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Classic Doctor Who Finally Hits Streaming

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The 2005 revival of the BBC’s Doctor Who ended a 16-year drought for fans, some of whom had been keeping up with the Time Lord’s adventures from his debut in 1963 to his cancelation in 1989. While those more recent seasons have been available via Netflix and Amazon Prime, the “classic” library of The Doctor’s early adventures has been a little harder to locate.

On Tuesday, the BBC announced that they were prepared to change that. Beginning immediately, more than 550 episodes of Doctor Who that aired from 1963 to 1989 will be available on BritBox, a U.S. streaming service that has amassed almost every installment featuring Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, and the five other Doctors who featured in the series prior to Christopher Eccleston taking over the role in 2005.

It’s a valuable acquisition for BritBox, which curates a range of series from the BBC and ITV networks and offers streaming of all their content for $6.99 per month: BritBox says their catalog spans 26 seasons, and lacks just 20 episodes for which they were unable to secure the rights, plus 90 episodes that are believed to be "lost" due to missing footage. BritBox plans to stream audio-only presentations of some of these lost episodes in the near future.

[h/t Nerdist]

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11 Brilliant Gifts for the Doctor Who Fan in Your Life
Des Willie/BBC/BBC Worldwide/Shutterstock
Des Willie/BBC/BBC Worldwide/Shutterstock

For Doctor Who fans, December 25 is always a big day because of the legendary sci-fi series’ annual Christmas specials. It’s during that annual holiday to-do that viewers have gotten their first glimpse of Time Lords past—including the Tenth (David Tennant) and Twelfth (Peter Capaldi) Doctors. This year, viewers will get to see Jodie Whittaker make her debut as the Thirteenth Doctor (and the first female Doctor).

To help the Whovian in your life prepare for this groundbreaking moment, and scratch yet another gift off your ever-growing holiday list, may we suggest one of these?

1. ELEVENTH DOCTOR'S PURPLE COAT; $300

Regardless of who your favorite Doctor is, there’s no denying that Peter Capaldi’s purple coat is one stylish frock. Made of a tweed cashmere and wool blend, the coat gets it right down to the very last detail, including the Doctor’s corduroy collar. Sonic screwdriver not included.

Find It: ThinkGeek

2. LADIES’ TENTH DOCTOR’S COAT; $175

Jodie Whittaker is the first official female Doctor and the lucky Whovian in your life can follow her lead at home. It seems fitting that of all the Time Lord overcoats, it would be the Tenth Doctor’s that has gotten a female makeover, as legend has it that it was Janis Joplin who gave the Doctor his jacket in the first place. Pairs perfectly with Chuck Taylors.

Find It: ThinkGeek

3. THE DOCTORS: TIME AND SPACE COLLECTION; $30

Even if you didn’t know his name, you probably spent a part of your childhood with Roger Hargreaves, the author behind the Mr. Men book series. Now, your giftee can relive those days with this eight-book collection of Doctor Who-inspired Mr. Men titles, created by Hargreaves’s son Adam. The books’ bold illustrations are accompanied by fun little stories and jokes from the series, which makes them fun for the whole family.

Find It: Amazon

4. TARDIS TEAPOT; $22

Jumping from one century to the next can be a tiring business, so it’s always prudent to make time for tea. This ceramic teapot, which is a detailed recreation of the Doctor’s iconic time-traveling call box, holds up to 25 ounces per serving—enough for your loved one and any companion they have tagging along.

Find It: Walmart

5. MONOPOLY: DOCTOR WHO 50TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTOR’S EDITION; $35

Everyone’s favorite ode to capitalism gets a Whovian makeover with this special edition of Monopoly, where properties like Park Place take on the name of classic Doctor Who episodes like "The Poison Sky" instead, and old-school tokens like the race car and thimble have been replaced by iconic trinkets including the Fourth Doctor’s scarf and the Eleventh Doctor’s bow tie.

