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Discovering Who

By Ken Tod

My earliest memory of Doctor Who is The Celestial Toymaker when Steven and Dodo are confronted by a room filled with police boxes - which one is the TARDIS? Being four years old at the time meant that I didn't realise the significance of the scene back then.

Not long after this my brother and I were given a plastic Dalek 'swapit' each (as seen in The Sixties, p.145), by our English grandparents who had recently emigrated to NZ.

Soon we were to witness the regeneration of the First Doctor and the Second Doctor's subsequent battle against the Daleks.

The watching of each episode of The Power of the Daleks was followed by an immediate re-enactment of the episode on the dining room table with our plastic Daleks.

I watched Patrick Troughton's Doctor in action sitting on the living room sofa, but would watch the scary bits by peeping through my fingers which were covering my eyes much of the time. I had to ask my brother what was happening when I didn't have the courage to watch myself.

It was after a four year hiatus that Doctor Who returned to our screens in 1975 and while I then had the courage to watch the action, it still gave me the willies. I continued to watch Doctor Who through his subsequent changes of companions and personalities but never lost my ability to sit back and enjoy the programme. I viewed it simply because I wanted to be entertained.

My one initial disappointment was with the rearranged opening sequence and theme music for Tom Baker's last season, but after a few weeks I came to like it as much as the 'original'.

Discovering in 1987 that there was actually an NZ fan club was a relief. I wasn't the only person keen on Doctor Who after all!

Being part of fandom has been a wonderful experience and I look forward to my TSV arriving every second month.

One thing though that I believe fandom has done is rob Doctor Who of its mystique. Before fandom I had few expectations of the programme. I watched it because I enjoyed it. Post-fandom I have found myself analysing the programme while viewing which lessens my enjoyment.

Perhaps it is due to 'analysis paralysis' that we still have no new Who on our screens today?

This item appeared in TSV 33 (April 1993).

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