Sunday 24th November
There had been nothing quite like it before on telly. Nothing supposedly for children which was quite so scary, so exciting and so modern. We were used to Champion the Wonder Horse or The Lone Ranger and were simply blown away. It arrived with little fanfare but I seem to remember even the first episode where the Doctor takes us back to the Stone Age. Then pretty soon after that the Daleks. I even had nightmares about the Daleks. Exterminate became the playground catchphrase as straight armed we would wheel about and bark out the words. And then there was the Tardis itself, bigger on the inside than it was outside, a fascinating concept for kids of twelve like me.
I watched avidly William Hartnell and his successor Patrick Troughton (my favourite Doctor) until I left home. Later I would sit with my son and watch as John Pertwee and Tom Baker took the character into the seventies, into colour and flamboyance and a bit more technological brilliance. The Magic was still there, even if as a young adult you maybe got more of the in-jokes than as a child. We followed the Doctor as he challenged various monsters, The Master, Cybermen and of course The Daleks, even meeting Davros, evil creator of these robotic figures. I thought the middle lot of Doctors were a bit poor, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. Then came Paul McGann, a brilliant Doctor. But the powers that be at the BBC decided to axe the Doctor for a few years.
We thought it was all over. Not too many tears shed really but just a big part of my childhood, and my sons was over. Then in 2005 annus mirabilis the Doctor returned. Spruced up, modern, street-wise with new effects and new companions and most important great scriptwriters the Doctor has returned for a new generation to love. If anything it is even better than the originals and the story rolls on, a bit sexier, a bit scarier, a bit cleverer. And now we all wait in trepidation as the new doctor is about to enter the scene.
Fifty years old, the programme still has a great future. Hope it makes it to a hundred.