I'm not an expert on Dr. Who - I'm pretty sure there's someone here who can tell you more than I can (but I don't want to put him on the spot, so no names mentioned) - but I know the basics.
He is an alien, yes. He's a Time Lord. He's also the last of the Time Lords, which is a bit confusing seeing as they're all perpetual time travellers and the passage of time doesn't - or shouldn't - really mean anything to them. But anyway, no, he can't die. If he's in a situation that's likely to kill a normal human being, he regenerates. What this really means is, the actor playing the Doctor wants to leave and they replace him with a new one. Are you watching the series from last year, with Christopher Eccleston? If so, you'll see a regeneration at the end and he'll become David Tennant (whom I very much prefer myself). The regeneration doesn't always look like that (I've seen a clip of it happening from an old series when it was b/w, and yeah technology was limiting, but anyway it's rather different), but you'll get the idea. And that's how he gets around the ageing problem - get a younger actor.
What's with the girl? Right now she's Billie Piper, who was a big part of my adolescence; she was a pop star and I had her in my living room most Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. I think for a while Britney was known as "America's answer to Billie" - it's weird her being an actress now. Still, her singing career was over by the time she was 16, so good for her.
But anyway, as to her role in Doctor Who - the Doctor always has a companion (usually female, but I think there have been a couple of men). He picked Rose up at the beginning of the series in the imaginatively titled episode "Rose", just because they clicked and she was fed up with early 21st century London. The companions just kind of help the Doctor out, have a bit of by-play with him and allow us humans to empathise more by being a bit baffled and not understanding what is going on until the Doctor explains. (If you've been watching a classic series, same rules apply.)
I'm so excited. The new series of Doctor Who, with David Tennant as the tenth Doctor (yay!), is starting this evening on BBC1. It's been advertised a fair amount, but fortunately there wasn't nearly as much hype as there was for the Eccleston series, when it really was just waking up after a long sleep. The hype almost put me off watching, but then I realised that would have been silly, so I did watch and it was great. Typecasting seems to be a tremendous fear for actors, and Eccleston has been criticised for only doing one series. Personally, I'm not sorry.
The Doctor's real name has never been revealed, though in one story he's referred to by another Time Lord by a nickname from his Academy days, "Theta Sigma". He graduated from the Prydonian Academy, and is entitled to wear red and orange ceremonial robes.
Time Lords are native to a planet called Gallifrey. In the old days, the lore was that a Time Lord only could regenerate twelve times, making a total of thirteen lives.
The 1996 TV movie, co-produced by the BBC and Fox, suggests that the Doctor is actually half-Gallifreyan, and that his mother was actually Terran. He has a granddaughter as one of his companions in the first few years of the show, so it is assumed he was married at one point.
Here's the list of actors who have played the part:
1. William Hartnell (1963-1966) 2. Patrick Troughdon (1966-1969) 3. Jon Pertwee (1970-1974) 4. Tom Baker (1974-1980) Tom is the Doctor most familiar to Americans--PBS started rerunning his stories in the 1980's. He's the one with the thick curly hair and the super-long scarf 5. Peter Davison (1980-1984) 6 Colin Baker (1984-1986) 7. Sylvester McCoy (1986-1996) The original show was cancelled in 1990, but McCoy got to reprise the part in the 1996 TV movie, and be seen regenerating into his successor. 8. Paul McGann (1996) 9. Christopher Eccleston (2005) 10. David Tennant (2005-??)
And a few extra...
--Peter Cushing played the Doctor in a couple of movies adapting two of William Hartnell stories.
--Trevor Martin played the Doctor in a stage play during the Pertwee era.
--Richard Hurdall played the First Doctor in the 1983 story "The Five Doctors", because William Hartnell was deceased by that time.
--MIcheal Jayston played "The Valeyard", an evil Thirteenth Doctor, in "Trial of a Time Lord" (1986); it's assumed, of course, that the "real" Doctor will not turn into him, and he's actually from an alternate timeline.
Post by Silent Seraphim on Apr 15, 2006 11:25:37 GMT -4
There's not really much more I can add that Fritz and EGBFan haven't already mentioned about The Doctor and his companion.
Most fans of the show have a certain Doctor that they have grown up with. I'm afraid I was too young for the Tom Baker Era, who is probably the best known and most definitive version. Mine was the Peter Davidson/Colin Baker/Sylvester McCoy versions of The Doctor I remember watching as a child, scared out of my wits. I never bothered with McGann’s Doctor, but the new series has brought me back to the show with a full-on fangirl fury. ;D
When I was a kid, some of the episodes used to scare me so much so that I tried to avoid watching episodes which contained certain villains - the main one being the Daleks.
The Daleks are the biggest enemy known in the Whoverse, and I think you guys are going to be seeing them in the next episode, so to avoid spoiling it I’ll resist telling you much about them suffice to say that ‘Dalek’ is probably one of the best episodes of Doctor Who yet.
