I’m not sure if I knew it was coming. I think not. What I can say with certainty is that I was in the living room of the family home in Kent. I think it was dark outside, the glow of a sodium yellow street light notwithstanding. We were watching a black and white rental television, the kind where you had to feed money into a box at the back, rather like the electricity meter under the stairs (Real money, you understand. As a certain young lady said, decimalisation hadn’t started yet) .
All fairly normal for a Saturday evening, around Ten-to-Six, in 1966. We couldn’t receive BBC2, but I don’t recall watching Juke Box Jury on BBC1 and haven’t been able to identify what was on Associated Rediffusion, the ITV company that serviced the Greater London area.
But come Ten-to-Six, we were watching BBC1 which was broadcasting the final part of an adventure which would pivot on a moment when the world changed forever.
Over the previous three weeks we had seen the Cybermen infiltrate a polar military base. Eerie sing-song voices that warbled up and down pushed an agenda of world domination. Not that we doubted it, but those cyborg ambitions came to an explosive end, but out favourite time traveller seemed a bit worse-for-wear. He staggered through a snow storm, chased by fellow travellers, Ben and Poly. Back in the TARDIS, he operated the controls, became agitated, and collapsed. Close up on his face and a strange pulsating light grew in intensity. I always remembered it as a glow.
In this glow, the features of William Hartnell, who we knew as The Doctor, became less distinct, changed - and dammit - that’s a new face! What’s happened to The Doctor? Where did he go? Except here comes that howl and the credits and a warning that next week sees the return of something familiar.
Things would never be the same ...