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50th Anniversary Radio Programmes Line-Up

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Further details and airdates have been announced for several of the BBC’s special radio programmes celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

Doctor Who At 50: Doctor Who And The Daleks

Saturday 16 November 6.00-6.45pm BBC RADIO 4 EXTRA

It’s 50 years since the very first broadcast of long-running science-fiction hit Doctor Who. Radio 4 Extra joins in the celebrations with the chance to hear a whole adventure in one go every night this week.

With a special emphasis on the atmospheric 1960s, tonight’s reading from Audio Go is based on the original TV serial from 1963.Nuclear threat looms large in this evocative tale, no more so than in the radiation-ravaged world of Skaro. It’s there the TARDIS heads for the Doctor’s fateful first meeting…Tom and Jerry, Lex Luthor and Superman, Seinfeld and Newman… all great feuds start somewhere. So it is for the Doctor and the bane of all his travels, the Daleks. How did their paths first cross? Were the Daleks always ruthless and evil? How did they come into being?All of these questions are answered in the very first adventure involving the metal-plated meanies. Not only that, but it’s told in the first person by one of the very first companions, Ian Chesterton (as played by William Russell).Expect a very different slant on how the Doctor and Ian met, too, involving Barnes Common and everlasting matches.

Doctor Who At 50: Protect And Survive

Sunday 17 November 6.00-6.45pm BBC RADIO 4 EXTRA

It’s Sylvester McCoy’s turn to time travel, in this brand-new four-part drama.Doctor Who began in the Sixties, but so did the Cold War – and like the Daleks, it came back time and again. Back in the era of Stanislav Petrov, Threads and 99 Luftballoons, the prospect of nuclear conflict never seemed more real. Thank goodness it never happened… Or did it?The Doctor’s young companions Hex and Ace are plunged alone into the late Eighties, where history has gone horrifyingly wrong. Global tension is escalating and the world trembles on the brink of a final, terrible war. What happened to glasnost and perestroika? Why are people actually building fallout shelters?Hex and Ace aren’t too worried – after all, the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) will rescue them… won’t he?Sylvester McCoy has not only played the Time Lord but also appears as a wizard, Radagast the Brown, in the recent big screen adaptation of The Hobbit. He was also part of the Ken Campbell Roadshow.

Doctor Who At 50: Fanfare For The Common Men

Monday 18 November 6.00-6.45pm BBC RADIO 4 EXTRA

Peter Davison is the Doctor in this brand-new four-part drama.The Doctor has been with us for five decades or so – but what about the decade which inspired him – the Sixties? Radio 4 Extra is doing some time travel of its own to evoke that fondly remembered period, and what better way than the Common Men?The Doctor’s young companion Nyssa is unfamiliar with Earth’s musical heritage – so a trip to the formative days of the Fab Four is in order, to show her what all the fuss is all about.But the Beatles are nowhere to be seen – instead their role in history has been taken by the Common Men, a trio whose rise to fame isn’t as wholesome as it first appears.Peter Davison – known and loved for roles in At Home With the Braithwaites, All Creatures Great And Small and A Very Peculiar Practice – takes control of the TARDIS in this tale of thwarted history.Also in the cast is Radio 4 stalwart Mitch Benn, known for his work on the Now Show and as Zaphod in the Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy stage show, currently on tour.

Doctor Who At 50: Thousand Tiny Wings

Tuesday 19 November 6.00-6.45pm BBC RADIO 4 EXTRA

Late 1963 saw a number of dramatic events – the death of CS Lewis, the assassination of John F Kennedy – and Kenyan independence in December 1963.The Doctor arrives in a remote homestead during this bloody period of history where he is reunited with an old acquaintance, an ex-Nazi called Klein. Of course it wouldn’t be Doctor Who without some alien threat, and it comes in the form of an avian group intelligence.But by employing a strategy of divide and conquer, is the Doctor as bad as those he opposes? Sylvester McCoy once more plays the Time Lord in this full cast audio drama.

