As I type this, it’s less than a week until the new season of Dr Who starts.
I’m really looking forward to it. But what I find particularly pleasing is that so many other people are looking forward to it too.
You see, I’m Dr Who fan of very long standing. I can remember when it was considered odd to like the programme – when it was viewed as an embarrassing anachronism, condemned to the dustbin of history.
That was in the dark days of the late eighties. Despite Sylvester McCoy’s best efforts, the viewing figures were such that the BBC made the decision to “rest” the show. (The fact that it had been scheduled against the ratings juggernaut that is Coronation Street may have been a factor.)
But television sci-fi was generally pretty thin on the ground in the late eighties – especially British TV sci-fi. (Red Dwarf was possibly the only other example, and got away with it by falling into the comedy pigeonhole, rather than sci-fi.) Sci-fi seemed to be thought of as lots of running down corridors, bad special effects and men in rubber alien costumes.
(American sci-fi, including the beige-carpeted colossus that was Star Trek: The Next Generation, had more money than anything British TV could hope for and so looked a lot better.)
Then, in 1996, there was the Dr Who TV movie. As I heard the theme tune again a big goofy grin appeared on my face…
But it was not to be. The movie was a one-off, with not enough viewers in the US to allow a series to follow it.
So it was nine years afterwards that the new series finally started. And this time it worked.
Since the new series began, I’ve seen crowds of dozens of kids staring and cheering at a Dalek (something that first appeared in 1963). There are Dr Who toys everywhere. The stars are on the front of loads of magazines. It’s probably the only programme that could have both James Corden and Neil Gaiman working on it.
So on Saturday, I hope I can watch the programme confident that it will once again run and run.