fifty years old this weekend.
I have not really been following this. I have not had the opportunity to actually watch the programme for many years. (I know, that will shock a few of you. You can smack my paw in the comments below.)
I can remember the first time I saw the programme. We were at my uncle's home and my two cousins were waiting to watch the next episode.
The pictures were in black and white and the Daleks had just made their first appearance. My uncle muttered something about "I worry they'll be frightened by all that nonsense."
We caught one small glimpse of it and were sent off to another room while my cousins watched it. My mother was not taking any chances. There was no further opportunity to watch in childhood because we did not have a television set. Nor did I have access to a television set during my days at teacher training college. (Unbelievably perhaps there was no television for recreational purposes in the boarding school I worked in to earn my board and lodging.)
It went on like that. My parents did not watch Dr Who even after inheriting a television set from my maternal grandmother. They almost never watched television. They were still working - both running big schools - and, if they were not out at a meeting, they were dealing with paperwork at night or catching up on household chores. Dr Who would have been at the lower end of their television watching priorities - only just above the commercial stations.
I finally saw some when I was at university in London. Almost everyone in the hall of residence, both staff and students, would crowd into the television room to watch. If someone had to miss it then they would be brought up to date on the plot and any particularly funny lines by Tom Baker...yes, it was that long ago.
I think most people I knew watched it by then, not just my fellow students. There was a High Court judge who apparently watched it. (I had no idea who he was but he would walk or ride his bicycle through the university grounds each morning and we had got into the habit of greeting one another. He quoted Dr Who one morning.)
It was light hearted fun.
I returned to Australia - and back to a television free existence. There was no chance to watch. My mother used the room the television set was in and, apart from the news service, it did not get turned on.
Away at university again I was too busy tutoring and doing research to even contemplate watching television. For four years I scarcely read fiction because the work load was so high.
I suppose I got out of the habit of watching anything. I don't watch now but I have sometimes heard people talk about "the new doctor" and understood they meant "Dr Who". I wonder what they have been like. It's been around fifty years. There are still Daleks!
And I wonder if they still have those deliciously funny lines that Tom Baker apparently used to just ad-lib from time to time.
As someone reminded me again the other day, "I though Eureka was Greek for 'this bathwater is too hot'." You have to be a Dr Who fan to appreciate just how funny that was in context.
Only the British can make that sort of television.