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Doctor Who is back - but this time he's online

01:00 Wed 24th Jul 2002 |

Colin Baker
Yes, the good Time Lord is about to launch his second series of online adventures at the BBC's Cult website - Death Comes To Time was so popular it quickly became one of the most successful parts of Auntie's web. Now Colin Baker (he played the Doctor on telly in the 1980s) is back to voice a new six-part series called Real Time, which starts on 2 August.

How easy is it watching something online

It'll be a mix of audio and cartoon-style animation. In the interests of research, your correspondent has spent quite some time watching the first adventures, all the while remembering wintry Saturday evenings in front of the black-and-white television, eating toast and hiding from the... sorry, drifted off there for a second. Actually, the episodes are short enough to digest and enjoy one at a time. And yes they *do* feature the theme tune! It helps if you have a speedy Internet connection.

So are there really any Doctor Who fans out there

Run for the stairs! It's the Daleks!

Are you kidding Search the web for 'Tardis' and see how many links you get! Not surprisingly, many fans of the Time Lord are over-active online. What might surprise you is how many of them are based in the US - Doctor Who did well to win fans in the land of Star Wars, Star Trek and a million other science-fiction alternatives.

This online series can expect a massive audience. Though it's unlikely to convince TV chiefs to bring the series back to the other small screen, it will serve as a timely advert for the BBC's web creativity.

A quick history lesson, please

Being a Time Lord, Doctor Who is less concerned than you or I with such triviality as 'history' but here goes. The TV show ran from November 23rd 1963 until it was cancelled by a cold-hearted BBC in 1989 (something about 'no-one was watching anymore'. Poppycock!).

The Doctor was originally played by William Hartnell. His decision to retire when the show was a popular smash might have flummoxed less lateral-thinking staff, but inspired producers decided that a Time Lord could 'regenerate' when injured. After one gruelling battle too many with the cybermen, Hartnell muttered 'This old body of mine is wearing a bit thin,' his face blurred and transformed into that of Patrick Troughton. Hey presto, a new Doctor, complete with new personality, clothes and habits.

How many Doctors have there been

After Hartnell and Troughton came Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker (a former monk), Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. Peter Cushing made two feature films in the 60s and Paul McGann was drafted in for a one-off TV movie in 1996. You can judge a person's age by asking them who their 'first' Doctor Who was.

Why are Ron Grainer, Delia Derbyshire and Dick Mills heroes to millions

Because Grainer composed and the latter two (working at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop) performed the Doctor Who theme. It was one of the earliest examples of synthesiser music most people had heard. Kraftwerk were fans.

And Terry Nation

This hero created the ultimate villains - Terry Nation is the man who invented the Dalek! Exterminate! Exterminate!

Other characters to bring the memories flooding back
Tardis, K9, The Master, the Brigadier, Romana, Davros, the Silurians: take your pick, they were part of the fabric of the nation. Now they can scare the pants of kids all around the world!

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