Find It: Amazon

6. TARDIS WATERCOLOR THROW BLANKET; $17

Help your giftee show off both their fandom and their creative side with this cuddly throw blanket, featuring a watercolor-like rendering of the Doctor’s TARDIS. Measuring 4-by-5 feet, the blanket is perfect for cuddling up with a Doctor Who binge-watch.

Find It: Hot Topic

7. LEGO IDEAS DOCTOR WHO BUILDING KIT; $89

Doctor Who fan Andrew Clark designed this detailed LEGO set via the company’s LEGO Ideas site. The 625-piece building kit replicates the TARDIS’s iconic trans-dimensional engineering quirk, with its small-on-the-outside and enormous-on-the-inside look. The collection's four minifigures, including both the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors, mean that you can even role-play a Time Lord regeneration, LEGO-style.

Find It: Amazon

8. DALEK BLUETOOTH SPEAKER COMBO PACK; $250

Tech geeks and pop culture junkies alike will find a lot to like about these speakers. They can even exterminate all the unnecessary background noise with this shiny pair of Dalek-shaped Bluetooth speakers.

Find It: BBC Shop

9. FOURTH DOCTOR SCARF; $22 AND UP

Does your favorite Whovian want to go old school with their Doctor Who style? This recreation of the Fourth Doctor’s oversized scarf—available in either six feet or 12—makes a great winter accessory.

Find It: Amazon

10. SONIC SCREWDRIVER BBQ TONGS; $20

With these tongs, your giftee will want to drag the grill out of storage and cook up a fresh batch of fish fingers with these sonic screwdriver-style tongs. Yes, they even have sound effects.

Find It: Amazon

11. DOCTOR WHO: THE OFFICIAL COOKBOOK; $13

Fish fingers and custard may not be a traditional dish in most parts of the world, but if you’ve ever wondered what the Doctor’s favorite foods taste like, this book is chock full of 40 “Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey Recipes.” Fandom never tasted so delicious.

Find It: Amazon

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Douglas Adams's Abandoned 'Doctor Who' Episode is Being Completed Nearly 40 Years Later
Evening Standard/Getty Images
Evening Standard/Getty Images

In 1979, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams was enlisted to pen a script for the finale of Doctor Who’s 17th season. Titled “Shada,” the episode saw The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and his companion Romana (Lalla Ward) land the TARDIS in Cambridge to help a retired Time Lord stop an evil alien from hacking into the secrets of a lost planet-turned-prison for evildoers.

The script was written, and filming for the episode commenced … but then there was a BBC staffer strike, and filming was abandoned. Now, nearly 40 years after its intended air date, Whovians will finally get to see the episode—just as Adams wrote it and with Baker stepping back into the role.

BBC News reports that “Shada” will finally see the light of day when the original footage is mixed with animated recreations and newly recorded voiceovers from both Baker and Ward to complete the episode.

Baker, for one, is thrilled to see the episode finally reach audiences; he told BBC News that it was one of his favorite Doctor Who stories.

"I have many fond memories of shooting the location scenes in Cambridge, and it was disappointing not to finish the story in studio,” Baker said. “I'm so glad that BBC Worldwide have found a way to bring fans a complete visual version.”

It’s not the first time the network has recreated one of the series’s old episodes. In November 2016, “The Power of the Daleks” found new life in animated form 50 years after it first aired, and more than 40 years after its original recording was destroyed.

At this point, “lost” episodes are as much a part of Doctor Who canon as doctor regenerations. When the sci-fi series first began airing in 1963, little thought was given to how—or why—there would be any reason for the BBC to stockpile the original recordings of their shows when they could just reuse the same tapes to save money.

While fans have helped the network to reassemble parts of the missing catalog, more than 100 of the series’ original episodes remain lost to time. Fortunately, “Shada” will no longer be one of them. The episode will be available for digital download on November 24 and released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 4.

[h/t: BBC News]

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