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Great British Heroes #121 Dr. Who

       This weekend BBC America ensured that British and American sci-fi goblins alike would tune in to their station by showing the premiere of the new Doctor Who season complete with, of all things, a brand new Doctor played by 27 year-old Matt Smith. If you’ve never seen Dr. Who, think of him as a hyperactive, genius/goofball, world-saving James Bond-type that doesn’t fight much and supposedly cannot die. He is a Time Lord and travels through time and space in an old, blue Police Telephone Box, which is called the TARDIS. If you’ve got an evil, cat-stroking super-villain to fight and need a Brit to do it, then you can summon any old quasi-hero to take care of business: James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, or even Miss Marple has been known to get her lacy cuffs a little dirty. However, if you’ve got a giant, volcanic ash cloud hovering over Europe harboring alien life in the form of mutant micro-organisms which are growing in size and number by the day preparing to unleash themselves on an unsuspecting Earth–then Doctor Who is your man.

Who can save us?

     When I was a kid, Doctor Who was by far and away the scariest thing we were allowed to watch on telly. I watched much of it from behind the couch. The show was peppered with scary-ass aliens, immense robots, slimy creatures from distant planets, and of course DALEKS! The Daleks were absolutely piss-in-your-pants terrifying. My eyesight was far from 20/20 and so in my terror-filled moments, I failed to notice the poorly made papier mache scary masks and space-age alien fabric costumes made of Polyester, Velcro, and used jam jar lids. My poor eyesight smoothed out the shoddy 1970s arts and crafts patchwork aliens. But Doctor Who always saved the day, and I pictured myself as the Doctor and even drew sketches of what my Doctor Who would look like.

Jon Pertwee, Yeah Baby!

     The first Doctor Who I saw on telly was the third actor to play the part. His name was Jon Pertwee and his version of Dr. Who looked like a cross between a silver-haired, wiry Lithuanian poodle and Austin Powers’s hypothetical grandfather sans eyeglasses.

      However, Pertwee was NOT the goofiest dressed Dr. Who by a long shot. Some of the Doctors chose their own outfits themselves from the BBC costume dept., and in an effort to make their own imprint on the role only succeeded in creating looks that would have poo-pooed even the kindest Project Runway judge…”Beezaaaaare!”

One day you’re in…
Really? I’m surprised the aliens on Quazark didn’t bludgeon him to death with a croquet mallet
I like where you were going with the waistcoat, but it’s too costumey.
….the next day you’re out! Auf Wiedersehen

     As I got older, the Doctors’ got younger. I think there may have been a brief cross over of about ten minutes in the late-nineties when Doctor Who and I may have been a physically comparable match in both age and appearance, but that was it, and thus my dream of being Doctor Who was crushed. The timeline was all messed up. If only I’d had a TARDIS.

The original Doctor Who…shh! don’t call him old.
Doctor McDreamy: Matt Smith–Not your father’s Doctor Who.

         Matt Smith has a lot to live up to, the previous Doctor: David Tennant was, by all accounts, the most popular Doctor ever. The show itself has seen a resurgence in popularity. Perhaps fueled by an improved special effects department budget, which went from like 30 quid a week in 1963 to 50,000 in 2010. In the premier on Saturday there were all kinds of clever twists and turns in the plotline and a scary, pointy-toothed, slimy alien monster that almost sent The Bay Area Brit scurrying behind the couch–again.

       And so for scaring the holy bejeebers out of kids and adults for years and years, Dr. Who is a Great British Hero. We salute you, good Doctor. May your TARDIS travel safely through eternity. Oh, and good luck defeating those Alien Volcano Mutants in Iceland.

© Matty Stone 2010