It’s my birthday week!
(Daily Doctor Who #190)
I was born on June 7, almost 51 years ago. As I approach the day I found myself wondering what episodes of Doctor Who came out this week. And for some reason I was under the impression that no episode was released on June 7th of any year, but I quickly discovered that I was wrong.
So let’s look at the dates and see what aired, starting at the extremes and working inward. Kind of like Memento!
Three episodes aired this day. In 1967, we had Evil of the Daleks part 4, in which featured extended sequences of Jamie teaming up with the mute Turk, Kemel, to save Victoria from the Daleks, while the Doctor seemingly helped the Daleks understand the human factor. In reality, neither Patrick Troughton nor Deborah Watling (the Doctor and Victoria) were present for the taping of the episode, appearing only in filmed inserts beforehand.
Later in 2006, The Satan Pit aired–the second half of The Impossible Planet, it was a pretty gripping episode in which the Tenth Doctor faced off with an ancient devil-like creature who was mind controlling the Ood. And finally, in 2017 there was Empress of Mars, which wasn’t a great story but is still the best one to feature the Ice Warriors in the revived series.
Jumping back to June 4, we again have three episodes. In 1966 there’s Episode 2 of The Savages, a story I know almost nothing about except that it ended with Steven Taylor (Peter Purves) leaving the show. Much later in 2005 there was Boom Town, which featured the return of the Slitheen and the first time the Ninth Doctor became aware of the “Bad Wolf” meme that seemed to be following them around time and space. And then in 2011 there was A Good Man Goes to War, which is one of Steven Moffat’s messier efforts, in which River Song’s identity was finally confirmed.
Only two episodes aired on June 9th, but one of them is Blink, the timey-wimey masterpiece from 2007 which introduced the Weeping Angels. Also, there was The Green Death episode 4. The Green Death is one of my favorite Pertwee stories, and this one features him dressing up in disguise, both as an old milkman a cleaning lady.
There are three episodes which debuted on June 5th. The earliest was Flight Through Eternity, which is probably better recognized as Part 3 of The Chase. In this one, the TARDIS (attempting to escape from the Daleks) lands on the Empire State Building in New York, bringing the show to the United States for the first time. Soon-to-be companion Peter Purves also appears briefly as a hokey American named Morton Dill.
In 1971, Part 3 of The Daemons aired, continuing the battle between the Third Doctor and the Master in a sleepy English town. And then in 2010 there was Vincent and the Doctor, a celebrated story featuring the 11th Doctor meeting famed artist Vincent van Gogh.
Now only one day away, we hit the specific date with the least number of episodes, in that only Planet of the Spiders part 6 aired on June 8th, back in 1974. This is a pretty significant one, though, as it was Jon Pertwee’s last time out as the lead character.
And on the other side of my birthday, we find two more episodes. First, The Bride of Sacrifice, which was the third part of The Azteks, one of my favorite William Hartnell stories, featuring Barbara trying and failing to change the direction of a civilization. And then in 1970, we get the episode that aired the closest to my actual birthday, episode 5 of Inferno, a cool story featuring a parallel universe. It’s the only one of the seven part story, I believe, in which series regulars Nicholas Courtney and Caroline John are credited only as their alternate, evil versions of their characters.
And finally on June 7th itself, we get two episodes. The latter is Forest of the Dead, in 2008. This is the second part of Silence of the Library, which is one of the best stories that Doctor Who has ever produced.
The other one was back in 1969, with episode 8 of The War Games. This during Patrick Troughton’s last story as the series lead. Episode 8 was, interestingly, the least watched episode of the series for 20 years, but it was also the one which introduced the idea that the Doctor was a fugitive from the Time Lords, making it a pretty key bit of story for the show’s long-term mythology.
And then a year later, I was born!
Enjoy your week!