Viewpoint: Who cares about the Doctor?

two doctors with sonic screwdrivers

There's been much celebration of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. But there are some sci-fi fans who just can't see the point, says Chris Sallis.

My girlfriend loves Doctor Who, as do all of her friends. They cannot understand why I don't. Let me explain.

I grew up on a steady diet of Star Wars and Star Trek, as well as more old-school science fiction like Quatermass and the War of the Worlds. But despite my love of science fiction there is only one series that I simply cannot stand - Doctor Who.

The writing is appalling. There is no connection or emotional investment in the storylines, and the series is awash with inconsistencies. The Doctor was initially fully alien, but later describes himself as being half-human.

The sonic screwdriver is constantly used as a "get out of jail free" card, for whatever situation the Doctor finds himself in. Viewers are offered no understanding or internal logic as to how the sonic screwdriver operates.

There's limited suspense. Should he ever be mortally wounded, the Doctor will simply regenerate into a new body. Why would we be scared for him?

The old Doctor Who was infamous for its pitifully low budget, often with shoddy sets and special effects apparently made in a garden shed. The monster of the week was invariably a man in (yet another) rubber suit. Despite the advent of CGI, this shoddiness continues to permeate the presentation of the series.

Daleks are like a wheelie bin with a plunger. I am simply not scared of them, no matter how much people may scream.

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Media captionFormer sound engineer Brian Hodgson on creating the sound of the Tardis

The Tardis itself just doesn't interest me either. What is interesting about a blue police box compared with the star ship Enterprise or the Millennium Falcon?

The best thing about Doctor Who was the music and the eerie sound that the Tardis makes. Unfortunately this eeriness was immediately dispelled by Tom Baker running around, in his iconic scarf, being a plonker.

Doctor Who is intended to appeal to children and the mass-market. It became populist tripe. It is a children's science-fiction programme, sugar-coated for easy viewing.

So, will I be watching The Day of the Doctor this weekend? My girlfriend informs me I will be...

Additional reporting by Peter Ray Allison

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