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Dr Who should perhaps no longer be a source of surprise (1976)

1976-11-01 Guardian.jpg

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DR WHO (BBC-1) should perhaps no longer be a source of surprise. Even if you are not much turned on by the spacetime-fiction genre, and even if you have trogged through aeons, of cybermen, daleks, and things from Loch Ness, chanting "Yes, dear, it's only a man dressed up," you can't help being impressed by its freewheeling inventiveness. It mostly shuns the fake moralising of more portentious space-operas like Star Trek, and quite right, too, and offers instead two key qualities : the best special effects of any television programme, bionic or invisible, tossed out week after week with astonishing nonchalance; and a sense of humour that keeps the whole exercise well in its place.

That was one reason why one feared the departure of Sarah Jane Smith, last of a string of female sidekicks who exited last week to the Great Write-Out. I have a certain sympathy with the argument that these have served successive Doctors as stereotyped Little Women-boosting Great Male Ego, but Sarah, in both Elizabeth Sladen's perky performance and the scripts she progressively earned got a sight nearer to subverting the omnipotence than Robin ever did for Batman.

Female accomplice there may be none, but commentator Runcible is David Dimbleby's son. Or near enough as the, Doctor landed in the intrigue-torn capital in the Tardis (its interior currently redolent of that of the Albert Memorial) he switched on the local news channel and got a splendid send-up of a State occasion coverage.

With hapless Runcible (Hugh Walters, with a decidedly edgy bit of observation) doing his adjective strewn pieces to camera, then cosy-ing up to the public figures to get a string of patronizing brush-offs. Half the references must have been incomprehensible to half the audience, but if the rest is slick, economical, and fast moving hokum, they can clearly afford that. Do they really need another woman?


Spelling correction: Elisabeth Sladen

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  • APA 6th ed.: Fiddick, Peter (1976-11-01). Dr Who should perhaps no longer be a source of surprise. The Guardian p. 8.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Fiddick, Peter. "Dr Who should perhaps no longer be a source of surprise." The Guardian [add city] 1976-11-01, 8. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Fiddick, Peter. "Dr Who should perhaps no longer be a source of surprise." The Guardian, edition, sec., 1976-11-01
  • Turabian: Fiddick, Peter. "Dr Who should perhaps no longer be a source of surprise." The Guardian, 1976-11-01, section, 8 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Dr Who should perhaps no longer be a source of surprise | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Dr_Who_should_perhaps_no_longer_be_a_source_of_surprise | work=The Guardian | pages=8 | date=1976-11-01 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 April 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Dr Who should perhaps no longer be a source of surprise | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Dr_Who_should_perhaps_no_longer_be_a_source_of_surprise | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 April 2019}}</ref>