50 years of

Doctor Who

There have been 798 episodes, the show is broadcast in more than 50 countries worldwide and we are about to greet the 12th incarnation of the Doctor and fans around the globe are preparing for the much-anticipated 50th anniversary special. Here we look back at 50 years of Doctor Who.

doctor who

The sci-fi shows of the 1950s had children peeping through their fingers, with Quatermass on the BBC and Pathfinders in Space on the other side both captivating audiences.

From these humble beginnings came what is largely considered to be Britain’s finest TV shows, Doctor Who.

The idea came about in 1962 when the BBC’s head of drama, Canadian Sydney Newman, who had been responsible for bringing us Pathfinders in Space, needed a Saturday-night teatime show the family could watch together.

The winning idea featured a mysterious time-traveller known only as The Doctor, his somewhat-unusual granddaughter Susan and two of her teachers: Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. William Hartnell, 55, took the lead role.

The Doctor – an alien known as a Time Lord – whisked them all away to the Stone Age, where they were caught up in a power struggle within a tribe.

One episode in the four-part series drew a staggering 6.9million viewers.

The unforgettable theme tune was composed by Ron Grainer (also responsible for Steptoe and Son and The Prisoner) and created by Delia Derbyshire and Dick Mills at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

From that very first episode it was clear Doctor Who would was going to be a hit. Cue 50 years of inter-galactic adventures featuring aliens such as Cybermen and Sontarans.

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'The Daleks were seriously scary! Wed never seen anything like it at that time. There was no arguing, no reasoning, was there, with a Dalek? You were exterminated  boom  and thats got into the language,' says
Shirley Bignell.

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Doctor Who crash landed into the library of Northgate High School

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David Tennant

Dr Who at 50: Millions tune in to see Doctor Who special as readers vote for David Tennant as most popular doctor

More than 10million viewers tuned in to see the Dr Who anniversary special broadcast on BBC 1 on Saturday, while thousands packed into cinemas to see the show on the big screen.

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Doctor Who timeline

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