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Anniversary shows

23rd November is a very special date for Doctor Who fans. It is the anniversary of the very first episode. Here I will look at the episodes that occurred on the anniversary or the stories either side of it.

It is interesting to note that only 3 other stories were broadcast on the 23rd November itself, none of the stories being the multi Doctor anniversary stories; The Three Doctors (10th Anniversary) and The Five Doctors (20th). The 25th anniversary story, Silver Nemesis, however WAS broadcast in 23rd, a year after the previous season’s Dragonfire was broadcast on the anniversary date. That’s 2 out of the 3 stories (the third being The Invasion which coincidentally is also a Cyberman tale as was Silver Nemesis).

But if Daleks are more your thing, then 8 stories featuring the fearsome pepper pots are on the list (with a further 2 stories featuring a brief appearance by the Daleks). In the early years, you were almost guaranteed a Dalek story on the anniversary with the Daleks starring in 3 anniversaries in a row.

But things changed in1969. The show went out in colour and the schedule was different. The 1969 anniversary had the finale of Patrick Troughton’s tenure as the Doctor finishing the season in June with Jon Pertwee’s debut going out at the start of 1970.

It would be 1975 before a story was transmitted during the anniversary week, in this case it was The Android Invasion written by none other than Dalek creator Terry Nation.

The rest of the 1970s found the anniversary falling between two stories but without the season gap of the early 1970s.

1980 saw The State Of Decay being transmitted around the anniversary date but the cycle of the early ’70s returned with the season gap occurring over the anniversary.

The 20th anniversary story, The Five Doctors, was a specially made feature-length story that was broadcast in the U.S. on the 23rd but wasn’t broadcast in the UK until 25th.

Once Doctor Who returned after an 18 month hiatus in 1986, it was on air during the anniversary and depending on how you view the season, is it during the Trial of A Time Lord or between Terror of the Vervoids and The Ultimate Foe?

Then the two Sylvester McCoy stories followed that were broadcast on the day itself (the aforementioned Dragonfire and Silver Nemesis).

The final story of the classic series was a 3 part story called Survival. All three parts make it onto the anniversary list because the anniversary for 1989 was between parts 1 and 2 and as the third part was the final story for many years, it was the anniversary story by default.

Then came the tv movie, broadcast in May 1996 and the default anniversary tale until the show’s return with Rose.

Which brings us to the new series of Doctor Who. Again the schedule saw the series aired in the first half of the year meaning that the stories either side of the anniversary were the season finale (and a return of the Daleks) and the Christmas special. Usually the gap would be about 6 months, until…

…This year saw the series being shown in two separate blocks which meant that the season finale was shown in the beginning of October.

It sounds as if next year, the season will start later making me think that by the time of the 50th anniversary in 2013, the show will again air an episode on (or near) the 23rd November.

What will YOU be doing to celebrate the Doctor’s anniversary?

Doctor Who Anniversary Stories (UK air dates)

1963 – An Unearthly Child **

1964 – The Dalek Invasion Of Earth (1- 21/11, 2-28/11)

1965 – The Daleks’ Master Plan (2-20/11, 3-27/11)

1966 – The Power Of The Daleks (3-19/11, 4-26/11)

1967 – The Ice Warriors (2-18/11, 3-25/11)

1968 – The Invasion (4-23/11) **

1969 – The War Games (10-21/6/69) change of schedule

1970 – Spearhead From Space (1-3/1/70)

1970 – Inferno (7-20/6)

1971 – Terror Of The Autons (1-2/1)

1971 – The Daemons (5-19/6)

1972 – Day of the Daleks (1-1/1/72)

1972 – The Time Monster (6-24/6)

1972 – The Three Doctors (1-30/12)

1973 – The Green Death (6-23/6)

1973 – The Time Warrior (1-15/12)

1974 – Planet Of The Spiders (6-8/6)

1974 – Robot (1-28/12)

1975 – The Android Invasion ( 1-22/11, 2-29/11)

1976 – The Deadly Assassin (4-20/11)

1977 – The Face Of Evil (1-1/1)

1977 – Image of the Fendahl (4-19/11)

1977 – The Sun Makers (1-26/11)

1978 – The Stones Of Blood (4-18/11)

1978 – The Androids Of Tara (1-25/11)

1979 – The Creature From The Pit (4-17/11)

1979 – Nightmare Of Eden (1-24/11)

1980 – State Of Decay (1-22/11, 2-29/11)

1981 – Logopolis (4-21/3)

1982 – Castrovalva (1-4/1)

1982 – Time-Flight (4-30/3)

1983 – Arc Of Infinity (1-3/1)

1983 – The King’s Demons (2-16/3)

1983 – The Five Doctors (25/11)

1984 – The Twin Dilema (4-30/3)

1985 – Attack Of The Cybermen (5/1)

1985 – Revelation Of The Daleks (2-30/3)

1986 – The Mysterious Planet 1 (6/9)

1986 – Terror Of The Vervoids (4-22/11)

1986 – The Ultimate Foe (1-29/11)

1987 – Dragonfire (1-23/11) **

1988 – Silver Nemesis (1-23/11) **

1989 – Survival (1-22/11, 2-29/11)

1989 – Survival (3-6/12) (1990-1995)

1996 – TV Movie (27/5) 1996-2004)

2005 – Rose (26/3)

2005 – The Parting Of The Ways (18/6)

2005 – The Christmas Invasion (25/12)

2006 – Doomsday (8/7)

2006 – The Runaway Bride (25/12)

2007 – Last of the Time Lords (30/6)

2007 – Voyage of the damned (25/12)

2008 – Journey’s End (5/7)

2008 – The Next Doctor (25/12)

2009 – The Waters of Mars (15/11)

2009 – The End of Time (1-25/12)

2010 – The Big Bang (26/6)

2010 – A Christmas Carol (25/12)

2011 – The Wedding of River Song (1/10)

**aired on 23rd November

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