Saturday 26th March 2005. 7pm. BBC One. The world waited in anticipation for the familiar sounds of the blue policebox housing a man who would take them on a lifetime of adventure and excitement.
Yes, exactly 10 years ago today what is now dubbed as ‘New Who’ graced our screens for the first time. With Christopher Eccleston taking to the helm of the TARDIS accompanied by the brilliant Billie Piper, we didn’t quite realise just how much of an impact this BBC family drama would have on our lives.
I must admit that I actually didn’t watch Doctor Who from the very beginning. I only really found out about it towards the end of the first series when I watched ‘The Empty Child’. But I was hooked. I remember feeling sad that Christopher Eccleston would be leaving after one series, and was very skeptical about this ‘David Tennant’ I was seeing on my screen. Then when David left (my favourite Doctor to date) I was inconsolable. His leaving episode, on New Year’s Day no less, was one of THE most heartbreaking TV moments I have ever seen.
Now Matt Smith was an entirely different story. I had known who David was a little bit, but I had absolutely no idea of any of Matt’s previous work. So when I watched the programme to announce the new doctor I was absolutely on edge. Who was this young man? How could they seriously think that he could fill such big shoes? Boy was that a genius piece of casting! Matt brought such a sense of fun and silliness to the programme. His energy was infectious even through the boundaries of the television screen. He just made you smile.
And that’s what I love about Who. The happiness it brings. 10 years ago it was a show known mostly for it’s cardboard cybermen and tinfoil daleks. Today Doctor Who teaches you a lesson. Donna taught us that we’re all clever in our own way. River taught us that even nerds can be badass. Ten taught us to never hide our emotions. Eleven teach us that being different is cool. Doctor Who has and continues to teach us a lot, but really it teaches us to trust in other people, and never travel through life alone.
So Happy Birthday New Who! Thank you for the memories, and I look forward to more to come.
Images courtesy of the Radio Times.