The 50th Anniversary: What Do Fans Want?

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Guest contributor Mark ponders what might be in store for the 50th Anniversary next year.

On the 23rd November 1963, Doctor Who aired for the first time. Although not an instant hit, it very soon rose to fame, with the introduction of the Daleks, in a serial cleverly titled The Daleks. Since then, Doctor Who has had an ever-growing fanbase, with millions of people watching worldwide.

The original run of Doctor Who lasted for 26 years, finishing in 1989, with the story Survival. Doctor Who went unseen for the next 7 years, and in that time, it spawned many spinoffs, in particular the Big Finish audios, and a wide range of books written by many writers including some from Doctor Who’s future. The show made a brief return in 1996, with a TV Movie, which saw the Doctor take on his old enemy, the Master, to prevent the destruction of Earth. The movie didn’t fair too well with critics, and once again, the show was put on hold, at least for the next 9 years.

When Doctor Who made its groundbreaking return in 2005, everything had changed, Doctor Who was back in its original place, and it was bringing millions of viewers once more. This proved that there was still a place for the show in the 21st century, and it looked like the show would reach its massive 50th Anniversary, in 2013. So, what might happen?

The 11 Doctors

Traditionally, anniversaries in Doctor Who have always consisted of a reunion between past and current Doctors, in which they embark upon an adventure together to solve a dilemma. This tradition began in 1973, for the 10th Anniversary, and was once again used in the 20th Anniversary, in 1983.

The last reunion in the Classic Series was in 1985, starring Colin Baker and Patrick Troughton, better known as the 6th and 2nd Doctor, respectively. Despite the fact that Doctor Who had ended in 1989, there was still an anniversary special, though this time, it was a crossover with EastEnders, in 1993’s Dimensions in Time.

Having spoken to many other fans, and as well as pondering about it myself, I think this is what many people hope to see, when Doctor Who turns 50. But what is the reality of it? Would another reunion be too far-fetched, for the new series of Who? Or would it be a respectful homage, to the past days of the show? These are questions, long debated by fans and myself, but I believe the real question is, which actors would be prepared to reprise their roles as the Doctor?

Which Doctors would actually come back?

Since Doctor Who was revived, there have been three Doctors. The first two, Chris Eccleston and David Tennant, are still very active as actors and many fans would love to see them return. As for the Classic Series, there were 8 incarnations of the Doctor; only 5 of them remain alive.

It’s often been debated who would return, and who wouldn’t, generally, it’s thought the 9th Doctor will most likely not come back due to Eccleston’s reluctance, while others like the 10th Doctor would happily put in an appearance. Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy, aka the 4th Doctor and 7th Doctor respectively, have often shown a desire to return to the show as a villain, or a new character. Currently, there is a large interest in the Time War, which would give an opportunity for the 8th Doctor to return. Many fans have expressed a desire to see the 8th regeneration as well, but that may require the presence of the 9th Doctor too.

Returning characters & companions

Another alternative way of celebrating the 50th Anniversary would be the re-introduction of an old character. Romana maybe? Susan perhaps? Or maybe a new series companion such as Rose? Martha? Captain Jack? All these and more are characters that viewers would love to see return to Doctor Who, and with the 50th Anniversary so close, would that not be the best, most amazing chance to come back?

There are many characters who we simply do not know what happened to them. Take Susan for example, she was one of the Doctor’s earliest companions, his granddaughter in fact. She travelled with the Doctor throughout the whole of Season 1, and left during Season 2. Not much was explained to the audience about where she came from, some people believe she was human, others believe she was Time Lord. Since her character left, she has made many reappearances, particularly in the anniversary specials. An appearance in the 50th Anniversary would be a lovely treat for the fans, especially if it allowed us to find out what had become of her.

Villains and monsters

Companions and revelations aside, there are many villains who have played major parts in previous series, who would make this great celebration even greater if they appeared once again. Lets name a few: Davros, the Master, Omega, the Valeyard, Autons, Zygons, Sontarans, Silurians, and so many more. In fact, in every series since the revival, we have been re-introduced to a classic villain, and more often than not have they impressed the audience with their new style, and new tactics.

The 50th Anniversary would allow one, if not all of these villains to make an appearance, and stun the audience at the same time. With Series 7 just around the corner, and a massive Dalek opener to look forward to, it shows that it’s possible to bring back classic monsters, in their original form, and still make for a very exciting episode.

In this article, I hope I’ve highlighted some of the important factors of Doctor Who, while showing how much the show means to the fans. Doctor Who has been around for almost 50 years, and it’s thanks to an ever-growing fan base that it stays so popular. And as we approach the 50th Anniversary, I hope the show runners take the chance to look back on Doctor Who’s immense history, and make us proud to be Doctor Who fans, on this momentous occasion.

But what would you like to see?