The Doctor has had a few issues with politicians – I’m looking at you, Third Doctor – but it’s nice to see that they haven’t taken it personally: Doctor Who has been debated in the House of Lords to recognise the considerable achievement of reaching its 50th anniversary.
Before we get to that, thanks to regular reader Ian we know that an “Early Day Motion has been tabled by Jim Shannon MP noting the celebration,” according to an email reply he received from Stretford & Urmston MP Kate Green. Everyone wants to bask in Doctor Who’s reflected anniversary glory!
Put forward by Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, a Liberal Democrat who has previously worked for the BBC who wanted to note “the contribution of broadcast media to the United Kingdom economy.” Certainly, BBC Worldwide has brought in hordes of cash internationally, and, in her maiden speech, Baroness Grender said:
My noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter’s timing for this debate is perfect, following the amazing weekend marking the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Simulcast in 94 countries, setting a Guinness world record, with record-breaking figures in America, it was event TV drama at its best, delivered around the globe. That thrill of seeing all the Doctors saving Gallifrey is something my eight year-old son will remember until the 100th anniversary.
Lord John Birt, former Director-General of the BBC also said:
Our comic, eccentric and very British superhero, Doctor Who, who rightly has been much mentioned today, reached 50 last Saturday with a near-simultaneous broadcast in 94 different countries, as the noble Baroness, Lady Grender, mentioned. Nothing like that has ever happened before.
Praise for Doctor Who isn’t a new thing, of course, but it’s nonetheless nice to see the dreaded MPs give it some acknowledgment. One thing has to taint the occasion: the ‘noble’ Lord (I don’t know why he’s a Lord either) Michael Grade, who, you might’ve noticed, isn’t the biggest fan of the biggest and best show in the world. Baroness Bonham-Carter asked:
Finally, as Doctor Who has dominated the debate and I see my noble friend Lord Grade in his seat, I cannot resist wondering whether, had he known that Sylvester McCoy could regenerate into John Hurt, he would still have cancelled the programme?
… To which Grade nodded, (presumably) smugly. (Smug is his default setting.)
But let’s conclude on a positive note, with Baroness Humphreys, President of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, noting:
Programmes such as Doctor Who, Merlin and Sherlock and many others have been produced in Cardiff over a number of years but they are now produced in the BBC’s new drama facility in the recently built drama village at Roath Lock in the Porth Teigr, or Tiger Bay, area of Cardiff Bay. The drama studios there are the length of three football pitches, and more than 600 actors, camera operators and technicians are employed there—all, of course, contributing to the local economy.
And that’s without even mentioning the Doctor Who Experience!