But when I became a man…

I (rather failed to) put away childish things (but, then again, I do not now – nor ever have – lived in Corinth).

I’m sure many of you (like me) were expecting this post (101) to include some lazy link to Eric Blair’s most famous book (and no, I do not refer to the Road to Wigan Pier) and one of the rooms referenced therein – but, no instead we start with a quotation from the recently defeated AV.

As I have briefly and obliquely referenced in earlier posts, I am rather a fan of Doctor Who – this was true when I was a child (and so the target audience) in the days when Tom Baker was the definitive Doctor, but seems to be even more true today (when I am at some considerable distance from the target, and so must assume I’m being hit by a stray shot or ricochet) with the youthful Matt Smith in the Doctor’s current incarnation (or, I suppose, generation as the character is said to regenerate rather than reincarnate).  I have found myself awaiting the second of some of the recent two-part stories with even greater excitement and anticipation than when I was a nipper – is it that I’m starting my second (or nth, for suitable n) childhood early?

I do have some alternative theories which may help to explain my condition, some of which I will now expound:

  • The writers and controllers of the show are now roughly my age, and so perhaps share my views on how Doctor Who should be – and will have grown up with Tom Baker, as all right-thinking fans should.  I also enjoyed Steven Moffat’s sitcoms of earlier years – yes, even Chalk! – so perhaps I share the sense of humour of the guy in charge.
  • Matt Smith – despite his youth, a temporary condition which will all too soon be cured – is very good as the Doctor.  I suspect this is partly because he is rather a good actor, but more because he seems to be channelling several of my “tawdry quirks”.  For a while, I did worry that I was copying him – but on mature consideration, I’m pretty sure I’ve been doing these things for years and so now worry that I am being secretly filmed.  Like me he has been criticised for speaking too quickly, he also shares some of my verbal ticks and makes very full use of his hands and arms while speaking to the detriment of nearby breakables (on this last front, someone did once ask if I was French – not a question they’d have asked had they heard me speak that particular language, which I apparently do with quite a strong Spanish accent?!).
  • Karen Gillen is really rather dishy and, as I’m sure I must have indicated before, I am definitely drawn to the Titian-haired.  Also, I’m rather fond of the accent – as an inveterate radio listener, I am a sucker for a voice.  On the subject of voices in Who, Mark Sheppard who starred in the first two eps of the current series has the most amazing voice as Canton Everett Delaware III (and, for all I know, in real life) – with a voice like that, I could rule the world (or, more likely, would spend the entire time talking to myself and swooning).
  • Alex Kingston, who gets many of the best lines and the lioness’s share of the flirting, is – like Keanu Reeves – older than me and I always like those, who’ve spent more time on the earth than I, being viewed as objects of desire (it gives me hope).
  • My favourite regular character though is Rory – not sure why, though the fact he is tall, thin (we saw him topless this week, and he is seriously thin – he makes me look obese, and I can only cling anywhere near the bottom end of the normal weight for my height by regular gym visits and constant eating) and has a sizeable nose may mean that perhaps I can relate to his character more than most we see on our screens.  It may help that he is also the one character who tends to act as I might in the face of danger, i.e. to panic and attempt to leave and only face the danger at all out of a misplaced need not to seem impolite. However, I do worry that poor Rory is becoming the Kenny of Doctor Who (not sure who’d be Cartman in this analogy) – though I’ve only once seen him in a hood, and would strongly advise him to stay out of hooded clothing in future – in that he is being killed (or almost killed) in a worryingly large number of episodes.  The actor who plays him also has a wonderfully historical-feeling name – Arthur Darvill, a name I feel would be at home in Dickens, or even Austen.
  • The new series villains, the Silence are really rather terrifying – but, and more importantly, somehow reassuring to a man of advancing years.  No longer do I need to blame a senior moment, or oncoming senility, when I  arrive in a room with no idea why or when I find a spanner in the fridge or butter in the toolbox – now I can blame an encounter with the Silence!
  • Finally, the show is quite densely written with a lot of words, jokes and plot (even if, given the nature of the show, the plot may have some holes if over-analysed) which gives my brain something to do while watching it.  During so many programmes, I find myself doing something else whilst watching to provide sufficient stimulation to keep my brain going.  Some critics – who presumably watch TV professionally, rather than my own watching which is in a more Corinthian spirit (and that may be my favourite ever call back to the title of a post) – claim the show is hard to follow: it isn’t, I fear their critique may speak more to the corrosive diminution of attention span which afflicts the modern era.

