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Monday, 18 November 2013

Fifty Years in Time and Space 13 - Anniversary Celebrations

The BBC are making a big fuss of this year's anniversary celebrations of Doctor Who but this wasn't always the case - the first anniversary the BBC celebrated was the tenth and that was way back in 1973. The fact that the show had now been running for ten years was noticed by the BBC and this season saw a special story in which the three actors who had played the Doctor would share a single adventure. The Three Doctors aired a few weeks after the official anniversary and received the show's highest ratings in years. This year also saw the Radio Times publish a 68 page anniversary special issue.

Fast forward to 1983 and the show's 20th anniversary was to be a big one - the show started its 20th season with each story featuring elements from the show's past. But it was in November itself that the big event took place and that was a special story called The Five Doctors which would put all of the Doctors on screen together - well all except for Tom Baker who refused to appear. Even the first Doctor appeared even if William Hartnell was not available on account of being dead. Actor Richard Hurndall took over the role of the first Doctor and was very effective.  The celebrations didn't stop there though and the show was featured  on several BBC news programs.

In 1993 when the show turned 30 it was a low key affair - by now the show had been cancelled and it had been more than a year since the last Doctor Who story appeared onscreen. However the show refused to lie down and the BBC found themselves reluctantly celebrating the anniversary with a string of special events and programs. There were repeats of old episodes on BBC2  which included a new colourised version of the Pertwee era classic, The Deamons. There was also a lavish BBC documentary called Thirty Years in the TARDIS.

 Most exciting was the announcement by the BBC that Doctor Who would return in a multi Doctor story called the Dark Dimensions - problem was the plans for this reboot came to nothing and were cancelled in early script stage. However we did get some new Who when a mini episode made for the BBC's Children in Need saw multiple Doctors turn up on the Eastenders set.

And now for twenty years later Doctor Who is no longer a cult show but one of the biggest shows on the planet and it looks like the 50th anniversary will be one to top all others.

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