In exactly a year’s time, the BBC will be celebrating the Doctor Who ’s 50th Anniversary . But how exactly should the Corporation celebrate? We’re not talking in terms of plot here – no demands for The Time War or “The 50 Doctors” – but what else the BBC could do to mark this momentous occasion for Doctor Who ?
Let’s take our lead from something all-too-brief BBC DG George Entwistle said when he got the job. He said it should be an occasion like the Olympics. Although we sincerely doubt we’ll be seeing hours and hours of Doctor Who on BBC1 for two weeks – hell, it’s a big show, but not that big as much as we’d like it to be – we get where he was coming from. A media blitz across all BBC platforms – the TV channels, radio, internet, iPlayer, the red button service.
So, Mr Tony Hall, new BBC Director General, please inherit Entwistle’s enthusiasm for the show, and here are a few suggestions. Well, 49 actually. It seems fitting. Some more serious than others… (and yeah, we know there’s the drama-documentary being made about the show’s early years; these are new suggestions):
1 iPlayer should make every complete Doctor Who story in the archives available.
2 Strictly Come Dancing should have a Doctor Who special, with all the celebs dressed as monsters dancing to Doctorin’ The TARDIS.
3 BBC Four should have an in-depth documentary about the history of the series.
4 The front page of the BBC website should pop up accompanied by the TARDIS dematerialisation sound effect.
5 Tom Baker should do The Shipping Forecast.
6 Steven Moffat should present Thought For The Day.
7 The TARDIS should be on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar square.
8 EastEnders should have a discussion in the Queen Vic about the best Doctor.
9 Russell T Davies should write a half-hour “Rose Tyler: Defender Of Earth” episode, featuring as many surviving companions as possible.
10 The BBC idents should feature Daleks. Lots of ’em.
11 All male newsreaders should wear bow ties; the women can wear fezes.
12 TARDIS replicas should appear all over London, painted in designs by volunteers and famous artists, then be auctioned off for charity.
13 All continuity announcements should be done in the voice of Davros.
14 The time pips on Radio Four should be replaced by the Sonic Screwdriver sound effect.
15 A Top Gear Doctor Who Special. Hammond test drives the TARDIS, James May does the science, Clarkson slags off the show and gets beaten up by Colin Baker.
16 A TARDIS hunt – The TARDIS appears mysteriously in the background of a dozen or so BBC produced shows across the anniversary week. No prior warning – viewers have got to spot it, a bit like Where's Wally .
17 At least one of the stories missing from the archives is remade from the original script.
18 A different one of the stories missing from the archives is remade as an animated adventure.
19 Newsnight should bring together Michael Grade and Colin Baker for a
fight … no-holds-barred discussion.
20 A special edition of Only Connect featuring only Doctor Who fans and Doctor Who questions.
21 An Antiques Roadshow special concentrating entirely on Doctor Who merchandise.
22 Matt Smith should edit that week's 2000 AD instead of Matt Smith.
23 There should be a Doctor Who computer game which doesn't suck.
24 The Angel Of The North should become a Weeping Angel Of The North.
25 Cardiff should be renamed Gallifrey for the week (unless Gallifrey means something rude in Welsh…)
26 The Beefeaters at the Tower Of London should be replaced by Cybermen.
27 Peter Jackson should be interviewed on The Culture Show about his love for Doctor Who .
28 Tom Baker should be knighted.
29 Google should of course have a Doctor Who logo on 23 November (wonder if they will?).
30 Wembley should stage a game of football between monsters.
31 Doctor Who Do You Think You Are? – a look at the science fiction that influenced Doctor Who , and the science fiction it has influenced.
32 Matt Smith to join Brian Cox and Robin Ince on an Infinite Monkey Cage special about time travel.
33 Songs Of Praise should come live from Devil's End.
34 A Red Button service that enables the 50th Anniversary special to be watched with a commentary track.
35 A new online animated adventure that has a role for all eleven Doctors .
36 Mock The Entirety Of Time And Space – a Who related Mock The Week special with Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann.
37 A specially-filmed McGann to Eccleston regeneration scene.
38 Jools Holland Later special, with Muse covering “Doctorin’ The TARDIS”, One Direction singing “All I Want For Christmas Is A Dalek” and Tom Jones doing “Song For 10”.
39 A Deadly 60 special with Steve Backshall encountering Drashigs, the Nestene Consciousness, wolf weeds and giant maggots.
40 The BBC should name one of its new studios after Verity Lambert.
41 When BBC Three and BBC Four aren’t on air, they should just air Doctor Who constantly.
42 Just for balance, there should be a show called I Hate Doctor Who . On BBC Radio Stoke. At 2am. For a couple of minutes.
43 Masterchef should have a special episode in which John Simm, Eric Roberts and Derek Jacobi try to out cook each other.
44 Bargain Hunt should take place in Trotter’s Lane.
45 K9 should cameo in Doctors . Just because.
46 Mark Gatiss should write a half-hour sitcom about some Doctor Who fans trying to arrange a convention, just so they can get to meet Billie Piper.
47 There should be a set of Doctor Who commemorative stamps.
48 Get some of the mainstays of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop back together to compose an avant garde Doctor Who -inspired electronic symphony for broadcast on Radio Three.
49 Someone should bake a really nice cake with 50 sonic screwdriver-shaped candles on it and not let Matt Smith hide inside.