Dr Who's scariest enemy, the Daleks, will be back to terrorise a new generation of children following the settlement of a legal dispute that had threatened to exterminate the mechanised monsters.So that miserable waste of ink and celluloid, the Sun, finally justifies its existence. Millions of Trees have not died (or been dyed) in vain after all! And to translate the Brit phrases for Aussie readers, make that 'Pies without Sauce, Pubs without Beer'. And for those living in the US, 'Baseball without Hot Dogs, Abbot without Costello'.
Last month the BBC, which is about to start filming a new Dr Who series with Christopher Eccleston in the time-lord title role, announced it would be unable to use the Daleks after negotiations broke down with the estate of their creator Terry Nation.
Representatives of the science-fiction writer, who died in 1997, accused the BBC of ruining the Daleks brand. The BBC said Nation's estate was demanding an unreasonable level of editorial control.
The dispute threatened to blight the second childhoods of millions whose first childhoods were spent watching in delighted horror from behind sofas as the Daleks chased various incarnations of Dr Who around the galaxy.
"Dr Who without the Daleks would be like Morecambe without Wise or Wimbledon without strawberries," declared Antony Wainer of the Dr Who Appreciation Society.
Predictably, it was London tabloid the Sun that last month took the campaign to save the Daleks the furthest: to the streets of Manhattan, where harried New Yorkers were clearly bemused at being accosted by the inter-galactic baddies, spraying gas from their stun guns and chanting: "Ex-ter-min-ate."
Yesterday, BBC drama series chief Mal Young announced the dispute had been resolved and the new 13-part series would include Daleks.
As for the Unintended consequences? :
But this time the Doctor had better beware. Back in the old days the Daleks' reliance on wheels meant that all he had to do to evade them was to run up some steps.
Improved wheelchair access in most buildings has put paid to that and will mean his arch-enemies are a lot more mobile.