Doctor Who memories

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    Craig @craig

    A thread to discuss your first introductions to the show, vivid memories, why it means so much to you etc.

    Craig @craig

    My earliest memories of Doctor Who are of the final days of Pertwee. I had just turned 4 when Planet of the Spiders was broadcast and remember bits and pieces which scared the hell out of me. But it wasn’t really until the first series of Baker that it really started to make an impression.

    And no wonder with such a great start to a series. First a giant Robot, which will ever be ingrained on my memory (what little boy wouldn’t love that?), and then The Ark in Space, which really creeped me out. It featured more giant spidery things, and Noah transforming into a Wirrn must be the most disturbing thing I had ever seen at that point. From then on I was definitely hooked.

    I haven’t actually ever gone back and watched those episodes as I fear I may be disappointed now. Part of me wants to, but mostly I want to retain the way I felt then, as a child, when I watched them the first time.

    janetteB @janetteb

    I was fifteen when I first watched Dr Who. My brother was watching it while on a uni break. He claims to have watched it for years on my Grandmothers TV and it is possible that the TV show which terrified me for years after was Dr Who. It would have been one of the missing Troughton stories. I watched a couple of episodes of The Andriod Invasion and was hooked. My best friend at school was also a Dr Who fan. At that time Who was shown four nights a week in Oz and when they ran out of new episodes they would repeat old ones, going back to early Pertwee. I didn’t miss an episode, no matter how many time I had already seen it, until I left home fortunately at about the time of Colin Baker, whom I disliked due to a previous role he had played. Not really fair on the actor I know.

    My partner, “he who shall not be named”, is also a Dr Who fan. One of the first birthday cakes I ever made for him had a marzipan Tardis on top. While we were at Uni, and unable to indulge in expensive ornaments, we bought  pricey pewter Dalek salt and pepper shakers as a joint birthday pressie. (We just couldn’t resist.) Every christmas they are decorated with santa hats. Needless to say this year’s joint 50th birthday cake will be Who themed too. (1963 is a good vintage.)




    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    My experience mirrors that of @craig to a certain extent. I was also four when the final Pertwee series was shown, and have particular scenes in my memory. Strongest are a couple from Death to the Daleks – The exploding Dalek, the metal snake in the tunnels, and The Doctor with his funny little friend Belloc chasing through the city pursued by Daleks.

    Stronger memories were formed with that first Tom Baker series. I have gone back to watch them all, and most of it does stand up to scrutiny. They were heady material – the very idea of an alien insect implanting eggs in humans, and the body horror of Noah’s transformation. The sadistic Sontaran Styrr torturing his captives, Davros creating his Daleks, The Doctor and friends walking through corridors full of dead Cybermat victims, and the creepiness of the Zygons. These things were ingrained in my young mind. Simultaneously scared and loving every minute of it.

    The Doctor was my hero, and Tom was a dream in the role. I honestly feel that my love for the show was instrumental in me taking an active interest in Science and going on the study chemistry at University. I wasn’t alone. Growing up, I didn’t know any other fans of the show. It was a strange experience, when went I away at 18, and found myself surrounded by them. We had quite a crowd for our Doctor Who themed three-legged pub crawl. But that’s a story for another time.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Just to add to the above, another strong memory : The day I met the Doctor.

    Back in the 70s, communities seemed a lot closer than now. Each year our street pooled their resources and hired a coach for a day trip to Blackpool, usually in the first week of October. This was an annual thing we did for about 12 years.

    We left early in the morning to get there about 9:30 for a day of adventure. The day was spent on rides, in arcades, admiring the filth in joke shops, watching shows on the Pier or just doing whatever you wanted. As the sun set at about six, we’d congregate back at the Coach to drive along the Golden Mile and admire the Illuminations, which always featured a tribute to Doctor Who. On the way back we had a pit stop at a pub for adults to top up their alcohol levels, and a Chippy in Stoke-on-Trent used to see an annual upsurge in trade as 50 odd people descended to demand “Shark n’ Chips”. A splendid day out.

    There was one highlight for me, and the reason I carefully saved my pocket money, I ignored the obvious delights of fun-fairs and arcades. This trip meant one thing – The Doctor Who Exhibition. Located on a corner on the sea frontage stood a building. And Attached to that building was a Police Box. From hidden speakers boomed the Doctor Who theme, and for a small investment you were allowed to enter the world of the Doctor. You entered the Tardis to find a gloomy stairway to a basement. Walking down you became aware of the lights, and the sights. You walked past the K-1 robot, the Voc Robot and the mechanised Dalek whose head turned while it bellowed “Exterminate”. You saw costumes and props from the latest series, and finally entered the console room, with a replica console with the time rotor rising and falling.

    It was a world of wonder. My parents would go off for an hour and do something else, for they knew from experience – this was not something I was going to rush.

    Then – at the end, the delights of the little shop (“I love a little shop”) which always had the latest books, badges and other odds and sods that I coveted.

    Imagine my delight then that, when I was eight, our visit coincided with some publicity thing by the BBC. Tom Baker was actually there as the Doctor, in full regalia. As barking mad as you could dare to dream. Leading groups of kids through the exhibits, signing autographs and basically just being the Doctor. He agreed to follow me to the shop, and amidst my purchases, signed my annual.

