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Discovering the Doctor

Uther Dean

When reading TSV I get the impression that most writers and readers have been watching it from the start (or close enough). But I was only two when the show ended so I have no memory of when it first aired (except for the TV movie). My father introduced me to the series at the age of five and after a few viewings of that first show (An Unearthy Child) I was hooked. The hard part was having to learn the whole of the show's continuity from scratch, unlike those of you who saw it slowly unravel on your TVs when it first aired.

So I purchased Timeframe when I was only 6 or 7 and slowly worked my way through it. By the end of it I was enlightened and still madly in love with Doctor Who. The next few years were spent collecting Target novels and videos. Virgin's New Adventures had started before I could read and when I learned of their existence the novels were already in full swing so I passed them by. But when BBC Books started their line I could start afresh. I started reading the BBC novels and I still am.

A similar joy filled me when Prime started the reruns, because now I can watch them like older readers watched them — episode by episode. Well that's the story of my life.

David French

In 1985 I saw Doctor Who for the first time on television. It was in the ‘playroom’ of my parents' house in Invercargill and I was six years old. At the time, TVNZ had just begun to re-screen the Pertwee era. The episode in question was the last of Pertwee's first story Spearhead From Space. Unfortunately, the only memory of this historic viewing that I have is of seeing the Brigadier, Liz Shaw and the Doctor in the UNIT laboratory. Over the years I continued to watch the show on an irregular basis, and it wasn't until I began reading the Target series (beginning with Doctor Who and the Deadly Assassin) that I became the fan I am today.

Vernon McCarthy

I recall that in the early eighties, when I had a casual interest in Doctor Who, I would watch the programme if I happened to be passing by the lounge at the time it was on. I watched the last years of Tom Baker but did not follow the stories all that closely. By the time Peter Davision arrived I was gradually becoming more and more hooked and I will always remember the screening of The Visitation in mid 1983 as the point at which I became addicted. I knew nothing of the history of the Doctor except that he could regenerate and that there had been some older actors play the part, including the guy from Worzel Gummidge.

It was a disappointment when the series was stopped at the end of the year. During 1984 I had to rely on the enormous range of Target novels available from the public library and gradually I learned something of the history of Doctor Who.

The next turning point in my enthusiasm was receiving for my thirteenth birthday a copy of the Peter Haining book A Celebration. All at once a large part of the Doctor Who world unfolded before me and I was able checklist all the books I was reading and approach them in the correct order.

Finally in April 1985 it was time to watch television again — not from where it left off, but some of the stories featuring this strange little man with a mop top that I had just spent a year reading about. Over the next few years my Doctor Who TV education would be something that friends in the UK would often write letters of envy about. Now we have come full circle and an intense semester of education has begun again.

This item appeared in TSV 61 (December 2000).