50th anniversary of Doctor Who

The first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast the day after the assassination of JFK. So happy 50th anniversary to Doctor Who. Here is a thread for you to air your best and worst Doctor Who moments.

Vale William Hartnell (1908 – 1975).

Who is your favourite Doctor? Here is a survey.

Click here for a summary of responses.

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36 Responses to 50th anniversary of Doctor Who

  1. YT

    Tom Baker, mainly because Leela was one of his companions. Maybe there should be a favourite companion thread as well.

  2. james

    Hartnell cos awesomeness, but Tennant because the man can actually act. You have to remind yourself that he is Scottish and his Shakespearean stuff is very commendable.

  3. Up The Workers!

    I hear that, in celebration of the 50th Anniversary, the BBC will be selecting a panel of actors to play the doctor in the next series.

    On the panel will be Bill Shorten, Juliar Gillard, Bruce Wilson, Dr Emo, Craig Thomson, and Mike Williamson.

    The lead character will now be known as: “DR. WHO WITH?”

  4. Ok, I’m another oldie who remembers the early days, and the dignified doctor as portrayed by William Hartnell. It made sense that he was a grey haired gent, with an accumulation of knowledge about life, the universe, and everything down to where to find the secret “off switch” on the dalek chassis.

    I was pleased anticipating the reruns of the original series some years ago as they revved up the new ones. But unfortunately a lot of them seemed to be set on a planet far away and with various tribes in various garb, sometimes a bit Roman, at others just weird, but they were not the episodes that excited my imagination as a kid.

    My memory is somewhat fragmented, but I do recall one story line wherethey were plonked down in the middle of the persecution of the huguenots in France. The early dalek episodes were so successful that they have become folk lore. But there was one story that was remarkable for entirely different reasons. Whether becaue of budgetary constraints, or merely the daring of the scriptwriter and producer, it was shot in a black studio, as if in another dimension. There were few props, and just one clown-like adversary. He set an ostacle course for the old doctor, where one false step meant instant death. It was far better than aliens in togas pretending to be some sort of imperial mob on planet beetlejuice.

    Over the years the series renewed itself by regular Doctor replacements, which the ALP has learnt more from than the Libs. It doesn’t matter how thin the excuse, just do it, renew, reinvent. You’re in no danger of underestimating the gullibility or cheer squad claquability of your ABC audience.

    Along with numerous Doctors, there have been numerous writers, even Douglas Adams for several episodes. It as a bit of a shock having Tristan from All Creatures Great And Small turn up as one of the Doctors, and the youngest one to that time. Tom Baker has been the favourite of many, and his talent was also on show when he played Rasputin in Nicholas And Alexandra, a memorable movie. John Pertwee was perhaps the most appropriate older replacement. It was in his time that my son found the series simultaneously scary and addictive. The formula has had a great deal of success, but sometimes gets a bit too sensational in its quest for that new sugar hit. Really thoughtful scripts are even more rare now, while action and special effects, as in the movies, are king.

  5. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    Tom Baker for mine.

    ‘The Masque of Mandragora’ is the most memorable four-part story for me. Loved it. ‘You can’t count, Count!’

    Favourite companion is Mary Tamm, the first Romana. Honourable mentions to Leela and Peri.

  6. Rabz


    One of the great lines in contemporary culture and sums up how I feel about the ALPBC at the moment.

  7. A Lurker

    I always loved K9…favourite Doctor? Tom Baker.

    I tried to watch the latter Dr Who episodes (the recent reinvented ones) but they always seemed to have been fiddled with by PC types in the BBC (like the remake of Battlestar Galactica was a great disappointment too).

    p.s. Is anyone watching ‘Les Revenants’ on Foxtel? Now THAT is a great series!

  8. cuckoo

    Has to be Jon Pertwee. Because he played the Doctor as a fin-de-siecle dandy who was also a mean hand with a sword-stick. And he was perfectly matched with the incomparable Brigadier. Two real men who would have no time for the boy-band poseurs of more recent incarnations.

  9. Leo G

    Since when have Time Lords had anniversaries?

  10. Matthew

    Where’s the option for Joanna Lumley. Her performance in the curse of the fatal death (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do-wDPoC6GM) was more than adequate

  11. dd

    Tom Baker was unquestionably the best doctor in terms of characterisation. That’s not to say he was in objectively the best episodes. The scripts and storylines for the new, rebooted Dr Who have, as everyone knows, been exceptional, and have taken Dr Who from geek trivia night status to global cultural phenomenon over the past few years.

  12. Jillor

    @Leo G.
    As Tom Baker’s Dr Who once replied when asked his date of birth by some other world, other time police –
    ” oh, I don’t remember, quite soon I suspect”

  13. Des Deskperson

    Best villain: Magnus Greel!!

  14. Neeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrds!!

    Oh yeah, I watched it in the 70s and remember being shit-scared at the plant-man or whatever it was called.

  15. Megan

    Tom Baker for mine…that amazing scarf and he was the time lord right through my children’s growing up. But, it is a very close second to the utterly delicious Tennant. Favourite episode is much harder to pick. The last episode of Peter Davidson had a brilliant script from the incomparable Robert Holmes, I loved the cabbage variant of the Triffids in the Seeds of Doom and the ones set in Blitz era London with the wee boy in the gas mask for sheer terror.

    My favourite quote is one I use all the time: “Do what I do. Hold tight and pretend it’s a plan!”

  16. braddles

    I can date myself by recalling seeing the first episode airing on the ABC; I think they didn’t show it until 1965. The Daleks scared the bejesus out of me. But quite frankly, I had grown out of it by age 14, and I don’t understand the appeal of the show for adults, at least in the Tom Baker etc era.