    I don’t think I stopped smiling for about two weeks. They always say “Don’t meet your heroes”. I met mine when I was eight. And he was fantastic.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @janetteb – love the story about the marzipan TARDIS cake and the joint Dalek salt and pepper shakers you still have – how romantic!

    @phaseshift – my eight year old self would have loved to meet Tom Baker.

    Baker was my first Doctor and I remember my heart thumping in anticipation on winter evenings (on the sofa naturally) as the Doctor Who music began and his familiar face materialised down that silver corridor of time.

    No one else in the household was allowed to speak whilst the episode was on.

    I adored his iconoclastic, bombastic, badly-behaved lightening-storm of a character. I suppose, reflecting back in time now, that the Fourth Doctor helped me with my sense of self-identity. He was entirely unafraid to be his own eccentric stripey scarf-trailing, jelly-baby waving self, however much consternation he caused along the way (in fact, he postiviely enjoyed causing it). And somehow, travelling with him in those days, I felt a little less afraid to be my own “odd” self, however lost or tentatively evolving I was then.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @phaseshift and@juniperfish, my fifteen year old self would have loved to have met Tom Baker too.

    About five years ago now I was in Cardiff with my sons. We were spending a week visiting Welsh Castles but when we saw the Dr Who Exhibition posters on the YHA wall ruined medieval castles suddenly lost all their appeal. The exhibition was fun but we were not as fortunate as @phaseshift.



    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift – ah, the Blackpool exhibition. I’ve fond memories of that also…

    Well, since I brought up the idea of this thread in the first place, I suppose I should make my contribution.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, the main thrust of my love of Who as a child was through the books rather than the TV series itself. And so my most profound Who memory is the purchase of my first Doctor Who novel. I was always a voracious reader and in addition to pocket money I was allowed one new paperback a week. At the time, aged about seven, I guess, I was going through a major Hardy Boys phase and I was gutted one week to find that the bookshop in question (actually the book concession at the local Arnotts department store) had no Hardy Boys, or at least none that I hadn’t read. Under pressure from an impatient mother to pick a book or go without that week, I had to hurriedly scan the covers and choose one. Bearing in mind that all children seem to have a race memory of Daleks (as Moffatt says) I grabbed the one with the Doctor and Bernard Horsfall grappling one on the cover. Yup, that’s right. It was Planet of the Daleks, my first real introduction to the world of Who and since then I’ve never looked back. And every week after that, my weekly purchase was always a Doctor Who novel and the mythology and ethos of the show gradually permeated my childhood right through to my bones.

    Of course, there are the various TV memories too. The earliest one is of seeing a snippet of Planet of the Daleks, oddly enough. Then Jon Pertwee face the Great One. But mostly my earliest TV memories are flashes of Tom Baker — the Krynoid, Davros, Eldrad, until I started watching properly and for real with Season 17, I think. And for me Tom Baker and Romana 2 are the pairing, or at least the first that I remember in any detail.


    ScaryB @scaryb

    @phaseshift Jealous, much!! – 8 yrs old – meeting T Baker in Dr Who exhibition – only problem with that is how do you make the rest of your life match up, LOL.  I could have died happy then and there if it was me. Didn’t have anything as exotic as DW exhibitions in Scotland in 60s 🙁 (b/w telly, tiny screen, 1 channel etc etc – give it thump on the top or a gentle tap on the side depending whether the vertical or horizontal hold had gone that day)

    I’m a Hartnell girl through and through (together with the original companion format of Susan, Barbara and Ian). I loved his unpredictability, his child-like petulance, esp when he didn’t get his own way. And every now and again the sheer brillance which saved everyone.  At the last minute.  I loved his hair. This wasn’t  a conventional adult. (Well m’boy…? Hmmm?)

    I remember loving An Unearthly Child – slightly confused (but happy) when they repeated it the following week (I was too young to pick up on the Kennedy assassination).  The prehistoric one which followed seemed dark, scary, engrossing (my mum suggesting maybe too scary – vigorous head shaking from 6yo me!), followed by the Daleks (what..???!! (loved how perceptions changed even early on – Daleks orig portrayed as good, Thals bad)) and then the quirky little 2-parter Eve of Destruction.  Historical, monster sci-fi and psychologocial one. Been hooked ever since. There was no video or view later (best I could come up with was making my poor mum sit thro any episode I had to miss (Xmas parties etc) to recount it back later – worked remarkably well) but although I only watched these episodes once each I still have remarkably clear memories of a lot of them.

    I was a bit unsure when Hartnell morphed into Troughton but went with it as it was better than my fav programme being cancelled.  That audacious piece of recasting worked so well that I’ve happily given every future Doctor a fair chance! Until they brought in Mel. Sorry, a bubbly scweamy assistant too far.

    I missed a lot of the late 70s thro not having a TV for those years. Dipped in occasionally to check out new Doctors – CB seemed a bit grumpy. I still have a soft spot for McCoy – tho I think he was given nothing useful to work with. I’d propbably have dropped off after Pertwee – if his successor hadn’t been Tom Baker. The hair! The scarf! The jellybabies! I was hooked all over again.

