On November 23, 1963 at 17:16:20 GMT, there appeared a new program on BBC Television. It was “Doctor Who,” starring 53 year old actor Nicholas Hartnell as “The Doctor,” an eccentric alien in the guise of an English gentleman who travelled time and space in his deceptively spacious TARDIS craft, battling baddies.
With a few gaps —namely from 1996 to 2005, when the franchise appeared dead —the show has remained on the air, having shuffled through ten more lead actors, with a twelfth, Peter Capaldi, soon to take over.
The show has gone from bottom-of-the-barrel cheap —with one group of aliens no more than plastic on coat-hangers with a fan blowing behind them for spooky effect —to moderately budgeted, for a TV show at least. It even inspired a string of splashy, decidedly non-brainy movies in the ’60s where he was played by Peter Cushing.
Naturally there are celebrations. American “Doctor Who” nuts have numerous options to congregate and watch the 50th Anniversary special, entitled “The Day of the Doctor.” The episode teams Eleventh and current Doctor Matt Smith with the tenth, David Tennant, and throws in a “War Doctor” (John Hurt), for good measure.
Here’s a list of theaters in the country that are screening the special. Who nerds may go and relish smugly in a crowd that knows that the hero is not named “Doctor Who.”