Doctor Who: I Remember...
50 Years of Doctor Who
By Ian D. McArdell
Ten years on from the 40th and being a Doctor Who fan is like living in another world.
I guess the first, most important thing is the joyful fact that we have actually series being made! Ten years ago, I knew it was returning but barely dared hope it might be popular enough to run for a few years. Yet from Eccleston, thought Tennant to Smith, the show goes on to dominate television schedules in a rapidly changing broadcast environment. From iPlayer viewing to iTunes exclusives, TARDISodes to Red Button exclusives, they keep finding new ways to give us more of the Doctor.
On a personal note, being a fan has changed profoundly for me as I am now a parent of a fan too. My eldest resisted the charms of David Tennant but is a confirmed Matt Smith fan, and will probably suffer a very sad Christmas as a result this year. She is the one who receives a Doctor Who annual each year (thanks Adam) and is the proud owner of a Sonic Screwdriver. One of our proudest moments together so far has been seeing our joint review of ‘The Lodger’ published in this years ‘You and Who 2’.
It transpires that she is a 4th generation fan – my late Grandpop was a Doctor Who man, enough that without any of my doing, mention of his favourite Doctor worked its way into the eulogy at his funeral a couple of years back. (An endorsement for Tom Baker, with nodding approval for Tennant too!).
The success of the show still sometimes takes me aback, Ten years ago, you would odd looks for reading a Doctor Who book on the train, these days you find it is the spark for a conversation. The array of merchandise is bewildering sometimes too. I grew up with a TARDIS pencil case and a 2nd hand Denis Fisher Tom Baker doll, plus that infamous pair of Doctor Who and the Daleks underpants (who ever did win them at that auction, I wonder). This Christmas you cannot move for Sonics, t-shirts, jigsaws and DVD board games. It is thrilling and almost impossible to keep up with, let alone collect.
Then there are the missing episodes. If you had tried to convince me ten years ago that a couple of stray episodes, say one from ‘The Underwater Menace’ and another from ‘Galaxy 4’ might come to light I’d have called you an optimist. If you had told be I would be waiting on the postie to bring me a copy of ‘The Enemy of the World’ and that ‘The Web of Fear’ would be out next year… well, let’s not go there! It is so thrilling to have these stories back and what do you know… received fan wisdom was all wrong! Web is fun but Enemy is brilliant! Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that some of those other rumours come true too.
Of course, the best thing about this 50th anniversary is not the delicious prospect of a multi-Doctor, 3D global Cinematic global-mega cast, but that the future of the show seems so encouraging. Before the year is done, we will bid goodbye to Matt Smith, who is clearly young enough to pop back for further stint as the 15th Doctor too, but welcome the tremendous prospect of Peter Capelin. A charismatic actor with a wind track record and, what do you know, he is a ruddy great fan boy to boot.
Here’s to the next 10 guys… we truly never had it so good!