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November 23, 2011 7:57 AM   Subscribe

Forty-eight years ago this evening, BBC viewers were introduced to a cranky old man, his granddaughter Susan, and the singular device they used to travel the universe. Happy birthday, Doctor Who!

The first episode, "An Unearthly Child," was originally titled "100,000 BC," and can be viewed in its entirety online (part 1, part 2, part 3).

"As the first episode it laid the groundwork for the cliché Who story of capture and escape; in this case, the Doctor and company are captured by primitive humans. An Unearthly Child was the only televised story in which the Doctor smoked."

"As originally conceived, Doctor Who was a cracking great adventure series for children — that taught some important lessons along the way."

Much, much more about the good Doctor on the blue.
posted by jbickers (118 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
48 eh? So can we blame some of the new series crap on mid-life crisis? Happy birthday anyway!

Also only two more days until the Chicago TARDIS. I can't wait to meet Peter Davison! Also Nyssa and Tegan. Squeee.
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:09 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


2006: Diablo Cody writes about Doctor Who
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:14 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The theme tune didn't make me hide behind the sofa, but it did my younger sister.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:14 AM on November 23, 2011


Don't you mean Inspector Spacetime ?
posted by Pendragon at 8:22 AM on November 23, 2011


Don't you mean Inspector Spacetime?

No, Inspector Spacetime celebrates its sixty-first birthday next April 22nd. Honestly, people should know these things.
posted by mightygodking at 8:24 AM on November 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


ZeusHumms: "2006: Diablo Cody writes about Doctor Who"
For the uninitiated, the Doctor (fan tip: don't refer to the actual character as "Doctor Who") is a brilliant, eccentric alien who coasts through space and time in his TARDIS, a red police call box that defies the laws of physics.
I DON'T THINK SO.
posted by I am the Walrus at 8:25 AM on November 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


I DON'T THINK SO.

She did say it defies the laws of physics. Maybe it does so by appearing to be blue?
posted by yoink at 8:30 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


I was thrilled to be able to go with my mother and my daughter to the Doctor Who Experience when we were in London a few months ago -- three generations of Whovians, as my mother and I watched the 4th Doctor on PBS in the 80s, and now I watch the new series on Netflix and BBC America with my daughter.

The "show" itself is kind of meh, but it is really worth it for the exhibition of props, sets and costumes and the gift shop (though I suppose the gift shop may not be that exciting for Brits, as you can probably find Doctor Who merch everywhere, but the myriad books and toys were enthralling for my daughter -- I secretly stocked up on a bunch of stuff for Christmas).
posted by Rock Steady at 8:30 AM on November 23, 2011


Yeah, I noticed that Walrus. Had to stop reading.

That's like referring to the Space Ship Enterprise.
posted by General Tonic at 8:35 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


She did say it defies the laws of physics.

A stripper/sex blogger/soon-to-be Oscar winner attending a Con defies the laws of physics. Only mono-atomic snarkonium can save the universe.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:35 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rock Steady the Dalek room was awesome when we saw it in Cardiff! The whole thing was neat but the Daleks were amazing.
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:36 AM on November 23, 2011


.
posted by grubi at 8:43 AM on November 23, 2011


The doctor is very obviously getting younger and younger with each regeneration. Another regen or two (yes I know he's on his 11th but I'm sure that will be written over somehow) and he'll be a teenager solving inter-dimensional crimes.

Scooby Who?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:44 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who fans looking to indulge in some intellectual nostaligia may well enjoy the excellent Tardis Eruditorum blog. Written by "A hopeless geek with a PhD in English focusing on media studies." it is mostly fantastic long-form critical viewings of every episode of who from the very beginning. (but with interesting diversions into other contemporary TV shows and dr who stories and audio productions aswell) He is in the middle of the Tom Baker era at the moment and had an excellent post looking at The Talons of Weng-Chiang a few days ago
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 8:44 AM on November 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


Scooby Who?

I thought the new series had pretty much already admitted that in Love and Monsters (the ELO episode) with the cross-corridor chases.
posted by immlass at 8:53 AM on November 23, 2011


I thought the new series had pretty much already admitted that in Love and Monsters (the ELO episode) with the cross-corridor chases

Cross-corridor chases are part of Dr. Who from the very first series. That's part of the in-joke about "running" that features in everyone's misty-eyed reminiscences of the Doctor. The very first Dalek episodes feature the classic featureless corridors (are they running down a really long corridor or running down the same short stretch over and over and over? Only the BBC's budget mavens know for sure!) and lots of "OMG, do we go down THIS corridor or THAT corridor?" moments.
posted by yoink at 8:57 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


My sisters and I are all second-generation sci-fi nerds, which includes classics such as Star Trek, Red Dwarf, and of course, Doctor Who. Somewhere in a box, my dad still has an autographed photo of Tom Baker, and I always thought it was one of the coolest things my parents owned.

