Call myself a Doctor Who fan? Well, yes, I do, but it strikes me as incredibly remiss of me to never have heard of Toby Hadoke until a couple of weeks ago when my friend Nikki invited me to see his Doctor Who related satirical show. "Moths ate my Doctor Who scarf" returned to the fringe for one night only last night.
We met up for some wine and a chat in the Mercat gastropub, which, since the demise of the Caledonian Ale House (pesky trams) has become a favourite haunt for Liberal Democrats as it's just down the road from Party HQ. I did manage to freak Nikki out a bit when I mentioned that maybe it was time to start taking Anna to Doctor Who conventions. She could not hide the scared look on her face.
The show took place in the very auditorium of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre where Nikki had proposed the motion which committed the party to boycotting Nestle products way back in 1999. It was lovely to return, for the first time since, to the scene of that very sweet victory. Just as an aside, I threw a bit of a strop when I found a tub of Nescafe in Clifton Terrace when I moved up - and during the years I was there on a regular basis, that did not happen again.....
In the hour and a quarter we were in there, I hardly ever stopped laughing. While a knowledge of Doctor Who enhances your enjoyment, the show works on its own as a humorous account of growing up in the 80s, and a critique, amongst other things, of modern television and politics. You kind of knew where the joke comparing Autons and Girls Aloud was going (think manufactured plastic people), but that didn't diminish the effect. There was a collective feeling that it was appropriate that Hadoke's childhood bully is now a BNP councillor and the joke about George Galloway was subtle and very well done......
One of my favourite bits was when he expressed how angry he was when Jon Pertwee died to hear news reports talk about shaky scenery and shakier acting. He has watched every single episode, many times over and stated categorically that in over 18000 minutes, there was only two instances, covering 7.5 seconds where the scenery actually wobbled.
Another observation about modern television also rang true - instead of doing something creative with a tv slot, it's all too common to produce shows which look back at the times when people were creative, and take the mickey out of them.
I doubt Jennie will be pleased that he described her favourite Doctor, Colin Baker, as looking like a rainbow had vomited on Van der Valk, but may take comfort from the fact that Baker himself did a cameo in the CD version of the show.
The part that really tugged at all my heart strings was his description of how his son has come to share his Doctor Who obsession as I've had a similar experience with Anna. I'm not going to give too much away about it, but it was beautifully done and provided a heart-warming end to the performance.
Nikki said that it was pretty much the same show as she'd seen before - but was delighted that David Tennant had provided a couple of voiceovers.
Hadoke provided an intelligent, original, poignant and incredibly funny look at the impact of this show on his whole life. I enjoyed it so much that I'm going to see his new show, I've added his blog to my blogroll and I've bought the CD of Moths because I think Anna will love it.
I wonder if he's done the Comedy Club for Kids - I think he'd be very good at adapting his material for a younger audience too.
I'll leave you with the song which played at the end of the show last night - which some of you will remember from back in the day but others will associate with the episode Love and Monsters, featuring Peter Kay and a group of people searching for the Doctor,which can be found here on You Tube.