It was 48 years ago tonight, Doctor Who taught the world to play in time and space.
It was the day after the world had changed. U.S. President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas, Texas, and the world was still reeling from the news. But this was the world before 24-hour news cycles, and when the BBC had reported everything it could, it returned to its regularly scheduled programming. It was an inauspicious opening for a program that looked like it would be just another short-lived kids show.
Of course, Doctor Who would go on to become one of the most popular and long-lasting science fiction television programs of all time (and space). The impact of the show on popular culture can not be underestimated. The outpouring of gratitude to the show on its anniversary included a variety of voices. Fantasy author Neil Gaiman, himself, commented on Twitter:
48 years ago, Doctor Who started. I couldn’t be who I am today without the things the tv series, annuals, etc did to my mind. Thank you BBC. — @neilhimself
According to the most recent episodes, the Doctor is now somewhere over 1100 years old, and it looks like the adventures of everybody’s favorite Time Lord may go on even longer.