back to article Gold meddler: Doctor Who is 50 years old TODAY

Doctor Who, the longest running sci-fi show on telly, is 50 years old TODAY. The very first episode was broadcast just after a quarter past five on 23 November, 1963 - years before a fair few Reg readers were thought of let alone thrust a-wailing into the world. It hasn’t been a continuous run. What fans now call the Classic …


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  1. NogginTheNog

    Happy birthday 'Doc

    For all it's faults, it's still marvellously intelligent and entertaining TV, always has been. And it's given me, and more recently my family, many hours of enjoyment, debate, and discussion over the years.

    A pint to all involved from 1963 to the present.

  2. Elmer Phud

    Noises off

    Go to the BBC website and search for 'radiophonatron' and relive the early days of the Tardis.

  3. Paratrooping Parrot

    The image on the right

    The image on the right with all the doctors in a line reminds me of "The Krypton Factor"!

    I will be watching the latest instalment. I have introduced many to Doctor Who and they have become fans.

  4. albaleo

    50 years ago, I wasn't allowed to watch the first episode. (Something else on, Dr. Finlay's Casebook or some other crap, I don't remember but I'm sure some fellow abused child will inform me). And today, the family won't let me watch because X-Factor is on. Fuck, I've spent my whole life as a wimp.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "the family won't let me watch because X-Factor is on."

      Someone who reads and comments on a tech site doesn't have some form of new fangled recording technology?

      You could always download it from alt.binaries.drwho I have no doubt it will available shortly after the broadcast finishes.

      1. Cliff

        Re: "the family won't let me watch because X-Factor is on."

        Android iPlayer app - worth a GB of anyone's allowance.

      2. MrDamage

        Re: "the family won't let me watch because X-Factor is on."

        "Someone who reads and comments on a tech site doesn't have some form of new fangled recording technology?"

        Someone who reads El Reg and doesn't have an over-amped cattle prod for dealing with family members who insist on watching X-Factor?

  5. Bladeforce

    Tonights Episode...

    Was just FANTASTIC!

    1. Cliff

      Re: Tonights Episode...

      Splendid. He got it right. He must be so relieved, but it was a beauty!

    2. Ian 55

      Re: Tonights Episode...

      ... showed why those of us who are not fans of 'new' Dr Who don't like it. There was ten minutes of good stuff, but an awful lot of 'just because we can do the fx'.

      It's also not a good idea to remind us that Baker > Tennant > Smith, with Hurt certainly also better than Smith if not Tennant.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tonights Episode...

        How could Baker be older than he was when he regenerated? I call shenanigans.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: Tonights Episode...

          Anybody who makes the 13th Doctor be someone other than The Valeyard doesn't get to call shenanigans. That includes Moffatt even with all the good he's done for the show.

        2. teebie

          Re: Tonights Episode...

          "How could Baker be older than he was when he regenerated"

          The same way Davidson was older than Tennant - he appears older because of the presense of the younger doctor because...oh go look it up.

      2. Lamont Cranston

        Re: Tonights Episode...

        I enjoyed it, but the whole rewriting of the recent continuity for the sake of a happy ending left a bad taste (not to mention the way the Zygons storyline was forgotten about). Still, no point moaning about poor continuity in Doctor Who, as it's one of the hallmarks!

        1. The_Idiot

          Re: Tonights Episode...

          Lord Lamont

          You may be right - re the Zygons, I mean. And their being forgotten.

          Or not... possibly... perhaps....

          Mr Moffat is not unknown for playing the Long Game. If I may remind Your Lordships of the Matter of the Misplaced Jacket? And, also if I may, to a Queen who said certain words to a Tennant-ed Dr (one looking and sounding rather confuzzled) in 'The Shakespeare Code'?

          Perhaps Liz I knew more than one Doctor. And perhaps, still, there is/ are still more than one Liz I - we only had her word for what happened in the woods, and what she did with her 'leetle friend'...

          Oh, well. An Idiot can dream :-).

          1. Lamont Cranston

            Re: Tonights Episode...


            I hope you're right. Still, cliff-hangers should come at the end, not be tucked away, mid-episode!

  6. SVV Silver badge

    Finally, Moffat comes up with a cracker

    Really well paced, lots of different ingredients in the mix from the past and future, John Hurt's doctor being much more interesting than we had perhaps been led to expect, a nice resetting of the whoniverse and of course the curator at the end.

