Doctor Who?

The 11 faces of The Doctor, outside his infamous TARDIS
The 11 faces of The Doctor, outside his infamous TARDIS

One of my most favorite (and longest running) series is Doctor Who. I’ve watched this series since I was a wee small lass back in Chicago. Back then it was on WTTW (PBS) Channel 11 at 11pm on Sundays (way, way past my usual 8pm bedtime). My mom was a fan and she would persuade my grandmother to let me stay up and watch it (and I’d have a temper tantrum when I couldn’t … hehe).

The show began in November, 1963, primarily as a children’s program. There was definitely elements of science-fiction (time and space travel, alien worlds, Daleks!) but it was also used as a vehicle to teach history (at least some of the time).

The basic premise (for anyone who has been living under a rock all these years), is that of an eccentric time and space traveler called “The Doctor,” who travels with anywhere from 1 – 4 companions (mostly from Earth, although some companions have been humanoid aliens from other worlds). They travel in his TARDIS (which stands for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space – basically it means it’s bigger on the inside than the outside). His poor TARDIS has been stuck in the shape of a blue police call box, which were common in the UK during the 1950s. It’s been stuck because the “chameleon circuit” which allows it to change shape and blend into it’s environment has been broken (over 700 years now – the Doctor is the king of procrastination!).

The show was popular enough that when the original actor who portrayed the Doctor began to have health problems and had to quit the show, the powers that be at BBC decided to replace him. The Doctor was an alien afterall, and a Time Lord, so why shouldn’t he be able to change his appearance? And so the legend of the Doctor continued with a new actor. To date there have now been 11 actors to have played the Doctor and I must admit I’ve enjoyed each one to one degree or another. Everyone has their opinions and their favorites, but they all added their own unique spin on the character.

I’m hardly the only fan seeing as the series has survived this long (albeit with a long pause between 1989 and 2005, with a brief attempt at a revival in the US in the mid-1990s). I am thrilled to have the Doctor back and I hope the series goes on for many more years.

To that end I will share with you a song selection from some other ardent fans of the intrepid Doctor who were moved to compose original songs in his honor. My favorite of the list is “The Shadow Proclamation.”

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