Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

TV viewers are the Doctor's greatest foe

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THERE are certain enemies every new Doctor Who must face: the Daleks of course, the Cybermen, but now a new enemy has emerged as one of the Time Lord s deadliest foes: the TV viewer.

BBC archive material released for the first time today reveals just how nasty and unwelcoming those people can be when a new man takes over the lead role of the show.

The material, which stretches back to the early days of the programme in the 1960s, features angry viewers describing one of the new Doctor as something of a pantomime character, a looney and a half-witted clown.

Matt Smith, whose first series of the Doctor has just started on BBC1, is not immune to criticism either. Although there is praise for him from viewers online, he is also dismissed as having no screen presence at all. Another fan says: It felt that Matt Smith was acting, rather than being the part as David Tennant appeared to do.

The new BBC archive material reveals this kind of criticism is by no means unusual. The material includes internal memos and the results of audience research, which was regularly done in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

The earliest papers relate to Patrick Troughton taking over from William Hartnell in 1966. One viewer said of Troughton: Once a brilliant but eccentric scientist, he now comes over as a half-witted clown.

Another said: I'm not sure I really like his portrayal. I feel the part is exaggerated whimsical even. I keep expecting him to take a great watch out of his pocket and mutter about being late like Alice s White Rabbit.

Troughton's successor Jon Pertwee fared a little better in 1970, although a research report after his first appearance declared: Reaction to this first episode of the new Doctor Who series can hardly be described as enthusiastic.

The debut of Tom Baker who went on to become one of the most popular Doctors also drew much criticism.

General opinion was the new Doctor Who is a looney he is an eccentric always, but the way it was presented made him stupid, said one viewer.

The two most recent Doctors, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant, also faced criticism. Tennant has been dismissed as too manic while one fan said of Eccleston: He is just playing himself, a 41-year-old Northerner.

GRAPHIC: who's who: The present Dr Who, played by Matt Smith, with his assistant Amy Pond, actress Karen Gillan, and some of the previous Time Lords, from left, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Smith, Mark (2010-04-13). TV viewers are the Doctor's greatest foe. The Herald p. 5.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Smith, Mark. "TV viewers are the Doctor's greatest foe." The Herald [add city] 2010-04-13, 5. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Smith, Mark. "TV viewers are the Doctor's greatest foe." The Herald, edition, sec., 2010-04-13
  • Turabian: Smith, Mark. "TV viewers are the Doctor's greatest foe." The Herald, 2010-04-13, section, 5 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=TV viewers are the Doctor's greatest foe | url= | work=The Herald | pages=5 | date=2010-04-13 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=TV viewers are the Doctor's greatest foe | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024}}</ref>