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Sylvester the sci-fi hero strikes silver (1988)

1988-11-23 Journal.jpg


It is only right in fitting that, as one of the 20th Century's best-known and most loved characters celebrates his silver jubilee there should be some right Royal celebrations.

But just WHO is it that we see in the grounds of Windsor Castle; just WHO has a treasure trove of ethnic gifts salted away in a Palace basement; just WHO's corgis get the dear Doctor barking up the wrong tree?

Shhh! Time may be a great healer, but can our illustrious monarch ever forgive the tiresome Time Lord for using her royal personage in a dog-eared sketch to add a little majesty to the proceedings?

Watch it and see!

The long-awaited -- almost not achieved -- 25th anniversary of the much loved sci-fi series Doctor Who is a tongue-in-cheek romp through in everything from the Queen and her corgis to the near legendary nest of Nazis in South America, to time travelling Elizabethans and a "living metal" from outer space.

All combine -- her gracious majesty accepted -- to pose the greatest threat yet to the survival of planet Earth.

Can the good Doctor and his brave, dauntless, wide-eyed and innocent companion Ace overcome the superhuman odds?

Well yes, of course -- the second-hand Time Lord is, after all, superhuman himself!

Whether or not he wins has never been an issue in all the many and varied and ventures that the seven incarnations of Doctor Who has endured on screen. Like Dan Dare, James Bond -- JR even -- you know they're going to come out tops in the end. It is the way they play the game that counts.

Sylvester McCoy, the current Doctor, plays the game brilliantly.

Eccentric, quirky, warm-hearted yet tough in the crisis, this Doctor Who has brought back some of the elements which may have been missing when the former BBC boss Michael Grade almost did a Dalek on the production.

"They forgot what they had," says Sylvester -- who describes himself as five feet six and dog end -- "that was proved by the public reaction when they suggested scrapping it. I can understand the thinking, it had been going for a long time -- and maybe it needed looking at.

"But it was made very clear that the public didn't think they should get rid of it."

Instead, Doctor Who has gained strength, finally being granted an early evening slot which more accurately reflects its real audience which is 65pc adult. The only trouble is that it is scheduled up against Coronation Street.

Sylvester though, bemoans the loss of the Saturday teatime slot which had become the traditional resting place for the Tardis -- that bigger inside than out time-travelling machine which looks like an old fashioned police box.

"I think the BBC did the nation a great disservice when they took Doctor Who off," he says stoutly, "it was just at the stage when my own children -- who are now 11 and 12 -- would have been really into watching it."

"Instead they switched channels and began watching The A Team -- and got hooked!

"I don't think the BBC you Realize just what they were doing."

Now Sylvester is having to realize just what a large chunk of his life the persona of Doctor Who is having to take up. He's already familiar with the conventions, both here and abroad, where fans of the series turn up in their thousands to discuss all things Who-vian.

But it is in his private life that this Anglo-Irish Celt finds most difficulties.

He now travels with his portable tape player headphones firmly affixed in position.

"I've had to learn the New York way of survival," he says with regret, "never make eye contact with anyone.

"On a plane coming back from a convention in the States recently there was a bunch of people who spotted me and began making all the usual comments about whether my Tardis had broken down -- you know that kind of thing.

"Even though I knew the batteries on my tape had run down I put the earphones on and pretended it was working. You need some time to yourself!"

Caption: Three Dr Who's -- Patrick Trougton, number two, Jon Pertwee, number three and the first, William Hartnell

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  • APA 6th ed.: Mafham, Rowena (1988-11-23). Sylvester the sci-fi hero strikes silver. The Newcastle Journal p. 6.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Mafham, Rowena. "Sylvester the sci-fi hero strikes silver." The Newcastle Journal [add city] 1988-11-23, 6. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Mafham, Rowena. "Sylvester the sci-fi hero strikes silver." The Newcastle Journal, edition, sec., 1988-11-23
  • Turabian: Mafham, Rowena. "Sylvester the sci-fi hero strikes silver." The Newcastle Journal, 1988-11-23, section, 6 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Sylvester the sci-fi hero strikes silver | url= | work=The Newcastle Journal | pages=6 | date=1988-11-23 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=15 December 2018 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Sylvester the sci-fi hero strikes silver | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=15 December 2018}}</ref>