I have been a Doctor Who fan all my life!!
My earliest memory of the show was from one Saturday evening in 1979 when I was sat in front of the tv watching a story starring Tom Baker and Lalla Ward. The story in question was called Creature from the Pit and it was an adventure from season 17, the memory that sticks in my mind most prominently was one of the episode cliff hangers. The scene in question saw the Doctor trapped in some kind of cave / tunnel with his way forward blocked by a huge terrifying green monster, the episode concluded with the Doctor falling backwards and being completely engulfed by the alien. I remember being frightened half to death as I peered out from behind the cushion which I was using as my own personal monster shield to protect me from the terrors of the Who galaxy.
Of course, being an impressionable 4 year old I had a very fertile imagination. Looking back on this story now it is hard to believe that I could possibly be so frightened by this creature (which far from being a huge terrifying monster turns out to be a small blob which looks rather like a small weather balloon – only greener and slimier).
This story was enough to keep me watching every week however and I tuned in every week right up until the original programme finished in 1989. Tom Baker left after his Doctor fell from a great height and was replaced by a young man with a penchant for cricket and celery. My memories from this era of the show are much stronger, I can remember every story this chap starred in (this was of course Peter Davidson) and I really enjoyed Janet Fieldings performance as his companion Tegan Jovanka. I have many happy memories of this Doctor battling large snakes, Cybermen, Omega, the Master and of course the Daleks and Davros. After three years he too left and was replaced by a more darker incarnation with a garish multi coloured coat.
The new actor was Colin Baker who is in my humble opinion one of the most underrated actors to play the part. Agreed, his era was full of problems (the violence was turned up a couple of notches and the show was beginning to look a bit tired and dated) but one of the highlights of these few years was the central performance itself. Colin Baker turned in a flawless performance and his time in the role saw some of the best stories ever written for the show. After being unceremoniously dumped by the BBC Colin saw himself replaced by Sylvester McCoy who became the final actor to play the role in the original classic run.
I have to be honest, I wasn’t really a fan of this new Doctor. The whole era in general became more farcical and celebrities such as Ken Dodd made guest appearances. His first companion was Mel as portrayed by Bonnie Langford who was replaced after a time by Sophie Aldred as Ace. At the time I couldn’t stand Bonnie Langford in the role and was only too pleased to see her replaced by Sophie who remained on the show until it finished.
And that is what happened, it was cancelled in 1989 and after a few failed attempts to get a new series it appeared that the show was over. Suddenly in 1996 a pilot show was made in America, this time with Paul McGann as the new Doctor, it was heavily advertised, had a good budget and was a success all round. Paul made a wonderful Doctor and showed a lot of promise the show was now glossier looking and people were talking about it again.
Then…………. nothing. The pilot did not lead to anything, the show came and went, hopes of a new series dried up completely and it looked as though Doctor Who was well and truly dead and buried. From time to time an article would appear in a newspaper announcing a new Doctor, this happened several times and turned out every time to be a false rumour, I can’t remember off of the top of my head who was mentioned but I do recall Richard E Grants name was circulated. He did of course play the part in a brand new animation which was produced in 2003 and if I remember correctly this was on the internet and not widely known of.
I do remember the day that an actor called Christopher Ecclestone was announced in the papers as the new Doctor, upon seeing this I dismissed it thinking to myself that it was time the papers just moved on. Doctor Who was dead, it was never going to come back and all these reports that kept popping up about the Ecclestone chap were just getting annoying. Then, one day, it was confirmed in DWM (this is the official Doctor Who Magazine).
Before I knew it, the show was back!!
As I type, we have just said goodbye to Matt Smith. Matt Smith has been in my opinion one of the best Doctors there has ever been, I really enjoyed his portrayal and really cannot praise him enough. He has been the 3rd regular Doctor in the new show, Ecclestone regenerated in to David Tennant who in turn gave way to Smith. All three of these actors gave fantastic performances and for the first time ever the show had a huge budget, stunning effects and was loved the whole world over. It has won awards, spawned two successful spin offs and, just a few weeks back, the whole franchise celebrated 50 years on television.
To top it all, the 50th anniversary special introduced a new past incarnation of the Doctor who bridged the gap between McGann and Christopher Ecclestone, he was portrayed by none other that John Hurt!! One of my favourite actors and a man I have admired for many years was now a part of my favourite show ever and he was bloody good too, I thought the episode couldn’t possibly get any better and then Tom Baker threw in an appearance. I was overwhelmed!!
The Christmas Day episode saw Matt Smith bow out and he was replaced by Peter Capaldi, I know nothing about this chap but I like what I have seen so far.
I look forward to reporting back when he makes his first full appearance!!