Sunday, June 3, 2007
A Doctor For All Seasons
No, really, I will not have a word said against him. What, in any case, is not to love about a man with two hearts who faces all personal and actual demons and has, on more occasions than I can number, saved the world? The fact that he remains unreconstructed in the ersatz feminist sense of the word is only to his credit. He is constantly updated and re-generated, give the man a break. You can’t be fighting Daleks and Cybermen one moment, settled and domesticated the next. He may be dashing and sexy (I say may be, the Doctor takes many forms) but that isn’t the point. If it were the point, he would just be boring.
The Doctor takes on the demons and the monsters so we don’t have to and more, he does it joyfully. Each battle is, for him, an adventure and an opportunity to overcome death in all its manifestations. “He is made of fire and ice,” said someone or other in the last episode. He also loves his enemies. Sounds familiar? No, well, I am not saying he is the messiah, but he does go out of his way to give them the benefit of the doubt and the possibility of redemption.
And he has fun; he knows stuff and he has a Tardis that can take him anywhere in time and space, he can travel without passport – as we can, dear reader, as we can (didn’t you know this was coming?) in our imaginations. You are thinking that I am one of those who is secretly building a Tardis made of stickyback plastic in my garden shed. Well, it may come to that and if it does, no blame, there are worse things to be doing – like sitting in front of the one-eyed troll watching the ghastly monster that is Big Brother (down with him, I say), having your vision of the world and its inhabitants made meaner and smaller. I choose adventures in time and space in the small-on-the-outside, big-on-the-inside Tardis of the actual and imaginary.
There was a friend my son once had who spent all summer and autumn building a spaceship in his garden. He was, to put it bluntly, considered backward, had a number of “learning disabilities” and not many children wanted to play with him. My son, being a couple of years younger than him and willing to engage in the business at hand, remembers how they built the spaceship piece by piece and how the unshakeable belief of this boy made it then and forever real. With the power of the imagination they created the ship and overcame something that would diminish us, make us smaller and less than we are. They acquired, you could say, a faculty.
Of course, it’s also in the blood. I myself made a door into Narnia for me and my sister to go through from the built-in wardrobe in our bedroom. Childish escapism, you say, but I say there are more possibilities than any of us can begin to imagine and we are braver and more wonderful than we are led to believe. And if the Doctor (who admittedly is not human, but has some of the attributes) reminds us of this – who can be against him?