Happy birthday, ‘Doctor Who’
Rockland — “Doctor Who” is turning 50 years old this year and Rockland Public Library, in association with BBC Home Entertainment, will celebrate with two special screenings. “Doctor Who” is the longest running science fiction show in television history, according to Guinness World Records, and a British cultural phenomenon. The show features a time traveling alien with two hearts, known only as the Doctor. Now in his 11th Regeneration, the Doctor travels the universe with a succession of (mostly) earthly companions in the TARDIS — a sentient, time-space vehicle disguised to look exactly like a blue British police call box circa 1963, the year the series premiered.
On Thursdays, Feb. 14 and 21, in association with BBC Home Entertainment, the library will be screening episodes featuring Tom Baker (the fourth Doctor) and David Tennant (the 10th), two of the most popular Doctors in the series. The screenings will begin 6:30 p.m. in the Friends Community Room of the library, 80 Union St. A few “Doctor Who” volumes from Ace Books will be given away at the screenings.
On Feb. 14, “The Sun Makers” from 1977 will be screened. Far in the distant future, Earth has become uninhabitable, forcing mankind to colonize first Mars, then Pluto; no longer the coldest body in the solar system, Pluto is warmed by a series of artificial suns. But access to the sunlight is limited to a select few, while the majority of the citizens of the vast Megropolis cities are being overworked and overtaxed by the ruling elite. When the TARDIS lands on Pluto, the Doctor (Baker), Leela (Louise Jameson) and robotic companion K-9 discover the human race has been moved off Earth to do the bidding of the Company, a ruthless intergalactic conglomerate. It is up to the Doctor to uncover the secret of the Company's head, the Collector.
Robert Holmes wrote this satire after experiencing a frustrating audit by the Inland Revenue services, Britain’s version of the IRS. The episode features splendidly over-the-top theatrical performances from Richard Leech and Henry Woolf as the ultra-capitalist villains, and Baker is in fine form as the Doctor. It is screened by permission of BBC Home Entertainment.
On Feb. 21, the library will present a screening of the acclaimed 2007 episode “Blink” followed by a post-screening discussion with Bill Halpin and Saskia Huising. When Sally Sparrow (Carey Mulligan) enters an old abandoned mansion to take photographs, things are not exactly what they seem … or are they? Can the Doctor (Tennant) help her find out? Well, yes — and no. Steven Moffat’s “Blink” won two BAFTA Awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, as well as science fiction’s prestigious Hugo Award. In addition, Mulligan won the Constellation Award for Best Female Performance in a Science Fiction Television Episode. “Blink” was voted the second best “Doctor Who” story in the show’s long history. It also is one of the most ingenious time travel tales ever filmed. It is screened by permission of BBC Home Entertainment.
These evenings are part of a continuing Thursday evening series of literary, film and musical offerings sponsored by the library and Friends of the Rockland Public Library. Admission is free. Special accommodations for persons with disabilities can be made with 48 hours notice by calling 594-0310.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or email@example.com.