Do You Know Who?
As many of you know, Saturday, 23rd November, was the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Doctor Who being broadcast. In those days it was made one episode a week, using a forty-five minute studio slot to record a twenty-five minute episode, with five days’ rehearsal, a video machine that could record, pause and rewind but not be edited, a studio the size of the room we’re in and the budget of the weather forecast.
It’s changed a bit since then, but it still costs less to make than it looks and that’s still slightly more than the BBC gives it. Along the way, they’ve had to improvise solutions to story-telling problems such as the star threatening to quit and end the series, the budget being slashed so they could only do stories set in present-day England (in the early 70s, so it now looks more alien than any planet they invent) or the BBC deciding to move drama production to Cardiff.
Above all, it’s just about the most bookish action-adventure fantasy series ever. It’s about seeing the other side of any argument, finding the cosmic inside the domestic and about a hero who’s really on a sabbatical from his studies (a nine-century gap-year) who just saves planets and makes sure history comes out right so that he can get a bit of time to catch up on his reading. Nobody now would commission a series like that. It was originally written and made by gifted people on their days off from making Important Serious Drama. And Terry Nation.
I’ve spent ten years writing about it, explaining all of the social history, literary allusions, science and local in-jokes to Americans, and I’m still finding out more. I don’t think I’ll ever be finished.
You don’t need to worry about that, though. What you have here is a set of questions that teams of up to five people can do together. It’s not just about the episodes, it’s about the last fifty years and all the things we know that my readers don’t. Some questions just require you to have been paying attention while you’ve been alive. Others, you have to make stuff up.
If you don’t know, take a guess or bluff it out. You might be right. Doing nothing’s worse than risking getting it wrong.
It’s what the Doctor would do.
Click Here to find the answers
Six teams entered (or maybe seven: we had two booklets labelled ‘Red Boots’ and we’re counting these as one team). I think a couple more took their sheets home with them. Some people looked at the first round and got really muddled
The five best scores were:
The A Team, with 15 (just on questions, as they didn’t make up new names for old monsters). They
started well but ran into an obstacle:
Mean B with 25 (of which 14 were on the quiz bit and 11 on the names). They struggled valiantly then fell spectacularly:
Rita with 25 (7 on the quiz but 18 on the names). A slight lapse of concentration between starting:
Red Boots with 31 (13 on the quiz, and two different answer-sheets with the same name so we’ve
amalgamated the right answers). They show proper appreciation of the series:
And the reluctant winner, with 33, (16 in the quiz and 17 in the names) was Pat, who didn’t even want to enter and had a go ten minutes before the end.
Tedious legal bit: all the images and BBC Copyright stuff are (C) the BBC (although, as licence-fee payers, we own that) and this is a not-for-profit quiz and makes no claim on the rights of Terry Nation, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the High Council of the Time Lords of Gallifrey or the Metropolitan Police Force. Seriously, the Nation estate are notoriously litigious and we wouldn’t want to deal with them, hence the total lack of any questions about Yartek, leader of the Alien Voord. And don’t even get me started on Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln.