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For 14 years now, a science fiction program, "Doctor Who" has been frightening and entertaining children in Britain

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For 14 years now, a science fiction program, "Doctor Who" has been frightening and entertaining children in Britain. Well, ostensibly it's for children. However, you would be hard pressed to find a Briton of any age unfamiliar with the exploits of this incredible being.

Part of the reason for this extensive fascination is the extraordinary imagination shown in blending the weirdest characters, situations and technology with exciting plots.

According to a writer for the (Manchester) Guardian, "Doctor Who" boasts "The best special effects of any television program ... What makes it work above all is the way it fuses story, magic and high technology.

The BBC series also has been seen in 30 other countries, but never in America. That omission will be remedied Friday at 9 p.m. when WPTV-Channel 5 becomes one of the first American television stations to show "Doctor Who."

Believing that the program represents quality television, which it does, Robert Regalbuto, general manager of WPTV, has bought 90 30-minute programs from Time Life Television. They cover 23 different plots.

To enable its audience to get a good first taste for the subject, Channel 5 has programmed a four-part series, "The Hand of Fear," as one two-hour adventure.

No doubt WPTV will be interested to see if its initiative bears fruit in the form of a sizable viewing audience. Whatever the rating, Regalbuto has decided to show further 30-minute segments Saturdays at 1 p.m., beginning Sept 9.

Doctor Who was born with two Hearts and a cold body temperature of 60°. A wanderer by nature, be roams the galaxies in the Tardis, a somewhat temperamental and unreliable spaceship. Its outside appearance resembles a British police box.

In matters of space and time, it is difficult to pin Doctor Who down. Somehow, he always seems to be where he is needed, whether it is centuries in the future, in prehistoric times, during the Victorian era, or the present, on earth, or wherever.

And even though some children might find it a little scary, they won't want to miss it. For instance, I remember one little chap in Britain who used to await the outcome of the more frightening scenes from halfway up the stairs. The ability to effect a quick exit seemed to him important.

To give you some idea about the unreliability of the Tardis, it must be noted that on one occasion when the good doctor headed for an inter-galactic pleasure resort, he ended up in Antarctica.

Strangely enough, Doctor Who, like the Tardis, is not infallible. In fact, it has been said that a large part of his appeal is generated by his ability to solve problems and vanquish weird and terrible creatures when everything is going wrong. On those occasions, Doctor Who manages to work wonders with bits and pieces of electronic gadgetry.

Not surprisingly, when you consider the length of time the program has been running in Britain, the legion of "Doctor Who" followers have come to regard the show as something more than good science fiction television. For them, it has become a thoroughly absorbing hobby, with stacks of memorabilia available, such as paperback books of the various adventures, fan club buttons and detailed instructions on how to build some of the monsters.

Many of these items will be available locally, and a call to WPTV, 655-5455, should do the trick.

"The Hand of Fear" is the last series featuring the doctor's female assistant, Sarah. In it, the doctor returns her to 20th Century Earth. However, before they part — she discovers what appears to be a fossilized hand, made of stone. Instead, the hand is the sole surviving remnant of Eldred, a Kastrian criminal executed long ago by his own alien race.

Furthermore, the hand is not dead. On the contrary, it has the power to take control of humans, which is what it does to Sarah. With her unwilling help, Eldred is able to regenerate, to construct a new body using energy from a nearby nuclear power station.

Seeking revenge on his former enemies, Eldred forces Doctor Who to return him to Kastria in the Tardis.

And if you want to know what happens: watch Friday at 9 p.m.

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: Jenkins, Alan (1978-08-26). For 14 years now, a science fiction program, "Doctor Who" has been frightening and entertaining children in Britain. The Palm Beach Post p. TV1.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Jenkins, Alan. "For 14 years now, a science fiction program, "Doctor Who" has been frightening and entertaining children in Britain." The Palm Beach Post [add city] 1978-08-26, TV1. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Jenkins, Alan. "For 14 years now, a science fiction program, "Doctor Who" has been frightening and entertaining children in Britain." The Palm Beach Post, edition, sec., 1978-08-26
  • Turabian: Jenkins, Alan. "For 14 years now, a science fiction program, "Doctor Who" has been frightening and entertaining children in Britain." The Palm Beach Post, 1978-08-26, section, TV1 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=For 14 years now, a science fiction program, "Doctor Who" has been frightening and entertaining children in Britain | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/For_14_years_now,_a_science_fiction_program,_%22Doctor_Who%22_has_been_frightening_and_entertaining_children_in_Britain | work=The Palm Beach Post | pages=TV1 | date=1978-08-26 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=6 December 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=For 14 years now, a science fiction program, "Doctor Who" has been frightening and entertaining children in Britain | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/For_14_years_now,_a_science_fiction_program,_%22Doctor_Who%22_has_been_frightening_and_entertaining_children_in_Britain | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=6 December 2019}}</ref>