Just what is Doctor Who?
In November of 1963, the British Broadcasting Corporation first aired a television program which was originally supposed to be aimed at children. Big time TV executive Sydney Newman, the BBC's first female producer Verity Lambert, and up-and-coming director Waris Hussein created a science fiction show that was supposed to teach science as well as entertain. This show was Doctor Who!
It featured the characters of Ian Chesterton (a young male science teacher), Barbara Wright (a young female history teacher), Susan Foreman (an unearthly child if there ever was one) and Susan's grandfather known only as The Doctor. The teachers end up on The Doctor's time machine, known as a T.A.R.D.I.S. (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), which could take them anywhere and anywhen...
The Doctor was first played by aging actor William Hartnell. He played him as an anti-hero, sometimes being cruel. But he was an alien. When the actor was getting to sick to play him, Sydney Newman had an idea to have his character rejuvenate or as it was later cemented in canon: Regenerate!
Patrick Troughton was the replacement and played him quite differently. He was quite funny... a hobo in space as it were. After him was the dandy Jon Pertwee who played him almost like James Bond. Next were Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker (no relation), and Sylvester McCoy. Then in 1989, the TV series ended. Or so the BBC thought...
The show regenerates!!!!
Starting in 1991, a series of books with New Adventures started. Then in 1996, a TV movie/pilot made in America airing on the FOX network starring Paul McGann gave fans false hope. Doctor Who: The Movie was shown opposite the "Dan suffers a heart attack" episode of the highly popular ABC show Rosanne which trounced the tele-movie in the ratings and no follow up was to come.
In 1999, Big Finish Productions started releasing a series of audio adventures with the previous actors from the series starring in new stories. The books and the audios were all the fans had left of the series, apart from VHS and then DVD releases. But in 2003, it was announced that Russell T Davies, creator of Queer as Folk, was bringing the show back proper. Finally starting to air on Easter Saturday in 2005, Christopher Eccleston was the 9th actor to portray The Doctor. Only staying with the now hugely popular show for a season, he was replaced by David Tennant who played him with a manic tone and the ratings went even higher. After roughly 5 years working on the show, he was replaced with Matt Smith, a younger actor who played the character of The Doctor even older. Matt was the Doctor through the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who (which featured a special episode with David Tennant returning as well as adding another version of The Doctor played by Oscar winner John Hurt).
However, this past Christmas The Doctor regenerated once more into actor Peter Capaldi... This show seemingly can never die.... Allons-y!!!