Today, 26 March, is seven years since the start of 21st-century Doctor Who
– when the world’s longest-running science-fiction TV series moved into a new era.
To mark the occasion, the first official trailer for the 2012 run of episodes has been released by BBC America. The trailer, which includes scenes from the first couple of episodes of the new series, majors on footage from the recent filming that took place in Spain.
The Good, the Bad and the Doctor
The episode itself is set in America’s Wild West, with filming having taken place in and around the Spanish town that was used for the 1960’s Sergio Leone-directed Spaghetti Westerns
that starred Clint Eastwood as the “Man With No Name”.
The trailer actually premiered over the weekend to attendees of the Doctor Who Convention
, in Cardiff – the first official BBC convention since the one held almost 30 years ago, in 1983, to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary.
Since its return in 2005, the Doctor has been played by four actors. Christopher Eccleston was the Ninth Doctor (2005), David Tennant the Tenth (2005–10) and Matt Smith the Eleventh (2010–present). Peter Davison – who played the Fifth Doctor from 1981–4 – reprised his role in a one-off mini-episode, Steven Moffat’s Time Crash
, in 2007.
The first episode of 21st-century-revived Doctor Who
, was written by Russell T Davies. It starred Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler. Although, at the time, many UK television pundits believed the revived show would fail, the episode was watched by a staggering 11 million viewers, and over the last seven years the show has gone from a cult favourite to the BBC’s flagship drama.
The first-ever episode of Doctor Who
– An Unearthly Child
– was broadcast on Saturday, 23 November 1963. Written by Anthony Coburn, the story starred William Hartnell as the Doctor. His companions were played by Carole Ann Ford (Susan Foreman), William Russell (Ian Chesterton) and Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright).
At the time, the series got off to a rather shaky start. With its debut having taken place the day after the assassination of America’s President John F. Kennedy, the BBC decided to repeat it the following Saturday, immediately before the second episode went out. Critical response to the new series was summed up by a review that appeared in the Guardian two days later. Of the first episode, Mary Crozier wrote
, “[T]he space and time serial has fallen off badly soon after getting underway […] there was little to thrill.” She went on to describe
the second episode as “a depressing sequel […] ludicrous”.
Six episodes of the seventh series will be broadcast towards the end of 2012, with the remaining eight episodes to follow in early 2013. The series will see the departure of
Amy and Rory Pond (played by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill) and the introduction, in the Christmas special, of a new companion, to be played by
Of the 50th anniversary itself, the BBC are remaining tight-lipped, although Moffat has previously promised
“there will be more episodes of Doctor Who
than we’ve ever had”. And, with the anniversary itself falling on a Saturday, expectations are high for any run of episodes to include a special on 23 November itself.