Happy Birthday to Who

Today is the 49th anniversary of the broadcast of the first episode of Doctor Who, which went out at around tea-time on Saturday 23rd November 1963 (slightly delayed by a newsflash relating to the assassination of President Kennedy, which took place the previous day).

For the past month or so I’ve been watching through, and adding to, my Doctor Who DVD collection and I’ve also been intending to re-read my fairly extensive collection of Doctor Who books. The latter includes most of the novelisations of the classic TV series (at least up to the end of Peter Davison’s tenure as the Doctor; my coverage of the last few seasons is much more patchy) as well as a few original novels set during the same period. I don’t yet have any of the novels based on the new series and I’m not currently planning to extend my collection in this direction.

The birthday of Doctor Who seemed to be too good an opportunity to miss and, since I don’t want to wait another whole year (for the half-century) before I begin, I decided to start my latest read through today. The last time I attempted this feat was about 7 years ago and I got about half way through the Tom Baker era stories (in fact, roughly to the point the series had reached by the time I was born, I think) before getting side-tracked to other projects. This time, I intend to read my entire Doctor Who library, which includes quite a few books that I have added to my collection more recently. I’ve no idea how long it will take to get through the whole lot. On the one hand, most of the books are fairly short and don’t take long to read, but on the other hand there are over 150 of them and I’m certainly not intending to completely give up reading other stuff while I read Doctor Who.

I plan to read the books in chronological order (as listed in the Doctor Who Reference Guide). The first book in my collection is that of the first televised serial, An Unearthly Child. Coincidentally, that was one of the first two Doctor Who books I got (along with The Loch Ness Monster – the novelisation of the story Terror of the Zygons), back in the very early 1980s. As I recall, they belonged to my big brother, who gave them to me when he no longer wanted them (at least, I hope he didn’t want them back!).