50 Glorious Years: Episode 2 - 1964
1964 was a special year for Doctor Who, in that it was the first full calendar year of Doctor Who’s existence. With the runaway success of the Daleks, Doctor Who itself became a runaway success and more and more families tuned in sit down and watch the adventures (similar to the photo above - kids, parents and grandparents). By 1964 Doctor Who was already being sold to other countries for broadcast around the world, with New Zealand being first to air the series abroad. By the end of the year, Doctor Who featured its first returning villains/monsters (the Daleks, naturally) as well as the departure of one of its regular cast members, thus setting up (fairly early on in retrospect) the notion that Doctor Who could go on without having to retain the same cast (an aspect that would feature in spades in years to come and ultimately ensure that the series would run ad infinitum).
To put things in pespective, let’s cast our minds back to what else was happening during Doctor Who’s first full calendar year. The Dalek Invasion of Earth wasn’t the only invasion to occur - this is the same year that The Beatles “invaded” America, getting their first US number one with “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and soon after appearing on the Ed Sullivan show, launching “Beatlemania” in the process. The UK launched just it’s third television channel with BBC2 in April of that year (when Doctor Who started, it just had the one channel, ITV, to compete against). There were just six NHL teams (with the Stanley Cup Winners that year being the Toronto Maple Leafs). The first NFL Super Bowl was still three years away. Canada’s population was less than 20 Million. “BASIC”, the high-level computer programming language was introduced. The average cost of a new car was said to be $3,500, while a loaf of bread would set you back an entire 21 cents. And a whole year of Doctor Who was broadcast for the first time. It’s a whole year that Doctor Who fans can still enjoy, although 7 episodes (the entirety of Marco Polo) are currently only available on audio - the other two episodes not in the BBC archives from this year, episodes 4 and 5 of The Reign of Terror have now been animated and will be released on DVD for home viewing very soon. Speaking of which, another technological development this year was the introduction by Sony of the first VCR for home video recording - too bad they were so expensive that nobody back then (or for the next 12 or so years) actually owned one. Still though, it will be great to sit down and watch The Reign of Terror on television from start to finish, and I believe that one day we’ll hopefully be able to do that with many more missing episodes, one way or another.
Posted by Luca on Sunday, January 13 at 12:14 pm