diamond geezer

 Friday, November 21, 2003

An A-Z of Who (u-z)

U is for UNIT: When danger threatens, it's good to know that crack security guards are out there to protect the nation's finest from the forces of evil. And no, I don't mean President Bush's armed entourage, I mean those jolly decent army chaps from the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. UNIT was a worldwide organisation set up to track and defeat extraterrestrial threats, although their interview criteria can't have been that stringent if they gave even dippy Jo Grant a job. It's also a complete mystery how UNIT ever got funding from the Government, given that ours barely supports even a rogue-asteroid-spotting centre these days, but we thank the (time)Lord that they were there.

V is for Verity: Doctor Who's first producer was Verity Lambert, kicking off an illustrious career stretching 40 years. She remains the only female ever to have produced the show (something not even John Nathan-Turner managed). It was Verity who came up with the concept of the Tardis, and Verity who gave the job of writing the show's now-legendary theme tune to Australian Ron Grainer (oooo-eeeee-oooow). She left the show during its third year, moving on to produce a string of other TV hits including Adam Adamant, Budgie, The Naked Civil Servant, Minder, (whisper it) Eldorado, and Jonathan Creek. Verity was awarded the OBE in last year's New Year Honours for services to film and production. Who'd not be here today without her.

W is for Wales: The Doctor has had a mixed relationship with the principality of Wales over the years. One of his finest adventures involved a Welsh valley full of giant maggots, but equally one of his most embarrassing adventures featured a bus full of space tourists invading a 1950s Welsh holiday camp. Now it's BBC Wales who have been given the long-awaited chance to revive Doctor Who, relaunching in 2005 with new adventures written by Russell T Davies. I wonder if we'll be seeing Ninth Doctor Aled Jones emerging from the Tardis to battle against some bug-eyed sheep-rustling harpists, look you.

X is for Xterminate: World domination, absolute power and obsessive megalomania - there's been a lot of it about. Many of the Doctor's enemies have been cold, emotionless killing machines, set on destroying any puny human who should get in their way no matter what the consequences. You could never reason with a Dalek, nor hold a rational argument with a Cyberman, and trying to make a Sontaran see sense was always doomed to failure. Shoot now, ask questions later. But don't worry kids, obviously there are no real characters in the modern world with such a rigid view of good and evil backed up by force, so don't have nightmares out there. Good always wins, on the telly at least...

YZ is for Wise Head: The Doctor has managed to survive for 40 years, one third of which he's not even been on the telly, but how? I'd suggest it's because of his winning character. Eight wise men, all rolled into one. An interfering busybody with a heart of gold. A strangely-dressed knowall with your best interests at heart. An eccentric bloke with as much wisdom as intelligence. A man who could take you anywhere, and frequently did, but would always get you home safely, eventually. We've been his companion through time and space for four decades now. Carry on Doctor.


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