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By Paul Scoones

A recent issue of Doctor Who Magazine struck a chord with me, with its discussion of why it is that Doctor Who fans are sometimes ashamed of the programme we love. In that issue's editorial Gary Gillatt wrote of 'the agony of being judged by your enthusiasm for Doctor Who' and I know exactly how he feels. I too am guilty of concealing my interest in the show, and have done so for years.

Despite my love for the programme, I am extremely reticent about admitting it to non-fans. When I tell them about editing TSV or running the club, I usually do so in the most general terms to avoid mentioning Doctor Who. Why? Because in the past I've suffered ridicule and humiliation from people who perceive Doctor Who as a children's show, and can't understand why an adult would be so interested in it. It's a measure of just how long I've behaved like this that a major consideration in choosing the name of this publication ten years ago was that it disguised the magazine's subject matter to the public and yet meant something to knowledgeable fans of the series.

A couple of months ago I attended a professional editing seminar, and naturally the subject of my work in editing came up in discussion. As usual I skirted around the issue, evasively - and yet truthfully - describing TSV as a science fiction magazine. To my discomfort, this only further aroused the curiosity of the lecturer. I had to confess all and showed him a copy of TSV 51. He was not only very encouraging, but proceeded to talk about his favourite Doctors. This helped my confidence and I've since tried being a bit more open about my interest. In the last few weeks I've discovered that both my colleagues and customers at the bookshop where I work have invariably turned out to be not only impressed by my knowledge of Doctor Who, but sometimes they turn out to be fans of the show themselves. At least a couple of these people will be reading this issue as brand new subscribers to TSV!

These experiences could just be coincidence, but I wonder if perhaps what I'm witnessing is an increased credibility for Doctor Who in the public eye?

I'd really like to read your thoughts on this subject, and indeed to what extent you conceal your interest in Doctor Who. Write to the letters page.


This item appeared in TSV 52 (November 1997).