Doctor Who - Documentary s09e07 Episode Script

The Cheating Memory

DALEK: Enter and destroy! When Steve Broster, the producer of the Day of the Daleks: Special Edition, uh, that's me, by the way Oh, and there I am.
And yes, that's a Dalek I'm standing next to.
Where was I? Uh, when I was preparing the material for this DVD, I began to ponder on the nature of memory.
The version of "Day of the Daleks" I saw in 1972, age six, was simply the best TVprogramme I'd ever seen.
And it remained the best TVprogramme I'd ever seen right up until the moment I saw it again, age 19.
Oh, and there I am, age 19.
And yes, that's Patrick Troughton I'm standing next to.
So, why the difference between the amazing version of "Day of the Daleks" I saw aged six and the frankly rather average version I watched again 13 years later? I'm confident they didn't make two versions just to confuse me.
To get to the bottom of this, I spoke to memory expert Sarita Robinson.
Memory is not just a video recording of everything that happens to us, it's not just simply we see things and we remember them.
It's a more creative process than that.
So, with perception that's basically, strictly speaking, just about taking the information that's around us and making a recording.
With memory, what you're doing is you're taking that information, processing it, keeping the bits that are actually important and storing those.
So you can sort of think of memory as the edited highlights of life.
We don't tend to remember things that are maybe more mundane.
DALEK: Enter and destroy! One of the things that you have with children is something called infantile amnesia.
So, children around the age of five and six tend to forget everything that's sort of happened beforehand.
So, if I asked you whether you remembered something from being three, you're probably really unlikely to remember it.
You might have sort of fragmented snapshots but those memories are somehow lost and we don't We're starting to understand the processes of why they're lost, but we don't fully understand why.
And so memories sort of change and develop as we get older, so from about the age of eight, we have more concrete memories for things that have actually happened to us.
BROSTER: So, that's memory.
And that seems fair.
But why did Doctor Who seem so much more exciting when I was six? Oh, and there I am, aged six.
And yes, that's my little brother sitting next to me.
One of the reasons that we think memory changes is that children don't have very many memory strategies when they're young.
So they don't see the importance of actively repeating information to sort of encode it.
I mean, a lot of memory is effortless.
You can just watch something and recall it all.
But a lot of us now, you know, if we're given a phone number, we know that we have to say it in our heads a few times or we make a note of it.
Children don't tend to do that.
Another thing that can affect it is the way that we just generally mentally develop as we get older.
Children of around the ages of eight or nine are what we call in the concrete operational stage, if we take a sort of Piagetian point of view.
And at this age, things are very concrete.
They like real-world examples.
Sort of more abstract concepts, such as the time-travelling to change the future by going back into the past, is a concept that would perhaps be beyond a seven-year-old to grasp.
But as we get older, we're able to take on board that information, process it and therefore we can store it.
A younger child might just be more interested in the Daleks coming to get them or, you know, a firefight going on.
They're not particularly interested in the subtleties of the story.
One of the things that's important to remember is that today we have the information at our fingertips.
When we watch things like Doctor Who on TV, we know that we can either watch it again on the iPlayer or we can go on the websites, download commentaries or maybe read the novelisations, access the Doctor Who Magazine.
All these things are available.
In the past, there wasn't quite so much stuff around, there wasn't so many avenues that we could go down to get additional information.
So, when you saw something, you saw it that once, and that was it perhaps for the next 10 years, you weren't going to see that episode of Doctor Who again.
You would be reliant on your friends to refresh your memories.
Or perhaps if you were lucky enough to get a Doctor Who novelisation, and sometimes the novelisations were very different.
And that can lead to what we call blended memories.
And blended memories are where you have different sources.
And perhaps you're not, what we say, source-monitoring enough.
So you're not remembering where that information has come from regarding that topic and so these This can lead to interference and the memories sort of blend together.
I remember watching the Peter Cushing movie the Dalek one where there's a Dalek that sort of appears out of the water and I remember as a young kid watching it on Saturday morning telly thinking, "This is fantastic!" And thinking that this was just the best thing since sliced bread, with big flying spaceships and stuff.
And it was on TV a couple of months ago and I watched it again with my kids and I was really disappointed that there's only actually one Dalek.
There are three stories like that for me in Doctor Who, "The Silurians", "Death to the Daleks" and "Revenge of the Cybermen", which, you know, a lot of people think are really not that good.
"The Green Death", where the maggots were just so much more scary when I was eight than they are now.
(LAUGHING) It's just like they were just terrifying, I used to remember them (SCREAMING) It's like, you know, and now, "Oh, really bad CSO.
"That's really, really bad CSO.
" I sometimes just try to make myself watch them and think, "Okay, let's just I'll try and be like everyone else "and think this is rubbish.
" I can't.
Because I immediately That beckoning hand from childhood, from Doctor Who to the child, saying, "Look, this is interesting.
This is scary.
" It's still I still see the ghost of it, you know? And I still get dragged in.
DR ROBINSON: "Day of the Daleks", as I remembered it, at the end when Styles's house is being attacked, I remember there being hundreds of Daleks and masses of Ogrons and huge explosions.
And when you come and watch it again, I think there's only three Daleks and a couple of people running around pretending to be Ogrons.
So, I think that did take me by surprise.
Also, when the Doctor's on his quad bike, I remember that as being, you know, fantastic.
And now, when you look at it again, you think, "Oh, dear.
" What we have noticed is that if people are given certain triggers, you can reawaken memories.
So, I think for Doctor Who, watching "Day of the Daleks" again, I remember watching the first sort of couple of minutes and suddenly getting a flood of not only the memories associated with the movie, but where I'd seen it first, who I'd watched the episode with, who was there, how You know, I think I watched it at the Preston Doctor Who Group with two of my closest friends from my teenage years, and you know, what we did at that time It didn't just remind me of the programme, but of everything associated with Doctor Who and that period of my life.