By Elizabeth Ladzinski
MIDTOWN — Fifth Avenue was momentarily transported back in time Friday when hundreds of Dr. Who lovers turned out to meet the cast of the revived British series.
Fans of the show, which was revived in 2005 with a fresh young cast after a 16-year hiatus, lined up outside the Barnes & Noble at 555 Fifth Ave., near 46th Street, starting at dawn.
Columbia University freshman Caroline Thirkill and Shelby Maniccia, both 18, turned up at 6:30 a.m. for a chance to meet Matt Smith, who plays the current doctor.
"Matt Smith is my favorite doctor, I'm totally in love with him," said Maniccia.
It was six hours before the pair got to meet Smith and his female sidekick Amy, played by Karen Gillan.
Many of those who waited in line were older than the Columbia co-eds.
Andy Stamat, 57, first fell in love with Dr. Who 25 years ago. "The writing, although comedic, definitely deals with philosophy, science fiction and mysticism in a way that other shows don't," he said.
Clay Eichelberger, a 41-year-old who has been watching Dr. Who for more than 20 years said: "It wasn't like anything else, and yet it had more imagination — and at the time, less budget — than any other show."
Other fans dressed up as David Tennant, the previous Doctor, and Tom Baker, who played the Doctor from 1974 to 1981 and was known for his distinctive scarf, hat and curly hair.
Doctor Who is the longest running, most successful science fiction television show of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, with millions of viewers worldwide. The show, which was begun by the BBC, also appears on BBC America and has garnered quite a following across the pond.
The original series ran from 1963 to 1989, and in 2005 the series relaunched, earning the show a new generation of "Whovians."
The premise of the show is that an alien — disguised as a human man — travels through time and space in his TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space), a spaceship disguised as a blue police office box that is bigger on the inside.
At the end of each actor's tenure as The Doctor, a new actor regenerates in his place, retaining all the Doctor's memories and experiences from all previous shows.
The Barnes & Noble event kicked off a press tour which will continue on Monday when the season's premiere episode will be screened at Village East Cinema.
The screening is free and open to the public, and the full cast will appear for a Q&A. The BBC suggests that fans arrive well before the 7 p.m. show time, as the line to get in is expected to be long.