Steven Moffat's tenure with BBC's intrepid regenerating Time Lord is coming to a close, and he's making a very bold assertion as to the Doctor's quality and cultural impact. He's saying it's better than The Wire, people.
After a screening of the Doctor Who Christmas special, Moffat offered a speech - reported by The Radio Times - where he opined about the franchise's impact on humanity:
"It's worth saying, because I don't think it's ever said enough… the reason Doctor Who is as successful - I mean humanly successful - for so long in such an enduring way - and I'm just gonna say it because I don't ever say it, but now I'm leaving I'll say it - it is actually the greatest television show ever made...
"There are people who became writers because of Doctor Who. Loads of them.
"There are people who became artists because of Doctor Who.
"There are people who became actors because of Doctor Who. Two of them have played the Doctor.
"There are people, believe it or not, who become scientists because of Doctor Who. That seems improbable given we said the moon was an egg, you'd think they'd have a problem with it."
Moffat's biased, of course, given that he's been chief architect of the Doctor's adventures for a while. But his remarks are compelling because they distill what a ripple effect a science fiction show such as Doctor Who can have on the real world. Of course, having the most impact on people's lives doesn't necessarily correlate with level of artistry - Who had not one but two episodes about farting aliens secretly running the UK - but being on the air for most of the last 50 years means the show has certainly had a lot of impact.