On the 26th of March 2005 “Rose,” the very first episode of the revival of Doctor Who, was broadcast on BBC One. Viewers were introduced to the Ninth Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston and Rose Tyler played by Billie Piper in a script written by new series showrunner Russell T Davies. That was exactly ten years ago today. Let that sink in for a moment. Ten years.
Yes, I almost cannot believe that it has been exactly ten years since Doctor Who made its return to television screens after more than a decade and a half absence. TEN YEARS! If you had told me back in 2004 that just a year later Doctor Who would be returning, that the new series would run more than a decade, and that it would become a gigantic mega-hit not just in Britain but in America and numerous other countries, I would have laughed in your face. Yet here we are a decade later and that is exactly what has happened. As Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor was fond of saying, “Fantastic!”
I will readily admit that the first year of the revival was wildly uneven. But even so, it contained a few genuine classics, namely “Dalek,” “Father’s Day” and “The Empty Child” / “The Doctor Dances.” Certainly the portrayal of the Doctor by Eccleston was brilliant.
Since then we have had David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi all portraying the Doctor, each bringing something unique and wonderful to the role. We’ve also seen the final fate of Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, the revelation of the existence of the War Doctor portrayed by veteran thespian John Hurt, and even cameos by past Doctors Peter Davison and Tom Baker. Oh, yes, and the return of Sarah Jane Smith, played by the much loved (and now much missed) Elisabeth Sladen.
Oh, yeah, and there’s been a whole bunch of “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff,” enough to keep fans endlessly guessing… and arguing.
Obviously not every episode has been a brilliant success. There have inevitably been a few stinkers over the past decade. However, on the whole I believe that both Davies and his successor Steven Moffat have done good work keeping the series going, bringing it into the 21st Century.
Maybe it is just the nature of Doctor Who fans to complain, to argue “It isn’t as good as it used to be!” But, honestly, I really do think that some of the all time greatest installments of the series have been produced within the past decade. And I am eager to see what comes next.
So here’s to the next ten years of Doctor Who! Geronimo, allons-y, and all that!