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Daleks cease hostilities Dr Who turns 25

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It will be 25 years on Wednesday since Dr Who's face first dissolved on our television screens in a futuristic blur; a quarter of a century since first we were threatened with an imminent Dalek invasion.

Dr Who, Planet Earth's longest running science fiction television program, premiered on the BBC on November 23, 1963 and this week Dr Who fans are celebrating.

Sam Vinney has been with the Dr Who Fan Club for four years. The 17-year-old Grade 11 student has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the series and reels off Dr Who trivia with the seriousness normally given to world politics.

He says Dr Who has inspired a cult following.

"The BBC destroyed or lost a lot of episodes," he says. "It's very unfortunate that they lost them: they're now beginning to realise what a mistake that was." The Dr Who Fan Club has 250 members Australia-wide and is a well-organised machine which swings into action if the show is ever threatened. Rumors of axing the series have prompted organised floods of letters to the ABC, and even to local MPs.

According to Mr Vinney one of the main interests of Dr Who fans is to analyse the Doctor; his character, adventures and enemies.

The character and style of the Doctor is fluid, fans will tell you. The 1970s' Dr Who, played by actor Jon Pertwee, changed in response to the popularity of James Bond films. Like Bond, Pertwee's Dr Who was a master of tricky gadgets - it was the era of that do-it-all tool, the sonic screwdriver.

"Now there is a new Doctor again and there is quite a bit of debate about how he is going," said Mr Vinney. "Some people think the stories and the plot are going downhill. I think the show is changing and surviving." But the club members also have a social calendar, the highlight of which is the annual christmas party which they attend in costume. Standing among the streamers at past parties have been a sprinkling of Daleks, Cybermen, Krinoids, Axons and Alpha Centauris.

Apart from random visits from passing Dr Whos, such as Tom Baker, Australia apparently has its own share of celebrities. In Mt Isa there lives a man called Robert Jewel who was a property man with the show and is honored by the club. "He's spent a lot of time in a Dalek," says Mr Vinney.

"When the show was established, it was not supposed to have monsters, but the Daleks, solid objects that moved and killed, took Britain by storm. Kids starting putting boxes on their heads and pretending they were Daleks." "There is a real moral message to Dr Who," said Mr Vinney. "He's a pacifist: many stories are about war and the hopelessness of violence.

"The message is, it's one big universe and we should co-operate."

GRAPHIC: Galactic hostilities were forgotten yesterday as friend and foe marked Dr Who's 25th birthday. From left, Greg King (a Krinoid), April Claridge (Movellan), Andrew Kutzek (the second Dr Who), Keith O'Donnell (a Dalek), Sam Vinney (the Valeyard) and Shane Cook (the fourth Dr WHO) PICTURE: ROB BANKS

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  • APA 6th ed.: Flanagan, J (1988-11-21). Daleks cease hostilities Dr Who turns 25. The Herald .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Flanagan, J. "Daleks cease hostilities Dr Who turns 25." The Herald [add city] 1988-11-21. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Flanagan, J. "Daleks cease hostilities Dr Who turns 25." The Herald, edition, sec., 1988-11-21
  • Turabian: Flanagan, J. "Daleks cease hostilities Dr Who turns 25." The Herald, 1988-11-21, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Daleks cease hostilities Dr Who turns 25 | url= | work=The Herald | pages= | date=1988-11-21 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Daleks cease hostilities Dr Who turns 25 | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 July 2024}}</ref>