Whenever anyone says 'where were you when Kennedy was shot/'....Some of us know exactly ,as we couldn't give a shit about American politics and shag happy American presidents from mob friendly ex-bootlegging anti-British families, and we were only snotty kids , were watching 'Doctor Who!' Kennedy's assassination did admittedly have far reaching effects the main one being that the DOCTOR WHO pilot was reshown the following week after being lost in the 'Hu-Harr' of President Kennedy's exploding head.
It is the 50 th anniversary of the shooting ,but it is also the 50th anniversary of DOCTOR WHO and the world has gone into a supernova size frenzy over, the fact that this time travelling time lord is celebrating his 50th anniversary on his 900th odd year ....Time lords must have age a little like Earth dogs ,but they age 18 years to our 1 year.
We live in times were everything is shown by advances in technology leaving no place for a certain brain function that once we all had and cultivated ...IMAGINATION!!!! Imagination was a wonderful thing ,where whole worlds and universes could exist in the mind of anybody and pictures from radio series ,books and comics came to life ,but with the advent of things like CGI imagination has taken a serious battering. In the long far off days of the birth of DOCTOR WHO when all was filmed in a BBC warehouse full of draughts and fire sprinklers going off mid-scene and where everything was mad from cardboard ,old loo roll holders and ream upon ream of duct tape ....All of time and space was made .....Now that is imagination...The viewers watching through tiny screens at snowy black and white images were held spellbound .....Imagination running free!
The story of an old scientist in a time machine, well thats ok!...A little H.G. WELLS'ian ,but good stuff, then he's in a police telephone box from the 1950's ,which ,when you step inside is vast in size compared to outside ,not only the control room, but corridors and other rooms, DIMENSIONAL DISPACEMENT iseem to remember it being explained as ,there thats reasonable enough!....Why a police telephone box , for gods sake? Apparently ,so the 'ship' wouldn't stand out on alien landscapes it was equipped with the ,now famous 'CHAMELEON CIRCUIT',which changed it 's shape, but 'got stuck' and 'got stuck' as a police box...Aliens all over the universe now know what an English 1950's public police box looks like from the planet Earth.....And it even had a name the T.A.R.D.I.S.(Time And Relative Dimensions In Space)....Sounds 'Whizzo-super,but it was knackered and although they could whizz through time and space they had no control of where they were going, all added to the fun and gave you companions who had reason to grumble with the idiot of a Doctor who couldn't take them home. Nowadays the bright blue lovely clean TARDIS can turn on a stopwatch and go anywhere ,to the second and all the companions are bright young things loving the wacky ,zany doctor and looking for adventure.
The inside was wonderful too. In the beginning the walls were a mass of cicular globes ,apparently photographed pop out tablet holders by the special effects people ,but with a hexagonal control panel plonked in the middle it gave this sparten, but mysterious, etherial look to it ,totally alien. It was like that ,basically until TOM BAKER the 4th Doctor ,at one point ,gave it a captains bridge on a victorian sailing ship ,dark wooden panelling and all. The last couple of 'new boys' have gone all 'retro' and smoke,sparks,and lots of pumping and turning wheels drives the 'old girl'...I doubt they could flush the T.A.R.D.I.S. toilet without sparks and smoke.
The other huge grounbreaking part was the sound and music of the opening titles . Composer RON GRAINER of the BEEB's famous ( once ) RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP by looping sound tapes and film got audio and visual distortions that became the original opening titles for years ,possibly more frightening then the show. The T.A.R.D.I.S. engines were created from these techniques the hissing and ashmatic wheezing sound of take off when the central column started 'pumping' was made from the sound of scraping a key on the chord strings of a piano lying on its side in the corner.....Those sound effects , opening titles of breaking and joining blobs ,the music ,hissing, etc still blows me away!.....Anybody who says they prefer the new whizz bang CGI effects of today just don't know what they are talking about!
Originally ,no 'Robots ,B.E.M.s( Bug-Eyed Monsters) were allowed....All historical adventures to educate the kids and develop a love of science and history. The first story was a dodgy one about cavemen and their quest for fire, but after that.....Well, after that a gentleman by the name of TERRY NATION gave in a script called THE MUTANTS and introduced to the world a 'bug-eyed robot which went by the name of THE DALEKS!!!!!!.....And nothing would ever be the same again!....The BEEB had audiences through the roof , merchandising and even two films remaking two of their stories, as the DALEKS had to be brought back, ad infinitum...Scriptwriters have gone nuts with the DALEKS and all they scream ,which in itself is odd for emotionless creatures is ....c'mon, all together now .."EXTERMINATE!" Again and again and again....In the first story i dont think they even said it ,possibly once. The first story shaped the rest .....They arrive in a strange place and mystery and drama as they explore ,then meet the baddies ,get taken prisioner than drama becomes adventure as they have to escape and foil the baddies plots which ussually involves lots of running around. then back to the T.A.R.D.I.S. in time for a tube of dinner from the food dispenser.
The first Doctor was hard man actor WILLIAM HARTNELL his Doctor was a grumpy old man with his beloved grandaughter SUSAN. He was alien, bad tempered ,crafty ,but mellowed over time with his accidental companions IAN and BARBERA. Hartnell became ill and his co stars had left and changed so he couldn't go on. Neccesity being the mother of invention, it was then that REGENERATION of the Doctor was thought of. WILLIAM HARTNELL'S Doctor ,was dying so regenerated himself into another version of himself with all his memories, but totally different character and features, this new 'cosmic hobo' was played in an equally mysterious manner ,but with a more gentle brighter side ,even humerous by the excellent character actor PATRICK TROUGHTON. His Doctor lasted with great success for 3 more years.
The BEEB in its wisdom and non stop attempts to save money wiped the tapes of many of Hartnells and Troughtons episodes ,most arelost but turn up in sheds and carboot sales. A few months ago ,the DOCTOR WHO world erupted with the news 106 episodes had been found in ETHIOPIA, they might have little food and supplies ,but they wont be hungry for classic sci-fi, but it turned ot to be a heap of newspaper shit and about 12 surfaced ,a few new DVD's for the x-mas market will be released.
TROUGHTON was replaced by JON PERTWEE,master of VENUSIAN KARATE/AIKIDO, and ace REVERSER OF THE NEUTRON FLOW!....There was a rumour SIR NED OF WALES, sir HARRY SECOMBE himself might squeeze into the TARDIS..." What/ what?what? Thhhhrrrrrppppp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"...A time travelling ball of blubber as SPIKE MILLIGAN might've put it
Tom Baker curly hair, bulging eyes and 50 foot sca
rf came next ,these were all in colour ,but special effects didn't improve and you were torn between loving and hating its brilliance and crapness...Crossrads/Acorn antiques in space. Doctors came and went ,all different ,everybody has their favourites ,most go by the one they watched as a kid ,but no matter what the events going on the whole thing hangs on the character of the Doctor ,no pressure there for the actor then?
It occurred to me when JONATHAN ROSS and RUSSELL BRAND got into trouble sending improper phone calls to ANDREW SACHS daughter ,they coud be DOCTOR WHOSSY and his alien companion RUSS!....Causing cosmic mayhem sending dirty messages to the EMPEROR DALEK about naughties with DAVRO'S daughter.......