Television. Television pictures are made of a series of dots. Standard definition TV is about 580 lines by 780 columns, meaning your crystal clear picture is actually a grid of about 450000 dots, in red green and blue. Sit too close and you can see the dots that the picture is made up of- it’s recommended that you sit at least 6 screen diagonals back to get the best viewing experience.
So… what has this got to do with being a Doctor Who fan?
I think as who fans we can metaphorically sit too close to the screen. We can pay too close attention to the mechanics of the plots going on in front of us, rather than just sitting back and enjoying it as intended. Of course there is nothing wrong in examining the plots in such minute detail, people can and do get a lot of enjoyment about it. I do. But if we do this we must always be aware of what we are doing, and be prepared to take a step back and a deep breath. We must always bear in mind that we are subjecting an entertainment product to far deeper scrutiny that it can reasonably be expected to sustain. And we must be aware that in our close reading of the subject matter we will be prone to missing parts of the bigger picture, that will be plain to the viewer sitting back and enjoying the show.
It’s fine to examine the plots and discuss them at length providing we remain aware of what we are doing and don’t go on about plot holes and lazy writing which really aren’t there for the regular viewer. The worst conceit of many sections of Who fandom is to assume it is the core of the audience, rather than a statistically irrelevant subset of it. And most of all we shouldn’t get annoyed if someone enjoys the show in a different way to us.
Someone told me that the BBC Doctor Who website has a trailer for the new series starting at Easter. It puts me in the mood to see this new series. Which is a shame as I probably won’t be able to see much of it this year due to the move… but more about that in another post.
Thinking back six years to when the Russell T Davies revival was first announced, I felt ambivalent about the revival. Russell was a good writer and loved the series. I’d seen his Channel 4 series, and heard good stuff about the serials he did for children’s TV.
I was prepared not to like it. As a thirty-something male fan of the original series I realised that I had no right to like it- it would have to primarily grab the attention of the younger audience. If us old school fans liked it too, that would be a bonus, if not then we still had the tapes of the old series, and the CDs made by Big Finish.
But the younger audience liked it. And I got my bonus- I thought it was great too. It was better than anyone had any right to expect. What’s more to cap it all it all, lots of other people liked it and it became incredibly popular.
It doesn’t always hit the mark. But, by and large, it has a better hit rate than the old series, and you need your rose tinted glasses to pretty deeply coloured to think otherwise.
Doctor Who has just come to the end of a golden age, and is entering a new one, with a new chief writer, and lead actors. It may not repeat the success of the Davies-Tennant era, but five years of top-notch TV was more than any fan had any right to expect.
Anyway- talking of Doctor Who nostalgia: Prior to the move I’m trying to flog as much of my stuff that gathers dust in attics as possible. I don’t think it’s fair to ask my parents to store more stuff while not doing anything with all the boxes that have remained untouched for five or more years.
My old New Adventures seem to have gone like hot cakes on Amazon marketplace, and the few ten to twenty year old copies of Doctor Who Magazine that were still intact have found new homes courtesy of eBay. Who would have thought it.
I’m having more difficulty getting rid of the remainants of my collection of video tapes. Who fans are typically quicker to adopt new technology than people in general, so have no desire to pick up episodes on an old format. I got rid of a few tapes at work to people wanting to show their kids what they used to watch back in the day, but I think I’m going to have to take drastic action with the rest.
The life laundry is therapeutic. It feels better to know this stuff is with people who will appreciate it, rather than just taking up room or being pulped to become part of next weeks Daily Mail.
I have proof that David Cameron is in league with…
OK, let’s look at the facts.
The image on the left was taken from a campaign poster. The image on the right, just a regular photograph. Spot the difference?
The one on the left, so smooth, almost plasticy. It’s an auton replica!!
David Cameron is in league with the autons and is using at least one of them to help him out with his campaigning. Must be.
Or it’s the result of over done make-up, or even a photoshop job.
I had most of the end of 2009 off work, and happily spent it with my lovely wife and son. And we did have a nice time.
Things I have not been doing included:
- Reading discussion forums
So… anything happen over Christmas? The main thing, according to the BBC was the finalé of the Russell T Davies era of Doctor Who. I don’t think the climax to a TV series had ever had so much build up. The two-parter over christmas seemed to be the now traditional series finale and the Christmas episode.
