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Discovering Who

By Edwin Patterson

Memories. I admit some of the older fans may find these a bit easy to recall but obviously for the younger generations of fans we seriously cannot recollect any long lost black & white classics, thus for my generation the first identifying Doctor was definitely in colour (for me it was Tom Baker).

It all started after I was born (an obvious statement but you have to start somewhere!). I must admit being born into the generation of the television addict. I was doomed from the start! My father was somewhat an avid SF fan then, thus as far as he remembers we (myself and my twin brother Darrell) watching this show and others. Sitting upon his knee we watched the TV, cringing from giant rats and robots which would truly terrify the mind of a child of that age. It was here that I was introduced to the intriguing world of Doctor Who - born into the Tom Baker era (maybe a little Pertwee, though I cannot recall any) and hence making him THE Doctor for me; scarf and all.

My earliest recollection of the show is of the (Fourth) Doctor running through a darkened forest. By consulting my trusty Doctor Who Listener Vol.2, I can now pin-point this to be the first NZ screening of The Face Of Evil. Inevitably this led to my regular watching of the show through to the Davison era (now my favourite Doctor) until when it abruptly dematerialized from our screens [in 1983].

Tom Baker thus became my hero. With his floppy hat and scarf he reminded me of a certain Womble called Orinoco (or Doctor Who Womble to those of us who knew his secret identity!). My dear teddy bear was dressed as the Doctor for a time and journeyed with me to watch the show every week.

Admittedly the first story I can recall having seen in its entirety from its first run is Logopolis in which, to my horror, the Doctor died. My father called it regeneration and to my surprise the Doctor was replaced by a stranger who claimed to be the Doctor. Ha! No fooling me - you've killed the Doctor, and I resented him for this.

To top it all off, in the following story this imposter had the gall to wreck the Doctor's scarf and costume which made me really hate him (as they were the Doctor's trademarks). My teddy bear even hated this!

Strangely enough the new Doctor got better, and to this date I rate his portrayal as being one of the best of the seven Doctors.

Doctor Who books were my second revelation to the show. The first book I ever bought was The Ark in Space, for 20 cents at a school fair. One slight problem - I could not read it properly (reading was not a favourite hobby then) but this was rectified by my trusty father who eventually read to us at least 20 Doctor Who books at bedtime.

However none of this really got me into true Doctor Who fandom. I was a passive fan, a regular watcher of the show. Fandom really came to me and Darrell when we went to intermediate school. There I met Gerald Joblin who happened to be a Doctor Who fan too. With Gerald as a friend we embarked upon sharing ideas and knowledge then. This lead directly to the Target Book Challenge and our attempts to out do each other in collecting those trusty Doctor Who books, which incidentally we have all of now.

With the meeting of Toby Scoones (yes, that's right folks, Paul Scoones' younger brother!) fandom was reinforced. Toby had invited a few friends over to his house to watch Doctor Who videos and there in the flesh was one Paul Scoones who had recently embarked on a little magazine called The Time/Space Visualiser. He had the biggest collection of Doctor Who merchandise I had ever seen then. We purchased the six issues of the original zine that were available.

From then I've never looked back, though I never really became totally involved in the show to go fanatical - well, that's another story...

This item appeared in TSV 30 (September 1992).

Index nodes: Discovering Who