Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Back in time with Dr Who

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1985-03-13 Evening Post.jpg


AS I am not a viewer of the Doctor Who series, I am not familiar with what goes on in it. But I understand that he has the facility of moving about in time.

Or perhaps I should say did have, for to the disgust of his devoted television followers, the BBC has applied the brakes to him for a spell.

Curious things are happening in the BBC just now as they pursue their lobbying for a larger licence fee.

However, it is not of the vagaries of the BBC that I would write but of my reflections on hearing someone on Radio 4's Any Questions. mercifully not yet displaced. asking the panellists to which period of time they would like to be translated by Doctor Who's phenomenal powers.

Had I been on the panel. I should not have hesitated in my choice. I should not have demanded of the Doctor any great effort — no journey back to the Middle Ages. to which I have not the slightest wish to visit, nor a voyage forward to 3000AD or anything like that.

No. I should merely have chosen a return to the first two decades of the present century.


That may surprise some people as the period embraced the horror and squalor of the first war, but if we skip that (a pretty big skip though it be) it was. compared with the present. an age of tranquillity.

There was an established and, apparently unchangeable. order. There was the rich and the poor and the in-betweens but it was the accepted way of things.

There was no bitter envy. no absurd notion about an impossible Utopia of "equality" (which, incidentally, is Rot near to achievement in the Soviet Union which floated the idea in 1914.

The family spirit was strong — husbands went out to work and wives stayed at home to look after house and children. "Racism" and "sexism" had not dawned. though the suffragettes did burn a church at Wargrave in their efforts to admit women to polling booths.

In adversity. people looked after each other without an army of sociologists. The ills of life were accepted as part of the natural way of things. and were not made more burdensome by having their' attention constantly drawn to the ills of the rest of the world.

If people did not read newspapers they were not bothered about affairs beyond their immediate vicinity. The young grew up with no knowledge of perversions. no familiarity with violence in all its forms. except perhaps a bout of fisticuffs under Queensberry Rules.


Anyone could walk the streets day or night without fear of being robbed — or injured, as long as they kept an eye open for the odd horse and cart or tramcar or whistling errand boys negligently riding bicycles.

Work was hard, hours long and rewards short and entertainment largely Do-it-Yourself. but no-one suffered from boredom that provoked them to seek artificial thrills. apart maybe from alcohol in the case of adults. There was no money to spare for heroin or cocaine or even a Kniff of glue, these being unheard of anyway.

Wages were not constantly devalued by inflation, prices were practically unchanged for years. No credit cards or hire-purchase system temped expenditure that could not be afforded.

People ate natural food-according to their palates or purses and did so without worrying about additive, lists of chemicals and health warnings on packets.


Slimming was not a craze, God was recognised as being in his Heaven. The Ten Commandments were generally known and in most cases pretty well observed.

Divorce was as rare serious crime. If there were "single families" or "one-to-one relationships" they were not blazoned abroad. Sex had not become a well-publicised obsession and it deviations, if known, we're not flaunted for experimentation.

Poisoning by lead, carbon monoxide, acid rain. nicotine, radio-activity or other noxious agents was not put about as a hazard of life.

No-one worried about war — until after it came all-of-a-sudden one day in August 1914 out of a cloudless sky and failed to be over before Christmas.

Now, you may think that to be a rose-tinted picture. True, there were many who did not live the life of Riley but expectations were not high and, over all, there was contentment.

It was a simple period, not vexed by daily sensations or complex moral or economic problems — a period of ignorance, if you like, before all the miracles of "high tech" ensured that knowledge of the universe good, bad and usually infernally complicated became all-pervading. Ignorance can be bliss - and was then.


Of course I should not care to go back to live in that period deprived of the comforts and conveniences which I have become accustomed in the present age affluence.

I would not have wished live in any other time than the small slice of it I occupied.

I have been privileged to see many impossible things become commonplace ...

Motor cars, aeroplanes, radio and television, nuclear power, electronics and the micro-chip, space travel, test-tube birth and dead cheated by transplants.

It has been, and is, an exciting time in which to around as we fumble, struggle and wrangle our through traumatic change and I would not have missed it for anything.

But I would like a holiday from it in that simpler. In sophisticated period bet it all began to happen.

And, after that, please Doctor Who, I would like another trip forward — say 2050, to see how revolution of the present worked out.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Amps, Basil (1985-03-13). Back in time with Dr Who. Reading Evening Post p. 8.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Amps, Basil. "Back in time with Dr Who." Reading Evening Post [add city] 1985-03-13, 8. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Amps, Basil. "Back in time with Dr Who." Reading Evening Post, edition, sec., 1985-03-13
  • Turabian: Amps, Basil. "Back in time with Dr Who." Reading Evening Post, 1985-03-13, section, 8 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Back in time with Dr Who | url= | work=Reading Evening Post | pages=8 | date=1985-03-13 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 February 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Back in time with Dr Who | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 February 2024}}</ref>