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3 more wake ups to go…

As I sit here, typing this, listening to the 5 Live coverage of the Man U v Bayern Munich match, with rain pattering against the window just behind my monitor, I’m as excited as a kid a few days before Christmas. Why? Could it be because I’m expecting some stunning new images from one of the Mars rovers, or Cassini, or MRO? No. Could it be, then, that I’m awaiting some new results from Kepler, the telescope searching for extra-solar planets? Um, no. Am I meowing on this hot tin roof because someone’s spotted a comet Way Out There, and we’ll know by weekend if it’s going to reach naked eye visibility?!?

Ah. No.

What is it then? What’s got me impatiently looking at the calendar, and checking my watch to see if it really is still just Tuesday?

This…

Yes, the new season of DR WHO begins on Saturday night!!! 🙂 🙂

Now, I can almost hear some of you sighing “Oh, grow up…” but I’m going to ignore you, a) because this is my blog and I don’t force you to come here, and b) because I LOVE Dr Who, I’ve grown up with it, it’s one of my very favourite things, and Saturday evening truly can’t come soon enough for me.

( I’m not prepared to either confirm or deny the rumour that I’ve taken Saturday off work, so I can watch it ‘live’ and don’t have to hide for an hour from all the TVs on where I work so I don’t catch glimpses of the show and have it ruined… 😉 )

“Why do you love Dr Who?” so much, I’m often asked, usually right after my inquisitor has let out a deep, long, exasperated/disapproving/bemused sigh. To answer that question I’d need to make a list that would run to dozens, maybe even hundreds of reasons, but I’m not going to do that, don’t worry. But basically it comes down to two very simple, and important, things: great stories, and memories.

A lot – tho, I’m the first to admit, not all! – the writing in Dr Who is amazing. Great characters, great plots, convincing relationships, drama and mystery… Many people point to modern episodes like “Blink” and “Girl In The Fireplace” when asked why Dr Who is so good, but older, classic episodes stand up well, too. “Genesis of The Daleks” takes some beating, as does “Terror of the Zygons”.

As a writer myself, I love the writing in Dr Who, it can be, at its best, a masterclass in writing. Russell T Davies got a lot of stick for being sentimental, and fanboyish, but some of his episodes for David Tennant’s Doctor were sensational. The two part final episodes, the farewell to David Tennant’s Doctor, literally reduced me to tears at the end, it was just awful, horrible… but brilliant at the same time.

But for me, Dr Who is all about memories… memories of my childhood…

I never watched Dr Who from behind the settee, but I do remember, very clearly, being absolutely **** scared of the Sea Devils when they walked out of the sea in “Dr Who and The Sea Devils”, all covered in netting …

…and carrying their scary ray guns…

For some reason the Sea Devils really gave me the heebie geebies. Maybe it’s because I’ve always had this fear of water. Maybe it’s because they were so silent and arrogant, and deep. Maybe it’s because they were so believable –

Well, at the time they were. Now, of course, I can see that their ray gun looks suspiciously like an iron, and that the Sea Devils bore a remarkable resemblance to a certain Brummie stand up comedian…

…but at the time, they really freaked me out, ok?!

Then I had a very, very uncomfortable trip to “The Planet of The Spiders”…

(Ha! And Donna thought she had something on HER back!!!)

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I hate spiders. No, that’s not even close to how I feel about them. I loathe them with every cell of my body. If I could click my fingers now and make every arachnid on the planet vanish, I’d do it, in an instant, and I wouldn’t care about the repercussions that would have for the number of flies, I’d never have to look at another spider again. So those epiosdes of Who were horrendous viewing for me. In fact, I’ve often wondered if they are what put this fear of spiders in me, though I think there was An Incident with a spider of some sort when I was very very young that did it. Guess I’ll never know. All I know is that “Planet of The Spiders” gave me nightmares.

And I wasn’t a huge fan either, I have to say, of the giant, pulsating, green-slime trailing maggots seen in “Dr Who and The Green Death”. They were just… wrong…

My worst memory during a lifetime of watching Dr Who isn’t of a monster or enemy tho, it’s of the Doctor himself – or at least one of the Doctors. Sylvestyer McCoy… what the **** were they thinking??!?!? He made the character a laughing stock, a clown, absolutely unbelievable. I wanted to reach into the screen, grab his stupid umbrella and batter him to death with it, I really did.

That would have been bad enough, but oh, it was worse than that; much, much worse…

I’m shuddering at the memories now, I really am.

But I have happy memories too, of course: sitting in my mum’s car, on a blazing hot summer’s day, licking a “Dalek Death Ray” ice lolly and reading the “Dr Who Summer Special”… Feeling the Doctor’s agony as he wrestles with the dilemma of whether to wipe out ALL the daleks or not… Developing a huge crush on Sarah Jane Smith in her flappy flared jeans and flowery tops…

And who didn’t fall for this fine fellow as he staggered and clomped across the screen like Todd Carthy on an ice rink..?

Then Who vanished for a while, and the world seemed a little darker, a little less colourful. Who came back for a visit briefly, when one of the (many) McGann Bros played the Doctor in a TV movie – that I’m still, to this day, undecided about. I really need to see it again – then vanished again…

Dr Who was dead.

