50 years of The Doctor

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 9.01.07 AMBy Colleen Gray | Staff writer

[Attention: this article may contain, as River Song would say, spoilers!]

When someone hears the word “doctor,” most people think of their medical doctor or a person who has a PHD, but anyone who has seen the BBC sci-fi show Doctor Who will think of a time-traveling madman with a blue police box.

And he’s back.

Doctor Who first aired on Nov. 23, 1963, with breaks between 1989 to 1996 when the Eighth Doctor appeared in a TV movie and 1996 to 2005 when the series rebooted with the Ninth Doctor. Over the years, a total of 13 actors have officially called themselves The Doctor on screen.

He has been able to survive this long because he is a TimeLord that has the ability to regenerate when his body becomes injured or is dying. Although The Doctor’s form has always looked like a white, average-sized, male human, it has been noted that it’s possible for him to have multiple limbs, two heads (or no head!), different weight sizes, or change gender completely.

No matter what he has looked like, The Doctor and his TARDIS have always been a symbol of hope for anyone who watches his adventures through time and space.

In November, BBC released a special episode for the show’s 50th anniversary. It features David Tennant as the 10th Doctor, Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor, Jenna-Louise Coleman as his companion Clara, Billie Piper as Bad Wolf, and John Hurt as the War Doctor.

The episode is simultaneously set in three different times in the Doctor’s life; the end of the first Time War, 17th century England, and modern day London. Through a tear in time, created by Bad Wolf, the three Doctors are able to be in the same place at the same time without causing a paradox.

In 90 minutes of screen time, the Doctors battle aliens from outer space, rescue an entire planet from desolation, save the human race, and still find time to kiss Queen Elizabeth I.

Steven Moffat did a marvelous job writing the script for this episode, but the actors really brought it home. Any viewer, no matter what kind of person they are, could connect with one of the characters. They could feel the pain, sadness, triumph, and joy that the characters felt. And, like every fan dreams of, they felt like they were actually there alongside the Doctor saving the day.

Whovians across the world, whether old, young, actor, or viewer, will applaud the work put in to make this special episode. It was fantastic! Absolutely brilliant!