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The Doctor is out: The end of the '80s, the end of Dr. Who



Tom-baker-as-dr-who Are you a Doctor Who fanatic? Many '80s addicts are. But none are probably bigger or more committed than today's guest blogger, Derek Taylor. Derek's an American who lives and works near Frankfurt, Germany. And he wants YOU to be a Who fan too! Go for it, Derek:

In November of 1963, the day after the assassination of John F Kennedy, a program started on the British Broadcasting Company which would go on to become the longest running science fiction television show of all time with the original run lasting 26 years. 

That show is Doctor Who, a show about an alien time traveler called the Doctor (a time lord) who has a less then reliable time machine called the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) which looks like an old blue police call box.

The Doctor travels through space and time. He usually arrives where and when he is needed to save the day, although all he wants to do is travel. 

When the 80’s began, the Doctor was portrayed by actor Tom Baker, with his 17 foot long scarf and floppy wide brim hat. Baker was the fourth and longest running Doctor and considered by many to be the best Doctor (also the one many Americans were the first one exposed too).

When a time lord is close to death he can use a healing process called regeneration to recover, which has the side effect of totally changing everything about him, to include personality and looks. So in the early '80s, Baker was replaced by Peter Davidson, and after 3 years he was replaced by Colin Baker who only lasted one year in the TARDIS. 

Due to the high quality of movies like Star Wars and Star Trek, and the Star Trek the Next Generation, Doctor Who was almost taken off the air but was given one last chance, Colin Baker was replaced by Sylvester McCoy. 

But the lack of support from the BBC management had taken its toll and on Dec. 6, 1989, after 26 years on air, Doctor Who was canceled. (Not too bad for a show that originally was developed to be a filler spot between a sports show and a music show.) 

However a great idea can never be kept down, and finally in 2005 the BBC had finally decided to back bringing back Doctor Who. The first Doctor of the renewed show was Christopher Eccleston. He was replaced by David Tennant, (whose real name is McDonald but because there was already an actor by the name David McDonald he borrowed the last name of one of the Pet Shop Boys as his stage name.) And in December, not only is David Tennant’s last show will be shown, it will be the 20th anniversary of the original run ending. 

The Doctor has also appeared on The Simpsons and Family Guy.  It is a huge part of the British culture and is in the American Culture as well.


5. THE CYBERMEN: From a planet in a comet-like orbit whose human-like inhabitants encased their bodies inside metal and want to make everyone like themselves. (Think the Borg, only 20 years earlier.)

4. DAVROS: An evil scientist from the planet Scaro, who could be considered the ultimate racist. He is stuck in a wheelchair, blind (sees with an electric eye) and can only use one arm. But his greatest weapon is his mind and his creations.

3. SONTARANS: Short cloned warriors who love to fight, years before George Lucas came up with his clones. They kind of look like a short Sean Daly after a day a drinking.

2. THE MASTER: An evil time lord, just as smart as the Doctor which is saying a lot.

1. THE DALEKS: Mutants encased in battle armor that somewhat looks like a salt shaker.  However their battle cry -- Exterminate!!! -- is as classic as any saying from Star Wars or Star Trek

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:53pm]


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