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The longest-running science fiction television series in the world conquers America (1979)

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They said it was too British. too special, and certain to flop in the United States. Dr. Who had been running continuously on BBC-TV, Great Britain's government-owned television network-and eventually in 30 other countries-since its debut in 1963, But it has never clicked on this side of the Atlantic. The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) picked up the show in the early 1970s and tried it out on stations in Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, among others. For reasons still not understood. the popular program failed to attract a fair number of viewers, and the tapes were quickly shipped back to London. The fault, it appears, lay not in the "foreignness" and quality of Dr. Who, but in the publicly-funded network's miniscule advertising budget. SF fans and fantasy buffs simply did not know the program was on.

Then along came Star Wars and the media rush to cash in on a moderately lucrative genre turned overnight into a mass-market phenomenon. Time-Life Television took another look and decided to give the series another chance, this time on commercial television with a substantial advertising and public relations budget.

The mythical Time Lord turned up on independent American TV stations in October of 1978, with an appropriate amount of fanfare. An immediate hit, the Time-Life package includes 23 different mini-series composed of 98 half-hour episodes — approximately two years' worth of shows, Actually seasons number ll and l2 of Doctor Who, which is in its 16th season back in England, the episodes mark the first appearance of actor Tom Baker in the role of the galactic-problem-solving Doctor' His first incarnation was as actor William Hartnell, a genial father figure, followed by Patrick Troughton, who was given to whimsical comedy, and John Pertwee, stern and serious.

Born with two hearts and a body temperature of 60° Fahrenheit, Doctor Who roams through the galaxy in his strange spaceship. the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space). From outside, the craft is a duplicate of a London police box once a familiar feature of the cityscape, which is no longer in use. in 1963, however, the city was dotted with them. When a call come for help, a red bulb on top would light up, and the bobby on the beat would go inside and answer the telephone, The device was phased out in the late 1960s in favor of walkie-talkies. "We used the box because it was familiar to viewers," says a production spokesman. "It's strange that a new generation of viewers who have never seen one now.


Caption: Left, Dr. Who slips into the TARDIS. his intergalactic spaceship. Top, he gets ready for return to his home planet of Gallifrey. Bottom, one of the fascinating alien creatures concocted for series.

Caption: Top left, Cybermen, silver giants once humanoid in form. gained immortality by science of cybernetics—replacing life with machine functions; left, Doctor Who examines a mysterious substance; above, Auton, one of several designs of sinister live weapons. mm resemble window dummies, opposite page, top, pot-shaped Daleks, Doctor Who's archenemy and menace To society; bottom. K-9, a dog-like computer That talks and wags its tail

Caption: Left, Silurian survivor of lost reptilian age; right another long-extinct denizen of Earth's post below, Zygon monsters, who live under Loch Ness.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Blair, Clare (October 1979). The longest-running science fiction television series in the world conquers America. Super Star Heroes p. 14.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Blair, Clare. "The longest-running science fiction television series in the world conquers America." Super Star Heroes [add city] October 1979, 14. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Blair, Clare. "The longest-running science fiction television series in the world conquers America." Super Star Heroes, edition, sec., October 1979
  • Turabian: Blair, Clare. "The longest-running science fiction television series in the world conquers America." Super Star Heroes, October 1979, section, 14 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=The longest-running science fiction television series in the world conquers America | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_longest-running_science_fiction_television_series_in_the_world_conquers_America | work=Super Star Heroes | pages=14 | date=October 1979 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 November 2017 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=The longest-running science fiction television series in the world conquers America | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_longest-running_science_fiction_television_series_in_the_world_conquers_America | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 November 2017}}</ref>