    Watched the follow up nonsense "celebration" afterwrds too, which fully lived up to the inane low standards that BBC3 has now perfected.

    1. Thomas 4

      Re: Finally, Moffat comes up with a cracker

      Agreed - judging from his performance in tonight's episode, John Hurt would have made for a really interesting Doctor. Genuinely scarred and battered.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: John Hurt would have made for a really interesting Doctor.


        Maybe the Beeb could get some writers to do one-off episodes to show as irregular specials. I'd really like to see more of his version of The Doctor. Aim it at adults instead of teens but not use that as an excuse for gratuitous violence and sex.

    2. TheProf Silver badge

      Re: Finally, Moffat comes up with a cracker

      Agree with you wholeheartedly. Very well done by everyone involved.

      I managed 7 minutes of the BBC3 thing before playing episode 1 of The Enemy Of The World. Black and white Doctor Who is so much better than watching screaming idiots trying to look cool.

    3. NogginTheNog

      BBC3 follow-on thing

      I watched it all mainly to play Spot The Companion. It was hard going at times!

    4. scruncher

      Re: Finally, Moffat comes up with a cracker

      Yes, great show with some really clever moments and self-deprecating gags in amongst the usual blend of amazing special effects, wobbly scenery and storyline insanity. My favourite moment was the appearance of Malcolm Tucker's furious brow - all 1.5s of it. I think Matt Smith has been superb but if there's anyone capable of 'following that' it's Peter Capaldi. I really hope he's going to be allowed to drop a few moments of snarling Tucker lunacy into the mix now and again.

    5. Tom 13

      Re: Finally, Moffat comes up with a cracker

      Mostly agree with the exception of resetting the whoniverse.

      But I suppose I'll just have to get use to it just like the Star Trek reboot.

  7. Vulch


    "The Five-ish Doctors" that followed on the Red Button (and is no doubt available via other channels by now) is well worth a watch too, and makes me think a lot of the 'news' in the lead up was dis-information...

  8. Hooch181


    I thoroughly enjoyed "Day of the Doctor". Best not say to much about what happens. Spoilers and whatnot!

  9. Philip Lord

    Fifty Years ago

    I can lay claim to have watched the first episode - probably live too - round at my gran's as we had no telly. The thing that stayed with me all these years was the Doctor's grand-daughter in school demonstrating how a triangle had five sides (shirley you remember - sides AB, BC and CA plus side ABC and it's other 'mirror' side). As a thirteen year-old I was impressed! And - yes later, Daleks viewed from behind the sofa, tho' I think the Cybermen were scarier.

    BTW - saw the 50th anniversary transmission live here in France last night. I hadn't seen any episodes for quite sometime and this time as a 63 year-old I was impressed again - reasonably good script and good special effects. It's come a long way from that first black and white episode! Good luck to the Doctor for the future.


  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But, but...

    Isn't all this rejoicing over 50 years overlooking he fact that the BBC took it off air for a bit because they basically thought it was crap?

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: But, but...

      No. Just one person thought it was crap. Unfortunately he held then purse strings at the time. Once he'd gone there was a chance again, but it took along time coming.

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: But, but...

      And too be fair - by the end of the classic series it was crap - johnathan Nathan turner has to take a lot of the blame.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: johnathan Nathan turner has to take a lot of the blame.

        If you've got a good show and a bad writer or producer you whack the bad guy. If the bad guy stays in place, it's because whoever hired him wants him there. Which means the blame goes higher up than the visible bad guy.

        Of course that might be a way for Moffatt to fix The Valeyard problem. Maybe the Valeyard wasn't the 13th Doctor, he was just someone working at the Beeb who managed to infiltrate Galifrey.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: But, but...

      The 50 years bit yes. The crap bit not so much.

      Anything turns to crap when someone in the top 2 tiers of management hates the concept so much they'd off themselves if it would get the show canceled. I've never figured out why they hated it so, but they did. And I feel about that person(s) pretty much like I expect Rose felt about the Daleks after joining the Eye or Harmony.

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Watched this on iPlayer, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Loved the resolution at the end.


    First bit of TV I've watched for several years.

  12. cd

    Did anyone else notice another anniversary coincident with this one?

