Saturday, May 13, 2006

Doctor Who and the Tape Recorder

A quick check around the net shows that I'm far from the only one who noticed the anachronistic use of a tape recorder by WW2 British troops on last night's episode. 'Course, the fans over in England had already seen the episode a while back so they've had time to discuss it. I probably wouldn't have paid much attention to something like this in the old Doctor shows, which didn't have the production quality of these new episodes. I guess I expect more!

The tape recorder, as we know it now, was pretty much developed by the Germans during the war and was part of the technology 'liberated' by the Allies. The British soldiers could have used a wire recorder, one of the ancestors of the tape machine, but I guess the producers couldn't find one or didn't know about the mistake or maybe just didn't care.

But, oddly, I do care. Science Fiction has to be accurate in the details if one expects the viewer (or reader) to accept the rest of the story. It needs a foundation of realism on which to construct its fantasies.

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