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Doctor Who: Global Day of the Doctor Celebrates Franchise’s 50th Anniversary

For “Doctor Who” fanatics, it doesn’t get much better than this: A worldwide simulcast today on TV networks and in theaters around the globe of a 50th anniversary tribute to Britain’s beloved sci-fi franchise.

Variety helped introduce “Doctor Who” to Stateside bizzers in August 1965 barely two years after its British premiere, with ads (pictured above) from distrib Lion Intl. Films warming up the market for a syndie sale. The pitch helpfully explained what in the world a “Dalek” was and other aspects of the “Who” mythos. And of course it touted the fact that kids (of all ages) in Blighty were bananas for the show.

A half-century later, fans are preparing to greet the 12th thesp to regenerate in the role, Peter Capaldi, whose debut is set for the traditional Christmas Day special. Today’s star-studded 50th anniversary special (offered in 3D in some theaters) features an epic adventure involving Doctors No. 10 (David Tennant) and No. 11 (Matt Smith). The simulcast begins Stateside on BBC America at 2:50 p.m. ET, with a pre-show produced by Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist Industries from YouTube SpaceLA  at 2:30 p.m. (A post-show telecast and a rerun of the spesh will follow, ICYMI.)

The BBC’s website has a helpful guide to today’s festivities. BBC America, like other networks, has exterminated the rest of its schedule to be all Doctor, all the time this weekend.

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