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Cult Heroes Episode 10 - Doctor Who

Review by Murray Cramp

The last episode of the BBC documentary series, Cult Heroes played on the National Programme radio station at 7:30pm on Tuesday 28th January 1992. The episode was written by Ed Summerson, presented by Tony Slattery and edited by Anne Heinz. It was the only one of the ten part series to deal with a television character.

The programme started as expected with the playing of the Doctor Who theme. This continued in the background for some time to good effect. How did they establish that the Doctor is 700 years old? As with all these sorts of things I was afraid that it might make the fans look like a bunch of young prats -and it managed to achieve this with some success. A few fans made some very silly comments at the start, but John Collins of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society gave a good account of himself and helped to tone this aspect down a bit, especially when he stressed that only a minority of people wore costumes at conventions.

Comments were also heard from JNT, Sylvester McCoy, Verity Lambert, Dick Mills, Jon Pertwee, Liz Sladen and Tom Baker - but of course thirty minutes is not enough time to detail Doctor Who (or any other Cult Hero) to any great extent. On the whole, nothing new was said. They discussed things like the first story, the music, the TARDIS and the villains, etc. JNT talked about there being three levels to Doctor Who, namely: 1: Cops & Robbers; 2: Adventure & Sci-Fi; 3: Moral Lessons. But in my opinion these are just three different ways of looking at a programme that has only one level, that of entertainment in order to make money (despite what the BBC might have us believe).

There's not much else I can say about it really, except that Peter Davison hardly got mentioned! Finally, I'll leave you with Verity Lambert's opinion of the series: "Doctor Who needs to be believable... now it's too camp... I don't know whether it'll come back." - Of course it won't!

This item appeared in TSV 27 (February 1992).