Thursday, 25 September 2014

Behind the Sofa

My first memories of watching Doctor Who are from the mid 1960s, sitting in my pyjamas having had my evening bath, in front of a coal fire at my Gran's house in Belfast. I can also remember the series that gave me my first nightmare: The Underwater Menace. Broadcast in early 1967, the plot
revolves around plans to raise the lost city of Atlantis. One of the early episodes ends with Polly, one of the Doctor's assistants, held down on an operating table and about to undergo surgery to convert her into an amphibian. These days the series isn't highly rated by Whovians, and some episodes are missing, but it had me waking up in a cold sweat that night because I was strapped on the table next to Polly and about to be converted into one of the Fish People.

Over the last couple of weeks another debate has been taking place about whether Doctor Who has become too scary for children. These debates come around every couple of years and it's bizarre really because I always thought the main point of the programme was to scare children. My problem with the more recent incarnations of Doctor Who is that often the series are so wrapped up in a plethora of subtexts and cleverness that there isn't time for the scream inducing moments. When my now teenage children first started watching a few years ago, I found myself watching them to see how often they jumped, closed their eyes or, yes, wanted to hide behind us or the sofa. I have to say the answer is they didn't do it often enough. That's not to say we don't enjoy watching Doctor Who, and there have been some fantastic episodes, it's just that it isn't very scary and it should be.

Now back to my nightmare. Perhaps it wasn't a nightmare after all but a premonition, for as a Christian you could say I have become one of the Fish People.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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