Doctor Who: November 23–This day in history

And so today, November 23, 2021, we finally reach the end of Daily Doctor Who.

(Daily Doctor Who #365)

It was a bit of a whim of an idea to embark on a year-long process to post about Doctor Who every day, but we’ve done it and now it’s at an end. And of course it ends today, on Doctor Who‘s birthday, so to speak–the 58th anniversary of the airing of the first ever episode of the show, An Unearthly Child.

But it occurred to me that An Unearthly Child is not the only thing to have happened in the history of Doctor Who on November 23rd. Let’s have a look at what else there is…

1968

The Invasion part 4 airs–the first episode of Doctor Who to air on November 23 after An Unearthly Child. The episode ended with the serial’s first appearance of the Cybermen.

1983

The Five Doctors airs on PBS in America, two days prior to debuting in Britain (one of the only times that such a thing has taken place in the history of the show.

1987

The first part of the Seventh Doctor story, Dragonfire aired on this day. It was, therefore, also the debut appearance for Sophie Aldred as the new companion, Ace.

1988

Part one of Silver Nemesis aired. This was deliberate, as this story was marketed as a 25th anniversary special for the show (although it lacked the trappings of what we normally now think of for anniversary specials–ie, multiple Doctors).

2013

The Day of the Doctor premieres, both on TV and in the cinema. This was obviously to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the show.

Also, Peter Davisons The Five (ish) Doctors Reboot first aired, adding to the 50th anniversary festivities.

2017

Big Finish’s The Tenth Doctor Adventures Volume Two is released. This was a series of three episodes featuring the Tenth Doctor with Rose Tyler, marking Billie Piper’s first appearance as the character in Big Finish audio.

So there are some Doctor Who highlights for November 23rd.

But you know, November 23rd is not just a day in Doctor Who. It turns out that in defiance of all probability, other things have happened on that day as well.

Real Life

For example, in 1887, Boris Karloff–famous as the Creature in Frankenstein and the Narrator in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was born!

Then in 1888, Harpo Marx–whom Tom Baker is often compared to–was born!

In 1971, representatives from China attended the United Nations for the first time.

In 1990, author Roald Dahl died.

And in 2001, Mary Whitehouse, an activist who often complained about Doctor Who, also died!

It also occurred to me that things might have happened on November 23rd in the lives of other popular science fiction or fantasy franchises, so I decided to do a quick bit of research into Star Wars, Star Trek, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Lord of the Rings, and Stargate and see what I could come up with!

Star Wars

In 1985 the 12th episodes of both the animated Droids series and the animated Ewoks was aired on ABC. The Droids episode was called Across the Roon Sea, the story for which was by Ben Burtt, who is more famous as the sound designers who created the audio effects for the light sabre, Darth Vader’s breathing and so on. The Ewoks episode was called Blue Harvest and was written by Paul Dini.

Nothing super-exciting there but it was the biggest thing I could find.

Star Trek

This was a bigger deal–apparently, in 1964, rehearsals for The Cage began! This was the original pilot episode of Star Trek, which means that this the first time the cast and crew of the series would have gotten together to start shaping the first episode of the whole franchise. How fascinating is that? In a very loose sense, Star Trek is born exactly one year after Doctor Who (although of course, Doctor Who would have been rehearsing long before November 23rd).

Marvel

I couldn’t find anything relevant in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but in Marvel Comics, November 23rd is the day Marvel Premiere #1 was released in 1971, by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. The story repurposed a character who had just been known as “Him”, turning him into the better known figure of Adam Warlock, who has continued to be important to Marvel’s cosmic stories for years since then.

Stargate

In 2010, Visitation, the 9th episode of Stargate Universe’s second season aired. It was a notable one if you followed that series (confirming the deaths of a bunch of the show’s minor characters) but not particularly memorable outside o that.

Lord of the Rings

I’m not sure how this is figured but according to something I read online November 23rd is actually the day that the fictional Battle of the Five Armies (the climactic battle of The Hobbit) takes place! Thus it’s death that Fili, Kili and Thorin Oakenshield all die! Fascinating!

And with that, we end Daily Doctor Who. Thanks for joining! I’ll still be blogging about Doctor Who, just not on such a tight schedule. I do hope to continue to get something up every day, but the topics will be more spread around, I think.

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