Who and I

Posted on November 4, 2013

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Doctor Who 50

This month, we’re going Doctor Who crazy here on the Fiction Stroker – but just before we do, it’s important to me to set out how and why we’re going down this path..

I cant ever remember being interested in anything else, save Roland Rat, when I was younger. One of my first memories as it turned out was a Dalek unsteadily trundling to camera from 1988’s ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’. You could say I was always fated to become a Doctor Who fan.

Yet, I am one of those quirky ones who grew up without a Doctor to cling onto and protect them. I love them all equally, hopping from Colin Baker to William Hartnell without a care in the world. The Doctor burst into my life with an innocuous item on Blue Peter way back in the mists of time about a repeat season beginning that evening.

Said repeat season began with a mind-boggling clips programme fronted by a talking anorak (going full circle, I met the owner of said anorak earlier this year). It was swiftly followed by the William Hartnell story ‘The Time Meddler’. For those not in the know, it’s not a very highly regarded story, and it’s telling that my childhood memory blocked out the middle two episodes, with me only remembering Vicki and Steven’s discovery of another TARDIS.

I hadn’t twigged that the clips featuring the (then) seven faces were of the same man. When the penny dropped, a love affair that carries on to this day began. The 12 months that followed were an exciting journey meeting Sea Devils, traveling to the treacherous caves of Androzani and trying to escape the Land of Fiction before discovering the genesis of the Daleks thanks to the generosity of the BBC’s repeat run.

You can only imagine the explosion in my mind when I discovered that you could get most of the good Doctor’s adventures on video, and the floodgates opened, quelled only by the upsetting realisation that some of the Doctor’s adventures were lost forever (and again, it seems that the tears split over the loss of The Web of Fear have come back to haunt me in recent times).

Like lovers, we’ve quarreled and subsequently made up. Its been a tumultuous affair over the last 22 years, but like all true loves, it has endured. I suspect few could sympathise, or perhaps even care about the above. I’ve found that being a Doctor Who fan is an intensely personal experience irrespective of age or gender. Timeshift me a few years into the future and suddenly instead of being mocked for following a dead programme, I’d likely be quizzed on Dravhin’s and Zygons.

I’ve met some terrific people through Doctor Who. Attending conventions has allowed me to socialise with the stars of the show – something that you can rarely do as a football supporter. Without Doctor Who, I probably wouldn’t be blogging, it’s a chain of events that I can directly attribute back to that winter evening watching Blue Peter in 1991. I wouldn’t ever exchange the Doctor Who community for anything else in the world.

For some people, Doctor Who has become their source of freedom, and despite social difficulties, conventions and fan meetings, and latter day internet forums have become one big family allowing them to articulate themselves in a matter appreciated by many. For me, this is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a Doctor Who fan – we’re all on the same page and under the same roof – and something that can’t be said for much of society nowadays.

I’ve ummed and ahhed about giving over the blog exclusively to Doctor Who this particular month. There’s lots of events elsewhere in Manchester, books to be covered, theatre to be watched – but this month sees the 50th anniversary of a British institution, and we’ve chosen to mark it with a special series of reviews, interviews and features – including our Who’s Who at 50 – a countdown of the 50 most influential figures in Doctor Who’s history.

Over the month, we’ll be talking to Louise Jameson, better known as the warrior savage Leela to Tom Baker’s Doctor. There’s also a chat with Richard Marson, author of a recent biography of Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner. We’ll also be involved in Manchester’s Who at 50 Fringe, with events ranging from a promenade performance of the very first episode ‘An Unearthly Child‘ through to the Fiction Stroker hosted ‘Cobbles of Doom‘ exploring the close relationship between Coronation Street and Doctor Who.

Of course, all this leads up to the 23rd November and ‘The Day of the Doctor‘ – the highly-anticipated 50th anniversary special screening in cinemas across the country. It’s going to be an exciting month for the Doctor’s army of fans – but if Doctor Who isn’t you thing, please come back in December when we’ll be looking at 3MT’s Christmas Sorority Massacre, the Kings Arms’ Little Shop of Horrors and the Fiction Stroker’s Picks of 2013!

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Posted in: Opinion