Christopher Eccleston’s doctor was great, but like EGBFan, I’m much more impressed with David Tennant’s version. Eccleston used to grate a bit when he displayed his over-enthusiasm, but Tennant’s doctor has got the right mix of gravitas and playful humour and excitement that I much prefer. It doesn’t seem forced with him, as it did with Eccleston. I also love the chemistry between both versions of The Doctor and Rose, and after finding Mickey and Jackie (Rose’s Mum) irritating at first, I’ve really grown to love them. Captain Jack is a great character, too. It's a shame we won't be seeing much of him in the new series, but I'm looking forward to seeing the spin-off 'Torchwood' (mentioned in 'The Christmas Invasion'), whenever that comes out.
Personally, I can’t wait for tonight’s first episode of the new series. It’s a shame I’m going to be out, so I can’t watch it live but my VCR is fully prepped for the occasion.
See, this just shows my lack of knowledge. Its funny how everyone knows about this...we all have very similar taste in tv viewing. I am watching the new US version on the SciFi version, the one with Rose in it. So in England you guys are watching this show a season ahead of us?
Anyway I just didn't get the jist of it, seems the Dr. Who websites don't have a Fritz person to organize everything into some comprehendable detail
So, he will change actors frequently, and his partner will change frequently....good to know. And it clears up my question of why he would randomly choose some girl to drag along with him, I had it in my head that she may have some unknown powers or something, but obviously not.
I'm likin' this show, thanks for the info. ghostdiva
My cousin got me into it back around 1984 or so. The local PBS station wasn't running it yet (though it did a few years later) but the same station that would later run RGB and then become part of the Fox Network started running it. Yeah, like a lot of Americans, Tom Baker was my first Doctor.
I'm ashamed to admit I haven't seen the new show yet--there was a problem with taping it the first week it ran on Sci-Fi, and I hate the idea of coming in in the middle of it. If I can jump onto the next rerun cycle, I plan to do so.
I did cheat just a little with the above information--I pulled out copies of a Doctor Who Programme Guide published in two editions (The first edition came out about the time Tom Baker left, the second edition during Sylvester McCoy's final season). Just to prove what a small world it can be, it was written by Jean-Marc Lofficier, who's wife is Randy Loffcier, the writer of "Ghostbusters In Paris" and "The Headless Motorcyclist"
A few other notable villains:
The Cybermen were originally human-like beings from Mondas, the mythic Tenth Planet, before the planet broke free and hurled off into deep space. They rebuild their bodies into cyborgs, purge most of their emotions, relocate to the planet Telos, and start planning to Take Over The Universe. Their only weakness is the respirators to their still-organic brains, which can be clogged with gold dust. That's why the Doctor has some lying around in the TARDIS in the 1996 movie, not greed.
Sontarans: Long before George Lucas established that the Stormtroopers were all clones of Jango Fett, these butt-ugly clones were trying to stomp everything in the universe. They were also in perpetual war with the Rutans, giant jellyfish looking creatures.
Evil Time Lords:
The Monk appeared in the Hartnell era, but was more of a meddler than a villain.
The Warlord was in the last Troughdon adventure, where the Doctor's backstory as a Time Lord was revealed for the first time.
The Rani was an evil scientist who appeared in a couple of Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy stories.
But when it comes to being an evil Time Lord, noone beats the Master.
I mean that: he's called The Master. Roger Delgado originated the part during the Pertwee era, but he died before Pertwee's last season, foiling plans for a major final battle.
A couple of other actors played the Master during Tom Baker's run, but as a shrivelled dude who kinda looked like Emperor Palpatine--the official explaination was that the Master had burned through all his regenerations to disguise himself, and was now looking for a new body to inhabit now that his time was almost up. In Tom Baker's next-to-last story he finds one, savagely posessing the body of Consul Tremas of Traken.
Anthony Ainley, the actor who played Tremas, takes over the roll of the Master and plays it all through Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy's runs as the Doctor.
When the 1996 movie started, the Master had been captured by the Daleks and his body blown up. They give his essence to the Doctor to return to Gallifred for more permanent disposal, but he escapes on Earth and takes over the body of an EMT played by Eric Roberts. He's apparently destroyed at the end of the story, but we all know that's only as permanent as the producers of the current show want it to be.
One correction, Fritz, it's actually Patrick Troughton.
The biggest enemy the Doctor has encountered, and has encountered on many occasion are the Daleks.
Believed to have once been humanoid, these entities are now octopoid-like creatures nestled away within a armoured battle suit. Their main weapon initially was a death ray, but they've been updated a little in recent years.
One common misconception is that the Daleks can't beat stairs, their main weakness. However the Doctor encountered the first Dalek with levitation abilities in his seventh incarnation in Rememberence Of The Daleks, one of my three all time favourite Doctor Who outings, the other being the Cyberman equivilent: Silver Nemesis. The final one being The Five Doctors
The companions are usually drafted by accident, citing a good phrase, they 'often wonder into the TARDIS'.
As of now, no word has been revealed on what happened to the Doctor's grand daughter, and it's not known if her one other appearance, in the Children In Need special Dimensions In Time is even canonical as several of the Doctor actors had aged when they made their appearances (Tom Baker being the worst example). That, and the story was set in East Enders' Albert Square.
