Doctor Who Online: Splitting Airs

Our second guest blog from the good folk of Doctor Who Online

Cast your mind back to a time when the Winter nights were drawing in, the fireplace was crackling, Roland Rat had just aired and a BBC One announcers informs us that Doctor Who was on next.

There was that wonderful feeling where, because of the early dark evenings,  your living room feels that little bit more enclosed, and your mind starts to wonder what the next 25 minutes will have in store.

Am I setting the scene here? I hope so, as this is my first ever memory of Doctor Who

It was the 29 November 1986 (a fact I later managed to find out, being a somewhat obsessive fan), I was six years old, and being totally honest, the majority of the episode was a blur – all except for one scene where The Doctor (Colin Baker) is being pulled under the ground of a sandy beach by lots of hands.

Then, to my horror, the titles rolled, and I realised I would have to wait a whole week until I found out what happened next, and if this curly haired man would survive. I remember asking my parents why I had to wait, and if there was “another channel on right now that showed the next bit”.

It was during that unendurably long week that I became ‘a fan’. I think I was instantly hooked, but it took a whole week of impatiently waiting to realise it fully.

I can’t help thinking that if the show had aired during a sunny Summer day, whether it would have had the same impact on me. I have loved almost every minute of Doctor Who since its triumphant return in 2005, but I have always believed it is better suited to an Autumn / Winter schedule.

When I learnt in 2010 that the 2011 series would be split, I was incredibly excited at the prospect of enjoying the show at my preferred time of year. We got a taster of what an Autumn airdate might be like with 2009’s ‘The Waters Of Mars’ – which was successful for so many reasons, but probably mostly in part to the time of year it was shown.

Over the past six years I’ve digested the many audience figures for Doctor Who, and fully expect that when the show returns this Autumn we will see even higher ratings. But of course, it is a very different world now to that dark night in 1986. We have computers and Internet and X-Factor, there are hundreds of TV channels to choose from, there’s Cherry Coke and sprayable cheese in a can…but I digress.

The fact remains, that in spite of all these distractions (yes sprayable cheese in a can is a distraction!), Doctor Who is still up there in the top 3 for Saturday night viewing, and come this Autumn, I will be very surprised if it doesn’t take the very top spot.

What do you think about an Autumn / Winter timeslot? Do you have any memories from this time of year? Where in the year do you feel Doctor Who is best placed? Get in touch and share your thoughts in the comments below.

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