WANT! Doctor Who Stamps

In England the Royal Mail has released a 50th anniversary set of Doctor Who stamps. Here they are:

 

First Doctor: William Hartnell
Second Doctor: Patrick Troughton
Third Doctor: John Pertwee
Fourth Doctor: Tom Baker
Fifth Doctor: Peter Davison
Sixth Doctor: Colin Baker (this is my favorite of the batch)
Seventh Doctor: Sylvester McCoy
Eighth Doctor: Paul McGann
Ninth Doctor: Chris Eccleston
Tenth Doctor: David Tennant
Eleventh Doctor: Matt Smith

Lis says bye

Elisabeth Sladen
Elisabeth Sladen

Elisabeth Sladen has died.

Yesterday, April 19th, 2011, it was reported that Elisabeth Sladen died from cancer. She was only 63.

Elisabeth Sladen was best known for her role as Sarah Jane Smith, arguably the most popular “Doctor Who” companion ever. She first appeared on “Doctor Who” in 1973 as a companion to the Jon Pertwee Doctor. She stuck around for one regeneration, traveling with the Tom Baker Doctor for a while until leaving the series in 1983.

Unlike most of the Doctor’s companions, this was far from the last the audiences would see of Sarah Jane Smith. The character was so popular, she was given not only one spin-off series, but two. The first, “K-9 and Company,” only made it to the Pilot stage but the second, “The Sarah Jane Adventures,” was filming it’s fourth season when Ms. Sladen passed away. Sarah Jane (never call her just ‘Sarah’ unless you’re the Doctor) also appeared in the 20th anniversary special episode “The Five Doctors” and would later appear on the new incarnation of the series during David Tennant’s first season of the show.

I have to admit that the first story in which I saw Sarah Jane, she did not impress me much. She was written rather stereotypically female – screamy, falling over her own feet, etc. But my husband implored me to give her another chance. No companion (not even Amy Pond) has made me not watch “Doctor Who” so of course I did and Sarah Jane quickly became a favorite character of mine as well.

“Doctor Who” always had great writing and actors, but Elisabeth Sladen’s performances always stood out. She could hold her own against the sometimes intimidating and larger than life Doctor actors and brought an irresistible charm to Sarah Jane despite the fact that could often be quite ‘prickly.’ She was flawed and very human but an excellent role model to children, especially young girls.

She will be sorely missed.

Who's Anniversary Is it? That's right!

This past Sunday (November 23) was the 45th anniversary of the airing of the first Doctor Who episode on the BBC network entitled 100,000 B.C.

Originally intended as an educational program to teach children about history, it was soon obvious that the ratings always went up when the show had monsters and the education bit was left behind to make way for more fantastic story lines.

And lucky for us because despite its dull start, Doctor Who turned into one of the best written, albeit cheaply produced, programs on any continent. Even though it was still considered a children’s program the writing and acting were strong and with a bit of imagination the cheap special effects could be overlooked, allowing an enjoyment of a strong premise and story.

Doctor Who, for those of you not in the know, is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who travels the universe in his T.A.R.D.I.S. (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) – a space ship as well as a time machine – which has a broken chameleon circuit causing it to be stuck in its current shape, that of a blue, mid-twentieth century police box. Fortunately, it’s bigger on the inside than the outside.

The Time Lords are a noble race. Well, to be blunt, they can be rather snooty and condescending. The Doctor himself is sometimes just as bad, but he’s always been a sort of rebel. His fellow Time Lords often look down on him, even taking away his space travel privileges at times.

Time Lords have the ability to regenerate and can do so up to twelve times, meaning that eventually, there will have been thirteen doctors. Currently, the series is up to number ten and will soon move on to number eleven.

In his travels, the Doctor often picks up ‘companions’ mostly female humans, but sometimes they are alien and occasionally even male. The fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, seemed to prefer an entourage as opposed to a single companion but most of the time, the Doctor only has one tag along.

I’m a relatively new fan of Doctor Who. I had heard of the program, of course, but I had never seen it until I moved in with my husband 9 years ago. It took a few months before he made me watch a story and I won’t claim that I loved it from the start, but I liked it well enough to watch a few more stories.

I don’t even remember which Doctor was my first or which story but eventually I became a fan and although I like all the Doctors I have seen (I have yet to see a full story with the first Doctor) I do have my own favorite – Jon Pertwee, the third Doctor. Some of the best stories are in the fourth Doctor’s run (Tom Baker) but I’ve always loved how Pertwee played the part. He was strong, always in charge and while he was often curt and even harsh, he could be very kind and never backed away from a challenge.

I have to admit that I didn’t become a Big Fan until the newest series of Doctor Who, starting with Chris Eccleston, the ninth Doctor. Writing and good actors had always been Doctor Who’s strongest points and special effects had always been its weakest. Now the show not only had excellent writing and acting, it also had a budget to allow the show runners to realize the writer’s visions.

The new show also allowed the Doctor to be more ‘human,’ for lack of a better word. Maybe because he was now alone in the universe (the Time Lords, had been wiped out in a great war) his affection for his companions, especially Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), became deeper and much more personal lending more weight to the sometimes tragic story lines of the series.

Doctor Who has it all, really – science fiction, fantasy, drama, comedy, farce, tragedy, apocalypse, redemption, romance – you name it, it’s been in a Doctor Who story somewhere, and sometimes all in the same episode.

The Doctors:
1 – William Hartnell
2 – Patrick Troughton
3 – Jon Pertwee
4 – Tom Baker
5 – Peter Davison
6 – Colin Baker
7 – Sylvester McCoy
8 – Paul McGann
9 – Chris Eccleston
10 – David Tennant