Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Doctor Who, 1966: Seeing the Doctor regenerate for the first time - today I’ll be ready for it!

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2013 at 11:30 AM

h, Christmas Day - the annual event when I realize that my wife has outdone me yet again in the Giving Somebody A Cool Present Department. And, of course, the yearly Christmas Doctor Who event, shown tonight on BBC America.

This year is sort of bittersweet, as it marks current Doctor Matt Smith’s last adventure, but I’m sure he will get a glorious send off, just as I am sure I will come to appreciate the next actor to fill the Doctor’s shoes.

I have been watching Doctor Who since a cold afternoon in 1964, when we were living with my grandparents in Liverpool for a short time, and they introduced me to the show. I have been hooked ever since, except for a brief period when “my” Doctor left the show, and the Second Doctor came on.

By now, anyone who doesn’t live in a cave is probably aware of the Time Lord who travels through time and space in his trusty TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), which is charmingly stuck in the shape of an old English police box.

Speaking of police boxes, it’s hard to describe the excitement a young boy feels when your family is driving down the highway and a real police box was seen out of the window, sitting on the side of the road, just in case a policeman needed to use the phone inside. For just one wild second, I thought . . .

There are times throughout his life when the Doctor’s body, for lack of a simpler explanation, just can’t take the strain it has been put through anymore, and he “regenerates” into a new body, but retaining all the memories of his old self. His new form may have a distinctly different personality from his previous forms, however.

As a long-time fan, I am used to this sort of thing by now, but in 1966 . . .

I swear, we must have been the only household in Britain not to have a subscription to Radio Times (the British equivalent of TV Guide at the time), and I never read much of the papers beyond the comics and the front pages. If I had, I might have known that my beloved Doctor, William Hartnell, was about to leave the show, and be replaced by someone I would consider to be an imposter for the longest time.

At the end of the first exciting adventure with the Cybermen (far creepier than the Borg, this was a race of people who gradually pulled out all of their organs and replaced them with machine parts - across their faces was a simple white cloth, which made them even more frightening to a young child) the Doctor suddenly collapsed to the floor of the TARDIS connsole room and began to change, before our very eyes!

Instead of an old man with long white hair, we now had an impish looking fellow in his forties, with dark hair. Though I still enjoyed the stories,. I kept waiting for the “real” Doctor to return.

In fact, if memory serves, I may have begun watching Batman on another channel at around that time. Oh, torn between two heroes, feeling like a fool . . .

I learned my lesson in the passing years, and am heartily sorry that I missed the episodes I did. Like many fans, I thought many were gone for good, since the BBC just loved to save money by erasing tapes, but it recent months it seems that many episodes have been found.

A double dose of Christmas!

So Tracy and I will watch tonight’s episode and mourn the end of Matt Smith, but secure in the knowledge that whoever obeys the sound of the Cloister Bell next, we will be right there with him.

******

My ultimate Doctor Who geekiness

Tracy bought me the official Tenth Doctor coat for Christmas! And Captain Jack’s coat from Torchwood!

Bring on the Daleks, baby.

*****

No matter what you wish to say today

Whether you say Merry Christmas, happy Holidays, Happy Festivus or if you just simply say “Good morning!” with more emphasis than usual today, have a good day.

****

Quote of the Day

Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people. - Emerson Fosdick

rsdrake@cox.net

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