When I was a kid, I would stay up as late as possible on Sundays nights to watch Doctor Who, though I admit to falling asleep about half the time. I remember dressing up in an old hat my mom had along with a striped scarf which I still have to this day, and playing Doctor Who with my little sister.

For the most part, I don't remember having any nightmares after watching Doctor Who, but I had dreams for weeks and still remember vividly The Watcher. Probably had something to do with watching my favorite Doctor up to that point "die" (it was the first reincarnation episode I remember seeing), combined with the freaky ghostly guy watching them throughout that episode. Oddly enough, the Fifth Doctor ended up becoming one of my favorites.
posted by mysterpigg at 8:57 AM on November 23, 2011


Also, I'm only in my early 30s, but I feel like a cranky old man whenever a self-professed Doctor Who Fan doesn't even know who Tom Baker is.
posted by mysterpigg at 9:00 AM on November 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


I would kill for them to make an episode where he indirectly causes the Kennedy assassinations.
posted by Renoroc at 9:00 AM on November 23, 2011


Also, I'm only in my early 30s, but I feel like a cranky old man whenever a self-professed Doctor Who Fan doesn't even know who Tom Baker is.

Oh, don't get me started....
posted by mikelieman at 9:01 AM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


So, better choice for 12th Doctor: Gary Oldman or Idris Elba?
posted by Navelgazer at 9:01 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, better choice for 12th Doctor: Gary Oldman or Idris Elba?

Helen Mirren.
posted by jbickers at 9:02 AM on November 23, 2011 [16 favorites]


The doctor is very obviously getting younger and younger with each regeneration.

Not quite. Troughton - got younger, Pertwee - got older, Baker - got younger, Davison - got younger, Baker - got older, McCoy - same age. It's only from McGann onwards that the Doctor's been getting progressively younger. And until Smith got the keys to the TARDIS, Davison was still the youngest Doctor ever at 29.
posted by permafrost at 9:02 AM on November 23, 2011


So, better choice for 12th Doctor: Gary Oldman or Idris Elba?

Tom Baker. The Return.
posted by grubi at 9:03 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would kill for them to make an episode where he indirectly causes the Kennedy assassinations.

The shocking secret linking a Time Lord and a President
posted by permafrost at 9:06 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


which includes classics such as Star Trek, Red Dwarf, and of course, Doctor Who.

I wonder what a Red Dwarf reboot would look like...

And then I realize I shouldn't be giving anyone any ideas.
posted by quin at 9:06 AM on November 23, 2011


Between Oldman and Elba - Elba. But other options...

Anthony Head
Craig Ferguson
Jennifer Saunders
Sean Pertwee
posted by Billiken at 9:06 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've said it before and I'll say it again: Danny Trejo.
posted by brundlefly at 9:08 AM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Damien Lewis. He's a ginger!
posted by 1970s Antihero at 9:08 AM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Anthony Head tried out for the part once before (he ended up appearing as an alien teacher instead).

Sean Pertwee's said that he'd like to be in the series, but not as the Doctor.
posted by permafrost at 9:09 AM on November 23, 2011


I wonder what a Red Dwarf reboot would look like...

Since every other season of Red Dwarf felt like a reboot, this isn't hard to imagine.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:11 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's time for a black Doctor. Chiwetel Ejiofor for the win.
posted by mightygodking at 9:13 AM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'd love for Ejiofor to be the Doctor. I would do an actual squeeee.
posted by permafrost at 9:15 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Rik Mayall.
posted by Lucinda at 9:15 AM on November 23, 2011


Donald Glover, reusing the Constable Reginald Wigglesworth costume.
posted by drezdn at 9:15 AM on November 23, 2011


Another regen or two (yes I know he's on his 11th but I'm sure that will be written over somehow) and he'll be a teenager solving inter-dimensional crimes.

I think they did that this season, actually.
posted by jeather at 9:17 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mos Def I thought could be a good Doctor, we should get a black regeneration. No Helen Mirren tho, Time Lords maintain gender throughout their regenerations.
posted by MrBobaFett at 9:18 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Chiwetel Ejiofor
posted by grubi at 9:20 AM on November 23, 2011


I wonder what a Red Dwarf reboot would look like...