Doctor Who At 50: Farewell Great Macedon

Wednesday 20 November 6.00-6.45pm BBC RADIO 4 EXTRA

This unproduced television script is brought to mesmeric life through a combination of performance and narration.Time travel is an odd business – it’s not just about the history you know, it’s the history you don’t.Hardcore Doctor Who fans can tell you when and where the Time Lord has been to on television. What about the adventures we didn’t see? What about the time the TARDIS landed in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the crew met Alexander the Great?Find out as the original team – Ian, Barbara, Susan and the first ever Doctor step out from the time machine into one of the Ancient Wonders of the World, in the year 323 BC. Hear the wit and guile of the very first Doctor Who in action as he thinks his way out of a walk on hot coals – and offers Alexander the Great a way to cheat death through 20th-century means… an iron lung!Featuring stars of the original series Carol Ann Ford and William Russell.

Who Is The Doctor?

Thursday 21 November 10pm-11.30pm BBC RADIO 2

On Saturday 23 November 23 1963, BBC TV broadcast the very first episode of Doctor Who. Fifty years later, the series is the most successful drama on television. In this special documentary, Radio 2 examines the reasons for its longevity and popularity.Featuring new interviews with the cast and crew of the series, the programme looks at the lasting appeal of Doctor Who and asks how much of its continued success can be attributed to its basic formula.With archive clips and the music of Doctor Who composer Murray Gold, Who Is The Doctor? considers the character of the Time Lord across all of his regenerations and revisits the origins of the series with Waris Hussein, director of the debut Doctor Who story, An Unearthly Child.The programme also examines how the franchise survived when the show was off TV, considers the impact of the revival in 2005 and assesses the value of the series to the BBC.

The Blagger’s Guide To Doctor Who

Thursday 21 November 11.30pm-12 midnight BBC RADIO 2

David Quantick takes a look back over 50 years of science fiction at its British best with a quick fire look at all things Doctor Who.He’ll be lifting the lid on some industry secrets and exterminating any myths listeners might have heard about the long-running series, such as: why was William Hartnell replaced as the first Doctor? What was it about the Daleks that drove Jon Pertwee mad? And why was the show cancelled for 16 very bleak years?All this and plenty more, all in true off-the-wall Blagger’s style.

Doctor Who At 50: Human Resources

Thursday 21 November 6.00-6.45pm BBC RADIO 4 EXTRA

Humour has always played a part in the Doctor’s travels – never more so than in this drama from writer Eddie Robson (Welcome To Our Village: Please Invade Carefully).Paul McGann (Monocled Mutineer, Withnail And I) is the Doctor for this wry adventure.Offices can be difficult workplaces – but spare a thought for the hapless humans in this story. They wind up sharing theirs with the Cybermen.Starring Paul McGann as the Doctor, this two-part story explains the on-going mystery of Lucie Miller (Sheridan Smith) – paired off with the Doctor in a witness protection programme.However, one kidnap and random journey to the planet Lonsis later, the Doctor discovers the far stranger truth. It’s connected to odd company Hulbert Logistics, a dogged pursuer called the Headhunter, a very strange crystal, and ultimately the Cybermen. When Lucie learns the truth, all bets are off.Sheridan Smith has recently wowed stage audiences in Hedda Gabler and Legally Blonde, but has also been a smash on TV with roles in Benidorm, Love Soup and Jonathan Creek. The world of film, too, has seen her appear with Dustin Hoffman in Quartet.Also appearing are Nickolas Grace (Brideshead Revisited, Robin Of Sherwood) and Owen Brenman (Doctors, One Foot In The Grave).

Doctor Who At 50: Dalek Invasion Of Earth

Friday 22 November 6.00-6.45pm BBC RADIO 4 EXTRA

Broadcast only 18 years after the end of the Second World War, this classic story addresses a very wartime anxiety… what would Britain have been like as an occupied nation?As this story opens, the Daleks have won. Propaganda broadcasts, regular patrols, collaborators, black marketeers – all of this before the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan have even arrived. When they do, they are separated and find themselves fighting not just for their survival, but that of the entire planet.You can’t keep a good man down – so the Daleks discover when they make the grievous error of invading the Doctor’s favourite planet… but it’s a battle with a life-changing outcome for the Doctor’s grand-daughter, Susan.Read by William Russell, who played Ian Chesterton in the original television serial on which this reading is based.Should you wonder what might have happened next for Susan (and Lucie Miller), answers are forthcoming in Who Made Who, and also two further episodes next week – Lucie Miller and To The Death.

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