As if by some quirk in the space-time continuum, embarrassing special effects and wobbly sets have done nothing to diminish Doctor Who's position as an iconic television institution in the UK, writes Alison Utley.
This and other mind-boggling issues relating to the TV Time Lord were being discussed by academics attending a Doctor Who conference at Manchester University this week.
David Butler, conference organiser and a drama lecturer at Manchester, could hardly believe his luck when, in the middle of writing a book about Doctor Who and planning the conference, the BBC announced a new series of the science-fiction drama to start in autumn next year.
Dr Butler said: "Although some people are inclined to be sniffy, his cultural significance is yet to be fully defined.
" Doctor Who has an incredibly wide appeal. It is one of the few genuinely innovative dramas and the fact that it is coming back next year underlines its appeal as a peculiarly British institution that appeals equally to children and adults.". Photograph by HULTON ARCHIVE