    The intermittent playground dalek phase was as far as I remember most of my contemporaries going with fandom.  I don’t remember having anyone to really discuss the stories with (apart from my long-suffering, loyal mum (who I think had a sneaking liking for it anyway)). The local library had a few books in stock (quality varied enormously), which would keep me going between seasons.   So to find this community so many years down the line, in conjunction with a rejuvenated, revitalised programme is just amazing.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Lovely reading over everyone’s earliest memories. One thing that strikes me is that Who provides a home for people that is slightly outside the mainstream.  Quirkiness and cerebral brilliance is celebrated over physical brute strength.  The Doctor is an outsider, unafraid to challenge injustice and fight for those who are marginalised, bullied or have no voice. We all have monsters to face up to.

    Anonymous @

    @scaryb — exactly. I suppose part of the appeal of the Doctor growing up is that he is unrepentantly and outsider and teaches that it is OK to be so. He also teaches the importance of despite being an outsider, it is important to stand up to tyranny and be interested in and protective of cultures and societies other than your own.

    He’s also one of the few examples of a positive portrayal of a scientist and the virtues of reason and scientific curiosity. And, of course, he’s a great champion of the brains over brawn solution.

    Justice. Science. Reason. Three great principles to guide you as you grow up in my opinion.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Having finally caught up with the McGann movie – I can only say – I’m really glad I’ve avoided it till now! As a transition piece and a look at the direction the show could have gone, it’s “interesting”.  But I’m very glad RTD was the one who finally got hold of it. The difference is probably summed up in the scene where he wakes up locked in the morgue and proceeds to batter the door down (complete with ominous lumps in steel door).  A proper Doctor would have tapped politely and offered the attendant who opened it a jelly baby!

    Liked McGann tho.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Thanks for the collected envy everyone 🙂

    I feel immensely privileged to have that memory, more so because it was just so unexpected at the time.


    Quirkiness and cerebral brilliance is celebrated over physical brute strength

    Ha! Have you ever seen this? Craig Ferguson (another Scot) hosts a talk show in the States and has become something of a champion for Who. When Matt Smith appeared on the show, he filmed this opening song (in the end he couldn’t broadcast it due to licensing issues, and it “escaped” to YouTube).

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    As @jimthefish has raised the books, just another memory:

    It was that glorious summer of 1976, and I was in Rhyl for a camping holiday with my family. For the first two days I ran around like an idiot, as six year olds are expected to do. That unfamiliar sun turned me an astonishing shade of red, melting my skin and leaving me with sunstroke, despite my mothers best efforts to prevent it.

    Ordered to remain in the tent I was allowed a trip to the site shop to stock up on things to keep me occupied. I stared miserably at the available comics. The penny dreadfuls I cherished with a DC logo – The Unexpected, House of Mystery, and Weird War Tales were absent. Sighing I turned to the books, and had a revelation.

    I was already a fan of Doctor Who, but the existence of the Target books was completely unknown to me. I raked my brain as to why my teachers hadn’t informed me of this monumental development in home entertainment. But there, in front of me was “Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion”. With a picture of John Pertwee, who I could just about remember. Next to it was “The Abominable Snowmen” with a picture of a Doctor I didn’t recognise at all. I invested my pocket money wisely my friends, and returned to the coolness of the tent and curled up on my canvass bed.

    In the course of my reading session I discovered many valuable things. For instance, if you happened to be alone in a tent, an Auton could cut through the back and blast you into nothingness. If you were camping in the Himalayas you would likely be attacked and murdered by a robot Yeti. Suddenly camping seemed to have become a high risk holiday option.

    I came back from the holiday with about twelve of the books. I have never been camping again.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @phaseshift Craig Ferguson’s brilliant! (I also remember his earlier anarchic alter ego Bing Hitler, when he did the late night stand up scene to get his equity card). Great to see him doing so well (Cumbernauld not being noted for its connections to international careers of any sort).  His sister Lynn’s pretty amazing actress/standup/writer as well but not much on TV or film

    ScaryB @scaryb


    In the course of my reading session I discovered many valuable things. For instance, if you happened to be alone in a tent, an Auton could cut through the back and blast you into nothingness. If you were camping in the Himalayas you would likely be attacked and murdered by a robot Yeti. Suddenly camping seemed to have become a high risk holiday option.


    For me it was cybermats under the bed. Cars en route to school were daleks (streets were much quieter then, so it was feasible to pretend that the moving ones were daleks that could see you so you needed to duck down or behind a gatepost to avoid them!). Yeti and Autons scared the bejaysus out of me – I still don’t trust mannequins.

    Anonymous @

    For me it was the idea of the Cybermen in The Moonbase novelisation. Lurking in the dark shadows of storage cupboards or hiding in plain sight in the med bay. The true sinister terror of a lone Cyberman in the shadows has been lost I think since the Troughton era, and since then they’ve become tin-plated solider stooges. I hope Neil Gaiman recovers some of that menace in his story — but the pics unfortunately suggest not.

    Oh, and the other thing that gave me the real creeps was the Fendahl. The idea of that slithering towards you in the darkness. Slow, inexorable death and you robbed of the power to run away. Eeech.

