50 Years of Doctor Who: Happy Birthday to you

Written by Liam Hughes
This weekend the BBC celebrates 50 years of the science-fiction programme ‘Doctor Who.’ The 75-minute episode named “The Day of the Doctor”

This weekend the BBC celebrates 50 years of the science-fiction programme ‘Doctor Who.’ The 75-minute episode named “The Day of the Doctor” appears to share details of the Last Great Time War, which has been referenced throughout the 11 incarnations of the time-travelling alien and has had audiences asking the question “What happened?” for five decades. 
The Doctor – for those that don’t know – is the last of the powerful Time Lords and an intrepid, intelligent, charming traveller through space and time, armed with a trusty sonic screwdriver. In his own words, he is “a madman in a box.”
The box being an extraordinary ship known as the TARDIS (standing for Time And Relative Dimension In Space) which takes the shape of a blue police call box and has had many running in and out surprised by its bigger on the inside than the outside appearance.
The Doctor will see you now…
The Doctor chooses travelling companions from those he befriends, whether it be from London’s Powell Estate, San Francisco or the peaceful Union of Traken via Troy, briefly sharing his life with them and showing them the astonishing wonders of the universe. They watch his back, keep him sane, ask the right questions and, only occasionally, get themselves into trouble. They are without doubt the Doctor’s greatest supporters. But where would heroes be without evil to vanquish?
From living plastic to Weeping Angels, and a man made from sweets, The Doctor and his friends have found themselves pitted against some of the deadliest creatures from all corners of the universe, who threaten to delete, shrink, mutate, eat, brainwash and not forgetting exterminate. His most deadliest foes being the salt and pepper shaker-esque Daleks that are emotionless and as indestructible as the regenerating Doctor.
They had no idea it would last this long…
The BBC first broadcast ‘Doctor Who’ on BBC One at 5.15pm on Saturday November 23, 1963. It was the brainchild of Canadian TV producer and BBC Head of Drama, Sydney Newman, and was created as an educational family show to fit between the football results and evening entertainment programmes. When the first Doctor, William Hartnell, wanted to leave the series after three years, the idea of regeneration was born to explain the change in leading men. 
After an initial run of 26 years and seven doctors, played by seven actors including Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker and Peter Davison, the series was rested. It returned for a one-off TV movie featuring the Eighth Doctor (played by Paul McGann) in 1996. But was fully resurrected in 2005 by Welsh television producer and screenwriter Russell T.Davies who cast Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor. There have been two Doctors since, first David Tennant and recently Matt Smith, who have brought the show to a whole new generation and gifted it with worldwide success. 
In this, its 50th anniversary year, the series is watched by an estimated 80 million viewers in 206 countries. It has been honoured by Guinness World Records as both the longest running and most successful science-fiction series in the world. And with them apparently finding a way of getting past the 13 limit regeneration, nothing is stopping the alien that has found a place in the world’s hearts from celebrating its 100th anniversary in another 50 years.
What’s your favourite Doctor Who moment? Who was your favourite Doctor? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
Image by aussiegal