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Discovering Who

Reflections of a Doctor Who Fan

By Nigel Windsor

I enjoyed growing up with Doctor Who. My very first memories of the show were as a child watching The Sontaran Experiment and Genesis of the Daleks. Even to this day, those two shows rate as two of my favourites. I remember being terrified by Michael Wisher's performance as Davros, aided by Dudley Simpson's chilling incidental music.

As I grew up in Manchester, England, the show was transmitted on Saturday tea times, and after spending the day out with my mum and dad they always tried to get me home in time to watch my favourite TV show. There were no home video recorders in the Seventies! As I recall, the show was usually transmitted in the summer and I used to close all the curtains in the house and have a cushion ready on my lap, which I could hide behind should anything really scary appear on the screen!

As Christmas came around, so did the obligatory Annual, Doctor Who bubble bath, etc, which appeared in my Christmas stocking. Target novels began disappearing from the shelves of libraries where I used to live. Surely I wasn't the only person reading them? Any spare pocket money was spent on merchandising associated with the show. I still have it all packed away in a trunk beneath the house.

When the Peter Davison era came along I was old enough to fully appreciate the show - and the home video recorder was available. However, no matter how carefully I labelled my Doctor Who videos, my parents were always able to record Coronation Street or sport over them. Needless to say I soon discovered that each cassette had a safety tab to prevent accidental erasure.

In my late teens I discovered fandom; suddenly, socialising with friends became more important than anything else. I met a fan who had a video camera and was also a professional actor, and I had just finished two years at Film and Television school. So with his acting background and my skills as a cameraman we embarked on remaking The Sontaran Experiment over three weekends on the exposed Lancashire hills, with a few 'minor' script changes! Namely we used Cyberman costumes instead of Sontaran costumes because those were the only ones we had, so we ended up calling it The Experiment. With the success of the first video behind us, we decided to complete an original story; Spectre from the Past, which featured the Second Doctor.

This item appeared in TSV 28 (April 1992).

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