I wouldn’t want you to think that my excessive enjoyment of some children’s programming – and, on this topic, right-thinking readers will be thrilled to know that BBC4 is showing Noggin the Nog as part of its Iceland season this coming week – indicates some lack of emotional development on my part (even if this happens to be true).  In my defence, I would like to point to my serious BBC4 habit (it’s ok, I can handle it) and addiction to slow moving, depressing European police series coupled to my rather extensive watching of subtitled movies (and, my current reading is the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam). Nor should I want you to think that I only watch programmes where the characters represent some aspect of myself – though now I think about it, this rather solipsistic explanation of my viewing habits does explain quite a lot…

So, more BBC, more! More programming for (and with) tall thin, generously nosed, childish, pseudo-intellectual, geeky men in their mid-40’s with a love of wordplay!  Surely, this demographic must be larger than one?  And just feel my ABC1-ness and disposable income!

[PS: If anyone can guess the one “line” in this post which forms its raison d’être then I will be seriously impressed.  The only prize, however, will be the feeling of satisfaction that the correct answer will provide to its deducer.]

4 thoughts on “But when I became a man…

  1. Sandra says:

    “On the subject of voices in Who, Mark Sheppard who starred in the first two eps of the current series has the most amazing voice as Canton Everett Delaware III (and, for all I know, in real life) – with a voice like that, I could rule the world (or, more likely, would spend the entire time talking to myself and swooning).”

    In real life, not only does Mark Sheppard have an amazing voice but a very nice British accent. Check out my website http://www.marksheppardfans.net where you can watch videos with him using his natural accent (and possibly an American, Irish or really bad Russian accent, depending on his role).

    Here is one interview with Mark at Comic-Con. Also has Mark’s oldest son Max and Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Creator of “The Middleman” TV series and comic book) who is a good friend of Mark’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSD-up6dXuI

  2. matathew says:

    A fine post. I remember watching the first ever episode of Dr Who (which appears to have been in November 1963), but the series and I must have parted company at some point during the Tom Baker era. But you have inspired me to give the show another go. Hopefully I can pick up where I left off and I won’t need to do a “series catch-up”.

    I have puzzled over the “line” which forms the raison d’être of the post, so far without success. Some of my more bizarre (and incorrect) theories were that the seven bullet points were in some way keyed to, say, the seven deadly sins, the seven dwarfs, the seven ages of man … ? Anyway I have not yet conceded defeat.

  3. Stuart Ffoulkes says:

    I don’t think I joined Dr Who until around 1973 – just before Tom Baker started. Curiously, I have just seen the first two eps of The Hand of Fear from 1976 which BBC4 are showing as a tribute to Elizabeth Sladen (last 2 eps tomorrow). Let’s just say the series has moved on a fair bit in the last 35 years and rather for the better (which I’m not sure you could say about me) – watching something that no doubt terrified the 10 year old me (in black and white), I now feel only nostalgia (and my advanced age) and notice the slow pacing and low budgets (though nice to see a real nuclear power station with a major role and an Austin Allegro as a supporting player – the station I presume is now being de-commissioned and no doubt the car rusted away many years ago).

    I like your seven bullet point theories, however, until reading your comment I had no idea there were seven and can confirm that this was purely accidental. But, it’s a very good idea and I might return to it (or some related idea) in a later post. More than most (possibly any) previous posts the final result, which was intended to provide protective colour and help to justify the “source”, took on a life of its own and has completely taken over like some sort of textual ground elder.

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