Thursday 20 June 2013

Kids want David Tennant as Doctor Who - Comic Art Masterclass findings

This week I've been doing a run of schools in and around Bourne in Lincolnshire, the results of which I'll post anon. And, as you might be able to see in the photos above and below, I have an interesting finding regarding Doctor Who. In almost every class I ask the kids which Doctor Who they'd like me to draw on the board, and every time this week the answer has been David Tennant. This has been going on for a few weeks now. I asked them why today and got the answer "cos he's the best Doctor."

On the flipchart above they challenged me to draw all 11 Doctors, and I did my best. Shut up. But why should this Matt Smithimosity have come about? I have a theory. It's the Peter Davison Syndrome.

Does anyone else remember the 1980s? Where, despite the Doctor role changing hands two or three times, most people when asked to draw Doctor Who would draw a guy with curly hair and a long scarf? Well into the 21st century, as far as The Simpsons, Family Guy or Dead Ringers were concerned, Tom Baker remained The Doctor. And why? Well, it could be that the shows became less good. But here's my theory, the if-you-will Peter Davison Syndrome. It's all about the scheduling.

Because when Tom Baker left Doctor Who, not only did Peter Davison enter a show with declining budgets and production standards, with a fun-hating script editor and possibly its least fondly remembered producers, but he also joined a show where some idiot had buggered up the scheduling. Having been a fixture of Saturday nights since its inception in 1963, in 1982 someone thought it would be A Good Thing to move the show to twice-weekly slots on Tuesdays ad Thursdays, up against the most popular TV show in the country Coronation Street. And, amazingly, the ratings began a decline from which they never recovered. And, since this meant it was never again watched by as many kids as had watched Tom Baker in the role, he remained the Doctor they would have asked an itinerant comic artist to draw on a flipchart right through the 80s, had the subject come up.

So it is with Matt Smith. As pointed out by Private Eye last week, the broken series of Doctor Who with long gaps between them in recent years mean that, between Jan 2012 and June 2014, kids will have seen 16 new episode of Doctor Who starring Matt Smith, whereas in the same time span of David Tennant's run on the show they would have had 41 episodes. Wow. That means that David Tennant's saturation of the TV schedules as The Doctor was near three times as dense. Is saturation dense? Whatever, you get the point.

All of which explains why, to the current generation of 8 to 12 year old school kids, Matt Smith is only one third as much Doctor Who as David Tennant was. Which is a great shame as I think he's a cracking Doctor, and I'm really sorry that he'll be the first incumbent in the role to have been outlived by a single story arc (this "Silence Will Fall" nonsense that started in 2010 and still hasn't been fully explained).

I may stop asking kids which Doctor they want me to draw. I'll certainly going to have to brush up on my "other 9" Doctors, if they're going to ask for the whole bunch again. And that could happen.

Come to Kev F's Comic Art Masterclasses at Beanotown in London this summer.
+ Comic Art Masterclasses in Edinburgh throughout the Fringe & Edinburgh Book Festival, August 2013.

If anyone wants me to come and show their kids how to do what I've been doing for a living for the last two decades in my far-famed and much-loved Comic Art Masterclasses, drop me a line, a comment, a Twitter, smoke signals, the usual methods. Click below to see more, including video and contact details.


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