Thursday, 29 May 2014

BBC Churns out the Same old Wallpaper

Apparently we're all supposed to be very excited about the twelfth Dr Who appearing next August. Despite the fact that he's got a time machine, he still can't get the new series completed before next August. How much longer will the BBC go on making more and more episodes of this terminally tedious series and pretending that it is a National Treasure? If you are one of the conscientious people who actually pay their TV licence fee, you should be annoyed by this waste of money. The increasingly scary effects, the horror-movie trimmings, the speeded up sequences and the loud explosions of the modern Dr Who do not conceal a complete lack of new ideas or imagination. Dr Who is predictable, corny and sexist. It often sounds like just the same scripts re-cycled time after time-machine.
            Of course Dr Who is a cult, People talk about the "incarnations" of Dr Who, as if he was the Dalai Lama. There are Dr Who calendars, diaries, pop-up books and computer games for those who never tire of the clich├ęs.
           The first episode of Dr Who, "An Unearthly Child", went out more than fifty years ago in 1963. The Doctor was then a white haired old man, the archetypal mad scientist, with a young grand-daughter called Susan. She accidentally led two of her teachers back to the Tardis, which started suddenly and took them all back to the Stone Age, where by remarkable coincidence they arrived just outside one of the caves occupied by the tiny population of homo sapiens then to be found scattered across the globe. The idea was not new  - it was taken of course from the novel by H.G.Wells  - and all possible variations on it had surely been exhausted by the third or fourth series. Ever since then, it has dragged on by bringing back one or other of its familiar baddies and monsters - the Daleks, the cybermen, the giant spiders or whatever. Dr Who has attempted homespun philosophy and even some crude political satire, it has borrowed motifs from myth and legend and even aspired to become an epic of good versus evil, but it always relapses very soon into the familiar melodrama with the Doctor and his companion running down endless passageways and stopping only to have their hair shampooed and blow-dried by a studio team just behind the scenery.

       Over the decades, Dr Who has grown steadily younger and more virile, reflecting the change in our culture which no longer values or respects the old. He has to have a side-kick who is an attractive female, never an equal in intelligence or experience, and getting more like a concubine with every series. Some rather good actors have played the lead role including David Tennant who was quite wrong for it, and John Hurt. Almost incredibly, they have now signed up Peter Capaldi, who should be playing James Bond, never mind Dr Who. That man has got the wrong agent. Many of us wouldn't mind seeing him on TV but please, please  - not as Dr Who.

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