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Discovering Who

By Rochelle Thickpenny

Let us enter a world of the sub-culture: A zone, frequented by people with strange fixations of Doctors and squishy monsters...

Let us take this journey to - The Who Zone. (Some melodramatic music would be appropriate here!)

Meet one such addict, a reasonably sane person, entering this world two point one decades ago (1971). A childhood saturated with sci-fi (her Dad was an ex-movie projectionist at the local picture theatre). She was weaned on episodes of Star Trek and Gerry Anderson productions, she can even recall when she really liked Mel in Just William. Ah, what bliss. It was around that time that she randomly began watching a chap named Doctor Who.

Recollecting now, she only has vague snatches of memories here and there. The occasional Ogri stones glowing like radioactive marshmallows, the faces of the Third and Fourth Doctors blending together in a jumble; episodes intertwine. Then came the day she would never forget... The Seeds of Doom! (More music please, Maestro.)

Normally this would also have been a distant memory but for the mere fact that she watched it at her Nana's. By then Doctor Who was a must-see, and her parents, not wanting to disappoint their only daughter, let her watch it in the campervan parked in Nana's very overgrown garden. What a dilemma! Here I was, watching people being eaten by plants and minced up as compost, and there at the campervan window is bloody ivy and creeper suctioned against the glass in a confined space. Who can hide behind the sofa when it's attached to the wall? Ahhhhh!

After that life went on. Mum and Dad met Jon Pertwee in the early Seventies while on holiday at Rotorua, sightseeing at Whakarewarewa (I was there but too little to remember it, bugger it!).

Over the next ten years I never met anybody else who liked Who until one day I came across a conversation at school lunch time. The first thing I heard was, 'It's a load of crap!'

'No, it's not, it's a neat programme.'

I felt it was my duty to butt in. 'What programme?' I enquired.

'Oh, Doctor Who...' Yippee! At last I had found a kindred spirit. From then on Julia Lloydd and myself set about defending the good old Doctor (you ever notice how girls are in the minority when it comes to liking Doctor Who?). I literally fell into the fan club too. The Old Book Cellar had a nasty habit of leaving their flyers and pamphlets on the stairs for people to see. It just so happens it was the Doctor Who ones I slipped on. Well that was two years ago now, the rest is history; I joined, forced Julia to join, went fanatical - you know how it goes. Mum and Dad knew I was serious when I built a full sized TARDIS in the garden and they found there was no room on the bookshelves because of the novelisations.

Anyway I shall always cherish those memories of monsters, villains and screaming companions. Let your childhood live on!

Roll closing credits.

This item appeared in TSV 31 (November 1992).

Index nodes: Discovering Who