At 5:15pm on November 23rd 1963, people across Britain settled down in front of their televisions. Few would have guess that they were about to see a legend born. When that haunting music started, a generation of Whovians were born and hooked to this fascinating show.
It had been almost a year in development by the BBC before it finally hit the screens. Sydney Newman, the head of the Script department, was mainly responsible for developing this show.
Doctor Who ran for twenty six seasons before in 1989 the BBC took the axe to this show, cancelling a show that had captured the hearts and minds of thousands.
Why did the BBC Cancel Doctor Who?
Firstly it was due to falling viewing figures. Doctor Who had been in a long decline from a semi-serious show into a comical farce. Whovians, the generic name for Doctor Who fans, were up in arms about the decline of the show and its cancellation.
It was at this time that Doctor Who went underground. With the television networks only showing re-runs the fan fiction, audio books and novels exploded; a plethora of new stories appearing to appease the hearty appetite of the Whovians.
In 1996 a movie was made for the American market. Whilst it proved hugely popular in the UK with over nine million people tuning in to watch it. Sadly it did not get the ratings in the USA, mainly due to a poor scheduled slot and lack of familiarity of The Doctor. A series never emerged from this film much to the disappointment of thousands of fans.
It was in September 2003 that the BBC made an announcement that shook the Whovian world. They announced a new in-house production of Doctor Who. The possibilities of this were endless. Would the show live up to their expectations? Would the show be as bad as the Doctor Who’s that were aired before its cancellation? Who would be the Doctor? Who would be his assistant?
The Internet was afire with rumours and speculation. Reports from the BBC and pictures from the shooting confirmed that Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, and Billie Piper as his assistant Rose had gelled together well on a show that looked like it would exceed expectations.
New Doctor Who leaked!
In late December 2004 disaster struck, for the BBC. A preview copy of the first episode entitled Rose leaked onto the Internet. Was this a deliberate ploy by the BBC to get feedback on the first new Doctor Who series for fifteen years? Did they leak it to find out what fans thought, whilst still giving them enough time to change the episode if they had to? Whatever was the case, hundreds and thousands of people downloaded the episode and it was given a big thumbs up by the majority of the fans.
And then on Saturday March 26 2005 that people across England settled down in behind the sofa, ready to hear that dramatic music grace their screens again and to share this show from their childhood with their children.
Forty five minutes later a whole new generation of fans were hooked. The BBC had done it right and Doctor Who was back. A successful series followed, bringing back old favourites like the Daleks and new foes for the Doctor. A Christmas special was commissioned on the back of this success and two more seasons.
Doctor Who the Future
Despite Christopher Eccleston leaving the show due to fears of being typecast, the BBC pushed on and David Tennant was cast as the Doctor. A life long fan it was a dream come true for him and on Christmas Day 2005 he made his first outing as the Doctor on our TV screens.Five incredibly successful years later The Doctor regenerated again and Matt Smith became the 11th incarnation of Dr Who!
The legacy of Doctor Who has spanned almost fifty years and touched the lives of millions. Today, it is back on our screens and a new generation of Whovians are being born.
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