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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 26 October 2016 at 11:12am | IP Logged | 1  

The BBC celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of DR WHO in 2013, but is there another important anniversary coming up? In a sense, yes.

We're almost near the 29th October. What happened on that date? Well, on the 29th October 1966, the Second Doctor first appeared, played by Patrick Troughton. I wasn't alive at the time, but my mother, who watched the show from the beginning, talked about how surprising it was when the First Doctor regenerated.

I wonder, how big a shock was that for people watching at the time? How jarring was it? 

Here in 2016, regenerations are routine. We've seen them. If you started following the new DR WHO in 2005, you'll already have seen three regenerations. We are not surprised by them nowadays. They are routine.

In 1966, they would not have been routine. Obviously because it was the first time it happened. I wonder if anyone stopped watching the show back then because of the regeneration. If Twitter of Facebook had existed in 1966, how many would have vented about it? And if social media had been around back then, would not the regeneration have been advertised well in advance of that episode? 

It must have been really nice to have been alive on October 29th, 1966, and seeing something that would have been a hell of a surprise.


Edited by Robbie Parry on 26 October 2016 at 11:13am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 October 2016 at 12:19pm | IP Logged | 2  

I wasn't alive at the time...

I'll dance on yer grave, punk!!!

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 26 October 2016 at 12:38pm | IP Logged | 3  

:D 

Anything's possible!
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Phil Frances
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Posted: 26 October 2016 at 2:54pm | IP Logged | 4  

I was born 2nd March 1966, so I do (just) qualify for being alive at least - although clearly not old enough to watch any TV and remember it .....

I've subscribed to the Complete History of Doctor Who over here in the UK - a fortnightly hardback which features several stories each time, covering each from pre-production through to broadcast ; I've just finished the volume that included The Tenth Planet.

It will likely be old history to some, but the background to the First Doctor's 'renewal' was not only influenced by Hartnell's increasing ill-health, irascibility and his belief that the show was featuring increasing levels of 'evil' for what he felt was children's entertainment, but also that the programme had been losing viewers during the previous year, and the new head of Drama at the BBC had felt a change of lead actor might create a more successful format.

Hartnell apparently made his decision in July '66 to leave the show, which was reported in the press in early August that year ( with a thought that the BBC would cast someone who would be made up to look as much like the original as possible ). It's said he approved of Troughton's selection as his successor, which was announced on 1st September and reported in the following day's newspapers - just short of two months before the 'renewal' scene was broadcast.

So - no great fanfare, no fervent fan speculation, no live TV announcement, no odds at the bookies - much different than today.

My own first experience of regeneration ( as it became ) was Jon Pertwee becoming Tom Baker, around the age of 8 ; I just couldn't believe that the Doctor would be changing into someone different -- why would 'they' do that ? - and then my Dad told me it had happened twice before already ( no re-runs, VHS or internet back then, so I had no idea there were previous Doctors ! ). I think early publicity shots eased the way - the new guy also had curly hair, so perhaps he might not be so bad ....

Trivia - having originally been high-altitude pressure suits used by the RAF in the 1960's, the spacesuits worn by the Zeus rocket crew in The Tenth Planet were also used for Bossk's costume in The Empire Strikes Back - though not necessarily literally the very same outfits ....
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 26 October 2016 at 3:12pm | IP Logged | 5  

So - no great fanfare, no fervent fan speculation, no live TV announcement, no odds at the bookies - much different than today.

***

Indeed.

+++

no re-runs, VHS or internet back then, so I had no idea there were previous Doctors

***

Different times, eh?

How things have changed! My only knowledge of the Hartnell/Troughton eras (when I grew up in the 80s) were articles and photos in DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE. And then VHS came. I didn't actually get to see the pilot episode of the show until around 1993/94. VHS, of course.

Nowadays, kids can watch DVDs of almost any serial from the history of the series. In the mid-80s, I had to be content with photos and an article in a magazine. ;-)
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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 October 2016 at 3:31pm | IP Logged | 6  

I was "alive at the time" of the first regenertion, tho I did not actually see it. Instead, I was introduced to the Hartnell Doctor in 1964, when it debuted on Canadian TV. About a year later, when my family went back to England on vacation, I found the shops full of Dalek toys and a different actor playing "Doctor Who." Since I saw only a few minutes of one episode I had no real chance to find out what was going on.

