Are you familiar with this iconic contraption?? Well, you should be.
Even if you aren't British, not being being able to recognise the TARDIS means you have some serious catching up to do! No excuses!!
Doctor Who is one of the longest running, audience enrapturing shows in all of television history (this may be a slight exaggeration, but it has to be up there!!). Currently about to start it's 31st season since it's beginnings in 1963 and is mid way through the story of the Tenth Doctor.
The Doctors race, the Time Lords, have two hearts and were known to have 13 lives (that is of course before they were all destroyed in a horrific space war and the Doctor, who never reveals his true name, was the only one left).
I am very excited for the new season to begin! I was so upset at the beginning of season 30 when the fabulous David Tennant (right) would no longer be playing the Doctor because he was almost too perfect. I have to admit though, that Matt Smith (left) fits the role quite snug-ly and has managed to take on an even quirkier interpretation of the Doctor. So I'm anticipating the new season with him just as much! They are both so charismatic when they act!
I don't know how much people outside of the UK may know about the wonders of Doctor Who, so I'm going to try my best to lay out some sort of short timeline/story-so-far thing for you.
The First Doctor: It started back way back in 1963 and was screened in black and white. The First Doctor, played by William Hartnell, made it through three and a half seasons ending his role in '67. He no longer wanted a role in the show and so the idea of Time Lords having multiple lives was born. This enabled a change of actor mid season and the idea stuck through the rest of the saga.
The Second Doctor: Patrick Troughton took on the role of the Second Doctor and completed three seasons, ending his role in 1969. He was put on trial by his own race, the Time Lords (who were still alive at this point), for breaking the laws of time so was forced into exile on Earth and had to regenerate in lieu of his actions.
The Third Doctor: Jon Pertwee was the face of the new regeneration and spent most of his time as the Doctor on Earth, but still fighting of the alien baddies in true Doctor Who style! He eventually appealed his exile and was allowed to roam space and time once more. He starred through five seasons until 1974. Season 11 saw the introduction of my favourite, and the longest serving, of the Doctors companions - Sarah Jane Smith. A recent spin-off called the Sarah Jane Adventures (more aimed a tweens) features Sarah Jane, portrayed by the same actress, continuing the Doctors work on Earth. She occasionally pops into episodes of the newer series of Doctor Who to help out. Love her! :)
The Fourth Doctor: Possibly the most iconic of all, Tom Baker is the longest reigning Doctor in the history of the show. He completed a total of seven seasons, finally coming to an end in 1981 at the end of season 18. His scarf became a bit of a geeky fashion icon and copies are still sought after today! I think this his seasons are some of the first Doctor Who episodes I saw as a child, as they often played the repeats on TV.
The Fifth Doctor: If I remember correctly I think Peter Davidsons shirt lapels had little questions marks on them :) Regenerating mid-season 21 1984, lots of his episodes told stories involving many previously explored alien planets, allies and enemies - including the Daleks, Doctor Who's most feared enemy and possibly the only alien that can defeat the Doctor once and for all.
The Sixth Doctor: Colin Baker, one of the more flamboyant of the Doctor Who regenerations. As you can see I was wrong about the fifth doctor having the question marks, I should have known it would be this guy :) He lasted a total of two full seasons ending in late 1986. The show suffered an 18 month production hiatus in between season 22 and 23 due to a ratings crisis. During this time it was discussed that a female regeneration should be introduced in order to shake up the show, but this never occurred (I'm actually thankful that it didn't, Doctor Who was always meant to be male...)
The Seventh Doctor: Sylvester McCoy was Doctor number seven and stayed through three short seasons until season 26 in 1989. By now the Doctor Who story is so complex and intertwined it could only have been imagined up by some pure genius.
The Eight Doctor: Paul McGann. He only appeared in one 90 minute "television movie" in 1996.
Apart from the screening of the tv movie, British screens were left without new episodes of Doctor Who for a whopping total of 16 years. So let me take this interval opportunity to give you a few more intricate details of the life of the Doctor.
Since the Doctor is a time lord he is able to travel through space and time with his companion, saving the universe from the nasties and changing the course of history. The story has never flown in perfect chronological order, the Doctor often meets characters that he "hasn't met yet" who often make vague and cryptic comments about what will happen in the future when they "meet when they're supposed to". To try and make this a bit easier to understand...
