Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

It's hard to believe, but the BBC have just managed to broadcast a Doctor Who sketch that is even worse than all of the others.

Yes, even worse than that Sarah Jane Comic Relief 'special' a few years back. And The Curse Of The Fatal Death. Tonight's The Night? Shakespeare.

Now, admittedly, a lot of this one is lost on me because I've barely heard of One Born Every Minute, and I've only ever seen Call The Midwife and/or Miranda Hart in another pseudo-Doctor Who crossover recently (which I suppose this must be set immediately before), and so I guess I'm just not the right sort of audience member to 'get' any of this.

But then, it is a sketch about childbirth. As I've noted time and again on this blog, babies are almost never funny on TV. (consider their ubiquity in no end of awful movie sequels) And yet, if there is one subject with an even weaker success rate in raising laughs, then it would have to be the sitcom pregnancy. Again, I guess I'm just not the right sort of audience member to 'get' any of this.

Combine that with just how puerile the level of gags in this sketch is, and this is just awful, man, awful. When the eleventh Doctor shows up at the end, thanks to an extensive cutaway, even he has to deliver jokes about his having sex with a nun, complete with Flashheart-esque pelvic thrust.

Am I being a prude? Well, is he a character who appeals to children? Is he a role model? Was this really broadcast before 8pm?

The most positive angle that I can find in here is that the Doctor's pre-Snowman incidental music is, just for once, quiet enough that we can hear his dialogue clearly. What a shame that this was the one time when it might have been better for the show if we couldn't.

But wait, oh no, there's even more. The sketch over, the Doctor appears in person to josh with live presenters Claudia Winkleman (who he calls "Winkle Woman") and Dermot O'Leary.

Now on the one hand it's nice that the Doctor and Dermot seem to remember each other from their mini-adventure just before the 16th National Television Awards in 2011. On that occasion I wrote of my relief that Dermot had at last stopped looking down his nose at all things sci-fi and embraced the genre. But no, here he belittles his co-presenter for being interested in trivia from an old episode of the show, and he's right back down to insulting his own viewers again. Mr O'Leary, you are supposed to encourage your viewers to like watching the programmes that you are announcing. (yes even when they are as unlikable as this one, a challenge I grant you)

Raising money for charity? Are they asking us to ring up and donate some jokes?

All in all, a perfectly dreadful way for the show's fiftieth anniversary year to get started.

However to close on a positive note, I sincerely hope that it really can only get better.

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