Back in the day (late 70’s/early 80’s) I was a bit of a Doctor Who fan and watched whatever came on the local PBS station on a regular basis. I wasn’t a rabid fan, but enough of one that I picked up through the grapevine that most of the episodes from the first two doctors were lost to posterity. In those days before the internet, there wasn’t really a way to verify such rumors unless one went to conventions or wrote letters to the BBC or such, and I wasn’t really that much of a fan to track it down.
I stopped watching the show towards the end of the Davidson era when the PBS stations decided that their most popular shows should only be shown at odd hours during pledge drives, so it became almost impossible to know when the show could be seen, and if you were lucky enough to catch it, it was half whine-a-thon and half show, which got really old really quick. I’ve gotten back into the show with the new series that was recently shown on Sci Fi.
So a few weeks back I decided to see just what of the old series might be available in the DVD section. Imagine my surprise when I found this DVD set with the first three stories on it. It seems that not all the old episodes were lost after all, although quite a few are still missing.
So anyway I bought it, and have been watching no more than one episode a night so as not to spoil the “serial” quality of it. And to make it last as long as I can.
I’m finding it’s a lot better than I expected. The cheesy special effects are no worse than those of the Tom Baker era that I remembered, albeit in black-and-white. And watching that original intro is actually kind of exciting every time I see it.
I also find I’m really liking William Hartnell’s original portrayal of the Doctor. He’s quite different from later incarnations, but there’s a certain air of authority that comes with being the First Doctor. He may, in fact, end up becoming my “favorite doctor”. Perhaps at my age I find his cranky disposition appealing. His companions are a bit white-bread, but I guess that’s to be expected for the BBC in 1963.
Has anyone else watched this DVD collection? I suppose we could put any plot details of these first stories in spoiler boxes, but that seems a bit silly for something first shown over forty years ago. And any old timers out there that actually remember these original episodes are free to join the discussion, too.