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Doctor Who 50th anniversary schedule unveiled by BBC

Matt Smith as Doctor Who

Story by Jack Foley

THE BBC is to screen a number of programmes to mark the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Doctor Who later this year.

The schedule will culminate with the keenly-anticipated 50th special, starring Matt Smith and David Tennant, which will be called The Day of the Doctor.

Clocking in at 75 minutes, the episode is expected to pave the way for Smith’s final outing as the Time Lord during the Christmas episode before Peter Capaldi takes over.

Smith himself commented: “Hope you all enjoy. There’s lots more coming your way.”

Other highlights include a BBC 2 lecture by Professor Brian Cox on the science behind the hit show and the drama An Adventure In Space and Time, a one-off drama written by Mark Gatiss and starring David Bradley as William Hartnell, who played the first Doctor in 1963.

BBC Four will introduce new audiences to Hartnell via a re-run of the first ever story – four episodes that are being shown in a restored format and which have not previously been broadcast in the UK.

The celebrations extend to BBC 2’s flagship arts programme The Culture Show, which will present Me, You and Doctor Who and find lifelong fan Matthew Sweet exploring the cultural significance of the show.

And BBC Radio 2 will air a 90-minute documentary asking Who Is The Doctor?, during which it will use newly-recorded interviews and exclusive archive material to find an answer.

For younger viewers, CBBC will broadcast 12 Again, which will gather some of the show’s various stars to share their memories of Doctor Who from the seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, to Warwick Davis, who played Porridge in a Doctor Who episode.

And Blue Peter is launching a competition to give viewers aged between six and 14 the opportunity to design a new gadget that will become part of the series.

Smith will also appear on the Blue Peter sofa to answer viewers’ questions.

And as the BBC looks to extend the drama’s legacy by attracting newcomers, Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide will provide an introduction and history designed to fill in newcomers and addicts alike.

Danny Cohen, BBC director of television, said: “It’s an astonishing achievement for a drama to reach its 50th anniversary. I’d like to thank every person – on both sides of the camera – who has been involved with its creative journey over so many years.”

Lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, meanwhile, commented: “50 years has turned Doctor Who from a television show into a cultural landmark. Personally, I can’t wait to see what it becomes after a hundred.”

All of the programmes above will be aired in the run-up to the golden anniversary on November 23, 2013.

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