As a nine-year-old I saw the first episode in grainy black and white in November 1963 and was spellbound. There was nothing like it on TV
at the time and the whole idea of a science fiction series exploring adventures in space and time was enthralling. From then up to about ten years later I was hooked, but nothing in the series ever surpassed the first two adventures, An Unearthly Child, and The Daleks. I also loved the theme music: I had never heard electronic music before and it was mesmerising and way ahead of its time. I used to count the hours down to 5.30 every Saturday when it was showing.
That was long before the era of videotapes and repeats, so all I had were memories of those two adventures burned into my mind. Then, sometime in the '80s, the BBC released some of the early adventures on video, and I bought An Unearthly Child. What an eye-opener: I couldn't believe it was so amateurish -- even some of the sets were shaking, and the camerawork, well, I could have done better myself . . . Still, it just goes to show how a wide-eyed child's imagination can be fired-up so easily and how something so simple can leave such a lasting impression. All TV
in the 1960s was (by our standards) badly made, but we had no great expectations as it was all so new.
Also, no Doctor will ever live up to the original, William Hartnell -- he was the quintessential eccentric Englishman and absolutely PERFECT for the role, and once he bowed out in 1966 I started to lose interest. However, every Doctor Who fan probably thinks their first Doctor was the best.
I didn't approve when they changed the format from alternating between time and space adventures to being entirely space-based. History was one of my pet hates in school, and that was partly due to the way it was taught, learning names and dates by rote. Doctor Who brought history alive, and I was particularly fascinated by The Reign of Terror, which was set in the French revolution. I learned more about history from the good Doctor than all my books in school.
Funny, a friend of mine sells books, and the publishers offloaded a pile of Doctor Who books commemorating the 50th anniversary on him in the run-up to Christmas. He reckoned hardly anyone would want them, and was about to return most, only to discover that they were selling like hotcakes.
There was a film made around 1966 -- Doctor Who and the Daleks, I think, and I couldn't wait to see it. What a disappointment! I wasn't prepared for the slickness and polish of a film, compared to the familiarity and cosiness of the TV
sets. I much-preferred the security of the latter.
I must search out some of the earlier episodes and have a nice trip down memory lane . . . and a good laugh. I haven't seen any episodes for nearly 40 years so I don't know what it's like now, but I would certainly look on the earlier adventures as probably being the most memorable TV
series ever -- and even possibly my favourite, apart from comedy.