On the Occasion of Doctor Who’s 50th Birthday

CMMRB Doctor Who


Dear Internet,
I’ve long acknowledge I’m a late bloomer since I’ve never done anything in the usual linear pace of time for anything. In the realm of life events, I didn’t graduate high school on time, I got my GED when I was 19; I finished my undergrad when I was 32, and I got married when I was almost 40. Hell, the first time I ever saw Star Wars was on laserdisc in 1994! But it goes much farther back than that – I was even born late by nearly a month.
My introduction to a lot of things I’m into now were also not via the usual methods of self-discovery or influence. My interests in the last decade have begun to deepen to reveal what my true self is: A very nerdy girl. So much so, TheHusband is often found mumbling that he married a 12 year old boy when a new toy arrives at the house, the DVR is stocked with cartoons, or my wish list contains mainly video games and comics.
My interest in Doctor Who came about on a very haphazard road that did not fully take shape until 2005. Though my family were PBS aficionados while I was growing up, where the original Doctor Who series was shown on late at night, my introduction to science fiction or fantasy was hazy at best. I remember watching the original Star Trek and Lost in Space on Saturday afternoons as they were in syndication when I was a young lass, but I grew up in a house mainly of women, with nearly zero male presence, who were into the stereotypical womanly things and whose interests were definitely not into the galaxy shoot outs, alien races, and interplanet travel variety.
[iframe class=”alignleft” src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/h5YA0Uq2wXM?rel=0″ height=”263″ width=”350″ allowfullscreen=”” frameborder=”0″] Fast forward a decade plus and my first introduction to Doctor Who was not through the show itself, but through the song Doctorin’ The TARDIS by The TimeLords (aka The KLF) that was released in the late ’80s and was a mainstay on college radio and in clubs. I remember dancing in my bedroom to this tune a lot in high school, but the references were falling on deaf ears. There is a hazy memory of someone explaining to me it was a tribute to a beloved sci-fi show from the ’60s and ’70s, but during the mid to late ’80s, I was going through a horror film / metal music phase so I just filed it away for future reference.
By the time I was in my 20s, I thought I had some very definite tastes figured out. I was very much keen on telling people that I had no interest in science fiction OR fantasy OR mythology until someone finally said look, a lot of those movies/show you watch you like or books you read ARE tinged with fantastical or science fiction elements. Just because you’re not buying them in the SFF aisles doesn’t mean they are any less of that genre then the ones that are stocked on those shelves. I’m not terribly sure who said this to me, and I’m also fairly certain it was more than one person, but whatever stigma I thought was attached to liking SFF crashed and I started gorging on as much as humanly possible. It was around this same time I finally gave in and became a Terry Pratchett fan, which anyone who was an existing fan at the time and met me was convinced I would flail for PTerry to the end of my days, turned out to be absolutely right.
As the Internet became more prevalent, and information widely spread, Doctor Who and its related fandoms were one of those cultures that still eluded me. There was Just. So. Much. And it was not just with the main show, but the spinoffs, the books, the games, the fanfiction, and everything else related. I had no idea on where to begin and it was especially hard when much of the original shows were haphazardly around the web or a library may have some on VHS/DVD, but nothing close to completion.
When Sci Fi (now SyFy) channel announced that in 2005 it was going to start showing the newly rebooted Doctor Who, I was ecstatic. FINALLY, I can see what the fuss is all about. While there were missed chances to get into the series before, now with the reboot and its full intent on introducing a whole new generation to become Whovians, I could. In the spring of 2006, I set my TiVo to record and waited.
The entire first season of the reboot, in which we’re introduced to the Ninth Doctor, sat on my DVR for weeks after the season ended. At some point I got a mutant version of the plague and was on the couch for days, in which I mainlined the entire first season in one go.
I fell in love. Hard. Almost painfully so.

CMMRB Doctor Who
L-R: 11, 4, 10, Donna Noble, Rose, Captain Jack, 9
Cosplaying at C2E2, 2013

They say your first Doctor is your favorite Doctor and that is most definitely true of me. Christopher Eccleston, as the brusque northerner (all planets have a north!), regenerated as the Ninth doctor stole Rose’s heart and my own. From that point on, I became a fan for life.
You can unpack Doctor Who, regardless of where you come into the series, in a whole manner of different ways and dissertations have been written on the subject doing just that. To me, the Ninth Doctor and following, are all represented pieces of myself that were either hidden or realised by being unveiled for the first time as each episode. I saw in each episode something I could relate to on a very deeply personal level, whether it was the hard choices I had to make in my own life or how the show somehow explained a complex thought or action into something much more simple.
The show is not marketed as a philosophical treatise on the human condition, it was and still is marketed as a kid’s show. But if you strip away all the fun and fluff bits, but it is at its core that very ideologie of presenting complex and very human situations in a manner that makes easily accessible and understandable. And at least in the reboot, the show is also very much a feminist show where all characters are given equal footing AND tasks.
I may not be able to tell you which episode Cyberman appeared or the catchphrase of the Third Doctor, but I don’t think that makes me any less of a fan of the show or series. And after all, as the madman in the blue box will tell you, I have all of time and space to find out.

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2010, 1998