It began with two teachers, puzzled by one of their students. She was showing strange, inconceivable ideas – she even thought Britain had a decimal currency! – and they were worried about her homework. But her grandfather was a doctor; surely they could talk to him.
Their search for her grandfather led to a junkyard, a police telephone box, and William Hartnell. He wasn’t just a doctor, but the Doctor, and the phone box was the TARDIS. Rather than let them go once they had discovered his secret, he whisked them off to the Stone Age.
This was the first episode of Dr Who, screened on 23rd November 1963. It ran until 1989, when the TARDIS finally shimmered off, and the programme finished. Viewers bade farewell to Cybermen and those iconic Daleks. Then in 2005, the familiar electronic music was heard again on our screens, and the Doctor was back.
Dr Who is a cult classic, and an important influence in Science Fiction. It features on the reading list Module FM2004, “Science Fictions,” especially during week 12, “Science Fiction and Time Travel.” After all, when the doors of the TARDIS open, who knows if the Doctor will meet the ancient Pompeians or the alien life forms? Or both?
The Library has DVDs with Dr Who episodes, from PN1992.8.D62 and PN1995.9.S26D72, which can be borrowed. We stock books on Science Fiction, that can be found through the catalogue. There is access to electronic journals concerning science fiction, “Science fiction film and television,” and “Science-fiction studies.”
A browse through our electronic resources will discover other articles and information. Mark Ravenhill, the playwright, has written about his childhood obsession with the programme, and how it affected his own writing. This is on the Nexis database. under ‘My life was a voyage with Dr Who. Then the Tardis turned to cardboard’.
Dalek fans may be interested in two books about the creator of the Daleks, “The man who invented the Daleks,” and “Terry Nation.” Uxbridge has it’s own connection to the Daleks, as some of them were made locally at Shawcraft (Models) Ltd.
Next Saturday will be the fiftieth anniversary of Dr Who. The Doctor has come a long way from that first vaguely educational trip with his granddaughter and two of her schoolteachers. All sorts of celebrations are planned. A special episode, “The Day of the Doctor,” will be shown at the weekend. I’ll be watching, together with swathes of the population. In fact, I can hardly wait…