On This Day
1644 – John Milton publishes Areopagitica, a pamphlet decrying censorship.
Areopagitica; A speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc’d Printing, to the Parlament of England is a 1644 prose polemic by the English poet, scholar, and polemical author John Milton opposing licensing and censorship. Areopagitica is among history’s most influential and impassioned philosophical defences of the principle of a right to freedom of speech and expression. Many of its expressed principles have formed the basis for modern justifications.
1963 – The BBC broadcasts the first episode of An Unearthly Child (starring William Hartnell), the first story from the first series of Doctor Who, which is now the world’s longest running science fiction drama.
Doctor Who is a British television science fiction programme produced by the BBC since 1963. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called “the Doctor”, an extraterrestrial being, to all appearances human, from the planet Gallifrey. The Doctor explores the universe in a time-travelling space ship called the TARDIS. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Accompanied by a number of companions, the Doctor combats a variety of foes while working to save civilisations and help people in need.
The show is a significant part of British popular culture, and elsewhere it has gained a cult following. It has influenced generations of British television professionals, many of whom grew up watching the series. The programme originally ran from 1963 to 1989. There was an unsuccessful attempt to revive regular production in 1996 with a backdoor pilot, in the form of a television film titled Doctor Who. The programme was relaunched in 2005, and since then has been produced in-house by BBC Wales in Cardiff. Doctor Who has also spawned numerous spin-offs, including comic books, films, novels, audio dramas, and the television series Torchwood (2006–2011), The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007–2011), K-9 (2009–2010), and Class (2016), and has been the subject of many parodies and references in popular culture.
Thirteen actors have headlined the series as the Doctor. The transition from one actor to another is written into the plot of the show with the concept of regeneration into a new incarnation, a plot device in which a Time Lord “transforms” into a new body when the current one is too badly harmed to heal normally. Each actor’s portrayal is unique, but all represent stages in the life of the same character. Together, they form a single lifetime with a single narrative. The time-travelling feature of the plot means that different incarnations of the Doctor occasionally meet. The Doctor is currently portrayed by Jodie Whittaker, who took on the role after Peter Capaldi’s exit in the 2017 Christmas special “Twice Upon a Time”.
Born On This Day
1868 – Mary Brewster Hazelton, American painter (d. 1953)
Mary Brewster Hazelton (November 23, 1868 – September 13, 1953) was an American portrait painter. She attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she was later an instructor. Among her other achievements, Hazelton was the first woman to win an award open to both men and women in the United States when she won the Hallgarten Prize from the National Academy of Design in 1896. Her portrait paintings are in the collections of the Massachusetts State House, Harvard University, Peabody Essex Museum, and Wellesley Historical Society. The professional organizations that Hazelton was affiliated with included the Wellesley Society of Artists, of which she was a founding member, and The Guild of Boston Artists, of which she was a charter member. She lived her adult life with her sisters in the Hazelton family home in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
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