My Doctor Who Memories
By Jeffrey Zyra
The first memory of Doctor Who that I can remember all too well is the first time I watched it. We all remember our first time. Mine just happened to be the closing moments of episode 4 of Robot , Ark In Space was my first full story that I watched, when I happened upon it by channel surfing through all of 6 channels. Well that happy memory took place way back in the early 80’s right in the USA when the BBC used to sell the show to local PBS stations. Doctor Who was extremely popular on PBS stations and a majority of the US fans were introduced to the show by watching it on a Public Television Station. I was extremely lucky as I had two PBS stations playing Doctor Who every weekday. Hurrah for me!
So life was good in the early 80’s but Doctor Who got a bit more exciting when episode 4 of Logopolis aired. A lot of US fans found out that there was more than one Doctor. Now remember this was before the internet and we didn’t have the knowledge of Doctor Who that we have now. So now we know there are other Doctors. Wow such excitement. Now we have something to look forward to once we get through all of the Tom Baker stories again.
So a few years have passed and it is 1983 and in fact November 23, 1983 and we good folk in the USA are sitting down to watch The Five Doctors. In fact we get to see it before our friends in the UK get to see it. Then at this time I found out that there were more Doctors. Cool and we are almost through the Tom Baker stories and about to embark on the Davison era sometime in 1984. Cool more Doctors to look forward to and 20 years of stories I have yet to see.
Flash forward to the dismal 90’s and Doctor Who is no more at least on the BBC and sadly even on the PBS stations as it got to expensive to buy Doctor Who serials and thus we to are devoid of our favorite program. But not all together devoid as Virgin had started publishing Doctor Who books with the 7th Doctor and Ace. Hurrah! Doctor Who continues on and now we can read the Doctor’s adventures. Not the same I know but it’s still better than nothing and at this time of the dreary 90’s of lack luster comic book stories being very depressing and, well, just being bad in general getting Doctor Who novels was awesome and a welcome change.
Along with that we were also getting the Doctors adventures in comic strip form also in the wonderful Doctor Who Magazine which we got over here. Very abundant in the 80’s as you could find it anywhere but in the 90’s it was like being Black Beard the Pirate heading off into the high seas looking for ships to rob. Yes indeed it was like a treasure hunt trying to find the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine. That was the fun of it all but very frustrating also as the magazine and books were very difficult to find. For those old enough will know there was no Amazon yet and the internet was only in its infancy. So getting stuff like that you had to beg your bookstore or bribe the comic book owner with girl’s phone numbers or something of the like. Or better yet you could buy that stuff way overpriced at conventions which is what we Americans usually did. Buy the stuff at all cost just to get our Doctor Who fix. Most of us did this wonderful thing by taking out loads of money from our bank accounts or hugely enormous loans out of the bank to pay for Doctor Who merchandise. Ah wonderful times but seriously it was fun hunting for Doctor Who merchandise and I thoroughly enjoyed those days and the wonderful memories that I have of the dark ages of Doctor Who fandom.
Then Big Finish came along. Doctor Who adventures on audio. Two cd’s, now a day download, came out once a month with a classic Doctor and companion. Not only did we have the books but we now had an adventure to listen too. This was great as we were able to listen to a past Doctor in an old fashioned radio play. The thing about Big Finish is that there stories are very strong and they try different things. I loved listening to these stories back when the show was not on the air, still do listen to them, as it was a very satisfying substitute for the TV show and they never failed to entertain.
Which takes us to present day and Doctor Who is most popular thing on 3 continents. (We’ll skip the McGann TV Movie as hopes were dashed) Most fans screamed for joy in 2003 when it was announced that it was coming back. Watching all the set photos trickling onto the websites in 2004 and the announcement of Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor brought the excitement to another level. So things were going great as the show we loved has returned and we are on our third new Doctor soon to be a fourth when Peter Capaldi takes over at Christmas. The show is back with a new audience and new adventures.
For us old guard this is another golden age of Doctor Who. How cool is it that I can still watch the DVD’s of my favorite Doctor, Peter Davison, and still get brand new episodes of Doctor Who plus what has now become a great new tradition the Christmas Special every year. Christmas without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about. Most importantly what gets me all swelled up with pride is that with the re-launch of Doctor Who I can now have new Doctor Who memories with my son. Who I am proud to say is a fan of Doctor Who. We’ll he would be since I had him watching Doctor Who ever since he was two years old. I guess it was in his DNA then so I didn’t need to prod him too much. He still loves the show now that he is 9 and went to a convention dressed as the 7th Doctor. Doomed to live a geek life from the day he was born.
Doctor Who has given me so many good memories like for instance joining The Knights and making new friends with a great bunch of people from the day I joined them way back when. This is a Doctor Who fan club that is still going strong today with a blog site that has been up since April 2011 to replace the old fashioned paper newsletter. You know paper with words on it that you read to get information before websites and blogs came along. Now with social networking I discovered, now hooked on, watching Doctor Who and commenting about the episodes on Twitter and Facebook with the new friends I have made. That is where I am at now making new memories with a new series and with another new Doctor in Peter Capaldi. Hopefully I will be enjoying the show for many more years to come.