There are TV programs where you can watch any one randomly-selected episode and then immediately know everything that you need to know about that particular set of characters & the world that they live in. And then there are shows like “Doctor Who.”
I bring this up because … This past weekend, BBC America aired “World Enough and Time,” the first part of “Doctor Who” ‘s Season 10 finale. And I have to admit that I kind of felt sorry for any first-time viewer of this much-beloved British sci-fi show who then chose this particular episode to be their entry point for this long-running series. Because there were so many elements of “World Enough and Time” (EX: That moment when Missy realized the 400 mile-long spaceship she was traveling on had originally come from Mondas. Or when Razor removed his mask) that only made sense / had any real impact if you’d previously watched episodes of this program.
And – no – I’m not talking about circling back on some of the “Doctor Whos” that Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith & Peter Capaldi have done since BBC One first revived this show back in 2005. If you want to truly appreciate the Doctor’s convoluted relationship with the Master (or – for that matter – understand why so many British television viewers are flat-out terrified of the Cybermen), then you probably need to head over to BritBox and start VODing your way through a number of the Classic “Doctor Who” episodes that are archived there.
Because the Mondasian Cybermen … Well, they were actually introduced back in October of 1966 during the fourth season of Classic “Doctor Who.” To be specific, the episode where this race of cybernetically augmented humanoids first came on the scene was called “The Tenth Planet.” And most Whovians have a soft spot for this particular episode. Largely because “The Tenth Planet” was the show on which William Hartnell made his last regular appearance as the First Doctor. Not to mention being the episode when Patrick Troughton made his debut as the Second Doctor.
On the other hand, BritBox … It made its debut back in March of this year. This new subscription video on demand (SVOD) streaming service came about because BBC Worldwide (i.e., the commercial arm of the BBC) & ITV (i.e., the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster) decided to join forces. So that two broadcasting giants could then create the most comprehensive collection of British television, across all genres, available anywhere in the U.S.
And who did BBC Worldwide & ITV select to be in charge of this ambitious joint venture? Soumya Sriraman, an entertainment industry vet with more than two decades of experience in the field. Most recently, Soumya was the executive vice president in charge of franchise and digital enterprises at BBC Worldwide North America. Which – of course – made her the perfect choice to run this new SVOD streaming service based in the U.S.
And just so you know: Ms. Sriraman also has strong ties to the world of “Doctor Who.” She was the one who helped heightened the sense of excitement that came as each new season of BBC One’s “Who” reboot premiered by periodically arranging to have individual episodes of the show screened in cinemas in North America.
But what’s Souyma’s plan for BritBox? To put it simply, her goal was to create a place for people who are passionate about British television.
“This is for all those Anglophiles out there. Previously, these people – if they wanted to get their ‘As Time Goes By’ or ‘Inspector Morse’ fix – often had to take a piecemeal approach. Which meant that they had to try and catch those classic shows whenever they’d air on their local PBS stations,” Sriraman explained during a recent phone interview. “But now with BritBox, you’ll now be able to find all of the episodes from many of your favorite British television shows all in one place. That was our ultimate goal here: To create the biggest streaming collection of British TV. One that managed to touch on all genres: dramas, comedies, mysteries, the works.”
And the best part is … The people who work to curate BritBox are just as passionate about these programs as the viewers are. You only have to look at this SVOD streaming service’s Classic Doctor Who section to see all of the care & the thought that’s gone into the curation of this amazing collection of TV shows.
Have you been a fan of this British sci-fi show since it first debuted back in November of 1963? Well, then maybe you’d enjoy checking out BritBox’s list of top ten monsters & aliens that they like to see be resurrected as villains on the new “Doctor Who.” On the other hand, if you’re new to Classic Doctor yourself and would like a better grounding in this program’s history & characters … Well, there’s literally a page for that. BritBox staffers have suggestion when it comes to essential episodes to view if you want to get up-to-speed on those first seven Doctors.
The reason that I’m bringing up BritBox today is that … Well, the last official episode of “Doctor Who” Season 10 airs tonight on BBC America. And once “The Doctor Falls” is over, it’ll be six months ‘til the Christmas Special airs. And that’s a very long time to wait to A) find out why exactly Peter Capaldi’s Doctor needs to regenerate and B) discover who the next Doctor Who is going to be.
So – to help fill up those 180 days – you might want to check out some of the classic Doctor Who episodes that are archived at BritBox. Or better yet, stream some “Blackadder” or “Fawlty Towers.” Given how grim things got on “World Enough and Time” last week, I’m thinking that we’re all going to need a few laughs once “The Doctor Falls” is over later tonight.