Like this.
posted by inturnaround at 9:21 AM on November 23, 2011


Chiwetel would be an awesome Doctor, but I fear that won't happen. I, for one, would love to see Bill Nighy do it. Again, I doubt it.
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 9:22 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


MrBobaFett: "Time Lords maintain gender throughout their regenerations."

Myth busted in "The Doctor's Wife".
And apparently the 12 regeneration limit was quietly lifted in "Death of the Doctor" from the Sara Jane Adventures.
posted by charred husk at 9:25 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mos Def I thought could be a good Doctor

Didn't Mos Def (er, Yasiin Bey) already basically do this when he played Ford Prefect in the Hitchhikers' movie? Ford Prefect : The Doctor :: Goofus : Gallant
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:27 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


It would be interesting to regenerate the Doctor as something distinctly non-human-looking. Difficult to pull off for a regular season of Who, but imagine him regenerating at the end of a series, followed by a heavy CGI or all-cartoon Christmas Special, followed by an indeterminate period of Whoniverse time (to allow space for books, radio shows, etc to be written about this Doctor later on), followed by an onscreen regeneration at the start of the next regular series.

(As long as we're not worried about using up the Doctor's regenerations at the moments, for the reasons that jeather alludes to...)
posted by jepler at 9:29 AM on November 23, 2011


I, for one, would love to see Bill Nighy do it.

But Nighy was already the art museum docent in the Vincent van Gogh episode, which would just be weird.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:32 AM on November 23, 2011


For a moment there I thought this post would be about Discworld. I've been watching Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music on Netflix and I'm a huge fan of Prachett's Death character (and Tiffany Aching, and the witches, and The Watch, and so on).

The singular Death and his granddaughter Susan uses to travel the universe is a mighty steed named Binky.
posted by custardfairy at 9:33 AM on November 23, 2011


Mos Def as Ford Prefect was what sold me on him being able to pull off the Doctor.

Also I maintain that Time Lords maintain their gender. First off there is a lot of stuff in the new series that just plain doesn't fit in the world of Doctor Who that we just have to ignore. Second where did we see a Time Lord spontaneously change gender? More importantly why would that happen?
posted by MrBobaFett at 9:34 AM on November 23, 2011


er...singular device that is.
posted by custardfairy at 9:34 AM on November 23, 2011


The Guardian's December 2, 1963 review of the first two episodes (scroll down)
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:39 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also I maintain that Time Lords maintain their gender. First off there is a lot of stuff in the new series that just plain doesn't fit in the world of Doctor Who that we just have to ignore. Second where did we see a Time Lord spontaneously change gender? More importantly why would that happen?

I don't know if there's any precedent for it in the rest of the series, but in "The Doctor's Wife" (aka the Neil Gaiman-written episode) the Doctor makes an offhand remark about the Corsair (another Time Lord) having both male and female regenerations.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:41 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cross-corridor chases are part of Dr. Who from the very first series.

No, long-corridor runs are part of the series from the first serial. Cross-corridor chases (where the camera looks down the corridor and people repeatedly run across the corridor that the camera is looking down) are more of a Scooby Doo trick. That's why the ones in Love and Monsters are different to the usual chase scene.

But Nighy was already the art museum docent in the Vincent van Gogh episode, which would just be weird.

Colin Baker was in a Five serial before he played Six, so there is precedent. Also: Romana II.
posted by immlass at 9:43 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tilda Swinton, dammit!
posted by Shepherd at 9:44 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, SWINTON Doctor! She does androgeny so well we won't have to pick male-or-female. Actually, I think SWINTON might really be an alien in real life.
posted by orrnyereg at 9:47 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Fuck it, I'll do it. I'd love a shot at being the Doctor.
posted by grubi at 9:47 AM on November 23, 2011


And Craig Ferguson as a companion.
posted by orrnyereg at 9:49 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm already bow-tie-ified.
posted by grubi at 9:49 AM on November 23, 2011


When I finally got to watching the First Doctor I spent most of my worrying that he was going to die whenever they made him do particularly energetic like stand up. And that then the BBC would film it because that's how cheap they were.

My favourite thing about the switching of doctors is that you know that if you don't like the current one (in any era) or his companions you can just watching and wait until they replace them all and it'll be like a new show. With the Tardis, which is clearly key to every reincarnation. This strategy has worked well for me with Old and New Who.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:52 AM on November 23, 2011


Amending myself on a reread: that's how the chase scenes in Love and Monsters are different. The why is of course that we're seeing the Doctor from an outsider (non-companion) POV in that scene and filming the chase from a different perspective is a way of emphasizing the outsider view, as opposed to the long-run view that we see when we're seeing things from the POV of the Doctor and/or companions. I still think it's pretty Scooby Doo, though.
posted by immlass at 9:57 AM on November 23, 2011


The BBC's audience research on that first episode.
posted by jbickers at 9:58 AM on November 23, 2011


I've been watching through the series from the beginning -- I'm not very far, only about halfway through the third season (some of the reconstructed episodes get a little dull and difficult to follow).

