Mcphereson Dr Who
I have heard tell there is a new job going in the BBC, that of a show called Dr Who. Apparently this thing has been running for years. How it escaped my notice is beyond me. It’s about a man in a blue box who goes around, apparently, poking his nose (and there have been several noses, if you believe that) into other peoples’ business. Aliens, apparently. The Dereks are his big foe, apparently.
Now, I have heard tell that the main role in this show, the Doctor, is up for grabs and they are looking for an older type gentleman to portray this gent. Who better?
I immediately rang Neville, my agent, and after excitedly telling him how suitable I was to be a time travelling alien, the confused Polish cleaner put me through to his mobile. Neville works strange hours. He never seems to be in the office when I want to speak to him, always away at meetings, at his Son’s barmitzvah or busy with important clients. Well, when you represent such luminaries as John Leslie or a Cheryl Baker lookalike you can expect to be pretty active.
When I finally got through I told him my plan “I would love to be Dr Who” I said. My reasons for this disclosure followed and must have seemed like incomprehensible babble to him. There was a long pause at the end and Neville said he would pull every contact, call in every favour and harangue everyone involved with the show that he could find to make it so.
Neville can truly work miracles in television. He once represented a well known television newsreader who, after a particularly poorly directed ten o’clock news went on a killing rampage in the directors’ booth. Some of the staff, particularly the cleaners had never seen such carnage. Finally apprehended and tazored to the ground while covered in intestines and bits of intern, the situation was hushed up largely due to Neville’s influence. (Rumour has it they hid the corpses on a Nick Knowles show as contestants. The perfect crime. Although you didn’t hear that from me.) As I say I don’t wish to name any party involved, but as to the newsreader she’s still there and sometimes on Radio Four too.
I sat back in my chair. Soon I would be captain of whatever starship this person drove, issuing orders while clutching some sort of torch which people pretended to die from when I pointed it at them. The ice in my weak orange cordial literally shaking.
Two minutes later he called back. His answer encapsulated all the blinkered thinking, all the prejudice and malice, all the private little club mentality of such a production I have come to expect. ‘No’. I demanded to know why.
Readers my remember my stint in Blackhammer. For those who don’t, Blackhammer was about a android who was sent back from the future to right the wrongs which had been wrongly put down at the time as being right but had, in hindsight, been wrong. Also as Gor in Gor The Revolutionary, about a group of rebels attacking what they felt was wrong with the galaxy. Gor had a dark side to him, but he was essentially a good man caught in a storm. Many TV critics felt it was ‘exceptional’ television, and a few of them went so far as to call me personally a ‘cult’. Finally I told him about Dark Waves, a series in which I played a man who didn’t exist (who did, obviously) and his adventures with an automated canoe. Solving crimes, that sort of thing.
Neville was very firm on this. ‘Tarquin, this was all years ago.” He whined in that authoritarian whiney way of his “there’s a reason why none of these series are on DVD yet DIY SOS has a boxed set”. I said it was ridiculous and the BBC should put the tapes onto DVD and ship them out to the shows fan base immediately. I was told then, that in the early eighties, with storage being short and tape being expensive they had to make decisions about what to keep. Apparently my epics were top of the list. In fact, had it not been for the tape shortage they were earmarked as central heating fuel anyway.
Shocked as I was, I persisted. I put my case. I knew the show. I knew how to say Doctor in a mysterious way. I knew and remain in full knowledge of how to open the door to a cupboard and go in in a variety of speeds. I know how to hold a small coloured torch up like it’s some sort of weapon and most importantly, I know how to be inside a small space with a woman without subsequent charges.
But I was told no. I was told they had some specific people in mind, and I was none of those people.
The line then dropped and that was that.
Oh, what joy I would have brought to the role. Mysterious, yet approachable. Fun loving yet safety aware. Clever and yet… not quite so clever. I would have brought so much to the role that other actors would have said ‘I could never have done it like Tarquin. He will not be forgotten because of this’.
I would have been up there with the best Doctors like Steve Davis and Richard Baker.
It’s their loss.