TV One of my favourite stories about the public reaction to Doctor Who concerns the ending of The Daemons. So if you haven’t seen it, look away now.
As those of you who’re left will know, the story climaxes with the destruction of a church, and apparently what looks to contemporary eyes like a pretty obvious model was good enough to fool some viewers into phoning the BBC’s switchboard to complain about the demolition of what must have been in their opinion a much loved heritage object.
For these viewers at least, the BBC had destroyed the real St Michael's of Aldbourne for the sake of sci-fi drama.
What I love is that it disproves the lie that in those days, viewers were making just as many allowances for the less than convincing special effects as we do now.
While that’s probably the case, and it has to be in relation to something like the Myrka, this demonstrates that while kids were readily able to suspend their disbelief, some adults could too.
Now, I suspect, audiences are more savvy. If we see buildings being destroyed on television and in film, we always assume they’re not real, that a computer has to be involved when weirdly they’re also likely to be more photo-realistic.
Do we still suspend our disbelief in the same way?
I think because we don’t know what’s real any more, we just assume none of it is and having accepted that just to allow ourselves to be swept up on the drama. Still.