Long-running British sci-fi series Doctor Who celebrated its 50th anniversary on Saturday with a worldwide broadcast of a highly anticipated special, which made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest-ever simulcast of a TV drama.
According to a statement from the BBC, the 75-minute episode — in which current Doctor Matt Smith was joined by predecessor David Tennant and special guest star John Hurt — was broadcast simultaneously across six continents in 94 countries. In addition, more than half a million tickets were sold for special 3D screenings in over 1,500 theatres throughout the world.
As star Matt Smith explains, the show’s worldwide reach and longevity are a testament to the enduring popularity of the time-travelling alien known only as the Doctor. “I think that its appeal is the very concept of it really,”; explains 31-year-old Matt, who was 26 when he was cast, the youngest-ever of the 11 actors to have played the character since the show launched in 1963. “The fact that it’s a show that explores time travel and can go anywhere in space and time and you have a character that can change and regenerate, there’s something timeless about those ideas and here we are 50 years later.”;
The anniversary is a bittersweet one for the star, who, after four years in the role, will be leaving the series after the upcoming Christmas special in which Matt’s Doctor will regenerate into his new incarnation, to be played by British actor Peter Capaldi.
“It’s four years of your life that you’re saying goodbye to as well, as well as a character,”; says Matt of his exit. “I haven’t seen it all yet, but hopefully it’s sort of moving and a fitting tribute to the 11th and a graceful handover to number 12, (who) I think is going to be fantastic.”;