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Doctor Who faces his most terrifying enemy yet!

Doctor Who has faced many terrifying enemies in his 42-year TV career. But on the opening night of his new season, he faced his worst enemy yet...

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If you don't know Doctor Who, think of it like Star Trek - a long-running TV sci-fi franchise with equally long-running fans numbering in their millions. Doctor Who was first shown on TV in 1963, which makes it rather longer running than Star Trek, which first aired in 1966. Oh, and where the latest Star Trek: Enterprise has been a pretty lackluster show (a sad waste of an excellent premise), the latest Doctor Who is dazzling in all respects from writing to production to acting and everything else.

Doctor Who has met a long list of enemies during his 42 year TV career, but on the opening night of the new season he truly met his match - an enemy that is feared more than anything else among sound engineers working in broadcasting (worse even than the dreaded Daleks!)...

Crosstalk.

Many of the 10 million people watching the first episode of the new series (which would be equivalent to an audience of 50 million in the US) were treated to the voice of camp comedian Graham Norton, clearly audible. Apparently his voice faded in and out several times over a period of minutes, which is a massively serious error. In fact this was human error, which is far worse than crosstalk induced by faulty or poorly designed equipment.

The contrast between a time-traveling drama and an mistakenly open mic on a ballroom dancing show must have been harsh. But that's what makes crosstalk such a problem - you don't need much of it for it to be clearly audible to everyone.

Judging from comments and complaints, this seems to have been heard mainly on the BBC's satellite digital service, although some analog viewers have said they heard it too.

So as well as the Daleks and every other alien enemy the Doctor must face in the new series, he has crosstalk and Graham Norton to deal with.

Fortunately actress Billie Piper who plays the Doctor's companion Rose Tyler has experience with weird looking and oddly behaving aliens.

Her ex-husband.

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By David Mellor Tuesday March 29, 2005
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