Children in Need and Doctor Who - a lot can happen in 12 years
12 years ago in 1993 was the first time Doctor Who got involved in a Children in Need mini-episode. Eager anticipation of the first new television story for 4 years - "Dimensions in Time" - soon turned to horrified despair as it emerged it would involve the cast of EastEnders, a phone-in vote, and a second instalment broadcast during Noel's House Party the following day.
Even two years ago Doctor Who on Children in Need meant a spoof, as the Dead Ringers team, K9, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, and various monsters took part in a Weakest Link skit. Slyv fluffed his lines, K9 didn't work, and the entire thing was devised to show off Culshaw's unerringly accurate bonkers fourth Doctor. At the time the BBC's press release said:
Doctor Who, the Cybermen and the Daleks are brought back to life by the Dead Ringers team, who find themselves on The Weakest Link in the ultimate evil showdown.
“Who’s Who? The Resurrection of the Doctor” charts how the Guardian has covered Doctor Who since it was revived in 2005. If features interviews with Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and the men in charge of the show's fortunes: Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat. It also includes interviews with a host of other Doctor Who actors including Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, John Barrowman and writers including Neil Gaiman and Mark Gatiss. There are contributions from legendary author Michael Moorcock, Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy, and specially commissioned illustrations from Jamie Lenman.
“Who’s Who? The Resurrection of the Doctor” - £2.99 for Kindle & iBooks.
Ironically, in real Doctor Who of course, the Doctor's companion Rose found herself in a nightmare-ish version of The Weakest Link from the future during the episode Bad Wolf. A case of the real thing imitating spoof perhaps.
This time around one of the main attractions of Children in Need night was a Doctor Who scene, featuring Bille Piper and David Tennant. It was billed as 'proper' Doctor Who, written by Russell T. Davies, bridging the gap between 'The Parting of the Ways' and 'The Christmas Invasion', Tennant's debut proper. The scene was been trailled on the bbc.co.uk site using an image of K9 suitably attired with Children in Need novelty charity wristbands.
So tonight, as one of the BBC's hottest television properties, Children in Need Doctor Who aired as a 'serious' island of drama in a sea of light entertainment fluff. What a refreshing contrast to twelve years ago, or even two years ago.