When we first met Susan grooving on her transistor radio, was she actually listening to “One Direction” and not “John Smith and the Common Men” as is commonly believed? Did she use a perception filter and tell Ian Chesterton a little fib to spare him some temporal anomalies? Was she actually in love with Harry Styles? Sorry, Harry who? The only “Harry” Whovians are acquainted with is the dashing ex-medic from UNIT and the only Styles we know is the peace-loving diplomat from “The Day of the Daleks”.
Who are “One Direction”? They are a highly successful English-Irish pop boy band who signed to Simon’s Cowell’s record label a few years ago after coming third in TV’s “X-Factor”. But why would a Whovian actually care about Harry Styles and his fellow band members? Because arguably “One Direction” have encroached on Doctor Who’s territory and we are on the brink of a Time-Lord vs Teenager turf war that makes the Time War itself look like a game of conkers.
23 November has been declared “One Direction Day” or “1D Day”. There will be seven hours of continuous live streaming of the band. “Directioners” will have the chance to interact with their heroes. There will be sketches by the band, special guest appearances and fan generated videos. The day is set to coincide with the release two days later of their album “Midnight Memories”. For Whovians that only means nostalgia for a 2008 RTD classic! Other fans nonchalantly shrug their shoulders and settle down to watching “The Enemy of the World” for the umpteenth time. However there are many disgruntled Whovians who consider “One Direction” just that. As bad as, if not worse than Salamander. To their minds there is one thing and one thing only that we should be celebrating on 23 November: “The Day of the Doctor”.
An online petition has been launched http://tinyurl.com/nn3ytot. It is calling for “1D Day” to be cancelled. On the “Digital Spy” Doctor Who forum the band has been accused of “stealing, usurping, infecting, infesting and smothering” Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary. Propaganda has been published on Facebook and other social networks to aid the Whovian cause. Some fans are even worried that they might now not get their highly anticipated “Google Doodle” on the Doctor’s fiftieth.
But hang on a Donald Cotton picking moment, haven’t we always shared 23 November with a historical event of epic proportions? Haven’t we always reeled off a certain fact? Entertained, nay, enthralled family and friends with this classic example of our encyclopedic knowledge of the series? Doctor Who started the very day President Kennedy was assassinated. In all seriousness, this was a tragic day for America and the whole world. We can never know how, but his death would change the course of history. (I would strongly recommend reading Stephen King’s time travel novel on the subject: “11/22/63”)
In reality, Doctor Who shares its birthday with a whole host of anniversaries, some of which are as terrible as Kennedy’s assassination itself. On 23 November 1984 a London tube fire trapped hundreds of passengers in smoke-filled tunnels for three hours. In 1996 on the same day a hijacked passenger jet ran out of fuel and crashed into the Indian Ocean. In Southern Italy a devastating earthquake killed over 3000 people in 1980. These awful tragedies aside, it is also the day when the jukebox made its debut in San Francisco (1889), the pencil sharpener was patented (1897) and Pink Floyd released “The Wall”, selling 6 million copies in two weeks (1979). How can we forget Miley Cyrus, born on that day in 1992?
Doctor Who shares its birthday with some important figures from recent history. Frontier outlaw “Billy the Kid” (see above) was born in 1859, Frankenstein horror actor Boris Karloff in 1887 and movie comedian, Harpo Marx the following year. It is coincidental and brings a smile to my face that only a phenomenon like Doctor Who can carry on their tradition of adventure, scares and humour all in the same show.
As for Doctor Who related trivia, Sylvester McCoy’s superhero companion, David Rappaport, was born on 23 November 1951. Too many of us have forgotten their famous “O-Men” act (from TV’s “Jigsaw”), that blundering duo who were summoned every time a word with a double O was used! And let’s not forget the TV celebrity who announced the Twelfth Doctor to the world with such passion and verve. Zoe Ball herself was born on the same date in 1970.
In conclusion, we can see that Doctor Who already shares its birthday with so many illustrious personalities and significant historical events. Why should this year be any different? I could be childish and tease “One Direction, you may have got “1D Day”, but I have got “3D Day” in cinemas all over the world!” But when in doubt always ask, “What would the Doctor do?”. Would he approve of an online petition? Of course not. Peter Capaldi himself wisely said, “Doctor Who belongs to all of us.” So does November 23. Why not reach out an olive branch to One Direction? Just for one day, on November 23, let’s rename the Tardis “Time and Relative Directions in Space”! Susan Foreman would surely approve.
(L’articolo è stato tradotto in italiano da “Whoniverse. Come Along Whovians”)
23 novembre 2013: The Day of One Direction?