“No talking at the back!”
Ah, school days, eh? Whether the memory of your time in the education system fills you with a warm nostalgic glow or makes you break out in a feverish sweat, we all remember those days of horrendous uniforms, inedible dinners and teachers chucking chalk at you when you weren’t listening (okay, it was a while since I was at school, I admit…).
But a lucky group of fans have recently re-entered the world of life-enhancing learning with the first ever (probably) college course based on Doctor Who! Michael Herbert is the man in charge for the eleven-week programme at Stockport’s Aquinas College, where the syllabus includes watching classic episodes and discussing how the show was made. And best of all, you don’t even have to write any essays…
“It’s not too academic, it’s more a gentle study really,” says Michael, who is clearly my kind of teacher. “There’s no exams, there’s no certificate, it’s a course to follow for pleasure to help people learn more about it.”
Not that there’s any time for slacking, mind you. There are twelve Doctors to get through in eleven weeks, which means Colin Baker and Paul McGann get ‘slightly less attention’. Hmmm, sounds like there won’t be time to get into the Big Finish audios, everyone…
Things have already got underway in Stockport, with a modest-but-promising turnout of four students for the first week (think of it as a solid base to build on, Michael) although it sounds like there’s a couple of smarty-pants among them:
“It went well, they all knew a lot. Some of them knew about as much as me, but that’s OK, I was able to look into it in perhaps more depth. I was hoping perhaps people who didn’t know that much would come along – new-Whoers – but that’s OK. There was one young man who started watching with Matt Smith. Everyone has done their homework already, they all know the episodes inside out.”
Michael is clearly a man who knows his stuff when it comes to Doctor Who, having written the intriguing-sounding Doctor Who and the Communist pamphlet on classic series writer Malcolm Hulke and was good enough to chat to our podKasters recently. He’s hoping a bit of media attention will prompt more students to come on board for week two (the Patrick Troughton years, presumably?) so if you’re in the area get yourself along!