17 January 2014

In 2013, Doctor Who celebrated an impressive 50 years as one of the BBC’s most famous, well-loved and iconic TV shows. To have been scaring and enthralling children for so long is no mean feat. While current episodes are freely available on BBC iPlayer, older episodes can be located at LOVEFiLM

The Doctor

The Doctor is a time-traveller from the planet Gallifrey and looks human, but has two beating hearts. He and his fellow Gallifreyans are generally known as Time Lords, of whom the Doctor is the only one still alive. 

The Doctor has been played, since 1963, by 12 different actors, from the original Doctor, William Hartnell, to the incumbent incarnation in the form of Matt Smith, who looks much younger than Hartnell’s Doctor, despite being hundreds of years older. The reason the Doctor has taken so many forms, is that he can regenerate. 

The Doctor’s time machine/home is the TARDIS, which takes the form of an old-fashioned police box and has been ever-present since the show’s inception. 

The Time Lords

The Time Lords - of whom the Doctor is a member – are an ancient civilisation of beings that closely resemble humans. Time Lords receive their name, not only because of their ability to travel rapidly through time and space, but because of the way in which they perceive time in a completely non-linear fashion, which in turn allows them to see ‘everything that was, is and could be’ simultaneously.  

Villains in Doctor Who

The most well-known enemies of the Doctor are undoubtedly the Daleks - cyborgs created by a mad scientist called Davros, who genetically-modified a race of extra-terrestrial beings called Kaleds to be complete devoid of compassion or empathy. While the only emotion they feel is hate, their most well-known catchphrase is ‘Exterminate! Exterminate!’ In these ways, the Daleks are seen as polar-opposites of the Doctor. 

Other persistent enemies of the Doctor are the Cybermen, who descend from organic species of humainoids from the planet Mondas. They first appeared in 1966 and continue to make appearances today. The Cybermen began to implant more and more artificial parts to their bodies in order to survive the worsening climate on their planet, but this led to an unfortunate side-effect of becoming cold and machine-like in their bid for self-preservation.

A Cultural Phenomenon

Doctor Who has a huge global fanbase, and has become ingrained in British culture and indeed the outside perception of the British nation, spawning not only TV episodes, but radio programmes and novelizations. Doctor Who is regularly the subject of fan conventions, at which the actors who have played different characters, as well as different incarnations of the legendary protagonist, are often the guests of honour.  

[Source: Discovery Media]

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