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Doctor Who history book written by Norwich author Paul Hayes

This article celebrates the 60th anniversary of the television show Doctor Who, a science fiction series that has thrilled viewers for decades. The first episode aired on November 23, 1963, introducing the character of the Doctor, played by William Hartnell, and his time-travelling Tardis. In honor of the anniversary, author Paul Hayes has written a book detailing the origins of the show and its first episodes, providing in-depth research from the earliest Doctor Who files. The book, titled “Pull to Open,” explores the challenges faced by the show’s creators and takes readers from the initial concept stage to the on-screen debut in 1963.

The success of Doctor Who can be attributed, in part, to its timeless format and the brilliant idea of regeneration, allowing the show to continue with new incarnations of the Doctor. The book explores television culture at the time, as well as the challenges faced by the show’s creators, such as opposition from BBC executives and concerns over having “bug-eyed monsters” in the series. Author Paul Hayes describes the 1963 period as evocative, citing significant historical events such as the Space Race, The Beatles, and political scandals as adding extra fascination to the story. His favorite Doctor Who story is “Remembrance of the Daleks,” which starred Sylvester McCoy.

While Norfolk has never been directly featured in Doctor Who, the show has some connections to the county. In one episode from the Jon Pertwee era, the character of the Brigadier remarks that he believes he is in Cromer, and a 1964 episode features an enormous matchbox with the word “Norwich” on it. Additionally, former companions Anneke Wills and Michael Craze, who played Polly and Ben in the 1960s, were photographed in Stiffkey for a Radio Times special. Actor Matt Smith, who portrayed the 11th Doctor, studied drama at the University of East Anglia in Suffolk, and a Tom Baker story was filmed at Snape and Iken in the neighboring county.

Mr. Hayes’ book offers a unique insight into the creation of Doctor Who, exploring the lives of those involved in making the show and examining the circumstances that led to its enduring popularity. The show’s ability to captivate audiences for 60 years can be attributed to the forward-thinking format and the freedom to tell any kind of story, keeping viewers coming back for more adventures with the Doctor and the Tardis. As Doctor Who prepares for its 60th anniversary specials, fans of the show continue to celebrate its impact on popular culture and its lasting appeal.

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