Two dates with history – November 2013

Hello Hugo

There are two major anniversaries this weekend, one political and one cultural.

The first anniversary is the 50 years that have passed since the assassination of the US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy on 22 November 1963.  You can read a BBC News report about it from an American perspective here and there is a report about the UK event to mark the 50th anniversary of it at the Kennedy memorial in Runneymede here.  His daughter was recently appointed the US Ambassador to Japan – and has now taken up that post in Tokyo and was received by the Emperor a few days ago. I studied American politics at A-level in school and so have always retained in interest in American political matters.

The second anniversary this weekend is the 50 years that have elapsed since the first broadcast of the science fiction series Doctor Who in the United Kingdom.  It was, when I was growing up in the 1980s, my favourite television programme.  The series begun on 23 November 1963 – 50 years ago today and the day after Kennedy was shot in Dallas – and initially ran until the winter of 1989.  The last story of the original series was broadcast when I was 11 years old, having just started secondary school in autumn of that year.  For years after that, there was talk of the programme being resurrected.  There was a one-off programme in May 1996, the year when I went to university, but it was not until March 2005 that the programme was re-launched and it continues to this day.  I have to say that I preferred the original series, even though it was, by today’s standards, a lot more amateurish that the current version.  I remember that, after the original series ended and as a child, I wrote several letters to the BBC asking that it be reinstated.  I received replies, the gist of which was that there were no plans to immediately do so but that it was something that might happen in the future.  The best era was the early 1970s to the early 1980s which saw Jon Pertwee (1970-1974) and then Tom Baker (1974-1981) as the third and fourth Doctors respectively – they are now up to the eleventh actor playing the role.  I never got to see this earlier era of the series as it was aired as I was too young (or had not been born) at the time but have seen many of the episodes from that time on video, DVD and Youtube.  The 50th anniversary of the series will be marked with a special story called The Day of the Doctor later tonight.  This is being broadcast simultaneously in over 70 countries and is said to be the largest simultaneous broadcast of a television programme ever, but Japan does not seem to be one of those countries.

Anyway, it is just a few days to go until your fifth birthday now.  I am sure that you are very excited about becoming a five year old boy and I am very excited for you too.  I am always wondering what you are like now.  At the end of last week I took a booking for a court hearing in the Islington area of London on the 28th but I hope to get away early and will be thinking about you in Hiroshima all day long.

I will post here again on your fifth birthday.


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