Let’s Not Forget The Dung Collectors: On Dr Who and Other Stuff

At this moment I’m completely distracted – as I have been for weeks – by Dr Who. It is playing on Netflix on another browser as I type. It’s taken me forever to cotton onto this new incarnation, but since my lovely man introduced me recently to the pleasures of Matt Smith and David Tennant, I can’t get enough of it. (Though I admire him, Christopher Eccleston just doesn’t do it for me.)

In part, I love the deliciously drawn-out plot points over entire series: the crack in the wall, Sarah Jane, the coming storm. (I tell ya, it paid to stay away from Twitter the other week when the UK watched the final of the current series.) And in part, I can’t get enough because it takes me back to the random, wonderful days of being the third of four siblings with a Dad who was wary of how much TV we watched.

We had to finely balance our intake so that we got a decent helping of Tom Baker/Peter Davison-era Dr Who, alongside some Ready To Roll, Charles in Charge, Square Pegs and whatever else was piped down the two channels we had in NZ at the time, within our weekly allocation. (Although, we were sometimes aided and abetted in our quest for a higher quota by a willing Mum who, I kid you not, pulled me out of school with a fake doctor’s appointment on the day that the Salem Strangler was to be unveiled on Days Of Our Lives. Rock on! She’s the same Mum who is currently taping the first ep of the new – and final – season of Outrageous Fortune while I sit in a departure lounge twelve hours away.)

So it quite blew me away to sit down over coffee this weekend with an old mate from my university days, who is now the Vice President of BBC America. The same BBC America I’ve been watching Dr Who on these past few months. We studied television production together, and before that, we shared a similar childhood television diet: four parts British, four parts American, two parts Kiwi (with a dash of Australian thrown in – Young Doctors, how I loved you). We talked about how this humble two-channel TV diet no doubt helped us both get to where we are today (he more than me – I am so proud!). And about how the BBC exploits its intellectual property, and more besides, which will be the subject of an article in months to come.

I’ve been writing a lot lately. Actually, I’ve been interviewing. Which explains some of the absence here. Most of the writing happens over the next few chilly months beneath the warm breeze of Mum’s heat pump. But some of it is already in Simon Wilson’s first new issue of Metro magazine, the Auckland monthly that’s been around since, well, since I was watching Charles in Charge, probably. I’ve always read it and I’m thrilled to be writing for it, if a little nervous to be dipping my toe into the churning film reviewing waters. I’ve reviewed music at length in the past so that feels okay to me – especially the chance to unearth some interesting stuff irrespective of record company deadlines, and to draw satisfying lines between tunes and people. But film? Perhaps it’s a scale thing. The budget and time that goes into a film will certainly give me pause for thought before drawing my sword…

And yet… the other morning, I sat through the new Adam Sandler vehicle, Grown Ups, instead of spending quality time with the aforementioned lovely man. The same man who, as my birthday present this year, arranged an interview with one of my top five musical heroes, David Kilgour. Best. Present. Ever.

The honest, revealing, crunchy, funny results of the Kilgour interview (in which he discusses the evils of the circus and the dung collectors of the title) are here. My Sandler verdict? You’ll have to wait for that. I’m busy sharpening my sword.


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