My children have stolen Doctor Who. It used to be my show, but now it’s theirs and it’s all my fault. I should never have shown them the DVDs. “Brainwashing” is what my wife called it. “You want to turn them into little versions of you,” she said. I should have listened because now I’ve created two monsters.
Life has been taken over by Doctor Who. No mealtime is now complete without two pint-sized inquisitors firing questions at me as they pore over their Who encyclopedias: “Daddy, were you alive when it started? What did you mean when you said that Martha Jones was ‘wooden’? Why did Peri only wear a bra?” It’s incessant. I’ve now had to put a limit on the amount of time they can spend asking me questions about Doctor Who at the dinner table. It’s ten minutes and I use the stopwatch on my phone.
One of the other problems is that they’ve broken all the toys. OK, so I may have once had the odd action figure. But now, all I have are dismembered pieces of plastic. The Sontaran has lost both feet and both hands. He can neither stand up nor hold a gun. Christopher Eccleston has no legs at all and has to balance on a Playmobil chair. A Dalek plunger went down the drain of the bathtub, never to be seen again. And for some reason, I found an Adipose in a portion of tuna pasta bake.
But by far the most galling part of my kids’ Doctor Who obsession is that they now know more about the show than I do. Throughout the 1980s, it was shameful to have the Doctor Who knowledge that I possessed. There were Target books on the shelf, copies of Doctor Who Monthly stacked by the bed – I even called a halt to my seventh birthday party so I could watch episode one of The Twin Dilemma. As you can imagine, that was particularly tough to live down. But now, just as it’s become a badge of honour to be trivia-ed up to the eyeballs, I’m finding myself outgeeked.
When I couldn’t provide a succinct description of the Pandorica, it was all they could do to keep from attaching a Kick Me sign to my back. “Look,” I said, “I have lots of things to think about these days. I’m doing the form for your swimming lessons, I’ve got to go to the tip and I need to fix the trellis in the garden. The Pandorica’s a box, isn’t it? What’s wrong with saying it’s a box?”
So I reckon that it might just be time to call it a day. Pass the sonic screwdriver on to the next generation. Being in competition with your children over a Saturday-evening teatime show can’t be a good thing, can it? Maybe I’ll do what any right-minded, mature adult ought to. On second thoughts, perhaps I’ll just secretly buy some more action figures, hide them away and bring them out to play with once my boys are in bed. In your face, kids!
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news