Fear & Loathing of Series 7

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Strange memories of that nervous night in 2005. Six years later? Seven? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. Doctor Who in the early noughties was a very special thing to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run… but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.…

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of "history" it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe twenty episodes—or very hazy stories—when I flicked off BBC1 half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big Peugeot 206 across the Severn Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing green corduroy trousers, a collarless grandfather shirt, a waistcoat and an army surplus jacket… booming through, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too spannered to find neutral while I fumbled for change)... but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild about 'Utopia' as I was: No doubt at all about that…

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. 'Love & Monsters' and 'Gridlock' could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever BBC Wales was doing was right, and that we open-minded, open-hearted viewers were winning.…

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Cult and Fanboy. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.…

So now, less than seven years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Cardiff and look East, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.



(With love and apologies to the addled shade of Dr Hunter S. Thompson.)

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