Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a mysterious, humanoid alien known as "the Doctor" who travels through time and space in his spacecraft, the TARDIS, which normally appears from the exterior to be a blue 1950s police box. With his companions, he explores, faces a variety of foes and rights wrongs.
The programme is listed in Guinness World Records as the longest-running science fiction television show in the world and as the "most successful" science fiction series of all time, in terms of its overall broadcast ratings, It has been recognised for its imaginative stories, creative low-budget special effects during its original run, and pioneering use of electronic music (originally produced by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop). The show is a significant part of British popular culture in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, It has become a cult television favourite and has influenced generations of British television professionals, many of whom grew up watching the series. It has received recognition from critics and the public as one of the finest British television programmes, including the BAFTA Award for Best Drama Series in 2006.
The programme originally ran from 1963 to 1989. After an unsuccessful attempt to revive regular production with a backdoor pilot in the form of a 1996 television film, the programme was successfully relaunched in 2005, produced in-house by BBC Wales in Cardiff. The first was produced by the BBC and seasons two and three of the new series had some development money contributed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which was credited as a co-producer. Doctor Who also spawned spin-offs in multiple media, including the current television programmes Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, the standalone K-9 and a single 1981 pilot episode of K-9 and Company.
The Doctor, has been played by eleven actors. The transition from one actor to another is written into the plot of the show as regeneration, and the different portrayals are often treated as distinct characters, to the extent that they have on occasion encountered one another. The Doctor is currently portrayed by Matt Smith, who took up the role after David Tennant's final appearance in an episode broadcast on New Year's Day, 2010. A fifth series of the relaunched programme will air in 2010 in which the Eleventh Doctor will be accompanied by Amy Pond, portrayed by Karen Gillan. On 6 October 2009, a redesigned logo was unveiled which accompanies a redesign of the iconic TARDIS.