All posts by Martin Ruddock

Lover, writer, lifelong Doctor Who fan, bad dancer. Opinions and hair all my own.

Doctor Who and the Interminable Waiting

I remember waiting 18 months for a new series of Doctor Who once as a kid. I didn’t mind that much, and although Trial of a Time Lord wasn’t a very good series, at least it was back to being on at the same time of year, every year. Even if internal BBC politics meant that I had grown taller than usual in between.

I was used to the usual 9 month waits between series, as a child they didn’t seem as interminable as they do now. Even the 7 years between Survival and the TV Movie, and the 9 between that and Rose didn’t bug me too much.

Perhaps that’s more to do with the times we live in. The world has become a far less patient place. Because these days I HATE waiting for more Doctor Who. I HATE that Easter moves every year and that the series seems arbitrarily pinned to a date that can be anything from the end of March to the end of April. Just pick a date and have done with it!

I started to slightly hate waiting for Doctor Who at the end of The Christmas Invasion. Ok, it was only a few months, but they went and showed a trailer for the new series, making it worse…..and there’s Easter off in the distance…….and it’s moved……

I dealt with the Easter thing (although, New Earth wasn’t a strong start, sorry Russell), and got on with the fallow periods where you knew the series wouldn’t be on. Until 2009, the year where Shakespearian commitments for David Tennant, and the slow handover between RTD and Moffat meant only 4 new episodes, with Planet of the Dead rushed out into the world at Easter, and a 7 month wait for The Waters of Mars, during which I, knowing full well that there was a whole new series of Who being made with a new Doctor, silently, internally screamed “Just ****ing PUT IT ON!” more times than I could have possibly anticipated.

Things seemed to go back to normal in the early Matt Smith era, I can honestly say that I didn’t mind the split series the first time round (apart from people at work asking me “Why have they split the series?? How long is it off for??”), but once Christmas 2011 was over, what felt like the longest wait began, the road to Asylum of the Daleks.

I grew and shaved off several quite bushy beards. I got into and out of a relationship. I began to externally scream “Just ****ing PUT IT ON!” at my housemate (who has nothing to do with the black arts of BBC scheduling or the Doctor Who production office, but was very understanding). Nine whole months. No Doctor Who. And I couldn’t see why, until last year.

Basically, Steven Moffat, right from the outset of taking over as showrunner, had the date of the 50th anniversary in front of him, immovably set in stone, hence the transmission creep from series 6 onwards. His plans for Matt Smith’s Doctor were set up to end in a particular way, topping off the craziness of the anniversary year.

I got it, during the surprisingly painless wait between The Snowmen and The Bells of St. John. I realised then, that whatever happened during the year would happen when it happened. The War Doctor rocked up, and I was more than happy to wait 6 months to see what the deal with him was. The anniversary has been the whole reason for the last few years of shuffling transmission.

Now, there’s no milestone to meet, no need to mess around with the transmission pattern. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor makes his debut this year in a full, uninterrupted series at….

What’s that?

Oh, yeah.

It’s not on until Autumn this year.

*Facepalm*

Oh well, maybe we’ll get Marco Polo at Easter instead.

Missing Episode Leads at the M&S Cafe?

bAGEL

The Omnirumour. A ray of light leading to an Aladdin’s cave of glinting silvery treasure. Devourer of forum pages. Igniter of conflicts that if enacted in real life would make Game of Thrones look like a pillow fight.

It’s profoundly changed online fandom. On one hand, a great community of like minded souls has sprung up – friendly and open, with some good friendships being forged over borders and time zones. On the other, there’s a worrying amount of flame wars and trolling going on. Not to mention an overall oppressive atmosphere on certain forums, and some elaborate hoaxes. But hey ho, it wouldn’t be Doctor Who fandom if somebody wasn’t being a tool about it.

Every scrap of info or potential lead, no matter how unlikely it may seem, has been pored over in microscopic detail. We want to know. We’re excited. But, until some sort of an announcement comes (fingers crossed), all we can do is continue to look at the clues, and we’ve already torn the internet into so many shreds in our search for the truth that it’s a wonder it’s not collapsed.

Let me tell you a story, a story I haven’t shared up to now.

A couple of months ago, after some lengthy indecision about where to have lunch, my girlfriend Lesley and I ended up at a table in the upstairs café of our local Marks and Spencer. We were very hungry (our indecision often results in this).

She chose a healthy option. I didn’t. As we wolfed down our lunch and talked between bites, I noticed a man sat in the corner, tallish, and oddly familiar looking. Did I know him? If I did, where did I know him from? Work? Someone else’s work?

Hold on. I don’t know him. I do know him from being interviewed on TV by Lizo Mzimba though. That looks like…. Phil Morris!

What do I read into this? If that’s him, he’s at least 500 miles out of his way (I live on the south coast, and have an ex from Liverpool, trust me, I know), maybe there’s an episode lead in Dorset?!? He’s having a bacon bagel. Bacon bagels are round. Film cans are round!! Is this a sign?!?

I jest, but whoever this guy was, he looked enough like everyone’s favourite secretive globe-trotting episode hunter to make me stare at him with one eye for a good couple of minutes whilst maintaining eye contact and conversation with Lesley (risking going cross-eyed in the process).

Luckily he didn’t see me, as I would have looked somewhat deranged. My girlfriend didn’t notice my cross eyed basilisk gaze either, which was a relief. I didn’t fancy explaining that I’d spent so long boring holes in forums and twitter over the last few months that I was starting to believe episode hunters were among us, and……. tucking into a nice bacon roll in the corner of England’s favourite Penny Bazaar. Questions might have been asked about our relationship.

“You haven’t changed, still finding menace in your own shadow…”

There’s not really a message here, beyond “Do not stare at strange men in cafes”. I’m sure good times are still coming. The speculation is still great fun. But, if you do see Phil Morris, and he is a) Actually Phil Morris and b) Eating a Bagel, don’t snatch it out of his hand, it’s not a film can, it’s a bagel. And I hope he enjoys his bagel.

 

The preceding is a humorous account and not intended to offend anyone, even those who hate bagels. The real Phil Morris was not seen anywhere near the vicinity of M&S.