The Original Doctor is Back!

Our house is a house that loves its science fiction. I’ve enjoyed that
genre since I was old enough to watch TV and read books. Some of that I’ve
successfully passed on to my children as Daniel now loves Star Wars. He
enjoys the movies, and loves playing Lego Star Wars on the Wii. But for me,
my first – and enduring – sci-fi love was Doctor Who.

The re-boot of Doctor Who has been fantastic – so much so that David
Tennant is almost up there with Tom Baker as my favourite Doctor. But I
still pine for the original Doctor Who, which was a huge part of by
childhood cultural experiences. It was an exciting time with a movie-length
story being split into 4 to 6 parts. With each week ending with a
cliff-hanger, it really built up anticipation for the next week’s episode.

Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor, as I’ve said remains my favourite. He really
brought an unpredictable eccentricity to the role and made it his own. Jon
Pertwee – Jane’s favourite – was the first Doctor I can remember on TV,
although I’ve read plenty of books featuring the first two Doctors. I’ve
seen the odd story featuring Patrick Troughton, and of course the first
ever story broadcast was re-broadcast in full recently during the 50th
anniversary celebrations.

Imagine my delight last week when Jane discovered that original Doctor Who
was being broadcast on the Horror Channel! Two episodes a day from 8.50pm.
Its now where Sky+ HD is coming into its own, and all stories are now being
recorded to be watched – and re-watched – at leisure. Yes, the production
may not be as polished as the current Doctor Who is, but then that was part
of its charm. As a child, the Doctor’s enemies – particularly the Daleks,
Cybermen and Ice Warriors were terrifying. The Cybermen in particular were
frightening because the appeared human, but were most decidedly ice-cold
automatons. Current Cybermen just look like big robots to me, and are now
seen as being cool!

The stories are being broadcast out of sync – we started with a Patrick
Troughton story, which was immediately followed by a Jon Pertwee story.
That’s the most minor of grumbles though, although I’d love it if the
Horror Channel broadcast the Ark in Space/Sontaran Experiment/Genesis of
the Daleks/Revenge of the Cybermen story arc consecutively. They remain my
favourite Doctor Who stories. But it was wonderful to see Patrick Troughton
as the Doctor. Perhaps the very early Doctors are forgotten – it was 45+
years ago – so its easy to forget how good they were. Troughton’s Doctor
introduced us to legendary characters like Brigadier Alistair
Lethbridge-Stewart, while Jon Pertwee brought us Jo Grant and the greatest
companion of them all, Sarah-Jane Smith (and Harry Sullivan of course.)

This week has been great though. The Seeds of Death, featuring the Ice
Warriors, has been followed by The Daemons, featuring the wonderful Roger
Delgado as The Master. If you’ve become a fan of Doctor Who since its
re-boot, don’t pass up the opportunity to see where it all begain. Without
William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker, there
wouldn’t be a Doctor Who today. For me, the series record has been enabled,
and I’m going to fill my boots on the original Doctor.

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