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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Doctor Who

Doctor Who "Bigger on the inside..."

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Old December 17 2013, 06:49 PM   #1
Redfern
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For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

Who among us reading this thread were first exposed to Doctor Who during the heyday of the 1980s on various PBS affiliates? The following article, now presented as a PDF document proved invaluable to me.

https://archive.org/stream/starlog_m...e/n34/mode/1up

This was my "primer" for Doctor Who, issue 23 of the media sci-fi coverage magazine, StarLog. When WFSU started airing "teasers" for its recent purchase in the summer of 1982, I retrieved this issue from my collection and read the article with keener interest than I did when I first purchased my copy. Besides providing an overview of the series, it printed an episode guide for Tom Baker's first 4 years of the program. (The BBC was stilling recording his 5th series when this issue was distributed. By the time WFSU started to air it, Tom had already left the show and Peter Davison had taken the role.)

There were a lot of details the article didn't cover, or mentioned only in passing, but at the time, it was the only information I had available. Well, other than a "tongue in cheek" article "Famous Monsters of Filmland" printed in an issue highlighting the sequel to "WestWorld" titled "FutureWorld". The latter publication had quips like "Doctor Who...son of Fu Manchu?" and other "zingers" that offered little useful information. Actually, it might have been a reprint of an article originally written in the 60s when William Hartnell was still playing the role.

I used the episode guide to keep track of the upcoming serials, particularly how many episodes composed a particular story.

I thought some of you might get a little smile from this bit of "history". ;-)

Sincerely,

Bill
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Old December 17 2013, 07:04 PM   #2
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

I got that issue when it came and the Famous Monsters of Filmland issue too, I still have them somewhere. Famous Monsters of Filmland just came out with their Doctor Who Anniversary issue too.
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Old December 17 2013, 07:15 PM   #3
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

I think it was the very late 70s for me with PBS out of Boston or NH (can't remember if it was channel 2 or 11). Didn't grab onto it right away, though, as I could not manage to watch the serialized stories with sufficient regularity (I would often catch only one part of a story at a time). Came back to it when I got a bit older and in greater control of my TV viewing (didn't need parental approval for TV time by then).
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Old December 17 2013, 07:20 PM   #4
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

I lost the Famous Monsters issue years ago. To make sure we're "on the same page", this is the one I had, issue 129, with a cover painting of the faceless android train conductor.

http://www.comicvine.com/famous-mons...9/4000-158290/

That was my very first exposure of ANY kind to Doctor Who. Hmm, maybe not. I had purchased two different issues of Vampirella (the original Warren Magazine publication) before I got that Famous Monsters volume, and the mail order section in the back (which all Warren publications printed) may have listed some of the Target novelizations for sale. Of course, those entries were small filling only a small section of a single page and the cover art was literally the size of a postage stamp, no larger. But issue 129 had the first article I ever saw, silly at it was.

But issue 23 of StarLog allowed me to start watching the Tom Baker serials without totally befuddled...just partially.

Silly as this may sound, I particularly enjoyed the show because it helped fill something of a pop culture void. I was rather bummed when earlier that summer, my childhood hero, Spock, "died" in "The Wrath of Khan", which at the time, was handled as though permanent. Enter the Doctor, another character that resolved threats (usually) not through fistacuffs, but through his intelligence, much like Spock. Plus, the StarLog issue assured me this character would never "bite the big one". Oh, his face and outward personality might change, but what made him, well, him, would survive. How cool was that?!

Sincerely,

Bill
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Old December 17 2013, 07:24 PM   #5
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

I was a kid while watching Doctor Who on PBS during the 80's so I never saw that edition. Still, that period was a shining moment of childhood. "Doctor Who is on PBS tonight!"

My mom still has a box full of VHSes that she recorded of the show on PBS.
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Old December 17 2013, 07:34 PM   #6
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

Funny enough, I do, too. Unless the tapes have degraded beyond the ability to play, I still have every serial from "Spearhead from Space" through "Castrovalva" with a smattering of "selected" serials up through "Survival" on VHS. my markets, WFSU and Georgia Public Brodcasting, never aired any of the Hartnells or Troughtons (save for a special pledge break airing of "An Unearthly Child"), even though the latter market claimed it would get them.

Sincerely,

Bill
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Old December 17 2013, 08:03 PM   #7
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

My local PBS station (KETC in St. Louis) started running Doctor Who in late 1982 on Sunday nights (10 pm CST) where it would run entire stories edited together as 90-minute to 2+ hour movies and started off with Tom Baker's first story. I really didn't become hooked on the show until the following year, but I became a fan for life.

