Saturday, 19 September 2015

An Adventure in Time & Space! Part Three

I've lived 26 of Doctor Who's 52. Here's a run-down of my fandom throughout that time...

Part One (1989-1998)
Part Two (1999-March 2005)

This time (as the show returns to BBC One for its ninth season):

Part Three - March 2005 to the Present

2005: The show is back on TV, and I'm loving it! Me and Dad settle down each and every Saturday night together to watch, and afterwards channel flick across to watch Doctor Who Confidential. I record both shows on VHS tapes, which I ensure capture the continuity announcements! 

I fall quite poorly in the days leading up to the broadcast of the penultimate episode Bad Wolf. It turns out that my appendix needs to be removed. I'm dismayed as I might miss the episode's broadcast!! I make sure my bedside TV has enough credit on it to watch the episode go out. Ultimately, though, I'm half drugged up and don't really follow what's going on. But the Dalek cliffhanger was a killer!

Once the season ends, real life moves on too. I leave high school. During that summer gap between school and college, I feel quite lonely. All I'm doing, really, is spending each day in my bedroom. Mum keeps going on at me to go out and get a job... and I don't have any real friends to go out and socialise with. I break down one day in my bedroom, in a flood of tears. I have an issue of Doctor Who Magazine to hand, and it suddenly hits me how lonely I am, and how this silly Time Lord is the only real friend I have in my life.

Eccleston quits, and David Tennant is brought on board as the Time Lord. I remember waiting to see what his new costume will be. I'm in Bournemouth when the announcement is made. He looks incredibly cool, and I approve! I keep the press cutting, and put it on my wall at home. It stays there for the next year or so.



My Granddad gives me his opinion of David Tennant's look. He approves, as it looks more Doctor-ish than Eccleston's leather jacket look. Unfortunately Granddad falls ill, and then dies ahead of David Tennant's debut during Children in Need 2005. All he ever saw of Tennant was that brief snipper, post-regeneration, in The Parting of the Ways.

At college I flirt with a girl called Beckie, who is a massive Doctor Who fan. For a while it looks like we're edging towards dating one another... But then I meet and start to court another girl, who sadly wasn't at all a fan!

Christmas Day is exciting. I get my first Freeview box, so I can watch Doctor Who Confidential at my Mum's house. Before then, we'd had just Sky (but the subscription was lax) so watching the documentary on BBC Three would have been impossible.

2006: Spin-off series Torchwood was announced a few months prior to the start of 2006. In the new year I stumble across a blog dedicated to production of the show - TORCHWOOD.tv. I make up a story, and send it in to the blog's writer - who is taken in by my lies, and takes me on as a writer for the site! I'm amazed, and start to write frequently. Soon enough, production begins on the series, and people start sending actual news my way. This includes the one and only John Barrowman!



A SNAPSHOT OF TORCHWOOD.TV AROUND THE TIME I JOINED THE SITE, WRITING AS "JACKHARKNESS"

I spend a lot of time writing that site, and in its Chat Room. I talk to a few fans on it, who (as the blog's writer) treat me very nicely! One of them, Lauren, is still a friend of mine to this day.



I'm beyond excited that Sarah Jane Smith will be returning to the series in 2006. I'm just as excited about her return episode (School Reunion) than I was about that first episode in 2005. The episode comes around, and then rumours circulate that Elisabeth Sladen's character will return for her own spin-off series. Naturally, I launch a sister blog to TORCHWOOD.tv - this time based around Sarah Jane Smith, and called SARAH JANE.tv. I struggle to 'get' the tone of this new blog for a long time, and think of it as a bit of a failure. Eventually I settle in, and the rest is history.

I'm dating a girl called Katie O'Donnell throughout 2006. When season 2 is on, I make a horrible mistake of cutting our dates short so I can go home, and watch the new episodes as they broadcast. Katie notices this, and rightfully isn't very impressed. We have a major bust-up in Heaton Park as we discuss the matter. At one point, I think Katie is going to break up with me over it! As it turns out, the issue did contribute, 12 months later, to the end of the relationship. In the meantime, I'd agreed with Katie not to rush home to watch the show. Except I still kinda did.

Walking the hour long route to college every day, I read various Doctor Who books (from the Eccleston/Tennant era). What people who walked past me must have thought, I've no idea. I got through around a dozen or so books - usually finishing one off per week. If it rained (and this was Manchester...) it delayed the reading, mind.

2007: When season 3 begins, I make an agreement with Katie. I will watch one episode with Dad at home, I would watch 1 episode with her at her parent's house, and I would then skip an episode. I ever wrote up a roster for the viewing circumstances of each episode! It never really worked watching at Katie's though. She wasn't a fan, and as she grew disinterested we ending up doing anything but watch...

Katie dumped me inbetween The Lazarus Experiment and 42 going out.

In that same gap, I got a job working for the cinema in Pilsworth, Bury. Naturally I was expected to work those busy Saturday nights - so I no longer watched the show going out live, and could only watch the episodes late night when I returned home. This was still pre-iPlayer, so Dad had to record the episodes on VHS. He'd watch the show back with me, and hint/flat out spoil all the best bits (like the Master's return)

I make a film called Self, that contains lots and lots of Doctor Who references. Every film from that point onwards features some sort of 'Who reference.

I continue blogging about Torchwood and new spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures.

