Wednesday, 13 November 2013

An Adventure in Time & Space! Part One

Doctor Who turns 50 in a week-and-a-bit, and there's a lot of nostalga for it flying around. It's an incredible time to be a fan - from docu-dramas showing the series' origin on BBC Two, a dozen Radio Times covers, nationwide cinema showings and Royal parties at Buckingham Palace!

Here's a slice of Doctor Who nostalga from myself. I've lived 24 of Doctor Who's 50. Here's how the show influenced me during every one of those years...

This time:

Part One - 1989 to 1998

1989: I'm born (the closest episode to my birthday being "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" episode 4, broadcast a month earlier). The show ends during this year, meaning I grow up without new episodes of the show on my tellybox: Part of a generation robbed of its Time Lord!

1990: I'm still a baby. However... My Dad starts to collect Doctor Who releases on VHS. More on that in a mo...

1991/92: More VHS releases bought by my Dad, who is slowly building up quite a collection. No doubt he nurses toddler me, and the show is on in the background. If only I could remember those days!!

1993: The show's 30th anniversary, and some of my earliest memories are sitting with my Dad, watching a Fourth Doctor story called "Logopolis". I'm told that I watched the special charity mini-episode "Dimensions in Time" as it went out for the first time, as part of Noel Edmond's House Party. Sadly my memory fails me on this instance (and having seen this special since, probably for good reason!!)

1994: I'm regularly watching Doctor Who with Dad now; mostly Tom Bakers and Jon Pertwee stories. I don't think I'd seen any black and white adventures at this point...

1995: I'm officially a fan. I watch more videos, from all eras, and read books about the show. I trace an image from one book, of all seven Doctors. By god, it feels weird remembering back to a time of *just* seven Doctors. Wow! But I loved the McCoy episodes from the late 1980s. They felt so modern, and 'new'.


1996: Things start to get interesting now, as I'm witness to my first new episode - and Doctor! Yep, it's the year of the failed TV Movie. It's held in pretty low regard by fans... but I loved it. Finally, a new episode!! Dad bought the VHS about a week before the BBC One screening, and I remember being hyper-excited to watch it after school.

I abused watching it every day after that. For weeks and weeks and weeks it played for me, as I collected lots of movie merchandise, including a Paul McGann poster that has remained on my bedroom wall(s) ever since.

I latched onto Paul McGann's Doctor, through all of the endless possibilities a new Doctor Who had. It didn't dawn on me for a long time that the show wasn't coming back.

Still, in the meantime, I enjoyed the Radio Times comic strip continuation of McGann's 8th Doctor...

This was also the year that Jon Pertwee died. It feels strange now remembering a time he was still alive, and appearing on TV every 5 minutes. The day he died, I saw my Dad cry, properly for the first time. Pertwee was HIS Doctor, and his passing was a BIG DEAL.

Other memories:

Hunting around Manchester city centre for the VHS releases. We would search high and low inside QVC, Virgin Megastore, HMV, WHSmith, and Paramount Books. There was an offer to collect postcards with some releases. It made buying "K9 & Conpany" and "Paradise Towers" exciting! Well, I suppose something had to..!

1997: I started writing!! Doctor Who stories!! These were based around the 8th Doctor... Until I got bored of him, set his TARDIS on fire, and have him burn to death/regenerate into my own, new 9th Doctor.

Why write? Well, 1997 was the year my parents seperated. I guess I used it to escape the reality of that particular trauma. 

The stories were simple, and written without much thought. The Doctor would regenerare frequently, and switch companions every other story. However, back then that wasn't important - all that mattered was the sheer fun of writing, and making up adventures. It's what I lived for.

One of my all time best memories is rushing home from work, grabbing my notepad and pen, and lying on my belly under the Christmas tree, writing. It was dark outside, and the tree's lights were on - and words cannot express just how perfect it is to look back and remember this golden night of my childhood.

Other memories:

Getting the Ice Warriors on video! It was an exciting set with a bonus CD of the missing episodes, and - get this! - a documentary about misding episodes. DVDs were still a while away...

Also, Dad bought the War Machines. Although his new girlfriend Penny wasn't mad keen on the show, Dad watched it one Saturday night. What harmless fun for a 9 year old boy!

(We then watched From Dusk To Dawn - set in a Mexican stripclub, with lots of vampires and titties. Less harmless fun for a 9 year old!!)

1998: By now it's obvious that Paul McGann nor his Doctor Who are coming back. Me and Dad begin a regular series of conversations - of "what ifs" about the show's return. 

I begin marathon viewings of all the episodes that Dad owned on video - and then I start to cherry pick whole eras of the show (the Hinchcliffe era being one) and watch dvery episode within it. 

I must see some stories dozens of times... In the space of a year or so!!

I hear about BBC Choice (a new 'digital' channel, or something...) having a Doctor Who night, and I'm jealous that I can't watch it. I think it 's one of the first times I realise how poor my family actually are.

I think this is the year, too where I discovered how uncool being a Doctor Who fan was. Oh yeah, during my childhood I wasn't stupid enough to openly talk about the show to just about anybody. I was reserved, as it was a thing of ridicule (especially for a kid) to connect with something seen as 'naff' as 'Who. For shame.

Maybe this explains why I stopped writing the stories and, shock horror, cleared out my room - throwing thrm away in the process?

T'is a sad fact that I no longer own the forst things I ever wrote.

1998 was also the year Buffy the Vampire Slayer started in the Uk. Not immediately significant to Doctor Who, but it does go to show that other shows (inc. Red Dwarf) were now in my affections - and my love of Doctor Who was fast becoming a love of TV in general.

Next Time: 1999-2005, when...

Doctor Who is a long time returning to TV, but when he does, I'm waiting, somewhat inpatiently!!

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