As a child growing up in Glasgow, late Saturday afternoon found me in front of the TV watching Doctor Who. I have to admit, I was one of those cliches – the kid hiding behind the sofa, terrified yet enthralled by these strange characters and even stranger worlds. And don’t get me started on the Daleks. As far as I’m concerned, they are the most frightening aliens ever invented!
I stopped watching the show around the time Jon Pertwee became the third doctor, but last weekend I plonked myself ON the sofa (rather than behind it) to enjoy the full day of celebrations for Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary.
And I had a blast. The special episode, broadcast live around the world to over 94 countries, was great, but I particularly enjoyed the interviews with cast members, past and present, as well as the drama An Adventure in Space and Time which documented the making of the show back in 1963. Interesting that the Head Of Drama, who came up with the concept, the producer and director were all ‘outsiders’ – a Canadian, the first female producer, and first Indian director, employed by the BBC.
Episode One – An Unearthly Child – was broadcast the day after JFK’s assassination in Dallas. No-one expected the show to last more than one series, but here we are, 50 years later.
(An interesting tidbit for you Outlander fans out there – Diana Gabaldon has said that Jamie Fraser was inspired by one of the Doctor’s early assistants.)
Watching that very first episode once again took me right back to my childhood. Then, as now, the music still sends shivers up my spine.
Here are the opening scenes of that very first show. Enjoy!