Doctor Who

The SFX 2002 Poll proclaims the good Doctor as the best science fiction character of all time! But who's it all about? Find out here!

Never underestimate the power of block voting -- NH, exiting left, rapidly That's what they said about the BBC award it got moons ago, and it wasn't true. Plus, the competition was hardly the best - Napoleon Solo and Colonel O'Neill from SG-1 haven't entered the public consciousness to anything like the same degree... --TL

In the words of the magazine's editor:

It just goes to prove that there is a certain magic to the character...

A Police Box, a madman with a huge scarf - incorrectly tied, apparently(!), a load of dustbins with sink plungers saying in stilted voices 'EX-TER-MIN-ATE'? - the DALE Ks, as I'm sure you all know.

Oh, it's so much more than that.

Go see:

See above. Cute, eh?

If you want a plot synopsis... well, where have you been for the last thirty-nine years? Anyway, a runaway dissident from the planet Gallifrey, known only as the 'Doctor', a member of a race of highly advanced telepathic long-lived humanoids who have founded an order of Time Lords, having stolen (a rather out-of-date and unreliable example of) one of their space/time travel machines, a TARDIS, arrives on Earth and, through the more or less constant interruption of various humans and others, his own curiosity and sense of justice, travels through the boundless seas of space and time.

26 years on television, one TV movie revival, numerous 'specials' (some admittedly not so 'special), and an ongoing series in books and CDs. And DVDs! And DWM comic strips! Come on, there's a whole universe to explore!

Doctor Who is one of the better examples of Sci Fi, and occasionally manages to be rather good SF as well, mainly because, like Far Scape, it couldn't really care less about conforming to the 'rules' of its genre. It is actually, and heartily ironically for those little OUSFG kniggets who can't bear the mention of it, one of the things beneath the OUSFG umbrella which actually supports the term 'Speculative Fiction' better than it supports the term 'Science Fiction', because 'Science' really has very little to do with it.

This, in my view, is a good thing. What it means is that the emphasis is heavily on the 'Fiction'. Doctor Who is about telling stories. Sometimes comedy, sometimes tragedy, sometimes space opera, sometimes allegory or even historical drama. Science plays a part, it is the 'new' magic after all, and getting around from the 21st Century to the 18th without advanced science and technology would be a trifle tricky. You couldn't do it on the Oxford buses. However, unlike a number of 'Hard SF' books I've read, it rarely to never stops in mid-narrative flow, holds a hand out and says "Forget the story, I want to tell you how to achieve escape velocity in a bucket." Science is explained and gone into only when it is useful or necessary to the plot. The plot is not a device for wandering through the science. Give it a try! - WJR

Indeed: for the possibilities are endless, and that's the genius of a good genre or sub-genre. Bring it back! --TL

The Doctor has been played by many different actors on stage and screen over the years, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous (Hello, Mr Broadbent!). However, the eight 'official' Doctors (to wit, those who appeared in licensed BBC productions intended as "Doctor Who") are:

William Hartnell | Patrick Troughton | Jon Pertwee | Tom Baker | Peter Davison | Colin Baker | Sylvester Mc Coy | Paul Mc Gann

"Any magic sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from technology." The Doctor, 'Battlefield'
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning. where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on Ace, we've got work to do." The Doctor, 'Survival'








Comical Ali says 'There is no dalek invasion of Earth' ...

Everything's okay!

I like! But I like more...

...that is, if it's for real... --TL

I gathered from 'Today' this morning that Doctor Who is returning to British TV, probably in about two years time, and the script is being written being Russell T. Davies, who not only wrote Dark Season and the only Doctor Who novel set on a Glasgow sink-estate, but also 'Queer as Folk'. Or, as the subtext of the Radio Four interview seemed to suggest: 'Doctor Who is back, and it's gayer than ever!' --MF

He also wrote The Second Coming, which was damn fine. Damn fine. -- NH

But... Who Will Play The Next Dr Who?

Sandmanites may be pleased to know that Neil Gaiman hasn't ruled out writing an episode of the new series: he also apparently wrote an episode of Babylon Five...

Yep, Season five's "The Day of the Dead". It's one of the five good episodes of that season (one of which was made for the season before). It also wins the 'Sheridan Gobsmack Overload' award. -- WJR

Category TVSF | Category British TVSF | Category Book | Category Radio Programme (although the radio plays weren't much cop) | Category SF Movie (two of them, with Peter Cushing)

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