    One of the stumbling blocks to resolving that other anniversary is that more than one shooter was possibly involved, yet only one was apprehended. For 50 years there have been arguments about whether the shooter acted alone, yet physical evidence of additional shooters is sparse.

    Was a Tardis near the grassy knoll that day?

    1. Shrimpling

      I thought everybody knew the second shooter from the Grassy Knoll was President Kennedy thanks to Lister running out of Curry?

      1. cyborg

        They'll never figure it out.

  13. The Envoy


    So.... as a pesron who's seen zero (0) episodes of Dr Who; why should I bother? And where should I start?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "where should I start?"

      Wherever. I did. It works.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: "where should I start?"

        Wherever is quite probably the best answer. Mine was Tom Baker. But I could have started with just about anybody from the episodic stuff. McGann is sort of an outlier. Might have been good if given the chance, but the show was too Americanized to work right, even if it was the Beeb that did it. And I say that as a red-blooded 'Merkin.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: Sooo...

      "So.... as a pesron who's seen zero (0) episodes of Dr Who; why should I bother? And where should I start?"

      First welcome to Earth, traveling pesron!

      Second, I'd recommend starting with the fourth Doctor, he lasted the longest for a reason! He could really camp it up!

    3. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Sooo...

      If it's a 'bother' to be entertained maybe you shouldn't.

    4. graeme leggett

      Re: Sooo...

      There are so many different stories out there to choose from so I would say pick anyone and see if you like it. But like a box of chocolates with the picture guide missing you might have to be prepared to try another if the first one is not to your taste.

      Yes, pick anyone. Except Time-Flight.

  14. PiltdownMan

    Is it just me?

    I find that Steven Moffatt is nowhere near as good as Russell T Davies at telling stories and directing his production team effectively. My heart always misses a beat when I see that SM has written a given story. He also dose not get the best from other fantastic writers like Mark Gatis.

    I felt quite let down by this story and the lack of other doctors, except cameos. I would have thought that they could have done a lot more with a bit of judicious CGI to bring older (or dead) docs into the story.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Is it just me?

      I find RTD scripts are pretty much unwatchable, they're more Mills & Boon than Dr. Who. You can almost guarantee that they'll end with a misunderstood bad guy discovering his inner softie, and they'll all have a group hug and a cry after the Doctor kisses everything better.

  15. Andrew Moore

    A few thoughts...

    Interesting that the Ponds never figured anywhere. The actors didn't appear to be in the after party either.

    Well done to all involved for keeping the story under wraps. It was a real surprise to me when number 4 turned up.

    Nice the way they separated War Command from the High Council so they didn't have to explain where Timothy Dalton was.

    And if you haven't seen it, look for "The Night Of The Doctor" on Youtube. Give's great perspective on how long the Time Wars actually ran for. McGann gets a good send of and gets to name check The Big Finish companions too.

  16. Z-Eden

    Thoroughly enjoyed the episode. The ending when you see them all was quite moving...

    Unrelated, does anyone else find it irritating at the lack of complete boxed sets? Granted it's probably down to the wiped episodes (BBC are probably waiting for more of the discovery in Nigeria last month - 9 missing episodes recovered!), but would it kill to release a boxed set like the complete Pertwee Era?

    1. TheProf Silver badge

      Box sets

      Season 16: The Key to Time.

      Season 23: The Trial of a Time Lord.

      All your Baker needs in a couple of handy boxes.

      Plus Season Paul McGann: Doctor Who The Movie.

      Whole seasons but good value purchases.

      Glad to be of service.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: anyone else find it irritating at the lack of complete boxed sets?

      Yes. Very. Especially the old episodes.

      I can see excepting the incomplete seasons. There some other sort of box set ought to be released.

      But for the span where they have all the episodes, they ought to at least put the whole season on DVD/Blue Ray and match the prices on current seasons. Not this 24.95 for one episode crap they've had going on since the invention of VHS.

  17. Timly

    BBC 3 Dr Who party-fail-o-thon

    Highlight of the travesty that was BBC 3's after party thingy was Steven Moffatt double-facepalming on the sofa during that excruciating One-Direction live link up and the look on John Hurt's face; 'Get me to the bar...'

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: BBC 3 Dr Who party-fail-o-thon

      It's a bugger when you're not invited, isn't it?

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