Then RTD pushed his way through the crowd, dropped melodramatically to his knees beside the body, and, pumping its chest , shouted “Regenerate! Regenarate, damn you!” The Doctor coughed, retched, gasped for air… then sat up, and, looking a lot like a hard northerner in a leather jacket, went on to conquer the 21st century, as we always knew he would if he was just given a chance…

What followed is history. We were given Rose Tyler, her brassy mum, and Mickey… we were given new, kick-ass daleks and new much more believable Sontarans (even with Mike from “The Young Ones” playing one of them)… we were given The Lady Cassandra, the Face of Boe and, of course, Captain Jack Harkness, the man who made Capt Kirk look like a bumbling, blushing schoolboy when it came to seducing other lifeforms, regardless of their sex.

We were given Martha Jones, who I fell for in a very, very big way, and am still fiercely loyal to, and always will be…

Martha left (sniff) and we were given Donna Noble as a Companion, who, I’ll admit, I made up my mind to absolutely HATE before she’d even appeared on screen, after her fish wife shrieky chavvy debut in that Christmas special. She won me over, absolutely and completely, and she went on to become one of the best Companions, and finest actors, ever seen on Who…

We were given Sally Sparrow and the Weeping Angels, and told not to “Blink”…

…and we were given a farewell story for the tenth Doctor, played by David Tennant, that was as heartbreaking as it was epic. Every time I replay the scene where he says “I don’t want to go…!” I feel a black hole open up inside of me. You shouldn’t go! You’re MY Doctor!!!!

But then, he went, in a volcano of gushing golden flame, and when the light had faded in his place was…

What??! A floppy-haired, big chinned, gurning boy band reject…?!?!?!

Well, that’s what many people thought. Such was the devotion to David Tennant’s Doctor that his replacement was always going to have a hard time, and yes, knives were sharpened. Me? I just knew that the people behind Who wouldn’t give the role to anyone they thought unworthy of it, so I just thought “Fine, I’ll trust you, let’s see…”

And then the trailers started appearing, and the buzz began. The new Conpanion, Amy Pond, is feisty and, let’s not beat about the Tardis here, absolutely gorgeous…

…and with responsibility for the show given to Stephen Moffat – the writer responsible for some of “New Who”‘s most popular and succesful stories – a lot of people began to get very excited about the new series.

Then the trailers started to appear…

It’s now very clear that Matt Smith’s Doctor will be very different to David Tennant’s. He is going to be more scatty, more “Mad Professory” and probably more playful too. But there’s a definite hard edge to him, he’s not going to be Mr Fun Guy all the time, and the daleks, Silurians, Smilers and Weeping Angels and all the other season 5 baddies are in for a severe butt kicking I reckon. There’s an intensity behind those big, sunken eyes that will convince us all, within moments, that we really are looking at a 900 year old man, and not a kid in a tweed jacket. I can’t wait.

And we have a new TARDIS, too! With a new control panel! And stairs, leading to different floors, with lots of different rooms! I. Can’t. Wait!

So… here we are… just three more wake ups to go until Dr Who is back. I’m honestly looking forward to it as much as I look forward to a planetary encounter by a spaceprobe, or the opening of an epic new SF blockbuster. Matt Smith is going to be incredible, I just know he is, I feel it in my guts and in my bones. Karen Gillan, as Amy Pond, is going to shine on the screen with an almost Ready Brek glow. The camera will love her, and so too will a whole new generation of Who fans – young boys and their fathers alike…

Saturday is going to be a long, long day, but eventually I’ll settle down in front of the TV, flick BBC1 one, and the music will start playing, and a huge cheshire cat grin will spread across my face –

“But it’s silly…” some will say.

Yeah? Maybe. Maybe it is. Maybe robots shaped like salt and pepper shakers are “silly”. Maybe a time machine shaped like a blue police box is “silly”. Maybe clunky, matt-finish Cybermen are “silly”.

But on Saturday night, for an hour, I’ll step into that blue box and, with a moan and a groan of its mighty, ancient engines, I’ll be whisked away from this real world, of arguing, corrupt politicians, budget deficits, terrorist atrocities, paedophiles and murderers and for an hour or so I’ll be a young kid again, lost in a fantastic, fantasy world of aliens and monsters, giant robots and giant spiders, and a hero who loves the universe and everything in it and travels through Time and Space with a beautiful girl at his side…

I can’t wait! 🙂

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6 Responses

  1. Me neither. I just remembered this evening that it’s easter this weekend – I’ve been so excited for new who I had completely forgotten there was anything else going on. Thanks for being excited with me – everyone I peak to seems to think I’m weird to be looking forward to it so much, but I really can’t wait, it’s going to be amazing.

  2. Re sea devils, spiders, giant maggots… there sure was a lot of scary stuff in the Pertwee era. In fact, I think it was about this time that the BBC started to get into trouble with Mary Whitehouse for giving children nightmares! But personally, I can’t believe you didn’t mention the Master’s super-creepy murderous plastic doll from “Terror of the Autons”. Man that thing freaked me out!! (But damn you Mary Whitehouse – in a GOOD way!)

  3. […] by the cover of the Radio Times it’s no more than a lick of paint. Mind you, take a look at Cumbrian Sky’s blog (where he’s ridiculously over-excited about the series’ return) and I’m seeing an […]

  4. i still remember being horrified by the sea devils emerging from the sea to.
    every time i pick up a cup i always grip it like a sea devil ray gun first before using it for its designed purpose.
    ie drinking tea 🙂

  5. When I first saw “The Sea Devils” I was so terrified I could hardly watch the whole thing! And for some reason ‘The Arc in Space” really freaks me. I live in the USA and am only 13, but I’ve watched almost every episode since I was 2! THIS DOCTOR IS REALLY COOL. Only I personally prefer the originals to any new one. ( Who can defeat curly mops of hair and excessively long scarves?) 🙂

  6. Oh and Mr. Sin made me cry when I was little 🙂

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