Cut ahead about ten years, to find me in London, Ontario, where one Saturday afternoon I was channel surfing and found the Jon Pertwee Doctor. It was "The Day of the Daleks," which included the revealing line "The Doctor has changed his appearance before." I still didn't know what was going on, but at least I knew it was more than BBC recasting.

(When I was a lad in England Maid Marion had been recast on the old Richard Green ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, and the Beeb had taken care to make the transition as easy as possible for us young 'uns.)

It would be about five years later, in reruns on Chicago TV, that I would see my first actual regeneration, when Pertwee turned into Tom Baker.

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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 26 October 2016 at 3:45pm | IP Logged | 7  

I knew about the regenerations. I didn't actually witness one until 9 became 10.  When a small discovered Doctor Who via some pbs channel. Tom Baker was my first Doctor.  I didn't see the show regularly so I had no idea that Jon Pertwee was before Tom Baker. Having seen Pertwee after Baker I assumed he replaced him. I didn't know what was going on and didn't like the change. Once I knew what was going on. I liked the solution of having to replace actors. 
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Phil Frances
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Posted: 26 October 2016 at 6:34pm | IP Logged | 8  

In the mid-80s, I had to be content with photos and an article in a magazine. ;-)

***

Similarly, Robbie, I picked up a lot of older Who from the early Target paperbacks and also the 'Doctor Who Monster Book' from the same publishers ( where all the illustrations and photos were in black & white, I'll add .. )

I didn't get to see the first serial until around 2004, when I eventually bought it in a DVD boxset while on a family holiday ( ah, those crazy Skegness nights ... ) - this would have been a little after the 40th anniversary, when the targeted DVD release of various major stories by the BBC ( and the announcement of the return of the series ) reawakened my interest.

While I still own the Monster Book, l miss those carefree childhood days eagerly poring over it .... :-)


Edited by Phil Frances on 26 October 2016 at 6:36pm
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 28 October 2016 at 10:29pm | IP Logged | 9  

My first experience with the Doctor was at age 8,  in early 1982, when. after seeing some ads in the San Francisco/San Jose edition of TV GUIDE, I decided to tune in to the local PBS station to catch an episode. I knew virtually nothing going in, just that "Doctor Who" (as I assumed he was called) had crazy-looking curly hair, a big nose, and an even bigger grin. 

Episode descriptions had story titles like "Robot" and "Ark in Space"(giant robots and big bugs? OK, I'm in!') The first episode I actually watched was part 2 of 'The Sontaran Experiment'(which means I didn't get to see the TARDIS for a few episodes, leaving me curious about that 'big blue box' in the opening credits!) 
I don't honestly remember if I knew what was going on in that episode...or if it really mattered I didn't know. I was hooked, and picked up a lot of stuff as I went along. It also helped that, even though the station had aired 'Robot' just before I started watching, they repeated it in 'movie format' on a Saturday night, so that was a good way to be properly introduced to Tom Baker's Doctor. Of course, at that point, I still had no clue there had been 'other Doctors'...and the fact that 'Robot' opened with that quick clip of the Pertwee/Baker regeneration just had me wondering 'what made him 'old' in the first place?' But, everybody else seemed to know the Doctor would be OK, so I rolled with it.

There are really very few references to anything from 'previous Doctors' in most Tom Baker's stories(unlike every Doctor since!), so his episodes are pretty easy to just get caught up in the story without the labryrinthine continuity references of JNT and later producers.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 29 October 2016 at 2:12pm | IP Logged | 10  

I watched The Tenth Planet today and it was wonderful to lose myself in a good old fashioned Science Fiction story that didn't involve the Doctor dancing around the set making funny comments and waving his magic, sorry, sonic screwdriver around to solve the problem. The companions too, properly involved with the story rather than acting as a snarky Greek chorus, were a breath of fresh air. Sometimes I wonder if 21st century Doctor Who has been deconstructed to the point that the pieces will never go back together.
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Jozef Brandt
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Posted: 29 October 2016 at 9:45pm | IP Logged | 11  


Not so forgotten, the official Dr. Who Facebook page posted about it. :D
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Jack Bohn
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Posted: 29 October 2016 at 10:20pm | IP Logged | 12  

BBC America is showing the animated reconstruction of "Power of the Daleks" November 19thj; do they make Belated Anniversary cards?
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