Unless you have been buried 37 miles underground on the fifth moon of Jaglon Beta since – oooh – the Middle Pleistocene, it will not have escaped your notice that the 50th anniversary approaches of the first broadcast of Dr Who, a sporadically long-running televisual emission of a science-fictional nature, which has become as much of a British institution as Marmite and The Archers; notwithstanding inasmuch as which it has even been discussed in Your Favourite Weekly Professional etcetera.
My mother says she plonked the infant Cromercrox in front of the first episode of Dr Who, back in ’63 – the day before JFK was assassinated. I can’t remember either event, of course, but she said the Daleks were terrifying.
My Whovian Period essentially extends from the second through fourth Doctors – Troughton, Pertwee and Tom Baker, after which I kind of lost track, and after the seventh doctor the series was scrapped. Some fourteen years later when the show was being revived, Mrs Crox and I wondered whether it would be suitable for Crox Minor and Crox Minima, then aged 8 and 6 respectively.
Pictured: a demented alien robot intent on conquering the Universe. And a Dalek.
After much thought we realised that, in Britain at least, Saturday teatime is not the same without being sat in front of the TV and scared witless by Daleks, Cybermen, Ice Warriors, Cylons, Sontarans, Croutons, or whichever alien race confronts the Doctor and his winsome companion on any given week.
Many years later still I was at an SF convention – Eastercon – on the day that (eleventh Doctor) Matt Smith’s first episode was to be broadcast, live, on a big screen. The meeting’s chair came before that morning’s plenary session and outlined the evening’s complicated itinerary before >1000 geeks; how we had to get to the hall by a certain time; what the seating arrangements would be, and so on and so forth in like fashion, and asked for questions. A wag at the back piped up “I demand a sofa to hide behind!”
After (tenth Doctor) David Tennant left I suggested to Mrs Crox, my dear wife, that I could audition for Dr Who. It was time, I said, that they had a fat beardy balding Jewish middle-aged person to play the part. Mrs Gee had the gall to doubt my suitability. “The TARDIS wouldn’t be able to take off” she said.