DWM 476 Know the Score

The World Cup starts today! My today that is, not yours. Is it over yet where you are? Did England – sorry, Engerland – win? Husband has drawn Switzerland – sorry, Switzererland – in the office sweepstakes, did he perhaps win enough to keep us in Big Finish audios for a month or two? How I envy you future people your knowledge. And while I’m not one to wish my life away, I do also envy you just a smidgeon for being that bit closer to seeing Peter Capaldi on your TV sets. It’s ages away for me.

Luckily for them, husband and Fan Twin have contracted serious World Cup fever which will occupy them happily between my now and your now (that sounds very TOMTIT, doesn’t it? Hold on a minute while I construct a device out of a wine bottle, a cork and some forks to sort it all out. Well, actually I’ll have to use a Ribena bottle. And some plasticine. I do have the forks, though). Non-Fan Twin isn’t as football crazy as his father and brother, but is still interested, especially when it turns out that watching a match means he gets to stay up past his bedtime.

It’s a provable myth that fans don’t like football. In an incredibly scientific study, I asked my fan friends on Facebook their feelings on the game. I learned a number of things – one of which is don’t ask your friends what they think about football if you want a quiet Sunday, HUGE can of worms opened there (albeit extremely fascinating worms) – but for that small sample, pretty much a quarter love the game, a quarter loathe it, a quarter quite enjoy it and a quarter are supremely indifferent. Not too dissimilar to the world at large, I suspect.

It’s also a myth that women don’t like football. Unfortunately, however, I embody the fabricated cliché of both a fan who has no interest in football and a woman who has no interest in football. That I was destined to be the odd one out in our family was shown back in summer 2006 when on our way home from hospital after the scan that had revealed we were expecting two boys, husband stopped off to buy a world cup ball so they could one day have a kickabout in the garden. Yes, we laid in a supply of Doctor Who goods pre-birth as well, but the football die had been cast.

Current conversation is full of history and statistics and predicted results while Fan Twin fills up his World Cup sticker album (sudden thought: are Doctor Who fans the only people who don’t associate the company ‘Panini’ solely with sticker albums?) and Three Lions is played on what seems like an endless loop. I have been ‘persuaded’ to join in their fantasy football league, and will be interested to see if husband and Fan Twin’s tactic of minutely examining player statistics while selecting their teams has any chance of winning out over my tactic of picking players whose names I liked. I do try to pay attention so I know what they’re talking about, but it just doesn’t sink in. (Is this what it’s like for Doctor Who fans who are married to non-Doctor Who fans, I’ve been wondering? Is this what it was like for my parents, as I passed on fascinating facts gleaned from Doctor Who Monthly or my hundredth consecutive library loan of The Making of Doctor Who? Oh dear.) My favourite thing about the last World Cup – in fact, the only thing I can remember about the last World Cup – was whenever the commentators mentioned Mexico’s captain Márquez, because it sounds a lot like Mark Ayres, which I found amusing.

So for about three-quarters of fans, there is no great telly event to distract us from the waiting-for-Capaldi thing. Being the sort of person who likes facts and figures (actually, all of us like facts and figures, don’t we? It’s a fan thing) I can tell you that we had to wait 190 days from the Ninth Doctor regenerating before we got the first full Tenth Doctor story (but at least we had that Children in Need bit to tide us over – which I watched about 700 times, not just because I am a mad fan, but because I was writing a book featuring the Tenth Doctor at the time and it was the only on-screen reference material I had). There were a mere 92 days between ‘I don’t want to go’ and ‘Could I have an apple?’ But no Capaldi until August means that the wait will consist of between 219 and 248 days (assuming a Saturday broadcast). Compare this to the lucky folk of 1984 who only had to wait six days between a regeneration and the new Doctor’s first adventure (although considering the story they were being given was The Twin Dilemma, ‘lucky’ might not be the most apposite epithet). Actually, discounting times when the series just wasn’t being made, the longest wait to see a new Doctor in action was the 289 days between the Fourth Doctor falling off a radio telescope and the Fifth Doctor stumbling towards the TARDIS, a transition husband and I are even now preparing ourselves for as our Who watch reaches Season 18. Sixth to Seventh Doctor had a wait almost as long, with 275 days (and no one even knowing who the next Doctor would be). So we’re in the middle of the third longest wait.

But in the end, all those waits were worth it. So I’ll grit my teeth and wait this one out too. Because it’s definitely gonna be worth it. Oh yes. Now, where did I put my vuvezela?