Cross-corridor chases (where the camera looks down the corridor and people repeatedly run across the corridor that the camera is looking down) are more of a Scooby Doo trick. That's why the ones in Love and Monsters are different to the usual chase scene.

They did do this once in the second season: one of the episodes of the 12 part Daleks' Master Plan serial was an over-the-top wacky Christmas episode which used the cross-corridor chase. It was pretty unexpected, actually; most of the rest of that serial is pretty bleak.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:00 AM on November 23, 2011


Also, in watching the early episodes, Barbara has sharply risen on my list of most bad ass companions, though I'm quite convinced no one's going to unseat Leela from the top of said list.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:03 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who for Doctor? Gary Oldman would be so awesome.

I would not object to Helen Mirren.

Certainly not Helen Mirren in a cool bow tie.
posted by Anything at 10:12 AM on November 23, 2011


Video: Awesome Dr. Who Clip montage, 1963-2010, covering just about every story and clocking in at just under 40 minutes.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:13 AM on November 23, 2011


Ooooh-WHEEEEE-ooooo, indeed.
posted by Harry at 10:14 AM on November 23, 2011


Doctor Who at Children In Need 2011

A nice, short bit.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:16 AM on November 23, 2011


Regenerated as TWINS ................both Stephen Fry.
posted by Freedomboy at 10:17 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Second where did we see a Time Lord spontaneously change gender? More importantly why would that happen?

In The Curse of Fatal Death.

Which I stoutly maintain to be canon.
posted by dhartung at 10:23 AM on November 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Regenerated as TWINS ................both Stephen Fry.
Oh god no. Think of the slash fiction.
posted by metaBugs at 10:24 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


For the uninitiated, the Doctor (fan tip: don't refer to the actual character as "Doctor Who") is a brilliant, eccentric alien who coasts through space and time in his TARDIS, a red police call box that defies the laws of physics.

I DON'T THINK SO.


I have a theory that every newspaper/magazine/television story about any bit of geek culture must contain at least one absolutely atrociously wrong piece of information -- "Captain Kirk and Dr. Spock" / D&D players wearing costumes to play / the 1977 Star Wars was always known as Episode IV -- just so the reporters can maintain their distance and say to the audience, "I don't take this stuff seriously, y'know." Now no one can accuse Diablo Cody of being an obsessive Who fan, or even ever having seen the show.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:30 AM on November 23, 2011


Take a couple minutes to enjoy and see infinity.
posted by piratebowling at 10:33 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, the July 1937 issue of Astounding magazine features a story about a time traveller using a small, unusual-looking time machine (a smallish blue box). You can see it there on the cover.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:40 AM on November 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


The ultimate question posed by the Doctor Who series is not, in fact, "Doctor Who?" I argue that it is in fact, "What are you doing here?"
Previously on Metafilter.
posted by JDC8 at 10:44 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Makes sense to me, ricochet biscuit, the Doctor went back to 1937 and hung out with Eric Frank Russell and Leslie T. Johnson.

The Curse of Fatal Death would have to be future canon, so a season would have to end with Smith regenerating into Blackadder and the next season starting with Patsy regenerating into somebody else. Then redub the miniepisode to remove references to number of regenerations. And while they're at it, they can point out sometime that the Galafrayans used Base 20, so "twelve" actually is 22 in our numbers, which should give the series at least another 20-30 years.

I wonder what a Red Dwarf reboot would look like...
Not needed as long as they can keep bringing back the original cast.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:46 AM on November 23, 2011


Well, it sort of even works in place. The Time War creates something strange, leading to three or more roughly equally likely ninth Doctors: the Shalka Doctor, the Fatal Death Doctor and the 'real' Ninth Doctor. Maybe, with the annihilation of the Time Lords, the Doctor himself becomes unstuck for a while (that while lasting exactly as long as the limbo years between the movie and the 2005 series).

Oh, and by the way, Dimensions in Time is probably the Doctor having a rather insane Land of Fiction adventure.
posted by Harry at 10:52 AM on November 23, 2011


But Nighy was already the art museum docent in the Vincent van Gogh episode, which would just be weird.

Colin Baker was in a Five serial before he played Six, so there is precedent. Also: Romana II.


Yes and it always bugged me that Colin was in that story and then they cast him as the Doctor.

