So this Sunday the Hypermen are invading our television screens with a live reveal of the new Doctor Who, hosted by Zoe Ball and I along with everyone else are speculating as to who will be who. It's likely to be a who's who of celebrities too, all being asked to give a Whovian soundbite along the lines of how it inspired them to get into acting or how they cowered behind the sofa at the sight of Martin Clunes dressed like a pantomime dame.
How Doctor Who inspired me was to long for a huge colourful scarf like the one the great Tom Baker wore during his tenure as the Tardis treking Timelord. The first incarnation of this was a kiwi green and orange affair that belonged to my dad. Being only about five or six at the time, the average adult scarf length was enormous on me, impractically so. I loved it. I had a blonde curly Colin Baker-esque mop, a ridiculously long neck warmer and K9 (a cardboard box), my trusty robot dog. I don't know what happened to that scarf. Maybe I left it behind after fighting Davros on planet Skaro. Either that or mum finally got her hands on it and bagged it up along with all the other seventies monstrosities she'd wanted rid of for ages. I missed that scarf.
Over the years I always wished to find a suitable replacement. The second incarnation came when a girlfriend of mine developed a hobby for using her mother's knitting machine. This scarf was a brilliant long multi-coloured snake, like a public schoolboy's pride and joy and lasted me longer than the relationship. In fact all the way through college and a new life in Newcastle, where I met my wife. It got left behind at the cinema after watching Underworld starring Kate Beckinsale. Accidentally? Or perhaps it was a case of in with the new partner, out with the old scarf. Because as it turned out, my mother-in-law was a keen knitter. She had so much wool that she could have made a bobble hat for the Northern hemisphere. So vast was her collection of coloured sheep offcuts that she received a commendation for services to industry from the Australian president. At least that's what she told me.
One particularly cold winter, I remembered my old scarf, and inwardly wept. I proposed a new incarnation, to be knitted by her. And with the power of the internet, I set forth to find a picture of the scarf worn by Tom Baker, to give her an idea of what colours to use. I typed in Doctor Who scarf, and the first result astounded me. Some truly obsessed fan had not only created a site dedicated to the scarf, but had recreated it. Better yet he, in his wisdom, had provided the knitting pattern. My mother-in-law set to work. She is a wise woman and chose to half the length and the width of the original pattern for which I am eternally grateful. Had she conformed to the dimensions as they were intended it would have made a perfect runner for the staircase, but would have been difficult to wear in public without getting persistently dragged under the wheels of passing buses.
It's this third incarnation that I still have, two Doctor Who obsessed kids later. Recently we were very lucky to see the Proms with Matt Smith casting a spell over them both. I feel like I've come full circle, watching Johnny Ball and obsessing over the Tardis as a kid, and now seeing my kids growing excitement as Zoe Ball prepares to host the live reveal.
So: who do you think it will be? Or better still, who would you like it to be?
Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor is on BBC One at 7.00 pm on Sunday 4 August.
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