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Show helps answer the question: Who is 'Doctor Who?'

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Every Saturday night, an estimated 27,000 viewers in the Bay area tune in to watch Doctor Who travel through time and space.

Doctor Who is a time lord. He's an alien being more than 700 years old who looks a bit like Harpo Marx (at least Tom Baker's version does). He usually travels with a lovely female companion. They encounter and conquer exotic creatures, robots and villains.

Taped on a low budget, the sets and costumes are often tacky. But what the series lacks in special effects it makes up in charm, excellent characterizations and witty dialogue.

Many science fiction writers consider it one of the best science fiction efforts on television.

The show is 100 times better than "Voyagers!" which has a similar setup and a bigger budget, but incredibly stupid writing.

And if you've not turned on to the good Doctor, then you might want to check out tonight's "Doctor Who" double feature on Channel 3, beginning at 8.

Also, sandwiched in between two 90-minute dramas, is a brief documentary "Once Upon a Time Lord," which examines the American fascination with this BBC series which has aired in Britain for 20 years.

Reportedly there are more than 7 million "Doctor Who" buffs in the United States.

Some of them turn up on this documentary during a visit to a Whovian (fans) convention.

Local Whovians may be interested because the program offers glimpses of the five actors who have played the character during the show's long run.

Sadly, the program fails to give enough background on the series and doesn't have an interview with Tom Baker, the most popular of the "Doctor Who" actors.

But it does have some interesting comments from Peter Davison, who is currently playing Doctor Who in England. Also included are interviews with John Nathan-Turner, the producer of the series; Sarah Sutton, who played one of Doctor Who's lovely companions, Nyssa; and Terry Nation, one of the writers.

Nation created the Daleks, a race of evil robots who became one of Doctor Who's greatest foes.

WEDU Program Director James Stasko said during WEDU's pledge drive in August, the station raised nearly $14,000 in donations on a special "Doctor Who" night. Tonight he hopes to repeat that success.

A warning for those who haven't seen "Doctor Who": This eclectic series is not for everyone. It requires your full attention. And you may have to sample more than one episode to understand the subtle humor.

Stasko has lined up 21 new "Doctor Who" episodes (featuring Peter Davison) which should begin airing at the end of this summer.

Channel 3 is about halfway through 41 of the series featuring Tom Baker.

Caption: Tom Baker, shown here in "The Android Invasion," is the most popular of the "Doctor Who" actors.

TV Preview


Critic's Rating: ★★★

(The Tribune rates television programs from one to four stars)

Inside info: A half-hour documentary on the American success of a legendary BBC science fiction hero.

Where to tune: WEDU, Channel 3

When: Tonight at 10.

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

  • APA 6th ed.: Belcher, Walt (1983-03-05). Show helps answer the question: Who is 'Doctor Who?'. The Tampa Tribune p. 3-D.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Belcher, Walt. "Show helps answer the question: Who is 'Doctor Who?'." The Tampa Tribune [add city] 1983-03-05, 3-D. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Belcher, Walt. "Show helps answer the question: Who is 'Doctor Who?'." The Tampa Tribune, edition, sec., 1983-03-05
  • Turabian: Belcher, Walt. "Show helps answer the question: Who is 'Doctor Who?'." The Tampa Tribune, 1983-03-05, section, 3-D edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Show helps answer the question: Who is 'Doctor Who?' | url= | work=The Tampa Tribune | pages=3-D | date=1983-03-05 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 March 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Show helps answer the question: Who is 'Doctor Who?' | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 March 2023}}</ref>