However Romana is a very different case. Romana deliberately copied the body of Princess Astra when she regenerated. She doesn't just coincidentally look exactly like another Time Lord as in Colin Bakers case.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:56 AM on November 23, 2011


The odd thing is, I distinctly remember seeing the first Dr Who episode (I was 7), but I've no recollection at all of seeing news of the Kennedy assassination.
posted by raygirvan at 10:58 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Harry: "Oh, and by the way, Dimensions in Time yt is probably the Doctor having a rather insane Land of Fiction adventure."

I like to think that the world we live in now is one where the Doctor failed to escape in the Mind Robber, so now he only exists in fiction.
posted by charred husk at 11:12 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Guardian's December 2, 1963 review of the first two episodes

Fantastic, no less because it ends like this: 'The space ship, for some unexplained reason, remained looking like a police box in the dusty desert. I hope this will be explained later.'
posted by permafrost at 11:28 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's the 48th anniversary of Doctor Who, and the 47th anniversary of people complaining that it's not as good as it used to be.
posted by John Shaft at 11:39 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's the 48th anniversary of Doctor Who, and the 47th anniversary of people complaining that it's not as good as it used to be.

Based on the Guardian article, which starts out "A chance to see the first episode of the BBC's 'Doctor Who' over again on Saturday before the second, turned out to accentuate that the space and time serial has fallen off badly soon after getting under way", it's actually going to be the 48th anniversary of people complaining in a week.
posted by jeather at 11:50 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


are you telling us this now so we have two years to put our costume together?
posted by sexyrobot at 11:52 AM on November 23, 2011


Also I maintain that Time Lords maintain their gender. First off there is a lot of stuff in the new series that just plain doesn't fit in the world of Doctor Who that we just have to ignore. Second where did we see a Time Lord spontaneously change gender? More importantly why would that happen?

Most fans accept that there is a good chance that the BBC, through its writers, will come up with some hand waving as to why the Doctor is going to make it past the magic number of regenerations. It astonishes me why they think that this is not equally possible, but also equally valid, that they would or could do this to change the Doctor's gender.
posted by biffa at 11:55 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most fans accept that there is a good chance that the BBC, through its writers, will come up with some hand waving as to why the Doctor is going to make it past the magic number of regenerations. It astonishes me why they think that this is not equally possible, but also equally valid, that they would or could do this to change the Doctor's gender.

Yes, a lot of fans also accept Paul McGann as a Doctor. That doesn't make his casting any more valid. He gets 13 regenerations unless he starts stealing lives like the Master. His gender does not spontaneously change and there is no way in hell he is half human.

Just because some of these writers get their fan fic published by the BBC (I'm looking at you RTD) doesn't make them good or valid additions to the Doctor Who universe.
posted by MrBobaFett at 12:02 PM on November 23, 2011


When the series moved to colour, with Jon Pertwee, trapped on earth, with his dinky car, those were the glory days!

er, I mean, who's Jon Pertwee? I am a young and hip young'un, and I don't know these things. Honest.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:08 PM on November 23, 2011


Ah, I like to think Doctor Who is one of those rare shows (maybe the only show) that completely rethink itself, as long as there's a blue police box and someone called the Doctor having adventures. So, yes, the Eighth Doctor, for whatever reason, was half-human on that day. It's entirely ridiculous, it doesn't make any sense whatsoever, but that has never stopped anything from happening in Doctor Who.

(Oh, and by the way, Neil Gaiman (who should absolutely positively be the next showrunner after Moffat) was the first to add a gender-changing Time Lord to the 'canon' with The Corsair)
posted by Harry at 12:15 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


MrBobaFett: "Yes, a lot of fans also accept Paul McGann as a Doctor. That doesn't make his casting any more valid. He gets 13 regenerations unless he starts stealing lives like the Master. His gender does not spontaneously change and there is no way in hell he is half human."

I'm guessing you would not have been down with the Cartmel Masterplan.
posted by charred husk at 12:16 PM on November 23, 2011


Yes, a lot of fans also accept Paul McGann as a Doctor.

Sorry. It's canon. See: The end of "The Eleventh Hour."
posted by Navelgazer at 12:28 PM on November 23, 2011


It's about as canon as Boba Fett's father being Jango Fett. (Hint: He's not)
posted by MrBobaFett at 12:32 PM on November 23, 2011


MrBobaFett: "It's about as canon as Boba Fett's father being Jango Fett. (Hint: He's not"

Next thing you'll tell me is that the immortals from Highlander aren't aliens from the planet Zeist.
posted by charred husk at 12:38 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most fans accept that there is a good chance that the BBC, through its writers, will come up with some hand waving as to why the Doctor is going to make it past the magic number of regenerations. It astonishes me why they think that this is not equally possible, but also equally valid, that they would or could do this to change the Doctor's gender.

