Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb….
2013 has been obsessed with Doctor Who. Leading to the 50th Anniversary of the series, across the world, viewers have watched the latest episode, ‘The Day of the Doctor’, in multiple viewing formats. A monumental occasion whereby Google changed its doodle, joint appearances by Matt Smith and David Tennant have plagued our screens in interviews while the episode itself was a huge success with extremely positive reviews alongside wall-to-wall coverage in documentary and short form. London’s Evening Standard writes:
“Last night’s episode of Doctor Who has received a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest ever simulcast of a TV drama. The special 50th anniversary show set a new world record after being broadcast in 94 countries across six continents following a massive global campaign. In addition to the TV broadcast, the episode was screened in more than 1,500 cinemas worldwide, including in the UK, US, Canada, Latin America, Germany, Russia and Scandinavia. More than half a million tickets were sold for the theatrical screenings at which fans were able to watch the episode in spectacular 3D.””
Read the full article here.
It is this relentless positive coverage that has ensured that I join the bandwagon and try my hand at understanding the Doctor Who universe. Dating back to 1963, Doctor Who has had its own fair share of high and low points. Actors who appeared as the Doctor in merely six stories still retain their moniker, and are accepted proudly in the canon. Indeed, the recent released trailer on The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot show how actors including Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy will do their very best to take part in the celebrations. It seems that everyone adores the sci-fi banter of the Who-niverse – and despite its family fun, in 2013, many people remain fans whether they have kids or not.
The vast history, with patches lost in the BBC abyss, is difficult to behold. How can a newbie, such as I, invest in such a long-term television series? I think the answer lies in the state of television now. Watching I’m A Celebrity (Get Me Out Of Here) this week and we see Joey Essex claim he doesn’t understand the word ‘clash’ (He does. But it gets people talking. Therefore becoming a “celebrity”). As the strange monkey-sound credits scroll down the screen I ask myself – why am I watching this?
And then I realise I haven’t seen a single episode of Doctor Who. A series that is adored by families every week it is on. This is a series that has stormed America and remains a jewel in the British crown. The actors are amongst the best in the world with sold-out Shakespeare productions and Hollywood movies under their belt. So, as Matt Smith is on an adventure in space and time in a tardis, Christopher Eccleston is the lead villain in the latest Marvel adventure Thor: The Dark World and David Tennant is in sold out productions of Richard III in Stratford-Upon-Avon (due to be screened in cinemas across the world too). This may be family friendly, but it clearly attracts the best talent.
I’ve decided I am changing channel. When cheeky-chappies Ant and Dec reveal the up-and-coming ‘challenges’ in the jungle, I’ll flip on Netflix and begin Doctor Who. With the BBC finding lost episodes every few months, it does seem that now is the time. If every time I find myself relaxing to watch reality TV and its short-term, mindless “fun” packaged with shiny “celebrities” talking about the state of the world with no experience whatsoever, I might as well turn to something truly ludicrous – something fictional and playful. Something that doesn’t make me weep for humanity, but instead makes me proud of what television can achieve. Bring on Doctor Who…