In November, the British television series Doctor Who will be having a special to commemorate its 50 years of existence. It should be noted that the show has not continuously aired new episodes for half a century. What is considered the “classic” Doctor Who ran from 1963 to 1989, then there was a TV movie in 1996, and in 2005, the series returned and starred Christopher Eccleston in the title role.
About the Show
The Doctor looks human but he is an alien known as a Time Lord. He travels through space and time in his ship, called the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), usually getting into trouble, fighting enemies, and saving lives. He will usually have at least one human, called his “assistant” or “companion,” accompany him on his adventures.
One way Doctor Who has maintained its longevity (no pun intended) is by giving the Doctor the ability to “regenerate,” which causes his physical body to transform and allow him to heal from otherwise fatal wounds. This allows a different actor to take over the role within the series.
Currently playing the part is Matt Smith, who will leave the role after this year. As the eleventh actor to be cast, he is also the Eleventh Doctor. Fans on the Internet may refer to each incarnation of the Doctor by their numbered order of appearance on the show, such as the Fourth Doctor (played by Tom Baker), Nine (Eccleston), 10 (played by David Tennant), or 11 (Smith).
Want to Know More?
Try these books to learn more about the show’s universe and characters:
- Doctor Who: Character Encyclopedia
- Doctor Who FAQ: All That’s Left to Know about the Most Famous Time Lord in the Universe
Travel with the Doctor
Join the Doctor on his adventures through time and space by experiencing Doctor Who in books, on CDs, and/or DVDs from your library.
- Doctor Who: Ominbus 1 - A graphic novel of stories about the Doctor
- Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice - This adventure with the Second Doctor and his companions Jamie and Zoe was published this year.
- Doctor Who: The Caves of Androzani - An audiobook of one of the Doctor’s adventures
- Doctor Who: Original Television Soundtrack: Series 4 - Music from the fourth season of the show performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales
“Classic” Series DVDs
- Doctor Who: The Armageddon Factor - This DVD has Tom Baker playing the Fourth Doctor.
- Doctor Who: The Five Doctors - A 20th anniversary special showcasing the first five Doctors
- Doctor Who: The Mind Robber - The material on this DVD was first broadcast in 1968 and features Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor.
“New” Series DVDs
- Doctor Who: The Complete First Series - The 2005 reincarnation of the show with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as his human companion, Rose Tyler.
- Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series - Scotsman David Tennant takes over as the Doctor in this season and speaks with an English accent for the role.
- Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series - Matt Smith stars as the latest (and youngest) Doctor in the show’s history and meets his companion, Amy Pond.
Jessica Chung is a MLIS student and an intern for San Mateo County Library. She loves that David Tennant achieved his dream of playing the Doctor.