Tuesday, 26 March 2013
A space helmet for a cow?
As you all know, I don't do 'Current Affairs' or 'Recent News' or 'Things that happened this century'. But there's an anniversary this year that definately needs a bit of national celebration.
OK, so it's not really until the 23rd of November, but it's a biggie, so you'll probably be excused for getting overexcited, starting early, and making a mess in the corner.
Doctor Who is fifty years old this year!
There isn't a person out there (whose opinion counts for anything) that doesn't love Doctor Who. Most people have their own Doctors, often the Doctor who was in residence whilst they were growing up, I'm lucky enough to have two; Both Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker (Although I was a great fan of the occasional Patrick Troughton episode) are ingrained on my subconcious as the man in my particular funny blue box.
The ongoing story of everyone's favourite 903 (approximately) year old adventurer from the planet Gallifrey, a binary star system in the constellation of Kasterborous have entertained all the members of the Dandy clan for the past 40 odd years. It has everything, adventure, pretty girls, rugged boys, humour, horror, suspense and in the later series (2005 onwards) an awful lot of running.
Don't get me wrong, it's not universally good, for me they could have quite happily left out the sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, completely as the job he did trying to channel William Hartnell was slapdash at best and at worst, jellyfish stampingly annoying and Sylvester McCoy did, in my opinion, more harm than good with his 60% Tom Baker, 30% Peter Davidson, 10% Charlie Chaplin portrayal. And whichever of the McGanns that it was that did the 'Americanised version'... Well, the less said about that the better (I understand he was quite brilliant in the Internet / Radio / Talking book versions though) But on the whole, the new mob are great, Matt Smith does do a particularly good Patrick Troughton, unfortunately sans the penny whistle.
It has generated a selection of words that have passed into the language, most notably 'Tardis' as used by estate agents to describle bijou one bedroom leasehold flats with staggeringly expensive service charges all over London that are the size of a biscuit tin on the outside and the size of a wardrobe on the inside.
'Sonic Screwdriver' has come to mean an item of equipment used to open containers that are proving 'difficult', it can apply to hammers, prybars, big screwdrivers or angle grinders, usually used thusly:
'Oi, Shadwell, chuck us the Sonic Screwdriver... No... Not that one, the big one.'
'Davros' can been applied to... Oh, I don't know... wheelchair bound people with a sense of humour, old people with dark tans who choose to wear fake leather jackets, or those unfortunates who have a single glowing blue eye in the centre of their wizened foreheads.
It's difficult not to use the word 'iconic' too much when you're talking about it, the enemies are all pretty iconic, Daleks, Cybermen, Silurians (both types) and their cousins the Sea Devils, Sontarans and The Master are all instantly recognisable... Well, I mean, the Master is kinda, at least in the Roger Delgado / Anthony Ainley years, but there've been almost as many Masters as there have been Doctors.
While we're on the subject, can you name all eighteen men and one woman who have played the Doctor in film or Television? (Not including body doubles or stand-ins you pedantophiles or people who might have been the Doctor) - Answer at the bottom of the page. Don't worry if you didn't get them all, I had to look a couple from the late nineties up.
Hopefully, the adventures of the 'Raggedy Man' will continue for another fifty years so that the next generation of Dandies will be able to pick character traits to affect that will make them stand out, and I also hope that whoever takes over from Matt Smith next year will not urinate on the franchise from a great height.
Who would you want to be the next Doctor? There's not been a lot of talk about his successor as yet on t'Internet, but I'm sure everyone has an idea, maybe it's finally time for a female Doctor (although that presumably won't be the incarnation that marries Melody Pond... Although Alex Kingston has a history of playing 'open minded' characters), maybe we'll see the Ginger Doctor, or the one that doesn't have legs, Maybe the one that doesn't have legs is really Jim the Fish?
I don't know.
I know who my choice would be though...
He'd have to be suave and erudite, Well read, sarcastic, ironic, tough in a no second chances kind of way, in touch with his feminine side, able to quip, as disabling with a well turned phrase as with a stun-gun fashioned from a wind-up penguin and a bucket of butterscotch Angel Delight that smells faintly of sturgeon.
In a word...
People who've played the Doctor include:
William Hartnell, Peter Cushing (Played a human Doctor Who in the two 1960's films), Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davidson, Richard Hurndall (Played William Hartnell's Doctor in The Five Doctors), Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Rowan Atkinson, Richard E Grant, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Joanna Lumley, (Comic Relief 1999) Mark Gatiss (Doctor Who night 1999 - Went on to write and star in several episodes), Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith