The first episode of Classic Doctor Who aired in 1963, then saw two plus decades of air time ending in 1989. After a failed attempt to bring the series back in 1996 with a television movie, the BBC rebooted the program with Russell T. Davies at the helm as showrunner and head writer on March 26, 2005. In millions of homes, Billie Piper (alongside Christopher Eccleston as the 9th Doctor) burst onto the screen in “Rose” as the Doctor’s new companion. The show is ingrained in British culture and has become a world-wide phenomenon and a cult favorite. Recently, Russell T. Davies said “It’s now impossible for it to ever be axed. It’s certainly heading that way. Could you imagine if it was axed now? There would be uproar in the streets. Twitter would be set on fire.”
Indeed, the recently completed Series 8 with Peter Capaldi debuting as the 12th Doctor, was viewed by 30% more Americans than the previous series (Moffat, November, 2014). The term “Whovian” may be on its way into Webster’s and the words Time and Relative Dimension in Space are synonymous with a time-traveling vehicle. I cannot help but wonder what H.G. Wells would have to say. Or, perhaps he has been feeding Who writers. After all we saw a similar feat occur in “Blink” (Series 3, Episode 10).
As the tenth anniversary for New Who nears, there has been ongoing speculation as to whether there will be a celebration. Radio Times reported that Russell T. Davies was approached by the BBC to participate in the tenth anniversary. Davies’ answer was a resounding no. Currently, Davies keeps very busy with his new venture, Cucumber, Tofu, and Banana, a serialized drama examining gay life in Britain. While his focus and commitment to his new project is understandable, the fandom certainly loses.
Davies’ contention is that Doctor Who recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and a tenth anniversary the following year is confusing. On November 23, 2013, BBC aired “The Day of the Doctor” to mark the 50th. A New Who tenth anniversary special would air a mere 16 months later. However, with the first episode of Series 9 another 8 months away, many Whovians would welcome the oasis of a celebration amidst the desert of empty months after “Last Christmas“, which aired on December 25, 2014. When Steven Moffat, Who’s current showrunner and head writer, was asked in August of 2014 about a tenth anniversary special, he indicated that a special would not occur, “unless” he said, “I’m lying.” Ironically lying has been a theme in Moffat’s Series 8.
So what’s a Whovian to do as the March New Who tenth anniversary approaches and thirst for the Doctor increases? The Doctor Who Hub on facebook is hosting “Rose” Day. Many may choose to join this event and watch Series 1, Episode 1 “Rose” in celebration. Others may host house parties offering Who episodes for viewing, and yet others may find Who-related events at nearby pubs. How do you plan on celebrating New Who’s tenth?
Who Fact: Russell T. Davies and David Tennant chose to leave Doctor Who at the same time (2009). When Davies was asked if he would write an episode for Tennant’s successor, Matt Smith, his reply was: “Absolutely none. I wouldn’t want to write a single word for him. When he appears, every word will be written by Steven Moffat. He’s Steven’s, and Matt’s, character.” (Undated interview with Russell Davies and David Tennant on david-tennant.com)