Typecasting seems to be a tremendous fear for actors, and Eccleston has been criticised for only doing one series. Personally, I'm not sorry.
It's not known how much of that is true... it's possible he was only ever signed for one series depending on how Davies wrote the ending of The Parting Of The Ways
My favourite doctors at present are: Sylvester McCoy, David Tennant, Peter Davidson, Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston.
I agree with other comments on Eccleston, though. He was okay, but he seemed a little too manic for a Doctor... it did seem a little forced by Tennant seems to have a good handle of both the detached interest and the righteous indigation that other Doctors have shown.
And, we finally went to another planet... the 'first series' (I so wish they'd stop calling it that) was pretty much Earth obsessed, but now we're seeing new places.
Not to mention, New New York. But do they have Ghostbusters in New New York? Hopefully they do if Ghostbusters Intergalatic has survived that far into the future...
He has been criticised, by most (if not all) of the Doctor Who fans I've spoken to. It doesn't have to be anyone famous to mean anything.
Yeah, anyway, it really annoyed my mum when the Dalek started flying. Made the whole thing completely unbelievable. Seriously, it seems to be kind of an in-joke that you can beat Daleks by going upstairs - so they put it in the show, and ooh suddenly they can levitate. How convenient for the writers.
Post by Silent Seraphim on Apr 16, 2006 20:37:31 GMT -4
Eccleston’s departure did cause quite an upset among fans; I can tell you that the gallifreyone boards had to be shut down for a while after the announcement, as it caused such a furore. However, if it had been kept secret as I think it should have been, the regeneration would have been a wicked surprise at the end of The Parting of the Ways. It poses a problem in that The Doctor only has a limited number of regenerations and Tennant isn’t going to stay around forever, but if it was planned in advance, then it was quite a sneaky thing to do to get the viewers used to this version of the Doctor in a brand new series, emotionally invest in his character and then kill him off at the end to be replaced by someone entirely new. A New New Doctor.
Oh I also never heard of this show until now and I was wondering what year did this show first came out and how many seasons does it have?
The first ever episode of Dr Who was transmitted on the BBC on November 23, 1963, the day after the assassination of John F Kennedy. The season currently showing on the Sci-Fi Channel is the twenty-seventh, and the season showing in the UK now is the twenty-eighth. There has also been a TV movie and one-off episodes here and there. There are also lots of Dr Who books and audio stories, so the back catalogue is pretty vast.
The biggest enemy the Doctor has encountered, and has encountered on many occasion are the Daleks.
Believed to have once been humanoid, these entities are now octopoid-like creatures nestled away within a armoured battle suit.
They were definitely humanoid. The Tom Baker story "Genesis of the Daleks" confirms this:
Ages ago, the people of the planet Skaro went to war. There were two races: The Kaleds and the Thalls. Why they went to war was never revelealed--maybe it was because the Thalls were all blond, and the Kaleds all dark-haired. That would only be slightly stupider than the reasons Terrans have gone to war with each other (ie "Your skin is a different color", "You speak a different language than us", "You worship the exact same God in a different way than us", "We want to make our leader look tough and make assloads of money for the Vice President's company" ect.)
After a nuclear war, the Kaleds and the Thalls are down to one domed city apiece. More and more Kaleds have been born hideously deformed, and a scientist named Davros (himself crippled and mutated by a bomb hit--he's the ugly dude on the far left in BlackMaria's avatar) has been trying to discover where the mutations are leading...
The Fourth Doctor and his companions blunder into the situation about the time his work is paying off--Davros has discovered that the Kaled's ultimate form will be small, octopoid-like creatures, and designs an armored battle suit for them. He names them for an anagram of Kaled--thus, the Daleks are born.
They eventually betray Davros--he made them too well, giving them a superiority complex and no emotions; they obey noone and think they are superior beings--and both domed cities are bombed. Small groups of Thalls survive, and their descendants are seen in a Pertwee story. The Daleks go on to start trying to conquer the universe, and became the Doctor's most famous opponents.
In another Tom Baker story, the Daleks have been fighting another robot race, the Movellans, to a standstill, and actually revive Davros, hoping that his human cleverness will help them. I think he turned up a time or two after that, but the Programme Guide is back in my room and I'm fleeling lazy
Fritz, thanks for the refresher... I couldn't clearly remember the Thall/Kaled/Dalek triangle but you got it off nicely.
Davros did reappear over the course of the Doctor's life, prooving as much a thorn in not dying as the Master.
so they put it in the show, and ooh suddenly they can levitate. How convenient for the writers.
Which series we talking about here? By Eccleston's time it was old fish, as mentioned above.
And frankly, using the 'we'll run up stairs' ploy over and over again is tiresome, giving the Daleks the ability to levitate was a great way of injecting new fear into a well known enemy, and the writers acknowledged it and the old stairs tactic in Dalek.
Sorry if anything's been ruined... guess we should have put up spoiler warnings near the start.
Oh well, it's not like our minds are as fast as a Raston Warrior Robot.
Last Edit: Apr 17, 2006 21:59:26 GMT -4 by Kingpin