BBC America has a fun initiative to introduce a new generation to the wonderful sci fi series Doctor Who. In this initiative they ask the fans of the show to tweet about their first experience with The Doctor and some of their favorite moments. They are to then tag said tweets with #newtoWho. All this is a lead up to the next season of the show that starts this week. Since I am a big fan of the series and I have this forum to spew out my opinions about things, I figured I would throw my fez into the ring. So what follows is my first account of watching the show and a smattering of some of my favorite moments. This is my story.
It was the mid 1980’s. It was a Friday night. My parents happened to be gone out somewhere for the evening and left me to my own devices. I had finished watching Knight Rider and had a made a big bowl of popcorn and I now walked to the TV to see what else was on. See back in the day we didn’t have remotes; we actually had to get up to change the channel. Anyway, being in the middle of nowhere we only had ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS; no cable or satellite was available just yet. Nothing peaked my interest on the big three so I flipped the dial over to PBS and there he was.
On the screen of my TV stood a man with long, curly, brown hair, a long coat and an impossibly long multi-earth toned scarf. Next to him was this beautiful, dark haired young woman and trailing next to both of them was this loyal, little metal dog. K9, Sarah Jane and my first Doctor were on the screen. I was enamored. I always had a love for science fiction; the cheesier the better. I couldn’t take my eyes off the TV. I loved it from the moment I saw it.
I grabbed the TV Guide and thumbed through it to find out what in the world this wonderfulness was. It read ‘Doctor Who’. I couldn’t wait till Monday morning so I could talk to my friends at school about this wonderful new (well new to me) discovery I had made. Monday came and none of my friends had heard of Doctor Who or even cared about it. I was alone at the time with my love for this quirky British show. The weeks passed and I continued to watch DW as much as I could. Cybermen, Daleks, K9, The TARDIS, all of it stuck in my brain and in my heart. But life happened. I grew up. With growing up I got busier and busier, so my Doctor Who time got less and less. The love was there but the memory started to fade. I became enamored with other things (Girls) and then The Doctor was gone from my life completely.
Then in 2005 I heard rumblings… An old memory was being shaken loose. A friend said they were regenerating The Doctor. I couldn’t believe it, a treasured childhood memory was being brought back. I was skeptical, because I had been burned by such things in the past. But I gave it a chance. Man was I blown away. The stories, the writing, the acting, the cinematography; it was all there and better than ever. Christopher Eccleston brought a wonderful darkness to the TARDIS and Billie Piper balanced that darkness out. She grounded him. Just like all the great companions of the past had done. From ‘Dalek’ to ‘Father’s Day’ to ‘The Empty Child’ and ‘The Doctor Dances’ Eccleston was giving new life to my childhood memories. Then ‘The Christmas Invasion’ happened. After only one season Christopher Eccleston was exiting the TARDIS and David Tennant took the controls.
I didn’t know what to think. I knew the cannon of the show is that The Doctor regenerated but I didn’t expect it to happen that fast. I was just getting used to Eccleston and now this new guy is stepping in. I was determined to not like him… but I ended up loving him. Everyone has ‘Their Doctor’ and they fiercely defend that Timelord. My first Doctor will be Tom Baker but my favorite will always be David Tennant. He brought a swagger to the role along with a quick wit and an ease that was and is unique and beautiful. He could make you laugh one second and cry the next. He was absolutely compelling in every way.
For three glorious seasons Tennant entertained us alongside various companions and creatures. Some of the best episodes of the shows 50 year history were in those 3 years. Probably the most famous episode is ‘Blink’ where Steven Moffat introduced us to the Weeping Angels; a brilliantly storied and executed piece of television. But there is one episode of the Tennant era that stands out for me and that is the two parter ‘The End Of Time’. This is significant for me for a couple reasons; it is of course the last of the Tennant episodes and more so, it is the only one of the new series of Doctor Who that I have only watched once. I watched it when it first aired and have not been able to watch it again. I was devastated to see David leave the show and yes, I cried like a baby when he regenerated.
When the flash came and David disappeared from the bridge of the TARDIS and Matt Smith showed up in ‘The Eleventh Hour’ I went with it. I couldn’t bring back my favorite Doctor but the show was still on. With the exit of DT so went Russell T. Davies, in his place as Executive Producer stepped Steven Moffat. I knew the show was in good hands. It didn’t take Matt Smith long to find his voice as the new Doctor. He brings an exuberance to the role yet under that youth you can sense the age and wisdom of a Timelord lurking. Two of my all-time favorite Who episodes belong to Smith in his first season; ‘Vincent and the Doctor’ and ‘The Lodger’.
So… there it is… my #newtoWho story. Now go out and watch this wonderful show and make your own Doctor Who memories and bring in anyone you can. Allons y!