As most couch potatoes know, a thousand years from now, Richard Nixon (or at least his head preserved in a transparent jar) will be completing his third term as President of Earth, as depicted in Matt Groening and David X. Cohen’s animated series Futurama. (There was a brief interruption last year when RN was forced to resign a second time after the armies of Planet Omicron Persei 8 conquered Washington, but thanks to quick thinking by the ever-resourceful Leila, he was soon restored to the Oval Office.)
And this Saturday, at 9 pm on BBC America, the thirty-seventh President makes his debut on another science-fiction series – the venerable Doctor Who, which broadcast its first episode in Britain the day after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. The original series ended its run on the BBC in the late 1989, but, partly thanks to its continuing popularity on PBS in the United States, it was revived in 2005.
The opening episode of the revived show’s sixth season, “The Impossible Astronaut,” is the first of a two-parter. It features the Doctor (now played by Matt Smith, the eleventh actor to assume the role) and his cohorts getting into their reliable vehicle the TARDIS and traveling to 1969, just before the liftoff of the Apollo 11 mission. They disembark in Utah and start to investigate strange events involving aliens and astronauts, a mission which takes them all the way to the White House.
President Nixon, tomorrow and the following Saturday, will be portrayed by Stuart Milligan, a Boston native often featured on British television. In this preview clip, he gets a call in the Oval Office….and watch the final seconds carefully. And here’s a trailer for the opening episode, in which he is seen briefly. Among the British newspapers, the Guardian and the Telegraph have taken notice of RN’s appearance on the show.