Sunday, 18 May 2008

Doctor Who-dunit

At around the same time that I came across Agatha Christie, I was introduced to the very first series of ‘Doctor Who’ by my godfather Roy Mills and his daughter Carolyn, who has been a lifelong friend and to whom, along with the rest of her family, I dedicated The Arsenic Labyrinth.

In those early days, ‘Doctor Who’ was in black and white, and featured in the title role the irascible William Hartnell. Like Carolyn, I became a fan from the outset, and continued to watch while Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker played the time-travelling Doctor. After that, I lost touch with later series, but the revival of the show a few years ago caught my interest, and I’ve been a keen follower of the new version ever since. I can't think of a series that has, over the years, provided more enjoyable family viewing.

Needless to say, therefore, I relished last night’s episode, in which the Doctor, now played by David Tennant, travelled to 1926 and found himself caught up in a murder mystery in which one of the characters was Agatha Christie herself. By the end of the programme, we had an explanation for her famous bout of amnesia, as well as the solution to a barmy mystery puzzle, involving murder by giant extra-terrestrial wasp.

It was all great fun, with plenty of jokes to amuse Christie fans. I’m not sure how widely known ‘Doctor Who’ is outside the UK, but the cleverness of the concept and the wittiness of the scripts have kept the series going, despite a few breaks, for over 40 years. Long may it continue.


Juliet said...

It has always be my custom to avoid Dr Who - taking the opportunity to attend to clearing away the supper etc in peace while the rest of the family are glued to it. One glimpse of the giant wasp yesterday was enough to confirm my suspicions that this is no more a programme for me now than it was in the 1960s when I fled from the room howling whenever a black & white dalek trundled across the screen. It wasn't until after it had ended that I realised yesterday's episode formed a bizarre prequel to the programme on BBC4 which formed the basis of my Saturday Slump on the sofa!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I've seen a few episodes here and there over the years but not enough to completely follow the mythology of it. Should rent it.

Martin Edwards said...

At its best, Patti, it's great fun, with some of the all-time classic aliens, including those scary Daleks and the Cybermen.

john morris said...

Dr. Who is most definitely known here in the States -- an avid cult following. Not my thing, but two of my best friends used to collapse with laughter watching every episode when it was broadcast, aided by a certain mildly intoxicating substance.