Over the course of 50 years, we’ve visited many places, both real and imaginary, from the past, present, and future. We’ve learned things, been scared by some of the fiercest villains in history, and still we come back for more. It’s not just the writing or the acting; it is also our imagination that carries us through.
50 years. That’s a long time. From the very first episode of Doctor Who, “An Unearthly Child,” when we meet this odd man speaking well more words than we can understand, we fall in love – with him, with travel, with his companions – and want to see the possibilities of this show in specific and television in general.
I remember being that 13 year old in the early 90s falling for a crazy afro and a overly long scarf that, even though my fingers were not nimble then, I am itching to knit now. I remember marathoning the 9th Doctor’s season. As we watch the show in it’s current incarnation I gladly shared the Who love and as I see love of the show reach out, connecting my friends and those who did not know they could share their passion until they noticed all of the other Who lovers that surrounded them, I am glad. Suddenly, we are going from small house gatherings to hiring out an event space to house our numbers for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary party. The Day of the Doctor will, undoubtedly, be an episode we can’t stop talking about. We know they were in the planning stages years ago and we’ve lost some long standing characters along the way. The saddest was Sarah Jane Smith, played by Elisabeth Sladen. After watching her in “School Reunion,” I couldn’t wait to see how she would play into the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special. Even now, knowing the premise of the episode is our characters in The Doctor’s timeline going back to the day when he pushed the button that destroyed his home planet, Sarah Jane would have played such a great part. As one of the longest running companions, both literally and well… literally running… she has been a part of 4 incarnations of The Doctor. Losing her was losing a strong bit of Who history.
Yet even with the losses, Sarah Jane and Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, played by Nicholas Courtney, most notably, the excitement for the 50th episode has grown. As we stand on the cusp of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special and even beyond to the Christmas special, I am excited about the the enormous amount of Doctor Who love. As we watch at 2:50pm across the world and later tonight at the number of parties and events planned around the world (universe dare we hope?), we will be a part of a greater community of those who dream of the stars.