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It’s only a TV programme

I was going back through some old blog posts this past week, doing some admin and tidying up when I stumbled across this.

A post about something that I wrote practically four years ago this week, in June 2005. It was a quick, quirky, multi-topic post. Totally unlike what you’re about to read below.

Doctor in the houseI’d got terribly exciting about the finale of the new season of Doctor Who. ‘New Who’ as it soon became dubbed was back on our TV screens with its non-wobbly sets, CGI graphics, and some beautifully written story lines (thank you Steven Moffat, but more of him below) that led us to the Doctor and Rose battling against the Daleks, and the realisation that the ‘Bad Wolf’ story arc had been slowly woven in over the previous twelve weeks.

The sight of Eccleston on the BB red chair with the phrase ‘Doctor in the House’ still makes me chuckle. I’m guessing there’s fair percentage of people out there that never got, and still don’t get the Coldcut reference.

Now it’s 2008. And I’m back again to waiting a whole week to see how it pans out with the Doctor and Rose batting against the Daleks. And it’s making me realise that I have to confess something : I love this programme. Big time.

How can it be that a 65 minute special that’s going to be on this Saturday evening is the sole focus of my week. How could it be that a programme which I enjoyed as a kid (Tom Baker, in case you’re wondering) is still getting me excited today. Me … and countless others. Spanning a broad range from young children, teenagers, and thirty-five year old expats in America who surely ought to know better. Shouldn’t they?

Henry MendozaI’m worried I may be compared to someone decades younger than me. This [left] is the grinning face of Henry, who’s twelve years old and once contributed towards an iPod of mine. Now this surely is what a Who-obessive should be like, right? Someone who has posters on their bedroom wall, someone spends hours on jumpcut making new montages of old and new Doctors together and creating his own DW comic books on the official site. Isn’t that its target audience really? Or am I just a twelve year old in disguise?

Maybe I should know better. But I also know that when Journey’s End finishes screening on Saturday evening, I’ll be left feeling a little empty, and realising more than ever than it’s been an intimate part of my life over the last four years. It’ll also reinforce (as I watch it online, over the internet and not on a live terrestrial signal) that in the same way that I can recall a time, a memory, and a moment from a particular song that was a hit at a time, I can do the same with Doctor Who episodes now too.

I can remember quite quite clearly and and where I was and who I was with (hello Sam), the first time we were treated to a Christmas special. And how all our fears over whether Tennant would be a worthy successor or not, and by god – yes he was.

I can remember how I slowly realised that there were different writers for different episodes and thus some were better than others. Declaring the genius that is Moffat and that the episodes that are the most clever (Girl in the Fireplace, Blink and Silence in the Library) are his. And the double parter written by Paul Cornell of ‘Human Nature/Family of Blood’ is guaranteed to being a tear to my eye every time I watch it.

That’s right. Doctor Who can bring a tear to my eye and I’m admitting it here in public. Sometimes, if I’m in the mood, all go back to the specific episodes and the specific parts that I know will do it to me and watch them through. I’m even slightly addicted to watching old clips, trailers and the ‘Coming Next’s’ from certain episodes, because it makes the hairs on my arm stand up and puts goosepimples down my back with ease, and I really like that.

And yet it’s just a TV programme. Isn’t it. Isn’t it?

Who Montage

Of course it is. Just like the spin off’s are ‘just’ TV shows too. Did you get caught up in them too? I know I did. And I can remember having some of the best sex of my life after a particularly lesbian themed horny episode of Torchwood had just screened. Shame that was never repeated. The sex that is, not the episode.

So I watch old episodes a lot. They’re all on my iPod too. I spend far too much time on checking out speculations of spoilers and theories. I Google for other Doctor Who blogs (like this one) to see what people are writing. I have a toy TARDIS on my desk at home. I have a Doctor Who calendar on my desk at work. I have a poster of Tennant & Piper up in the studio at work. I have a mini-dalek key ring that spins and flashes whenever my cell phone is about to ring.

I bought both soundtracks (on download, not CD). The Doomsday music still puts a chill down my spine when I hear it. And I bet that no one else out there has ever imagined that the ‘Madame de Pompadour’ music would be a good tear-fest for your own funeral soundtrack. What do you mean you’ve never discussed what music you’d have at your funeral? It’s the best High Fidelity Top 5 game ever.

DW introduced me to some new favourite songs as well. Every week when Confidential is on TV, they use a lot of modern music. I discovered Feeder’s “Tender” this way and love this song to this day. Hello to whoever you are in the BBC Wales production crew who decided to use that piece of music – that made so sad, and so happy, all at the same time. Genius.

It’s been hard to convey my love of this programme to Americans. Only one person (and he was a complete uber-geek by anyone’s definition) had ever heard of it, everyone else I’ve had to slowly introduce it to. I introduced it to Leigh of course, and to this day she still emails me asking if I’ve downloaded the latest episode yet so that she can watch it (Clearly she has a crush on Rose and is awaiting her return). A girl called Anne at work, saw my DW poster on my wall one day, asked me what it was and ever since I’ve been feeding her DivX copies burnt onto CD/DVD for her.

Someone at my improv group the other day turned to me and said “So how was it?”. “How was what?”. “The latest Doctor Who!”. “Oh, did I tell you about that then?”. “Tell us about it? Geoff you went on and on about it, we knew it must be important to you”. “Oh.” So apparently I tend to talk about it as well.