    Craig @craig

    @phaseshift and @scaryb

    A little off topic, but I always thought Craig Ferguson was an arse (at least in his early days). Turns out there was a reason for that. Then I saw this, when he went on TV the week that Brittany Spears shaved her head, and talked about his battle with alcohol. Having known people with alcohol problems, I have never had more respect for anyone than I did for him then (the audience I’m not so sure about).

    Well worth 12 minutes of your life, and his book about it, if you’re interested, is even better.

    Rob @rob

    My first Doctor was JP, I was allowed to watch the series after much pestering. My best friend Alan had watched the previous series but he had three older brothers…

    Anyway that first season for me was mainly spent hiding behind the sofa but shop dummies astronauts murdering people and lizardmen whirl around my mind. One story absolutely rocked my world for a while…. The Sea Devils, I lived about a mile and a half from the sea and was totally freaked by the concept of the Sea Devils and their lamp guns. The other two stories that in JP’s era are burned into my mind are The Green Death and Planet of the Spiders, along with THE Master Roger Delgado

    Tom Baker was (as Nine would say) fantastic, more later…

    Rob @rob

    Well this would be later then ….

    One evening many years ago (the last century no less) I popped into the wine shop in Headcorn and whilst considering which Rioja to buy and reching one out to read the label a voice to my side “Ohh I’ll have one of those too please young man”.

    I nearly dropped the darn thing it was The Doctor!!!!

    He, the proprietor and I had a 20 min chat about wine, medical doctors and their potential cannabis habits and life in general, eventually I plucked up the courage to tell thank him for helping make my childhood special (I knew that he had in the past been a little off about Who). He was perfectly charming and it was not a let down to meet an extra special member of Who-dome

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    This is a little embarrassing, really, but I’d have to say that in a way Eleven is my doctor.

    We watched it in my house when I was younger, but I can only find annoyingly vague memories of various scenes. I know I liked it at the time, but not to the extent of, it seems, everyone else here. (in my defence, I’ve actually blanked out quite a lot of my childhood (never so terrifying phrase as: your school days are the happiest days of your life) and I was born in 79 so I only really had 80’s doctor who to get into.)

    I liked RTD. I liked RTD a lot more before Moffit took over. I liked Donna. As for David Tennant- sometimes I read a book, and the writer is very good, and very clever, and I keep thinking while iI read it how good the writer is, how clever. But it’s distracting, because I’m thinking that rather than being absorbed into the reading of the book. DT always had me noticing his acting. He was a very good Doctor Who. I thought that every timeIi saw him. With Matt Smith I just think ‘the doctor’. Old eyes etc.

    I like the Moffit puzzles. I like the way he writes himself into a corner, then bursts his way out of it with brilliant special effects, gorgeous scenes and heart breaking characterisation, but without over dependence on logic. People criticise him for putting style over substance. I think in fact he puts both style and substance over practicalities. I’ve read, on the Guardian thread, what are objectively much more satisfying endings to the ones that he produces. But I never feel disappointed when I watch the real ending. Someone on the DM blog accused him of ‘writing checks his arse can’t cash’. But no one else out there (apart from maybe Joss Whedon) can even write checks like that.

    But the great thing is, because he has produced a doctor who does in so many ways look back to previous regenerations, because he does, on occasion, return to doctor who’s past (Homo reptilian, the GI etc) I’m now more interested then I ever was to explore the canon of Doctor who. Like someone said, very new, but very old. Nine and Ten, i think, belonged very much to RTD. Eleven belongs to the whole historical franchise.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @miapatrick. Couldn’t agree more, particularly with your point at the end. 11 is 1.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @miapatrick – nice post, and good to “see” you in this wee corner of the Whoniverse again <waves>

    I didn’t think any Doctor would ever be able to live up to “mine” (Tom Baker) but Matt Smith is now equally beloved.

    Yes, like you, I thought Tennant was great at the time (wished Ecclestone had stayed for longer as his take was very intriguing) but Smithy didn’t take long to blow right past him in my affections.

    I think you’ve put your finger on why I can’t quite roll with comrades @jimthefish and @bluesqueakpip‘s “total reset for the 50th” theory. By connecting Smithy to the history of Dr. Who, newer fans, as you’ve demonstrated, get pulled into that history (and, not to be too cynical about it, but also potentially into all that lovely “historical” merchandise) 🙂


    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @blenkinsopthebrave thank you. Interestingly, from TEH, I felt that 11 was such an old doctor. It made sense of River (either saying or implying) that ‘her’ doctor was older then 10. He really is. But then, Matt Smith has such a wonderfully versatile face!

    @juniperfish <waves back> been lurking all year/month, this community is a godsend. I try to remember that I was concerned by the fact that RTD and DT were leaving, hoping it would still be good, just in case the next changeover is coming up. But I really do think, as it is now, there is a classic quality to Who. I suppose I have more to lose this time, because this is the incarnation I’ve really latched onto. But yes, to continue that point- had I not liked 11, I might have given it all up. Moffits audacity has, I think, stabilised the franchise to an extent. Maybe I’ll love 21 this much…

    (regarding merchendise- i bought my boyfriend a Hornby Train-set for his 40th last year, so someone bought him a Hornby blue police telephone box to go with it. But when is a blue police telephone box ever not a Tardis?)

