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Sunday, January 12, 2014

50 Year Old Tradition

For the last 50 years Britons have gathered around their sets to watch the yearly treat we now know as the Dr. Who Christmas Special. Originally airing amid the chaos of the Kennedy assassination with global focus on American Broadcasts, Dr. Who's pilot episode was rebroadcast when the clamor died down. Since I did not come to Who until Tom Baker's tenure and with only the information available on PBS, I do not know if the Classic Who Doctors have had Christmas themed specials or if this is something indicative of NuWho. I don't care.

In my imagination, children of all ages gather around the telly on those cold dark Winter nights with biscuits and hot chocolate, maybe some eggnog, and surrounded by the glow of tree lights, watch with the transfixed gaze of loyal fans as another magical adventure unfolds in all of its timey wimey glory.

This year, marking the 50th year, I was able to participate in real time. Christmas Day began with rebroadcasts of previous Christmas specials, the Day of the Doctor rebroadcast, followed by the Christmas special and 4 days of a 24 hour Doctor Who marathon.

In the midst of those glorious adventures there was the Queen's Speech.

Another holiday tradition intrinsic to Britain. And I have to say, as she spoke on the traditions and values of family, community and pride of place while keeping anything political out of the mix, I wondered why we can't have nice speeches from our President. The only time he shows up is to rally troops to whatever idea he is espousing in the moment. The Queen's speech reminded me of all those Fireside Chats from FDR that I used to see between features on Matinee at the Bijou. And I liked it a lot.

Thank you BBC America for letting us share in two wonderful traditions. I look forward to sharing Christmas with you next year.

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