Thursday, 8 April 2010

Can we do a 'Doctor Who' for On the Buses?

What is it about Doctor Who?
Why is it that this once relatively modest, cult TV programme has now become the biggest thing on the box and every time he changes his identity, his assistant or his inner-Tardis it has become front page news and is hyped by the Beeb to ridiculous levels?

We saw further evidence of the TV dominance of the Time Lord again on Saturday when his new reincarnation appeared in all its glory on what was probably the most watched television programme over Easter.

To be fair I thought the show was jolly fun –- and I was particularly impressed with the new 'doc' and his glamorous assistant – but still I wondered what it is that has made this show such a phenomenon in the noughties and the current (as yet un-named-to-my-liking) decade.

The reason this all surprises me is that the glories of multi-channel TV – and that is not a phrase I suspect everyone in Bath is using this week now that we've gone digital – meant that we were able to go on our own time travel over Easter with one station showing endless re-runs of old Dr Who episodes.
I only saw glimpses of these (the not-so-glorious days of Sylvester McCoy in the title role), but it was enough to convince me that I wasn't going mad – Dr Who was once a fairly cheap-looking and decidedly low-budget sci-fi yarn.

Fun it may have been but Dalek-style planet domination it certainly wasn't.

Talking of television 'golden oldies,' I had the fatal combination on Bank Holiday Monday of time to kill, a remote control in my hand and nothing I particularly wanted to watch.

So I alighted on another 70s 'iconic' programme – On The Buses.

Now, I never remember that being terribly good but I'd forgotten how terribly bad it really was.
I watched a film version of the series and sat stoney-faced through the, ahem, jokes, of the decidedly strange trio of Reg Varney, his oddball side-kick conductor and, most scarily of all, the truly weird Blakey.

So here's a challenge. Can the producers who have taken Dr Who from being a mildly entertaining post-football-results diversion on Saturdays to being a national icon do the same for On The Buses?

Can they find us a new Reg, a new Olive and a new way of making bus drivers as entertaining as time travelling Time Lords?

Or is that Mission Impossible?

1 comment:

ChrisCross said...

I couldn't agree more. Like you, while channel hopping with time to kill, I came to rest on what must have been one of the unfunniest, most offensive programmes ever made for British TV.

How about loading all those shows onto a time travelling bus which would, of course, be runing late, and sending it off to crash on some distant planet, never to be seen again...