Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Sorry, but I just don't get all this Doctor Who-ha

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So, a new Doctor, and a new series of Doctor Who, the longest-running sci-fi series on TV that audiences don't just watch, but love, adore, worship and which has been sold to, like, a hundred million countries, and whose DVD and merchandising sales are amazing and legion, and the fact is: I just don't get it at all. Also, I would ask the following: how many times can the world actually be saved, for heaven's sake? And if it is saved yet again, for the umpteenth time, how can that have any meaning? I think I quite liked Doctor Who as a child but much preferred The Rolf Harris Show, which probably says something about just how sharp I am, admittedly. I have tried Doctor Who as an adult; have tried it with each new Doctor, if only because I so wish to be part of the great, big, Doctor Who-loving conga, and so wish to be carried along by all the pre-publicity and every newspaper practically expiring with excitement and offering the seven hundredth 'first' and 'exclusive' interview with any new Doctor. But here is my basic problem: I never understand what the hell is going on. I can't ever follow the plot. I have asked the people who love it. I have asked: 'But can you ever follow the plot?' 'No,' they have all said, more or less, 'but that doesn't matter.' It doesn't matter? It matters to me.

I watched Deep Breath, which, to kick off this new series, was feature length (didn't we know it), not just once but twice, and was no wiser after the second viewing. There was a green lizard lady living in Victorian London and then a dinosaur arrived, which didn't seem to faze the Victorian Londoners one bit. Then the dinosaur coughed up the Tardis and Peter Capaldi, who is the latest Doctor, and who will inevitably be declared the greatest Doctor of all time, as was Christopher Eccleston, as was David Tennant, as was Matt Smith. The Doctor's assistant, Clara (Jenna Coleman), complained the new Doctor looked too old, whereas the bigger complaint might be that she looks so like a young, perky Anne Diamond that I kept expecting Roland Rat to appear on her shoulder. The dinosaur burst into flames, the Doctor jumped in the Thames, and then emerged from the Thames, God knows how, and met Clara in a restaurant peopled by automated droids, one of whom went up into the sky in a hot-air balloon made from human skin. Then the Tardis landed in Glasgow. And the world was safe again. Although I still don't understand who put that announcement in the newspaper. Or why there is any proper sense of jeopardy, when the Doctor never dies, just regenerates and has, in effect, a magic wand to get him out of any trouble. (That's always cheating, in my book.) It was full of in-jokes, I'm sure, and cross-references to past series that, not being committed, went right over my head, but I would accept all that, happily, and accept I had only myself to blame, if only the narrative had added up - IT MATTERS TO ME! - and if only the characters had any emotional truth. There was emotion. Well, there was sentimentality. There was plenty of sentimentality. It was awash with sentimentality. But there was no emotional integrity so that, no matter how good an actor Peter Capaldi may be - and he is an especially talented actor - as he hops about in his febrile way you can never quite believe he believes any of it, and therefore: why should we believe any of it? But it's a children's programme, you might say, and I'd go with that, whole-heartedly, except adults love it, adore it and worship it so. Were they dropped on their heads as babies? Like I said: just don't get it. A mystery.

Bit of a meh week, one way or another, Tried Boomers, the comedy drama about sixty-somethings, but figured if I wished to hang about with long-married couples who hate each other, I could just stay at home. And I tried Tumble, which is Strictly… with forward rolls, but that had nothing good going for it, although it did nearly kill Mr Motivator. Fair play. The only hope in the schedules was Dogs: Their Secret Lives as I am potty about dogs. The programme investigated why some dogs are fat, and an hour later we had learned the answer: you are feeding it too much or, if you are not, someone else is. It was hilariously patronising to its audience. The family who owned Chancer, the fat King Charles spaniel, didn't know that Nanna was feeding her half her dinner from the other room? They needed secret cameras to tell them that? Further, wouldn't Nanna be better off living with a family that paid her more attention? Or ate with her? Sorry, don't seem to be in an especially great mood this week. Probably best if I just go...

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  • APA 6th ed.: Ross, Deborah (2014-04-24). Sorry, but I just don't get all this Doctor Who-ha. The Mail on Sunday p. 45.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Ross, Deborah. "Sorry, but I just don't get all this Doctor Who-ha." The Mail on Sunday [add city] 2014-04-24, 45. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Ross, Deborah. "Sorry, but I just don't get all this Doctor Who-ha." The Mail on Sunday, edition, sec., 2014-04-24
  • Turabian: Ross, Deborah. "Sorry, but I just don't get all this Doctor Who-ha." The Mail on Sunday, 2014-04-24, section, 45 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Sorry, but I just don't get all this Doctor Who-ha | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Sorry,_but_I_just_don%27t_get_all_this_Doctor_Who-ha | work=The Mail on Sunday | pages=45 | date=2014-04-24 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 August 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Sorry, but I just don't get all this Doctor Who-ha | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Sorry,_but_I_just_don%27t_get_all_this_Doctor_Who-ha | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 August 2019}}</ref>