A Beginner's Guide to Understanding Doctor Who

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A Beginner's Guide to Understanding Doctor Who

On the 23rd of November 1963, the BBC introduced the world to one of its most popular series. Since then, 'Doctor Who' has continued to capture the imaginations of fans around the world. With ever-changing characters and a litany of villains, the show sometimes confuses newcomers, but 'Doctor Who' is easy to understand with the right background information.


The Basics of 'Doctor Who'

'Doctor Who' is a BBC TV show about a humanoid alien who travels through time and refers to himself as 'The Doctor'. As a member of the Time Lord race from a planet named Gallifrey, The Doctor should not interfere with the universe's natural events, but he frequently chooses to ignore this rule.


The Tardis

The Tardis is central to all the show's storylines. As the vessel The Doctor uses for time travel, the Tardis is larger on the inside than the outside and does not always operate as it should. As an old and temperamental form of travel, it sometimes lands him in trouble. On the inside, a control circuit directs its movement through space and time. Although the outside should morph to blend in with its surroundings, the Tardis is permanently stuck in the format of a 1960s English telephone box. That means any life-size Tardis resembles The Doctor's vessel.


Ever-Changing Cast of Actors

Since 1963, 'Doctor Who' has created 12 official Doctors, with a handful of others appearing in spin-off series. Each Doctor acts as a continuum of the last, rather than a change in characters. The change occurs when the Time Lord in question suffers a mortal wound or reaches a certain age. During episodes, The Doctor sometimes refers to previous versions of himself. For fans, the changes make Doctor Who character building kits particularly fun and interesting.


'Doctor Who' Villains

Aside from his assistant and other 'good' characters, The Doctor faces villains during each episode. Classically associated with the show, the Daleks famously shout 'Exterminate! Exterminate!'.  Fans who buy 'Doctor Who' DVDs enjoy a diverse range of villains, many of whom do not appear more than once.


Format of 'Doctor Who' Episodes

The format of each episode depends on the era. When watching the Complete 'Doctor Who' DVD collection, older episodes feature cliffhanger endings that all run into each other. In contrast, newer episodes like those from the David Tennant 'Doctor Who' DVDs feature two-part stories that run in 45-minute blocks.

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