    Anonymous @


    In my defence — I wouldn’t presume to speak for the mightly @bluesqueakpip — maybe I should clarify what I envisage being the end result of the ‘big reset’, if Moffatt does indeed go down this route…

    I don’t think that it means that the history of the first 50 years of the show will be wiped out, that Time Lords, Cybermen, Sensorites etc will never have existed and will no longer be part of Who lore (or marketing opportunities). What I think will happen is that we will get a ‘clean’ Doctor (as in hard drive, rather than suggesting our current one is a bit mucky or something). I think what Moffatt is aiming at is a getting rid of the Doctor as The Other/The Oncoming Storm/The Predator of the Daleks etc and return to him what he was essentially when we first met Hartnell. Literally a mad man with a box, to whom every encounter was a new one, who was learning as much about the universe as his companions were. I suspect his main enemies will probably get a similar make-over. The Daleks have already been done. I wonder if we’ll see Oswin do a similar number when we see the Cybermen return in a couple of months’ time.

    So, I think we’ll see a young replacement Doctor with a full set of regenerations and merely a changed outlook on the universe. Nothing more drastic than that. I love @miapatrick‘s line that Eleven belongs to the whole franchise and couldn’t agree more. I don’t think that will change, for Eleven, and those who come after him. But I do think that the relationship will be altered, refined and perhaps simplified after the anniversary episode.

    But it’s not going to be a case of Moffatt saying ‘none of the first 50 years stuff ever happened’ or that it has now somehow ceased to be relevant to the show at large. I just can’t help but suspect that Moffatt might feel that the character of the Doctor is being dragged down slightly by the sheer amount of baggage he’s necessarily accrued after a 50-year history.

    This is all just a hunch, of course, and will no doubt be proved to be completely wrong — and I’ll be quite happy if that is the case. But I suspect that the ‘two Doctors’ theory is still compellingly in play and this, to me, seems to be the most logical way that it is likely to play out if that proves to be the case.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    I’d agree pretty much with @jimthefish – I’m not thinking in terms of a complete reset of the Whoniverse. I’m thinking of ‘The Doctor’ being reset to ‘Doctor Who?’

    In his own mind, as much as in the minds of all his enemies. Because, you know, this is a guy who can scare a mighty space fleet, just by himself. The whole thing is set up in The Eleventh Hour. “Hello, I’m The Doctor. Basically, run.” -and they do.

    From a storytelling point of view, having a hero that can now make entire armies wonder where the loo is just by saying his name is a bit of a problem. And I think Moffat’s gift to future producers, his 50th Anniversary Present (if you like), might be to solve that problem. By pressing The Doctor’s reset button, so he again becomes the mad man with the box, exploring a universe that’s become new. Again.

    Because it might be ‘again’. Since I’m in the Doctor Who memories bit, I have to say that ‘my’ Doctor is Sylvester McCoy (in his second and third series, not the excreable first). He was dangerous. He was manipulative. And there was a strong hint that there was more to him than he understood himself. Remembrance of the Daleks will always live in my memory as the story when I thought: ‘they’ve done it, they’ve done it, they’ve found their way back to what Doctor Who should be’.

    Of course, what I didn’t know was that by that time, the BBC were determined to cancel the show anyway. But I do think that without McCoy’s last two series, Who would never have been brought back.

    Returning to the ‘reset’ button; watching The Doctor’s Wife last night, I was struck again by that closed circle on The Corsair’s arm; the Ouroboros, the cycle that begins anew as soon as it ends. Then we’ve got the Easter theme (death and rebirth, again) and eggs.

    Thing about eggs is, they hatch. And a cute fluffy little chick pops out. Awww…

    And I wonder; how many times has the Doctor done this? Have we been watching just one cycle? He thinks he’s a Time Lord, the Time Lords think he’s a Time Lord – but is that who he really is? And when things are old, and he’s done everything, and everyone knows him – does he start again? Back to the Unknown Wanderer, travelling the universe?


    Anyway, a genuinely funny turn-up would be if the Doctor really does get reborn – as a baby – and gets taken back in time by River to be the baby boy we know the Ponds adopt in the 1940’s US. It would certainly help explain why Rory must die in New York 🙂


    janetteB @janetteb

    @bluesqueakpip Your final suggestion was sheer genius. I like the idea of the Ponds rearing an infant Dr. Very Timey Wimey indeed.

    @miapatrick. I agree with your comments re’ the respective doctor’s. I liked Ecclestone and I think he helped to make the revival of the Doctor a success. I was sad when he regenerated but the moment that David Tennant popped up and remarked upon the teeth, I knew that our favourite time traveller was in good hands. I was very unsure about Matt when he took on the role. Like many other fans including MOffat, I was hoping for an older Doctor. By the end of Matt’s first episode I was convinced that he was The Doctor, not an actor playing the part.

    I only saw a couple of McCoy episodes but I thought he was promising. Certainly the best actor in the role since Tom Baker who was “my Doctor”.