A woman becoming a Doctor? Why, that's madness! Next you'll be suggesting that they wear trousers!

Or a fez!
posted by yoink at 1:49 PM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I could start a thread for this, but, heck, I don't like the show that much, so I'll bury it here:

I wonder what a Red Dwarf reboot would look like...

It's coming back, with the original cast. Last I heard, they were asking for peeps to come down to be in the audience.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:03 PM on November 23, 2011


The 2011 Christmas Special trailer.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:50 PM on November 23, 2011


I have never ever watched an episode of Doctor Who before, nor do I have any interest to. (Wading into a huge series and fandom is not my thing, which is also why I'm not into Stargate or the works of Joss Whedon.) But if they made an Inspector Spacetime series as a tongue-in-cheek American parody/homage starring Danny Pudi and Donald Glover, I would be all for that.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:52 PM on November 23, 2011


So, better choice for 12th Doctor: Gary Oldman or Idris Elba?

Tom Baker. The Return.


I CAN'T FAVORITE THIS HARD ENOUGHHHHHH!!!!!
posted by vibrotronica at 3:06 PM on November 23, 2011


It's about as canon as Boba Fett's father being Jango Fett. (Hint: He's not)

Correct. Wikipedia: His "son", Boba Fett, is, in reality, an unaltered clone which he requested in his contract with the Kaminoan cloners, whom he regards as a son.
posted by Gary at 4:40 PM on November 23, 2011


12 part Daleks' Master Plan serial

Aha, that's in the queue. I'm working my way through everything I haven't seen yet but it does take some time.

Romana deliberately copied the body of Princess Astra when she regenerated. She doesn't just coincidentally look exactly like another Time Lord as in Colin Bakers case.

I always thought Romana's decision was creepy, personally. I haven't seen Arc of Infinity since it originally aired, but the idea of Six having regeneration issues that manifested in him looking like Maxil doesn't strike me as much weirder than other things that happened in the series.

But in any case recycling actors in Who is a long tradition going back much further than the 80s. Check the info texts on your classic DVDs and you'll get an idea. It's also happened in the new series; Karen Gillan was one of the seeresses in the Ten/Donna episode in S4. So recycling Nighy after a cameo would be perfectly normal even if some people found it weird.
posted by immlass at 4:40 PM on November 23, 2011


I thought we already sorted this. SWINTON is the 12th Doctor and there WAS no episode called Love and Monsters.
posted by Space Kitty at 4:44 PM on November 23, 2011


All speculation aside, I hope they go for a relative unknown again for the next Doctor.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:27 PM on November 23, 2011


Additionally, pretty ballsy to begin a risky new program on Thespis Day.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:08 PM on November 23, 2011


Gary, put simply. Jango Fett isn't Boba's father since Fett isn't his family name. His real name was Jaster Mereel who was exiled from Concord Dawn after he killed a fellow Journeyman Protector. So, yeah...

I know actors have often been recycled and I usually hate it. A recent instance was actors from Eureka playing different characters than their Eureka rolls in Warehouse 13. Which is lame because Warehouse 13 and Eureka are in the same universe.

While Romana's choice may have been creepy, it was explained and consistent within the story. For me once an actor plays a role in a universe (TV series) they are that role. They can play a different role in another universe, but not in that one. Unless its a role that involves complex costuming and prosthetics...
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:53 PM on November 23, 2011


Doctor Who: Nights. Four mini-episodes written by Moffat for the Blu-Ray release of series 6.
posted by painquale at 10:01 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the good things about living in the US in early WHO times was living near enough the border (with our slightly saner neighbors) to be able to watch the show on CBC.

Most of that 100 or so mile strip is strictly rural, and watching WHO from the imagination-challenged boonies greatly magnified the other-worldliness of the (wonderful) experience. Pure escapism at its funnest best.
posted by Twang at 12:48 AM on November 24, 2011


You're one of those people who thinks it's cute to pretend there weren't any Matrix sequels, aren't you.
posted by Zozo at 9:55 AM on November 24, 2011


Jango Fett isn't Boba's father since Fett isn't his family name. His real name was Jaster Mereel who was exiled from Concord Dawn after he killed a fellow Journeyman Protector. So, yeah...

