Fifty years (and a week and a day) ago, on a late Saturday afternoon (November 23, 1963 to be exact) BBC1 aired a science fiction television show called Dr. Who. It ran for 26 seasons until December of 1989 when it finally went off the air.
The Doctor said hello briefly again in 1996 via a TV movie.
In March of 2005, BBC brought the Doctor back for a full season, and here we are eight years later, with the 50-year anniversary special Day of the Doctor becoming the highest rating show ever on BBC America.
Sold out screenings of the TV show were held in cinemas across the US. Tumblr bloggers showed their love by making it the TV event with the most activity on the site—bigger than the VMA, Grammys and The Superbowl combined. Ninety-four countries around the world broadcast this show—except for the Philippines.
The “Whovian Philippines” page on Facebook has 1,616 members as of this writing. Local fans organized the Doctor a 50th anniversary party and sold out all their tickets. I’ve written about Dr. Who some years back and the fandom has gotten only bigger and bigger noticeably so in North America and here.
Can someone please explain to me why the current and exceedingly popular and well-loved new batch of Dr. Who shows isn’t being broadcast here yet? Not that it will matter to most of these fans because they’re resourceful and have many ways to get their Who fix. But still, it would be rather delightful.
Some members of Whovian Philippines do recall when it was broadcast here: Patrick Salamat and Borgy Borgonia watched episodes on GMA-7. Borgy says the run lasted from 1987 to 1990 “starting with the fourth Doctor and ending with the seventh.” Another chap, Roberto Trinidad, says, “Back in the ‘70s I watched a Dr. Who episode with Jon Pertwee on Channel 2 when it was known as the Banahaw Broadcasting Corp. (BBC). It was only recently that I found out that the episode was ‘Inferno’.”
Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss who are the key creatives behind Dr. Who, also unleashed the BBC’s Sherlock in 2010 with brilliant writing and the genius tandem of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes. That’s also another gem of a show, bringing characters dreamt up by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle over 120 years ago to present day London. But alas, no takers among the free TV or cable networks here.