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UCLan Doctor Who fans celebrate 60th anniversary with fan favourite Peter Purves

Posted on - 13th December, 2023 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Education, Preston News, TV, UCLan

University of Central Lancashire Doctor Who fans celebrated the 60th anniversary along with fan favourite Peter Purves.

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Fans of the sci-fi show were given the opportunity of commemorating the anniversary in the company of honorary fellow Peter Purves.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Ireland organised the event held on Wednesday 29 November which celebrated the many connections the University of Central Lancashire has with the popular series.

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Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction series in the world, and the University of Central Lancashire’s involvement with it includes Alumnus Mandip Gill who played companion Yasmin Khan opposite Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor from 2018 to 2022, and back in 2019, when the university recreated a missing episode of Doctor Who: Mission to the Unknown.

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The event took place in the university’s Media Factory, in the exact same space where scenes for the Doctor Who missing episode recreation were filmed.

Prestonian Peter Purves played Steven Taylor, a space pilot from future Earth, and companion to the first Doctor Who from 1965 to 1966.

However, almost all the episodes Mr Purves appeared in have been lost.

During the event at the University of Central Lancashire, Peter Purves said: “Almost all my episodes are missing. Everyone who played Doctor Who’s companion after me earned considerable royalties because the science fiction series has a worldwide appeal. I have never earned a penny from it.

“When I heard about Andrew’s recreated lost episode I tweeted a message to my followers about the project, without saying too much, and the Doctor Who fans went mad for it. It’s people like Andrew who kept the show alive. Really, it died in 1989 but once it came back to our screens it’s gone from strength to strength and I’m thrilled to be a part of it once more.”

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Peter Purves has now returned to the franchise and appears in Tales of the Tardis which is a brand new six-part series available on BBC iPlayer that reunites classic Doctor Who duos.

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Professor Ireland added: “I’ve always been a fan of Doctor Who – it gave me a love of television, shaped my career, and inspired my PhD. I love the character of the Doctor because rather than relying on weapons, it is brains, thinking and intelligence that is relied upon to win the day and conquer adversity. That’s a great role model, and an important message there for us all.”

Doctor Who fans who attended UCLan’s event enjoyed a screening of the recreated missing episode and a Q&A conversation with Purves.

Mandip Gill took part in a pre-recorded interview that was played in, as she was busy filming for a new project.

Dr Sarita Robinson, the Associate Dean of the School of Psychology and Humanities also presented a talk on the psychology of Doctor Who. 

There was also a full-sized Dalek in the room.

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