Scared of Dr Who? You will be
We are big Dr Who fans in my family. It’s fuelled by a huge dose of nostalgia in my case, having been brought up in the early days of the series, hiding behind the sofa as the daleks and the cybermen scared me witless.
It is great to see my son watching a TV programme which we enjoyed too at his age – and good to have something we can sit down to as a family without flinching at the general nastiness associated with so many TV series these days.
I don’t quite go back as far as the 1960’s black and white first series, so when I saw they were being repeated, I was keen to watch.
This turned out to be a huge disappointment.
The legendary wobbling scenery was the least of the problems. For one thing, the acting was so wooden, the cast were in danger of getting splinters.
The sets appeared to have been thrown together from a random selection of car boot materials, with a few switches, levers and flashing lights being as sophisticated as it got.
The cybermen were a joke. Having just watched the modern version with them flying off into the sky, this lot were clad in rubber suits which creased when they moved and you could see the zips. Their leader – revealed to much “scary” music – was hilarious.
He resembled Bob the Builder, and was about as frightening.
The paint job on his face was so bad, he looked like he’d been made up by a five-year-old let loose with her mother’s make-up bag.
Women’s lib was still a long way off in those days, and the women in the series were mostly portrayed as being helpless and in need of protection by the men, their main function apparently being to scream loudly when any of the monsters appeared.
One such “monster” was a tiny creature which looked like a mouse in both meanings of the word – metal body in the shape of a computer mouse, it had big stick-on eyes which just made it look cute instead of menacing.
That the female cast managed to look terrified at its approach, was a feat of acting worthy of an award.
True, we were less demanding in our standards of entertainment in those days, but this series certainly has not travelled well, if you will excuse the pun.
But it did entertain us in another way – we passed the time by playing “guess the prop” – trying to work out what pieces of household flotsam and jetsam had been cannibalised for the costumes and scenery – vacuum cleaner hoses seemed to be a favourite.
Needless to say, my teenage son was so unimpressed, he only watched for five minutes before pronouncing it “boring” and disappearing back to his computer.
I have to say he did have a point, though for us nostalgics, it had a certain awful fascination.
But I probably have no right to speak, because I once went to a fancy dress party in a plastic bin liner with a sink plunger, trying to look like a dalek.
My boyfriend went as Dr Who – he clearly thought that I was not pretty enough for him to pass me off as his glamorous assistant – it was a relationship doomed to failure.