It's ok, the whole "what is canon" question is a dark hole I try not to fall into. I don't want to worry about if the prequels actually exist in an imaginary universe. I'd rather worry about how to never again spend actual time and money on terrible movies like those in the real universe.
posted by Gary at 2:38 PM on November 24, 2011


Zozo I seem to recall there were 2 sequels to The Matrix, they may not have been as good as the first but whatever. It's not like the sequels were made 20 years later by an entirely different artistic team.
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:42 PM on November 24, 2011


Why shouldn't his gender be able to change, when every aspect of his physical body is changing? When he turned into Jon Pertwee he got a tattoo.

There are four things I don't like about the Romana II regeneration scene: 1) I don't like Lalla Ward because she is a limited actress and I don't like it when people other than me marry Tom Baker and 2) since when can Timelords pick their bodies? And 3) She didn't die! Why is she using up regenerations? And 4) Before she goes with the princess body from the previous season, she turns into some monster-looking thing. Like, as a joke. What the hell, Romana, do you have a death wish or something? Isn't this like maybe taking out one of your kidneys and tossing it out the window on purpose?

In conclusion, Sarah Jane is the best.
posted by Adventurer at 8:04 PM on November 24, 2011


The Doctor, Donna and Captain Jack in "The Ballad of Russell and Julie"
posted by the_artificer at 1:47 AM on November 25, 2011


Adventurer I've always thought that most Time Lords most of the time have controlled regenerations. When their current body is nearing the end of it's life they choose to regenerate and choose their new body. Of course an automatic regeneration is triggered if the body suffers major damage and is going to otherwise fail. These emergency regenerations they don't have any control over, it just runs on default settings.

Why should his gender arbitrarily change? He remains the same person, the same brain between regenerations. Why would a Time Lord who identifies as male want his gender to be able to randomly change?

Remember that regeneration is not an evolutionary trait, it was an engineered trait. If gender change was possible I would assume they would put that in the control of the user, and in the case of a crisis regeneration the default would be to maintain gender.

As for the tattoo, did the Doctor have a tattoo or was that just Pertwee's tattoo? I don't remember them commenting on it. Characters don't always have the same traits as the actors playing them. For example Time Lords don't speak English or have British accents, they are just portrayed by British actors and sub-titles would be annoying.
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:06 AM on November 25, 2011


For example Time Lords don't speak English or have British accents, they are just portrayed by British actors and sub-titles would be annoying.

I don't think this is true. Rose commented on the ninth Doctor's accent, and I think other in-universe characters have as well.
posted by painquale at 11:23 AM on November 25, 2011


The Doctor may very well speak English, and have affected an English accent since he is in England. But it could also be an aspect of the TARDIS's translator.
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:57 PM on November 25, 2011


The Whoniverse has consistency about many things, but expecting the whole system to have airtight inner logic just plain isn't going to work. Why did the Ninth Doctor have a Northern accent? He just does. He laughs at Rose's attempt to find a reasonable explanation. There's a lesson here.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:21 PM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


The "ninth" Doctor is Nu Who. Which I put in the same category as the novels, audio dramas and fan fic. Some of it is good, some is bad. Enjoy the parts you like.
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:31 PM on November 25, 2011


...right, but my point was that the internal logic of the Whoniverse is always going to break down at some point. To pick a non-NuWho example, why did the Seventh Doctor have a slight Scottish accent, in contrast to his earlier generations? He just does. There's no point trying to find a more "logical" answer to that question, or to similar questions.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:53 PM on November 25, 2011


Simply, because he was played by a Scotish actor. The explanation doesn't need to be any more involved than that.
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:41 AM on November 26, 2011


The "ninth" Doctor is Nu Who. Which I put in the same category as the novels, audio dramas and fan fic. Some of it is good, some is bad. Enjoy the parts you like.

This is the sensible Who fan's attitude toward all Who, nu and classic. Enjoy what you like, ignore what you don't like, and don't expect the show as produced to conform to your headcanon or you'll be disappointed. Also, don't expect other fans to agree with your headcanon, because they won't, and then you'll get into silly arguments on Metafilter.

In conclusion, Sarah Jane is the best.

*except for the actual point worth arguing about, she said, because Sarah Jane is the best. I'm rationing the last of the SJA because I'm so sad there won't be any more.
posted by immlass at 7:46 AM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is the sensible Who fan's attitude toward all Who, nu and classic. Enjoy what you like, ignore what you don't like, and don't expect the show as produced to conform to your headcanon or you'll be disappointed. Also, don't expect other fans to agree with your headcanon, because they won't, and then you'll get into silly arguments on Metafilter.

Hear hear. Cordoning off Classic Who and NuWho doesn't mean much of anything anyhow. Some of Classic Who is far, far worse than anything NuWho ever did, and vice versa. The same goes for any of the other DW media.

