Thursday, 1 May 2008


Here we are, in the midst of the fourth series in the Doctor’s new era of adventures, and it is time for the long-term fans to sit back and take stock for a moment. The shops are full of merchandise, the newsagents are packed with magazines with Doctor Who content, childrens’ walls are covered with Daleks, and their shelves full of DVDS. In addition, there is still a massive legion of old-school fans out there that, for the fourth year running, are able to cry out “I told you it was brilliant!” at all the people that slagged the show off while it was off the air. Make no mistake about it, the Doctor Who adventures are the biggest thing to happen to UK television screens in a very long time. A bona fide phenomenon, it has crossed age barriers, generation gaps, and doesn’t talk down to its viewers both young and old.

Yes, I am a gloating Doctor Who fan, and I readily admit it. We put up with so much before the show came back, that I’m damned well enjoying our moment of vindication while it lasts, if you don’t bloody mind. There was a time I remember only too clearly when the only new Doctor Who that was regularly coming out consisted of the BBC novels and the Big Finish audios. Reading a Doctor Who novel on public transport before the show came back made you something of a social leper. Not only were you into this shoddy old science fiction show, but you were displaying your love for it by actually paying money for a tie-in novel. You know what? Yes I did. The very idea of Doctor Who is a wonderful thing that really has done a great service to the country by coming back- a real hero, simply trying to help those in need with no desire for personal gain.

That, in this current climate of pointless violence and the gimme gimme mine min mentality is a breath of fresh air, and children have been introduced to a classic hero in a very modern guise. Hearing about kids’ reactions to the first series was wonderful for someone in my line of work. Their imaginations had been opened up to all the possibilities that science fiction could bring up, and families finally had something they could enjoy together again. That is massively important on many levels. Here is something that every generation can find something in, and they can find it in a format that doesn’t get bogged down with politics, shady characters or the acquisition of wealth. They are very simple stories told in a direct manner, but they are done in such a way that anyone can enjoy them.

It has come to a beautiful point in the evolution of Doctor Who’s new era, in that we are now literally going along for the ride and wondering where the enigmatic Time Lord will take us next, what we will see there, and how we will face the dangers that these journeys bring. The BBC are still releasing Doctor Who novels (albeit in a different manner) AND Big Finish are still producing their exemplary range of licensed Doctor Who audio plays, but now we also have Character Options bringing us all manner of Doctor who action figures and Doctor Who collectibles, as well as other companies bringing us posters., T shirts, magazines and much more. The new golden age of Doctor Who continues, and after this series is over, there is still the Christmas special to look forward to, and three more specials next year, followed by series five in 2010. After that, who knows where the Doctor will take us next? Hit the randomizer and let us discover the universe alongside our hero.

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