‘Doctor Who’ celebrates 50 years

"The Day of the Doctor" starring Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt, Jenna Coleman and Billie Piper to air simultaneously in 75 countries on Saturday.

By YONI COLLINS
November 19, 2013 21:42
3 minute read.
Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt star in 'The Day of the Doctor.'

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special 370. (photo credit: doctorwhotv.co.uk)



After 50 years, 11 actors, 33 seasons, and 798 episodes, BBC series Doctor Who marks its 50th anniversary this Saturday.

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In celebration of the anniversary BBC is set to air The Day of the Doctor, a 50th anniversary special which stars Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman and John Hurt with David Tennant and Billie Piper reprising their roles. The episode is scheduled to simultaneously broadcast in more than 75 countries, including Israel, and will be screened in 3D in select cinemas around the world.



The highly successful series’ first air date was greatly overlooked due to the announcement of the assassination of John F. Kennedy the previous day. The English series that rebooted in 2005 is the longest running science fiction series ever released. Since then it has become a global phenomenon and has large fan bases across the globe.

One of those fan bases is in Israel and in a recent interview, a local fan of the series, Elisha Hodes, shared his thoughts on the series’ development since he began watching it in 2005. Having lived in England before making aliyah, Hodes was brought up with Doctor Who.

“The last three seasons have become more popular in America, and here in Israel,” Hodes tells The Jerusalem Post. He goes on to explain that he believes the casting of Matt Smith was the trigger of this major increase in global fans, though he personally preferred Smith’s predecessor David Tennant. Hodes heard the news of Tennant’s return with excitement.

“I don’t know how they will fit David in but I think it’s really great that they’re bringing all the old character’s back,” he says joyfully.

The series has gone through much development since its resurrection in 2005.

“I personally preferred seasons two, four, and five,” explains Hodes. “Lately I think it’s been a bit farfetched but it’s still good.”

In anticipation of the upcoming episode, BBC released a short episode which acts as a prequel to the anniversary special, titled The Night of the Doctor, in which they surprised fans with the return of Paul McGann.



The eighth actor to play the Doctor only appeared as the time traveler once previously in the Doctor Who Television Film in 1996, after which the show took a nine-year halt until its reboot with Christopher Eccleston taking over the TARDIS.

Both the prequel and the special were written by chief writer and executive producer of the series Steven Moffat. Moffat, who has been a life-long fan of the series, was inspired to work as a television writer while watching Doctor Who as a child.

In addition to the short prequel, BBC has been airing documentaries about the time lord since the start of the week and has been re-airing older episodes in preparation of its year 50 milestone.

However, there is a bittersweet feeling to the celebration for Matt Smith, the youngest of the 11 actors to play the role, who has been the lead part of the show for the past four years. This year’s annual Christmas special, the episode following the 50th anniversary special, will be Smith’s final appearance on the series and the honor of the role will be given to Peter Capaldi, who has been seen twice this year, in the films World War Z and The Fifth Estate.

“They’re introducing a new doctor,” Hodes says. “I don’t know what to expect. I just hope that it’s not a disappointment; that it’s like the old Doctor Who.”

Though 50 years is already a fantastic achievement, the series is far from ended with the eighth series since the reboot currently in development and expected to be aired in 2014.

The 50th anniversary episode will air in Israel on YES Action this Saturday at 9:50 p.m.


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