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Saturday 23rd November 2013


The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who threatened to overshadow the 11th anniversary of Warming Up (we're just two days away from that landmark), but hopefully the BBC are planning to surprise me with a prime time dramatisation of my 4019th blog and then an after party show on BBC3 where two presenters who don't really know anything about me or blogging will awkwardly attempt to chat to the five people who regularly read it (one of whom is my mum).

It's amazing to see Doctor Who reach 50 and in such style and given a budget that allowed it to compete with Hollywood blockbuster sic-fi movies (in some parts at least). And I thought it was a genuinely great script (where quite a few of the recent ones have left me a bit cold). The programme has had to battle as many enemies over the years as the Doctor has and could so easily have been cancelled after four stories or certainly when the original star became too infirm to carry on doing it. Would it have been remembered if it had ended with Hartnell? Who knows? (get it, like Doctor Who).

And then it kept going in spite of being slightly rubbish and distinctly British (as brilliantly parodied and homaged in Community). And then even when it got taken off the persistence and dedication of its fan base kept the dream alive. To the extent that now, once again, it's the BBC's flagship programme.  It gives all of us who are slightly rubbish, distinctly British and unfairly treated by the BBC some hope. I love it, disdain it, am proud of it and am embarrassed of it in equal measure. But I like to think it was my appearance in the audio only adventure Real Time, which really injected life back into the franchise.

What a victory for the nerds this all is. Well done to us all.

Having enjoyed the show I turned over the BBC3 coverage, foolishly expecting something better than the usual backstage access TV shows. But it was worse. Even now the BBC do not even begin to understand what they have with Doctor Who. By choosing Rick Edwards and to a lesser extent Zoe Ball to host this they had totally misunderstood the appeal of the programme. Don't have a cool and handsome guy acting with slight disdain and embarrassment and signalling to the camera how he is above this stupid show. Get in one of the proper nerds (one of the eloquent ones, but there are millions of those) who unashamedly enjoy the series and don't give a fuck about what anyone thinks about them as a result. No arched eyebrows or barely concealed sneering. Just a celebration from one of the people who likes the Doctor Who. These are the people I want to represent my country, the slightly awkward but unpretentious outsiders, making a unique and slightly rubbish, but ultimately brilliant television programme.

The only success was when a proposed interview with two members of One Direction (not one of the main ones, so basically they could have put any two young men with stupid haircuts on screen and no one would have known the difference) went badly wrong because of an awesome intercontinental delay in the sound, which then began to echo around on a loop like they were stuck in a timewarp. It was the perfect satire of the inanity of BBC3, made even better when one of the only things they managed to say was something along the lines of , "We haven't had a chance to see the show yet, but what was it like being in this ground-breaking episode?"

They had a studio full of some of the people at the heart of this programme and wasted their time talking to some of one One Direction. What's wrong with the BBC? I gave up and went to watch an old episode of Saturday Night Live instead!

Though I did enjoy this affectionate short film about the Doctors who didn't get to appear.

What a victory for the programme overall though. And aside from this BBC3 monstrosity all the extra celebrations like the William Hartnell drama hit the right note. And unless at the end of the BBC3 thing Rick Edwards was blown apart by an actual Dalek then his appearance was the only real negative.
Though I did think that this would have been an excellent weekend for the real Daleks and Cybermen to invade earth, as everyone would assume they were harmless nerds dressing up and then bang - they could have got us. Hiding in plain sight.

I guess the real Daleks and Cybermen would probably do OK against us anyway though. The real Doctor would be too busy at conventions to actually do anything to stop them.

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