Long-running television show, Doctor Who, has had to weather all kinds of storms over its 55 years on the airwaves. It started right at the beginning of its life, with the premiere episode, “An Unearthly Child,” rebroadcast the next week due in part to the widespread blackouts that occurred in Great Britain that night along with the fact that it originally aired the day after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, which dominated the news cycles.
Over time, the show has had to endure many other production issues, including numerous changes in lead characters, financial woes, and even underwent a 16-year hiatus, where fans had to make do with books, audio plays, and an Americanized television movie that premiered in 1996 starring Paul McGann.
However, it seems nothing scared the producers of Doctor Who more than the arrival of Star Wars in 1977.
Speaking at a BFI screening of the classic Doctor Who story Genesis of the Daleks, starring Tom Baker, Philip Hinchcliffe reminisced on the day he attended a screening of Star Wars along with acclaimed television director, Douglas Camfield, and thought the film spelled the end for the television show after seeing it.
“The first shot was of the starship going over, and I said to Dougie, ‘The game’s up – we’re dead.'”
That is a fairly logical argument, considering what a game changer Star Wars was, given the fact that most science fiction television shows and movies at the time had low budgets and were considered to be niche programming, which presented him with some fairly unique challenges as a producer.
“Sci-fi in the ’60s and ’70s was not really welcomed by television programmers… nobody wanted sci-fi… it was very much a niche sort of thing, an acquired taste. There were a certain number of producers in the BBC series department, and I don’t think any of them really wanted to produce this program”
Thankfully, Hinchcliffe’s premonition did not come true, as the show kept up with the times as the genre became more popular. Baker would go on to star in several classic stories and the show continued to thrive well into the 80’s to today, when is arguably more popular than ever thanks to its sizable international audience with obsessed fans like myself who relish every detail about the upcoming season.
Personally, as much as I like the Star Wars movies, I find them to be overrated, since they lack ambition story-wise, and do not do anything to stimulate my imagination or intellect the way Doctor Who does.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Doctor Who made a mistake in not becoming more like Star Wars? Do you find the show overrated? If so, why?
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SOURCE: Digital Spy