Doctor Who - Television
Doctor Who Television Shows
Note: Since the Type40 website has incorporated Doctor Who television shows into it's Episode Guides section, these links will re-direct you there. There are links within the Episode Guide section that will re-direct you back to this section as well.
Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction television show in the universe. There were twenty-six seasons during its regular run with two cinematic movies (not directly related to the television series) and one made for television movie.
Doctor Who first aired on November 23, 1963 and featured William Hartnell as the Doctor. He is not referred to as "Doctor Who" but simply the Doctor. William Hartnell portrayed the Doctor for a little more than three seasons when he was forced to quit due to health problems. Instead of cancelling the popular show, the writers devised a way to keep it going. Since the Doctor is not human, they came up with a way that he could "regenerate" into a completely new person. This opened to the door to Patrick Troughton to take over. He played the Doctor until 1970 when Jon Pertwee became the Doctor and the format was changed to color episodes. Since then Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy have played the Doctor in the regular series. During Colin Baker's tenure the show was put on hiatus for 16 months with the probability that it would be brought back up in the air. It was but was cancelled just a few years later.
When Doctor Who's run came to and end in 1989, there were over 100 episodes, all from the first three Doctors' eras, missing. Evidently, the BBC cleaned out some of the old footage it had in storage and, whether by accident or design, these episodes were destroyed. Over the years some of these Doctor Who episodes have been recovered but many remain missing. To see information on these episodes look at Doctor Who Gateway.
To the delight of many fans worldwide, Doctor Who was brought back to television in a movie that aired on Fox starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. Although met with criticism by fans, this helped to spur Doctor Who back into the spotlight for many people.
Doctor Who returned to television in 2005 and has since been picked up for at least two more seasons. It has also spawn at least two spin-off's: Torchwood - a more adult show featuring Captain Jack from the first season of the new Doctor Who and Sarah Jane Investigates featuring Sarah Jane Smith, the famous companion from the 70's.
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