    ScaryB @scaryb

    Lovely posts everyone. And special wave to @miapatrick – beautiful summing up, loved it. (And good to see you back)

    I like the Moffit puzzles. I like the way he writes himself into a corner, then bursts his way out of it with brilliant special effects, gorgeous scenes and heart breaking characterisation, but without over dependence on logic…. But I never feel disappointed when I watch the real ending…But no one else out there (apart from maybe Joss Whedon) can even write checks like that.

    🙂  🙂   🙂

    @bluesqueakpip – love the idea of cycles (esp cos it fits in with my “everything’s been his downloading memories” almost-but-not-quite-dead-yet theory 🙂 )

    Also love idea of Dr as Amy and Rory’s adopted child but that may be an incestuous step too far!  Talk about a complicated family!  (and we did get to meet their son in the tardisode postscript) Alternatively he’s reborn as and the cradle in the tardis (from AGMGTW) is HIS cradle – he’s brought up by River, in the Tardis…! )

    (I blame @blenkinsopthebrave – he did ask for more bonkers theories (but I think that last one should probably be filed under plain bobbins!)

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @bluesqueakpip Also nice to hear from a fellow Sylvester MacCoy fan. I was hardly watching Dr Who by then, but dipped in for new Doctors. I thought MacCoy had an interesting take on it; love him as an actor. (He’s also great as Radagast in the Hobbit; hope they pull him in for the 50th)

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    I did once bump into Sylvester – and he pretty much dresses exactly the same in real life, btw – at a film at the Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh about ’95 (Madagascar Skin I think – execrable film – or maybe Dead Man). He was driving an old red Ford Escort if I remember right.

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @phaseshift – interestingly Baker says that his most favourite thing ever about being who was meeting kids and being 100% in character for them, so you probably made his day as much as he made yours.

    Hmmm memories – weirdly I remember being aware of the show but not especially connecting to it as a kid. I can remember Daleks, so I must have watched Genesis and Destiny, but that’s about it. Like @jimthefish my main connection was through the target novelizations – I don’t think the BBC production values (ropy effects and iffy acting all) could compete with my imagination (which was done exclusively by ILM).

    I probably didn’t watch in earnest till Davison, and drifted out during McCoys tenure (Really catching it at it’s best there, dude – Androzani excepted), what with Uni, computers, music, booze, girls and so on. Never read any new adventures (except lungbarrow, and wished I hadn’t). It took till nuwho before BBC production ability caught up with the potential of the show, I guess (and getting all the uni, computers, music, booze and girls out of my system in the meantime, of course).

    But coming at it from books really focussed my mind forensically on how storytelling actually works (I rarely fail to predict a plot twist), and the show always had the very best scripters working in UK television clearly having a ball, so how better to see how the mechanics of drama and comedy function (and it clearly rubbed of on the current generation of script-o-nauts too).

    I’m fascinated by how the piecemeal, inconsistent stories (and occasional attempted fixes) with no overall direction came together into the “canon” – a long form story which only a lunatic could write; arguably no sci-fi canon has ever been (or will ever again be again) written this way.

    And of course I fell in love with the idea of the doctor – having the nerve to just wander the world without ties or worries (any day now I will do this. Any day now. And have adventures), being British-to-the-Max, taking a stand against the immoral unarmed or without even a plan (I hate planning), there’s no problem that some disarming humour, humanity and liberal application of brains at the last minute won’t solve. I try to emulate all of those, with some Han Solo style laconic cynicism thrown in. I don’t have any illusions that I pull neither off and actually come across as an over-opinionated and needlessly sarcastic Italian with a slightly absurd dress sense.

    I also have a nerf gun on my desk at work, so technically I’m not unarmed either …

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Destiny of the Daleks is the 1st Who I remember properly watching & loving it (aged 4&11 months). Watched every episode since on broadcast without fail until NOW (except xmas once or twice)! Also I remember the Ogri (vs K9) & Kroll but not much else from season 16.

    One abiding memory is of watching Dimensions in Time (aged 19) & moaning that the Drs should have worn wigs!

    I gave up on Who early in the wilderness years after reading one of the New Adventures with it’s sex & swearing. Not prudish, just thought it was a cheap trick poorly realised…

    Another is the semi-revulsion of watching the TV Movie (but still hoping it would go to a series).

    Yet another was breathing a sigh of relief after watching Rose…

    Whisht @whisht

    In terms of a specific memory, does anyone remember the Weetabix cards that you could collect?

    I’m staggered if the flickr posting here (and elsewhere) is correct and that they were from 1975. I was 4(!) but they made a huge impression on me!

    I even rescued them from when we had to clear the house we grew up in! (hope i still have them somewhere…)

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Yep – be staggered. They are from ’75 and we were that young! I must have eaten my own body weight in Weetabix collecting those. I still have a couple – An Ogron and a Draconian. Very dog-eared though.

    I also have one of the Denys Fisher versions of the Giant Robot as well from the period. When I sold a lot of my childhood toys for beer tokens before setting off to Uni I couldn’t let that one go. It’s on a bookshelf as I type glaring down at me. 🙂

    Cariad @cariad

    Hi everyone, and thanks for this forum, I was finally tempted over by the most recent guardian article which asked what people wanted from the anniversary and most people responded ‘I want x (which was usually for Stephen Moffat not to be involved) but I don’t expect I’ll get it’ . So much negativity! But everyone seems nice here!
    Anyway, as well as being new to the forum, I am also fairly new to Doctor Who, being born in 1985 and only knowing the revival. I’m trying to watch as many episodes as I can before the anniversary. Can anyone recommend any that will bring me up to speed on key characters or plot points? I keep seeing people talk about Susan and Ramona, are there other key characters or key episodes to get a good overview of classic Doctor who? Thanks!

