The Doctor Who Revival

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September 28, 2012 by raconteurmagazine

by Gina Kershaw

Doctor Who is about as prime time as it gets. Post-tea time Saturday evening viewing, terrifying your kids right before bedtime courtesy of BBC One. Mum and dad should like it too – nostalgic references to their own childhood combined with enough innuendoes to fill a bawdy, 1970’s sitcom hospital. Despite their sullen looks, the teenagers are actually enjoying it too. When the latest episode’s credits role, they silently depart for their bedrooms to spam their tumblr feeds with edited screenshots of Amy Pond and The Doctor being all sexy.

But what of the only age group Doctor Who doesn’t target – the 20-25 year olds? Too old to be scared, too young for spirited hijinks with their future kids. Surely they’re at the pub, chain smoking hand rolled cigarettes and boasting pretentiously about indie bands you’ve never heard of? Surely they’re too comatose from £3.99 wine from the corner shop to even know what a Doctor Who is. Well, quite surely, you’re wrong?

I’m the generation the Doctor Who revival should have never touched. A teenager when Christopher Eccleston bombarded his way on to our TV, with that ‘orrible leather jacket usually reserved for uncles straddling mid-life crisis motorbikes. Then I was at university and making friends for the first time, participating in the aforementioned £3.99 wine thing. Then I became an adult. I’m in the tiny percent that shouldn’t have even thought to watch The Doctor.

I’m here to confess to you – I’m a ‘Whovian’, apparently. I don’t spend my life sighing at gifs of The Doctor and The Companion sharing a snuggle but I’ll quite happily waste a weekend re-watching my favourite episodes. It was all an accident.

I remember the first time so clearly; it’s one of the most prominent events in my memory, and as such it’s even gained a gilded glean. Sat on the sofa with mum and dad, they talked of their own childhoods having a panic attack about an over-enthusiastic salt shaker with a whisk hand (aka the daleks), so I figured I’d give it a go. It was shit acting from everyone but The Doctor and Rose, but that came to be the best bit. The plot was a bit naff, the enemies a bit too A Level film studies standard, but somehow it just sucked me in.

It kept getting better. Christopher Eccleston and his nose were replaced by the Scottish, skinny powerhouse that is David Tennant and everything just got a whole lot more exciting. The supporting cast were still on the right side of amateur, the plot much the same, but he was my new crush. I even got a calendar and my parents coined the name of Doctor McWho.

Then it was Matt Smith, a combination of the ugliest and sexiest man I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how his face does it, it’s a paradox of its self. I vowed to never watch Doctor Who again in memory of the tenth doc, but he quickly won me over with fish fingers and custard, the adorkable bastard.

I’ve been trying to figure out what makes people my age become obsessed with Doctor Who when we really shouldn’t be – we’re not the target. The episodes are written with everyone but us in mind. Yet, we can’t get enough.

Perhaps it’s the casual good looks of the leading cast. Sexy enough to fancy; plain enough to be no threat. Search for ‘doctor who’ in tumblr’s search bar – I dare you. You’ll instantly be sucked in to an internet worm hole, bombarded with gifs, screenshots, poems, fan art and fic of the latest episodes.

Primarily you’ll find soft-focus shots of Amy looking sad and distant, with italic quotations. Then there’s Amy and The Doctor showing their ‘hidden love’ for one another, and finally there’s a few arbitrary shots of Rory looking gormless (fair play to the guy, he does arbitrary and gormless pretty well).

Maybe it’s the constantly improving story line. My main Doctor Who friend doesn’t like how it’s gotten more serious, but I think Stephen Moffat taking over is the single best thing to happen to prime time television. Russell T Davis may have given us Rose and Dr McWho, but beyond that there’s only so many shots of people walking out of council estates to gawp at the latest invasion that I can take.

The fear of growing up and settling down that haunts Amy throughout her time as the companion is a pretty accurate reflexion of this generation’s 20-25 year olds. We’ve left the comfort of education, trying to get a job and a life and absolutely shitting ourselves about it. We want more pocket money and time to mess about with mates – it’s the curse of the current generation. As far as we’re concerned, we’re still children, and will be until we hit (whisper it)…thirty. Oh, what we’d give for a magical blue box to appear, primed to whisk us away to the edge of the universe and time itself. Life is happening and we’re not ready. We are Amy Pond.

Maybe it’s because it’s just nice to watch. It’s nice to watch pretty people run around together, be thrown in to impossible situations and solve the problem before my brew’s got cold. I’ll take a pleasant narrative over a night out on the ‘lash’ any Saturday. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

And finally sometimes, just sometimes, it’s actually scary. I know no-one who hasn’t been a bit shook up by the weeping angels. But then the daleks turn up, all clunky and ridiculous, and everything’s sunny again.

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