Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Dr Who for ever

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1981-11-08 Observer.jpg


1963 was the year in which, according to Philip Larkin, sexual intercourse began— 'Between the end of the Chatterley ban and the Beatles' first LP.' Nor was that the only important thing that started in 1963, as I soon discovered on returning to these shores after missing the annus mirabilis by spending it in, of all places, Sweden. It was also the year in which 'Dr Who' began.

I made up for lost time as soon as possible, immediately succumbed, and have hardly. Missed an episode since: ! 'Dr Who ' is 'as essential a component of a winter Saturday afternoon as crumpets and a log fire. It has rankled for years that I missed the beginning of the series. Now the omission has been repaired by the BBC's very own Tardis (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) machine, which this week time-warped us hack to 1963 for The Five Faces of Doctor Who. Over a period of five weeks we are being treated richly to a selection of the temporal and spatial adventures of the intrepid and resourceful Doctor as embodied successively by William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker and now Peter Davison.

When the very first episode, 'An Unearthly Child,' appeared in black-and-white in 1963, its impact was so great that by popular request it had to be repeated the next Saturday for the benefit of those who had missed it. Seeing it now for the first time, 18 years later, it is easy to see why. First there's Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's compelling theme music, unchallenged to this day and if they ever do change it, then that's the last television licence I'll be buying).

Various interesting points emerged from the episodes I saw this week (missed it on Tuesday, damnit). One is that Susan, the Doctor's original companion, was his granddaughter. And if she had a grandfather then she must have had a grandmother. This suggests that there must have been (or be) a Mrs Who, a thought which had previously never crossed my mind. And if there isn't a Mrs Who, then the Who family tree must be smirched with illegitimacy. What's been going on ? After 18 years I think we have a right to be told.

This adventure landed the Doctor, and his pals in the hands of some stone-age savages with names like Za and Hur and Kal and Horg and Gurk. To start with, their conversation consisted mainly of such words as Za, Hur, Kal, Horg and Gurk —mostly Horg, which is the noise they make on receiving a blow to the solar plexus, a common event for male members of the cast. But once they've got through these grunts it turns out that -they have an excellent command of the English language, as indeed have all the other people visited by the Doctor over the past 18 years, whatever century or galaxy the may have been in.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Boston, Richard (1981-11-08). Dr Who for ever. The Observer p. 48.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Boston, Richard. "Dr Who for ever." The Observer [add city] 1981-11-08, 48. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Boston, Richard. "Dr Who for ever." The Observer, edition, sec., 1981-11-08
  • Turabian: Boston, Richard. "Dr Who for ever." The Observer, 1981-11-08, section, 48 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Dr Who for ever | url= | work=The Observer | pages=48 | date=1981-11-08 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 June 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Dr Who for ever | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 June 2024}}</ref>