How New Doctor Who Has Changed Everything!

* It has inspired TV bosses to resurrect a long-ignored genre – the family drama. Once thought to be a dead demographic, Who proved that you could produce a drama that can be watched by all the family. After Who took off, we were suddenly inundated with family dramas, of varying quality admittedly – Robin Hood(ie), Merlin, Primeval, Demons. None of them have matched Who’s success, but it’s certainly made the airwaves more fun having them around. Well, apart from Demons…

* Then there are the direct descendents – Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Torchwood may have had a wobbly start, but by “Children Of Earth” it was a phenomenon in itself, a show that people who would never watch SF were talking about in the office next day. The after effects of Torchwood’s new-found status as a prime-time BBC1 show have yet to be felt, but you can bet they will be felt. Meanwhile, The Sarah Jane Adventures moved CBBC drama up a notch, showing what could be done of on a children’s TV budget, and pushing the limits of the kind of drama that can achieved with an action/adventure format on children’s TV (and not just by being the first children’s series to star an over-60 female since Supergran). It often achieves audiences figures three times the average for a CBBC show, and that could be even higher if older Who fans weren't scared off tuning in by the ever=present threat of the Slitheen returning. Oh, and there's also the Australian K-9 series… which… erm… has erm… room to improve.

* You can partly thank Doctor Who for more adult TV SF shows like Survivors, Being Human, Misfits and The Prisoner, with the writers and producers of those shows openly admitting to SFX in interviews that the projects would probably never have been given the green light without Doctor Who’s trailblazing.

* And we can also thank (or blame, depending on your point of view) New Who for the televisual omnipresence of John Barrowman. Some people were convinced that he was going to be revealed as the murderer in Harper’s Island, because it was about the only show he hadn’t been on.

* The show has been instrumental in making major stars out of assistants Billie Piper and Freema Agyeman, both of whom have gone onto major roles in other series. It also succeeded in showing comedienne Catherine Tate in a whole new light, and winning her a whole new bunch of fans.

* On the other hand, you could also blame Doctor Who for some of the tripe ITV has produced to place up against it – remember Celebrity Wrestling? In fact, as the BBC’s drama output has been growing stronger and stronger, with Who in its front ranks, ITV seems to have given up on drama altogether and relies solely on reality and game shows in peak times. And some people want to scrap the license fee? Utter madness! That way lies madness and wall-to-wall Ant and Dec.

* The Royal Shakespeare Company should also be extending their thanks to Doctor Who. Has it ever had such a successful production as David Tennant’s Hamlet? And what a great way to get people who’d never normally go to the theatre all excited about the bard? (But, just for one performance, couldn’t he have slipped in an “Alas poor Dalek”?)

* The Cardiff tourist board has probably had to employ a few more staff.

* And is this the first time The Doctor has been such a fashion icon? Before New Who, fans would only ever dress in costume for conventions or weird sexual fantasies. With the advent of Eccleston, however, Who fans were raiding the high street for leather jackets, which they could wear in public and not get laughed at. And Tennant must have done wonders for Converse All Stars (no, Auntie Beeb, painting over the star logo was fooling no one) and NHS glasses. And it’s amazing how many people you see getting away with wearing baseball boots with suits these days. Only time will tell whether dickie bows, monkey boots, tweed jackets and turn-ups will take the fashion world by storm in the same way.

* You can’t move in toy shops for voice-changing Cybermen heads and inflatable Daleks nowadays.

* BBC Three would be stuffed it didn’t have Doctor Who to repeat – the show gets better viewing figures for the channel on its fifth repeat than many of the new shows get on their first.

* Doctor Who also helped popularise the BBC’s iPlayer, launched off the back of “Voyage Of The Damned”. The system would have been a success anyway, no doubt, but with the Who boost, it was achieving download figures well in excess of predictions in those first few months, spawning thousands of users who otherwise would not have been such early adopters.

* But what about American TV – surely Doctor Who hasn’t had any effect on Stateside shows? Well, up until now (with the possible exception of Chris Eccleston getting to say “Fantastic!” in Heroes) that’s probably true. But not for much longer. Russell T Davies is now such a hot property, the Who’s recreator is currently in America plotting his takeover of the US airwaves alongside New Who’s former producer Julie Gardner. David Tennant is also heading out to LaLaLand, where he’s going to star in a legal drama called Rex Is Not My Lawyer (if the pilot’s successful). He clearly aims to be the new Hugh Laurie. Well, he's good at accents, we know that.

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