Are you ready for the Day of the Doctor? If you’re not a fan of the TV show, which has 1.6M viewers here in the US, you may have not heard the hype. For fans, however, it’s the biggest event in the last 50 years. That’s how long it’s been on, first airing on 23 November 1963 (oddly, the day after President Kennedy was assassinated). 11 people have played the title role and, except for a hiatus between 1989 and 2005, it’s become something of a tradition in the UK.
To celebrate, the special show “The Day of the Doctor” will be shown simultaneously throughout the entire planet, (23 November at 2:50 PM Eastern time, 19:50 GMT) making it the biggest simulcast of anything other than the Olympics. It’s the first truly global television show with fans absolutely all around the world. And that, alone, is worth celebrating.
It all started with a lot of imagination and a tiny budget at the BBC. Physicists had been toying with the idea that if you could move around in dimensions you could treat time as just another one and travel through time as you see fit. In the imagination of Verity Lambert and others at the BBC, it became the ultimate vehicle to write scripts that dealt with absolutely anything anyone could imagine. Why not?
The Doctor’s traveling machine, the Tardis (Time and relative dimensions in space) is much bigger on the inside than it is on the outside because it exists in other dimensions. Why not? It can also disguise itself as anything by manipulating those dimensions, but sadly that’s been broken since the show started. It’s still stuck as a Police Call Box, a phone booth for emergencies that was still common in 1963.
The details of the plots are not what is important, however. I’ve written about the show before and I can tell you I am a huge fan. But here is a map of the 76 nations that will broadcast the show live, the lighter ones on TV only and the darker ones TV and in select theatres (some in 3D):
It is truly a worldwide phenomenon. For the first time we can say that people all over the world are watching the same television show with the same values at the same time.
That may seem a bit strange for a show that has limited appeal in the US, at least, because it really is very British. The idea that the chaos of time and space needs a group of “Time Lords” to watch over and intervene when absolutely necessary is a concept that could only come from the UK. That the Doctor himself is a renegade who left his comfortable life to find adventure, fix wrongs, or something else that we can’t quite pin down also comes off as a very British story. No matter. The world loves it as much as it loves the other great global gift from the UK, standardized time.
Is it just me, or is there a pattern here?
But the show itself is no longer just a kids show with a low budget from one little nation. It belongs to everyone, even if it is still very British. Aside from the plots and speculation heading into this tremendous event, which I won’t get into, the fact that this show has captured the imagination of the planet like nothing else shows just how small the world is getting after all.
Perhaps this big planet might one day fit into a phone booth, eh?
Until that day we have this one show that will soon have its Twelfth Doctor with a totally new personality. It’s a show that unites the world like nothing else has before. That, alone, is why it’s worth getting to know if you’re not a fan already. It’s also a lot of fun, too.