OUT TO LUNCH: Toby Hadoke
Anne-Marie Marquess discovers what happens when moths eat your Dr Who scarf
Comedian, actor and writer Toby Hadoke travels back in time - Dr Who style - to tell us how the timelord has helped him through good times and bad. The lights are dim. The Dr Who theme tune fills the air. A tune which makes Hadoke's hair stand on end and his heart do a little dance.
The stage consists of a coat stand, a sofa and a coffee table. No scarf. Hodoke is from Shropshire, where he says the only females around are either blood relatives or bovine. He's thankful that Dr Who was there to provide distraction and stories, no matter what mood he was in.
Hadoke is s a man who knows the name of every actor in Dr Who. And also the names of the people inside the Daleks. He’s sorry if, in a Santa Claus kind of way, he’s spoiled that for some children. But Daleks do contain humans.
The Doc-tor, he says. What a good name. It just wouldn’t sound the same saying “Alan - you shall be destroyed”. Living in the wilds of Shropshire, a child with an absent father, his formative years were spent in a 1980s sci-fi heaven. We thought we knew so much, he says, mullets were cool, Ferrero Rocher was a classy chocolate, and we were surprised to learn that Freddie Mercury was gay.
Hadoke even understands the connection between Ferrero Rocher and Dr Who. It's not, as you might think, that doctors ate them. That was jelly babies. But! An Ambassador of Death in Dr Who ends up at an Ambassador's Reception for Ferrero Rocher.
Hadoke was sent off to boarding school, courtesy of a charity helping his mum, a single mother of 4. An outsider, the only poor kid in the midst of the posh kids, things weren’t good. They liked Star Wars, he liked Dr Who. Let the battles commence.
He didn’t fit in, but what kept him going was the thought of seeing Dr Who on a Saturday night, when he went home on the weekends. Until they changed it to weeknights. He wasn’t happy, but his mum relented and sent him to a local comprehensive. He didn't fit here, as the 3 years at boarding school had give him a posh accent. And nobody liked Dr Who. It was cheap, and dated. They favoured Star Trek.
As Tiffany's 'I Think We’re Alone Now' plays, Hadoke takes a seat on the sofa and reads from his Dr Who diary. “Patrick Troughton my favourite doctor died today. When my mum got home, I told her, and then I burst into tears. Mum didn’t understand.” We’ve all had a favourite Dr Who. Mine was Tom Baker, the man with the wavy hair, the ridiculously long scarf and the jelly babies. And no it’s not nice when they die, and then morph into someone else.
Hadoke tells of his lack of luck with pretty girls, being an outsider, and a victim of bullying. Dale Pike is the bully he remembers. He should have learned form Dr Who that Bad Guys have hard names. He wonders why bullies prove themselves by picking on the wimpiest or nerdiest guys at school, or the loners. If they really want to prove their masculinity why don’t they go and pick a fight in the Bronx. Dale Pike’s name, though, is an anagram of Dalek Pie, so in the world of Dr Who he probably wouldn’t have had much lasting power.
Dr Who also helped Hadoke's education. He came top in an essay about the Trojan War. Was he a swot? No way. It was the episode of Dr Who entitled 'Mythmakers' that did it, about a Trojan Horse. Why wasn’t that episode called “Is there a Dr in the horse?” he wonders.
David Tennant’s the new Dr Who, the series is cool again, Hadoke's son watches Dr Who with him and his wife buys him a new Dr Who scarf. Things are looking good. He puts on his coat and his hat and shows us the new scarf that was behind the sofa. Dr Who is back, but Hadoke never forgot him.