Fifty three years ago, around 5:15pm, the first episode of the longest running science fiction series on television was aired – but overshadowed by the JFK assassination the day before. The Unearthly Child was the first of currently 826 episodes and 263 stories. Admittedly there was a big break between 1989 and 2005 with only a TV pilot aired and the series rejected in 1996.
When I was old enough to be aware of the show it was the tail end of the 70’s and I had to sit through – what at the time I considered boring – the football results on a Saturday tea time as my dad checked his pools coupon. The enigmatic Tom Baker was, and still is, my Doctor. In the era before video recorders were a household item and satellite, cable and TiVo were pure science fiction, my family were glued to the goggle box for 25 minutes throughout the autumn and winter months. It was never repeated (to my knowledge as a six year old) and it took at least a month to finish the story arc.
Over the years the rogue Time Lord has been name dropped in many other TV series’ and films whether it’s The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, Rugrats or Stein’s Gate. I’m not aware of any other song as a tribute or a parody to the show, bedsides this video on offer here. Iron Maiden have featured the famous blue box on at least two pieces of art work. There’s one “hidden” on the bands Somewhere In Time album sleeve and one of their fan club shirt designs revolves around the bands mascot Eddie trying to pluck the TARDIS out of the air.
The Timelords released this mash up novelty single in 1988. It was the only release by the band and it combines the classic Doctor Who theme with Gary Glitter’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Parts 1 and 2 and Blockbuster! from British glam rockers Sweet. The track was an intentional and successful attempt to write a song and get it to number one in the UK singles chart. It was released after a self imposed recording hiatus by Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty – better known as the KLF.
Happy birthday to the Doctor and roll on Christmas Day for story 264, which is hopefully better than most Christmas specials in recent years. It’s been a long twelve months with no new DW fix.