  17. C.L.

    The post-Baker Doctor Who is gay.

  18. C.L.

    Incidentally, it isn’t “Dr” Who but Doctor Who.

    It isn’t a title like Mr but a teasing nod to his having no given names.

  19. Megan

    And you never refer to him as Doctor Who, he is only ever The Doctor.

  20. Megan

    I don’t understand the appeal of the show for adults

    Possibly because you’ve grown into being a complete adult and not retained your childish sense of the ridiculous. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
    Although, to your credit you are here at the Cat. Where everyone’s sense of the ridiculous is honed by knowledge and a sense of humour. The exceptions being Numbers, Stepford and the execrable TonyN. Monty escapes by a donut whisker.

  21. Elephant Stone

    Doctor Who had the best theme song ever.

    The Time Lords spin off from it was good fun and Orbital did a good version too.

  22. Jon Pertwee. He was the only one with gravitas. (Of course I can’t really comment, as much of Doctor Who showed before TV was available in most of Australia.)

    Note for the military history buffs: Jon Pertwee’s WWII service, only recently made public, will be of quite some interest.

  23. Andrew of Randwick

    Just looked at the video….

    Can you imagine a policeman going down a dark alley and looking around to make sure everything is alright – today.

    But I guess that’s progress.

  24. And Another Thing

    Patrick Troughton. Although I tried not to let performances in other productions come into it, as an apparently regular bloke in real life, he could do weird, in the supernatural sense, really well.

  25. stackja

    Dr Who?
    I prefer Dr. No is a 1962 British spy film, starring Sean Connery; it is the first James Bond film.
    I could never understand Dr Who.
    But in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure made use of a phone booth. George Carlin as Rufus played mean guitar.

  26. Stephen Williams

    Rarely watched the show. Now and as a child I always thought the Dr to be creepy. Not creepy in a scary way but creepy as in the peadophile sort of way. That said, the only Dr I thought was any good was Tom Baker.

  27. 2dogs

    Given Peter Capaldi will be the twelfth doctor, someone simply must do a mixed Doctor Who/The Thick Of It spoof.

  28. MT Isa Miner


    #1083247, posted on November 23, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Has to be Jon Pertwee. Because he played the Doctor as a fin-de-siecle dandy who was also a mean hand with a sword-stick. And he was perfectly matched with the incomparable Brigadier. Two real men who would have no time for the boy-band poseurs of more recent incarnations.

    My career goal was to BE a brigadier. How pissed I was to find I had to leave the country and join the British army!

  29. one old bruce

    I started with William Hartnell and the Daleks, but then saw the movie of same in which Peter Cushing was a very impressive Doctor. I am one of those who wish they’d stuck with Patrick Troughton after that – he was everything I ever wanted to see in Doctor Who. Then it went downhill, and here we all are.

  30. Helen

    Thanks Matthew, loved that comedy spoof of Doctor Who’s, good stuff.

    I couldn’t say who my favourite Doctor was because I only watched it intermittently, we never had telly back then on the ranch.

  31. Mr Rusty

    Actually went for Matt Smith as almost everyone is nostalgic about their childhood era Doctor (Tom Baker in my case) and ignore the incumbent. I think Smith actually has managed to capture the characteristics of all the previous Doctors – but most similar to Troughton – and pulls off the complex nuances, traits and complexities of the character best.
    Cannot understand the obsession with Tennant. He was good but he was absolutely lousy at the angry Doctor, just gritted his teeth and spoke his lines through them, utterly crap. The Machiavellian side of the Doctor is the most important and least seen side of his character and again Smith has nailed this perfectly, it’s all in the eyes.
    I like the series reboot, I thought it would be a disaster when they announced it a few years ago but they have done it pretty well. I absolutely detest, however, the PC brigade infecting it with the cringeworthy attempts to ram homosexuality up the arse of the show every so often. Is nothing sacred anymore? All we need now is gay wookies bumming Ewoks in the new ‘Star Wars’ movies and queerdom will have reached every corner of every Universe.
    Only question now is do I get up at stupid ‘o’clock tomorrow to watch the Anniversary special or wait until the evening and avoid the web?

  32. Bruce

    Interesting bimodal distribution in the survey. For the record I’ve seen all the Doctors (although the first one typically from behind the lounge in fascinated terror at age 4) and I went recent (Eccleston).

  33. Brian of Moorabbin

    Nice banner picture of the Eleven Doctors Sinc, but have you seen the Alternative versions?

  34. kae

    Doctor Who scared the hell out of me, but I had to watch it.

    It was on either immediately before the news after Bellbird (which mum watched) or vice versa.

    My preferred Doctors are Hartnell, Pertwee and Troughton, but Pertwee is my favourite.

    After seeing some of the original episodes from very early on after the move to have them repeated, I was very disappointed at how lame it was.

    The newer Who programs annoy with too much special effects and a lot of that takes away from the program.

    I liked Torchwood, too, but won’t go out of my way to watch it.

  35. Fleeced

    Tom Baker. He gave me a jelly baby when he toured Australia (seriously)

    I think Jon Pertwee would be my #2 with Peter Davison my #3.

    Sylvester McCoy is dead last and best forgotten. Paul McGann seems like he would have been an awesome Doctor – pity the 90s TV movie wasn’t great (but still far better than anything screened in the McCoy years)

  36. Jim Rose

    a cult. a cult.

    will this programme live to 100. outlived star trek.

    all three star treks are repeating on my cable TVat the moment. the quality of the first few seasons was rather poor. how did they get renewed?

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