Six decades of Who

On Thursday the 23rd of November, the iconic British science fiction television series Doctor Who celebrates its diamond anniversary. It’s exactly sixty years since a strange blue box materialised on British television screens, marking the beginning of an extraordinary journey through time and space. Created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber and Donald Wilson, this groundbreaking show has captivated audiences worldwide, leaving an indelible mark on the world of television and popular culture.

Doctor Who first aired during a time of great social and political change in the 1960s. The world was on the brink of a technological revolution, and the space race was in full swing. Against this backdrop, the Doctor, a mysterious alien later revealed to be a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, emerged as a beacon of curiosity, adventure and hope. Portrayed by William Hartnell in the early years, the Doctor embarked on thrilling adventures, exploring the farthest reaches of time and space in the TARDIS, a time-travelling spaceship that appeared deceptively small on the outside but was infinitely vast within.

Over the years, the Doctor has been portrayed by various talented actors, each bringing their unique interpretation to the character. From Tom Baker’s charismatic Fourth Doctor to David Tennant’s charming Tenth Doctor and Jodie Whittaker’s trailblazing Thirteenth Doctor, the show has constantly reinvented itself, ensuring its enduring appeal to multiple generations.

Doctor Who is not merely a television show; it is a cultural phenomenon that has influenced countless aspects of popular culture. Its impact can be felt in literature, comics, audio dramas, and even in the way television shows are made today. The show’s dedicated fan base, known as Whovians, has grown exponentially over the years, forming a global community that enthusiastically celebrates the Doctor’s adventures, discussing theories, and cherishing memorable moments.

Throughout its six-decade run, Doctor Who has gifted us with numerous unforgettable moments. One of the most iconic stories, ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ (1975), explored the origins of the Doctor’s most infamous adversaries, the Daleks. In 1989, the original series bid farewell, leaving fans eagerly anticipating the Doctor’s return. This anticipation was met in 2005 when Russell T. Davies successfully revived the show, introducing Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor. The revival not only reintroduced the Doctor to a new generation but also paved the way for modern storytelling techniques, special effects, and compelling character development.

The show’s ability to tackle complex themes and moral dilemmas is exemplified in episodes like ‘The Day of the Doctor’ (2013), the 50th-anniversary special, which brought together multiple incarnations of the Doctor, showcasing the show’s rich history while also exploring the consequences of the Time War. Furthermore, the introduction of diverse companions, such as Martha Jones, Rose Tyler, and Yasmin Khan, has reinforced the show’s commitment to inclusivity and representation, resonating with viewers from all walks of life.

Beyond the television screen, Doctor Who has inspired a myriad of spin-offs, merchandise, and even academic discussions. The show’s themes of acceptance, empathy, and the triumph of good over evil continue to resonate, making it a timeless classic.

For nearly a quarter of the programme’s sixty years, Fantom has been at the forefront of Doctor Who-related events and publishing. We released our first book title in 2009, when we proudly presented the first volume of Mary Tamm’s autobiography, First Generation. Since then we have continued to add constantly to our diverse catalogue of Who-themed titles, encompassing biographies and autobiographies, photobooks, and audio commentaries in our popular Who Talk series. Visit our website to explore everything we have to offer.

As we celebrate Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary, it is impossible to overlook its enduring legacy. The show has not only entertained millions but has also encouraged viewers to embrace curiosity, champion kindness, and confront the unknown with courage. The Doctor’s adventures have become an integral part of our cultural heritage, reminding us that, in the face of challenges, hope and imagination can light the way to a better future. Here’s to six decades of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey adventures and to many more years of exploring the vast universe of Doctor Who.