BBC-Produced “Dr. Who” Gaining Widespread Popularity in America


Above, the previous "doctors" on "Dr. Who," a BBC successful BBC series.

TARDIS. Sonic Screwdriver. Bow-ties are cool. Allon-sy. Geronimo. “Would you care for a jelly baby?”

Does anything in the above mean anything to you? If it doesn’t, then clearly you are not a fan of “Doctor Who,” the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)-produced science fiction series that has been a cult TV favorite since it first started in 1963. Different versions of the BBC program have aired through the decades. “Doctor Who” is as popular as ever , and Peter Capaldi, the current actor playing the lead character, is the 11th man to do so.

“Dr. Who” is a Time Lord, which puts him in a pretty heady category since Time Lords are an ancient extraterrestrial humanoid species. (Are you still with me?) As a galaxy-tripping Time Lord, the good doctor makes his way around the universe in his time machine-spacecraft that looks everything like a 60s-era British police box.

Space travel has its advantages for the doctor and for those he helps. Thanks to this “wibbly wobbly” time travel, the doctor has saved the Earth and other worlds on multiple occasions. He saves planets, rescues civilizations, defeats terrible creatures. So, who is this man?

“Doctor Who” is a British science-fiction TV show that originally aired on the BBC in November 1963. The show proved to be immediately popular and it ran all the way up to 1989. It then went on a 16-year hiatus. During this period – a painful one for fans – a “Dr. Who” movie was produced in 1996. Alas, the movie was unpopular and fans felt it did not meet the quality of the TV series. In 2005, another “Dr. Who” series returned in a pilot episode format. In the pilot, the lead character was played by Christopher Eccleston. Since the new episode received such positive feedback, more episodes followed. Eccleston left after only one season and actor David Tennant became the 10th actor to play Doctor Who. Tennant ably filled the role and it was during his time in the role that the show started to gain a significant audience in the U.S. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and so did Tennant’s time as the Doctor. After three seasons he left.

From 2010 to 2013, Actor Matt Smith was next and he was noteworthy for being the youngest actor to play the role. By this time, “Doctor Who” was becoming an international phenomenon. On average the show has 8 million viewers per episode in the US, alone. During the recent 50th anniversary episode, the show netted a Guinness World Record as the largest-ever simulcast TV drama. That golden anniversary episode was broadcast in 94 countries across six continents.

Want to join in on the fun? Go to the BBC America to find out when the show airs. Then, it’s on with your “telly” for some time-travel episodes, not to mention pithy British acting and writing that will get you hooked. Time is not a linear path, you know. Not on “Dr. Who.” Time, just like the show, is fantastic “wibbly wobbly timey stuff.”