Sydney Newman: Innovator, designer, director, and producer. In April it will be 100 years since Doctor Who's creator was born, but where exactly did the idea come from? How much of it came from him before Bunny Webber's famous memo which established the idea did the rounds?
In 2013, the BBC aired An Adventure In Time and Space; a dramatic reconstruction of the early days of Doctor Who, and Sydney was played by the excellent Brian Cox. It was a great portrayal of the man, and other founding members such as Verity Lambert, Waris Hussein, and Mervyn Pinfield, and was well received in Doctor Who's 50th year.
But in the very beginning it was touch-and-go for the real show, and Sydney's role was as an over-seer and advisor to Verity and her team in 1963.
Looking back after all of this time, and understanding Sydney wasn't entirely happy with how the series started off until it became a success, its easy to forget his role. Him creating such a phenomenon was no surprise, although people would have thought it unlikely of a children's show. He had already changed drama in Britain, and people's perception of culture with theArmchair Theatre series he produced as head of drama at ABC, before he moved into the same role at the BBC in 1962. The series showed for the first time people on the fringes of society such as unmarried mothers, drug-addicts, and the homeless, and regional accents were used. Plays like No Trams To Lime Street, and Cathy Come Home showed the face of changing Britain as it looked towards the future which didn't look very bright.
And the future is what Doctor Who was all about, although its original premise was to educate and teach children about history and science. One week an adventure would be set in the past, and the next it would be in the future, and that is where the ratings were at.
Sydney had always love science-fiction, but the basic idea for Doctor Who had been with him for at least ten years before it made it onto the screen.
His biography The Man Who Thought Outside The Box: The Life And Times Of Doctor Who Creator Sydney Newman, reveals lots of information about the worlds best-loved science-fiction show, and the man who created it. It is a must for all Doctor Who fans.
It is available to preorder now from firstname.lastname@example.org for £11.99 and will be released on April 22nd 2017.
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[Source: Ryan Danes]