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25 December 2014

Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 724: Dimensions in Time

Dear diary,

It’s Chriiiiiiiistmaaaaaassssssss! Fitting, then, that I should be watching a strange kind of ‘panto’ episode of Doctor Who to celebrate…

Oh, the hate that Dimensions in Time has received over the years. Is there a more loathed fifteen minutes of Doctor Who than this? I have to admit, though, that I rather like it - because I’ve never taken it seriously, but simply enjoyed it for what it is; a fun runaround, celebrating Doctor Who for its thirtieth birthday, and raising money for a great cause at the same time. Indeed, it’s perhaps fitting that I’m watching this one on Christmas Day, because it’s the perfect time to enjoy it on its own merits.

You’ll also have to excuse that this isn’t going to be a particularly ‘in-depth’ entry of the Diary (as though I’m able to really call any of my insights all that ‘in-depth’), because there’s not an awful lot that i can actually say about Dimensions in Time, is there? I’ve even made Emma sit and watch it with me - it helps the Christmas dinner go down - but she spent most of the time with her head cocked to one side, somewhat confused as to what the heck was actually happening. Immediately afterwards, though, we watched the out-takes and amused ourselves with how Davison spends the entire recording looking as though he’s made a huge mistake in agreeing to turn up that day.

Over the last couple of weeks, when I’ve told people that I’ll be watching this story as part of the marathon, it’s been met with a fair bit of negative reaction. I’ve been told - several times - that it’s not a proper part of Doctor Who, so I needn't bother watching it (equally, many of those same people have gone on to tell me that I ‘have’ to watch The Curse of Fatal Death, though…!), but for me it’s an important part of the entire Doctor Who mythos, and I’ve never realised it mores than now - at the very end of a two-year marathon of all the ‘classic’ episodes. It’s the capstone for ‘classic’ BBC Doctor Who, and looked at like that, I think it fills the part admirably. 

It’s a final chance to see lots of our old favourites running around, doing (and saying) things that the general public automatically think are ‘very Doctor Who’. It’s the final time we get to see Jon Pertwee don his cape and strut around like he owns the place. It’s also the last appearance in televised Doctor Who for almost the entire cast - save for Elisabeth Sladen. No, the plot doesn’t make a great deal of sense (Every time I watch, I think I’ve sussed out what’s happening, but then we cut to the Fifth Doctor with both Peri and Nyssa, and the whole plan goes out the window), and shoehorning in Eastenders doesn’t fit quite as well as they suspected it would (that said, I’d probably enjoy that element more if I could remember more than a handful of the Eastenders characters), but it’s a fun way to spend fifteen minutes - and a great celebration of Doctor Who to wrap up the ‘classic’ era before I head on in to the TV Movie and the 21st century version of the programme beyond that. 

It’s the season to be jolly, so crack open some Bucks’ Fizz and pop on Dimensions in Time. Have a laugh with it. Enjoy quoting along with the best bits (‘who was that terrible woman?!?!?’) and celebrate the magic of Doctor Who.

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