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The hit sci-fi drama celebrates its 54th birthday, today

By Mélissa M Azombo

The cult television show Doctor Who, which has amassed an array of “Whovians” over the years, celebrates its 54th anniversary today. Actors and crew past and present and fans are all contributing to the celebrations.

Meanwhile, the legacy of Doctor Who continues as the theme of change continues throughout it, with Jodie Whittaker having been spotted filming as The 13th Doctor in Sheffield with new companion Graham played by Bradley Walsh. The show started with a TARDIS team of 4: The Doctor (William Hartnell), Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford), Barabara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) and Ian Chesterton (William Russel) and 54 years later, we are right back where we started with the 2 other companions Yasmin played by Mandip Gill and Ryan played by Tosin Cole, giving us another TARDIS team of 4.

Today, the show is now bigger than ever before, with millions of fans all around the world, who showcase their passion for the show through blogs, fan art, YouTube videos and more.


Despite the show being axed in 1989 or more accurately disappearing off air, it resurfaced in 1996 in a TV movie with Paul McGann, who says he was The Doctor for 6 weeks a long time ago, “but even then, I knew it was gonna change my life forever.” Throughout, the show was thriving through Doctor Who magazines, books and comics. This, before the show finally fully returned in 2005 at the request of Russel T Davies and led by Julie Gardner.


Image courtesy of TARDIS Wikia.

First airing on 23rd November 1963 at 17h16, the show soon amassed an array of fans, who would religiously watch the show whenever it aired. This was not without trouble, though. The airing of the first episode was overshadowed by the coverage of the Kennedy assassination, which had occurred the day prior, which also caused Doctor Who: An Unearthly child to air later than planned. So it was, that Verity Lambert, then producer, ordered for a repeat of the program.


Image courtesy of the BBC.

The show was led at the time not only by producer Verity Lambert, but director Warris Hussein and creator Sydney Newman, who came up with the idea. Newman wanted the show to be educational and science fiction with “No bog-eyed monsters!” What would he make of the show today?

With conventions full of cosplayers, Slitheen, the iconic Daleks, Weeping Angels and Doctors and companions past and present, one would hope he would be very proud of the show’s success. Here’s to another 54 years!

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