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The Doctor Who Void (1982)

1982-12-03 American Eagle.jpg

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Please tell us you'll come back to us, Dr. Who.

Guess that would be a vain promise, though. WETA-TV says its last available episode of the British sci/fi favorite aired last week.

How will AU devotees make it through the long winter evenings without the much-traveled Time Lord? Even middle-aged lecturers like me belong to the cult. For nearly 100 weekdays now, my family — like thousands of other Washington area Who addicts has postponed dinner, homework and worries to take up the Who Watch at 6 p.m. And every day, we've been rewarded by seeing our absentminded genius save the world. Many worlds, actually.

And while we look on, we're so happy you'd think we were sniffling glue.

The Doctor has no last name; hence the show's title. But he has a spaceship that's the ultimate in futurized magic carpets. This vehicle, called a Tardis, is actually an old-fashioned London police box. And not only does it cross the miles, it crosses time barriers; hence the Doctor's Time-Lordship.

Flying his police box, the Doctor usually lands amid disorder, chaos and trouble. Or, if none of those is readily available, he'll soon make some. marvel of efficiency that he is, he generally solves all the problems of Planet Whatever in only a handful of less-than-30-minute episodes.

One week finds him engaged in a duel of brains with a mysterious something who attacks and kills women in Victorian London. And not many days later, he may land on Pluto, pitted against a vicious Orwellian Company that enslaves its workers.

Lest you get the impression that the show is always well done, guess again. Actor Tom Baker, in the title role, sometimes recites lines like, "Don't shoot until you see the green of their tentacles." And my young sons are quick to point out the occasionally awful special effects.

"I can make a better monster out of crepe paper, Mom," jeered the 10 year old one evening when something materialized on the screen resembling a float in a high-school homecoming parade.

Ah, but with all its blemishes, Who has cultic magnetism — and a dandy message, too. The curly haired and exhuberant Baker has his share of advanced technological helpers, including a sonic screwdiver that shatters locks, and a computer "dog" called K-9 that does everything but bark. But, mostly, the Doctor solves his problems with his brain. Time after time, he thinks his way out of danger.

And there's just the right tension between the intellectual Doctor and his lovely sidekick Leela (Louise Jameson), a savage girl he literally picks up from a primitive planet.

What an interesting family the two might produce.

Alas, though, our hero doesn't appear much interested in girls. In the final episode of this year's run he leaves Leela in the arms of a suitor and takes off in the Tardis with only a faintly regretful sigh.

Shades of Cowboy Alan Ladd as he headed into the sunset.

Will the Doctor ever find a mate? Or will he spend another 700 years flying around the galaxy as a bachelor?

Only BBC-TV, producer of the serials for nearly 20 years, knows for sure. And if WETA can't get a hold of more "Who" episodes to show us Washingtonians, we'll just have to go to England to find out.

Jerilyn Watson is a part-time lecturer in the school of Communication.

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: Watson, Jerilyn (1982-12-03). The Doctor Who Void. The Eagle p. 7.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Watson, Jerilyn. "The Doctor Who Void." The Eagle [add city] 1982-12-03, 7. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Watson, Jerilyn. "The Doctor Who Void." The Eagle, edition, sec., 1982-12-03
  • Turabian: Watson, Jerilyn. "The Doctor Who Void." The Eagle, 1982-12-03, section, 7 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=The Doctor Who Void | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Doctor_Who_Void | work=The Eagle | pages=7 | date=1982-12-03 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=15 December 2017 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=The Doctor Who Void | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Doctor_Who_Void | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=15 December 2017}}</ref>