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It’s a great time of year for time twisting narratives…. on the Shandean origins of Doctor Who

November 23, 2015



On November 23 1963, the very first episode of Doctor Who was screened.  The two hundred and fiftieth birthday of time-distorting novelist Laurence Sterne.  Almost.  Not quite.  Actually Laurence Sterne’s birthday was November 24th.  BUT… and hear me out here… if you’re a paying tribute to temporal distortion – then being one day off Laurence Sterne’s actual birthday is a more authentic tribute to Laurence Sterne than being exactly right.   Sterne’s Tristram Shandy is all about bad timing.  Nothing about little Tristram’s conception and birth goes to plan and therefore accidentally marking the 250th anniversary a day early only highlights the debt to Sternean principles.

Is it a mere coincidence that the BBC chose this memorable anniversary to launch their new time travelling serial?   I’m afraid my mind is thoroughly addled by the cliches of bad cinema to the extent that coincidence is no longer a meaningful…

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