2008: iPlayer arrives, which makes watching episodes after work a hell of a lot easier!

My second girlfriend, Clare Kelly, is a Doctor Who fan! The only girl I've ever dated who likes the show... and it's over within six months!

My nephew Kyle is 4 years old. He watches the show, and finds The Stolen Earth's cliffhanger magical. Dad plays it on a loop for him.

I'm featured in Doctor Who Magazine, asking producers Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson a question.

My blogging continues.

2009: I quit writing for TORCHWOOD.tv because I decide following three seasons of the show is enough. I hand it over to a new team of writers.

Meanwhile, my run on SARAH JANE.tv continues. I go to Liverpool to see two episodes of the show premiere at the cinema. I meet a fellow contributor, Nabu San - who introduces me to the wider world of fandom.

Buying-wise, I complete my run of Eighth Doctor BBC Books. I also mass purchase Big Finish audio adventures in a flash sale.

I countdown the days until New Year's hits, excited as to how they will regenerate David Tennant's Doctor.

I record a film quiz for the cinema where I work, that features another few Doctor Who references.

2010: There's a new Doctor in Matt Smith - and I work at a different cinema (Manchester Lowry) when his new series launches. I watch a preview of his first episode in the staff room.

During another preview, my nephew Kyle is scared by a combination of monsters. He turns to my Dad and says, rather cutely, "I'm five, and I'm brave".

I move to London in October. On my first night there, I watch a preview screening of The Sarah Jane Adventures - Death of the Doctor. After the show, I catch a glimpse of stars Elisabeth Sladen and Katy Manning. I'm not impressed by the speed in which Sladen exits away from fans - but it turns out later on, she was very ill at the time.

At Christmas I go out and buy a new TV, specifically so I can watch Doctor Who go out on Christmas Day. As it turns out, my TV doesn't play all that well - the aerial is too poor to play broadcast TV (limiting me to watching DVDs, and the show on iPlayer). On top of that, I'm called into work on Christmas Day to tackle an alarm going off...

It's a week before I get to see the episode!

2011: Lis Sladen dies in April. I'm on an easter egg hunt at the time, and alerted by a text from Mum. "I'm sorry to hear of Sarah Jane's death." I can't believe it. No, seriously, it leaves me numb. I stay up over night watching BBC News 24, for the tributes that pour in.



I visit the Doctor Who Experience at Earls Court a number of times (one of them for Lis Sladen's memorial, where I meet Tom Baker).

Throughout the year, I venture to Westfield (just a stone throw from my house, in Shepherds Bush) to buy the new issues of Doctor Who Magazine. There, I sit in the middle of the shopping centre reading. It's a routine that I continue all the way through to me leaving the area in June 2015.

Torchwood: Miracle Day airs. Me and Mum discuss it every week, during my calls back home.

Dad visits London for two key episodes of Doctor Who's sixth season - A Good Man Goes to War and Let's Kill Hitler. Thankfully, my Freeview is nice, and let's us watch the episodes go out.

I go to the launch of the final series of The Sarah Jane Adventures. Naturally, it also marks the end of regular reporting on SARAH JANE.tv.

I read Doctor Who: Coldheart. It's the final book in the series I complete.

2012: I visit Cardiff for the first time, and meet my friend Lauren. We tour various locations used in the series and its spin-offs.



I attempt to rewatch the series from the very beginning, in the build-up to the 50th anniversary. I only manage to get to the middle of the Troughton era before work commitments force me to stop.

My TV aerial problems are resolved, as London goes all digital - giving my signal a much needed boost! It means I can watch series 7 go out live. Well, when I'm not at work.

2013: Doctor Who turns 50th! I celebrate as best I can, by dedicating a number of my Facebook profile pictures to each Doctor. Come November 23rd, me and Dad watch the anniversary special play at Odeon Manchester. It's in 3D, and an amazing experience.











I visit Cardiff again.

I begin working at a Leicester Square cinema, where I meet a fellow manager Jon - who's a massive fan like me! There's also a massive Forbidden Planet just 5 minutes down the road, so I head there every day after work and binge on Who goodness.

My third girlfriend, Tohko, isn't a fan either. I try to get her into the series, by borrowing her Matt Smith's first series on DVD. But she isn't having any of it, either...

2014: I start dating my most recent girlfriend, Gabi. Again she's not a Whovian!! I introduce her to the show. She takes a shine to Matt Smith. Massively! Like, it's a proper crush! But it's not enough to make her a fan!!

Me and Jon watch new season opener Deep Breath (and Peter Capaldi's debut) a few days early, in a private Piccadilly cinema.

2015: I begin the year by concluding my writing of the Seventh Doctor Adventures (which I last wrote in the mid-2000s).

As I'm leaving Shepherds Bush, I decide to sell some of my old Doctor Who Magazines. Why? Partially to do with space, but also... I figure that I don't read the things anyway. Somebody else out there might as well have them!

I trade in my new series DVDs and Blu Rays. I still love the episodes to pieces, but they're all available to stream on Netflix. No point them clogging up my space.

Me and Dad visit Cardiff. We watch the ninth season opener on the cinema screen, and meet Peter Capaldi, Steven Moffat and Jenna Coleman.



Today...

The Magician Apprentice airs on BBC One at 19:40. I'm sat in front of the TV, eyes glued to the screen... ready to watch a new adventure begin. 

I'm just as in love with the series as before.
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