My mum watches it. We have conversations about it via email every week. It’s a programme that entertains all generations. And I love that.

So I love this programme. With a passion. There, I said it. To a point where an outsider might think it strange for someone of my age to be quite so hooked on it, but yet I don’t care … because I really suspect that I’m not alone, even though I might be the only one brave enough to spill it all out onto their blog.

So Saturday is coming. A ‘Fan-Wank-Fest‘ of epic proportions apparently, as it bows out for another season, and we all start looking for something to fill the void left on a Saturday evening, and start counting down the days to the Christmas special.

It is – after all – only a TV programme. Right?

18 responses to “It’s only a TV programme”

  1. Ben French says:

    F5! I love it too….

  2. Paul Webb says:

    I few weeks ago I threw a temper tantrum whilst walking down Deansgate (Manchester’s mian shopping street). In the window of ModelZone they had a figurine of the fourth Doctor holding out a paper bag. The label beneath it said “Dr Who with Jelly Beans”. The sudden realisation that I was a 35 year old man ranting “They’re not f**king Jelly Beans” down a busy street was a bit uncomfortable.

  3. Helen says:

    Absolutely, 100% agree with every word, Geoff. Which is why I made this as a follow up to Julia’s Hen Night Heroes:

    I know you’re just the sort of fan who’ll appreciate it!

  4. Julia says:

    yes, that’s all very well, but why does Billy have a lisp?

    Happy Independance day

  5. DivineMrsM says:

    I shall out-geek you Geoff. Family of Blood was written by Paul Cornell.

  6. Helen says:

    “why does Billy have a lisp?”

    A tongue piercing, so I’ve heard.

  7. Mum says:

    Surely ‘Doctor in the House’ refers to that classic 1954 film starring Dirk Bogarde and James Robertson Justice? That’s the good thing about The Doctor, it does references and you make of it whatever you want. I still don’t ‘get’ all of it, but watch it with wonder at the special effects. Note: Geoff used to hide behind the sofa in the scary bits, yes he really did.

  8. Christopher and Kyle LOVE Dr. Who!! And have ordered every possible episode available from Netflix. I was even rather forcefully badgered by Christopher in April to take the Tube up to Canary Wharf, so he could walk around and see the place where one of his favorite DW episodes was filmed. Brilliant show when you think what a long run it’s had.

  9. Miles says:

    Slightly ashamed to admit that I’ve been counting the hours till tonight’s episode. But as the rest of my family will confirm, I will sitting there slightly grumpily, with my arms folded going “c’mon then … don’t disappoint me Russell T Davies”, because so far I think all of his season finales have been slight let-downs.

    Now for the pedantic bit. Long before Doctorin’ the House in 1988
    came Doctor In The House in 1969
    based on Doctor in the House from 1954
    which was based on Doctor in the House book by Richard Gordon in 1952

    I reckon the BBC homepage promo for Bad Wolf was as much (or more?) a nod to Richard Gordon than it was to Coldcut and Yazz.
    Pedantry over. Enjoy the episode Geoff. I’m sure we will 🙂

  10. Mum says:

    The episode tonight was mega good! Just about everybody was in it, 2 Doctors as well, totally confusing but brilliant. Does anyone know what the music was played near the end of tonight’s programme? It was a lovely piece with a choir of womens’s voices.

  11. leigh says:

    Well, I feel like I have to pipe in here, seeing as my name was mentioned and all…. I do still ask Geoff for downloads of Dr. Who, but he’s holding them hostage and keeps taunting me with them. Maybe I can bribe him with some life size Dalek for his room or something. Any ideas? Not sure what I’ll have to do to watch this season, or this big finale. I’m a big fan of Billy’s, though haven’t noticed the lisp… so I’ve got to see this season!

  12. geofftech says:

    It’s now 10pm, east coast time here in America. and i still haven’t iPLayer’d/dowloaded it or watched it. I have not read any of the comments above in case it’s spoilt. I am not looking at the BBC news website in case there’s an ‘entertainment’ story that spoils it promo’d on the front page.

    In fact, what i’m doing is TYPICAL Geoff behaviour. At Christmas and on Birthdays, i take a REALLY LONG TIME to open my presents, because once you’ve opened the gift – there’s no more surprise and the suspense is gone.

    So now i’m doing the same with DW. I’m teasing myself NOT to watch it … because all the whilst i don’t watch it, i’ve got the pleasure of it to look forward to.

    I wonder how long I can hold out…

  13. geofftech says:

    … and i’ve watched it now.


    that’s quite a lot to take in.

  14. Kathleen says:

    Oh you’re on the telly!
    on some programme called “The Tube” on Sky 3

  15. Mikey says:

    Felt completely empty afterwards

  16. almost witty says:

    I am now 34. I have pretty much given up on drama-based TV shows simply because they don’t hold my interest. Except Doctor Who. My God, does it hold my interest. When you manage to cry at the end of an episode YOU’VE ALREADY SEEN TWICE, you know you have it bad.

    and I saw the season finale sat in a wi-fi’ed coffee house in Cleveland. I’m reasonably sure my audible gasps didn’t go down too well with the local clientele.

    But oh Doctor. WTF did you do to Donna ?!

  17. Miles says:

    So what does a pedant have to do to get his previous (pedantic) comment moderated round here? 😉

  18. David - Lightwater says:

    Do you have a proxy server in the uk? How do you watch it from the states?

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