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Discovering Who

By Justin Reynolds

I was born in 1975. I developed an obsession with science fiction. There must have been some time between these two events, but I don't remember it. In effect I have been an SF fan for all my life. The first movie I ever saw was science fiction; Spider-man. Even when watching Sesame Street I was always particularly interested in the occasional alien or robot which appeared.

My first identifiable memories of Doctor Who come from Full Circle in 1981 although I was already familiar with the programme by this time. The images of huge spiders bursting out of watermelons and Romana stuck in a cave with them, stuck in my mind for a very long time. Even now I tend to be unduly picky with my food though having two inch spiders crawl into my room every few weeks for the last eight years has pretty much cured my arachnophobia.

From this point on I remember watching Doctor Who regularly. Warriors' Gate and The Keeper of Traken are still among my favourite stories. My father began buying me DWM from issue 80 and I started going through the local library's collection of Target novelisations. By the time Mawdryn Undead was screened. I knew very well that there were more recent stories yet to come. If I'd known that it would take TVNZ over 5 years to get round to showing them, I'd have been very annoyed.

Despite the lack of Doctor Who on TV for the next year, my collection of books and magazines slowly grew. Then the golden age of Doctor Who in NZ began five years of near-constant screenings. I saw almost every episode, despite the occasional clash between the TV and dinner. However in 1989 disaster struck. I won a three week trip around the world. Well okay, perhaps this isn't exactly a disaster but it coincided with the screening of The Trial of a Time Lord, and I missed the entire season. Since none of my friends took the same interest in Doctor Who the missed episodes caused my interest to wane. I was even on the verge of giving up DWM.

Fortunately something happened to revive my enthusiasm - we moved to London for three months! Of course we left New Zealand just after Part Three of Battlefield but it was a chance to get up to date DWMs, and other merchandise unavailable in NZ and maybe a new season of Doctor Who would be shown while I was there. Unfortunately that didn't happen but I did manage to get to the Longleat exhibition. Towards the end of the holiday, I attended my first Doctor Who convention - Whoniverse 1990. Yes, the same one that Jon Preddle went to though I wasn't aware of this at the time.

The next 15 months were spent in Australia where I finally saw the conclusion of Battlefield. I also joined the DWFC of Victoria, who produce the zine Sonic Screwdriver. Then we decided to move back to New Zealand and sent all our furniture, including the video, back to NZ. About this time Doctor Who repeats began which I wanted to record. Arrrrrrrgh! But there was something to look forward to in NZ - in DWM 182 I saw a mention of DoctorCon 1992...

DoctorCon marked the beginning of my involvement with NZ fandom. I joined the NZDWFC soon after, and fandom soon became one of the most important facets of my life. Towards the end of 1992, in a fit of insanity, I decided to set up my own SF club, Zed Shift. Last year I helped in the running of Cybercon and I am on the concom for a 1994 Doctor Who/SF convention; and I have no intention of reducing my involvement with fandom in the foreseeable future.

This item appeared in TSV 37 (January 1994).

Index nodes: Discovering Who