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50 years of Who: 1963

This is the first in a series of slightly different anniversary posts: I am going to take every year from 1963, list the Doctor Who and related TV, books, audios, and (in 1965 and 1966) films of that year, and reminisce briefly about the first time I encountered any Who of that year's vintage, as well as my personal favourite and least favourite moments from the selection. No comics, I'm afraid, as I haven't located an easy-to-use list (though will be happy to incorporate one if I find it). But otherwise I hope to be fairly comprehensive.

We start rather quietly with 1963:

An Unearthly Child (4 episodes)
The Daleks (first 2 episodes)
(For convenience I am using the generally accepted names of stories before The Savages.)

The first Who from 1963 that I encountered: In common with many fans, I watched the rebroadcast of An Unearthly Child as the opening of the Five Faces of Doctor Who season in 1981, so that was my first exposure to the first calendar year of the programme, at the age of 14. (I didn't see The Daleks until 2006.)

My favourite Who from 1963: I'm going to be very inconsistent about this, picking stories, episodes, and individual moments as we go. But here it's pretty simple: the opening episode, "An Unearthly Child", is a fantastic set-up for a series which was meant to last 3 months and has actually managed 50 years. (Honourable mention for the cliff-hanger at the end of the first epsiode of The Daleks.)

Moving swiftly on from: the scene where Carole Ann Ford is running on the spot while the production team hit her with fronds.

So, what was your favourite of the above? What is the best bit? (And if you like, what is the worst bit?)

1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 24th, 2013 05:24 am (UTC)
Oh, I like this approach.

The first episode of Doctor Who is a spectacular piece of work for me - it's so unlike any other Doctor Who story in a lot of ways, but at the same time it is really atmospheric. I think it stands up better than the first Dalek story as well, even as I can totally see why the Daleks became so popular.
Julian West
Sep. 24th, 2013 09:32 am (UTC)
Origin stories
I think that the ideas behind An Unearthly Child are wonderful. The concept was reused in a number of "aliens in human form living on Earth" series - for comic effect in Third Rock From The Sun, or My Parents Are Aliens. The bit where Susan thinks that Britain has a decimal currency is particularly good.

Much of the early B&W Dr Who has a charm which the new series cannot quite produce, for all its CGI marvels. There's an image from The Mind Robber - Jamie and Zoe clinging to a spinning console after the Tardis has exploded - which has stayed with me ever since I first saw it.
Sep. 24th, 2013 11:39 am (UTC)
The concept was reused in a number of "aliens in human form living on Earth" series - for comic effect in Third Rock From The Sun, or My Parents Are Aliens.

The concept was already an elderly trope in science fiction prose and films. Among TV shows, allow me to add My Favorite Martian, which premiered a couple of months before My Favourite Gallifreyan.
Sep. 24th, 2013 11:44 am (UTC)
a series which was meant to last 3 months and has actually managed 50 years.

I knew, obviously, that they didn't intend a 50 year run, but I didn't know it had been intended as a 3 month run. That's rather...well, fantastic, as Nine would say. :)
Sep. 24th, 2013 01:24 pm (UTC)
Intended as a 52-week run by the Drama Group, and budgeted accordingly (hence the large TARDIS set); Donald Baverstock, chief of programmes (what we'd now call controller) BBC1, was aware of this but would only commit to 13 weeks in the first instance, hence the addition of the two part 'The Edge of Destruction'/'The Brink of Disaster'.
Sep. 29th, 2013 09:51 am (UTC)
Presumably still, just about BBC TV? BBC2 was launched in April 1964, although there must have been a run-in time of the channels as distinct. I see he's being played by Mark Eden in the creation drama.
Sep. 29th, 2013 09:55 am (UTC)
Mark Eden, who was Marco Polo fifty years before? Brilliant!

Though also a bit bizarre. Baverstock was born in 1924, and Eden in 1928; so the latter, at 85, is now playing the former at 39...
Sep. 29th, 2013 10:15 am (UTC)
Both of those details struck me... One of a number of cameo winks, I suspect. I've just noted who is playing [redacted] and I couldn't see it at first, then saw a photo of the actor and get it.
Sep. 29th, 2013 09:57 am (UTC)
I knew someone would pick this up - though the channel, until April, was 'BBC Television Service', the paperwork by mid-1963 was calling the job 'chief of programmes, BBC-1'.
Sep. 29th, 2013 04:47 pm (UTC)
That's useful to know, thanks. I've not looked closely at the documents (and recently marked an essay saying BBC1 started in 1936 or thereabouts that hadn't felt right). Thanks for the correction.
Oct. 8th, 2013 09:55 am (UTC)
Like you, my first First Doctor encounter (on TV!) was the 'Five Faces' repeat. I'd read all the available Target books of course!

The first episode really does take some beating, but I'm quite fond of the first episode of 'The Daleks' as well.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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