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Microchip is light years away from Dr Who's Dylon kingdom

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1987-09-09 Today.jpg



(BBC1, Mon)

I SEE from my Radio Times that Doctor Who fans can now send off for hundreds of photos of the series, and a new book is due out in a couple of weeks about this cult show.

Three years ago in Australia I went to a Doctor Who convention addressed by the producer, John Nathan-Turner. Hundreds of Aussie freaks in costume asked him detailed questions about microcosmically complicated episodes dating back over tens of years. They could have been talking Esperanto for all I knew.

The new series is firmly in peak viewing, positioned opposite Coronation Street and boasts trendy titles and a new version of that famous theme tune. Kate O'Mara is back as the evil Rani — eyebrows permanently in the shock-horror mode.

Until I consulted my Radio Times I had no idea about hoed to spell any of the characters, but that surely is all part of the charm. I had a moment of panic when I saw nasty chrome computerised lettering at the start, but luckily that was the only bit of high-tech we had to endure for the next 25 minutes. Sylvester McCoy sported the regulation dotty gear and spent a whole some wondering what to change into next. Bonnie Langford looked like she'd been dressed at C & A circa 1975, but actually she actually looks as if she's in a time warp.

Rani/Kate got to wear the lurex gear that's always dished out to Evil Ones in outer space, and her lackeys tooled like refugees from Slime Signe Sputnik, with yellow faces and manes of fake hair made from some leftover goatskin rugs.

Don't ask me about the plot; unless you're like those Aussie fanatics, it's meaningless jargon, something to do with Regeneration. It gave Kate O'Mara an excuse to dress up as Bonnie Langford and imitate her squeaky voice (which, incidentally, Kate did rather well) while the real Bonnie spent the whole episode scrambling around trying not to get blown up or get dirt on her nice white trousers and leg warmers (leg warmers for God's sake -- I thought they were banished to female presenters on ghastly BBC kid's shows like It's Wicked.)

There is plenty of atmospheric music, Bonnie got the Night on a Bare Mountain-style orchestral drama, while inside the spaceship it was the plinky sound engineers think conveys an atmosphere of high technology at work. I do how that no money whatsoever will be spent on making anything mechanical look realistic.

The charm of Doctor Who lies in the way everyone takes it very seriously and acts their hearts out. We all know they're standing in a studio in Shepherd's Bush or whatever, and that the planet outside is really a quarry in the West country, but no matter.

Dr Who's opponents are as timeless as his setting. They all inhabit some goon-like world that is totally English and eccentric. Language and jargon is what glues all the various escapades together, the microchip has no place in this fake-fur and Dylon kingdom presided over by the varying Doctors and their piping young assistants.

Caption: Kate's back in action

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  • APA 6th ed.: (1987-09-09). Microchip is light years away from Dr Who's Dylon kingdom. Today .
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Microchip is light years away from Dr Who's Dylon kingdom." Today [add city] 1987-09-09. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Microchip is light years away from Dr Who's Dylon kingdom." Today, edition, sec., 1987-09-09
  • Turabian: "Microchip is light years away from Dr Who's Dylon kingdom." Today, 1987-09-09, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Microchip is light years away from Dr Who's Dylon kingdom | url= | work=Today | pages= | date=1987-09-09 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=10 December 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Microchip is light years away from Dr Who's Dylon kingdom | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=10 December 2019}}</ref>