Yesterday the BBC announced, in a blaze of media glory, the name of the actor who will take over from David Tennant in the role of Doctor Who. Were it not for the Israeli tanks moving into the Gaza Strip then it might have been the top story on the BBC News.
I’m old enough to remember the first ever Doctor Who broadcast, back in November 1963, we were visiting my Nans in East Ham. It was about that time that we first tried takeaway chinese food, and while the two events might not have happened the same night there are still connections… the intense flavours of chinese food were as much of a culture shock to grey post war Britain as the Daleks were to Britains children.
Of course I grew up with The Doctor and while I dont remember hiding behind the sofa, Im sure that along with millions of other children, I did.
Tom Baker’s Doctor in the mid seventies coincided with my late teenage years and indeed my future wife and children met him at a press promotion, although before I had met them.
I celebrated the resurrection of Doctor Who in 2005, this new Doctor was written and produced by people who had grown up loving the series and that love shows through in the quality of the scripts. The episode ‘Blink’ written by Stephen Moffatt was genuinely scarey and must have terrified even todays spohisticated children. I loved the thought of hundred of kids looking askance at statues on their way to school on Monday morning. Moffatt has written a number of notable episodes that work on both juvenile and adult levels, and are as complex as his work on Coupling back in the early noughties.
David Tennant has certainly grown into the role and made it his own, to the point where I saw this newspaper hoarding referring to his health problems possible compromising the filming of Tennants’ last episodes.
Matt Smith will have a difficult job in taking over from such an iconic doctor, much as Peter Davidson did in the eighties having to follow Tom Baker.
I wish him well… Stephen Moffatt is now in overall charge of the series, so I suspect it is in safe hands.
It occurred to me that I probably owe what I laughingly used to call my career (once I had a career, now I have had a succession of IT jobs) to Doctor Who. I can still remember Jon Pertwee disarming a cyberman by speaking to it in COBOL, this must have been when I was in my very early teens and the thought of computers having their own languages fascinated me. Little did I think, that years later I would code programs in COBOL for (what was then) massive IBM Mainframes.