James sent me an email the other day remembering "Saturday morning cartoons." If you're old enough to remember a time when cartoons weren't available 24x7 via YouTube, or on dedicated channels, or saved by the hundreds on PVRs, you might also remember something else.
Last week I saw a classic episode of Doctor Who with my favourite Doctor. As I watched it I reflected on how impossible it seemed now, as an adult looking back, perhaps as a person on this side of the advances in special effects, to be as terrified as I was by Doctor Who. Let's pause for a moment and get you in the right frame of mind; here's the intro:
At the time I first heard this, I'd experienced nothing like it. It was otherworldly. It still is. The show itself was incredibly hard to resist. I was terrified by much of it, yet strangely drawn to it at the same time. Doing some reading I see that I wasn't alone watching from "behind the sofa:"
It has been said that watching Doctor Who from a position of safety "behind the sofa" (as the Doctor Who exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image in London was titled) and peering cautiously out to see if the frightening part was over is one of the great shared experiences of British childhood. The phrase has become commonly used in association with the programme and occasionally elsewhere. [Wikipedia entry for Doctor Who]
I won't say that Doctor Who was the most important show of my youth, or that I am a cult fan. But I will say that no other experience of television as a child remains with me so vividly. I can only remember, and not experience again.