Only a year to go til Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary. That just doesn’t seems possible – as it never seemed possible that Jon Pertwee, Nick Courtney or Lis Sladen would no longer be with us – or our favourite Doctors would grow old. Or that our series would ever return to the television.
Sorry to start off on a rather maudlin note, but it becomes increasingly hard not to measure the passage of time by certain personal landmarks in this way after a while. I still remember the run-up to the 20th anniversary – the Five Doctors and the Andrew Skilleter Radio Times cover and the Radio Times special that my Dad bought.
I don’t really remember the 25th – I ducked in and out of Doctor Who over the Sixth and Seventh Doctor eras. I never took to poor Colin at the time but came back for Sylv’s first series. I remember being utterly non-plussed by whichever story I first saw of his, but was utterly disgusted when Delta and the Bannermen was trailed with a picture of Sylvester and Ken Dodd gurning violently – and took the next two years off.
I also remember reading of The Dark Dimension (scripts floating around on the internet show it to be absolutely dreadful) in Doctor Who Magazines and TV Zones, DWBs and Starbursts while standing at the magazine shelves in WH Smiths – and reading about its cancellation. Other 15-year-olds furtively bought pornography; I furtively bought sci-fi mags (though I later went on to furtively buy pornography and sci-fi mags).
35. Did anything happen? Not that I can remember. 40. Ah, the new series announcement. Was it really the best part of ten years ago? I had a different job; lived in a different house, with a different girl. How time flies. I was so excited I texted my brother when I was driving home from work (I know, I know) and then listened, annoyed, to some piss-taking announcement on BBC Radio 1.
If anything specific happened at 45 I don’t remember it. And now 50. 50 fucking years. I literally can’t believe it. But its coming does excite me. The fanboy feeling that – even though it’s elusive and fleeting – reminds me why I love Doctor Who, even now.
I haven’t been excited by a TV show’s anniversary for 20 years. But the prospect of what The Grand Moff promises will be every fanwanky dream come true is mouth-watering indeed. I don’t dare to voice my hopes for an anniversary story that I hope throws sense and good taste out of the window. And I thoroughly expect all the trimmings too. A Multi-Doctor Big Finish story; DWM getting in the big guns for a round of joint interviews; special BBC1 trails throughout the year; a nice Radio Times cover story; a massive contention (not that I’d go, of course). The works.
In what is like the first batch of Christmas adverts you see on the TV (or advent hymns if you’re more traditional) the 50th anniversary has been teased with this wonderful trailer from Babelfish; genius amateur editor and a man who has gone well beyond the call of duty in producing delicious morsels on Doctor Who video fun. It;s his tribute to the show and a visual nod to every TV story, spin-off and continuity thing. A phenomenal effort – and one that stirs the same part of me that awaited The Five Doctors, over 30 years ago.