I’ve loved Doctor Who all my life, pretty much since I was aged about five. But I don’t think I’ve ever been as addicted to the show as I am now. I’m watching episode every day! I know it’s because it’s the 50th year in the shows history and we’re all anticipating the 5oth anniversary special in November. And, of course, praying the story does justice to such a momentous occasion.
Fifty years. Talk about timey wimey! It really doesn’t seem that long since we were watching the original broadcast of Silver Nemesis, the 25th anniversary special. I watched it again today. The story has its flaws, especially the ease with which the Cybermen are despatched. But overall, it’s a fun story.
I was thinking back earlier, remembering my earliest memories of the show. Tom Baker was my Doctor. I’m pretty sure I started out with Jon Pertwee, but I don’t remember watching any of his shows as a child. Although, there’s a scene from one story that may have been from a Pertwee show. All I remember is there was a man in a hospital bed with a bandage round his head. A woman was sitting at his bedside talking to him. All of a sudden his eyes widen as he stares past her shoulder. She looks round and there’s some kind of monster standing in the door. It’s humanoid-ish in shape and looks like some kind of mud monster. The woman screams. There is also a scene showing the outside of a spaceship, although I can’t say for certain if that was from the same episode or if memories of shows are running into each other. I’ve never placed which story this scene was from. I thought it might have been from the episode Terror of the Zygons but my memories of the monster don’t seem to match what a Zygon looks like. If anyone can place that scene, could you please let me know? It’s bothered me for years lol!
As I said, Tom is my Doctor. He’s the one I grew up watching. One of my earliers memories was hanging out at a friends house and a promo for Genesis of the Daleks came on the television and we were jumping around the room shouting ‘the Daleks are back!’ I also remember a scene from Robots of Death, with the robot with glowing red eyes stalking toward the Doctor intoning “kill the Doctor.” Robots has always been one of my absolute favourite episodes.
Then there’s my funniest memory. A scene from Talons of Weng Chiang. The scene in the sewer when the Doctor and Leela are menaced by a giant rat. It’s the only scene -as far as I can remember – that sent me hiding behind the sofa. I remember mum and dad laughing at me!! Years later, Talons came out on video. Of course I bought it, and rushed home to watch it. I saw right away why my parents had laughed at me. The rat itself was nothing more than a stuffed toy that someone off screen was thrusting forward into camera shot. I think they improved the effect for the dvd as the rat did look more threatening. But it looked nothing as scary as what I saw when I watched that scene as a child. I vividly remember glowing red eyes, sharp fangs and a blood-curdling roar. Not a snuffling whimper and a stuffed toy moving jerkily as it appeared on the video. I guess when you’re a child your imagination is greater and you see what you would expect to see in a situation like that. Your mind fills in the blanks.
Then there’s the regeneration scene. It traumatised me. I knew the concept of the Doctor regenerating. I’d read plenty of Target novels of all the previous doctors, so I knew the character changed his appearance from time to time. But knowing it and experiencing it are two different things. The BBC hardly ever broadcast repeats of Who stories and in those days videos weren’t even sold, so I’d never actually watched a different Doctor. But suddenly there was someone else playing the part of our favourite hero. At first I found it hard to take to Peter Davison. Although I did come to accept him. I like him much more now, but then it was just plain weird.
I understand how a lot of Tennant fans felt after seeing him get replaced by Matt Smith. In a way, David Tennant can be considered the new series’ Tom Baker. The two are very different actors obviously, but they’re both the longest running actors of each respective series, and Tennant is as popular as Tom used to be back in his day. So for modern Who fans this is that moment I experienced in my teenage years. I know there’s a clarion call for Tennant to be brought back as the 12th Doctor. I hope they don’t though as that would pretty much ruin the show for me. I liked the 10th Doctor a lot, but he’s had his time. A lot of good actors have portrayed the Doctor, and every one of them brought something unique and special to the character. This continues into the new series. But the show is about change after all, and it’s about moving on. It always has been. It does make me wonder what it would have been like if the internet had existed back in the day when Tom Baker was Doctor Who. I can just imagine the “Bring Back Tom” petitions that would have been going round on Twitter and Facebook!
So, what about you? What are your earliest memories of Doctor Who? Did you grow up watching the Classic series or have you only watched the new shows? Who is your favourite Doctor? And what’s your opinion on the upcoming regeneration?