New Zealand television viewers were the first outside Britain to see Doctor Who after it debuted on the BBC in November, 1963. Sure, that debut series screened here some months behind the UK, but the fuzzy black and white broadcast of the first oddball sci-fi original was a vision of telly's future. And since then the show has somehow endured - despite some extended absences and rocky patches - to become a screen sci-fi institution.

When the programme celebrates its 50 years next week, local fans can join in the global celebrations which are delivering everything from marathon retrospectives to 3D cinema screenings of an anniversary special show.

Doctor Who might be "the quintessential cult show", as current series star Jenna Coleman tells TimeOut, but it's survived and, in recent years, thrived as it's reinvented itself for yet another generation.

Here's how the 50th anniversary is being celebrated on screen and on stage ...


The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special episode The Day of the Doctor which stars Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt as well as Jenna Coleman and Billie Piper screens on Prime on Sunday November 24 at 8.30pm, the same day it screens at New Zealand cinemas. On Saturday November 23 and Sunday November 24, UKTV is playing 11 Doctor Who Revisited specials throughout the daytime. They feature each doctor's time in the job with interviews with cast and crew and classic clips, plus a specially selected story including the very first episode, An Unearthly Child, starring William Hartnell.


Weekly on UKTV from Sunday November 17 are four specials - The Science of Doctor Who, The Women of Doctor Who, The Timey Wimey Stuff of Doctor Who, and The Destinations of Doctor Who.

At the cinema

The 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor is also having 3D cinema screenings with an added introduction for cinema audiences on Sunday November 24.


Previously missing stories of Doctor Who from the 1960s starring Patrick Troughton - The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear - will be released on DVD in New Zealand. The first will be available from November 27. This follows the discovery in Nigeria of 11 "lost" episodes.

In concert

Wellington will be invaded by Daleks, Cybermen and other creatures in February as the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular is performed as part of the New Zealand Festival in the capital. The NZSO will perform music from the show with a big screen featuring sequences of Matt Smith's performance as the Doctor and stage appearances from the creatures. Tickets from

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- TimeOut