    Whisht @whisht

    Hi @cariad – you’ve come to the right place!


    and what I mean by that is that like you, I find people here genuine and friendly.

    Unlike me, there are those who can genuinely recommend some great shows (I merely have warm memories of Tom Baker but nothing much specific, except him crouched over two wires, wondering if he has the right to destroy the Daleks). Thankfully not everyone’s got encyclopaedic knowledge (otherwise I’d have been scared off by now!) and there’s people here whose early memories of Who is from the books, which is really interesting.

    If anything, I think what’s shared is a fondness for having fun solving a puzzle!

    there’ll be loads of good suggestions and I’ll leave it to the those who know loads about the shows, but on getting snared into this place I’ve learnt that even the show runners tell each other to watch the Talons of Weng Chiang…

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Welcome @cariad ! Our resident Who encyclopedia is @htpbdet who has seen, I believe he once said, every single episode of Who ever (and maybe even the lost ones at the time of broadcast!). He might oblige with some “best of” recommendations.

    I am also a Tom Baker child – so from that era I’d recommend, off the top of my head, Genesis of the Daleks, The Brain of Morbius, and The Invasion of Time. As @whisht says, Talons is great too.


    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    Welcome @cariad

    When people ask me how to get in to Doctor Who, I always suggest that they watch the very first episode, then The Three Doctors, then Dalek Invasion of Earth,  Tomb of the Cybermen, Terror of the Autons,  Robots of Death, Talons of Weng-Chiang,  Caves of Androzani and Remembrance of the Daleks.

    That gives you an overview of the classic series. Once you have seen them, you can then turn to things like Five Doctors, Pirate Planet, City of Death, Kinda, Snakedance, Seeds of Death, The Axtecs, The Romans, The Meddling Monk, Earthshock , Curse of Peladon, Planet of the Spiders and War Games.

    Tragically, all you can do as an adult is look back at the early years with an open mind – trying to put yourself in the place of a eight year old at the time the story was made. The pace is slower, some are black and white, the focus is on character and story rather than visuals and action – so it takes patience and persistence. But if you can watch the series highlights suggested (and these are not my idea of the best of Doctor Who, but they are my idea of a way to tip-toe through all of the concepts, notions and “Wow!” things which made Doctor Who what it was, is or can be) then you get a feel for the notion that is the Doctor and you can fill in other gaps as you like.

    Another thing to do is to listen to the audio releases of Dalek Masterplan, Tenth Planet, Power of the Daleks, Ice Warriors and Web of Fear – you get a real sense of Hartnell and Troughton listening to these.

    I do not recommend any Doctor Who virgin to start with any Colin Baker episode or much of McCoy. You need to watch Pertwee through Baker through Davison to get yourself fully prepared for that.

    And if you don’t want to do that, then just settle for the reboot – and when something is referenced you don’t understand, just ask one of us here.

    Happy adventuring.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @htpbdet Thank you for those recommendations.

    If I had the time I’d follow your instructions myself as I haven’t seen everything, but alas, that might have to be when I retire!

    Craig @craig

    Hi @cariad welcome to our little forum.

    If you want a brief and amusing overview of all of Who’s history, I find this guy pretty good (and entertaining):

    I’d love to know what people like @htpbdet @jimthefish and @phaseshift think.

    Here’s his take on the first Doctor (you’ll find out who Susan is).

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Hi, and welcome @cariad

    Gosh. You’ve asked a big question. Whenever people ask me about dipping into the earlier era I tend to pick my favourites (which tend towards Tom Baker) but to avoid that….

    I always suggest at some point going back to the first episode “The Unearthly Child” because it’s where all this stuff sprang from. I don’t know if you are aware, but Dan Martin is running a retrospective series on Who in the Guardian. This is the episode list so far (we’re due for “The Sea Devils” soon), and the first one deals with the Unearthly Child with a couple of snippets of video from that episode. We also have a “Faces of the Doctor” section that we’ve posted some thoughts on indidual Doctors on (with a few clips, etc.)

    I also suggest “The Five Doctors”. I have mixed feelings about it but it does give people a fun 90 minute taste of what those first Doctors were about in one sitting (my young neice , who had never seen any of those Doctors before LOVED it). It probably also shows what a nightmare trying to cram 11 of the buggers into one 90 minute production would be like. 🙂

    I’d say @htpbdet has picked some great episode in his list above. I’d also say we both share some issues towards the sixth and seventh Doctors, so I will just add: “Revelation of the Daleks” for the sixth, and “Curse of Fenric” or “Survival” for the Seventh.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Actually, that video isn’t bad. I wouldn’t be so blunt, but it’s interesting he picked up on some traits that we’d discussed on our “Faces” strand that the Doctor was a bit of an uptight “D*ck” (i.e. very “TimeLordy”)in the beginning, and it was his association with humans that mellowed him.

