Although Doctor Who appeared regularly on radio during the war, the series was actually created for television by the famous science fiction author, Terry Nation in 1960. Many other more famous authors were invited to write for the new series including George Orwell following the success of his emmy award winning script for the 'Play For Today' series called 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' and set in the far future.
Doctor Who’s main character was called “Dr.Who” and portrayed by the elderly actor William Hartnell who was then famous for his role in the sitcom 'Dad’s Army'. In the early episodes he was accompanied by three schoolteachers called Mr. Chesterfield, Mrs Wright and Miss Foreman - the latter being an alien superwoman in disguise!
In these early years, Dr.Who met many enemies including the evil Daleks who were evil computerised men from the planet Arso. The Daleks were very popular and spawned in their own television series, many episodes of which were destroyed by the BBC in the seventies because they didn’t have any cupboard space to put them in. Dr.Who also met many famous historical figures including the Irish explorer Mark O’Polo, Julius Caesar and Proffesor Van Helsing.
For a short while, William Hurndall left the role and was replaced by the horrific actor Peter Cushing because he started getting on a bit. Cushing’s episodes were eventually re-edited together and released as cinema films because he was famous at the time as a Dracula in the States.
When Hartnell eventually died, he was finally replaced by Patrick “Paddy” Troughton, who played the part as an obsessive Roman Catholic priest whose catchphrase - “You must drink the blood of Christ!” - became a national institution. Questions were often asked in Parliament about the series, it was that good!
When Troughton’s Dr.Who was killed off (after being impaled by a falling church spire), he was replaced again by the comedian John Pertwick who was then famous as an actor in the 'Confessions' films. Pertwilly’s first story was a big budget colour film made entirely on location and was later edited down into four episodes to be shown as a mini-series in 1970.
It was during the seventies that Dr.Who became stuck on Earth and joined MI5, whose chief was known only as “The Brigadier”. “He” sent Dr. Who on his various dangerous assignments against such adversaries as giant robot daffodils, the Yeti and, of course, the darleks.
to be continued
(Note: This is actually something I originally wrote for the fanzine 'FanGrok' way back in the nineties - before even Paul McGann became associated with "the best role in telly." I keep coming back to it now and again to update it. I'll post the rest of it - bringing it completely into the present - shortly.)