Over time, my station was said to be fourth in the U.S. as far Doctor Who was concerned, and did go out of its way to get every single story that was available at the time, so I was able to see every Doctor up until the show went on hiatus in 1989 (it kept running it--from Hartnell's first story to McCoy's last--for several more years afterward though). Those were great times because the local Doctor Who fan club was very much involved and did participate in local PBS pledge drives and sci-fi/Doctor Who conventions.
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Old December 17 2013, 08:19 PM   #8
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

WUNC used to show it on Saturday afternoons, but it never seemed like there was a consistent schedule...so I would turn it there and just hope that some time between noon and 4 in the afternoon an episode would come on...seems like I recall learning the mythology of the show from browsing a book at my local Waldenbooks...
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Old December 17 2013, 08:32 PM   #9
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

WFSU started with episodic airings Monday through Friday around 6 PM or there abouts. A few weeks later, It started to air whole stories in an uninterrpted "movie" format on Saturday nights starting at 9. About a year and a half later, a few months after it aired "The Five Doctors", Georgia Public Broadcasting started airing the "omnibus" movie format on Saturadys an hour later, 10 PM. So, for a few years, I had episodic DW weekdays and "movies" twice on Saturdays with a bit of overlap during the 10 PM hour.

I can't remember if WFSU stopped the Saturday or the weekday airings first, but I think it was the Monday-Friday showings. Eventually, it dropped saturdays as well, leaving just GPB to carry the baton. But it too finally wrapped up around 1990, maybe 91.

But it was fun while it lasted!

Sincerely,

Bill
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Old December 17 2013, 09:32 PM   #10
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

WTTW, channel 11 in Chicago ran it Sunday nights starting (I think) in the late 70's.

All they had was Tom Baker for so many years, then some Davison, more Tom Baker, then Pertwee, etc.

We never saw Hartnell or Troughton nor the last series of McCoy.
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Old December 17 2013, 09:39 PM   #11
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

My brother used to watch it on PBS (KTEH Channel 54 in San Jose, CA) at 6pm every weeknight, and I thought it looked stupid.

I was a Junior in High School, and worked at a restaurant around the corner, and had to be there at 6:30, so, I started watching, since it was only 25 minutes long. After awhile, I was hooked. At some point (Not sure if before or after I started watching), KTEH also ran a full Serial on Saturday Nights (No omnibus, just the full episodes, one after another) along with various other British SciFi (Blake's 7; UFO, etc). I knew absolutely nothing about what was coming, no spoilers, so every surprise was a surprise, including finding out Tom Baker wasn't the only Doctor (Started watching with Seeds of Doom), and I never spoiled myself by finding out when the Regeneration episodes were. They played Tom Baker through a couple times, and then acquired Davison, C. Baker, McCoy, Pertwee, Hartnell and Troughton as they were available (Though back then, not many Hartnell and Troughtons were available).

Also Channel 6 or Channel 9 did an episode a weekend afternoon.
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Old December 17 2013, 10:20 PM   #12
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

I'm sure my PBS station in Sacramento ran a lot of different seasons, but the only ones I remember seeing were with McCoy's Doctor.

In fact my earliest memory of DW is watching Seven and Ace run around in rock quarries and through dingy hallways. I can't say I was terribly enthralled or impressed by the show, but it was one of the very few scifi shows on TV so I watched anyway.

Sad to say, but at the time I regarded it as just another cheap Lost in Space.
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Old December 18 2013, 02:35 AM   #13
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

WVIZ in Cleveland was showing Doctor Who when I discovered it in 1980. I have fond memories of that primitive time; the only way I could see the show was to take my portable B&W TV up into my parents attic, where I could get a viable signal for a half-hour. It sure as hell wasn't hi-def, but the sometimes static-ridden black and white images only seemed to enhance the show's charm and mystique.

And of course, Tom was the Doctor at the time, so that pretty much formed my perception of the show.

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Old December 18 2013, 03:03 AM   #14
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

Yup PBS out of Boston in 1983 for me!
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Old December 18 2013, 04:39 AM   #15
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Re: For the veteran PBS viewers of the 1980s

Living in Calgary, we received KSPS, the PBS station from Spokane. I was introduced to Dr. Who in 83 at the ripe old age of 7. My dad was flipping channels one day, and came across it. He was excited to show it to us, because he watched it in his teens and he wanted something that we could all watch together. KSPS started out running the half hour shows Mon-Fri at 6pm I believe. Then they switched to the omnibus versions airing Saturday nights at 10. Saturday night became Dr Who night, we would watch it as a family and we got to stay up late and have some pop and popcorn. My favorite nights were the pledge nights. They usually showed 3 or 4 omnibus stories, one of them always being The Five Doctors. In the late 80's very early 90's they moved it to 1030pm, so that they could show Red Dwarf at 10. Talk about an awesome one two combination of awesome programming.

Unfortunately they never aired any Hartnell or Troughton stories with the possible exception of An Unearthly Child. For the longest time, my only exposure to the first 2 Doctors was limited to "The Three Doctors" "The Five Doctors" and "The Two Doctors"

Some of my fondest memories are from the Saturday nights we spent as a family watching Dr Who. Every time I watch an old story, it takes me back to a dark living room, with me holding an oversized glass of pop and a bowl of popcorn, watching excitedly so that we could all talk about our favourite moments after....good times.
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