new logo, title sequence, variation of the theme music, interior and exterior of the TARDIS, and version of the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver.
The series premiere was watched by 10.085 million viewers, the highest watched premiere since “Rose” of the first series, and also broke records on BBC America in the United States and BBC’s online iPlayer. Though overnight ratings had declined compared to other series, one writer calculated that viewership had not changed significantly when time-shifted ratings were taken into account. The series received generally positive reviews, with praise going to Moffat’s story arc as well as the acting of Smith, Gillan and Darvill. However, many reviewers noted that Amy lacked character development and the series did not contain as much heart and emotion as previously in the show. The series gained many awards and nominations; “Vincent and the Doctor” and the two-part finale were both nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) with the award going to the latter. Smith also became the first actor portraying the Doctor to be nominated for a BAFTA award, though he did not win. The series was accompanied with a soundtrack as well as tie-in books and video games; four of the latter were released episodically on the BBC’s website and advertised as additional episodes of the series.
PLOT SUMMARY (SERIES FIVE)
The main story arc concerns a pattern of cracks in the universe which appear over several episodes, sometimes going unnoticed by the characters. It is discovered that they have the power to erase things from existence, and this happens to Rory, causing Amy to forget him. In the series finale it is revealed that the cracks were caused by the TARDIS exploding and the Doctor is forced to reboot the universe to the state which it was in without the cracks. This is the first series to feature Matt Smith as the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor, an alien who travels through time and space in his TARDIS, which appears to be a British police box on the outside. It also introduces Karen Gillan as the Doctor’s companion Amy Pond and her fiancé Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) who is in six episodes and travels with the Doctor and Amy. Alex Kingston returns as River Song, a mysterious woman from the Doctor’s future who summons the Doctor twice in this series.
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