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Gallifreyan Embassy, Twenty Six Years and Counting / Bring Doctor Who Back to PBS [VIDEO]
Today (June 18, 2011) was the 26th anniversary of the Gallifreyan Embassy. Today we also recorded a Doctor Who: Podshock episode live over the net reviewing the spring 2011 series of Doctor Who. In the show we briefly touched upon the anniversary of the Gallifreyan Embassy and we were privileged enough to have a long time member and now a Podshock Supporting Subscriber call into the show, Stuart Natelson to share some of his memories with the organization.
One of the things Stuart brought up were participating in the PBS pledge drives we volunteered at back in the day, specifically for him, the December 1990 drive at WLIW with Tom Baker and Sophie Aldred in the studio with us. I won't go into his recollection of Sophie in his lap while doing an interview, but rather how I wish that the older Doctor Who episodes were still being broadcast on local PBS stations across the US. Sure, they are available via various online sources to purchase and/or rent, but the exposure that the series would have on local PBS stations would only help people discover the series' rich history. So many current fans hadn't seen the older episodes (prior to 2005). While some will explore them by buying or renting either the DVDs or digital downloads sight-unseen, many others, especially more casual fans might be unwilling to put money down on something they are unfamiliar with or may have heard the passe descriptions of the older series as being "cheap" or having "shaky sets" etc... Whereas many of these people would happily sit down and watch it (or record it) if it was on their local PBS channel if it were on.
Back in the day when PBS stations stopped carrying the series, it was due to the series being priced out of the budget of many PBS stations which had carried it. I can only assume that is still the case today. With some few exceptions, you can't find the older stories broadcast in the States today. Back in the 1980s, it was a completely different story. It was everywhere. Many long time Doctor Who fans in the US discovered the series via PBS stations during that time.
Yesterday I was in a local food market and I was wearing a shirt with a TARDIS (or police box) on it. It was recognized by one of the employees there as such. Normally, this would only happen at conventions or other places where fans may converge. With so many new fans today and so much growing interest in Doctor Who today, I would venture to say that older stories would thrive on PBS stations again as they did in the 80s. Perhaps the BBC is worried that it might eat into DVD and digital download sales? I think it will only help those sales.