The British Film Institute begins a year-long celebration of Doctor Who to mark five decades since the first episode of the cult science fiction drama. In its early years it was seen as a bit of a low budget affair with dodgy sets, unconvincing alien costumes and occasional over the top acting, but ‘Who’ has undergone a slick reboot that makes fans no longer anoraks of a cult, but fans of a cool series.
Across 2013 the BFI Southbank is to celebrate Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary, with monthly events celebrating the many incarnations of the Doctor, including screenings of classic episodes, including the first from 1963.
Co-curator of the Doctor Who season Justin Johnson says, “I’ve been a Doctor Who fan for as long as I can remember and have vivid memories of the joy of opening a packet of Doctor Who-themed Weetabix and the nervous excitement of nipping behind the sofa to watch the climax of ‘The Seeds of Doom’ [from 1976].”
“People express their appreciation of films and television shows in different ways.” Johnson adds, continuing, “For me, buying the DVD or reading a book has been enough, but for others it can be a full-time occupation involving web forums, rooms full of merchandise and attending conventions.”
The year-long event will see a celebration of different eras of Doctor Who across each month. The season has been created by Johnson along with stalwart of the BFI Dick Fiddy. What began, the creatives behind it note, ‘as a small nod to the greatest TV show in the world’ has become a 12 month major celebration for the Southbank centre of the British Film Insititue.
“With the original plan of four or five guests on stage per month already discarded for January, when we’ll welcome nine guests, we have an amazing event lined up. Our huge thanks go to those people giving up their time and travelling from different parts of the UK to be with us to share their memories of a show they worked on back in 1963.” Johnson says.
It appears that interest in the early years of Doctor Who is very much thriving among fans just as much as the more recent incarnations of ‘The Doctor’. The season will pay tribute to a different Doctor each month with 11 television incarnations and one on film, it makes a full 12-month cycle. (The 1960s films are not considered part of the ‘continuing story’.)
The first three months’ line up has been released with the very first story, and episode from 1963, An Unearthly Child being the first to be screened later today. The Tomb of the Cybermen from 1967 follows in February and the colour-restored The Mind of Evil from 1971 in March.
“We did have a list of all stories drawn up at the end of last year but I’m so glad we haven’t published it as it is constantly changing and for lots of different reasons.” Justin Johnson notes.
[Written by Mike Watkins, Source: BFI]