The very first episode of Doctor Who aired on November 23, 1963. That means that this month is the 60th anniversary of one of the most prolific and extraordinary shows to ever grace the small screen. To celebrate the momentous occasion, three special episodes were created and prescreened at a gala where all the Time Lords of the past were invited to attend.
In the video above, the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, and the Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy shared their thoughts on what it’s like to be a part of such an iconic series. Baker appeared in Doctor Who first, beginning at the end of the final episode of The Caves of Androzani in 1984. As the sixth incarnation, Baker portrayed an arrogant and flamboyant Doctor known for sporting brightly colored and mismatched clothing and featuring a brash, often patronizing personality.
In the storyline of the series, the Doctor is an ancient Time Lord who has existed for centuries and hails from the planet Gallifrey. This extraterrestrial being travels through time and space in the TARDIS, often accompanied by companions. Upon reaching the end of life, the Doctor undergoes a process called regeneration, leading to a transformation in both physical appearance and personality (which is how the series has come to cast so many different actors).
At the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary gala, Baker described what it was like to watch the series for the first time. The actor told the audience that he was a law student in London when the series first aired in 1963 and he’d come home to find the first episode of the sci-fi adventure playing on the television. While Baker admits that the special effects of the original season look kind of cheesy now, at the time, they were state of the art, and Baker, who was entranced by what he saw, watched the entire episode standing in his entryway next to his banister.
Meanwhile, Sylvester McCoy, who played the Seventh Doctor, shared his thoughts on who Doctor Who is at the character’s core. “He’s kind of a humble person who wants to fight for good and help humanity,” the actor said. McCoy’s portrayal of Doctor Who was a departure from Bakers, playing a more capricious and reflective incarnation that quickly becomes evasive and manipulative.
Current showrunner for Doctor Who Russell T Davies expressed the “honor” he felt in contributing to television, particularly to the “crown jewels” that are the Doctor Who episodes. He emphasized the significance of creating the show with love, especially given that many of the cast and crew have children who are avid viewers.
As Doctor Who marks its remarkable 60th anniversary this month, the series will release three special episodes that will be available for fans to screen beginning November 25. As Time Lords of the past reunited in one time and space for the screening of these episodes, it was clear that this series has not only left a memorable mark on the hearts of science fiction lovers around the world but that it had left an unforgettable imprint on the hearts of those who have created the show as well.