I enjoyed it. I thought the end was overblown and self-indulgent, but I enjoyed that too. Russel and David had certainly earned that self indulgence.
So, for Doctor Who, it’s the end of an era. Wonder what the new one will be like?
I’ve been decluttering.
Mostly this has meant putting Books, CDs and VHS tapes up for sale on Amazon. Given I’m not a completeist and rarely read any fiction twice, keeping the lot seemed an extravagance.
On top of this I cleared out boxes of old letters and paperwork. 10 year old credit card and bank statements from accounts I no longer have are now shredded and added to the compost bin. My uni notes are on their way to be next week’s newspapers. I figured these were papers I would only re-visit for nostalgia purposes, and nostalgia as they say ain’t what it used to be.
One side effect of this decluttering is a Doctor Who morning marathon. In the half hour before his breakfast, Matthew and I watch an old episode of Doctor Who. Mostly these are off-air copies from UK gold circa 1999, so they will be watched and thrown away. So far I’ve watched Spearhead From Space, Day of the Daleks, Carnival of Monsters, and the end of The Space Museum. And then the tape itself will sadly have to be binned.
Unless anyone still has use of blank video tapes?
Funnily enough while half the world seems to be going “Matt Who”, both here and across the Pennines Matt was recognised as “the bloke from Ruby in the Smoke”.
We liked him in that and are optimistic about his casting.
One reservation I have is that, superficially, he has some similarities to David Tennant, and there won’t be enough of a contrast. But I trust the new team at BBC Wales to know their job better than I do!
One of the things we don’t usually watch time-shifted, is Doctor Who. Well last Saturday’s we watched on Sunday, but we usually watch it near enough at the time of broadcast.
I’ve not blogged much about this series, but I have been enjoying it immensely. Last Saturday was the first of a two parter by Stephen Moffatt, the man who will be steering the Doctor Who ship in 2010′s fifth series of the revived show. It was unbelievably excellent with more than a hint of the lovely “Time Traveller’s Wife”, as he runs into someone who he has never met, who turns out to know him very well indeed.
The story is set in a deserted library, in the 51st century, with a weird and wonderful subplot involving a little girl and her psychiatrist in a twentysomethingth century flat to give it a lovely large dollop of “what on earth is going on here”?
The characters are great, even including something rarely seen in drama, but often in real life, two people with the same first name: “Proper” Dave and “Other” Dave. This, despite merely reflecting reality, is hilarious on screen.
There was a point in the episode when The Doctor uses the library systems to determine how many people are in there. 2, humanoids, but a million million lifeforms. 1,000,000,000,000 lifeforms equal 1 terralifeform. But given this is the Vashta Nerada, pirhana like creatures that resemble shadow, perhaps that should be one terror lifeform.
Great episode. Particularly identified with the bits where the Doctor stuggles to explain things he obviously understands, to other people. That’s so me.
Best line “The windows are too big”. An in joke at the fact the Tardis prop isn’t an exact replica of an old London Police Box!
No, this isn’t another post about bullying, but one about Doctor Who.
The end of the latest Doctor Who two parter left me with moist eyes, right from the point where Latimer and Hutchinson survive the war. Sarah reckons I’m a wuss.
We got to watch part one (Human Nature) on Thursday, in time for Saturday’s part two.
The weekend was packed with preparations for our own adventure, two weeks today we will be off to Manchester airport for our trip of a lifetime! We also managed to pack in a visit to a coffee shop.
Yesterday the Sun carried a story about the fact David Tennant, Russel T Davies, and other key members of the Doctor Who production team are moving on after the 2008 series. Only the spin was that they would all walk out at the same time and this was a plot to axe the show.
Today the Guardian have their own unnamed source, said that RTD was always going to move on after a while, and that the work schedule is too gruelling. Their source recons the BBC will not let Doctor Who disappear now it’s so popular and will look for replacements for the key players.
Speculation among online Doctor Who fandom reckon that the Sun’s source is none other than their own wild and fevered speculation on Doctor Who fan boards. The Sun has got it right, but fans put this down to the infinite number of monkeys using typewriters theory.