The creators of Doctor Who had a marvelous idea when they gave their time traveling scientist from space the ability to regenerate. After all, the BBC television program is now in its 26th season and enjoys a cult following. Fans can argue at length about which actor has been the best of the Time Lords -- the series is on its Twelfth Doctor right now -- while parsing the wonders of the many worlds this alien adventurer and his many human companions have explored.
In the absence of a fellow Doctor Who fan at your disposal, here’s a quiz to let you relive the magic while waiting for the next episode to air.
Joselyn wasn’t too keen on multiple choice in high school. She vividly remembers the first biology exam she passed by only the skin of her teeth, which dragged her overall average down into the embarrassingly low 90s (she doesn’t want to talk about it). After swearing off any high school or university courses that required multiple choice tests, Joselyn managed to get an English degree by sweet-talking her professors into offering only essay-style exams. Needless to say, this did not exactly endear her to her peers. This rocky start smoothed out in time, though, and after tumbling down a black quiz hole one day while putting off job hunting, Joselyn realized her hatred of all things a-b-or-c had faded and she actually enjoyed dreaming up new ideas for questions and dangerously correct-sounding answers. You won’t find her quizzes an easy ride, but Joselyn just wants to make sure you’re really testing your knowledge.
With the traveling time lord constantly regenerating, it’s challenging to keep up with his thousands of years of history. The show, though, began only in 1963 and is easier to track. Many are credited with the series’ initial concepts, but Canadian-born Sydney Newman, who also created the iconic The Avengers, is thought to have developed the basic character of the Doctor, titled the show, and come up with the TARDIS.
The first episode of the series, An Unearthly Child, aired on November 23, 1963. This episode introduced the Doctor’s first incarnation as well as companions Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright along with the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan.
While there have been many changes to the cast and the look of the program over the decades it’s been on the air, one thing that has remained is the Doctor Who theme. Composed by Ron Grainer and Delia Derbyshire in the early 1960s (making it one of the early works of electronica music), the theme’s melody is unchanged to this day. This makes it one of the longest-latest television theme songs in history. The regeneration concept, introduced when William Hartnell left the series, has proved useful. The Third Doctor was introduced as the series changed to color production, for instance. It wasn’t until the Fourth Doctor in the 1970s that North American broadcasts began. They started out airing with narration explaining the plot, but by the late 1970s were a regular sight on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
The series ran for 26 consecutive seasons into 1989 before closing down production. There were attempts to regenerate the series, but it wasn’t until 2005 that the revival took off again.
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