One day I will come back, yes, I will come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am correct in mine.
The above quote comes from the first Doctor, William Hartnell, saying goodbye to his granddaughter at the end of the story The Dalek Invasion of Earth during season two of the longest running science fiction television series Doctor Who.
The series made it’s debut at 5:15pm on Saturday, November 23rd, 1963, the day after President Kennedy had been assassinated. It told the story of two school teachers, Ian and Barbara, who tried to discover more about mysterious student Susan and in the process ended up lost in the fourth dimensional travels of Susan and her grandfather, known only as the Doctor.
Years would pass and actors would come and go. Even the Doctor himself changed actors thanks to it being revealed that he was in fact an alien, a centuries old TimeLord from the planet Gallifrey, who possessed the ability to regenerate into a new body up to thirteen times. Hundreds of wildly popular villains were introduced over the years, including the Daleks, Cybermen, Autons and more. Season after season of amazing, if cheaply produced, science fiction came forth from the BBC as the Doctor and his companions traveled through time and space in the TARDIS, the Doctor’s time machine.
However, even though it produced two movies, hundreds of books, comics and other merchandise, even the Doctor wasn’t immune to the ratings system and left the air at the end of 1989 with the episode Survival, which ended with the following quote:
There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea is asleep and the rivers dream. People made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we’ve got work to do.
It’s oddly appropriate then that the series should be coming back to the BBC during a holiday season that celebrates rebirth. The first episode with Christopher Eccleston as the 9th incarnation of the Doctor will be airing today in the United Kingdom at 7pm, over forty years after the TARDIS first appeared on television screens.
For more information on the new series, check out the BBC’s official Doctor Who page.