The Spectator

A Doctor of Culture

A Doctor of Culture
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Further to my post on John Simm, it seems to me that Doctor Who, once the home of Daleks and wobbly cardboard scenery, is now becoming the nation’s cultural showcase of all the talents. The news that Kylie is to feature in the Christmas special could be dismissed as a one-off gimmick to drive up ratings at the most competitive time of year. But the recruitment of the preternaturally wonderful Catherine Tate to the show as a full-time assistant to the last surviving Time Lord – well, that is something else entirely. I was amongst those who thought that Tony Blair’s sketch for Comic Relief with the comedienne in her guise as schoolgirl Lauren (“Am I bovvered, though?”) reflected well on both of them. Her sketch show has been one of the gems of recent British comedy, completing the resurrection of a genre that we all thought had died with Dick Emery and Benny Hill, but came back with a vengeance in The Fast Show and has blossomed in her hands, and those of Messrs Lucas and Walliams. More to the point, she is self-evidently an amazing actress, as her turn in last year’s Doctor Who special showed to full effect. She will bring depth and subtlety to the programme, as well as humour. What next, I wonder?