50 Glorious Years: Episode 23 - 1985
I know what some of you are thinking - 1985 wasn’t a glorious year for Doctor Who because the hiatus happened - a body blow against the show in which a BBC management that was anti-thetical to the show tried to cancel it resulting in a public knocking of the show and a loss of confidence by the British public, which ultimately led to the show being effectively cancelled after 1989.
It’s true that this happened in 1985 but it was still a glorious year for Doctor Who. First there was the content of the programme itself. Season 22 was Colin Baker’s first full year as the Doctor and the first season for the show to be made exclusively in 45-minute episodes, featuring the return of the Cybermen, the Daleks, the Sontarans and the 2nd Doctor and Jamie! A deeper foray into black humour than we’d ever seen before, contrary to what the reappearance of so many classic monsters and characters might suggest, the show was definitely breaking new ground 22 seasons in, which is no mean feat!
It was also a glorious year to be a 12 or 13 year old fan, at least in North America. We were still getting new Peter Davison episodes in my area in 1985 (the final “new” one not being The Caves of Androzani, but rather long-delayed The Five Doctors which the BBC always charged more for. With TVO unable or unwilling to purchase it and my local PBS station seemingly unable to afford the extra price tag, there was a time when I thought I’d never ever seen The Five Doctors. That might have been over 30 years since I thought that, but I still remember that feeling and don’t take it for granted today. A bunch of “new” Jon Pertwee’s were also shown in my area for the first time in 1985 - stories that for various reasons (much to do with not existing fully or at all in colour at the time) hadn’t been included in previous Pertwee packages. Target novels continued to flow into bookstores and then into fan’s hands after they purchased them. All in all, the notion of Tom Baker being the “only” or “main” Doctor had dissipated at this time amongst fans given the success Pertwee and Davison’s episodes during this time. The show was entering into a troublesome period in the UK, but in North America its popularity truly was at an all time high (and so was DWIN’s membership). On the verge of breaking into the mainstream, a shrewd BBC management would have tried to cultivate that, but that isn’t what the BBC had at the time in relation to Doctor Who. Still, this is a celebration, so the less said about that, the better. 1985 was still a great time to be a Doctor Who fan.
Posted by Luca on Thursday, June 20 at 8:01 pm