On the subject of Who and the logic of language in the show: I liked how in "Fires of Pompeii", when Donna tried to speak Latin to the Romans, the Romans scrunched up their faces and said they didn't speak Celtic.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:08 AM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


On the subject of the Eighth Doctor, I present to you this strange passage from the Tardis Index File entry on the choice of Paul McGann:

Both Fox and Univeral Studios wanted a huge name to play The Eighth Doctor in the movie, to ensure a huge ratings success. The studios three top choices were Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford and Jim Carrey, all three of whom turned it down. Hanks, who is a fan of the classic series, turned down the role as he felt an American playing the role would not do the show's legacy any justice. Ford turned down the role as he didn't want to work in television. Carrey, who has never seen a single episode of Doctor Who, turned down the role as he felt it would cause outrage amongst Doctor Who fans if the role was played by someone who wasn't a fan of the classic series. Christopher Eccleston, who would later play the Ninth Doctor in Doctor Who, was offered the role of the Eighth Doctor but declined. Michael Crawford, Tim Curry, Eric Idle, Billy Connolly, Trevor Eve, Michael Palin, Robert Lindsay and Jonathan Pryce were all considered for the role of the Eighth Doctor. Palin was a strong frontrunner, but he didn't feel that he could do the role justice. Steve Martin, a fan of the series, badly wanted the part. Lindsay actually auditioned for the role, together withEddie Murphy, Anthony Head, Tim McInnerny, Tony Slattery, Liam Cunningham, Nathaniel Parker and Mark McGann (Paul's brother).

Tom Hanks being an American star takes him out of the running completely, but that aside, he actually could have been a great Doctor. I can actually see that one playing pretty well in my head. It's just as well, considering how bad the TV movie turned out to be, that he didn't go for it.

Jim Carrey and Harrison Ford, on the other hand(s), would have both been godawful, even setting aside their non-Britishness.

Steve Martin would have been a bit better, but once again, he's not British, and besides, he never really disappears into a role. He could be a terrific villain, however - shades of The Spanish Prisoner and his turn on 30 Rock.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:25 AM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've always thought that most Time Lords most of the time have controlled regenerations. When their current body is nearing the end of it's life they choose to regenerate and choose their new body.

I can see this, but the Mary Tamm body looked pretty young, so it seemed an awfully silly way out of a writing problem. My introduction to the show was to watch the whole Tom Baker run in order, a few episodes a week, and since I knew that Mary Tamm was going to turn into Lalla Ward I assumed that she would do so for some dramatic reason during the season finale, the last episode Mary Tamm was actually in, but with some kind of interesting twist, given that Ward was playing a different character in that episode. When she didn't regenerate, I was deeply puzzled. Then in the next episode suddenly Romana's all "I'm Lalla Ward now because it seems fun or whatever" and I was just ????.

Why should his gender arbitrarily change? He remains the same person, the same brain between regenerations. Why would a Time Lord who identifies as male want his gender to be able to randomly change?

I think this is just an unbridgeable philosophical difference: I don't think gender is that fundamental to identity, not at the very basic level at which "the Doctor" exists as an indivisible unit. I might not feel this way if the character weren't capable of undergoing such vast changes from one regeneration to the next. There are certain commonalities between, say, Pertwee, the first Baker, and Peter Davison, but to me, if you were to say "which one of these bodies has the same soul or whatever in it that the Tom Baker body had," a Jennifer Saunders Doctor would seem more likely to me than the Davison Doctor did. I wonder if this might have something to do with being a woman and therefore identifying with heroic characters of another gender as a matter of course, because that's how most of them are written.

As for the tattoo, did the Doctor have a tattoo or was that just Pertwee's tattoo? I don't remember them commenting on it. Characters don't always have the same traits as the actors playing them. For example Time Lords don't speak English or have British accents, they are just portrayed by British actors and sub-titles would be annoying.

They could have covered it up with makeup, but they didn't, so it's the Doctor's, as much as his white hair is. The translation situation is explained in a very silly way in "The Masque of Mandragora" -- in that episode, at least, if not in others, it's a "Timelord gift." Some sort of mental projection deal. Since he ended up in the UK working with Unit, makes sense he'd go with the default English accent. Maybe his non-English companions hear him in another accent.
posted by Adventurer at 10:33 PM on November 26, 2011


I think a woman Doctor would be very interesting. And bring back Jenny for a companion. Imagine the storylines that can grow from a Mother/Daughter relationship in the TARDIS.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 7:27 PM on December 2, 2011


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