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‘... Back in '63. Oh what a night’

Review by Vernon McCarthy

Here in New Zealand we should consider ourselves very lucky to see Doctor Who. We sit here for years and complain about not having the Doctor on our screens and then all at once we get so much we just about go mad trying to watch it all.

The best thing about being a Doctor Who fan in New Zealand is that right now you can watch it six days a week and it won't cost you a cent [providing of course that your region can receive Prime on UHF]. OK so there is that little ‘Prime’ logo in the corner of the screen and the advertising interruptions, but let's not quibble over such small details. If you want pristine copies of your favourite programme then buy the videos instead.

So we finally got the chance to step back in time to 1963. The month of May was an appropriate time to begin the repeat screenings as winter was closing in and by 6.25pm darkness had descended. It does not matter that our ‘1963’ was replayed every night as opposed to once a week. At last we have finally had the opportunity to see all the stories in order. I have to admit that I grew rather attached to the first TARDIS crew and it was a sad moment to see the departure of Susan, even if this was thirty-six years after the event. I was able to imagine how viewers must have felt at the time. Viewed in the context of story order it was clear that Hartnell had grown close to Carole Ann Ford and the arrival of Vicky was a well-chosen replacement, similar but not the same. After three months with Ian and Barbara it was disrupting to move quickly through Steven, Dodo, Ben and Polly as well as a scant look at the second Doctor. A constant reminder of just how many early episodes are missing.

Most enjoyable moments: the chance to see The Chase and The Gunfighters.

This item appeared in TSV 61 (December 2000).