Kids today don’t know how good they have it.
Oh, stop rolling your eyes! I know what you’re thinking; “Here we go again. Old Uncle Mikey is going to go on and on about how things were so much worse in the bad old days! Spare me!”
Well, yes I am, as a matter of fact, but you just put down your Red Bull and listen. You just may learn something.
You kids today don’t know how good things are. And they are good. I mean, really good compared to what they used to be.
What am I talking about? Why Doctor Who, of course!
Yes, that show you watch on the BBC. or BBC America, or the Space Channel, or maybe you find the episodes online, or via a torrent. I don’t know. I don’t judge.
WHO IS DOCTOR WHO?
For those of you who don’t know, Doctor Who depicts the adventures of a mysterious and eccentric Time Lord known as the Doctor, who travels through time and space in his time machine, the TARDIS, which normally appears from the exterior to be a blue 1950s British police box. With his companions, he explores time and space, faces a variety of foes and saves civilizations, helping people and righting wrongs.
The show had been absent from television for 16 years and many viewers had forgotten the original run, or perhaps their memories were tinged with more than a little nostalgia.
The show was revived by longtime Doctor Who fan, Russell T. Davies, who had been lobbying the BBC since the late 1990s to bring it back.
Since the BBC reintroduced Doctor Who in March of 2005 with the first episode “Rose” it has been a phenomenal success.
The fact is that Doctor Who is watched by a lot of people. The series premiere garnered 10.81 million viewers. The ratings it receives in Great Britain alone would make any television producer in America rend their clothes and gnash their teeth in envy. Worldwide the story is the same. Doctor Who pulls in viewers like a black hole pulls in… well, everything.
And there is merchandising. Tee shirts, toys, keychains, books, music, you name it, if it has a surface someone will slap a Doctor Who logo on it and call it money. And people will buy it. And people do. I live in a small town, one similar to the one in which I grew up, in which flying your geek flag is not something one sees much of. But I see Doctor Who crop up here and there. I’ve seen a young person wearing a TARDIS hoodie. I’ve seen TARDIS keychains. I’ve seen Dalek toys on people’s desks. I myself have a Doctor Who mug on my desk at work and no one bats an eye.
It’s there. It’s in the popular culture. It’s part of the zeitgeist now.
But that success didn’t come out of nowhere. Doctor Who has a very long history, as has Doctor Who fandom. Today you can stand up proudly and say that you love Doctor Who and no one cares. It wasn’t always like that. In the past Doctor Who fandom was a not-so comfortable place to be.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
My own history with Doctor Who began when I was about seven years old. Maybe. My memory is a bit hazy. But I do know that on a quiet afternoon a movie came on the television that excited me greatly. It was Doctor Who and the Daleks. Now, this would have been the Hammer version, the one made for the cinemas, based on the original television series. The one that starred Peter Cushing as ‘Doctor Who’.
That film is generally held in disdain by most die-hard Whovians. It changes continuity from the television show. Instead of an alien from Gallifrey, Peter Cushing’s Doctor Who (and he calls himself Doctor Who in the film, not just The Doctor) is an absent-minded inventor who just happens to have cooked up a time machine that he has built inside an old police box.
I didn’t know all of that at the time, of course, neither would I have cared. All I cared about was that the hapless time travelers find themselves on a distant plant (or maybe it’s the distant future of Earth) in a spooky wood with petrified creatures and in the distance is a shining city, a technological marvel in the middle of a wasteland. Doctor Who is eager to go exploring and so was I. I was ecstatic about the film and was eager to find out what strange inhabitants lived in the city.
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How did it all end? Did I ever get to finish watching Doctor Who and the Daleks or was my viewing cruelly interrupted, scarring me for life? How did I become a die-hard Doctor Who fan back in the days before Russell T. Davies? How did so many others?
Download the absolutely FREE issue of DARK WORLDS QUARTERLY to find out. There’s no cost, there’s no catch. Just click on the big CURRENT ISSUE button at the top of this page, or follow this link, download the FREE pdf file and enjoy! And enjoy the many other articles in the issue as well. It’s 96 pages chock-full of amazing fannish goodness and it is ABSOLUTELY FREE!