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Discovering Who

By Murray Jackson

Hmmm, Warwick's a lucky old sod. Being a year or so older then myself his memories are somewhat more concrete then mine. Ehren's memories are two Doctors on from mine so I guess mine fall somewhere within the middle.

My first memory of the programme is The Evil of the Daleks and the Emperor Dalek in particular. I remember lots of explosions (probably Daleks biting the dust). It must have had some effect on me because for the first of two times my parents banned me from watching Doctor Who. Obviously they felt Daleks were not a particularly good or formative influence on a four year old.

My next memory of Doctor Who is of Doctor Who and the Silurians when it first screened in 1975 and it had the same influence on me as The Tenth Planet had on Warwick. It's the end of that episode where Jon Pertwee is busy trying to come up with a plague vaccine and the Silurians suddenly 'burn' through the door and give him the evil eye. Anyway, I freaked out and ban number two was put in place.

It can't have lasted long because my parents remember me running around our lounge one evening in my dressing gown alternatively singing the Batman theme and chanting "Exterminate-Exterminate-You-Must-Be-Destroyed".

Obviously they had accepted their son was a fruitcake by now because there was no further ban and I went on merrily watching Pertwee and Tom Baker for years after.

By the time Davison first stepped on to our screens most of my friends had kicked the Who habit but I persevered - and enjoyed it.

In 1984 I met Jon Preddle and upon confessing my enjoyment of Doctor Who he recited in entirety, Episode 4 of Logopolis, having memorized the only Tom Baker episode he had on video. He also had all the Davisons up to Mawdryn Undead and being an unselfish chap allowed me to dub them for my own enjoyment.

Jon was a revelation having taken it upon himself to memorize as much pointless trivia about the programme as was possible and I listened to him out of fear that he would drive himself mad talking to himself about it.

Unfortunately Jon's enthusiasm was infectious and I was soon spending all my dosh on trinkets, books, videos, etc to satisfy my lust for all things Doctor Who.

Jon and I were both members of the Science Fiction Modellers Club and through the video library of the then club president, Mary Maclachlan, we rediscovered old classics and enjoyed many other stories/episodes for the first time.

1985 came along and so did the great repeat season. By now we were getting the latest seasons off-air from overseas and time after time justifying them with the phrase "Well, the opening model shot was good..."

A couple of years later I saw an advertisement for a new Doctor Who fanzine called TSV in the Old Book Cellar and being a curious sort I wrote away for a copy of Issue 1. And so it was that I became one of the original twenty or so subscribers and, from memory, the first competition winner. Shortly after, Jon and I met Paul Scoones who I think was taken a little aback by our enthusiasm, especially Jon's. From there things just grew and expanded with Jon taking an active role in assisting Paul while I sat back and watched, my initial enthusiasm having given way. I'm happy with that role and like dozens of other readers am grateful that the team of Paul, Flis, Chris and Jon can bring us something that's a little special every couple of months.

As for the programme, I guess I'd sum up its last few years with this comment: 'It ain't anywhere near as good as it were when I was a lad...'

This item appeared in TSV 30 (September 1992).

Index nodes: Discovering Who