I think the question of what everyWho~fan is getting for Christmas this year has already been answered.... Hello, Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control!
Yup, those clever, clever people at The Wand Company have produced a bit of merch that is so blummin' smart and beautiful that people are gonna become Doctor Who fans just to get their mitts on this delicious piece of essential Who~phemera. Even before you start using the sonic remote for its intended use (switching the telly on to watch Doctor Who, setting the Sky box to record Doctor Who, pausing Doctor Who to see if that really was her in the last episode, and then switching to your DVD player to watch last season of Doctor Who, or turn on your iPod dock to listen to the latest amazing Murray Gold Doctor Who soundtrack), you can't help but play with it.
It's so weighty and feels just right; just exactly as you imagine it would. I'm sure, like me, you'll spend an hour mucking around sonicing everything from cups of tea to your signicant other before you even begin to start pointing it machinery and such. The sonic is quite the work of art and its gorgeously realised here, complete with presentation case (yeah, like it's gonna stay in there for long!) and sounds (more of this later).
You also get a rather cute and superbly designed instruction pamphlet (pictured left), it's stylish in the extreme featuring numerous in~gags from the show. Which brings me to an important point - instructions. They are a necessity. This is no simple Earthbound remote control, this is for proper Time Lords, and even Time Lords have to read the instructions! You can't just delve in and start waving the sonic around hoping to start up your recording of Asylum of the Daleks or kick off the Series 6 Bluray - you have to read the instructions.
Because the Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control relies on movement and tapping, it's crucial to get to grips with how it works - and that's no bad thing. Doesn't take long to understand its workings, and when you do, BOOM! You're in.
You're The Doctor. And within seconds you're switching from one entertainment unit to another, all at the artistic flourish of your wrist. You become the Gallifreyan conductor of your media orchestra. All day, every day.
As you can see, this is not a toy (no matter how much you want to play with it). So the kids might have to be a bit patient as the 'dults have their fun trying to figure how he gadget works. Thankfully, there's a practise mode which lets you get to grips with the sonic remote, with handy spoken prompts. It's a bit like magic really, your gestures for each function (turning on devices, rewinding, volume control, etc...) are recorded (with dozens available) for future use, and you can change them at any time.
Adding to the fun are the lights and sounds (with thirteen Doctor Who FX included to enjoy). The noises are fun but can soon become tiresome within the day~to~day business of simply changing channels. Again, though, the makers of this must~have gadget are all too aware of this possible drawback and have given you the choice of "Quiet Mode". Thoughtful guys, very thoughtful. There's a also a secret lock on there, just in case you want to keep the sonic all to yourself (if you share a flat with irksome Merlin fans, for example).
For any Who fan the Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control is the ultimate gift - a sonic that can actually do something useful. The unadulterated joy and hours of unabandoned pleasure this little beauty will bring is immeasurable. As I said, it's not a toy, but a tool; a tool that will light up your entertainment area no end with movement and imagination.
Best of all, you can pretend you're The Doctor taking a day off and catching up on his favourite box sets, recorded shows and music. And that's a gift in itself.