Doctor Who - The making of a time lord
Amy Taylor chronicles the rise and rise of the Doctor
Nov 1963 Doctor Who is devised as an educational science fiction show to appeal to viewers of all ages and is given an evening time slot. The screening of the first episode is overshadowed by a power cut in parts of the country and the assassination of President Kennedy.
Aug 1965 Doctor Who and the Daleks, a film based on the TV series, in particular the episode The Daleks, is released. The sequel, Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150 AD is released a year later.
1966 The Doctor’s regeneration ability is introduced by producer John Wiles and writer Donald Tosh as an answer to Hartnell’s departure due to ill health.
1974 Tom Baker becomes the fourth and most memorable doctor. His boggle eyes, bohemian look, complete with stripy scarf and love of jelly babies makes him a hit with the viewers.
1975–6 The show starts to receive complaints over its violent content. Moral campaigner Mary Whitehouse releases numerous public statements complaining about the show’s violence. Despite her protests, the ratings increase.
1977 K-9 debuts in the serial The Invisible Enemy. Initially named FIDO, K-9 became a popular recurring character. A pilot episode for the series’ first official spin off, K-9 and Company, bombs.
1981 After seven years, the longest incarnation in the show’s history, Tom Baker steps down from the role. At 29, Peter Davison becomes the fifth and youngest incarnation of the Doctor.
1985 Production on Doctor Who is suspended following criticism of its violent content by then BBC controller, Michael Grade. The universally panned charity single, ‘Doctor in Distress’ is quickly written, recorded and released in an attempt to bring back the show.
1986 Doctor Who returns to our screens after an 18 month hiatus. Later that year Colin Baker is very publicly sacked at the insistence of BBC management.
1987 Sylvester McCoy becomes the seventh, and an all together different Doctor, as he descends from a comic character into a manipulative and much darker incarnation of the latest Time Lord.
1989 Following poor ratings after being placed in direct competition with the hugely popular Coronation Street, the series is cancelled. The last Doctor Who episode, Survival is broadcast.
1993 McCoy, Davison, Pertwee, Tom and Colin Baker all return as the Doctor for the charity special, Dimensions In Time.
1996 A TV movie starring Paul McGann as the newly regenerated eighth doctor is intended to revive the TV series. Despite viewing figures of over nine million in the UK, a new series was not commissioned.
1996–2003 Doctor Who continues in several formats, in audio books, comics and novellas.
Apr 2004 Christopher Eccleston is announced as the ninth Doctor; Billie Piper is named as his companion.The first episode, broadcast a year later, brings in 10.81 million viewers.
Jun 2005 David Tennant is named as the tenth doctor.
Jul 2006 Freema Agyeman becomes the first black actress to play the Doctor’s assistant.
Oct 2006 The first successful Doctor Who spin off, Torchwood, debuts on BBC Three.
Jan 2007 A Doctor Who spin off, aimed specifically at children, The Sarah Jane Adventures, debuts to critical acclaim. Two series’ have been broadcast to date.
Jan 2009 Relative unknown, 26-year old Matt Smith, is named as the 11th and youngest actor to play the Doctor. His first episode will be broadcast in 2010.
Feb 2009 A new K-9 spin off, not associated with the BBC, begins filming.