[UPDATED with information on the Global Simulcast, and WhoFest]
While 23 November 1963 has a unique meaning for residents of North Texas, local science fiction fans have a more pleasant reason to commemorate the day. The BBC debuted the adventures of DOCTOR WHO fifty years ago this November, and the network (along with its American counterpart) are pulling out the stops to celebrate the occasion.
A fiftieth anniversary episode will debut that Saturday, uniting the current Doctor, Matt Smith, with the previous incarnation, David Tennant, and a “cloaked in mystery” version of his prior self, played by John Hurt. (Look, if you’re confused as to why three versions of the same character can be on screen at the same time… check out this primer on DOCTOR WHO. Then, just have a pint and enjoy the ride.)
The festivities locally kick off this Sunday (27 October) with a DOCTOR WHO Day at the British Emporium, in historic downtown Grapevine. The shoppe has long been a destination for WHO-ligans looking for imported goods from across the pond, including great apparel and memorabilia. The special event, which will feature a photo-op TARDIS, Dalek and K-9, a costume contest and more Gallifreyan goodies, begins at Noon.
One week prior to the Anniversary, Geeks Who Drink presents “Don’t Blink: A Doctor Who Quiz,” described as a one-night odyssey following the adventures of the last of the time lords. The North Texas quiz fires up at 7:00 pm on Saturday 16 November, at Zio Carlo Magnolia Brew Pub (1001 W Magnolia Ave, Dallas).
Questions will cover Doctors Hartnell through Smith, but Whovians should anticipate material primarily covering the modern series (they’ll still mix in material from the classic shows). As always, Geeks Who Drink rules limit teams to a six-player max, with a $5 admission fee for each player. Presiding Quizmaster Michelle Miller says, “While we can’t promise the quiz won’t go all wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey quizzy-whizzy on you, we can promise a cash prize for our winners – depending on turnout, but usually in the hundreds of dollars.”
If you’re one of the lucky folks who snagged tickets for WhoFest taking place at the Crowne Plaza in Addison 22-24 November, congratulations: the event’s been sold out for months. While there aren’t any guests from the show attending, there is a fully-stocked Dealer’s Room, panels discussing the finer points of the show’s fifty-year run, and a blood drive benefiting Carter BloodCare.
As for the Anniversary episode itself, you can catch the 75-minute special at 7:00 pm CT on BBC America on Saturday 23 November. If you don’t want to wait, Dallas will be one of eleven cities in America – one for every incarnation of the Doctor so far – to be part of a “Global Simulcast” to watch the special in 3D, at the same time as it airs on the BBC, which is six hours earlier than it’ll run on BBC America. The screening event will also include a special 10-minute retrospective shot exclusively for the Global Simulcast. Tickets for this screening, held at the Cinemark West Plano on Saturday 23 November, go on sale at 8:00 am CT on Friday 25 October at Cinemark.com.
Additionally, the Angelika Film Centre at Mockingbird Station will be holding a free screening event that night, with Keith’s Comics and BigFanBoy.com on hand with prizes and surprises.
If you feel like seeing the event on the big screen in 3D, several North Texas theaters will be holding screenings through Fathom Events on Monday 25 November. Advance tickets are available through the Fathom web site.
Got a Fiftieth Anniversary event to announce? Shoot me an email, and we’ll update this article so everyone gets a chance to attend!