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Born Again

The Cybermen and the Second Doctor made their débuts half a century ago, in 1966. But these aren’t the only reasons to commemorate that momentous year…

Fifty years ago, Doctor Who ended. And then it began.

A chapter closed on 26 February 1966, with an episode entitled, not inappropriately, Bell of Doom. It ended after astronaut Steven Taylor stormed out of the TARDIS, appalled by the wandering Doctor’s seeming indifference to the awful Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Day – in which Anne Chaplet, a jeune fille of their mutual acquaintance, was presumed to have met a grisly fate. It ended with the time-and-space-travelling Doctor at last alone in his ship – quite possibly for the first time since he’d departed his home planet in the company of his granddaughter Susan.

“Now they’re all gone,” he mused. “All gone. None of them could understand. Not even my little Susan, or Vicki. And as for Barbara and Chatterton – Chesterton… They were all too impatient to get back to their own time. And now – Steven. Perhaps I should go home, back to my own planet. But I can’t.” His voice drops. “I can’t…”

Doctor Who ended in that moment, when he (and we) thought it was ‘all over’ (to quote football commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme’s famous utterance of later that year). A moment later, he should have closed the doors and dematerialised his ship – destination nowhere. In this way the singular ‘Adventure in Space and Time’, as the Radio Times listings always had it, would have come to an end.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

On the 50th anniversary of The Power of the Daleks, Doctor Who looked back as well as forwards. While an animated reconstruction of the Second Doctor’s début was being prepared, work began on new episodes to be broadcast in 2017. Inside this issue, you’ll find exclusive interviews with some of the people behind the next series and the recent spin-off Class, the story behind the acclaimed exhibition of Target Books artwork and a ringside seat at the Power of the Daleks launch event. This is the essential guide to the worlds of Doctor Who.