5 things to know about 'Doctor Who' for beginners
A piece of happy news came for Doctor Who fans on Sunday as Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa was announced as the next Doctor. Gatwa will be taking over the mantle from Jodie Whittaker as the first Black actor to play the lead role. Now, if you are a new fan just discovering the BBC science fiction series, here are five introductory facts.
First things first, the Doctor is a Time Lord, which is an ancient alien species from the planet Gallifrey who can travel through time. An eccentric scientist, the Doctor travels across time and space in a shape-shifting craft TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space), which is parked as a blue police box on Earth. The show tells the intergalactic adventures of the Doctor.
In the long-running television series, regeneration is a biological ability exhibited by the Time Lords, using which they renewed themselves. This storyline helped showrunners to cast different actors as the Doctor and keep the show going. This was thought out when the First Doctor aka William Hartnell (who was the Doctor from 1963-1966) could no longer play the part due to his health.
Originally created as a children's show, Doctor Who ran for 26 years, from 1963 to 1989. It featured seven different Doctors, with Tom Baker essaying the character the longest (1974-81). Then, in 2005, the series received a major reboot and we got six other Doctors. The Tenth Doctor, David Tennant's version, especially became super famous with him playing the role for six years.
Running across five decades, the British show didn't have a female Doctor up until its 11th season. Thankfully, new showrunner Chris Chibnall decided it was time to change that, and Whittaker was cast as the Thirteenth Doctor. In 2018, the actor's first episode as the manic scientist went on to become the most-watched Doctor Who episode in more than 10 years.
While the Doctor has many skills and abilities to battle genocidal aliens and other evil, is the character an actual doctor? This question has also been answered in the series. In the fourth season, the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) said, "Yes, I think I was once, Polly [referring to his companion]. I think I took a degree once in Glasgow. 1888 I think."
If you're set to become a Whovian, these might be the best episodes to start: Rose (opening episode of the 2005 reboot), Spearhead From Space (introduction to Third Doctor and color episodes), and The Eleventh Hour (Eleventh Doctor's welcome with a new cast and production).