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Discovering Who

By Jessica Ihimaera-Smiler

I first started watching Doctor Who at the age of four or five when we lived in Australia. My mother, who used to watch the show and who still has a soft spot for the Tom Baker era, used to plonk my younger sister and myself down in front of the TV to watch it. We would always watch it - this became a habit even though we never actually realised it (my mother, having just heard this, exclaimed 'So you mean that this is my fault?').

My earliest Doctor Who memory is watching with dismay as the Doctor put Jamie's face incorrectly together in The Mind Robber. At age six we moved back to New Zealand where my sister and I continued to watch Doctor Who. It wasn't because we loved it - though we did - but more because it was tradition, it was just something that was done, like eating and sleeping. It was normal to come home and watch Doctor Who. I recall remarking to my sister (who has since lost interest in the programme and ridicules it as being juvenile), that we would have to remember that Doctor Who was shifting from Tuesdays and Wednesdays to Thursdays and Fridays.

Due to repeats, my memories of Doctor Who at a younger age are rather jumbled. I remember an old man falling out of a police box and later asking for his shoes. I remember giant maggots crawling across a field, a tall man with brown curly hair and a huge scarf running down a corridor and a blond man, playing cricket. I have vivid memories of the TARDIS interior and the twisting corridors.

My most vivid memory is of sitting on the edge of my seat (I never hid behind the sofa, it just never occurred to me), with tears pouring down my face, watching as 'the boy' twisted a cord belt between his hands, and I felt so sorry that he would never ever know if he had been right after all. My sister shot me many a disgusted glance as I cried all the way through the end credits, superimposed over a broken star badge (yes, yes, I know that no one in their right mind likes Adric, but I do and I have never claimed to be in my right mind).

Doctor Who has remained a constant in my life; it has always been there, it was the normal thing to do. It wasn't until all the hype surrounding the Silver Jubilee began that I realised how much Doctor Who had become a part of my life. That was when I became an active fan. Through a friend who was a partial fan I met Paul Rigby who had just discovered the NZDWFC - which I immediately joined.

But for me the most treasured memories of Doctor Who are coming home from school and sitting down at 5.15 to watch half an hour of the meaning of life. I barely remember the stories, only vague images.

I never thought it was weird to watch Doctor Who and enjoy it. Doctor Who is my idea of normality; the real world, now that's something to hide behind the sofa from, I mean, talk about weird...

This item appeared in TSV 31 (November 1992).

Index nodes: Discovering Who