With the look of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor revealed on the BBC website, it is interesting to note how Dr Who has been transformed through old and new media. The way in which The Doctor was brought to life via a flexible format – and sustained by regeneration when William Hartnell became too ill to play the part – is now Whovian folklore. A lesser known labour of love to An Adventure in Space and Time, ‘On The Outside It Looked Like An Old Fashioned Police Box’ gave Mark Gatiss the opportunity to examine the Time Lord as a media icon. More specifically, he addressed how Target novels kept dreams of the Tardis alive before VHS, Netflicks or digital download in the 1970s.
The idea that the genius of Dr Who lies in the story telling, which is raised when using the Target books as an example, is later revisited in Dr Who, Who Made Who. Everyone’s favourite Time Lord is placed within historical context, and as having come to life at a time when World War II was still fresh in the memories of most Britons. Science fiction was a way of exploring the effects of war. For example, acts like The Beatles had grown up playing in the craters of a heavily bombed Liverpool.
The pioneering work of Delia Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop should also been recognized. Documentaries like The Alchemists of Sound and Me, You and Dr Who identify how her Doctor Who theme tune was ahead of its time.
The William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton years now appeal to a generation of fans where black and white video is a foreign country. The character driven stories make for ideal viewing on mobile devices, while the discovery of lost episodes keep the two Doctors alive.