Dr. Who, my all-time most favourite television series, is half-a-century old this year. The BBC, which must be thanking it's lucky stars that it never starred Jimmy Saville, or clashed with The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, is throwing a chunk of my licence money into a huge celebration of this illustrious anniversary, and I am thrilled! I tell you, I would pay my tv licence fee for the Doctor alone, and think it cheap at the price.
I retreated behind the sofa, with my brother Adrian, in 1963, when the TARDIS first lurched into view carrying the Doctor and his granddaughter, Susan, and I have remained a loyal, entirely uncritical, Dr Who fan ever since. I didn't much like Jon Pertwee I have to admit, but spent the 'Nappy Years' turning to Tom Baker for solace. 'He make's mummy's toes curl', I explained to my wondering offspring, only one of whom grew up to be a sci-fi fan. That's OK, I am undiscriminating in my love for them.
The black and white special effects were memorably unconvincing, but served their purpose. They practised me in the art of suspending disbelief, and worked wonders on my imagination. And what about the monsters? The early ones were something else. I was especially fond of the Lepidoptera: an invertebrate that WAS a giant mophead. I don't remember how the Time Lord saw off that particular menace, but I have retained a passing dread of anything ending in 'optera' ever since. Sorry.
(Aside: Although I vividly remember the Lepidoptera, they have vanished from the public record. I suspect a plot. Or could it be that my imagination, in overdrive, totally invented them? Surely not. Who would invent a monster so utterly unconvincing? Certainly not me!)
My all-time favourite evil entity, for today, is The Plasmivore. She demonstrated to the Universe that we sweet little old ladies carry something sinister about us, even if it's only a straw. We are not to be entirely trusted.
When the twenty-something Matt Smith took over the job of saving the universe, I was sure that my Who-fannery must surely come to an end - but no, I have followed the latest series with the same excitement as the first, though with toes that remain visibly unmoved.
And now Peter Capaldi is taking over the role at Christmas. I approve. I'd go further, I feel the ghost of a twitch in the region of my metatarsals. I think I'd better go for a lie down, but not before checking out the space behind the sofa. I'm a little bigger than I was in 1963... .
Oh My Opteras!
I was wrong about the Lepidopterae! 'All memory is imagined... ' I was told when I embarked on my creative writing adventure. Maybe, maybe not, but it's definitely suspect. Check out the facts, if you really need to know... .