I wish the Guardian reviewers would stop being so accursedly snooty about The Doctor and simply accept that the majority of his devoted followers do not find it necessary to bring the usual critical appraisal to bear on these precious episodes. We are wide-eyed and receptive, all disbelief suspended for forty-five minutes; a bit of over-acting here and there, the odd creak in the plot, the fact that one assistant may be less to one’s liking than another – is not as important as the fact that he, the whole conception of him, is a Good Thing. For he brings us proper make-believe stories, battles that are lost and won, and he himself is a figure of immense tragedy; the last of his kind, a wanderer who has no place to lay his head who is dedicated to our salvation. I am missing an episode tonight because I am going to a friend’s birthday party, though I will be hanging around long enough to make sure the video has actually begun recording before I set off. The video, in common with other Signs household applicances, has a devilish tendency to malfunction just one when wants it most. Well, such is life in the twenty-first century if one is a mere mortal with only one heart and no sonic screwdriver, far less even a basic comprehension of elementary sciences.
This morning I was awoken by the voice of Mr. Signs asking me if I was ok. He had been downstairs to attend to the cat and found the little plastic carbon monoxide detector making a continuous beeping sound. He called the emergency gas services, switched everything off, opened the doors and came to check on me. The fact that I was tickety boo was a good indication that everything was probably ok, for I am litmus paper; when my colour turns from live to nothing it’s a sign that all is not healthy in the environment: carpet shops, for example, I cannot be inside for more than a few minutes – formaldehyde and such. I am a miner’s canary and when the music stops you know it’s time to get out. But I was in fact better than usual for having been sugar-free for a while. In the event there was nothing wrong: the carbon monoxide detector simply needed new batteries and had only one language for telling us that.
When the gas man had gone we had coffee, me forgetting that I’d been caffeine-free for some time. Afterwards I felt as though I’d taken amphetamines. I may have to reassess my whole relationship with the dark nectar. It has just occurred to me that if I chuck all my bad habits I’m in danger of becoming perfect – and that would be a kind of hubris. Gawd! The Doctor would understand.