Tonight is the thirteenth and final episode of the first season of "Doctor Who" for almost sixteen years and, for once, a pivotal moment in the programme's history has been preceded with good news. The series had already been recommissioned for a one hour Christmas special and second season of thirteen 45-minute episodes. Then, last Wednesday, at the press screening of the final instalment, it was announced that a second Christmas special, for screening at the end of 2006, and third season of thirteen episodes, to be shown in 2007, have also been commissioned. This means that the BBC have committed themselves now to making a total of at least 28 more episodes!
The benefits of knowing so early on that "Doctor Who" will be in production for the next two years can only be advantageous to the production team. I’m sure Russell T. Davies' mind has already formed ideas about where to take the show beyond next season and, for the fan, it ensures a certain longevity at least, rather than a brief revival followed by sudden death! I suppose some might argue that 41 episodes in total still only constitutes a brief revival when you consider that William Hartnell's first season alone comprised 42 episodes with a further nine made in the first season block for showing at the start of the second year. But the pace of life is different now. Ironically, it was slower then but more were made.
The Sixties was such a creative period not just in television, not just in other artistic arenas such as cinema, and both popular and classical music, but also in the worlds of science. It was the decade in which mankind travelled to the moon using such primitive technology that today the same mission would be considered as needlessly endangering the lives of those brave astronauts. We have better technology in the present time for a return visit but finance prohibits. We also have better technology for producing such shows as "Doctor Who" but unfortunately more bureaucracy controlling the medium. A further irony is that bureaucracy is something the programme itself has warned us about many times! The hope is that bureaucracy can always be defeated as is evidenced by the very fact that "Doctor Who" has returned at all. For this one reason alone, The Doctor will always be a welcome guest in my life!