In the future the Doctor eithers meets a particular character or travels back in time and meets them. In the past (which is now) he bumps into said character and treats them as a stranger because he isn't aware that he has met them yet. The character has met the Doctor on their timeline though and usually tells the Doctor they'll be meeting again but never gives away what happens when they meet (because this would screw up time and space (and the plot of the show)....obviously!).
This clever manipulation of suspense, curiosity and physics means that at some point in the Doctor Who story he meets his granddaughter Susan, yet we know of no woman he has ever fallen in love with. We do meet one woman multiple times called River Song and there are many hints that she may have been his lover or wife. Every time the Doctor and River meet he knows that he will know her in the future, but does not know why he will know her (I hope the paragraph above helps to make sense with this!). River is a semi-human who refers to the Doctor as "sweetie" and is rumoured to reside in the 51st Century and be the only creature in the universe to know the real name of Doctor. The Doctors first encounter with River ended in her death, but she still appeared in episodes after this, hence we know that he will meet her multiple times more along his higgly piggly timeline - he is always jumping backwards and forwards in time after all.
The Ninth Doctor: Christopher Eccleston starred in just one season in 2005 when the show relaunched with his companion "Rose" played by nineties pop star Billie Piper. Due to the relaunch the series were officially renumbered from scratch, this became season one once more. Die hard fans like to refer to it as season 27 to keep the history alive. I did not much like Christophers portrayal of the Doctor at first, I found him much to modern and not quirky enough but I grew to love him and was quite disappointed that he only lasted for one season. If only I'd known then who was to come next...
The Tenth Doctor: Delightful, charistmatic, quirky and yummy yummy David Tennant took on the role of the Tenth Doctor and boy-oh-boy did he create the most perfect persona for Doctor Who of all time. A little bit funny, a little bit serious, quite consumed within his own thoughts and oblivious to the efforts of his female companions to attract his attention and spark romance. The personality he portrayed put a smile on my face every time I watched a new episode. Episodes began to get extremely clever, explaining key events in history that we all know so well, but explaining them perfectly as if aliens were the cause and the Doctor was the saviour. They accomplish the stories in such a way that it is almost believable as an alternative to history. This is what keeps me coming back for more, the genius behind the story lines, the loveable quirky characters and always wondering what they can come up with next!
Tennant starred in four seasons and easily two fistfuls of special episodes for Christmas, New Year and in between seasons. He went through a total of three companions including Rose (Billie Piper), Donna (famous comedienne Catherine Tate) and Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman).
The Eleventh Doctor: Season 5 began in 2010 and starred the most recent Doctor played by Matt Smith sporting a very fetching bow tie and hilariously quoting "Bow ties are cool" in his first episode.. At first fans were highly anticipating the debut of Matt to see if he could live up to the high standards left behind by David Tennant. It has to be said that he succeeded quite spectacularly at continuing the quirky, loveable side to the Doctor whilst adding his own flare to the personality. There were concerns over his age as he is the youngest of the Doctors, but he portrays the wisdom and maturity wonderfully. His companion is the ever so slightly irritating Amy Pond played by Karen Gillan, though I have to admit even she is starting to grow on me.
After getting a glimpse into the life of the Doctor, Martha Jones no longer wanted to return to the mundane reality of ordinary human life and took on a role working for Torchwood, a company that secretly ensures the safety of the Earth and investigates alien species.
A spin off series was created in 2006 called Torchwood, which followed the adventures of the organisation. The famous flamboyant actor John Barrowman stars as the main character.
In the spring of this year (so soon!) Matt Smith will continue his role as Doctor Who with Amy (and sometimes her boyfriend Rory) by his side. I wonder what adventures he will go on next?
So, I'm setting a challenge down for you. It's one of those shows that will literally appeal to anyone, so I don't want to hear any excuses of "I'm not into sci-fi" because that won't work on me! If you haven't seen an episode of Doctor Who, good gracious go watch one immdiately! I hope I've inspired you to!
Don't forget to tell me what you think, of course!!
**Sorry this is one heck of a post.... Hope it was worth the read! x