Much has been written since 2005 of apparent problems with sound levels and dialogue on Doctor Who (although the show is not alone in this). Series 8 continues tonight with a much-anticipated episode called Listen, so what better time than to encourage people to make arrangements to enjoy the show properly?
Point: if you have a genuine hearing issue, this article isn’t aimed at you.
Whether it is issues following Capaldi’s ridiculously thick Scot’s accent (that was sarcasm) or general difficulty distinguishing voices from the incidental music and audio FX, we think the time has now come to attempt to address a creeping malaise that may or may not have been restarted thanks to the recent (highly dubious) article in the Guardian concerning the Twelfth Doctor’s delivery.
Let’s face facts, Peter Capaldi has been working in the industry for 30 years or more. If he couldn’t present his dialogue satisfactorily, he would have stopped working about 30 years ago.
So, what can we do? What will make the Twelfth Doctor’s delivery and following the story (it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that audio issues have played a part in the convoluted and obvious River Song and Impossible Girl mysteries being inexplicably baffling to some) much easier?
Here’s a list of things that might help you to enjoy Doctor Who tonight.
Invoke The Silence
There is no reason to speak when Doctor Who is on. Questions? Ask them later, preferably online.
Close the curtains
Doctor Who has always been better in the dark, even “comedy” episodes like Robot of Sherwood benefit from this. Cut all light from your viewing area.
Turn the volume up
This is the first of several hardware-related tips. Make sure Doctor Who is at an appreciable volume. If you’re annoyed that you have to change the volume on your TV, don’t be – it’s adjustable for a reason.
Check your audio settings
Problems hearing the TV correctly might not be down to the broadcast show, but rather the sound reproduction on your TV or home theater system. Make sure you have everything set up correctly. You may need to read the manual, check online for your TV model or generally fiddle around with the settings to get a result here.
Whether you’re watching on a computer or tablet or on your TV, if headphone use is an option, use them. The depth of sound will be a revelation, and all channels should be clear (and easier to adjust correctly if they’re not).
Switch off Twitter and Facebook
To most of us, this might be dizzyingly obvious, but to the rest of you: if you’re watching Doctor Who, then bloody well watch it instead of fannying around on your smartphone/tablet/laptop/desktop/Smart TV etc. By whinging about not being able to follow the show on your chosen social networks because you’re not paying attention doesn’t only make the rest of us look bad, it makes you look like an ill-educated moron with the attention span of a dead gnat.
(With thanks to mrjohnm and DonnaM)