"Watching Doctor Who was a Saturday afternoon ritual, in a way that those born into the digital age could never appreciate…
Following the sports round up, anyone who grew up in the sixties will remember the amazing electronic sounds and opening titles of Doctor Who because they were so utterly innovative, and they have been justly celebrated since. Then, they really did seem other-worldly. Even though I knew it was my grandfather in the role, I still got wrapped up in the stories, and the suspense of the cliff-hanger endings. I didn’t have to hide behind the sofa, like some of my contemporaries, as I knew that no harm would really come to him, but the monsters still fascinated and frightened my brother and me.
The lack of sophistication of the creatures and the effects has of course been commented on and laughed at many times when compared with the 21st century version, but it was only to be expected given the money available for making the show, and the constraints of shooting in those days. Our excitement at the time was very real however. There had never been a television programme like it. In the eyes of children who were not accustomed to huge-budget American science fiction films, and who had never seen anything as remotely inventive as Doctor Who on television, the programme was captivating. Space travel was now a possibility and time travel therefore a logical development. Even those who were never fans attested to the universality of the effect that Doctor Who had on children then. Some of this was due to the uniqueness of the concept, but also the timing of the slot meant that the programmes created to interest a wide age group. It was aimed particularly at 11-14 year olds, but placed between a sports and a pop programme it captured a real family audience, with children as young as myself and my brother as well as parents.
I also like to think that some of the success of the series was to do with the performance my grandfather gave, creating such an enigmatic character…
My brother and I couldn’t bare to miss an episode, and with no such thing as videos, DVDs, or catch-up, perhaps more than for most fans, our Saturdays revolved around the show.”
- From Who’s There?
William Hartnell was hugely popular and made many guest appearances. The children adored him.