    It’s probably a controvertial interpretation in some quarters, but one I’ve always felt confortable with. It really does retrofit with the emerging story, and that the earliest incarnation would probably be a bit impatient with these troublesome “apes” he’d been landed with, while admiring their imagination, drive and sense of wonder at the same time.

    ardaraith @ardaraith

    @craig – That was a great clip! He’s funny…and right (about the torso).

    Anonymous @

    @craig — I do like this fellow’s takes on the Doc. And he’s right, the first Doc was pretty much a dick until he started to be humanised by Ian and Barbara. And his equating Donna with Barbara was interesting too. I’ve always liked Barbara. She’s the Celia Johnson of companions really, isn’t she?

    vizier @vizier

    My intro to Doctor Who was Jon Pertwee’s last season. I can remember having nightmares about the Daleks in Death to the Daleks and also Alpha Centauri – so I watched Monster of Peladon also the Doctor’s regeneration in Planet of the Spiders strikes a chord.

    As from Robot onwards, I have clearer memories of the Tom Baker era and I became a fan of Doctor Who right up until Trial of the Timelord, when I gave up watching it. Presumably teenage things got in the way at the time and I missed the entire McCoy era (until catching it on video and dvd many years later).

    I was disappointed with the Movie (one that it was Americanised, but more disappointed that it was never taken up as a series). Then have been an avid viewer since 2005 with my now 11 year old son.

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    If anyone is interested there is a memories related blog entry here:


    Come one and all.

    Warning – it is VERY long….

    janisthorns @janisthorns

    I was about 12 (1975)  when I started watching–in rural West Virginia–eastern US–not sure where in the world the rest of you are from–but I thought I was the only one on earth watching this show–had no idea what it was but loved it.  PBS was patchy with broadcasts.  When I saw an episode with another Doctor (Tom Baker was THE Doctor for me) I was confused and mad– I remember being upset with nobody to talk to! I began to piece together the idea of  regenerations–but–why did nobody understand my babble about this concept.  It was lonely–those of you with a society of people who know about Who –lucky you.

    I went on to love a lot of sci-fi and have even been an math and science teacher in public school.  I missed all of 5-6-7 in the 80s and 90s and have now started to go back and watch.  I was thrilled to see Who back after the gap.  It is a whole rebirth of interest for old and a lot of new fans.   It is just such a positive beacon. Moffett is resurrecting, refreshing  and incorporating old ideas.  But, in a way you don’t have to know 50 years of history to enjoy–but it helps.  And Matt Smith is amazing.

    I am happy to chat with my people.

    Anyone going to London in November?  I am recruiting a US to London party.  I am in Oregon now (not WVa, but have one recruit attending from WVa).


    “name The Doctor, rank Doctor, intention fun”

    this will be fun





    janisthorns @janisthorns

    PS I own a pet shop in Oregon now, work 7 days a week, and still am weedeling my way for a week in London

    7thdoctor @7thdoctor

    my earliest memory of the doctor, it was christopher eccelston, his i believe second episode, where hes in 2012 underground in a museum and meets what he believes is the last dalek. that was my first dabble with all things who. Right there on the spot chris became my favorite and that hasnt changed through tennat and now smith, all of them just fantastic but eccelston, brought it to us again and interested a whole new generation in my opinion.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Tom Baker was my Doctor in this reality, but in the realm of imagination Alec Guiness scored big time. Growing up in the 70s we didn’t have the merchandising frenzy we have today. It was all a bit more sedate, until a little film called “Star Wars” came along. Those figures, released before the film had even been released were a sensation just by word of mouth. Of course I collected them, and played with them. Imaginative stories, I’m sure you would be in awe of.

    Sir Alec made a fine Doctor in my Universe

    The figure of Ben Kenobi became my Doctor. Poking his light sabre out slightly made him look like he was holding a sonic. He navigated the Universe in his lashed up Tardis constructed of lego and micronaut parts. Aided by his kind and wise Time Lord assistant Leia Romana. Toys left, right and centre would be conscripted to my imaginary worlds. The Micronauts themselves (with a few modifications) became my Cybermen. It was a world of invention limited by my own imagination. While my fellows may have been doing something more mundane like pretending that Alec was some sort of Jedi Knight or something, I knew he was the Doctor.

    Non canonical cybermen

    Why am I writing this drivel? Well – a time came when I sold my toys for beer tokens. I knew they would be fine, they went to good homes. I changed, grew up and forgot Alec as the Doctor as we all do.

    Speed forward 26 years. I’m sitting in Morrisons Café, Catcliffe, off Parkway (Sheffield), enjoying Scrambled egg on toast, a foamy coffee and talking convivial bullshit with a colleague. A habit we’ve picked up and taken to professional level. He’s just moved into a hovel of an office and wants a heater. Next door is Woolworths, which has just gone into administration. He wants to explore the possibilities of heating his new office space, and I’m in the mood to indulge him.

    We enter, and it is true pandemonium – a scrum as people just dive in to rip the store apart. I can’t remember the last time I was in a Woolworth. Harassed assistants are being barracked by people who want a good buy. My friend disappears in the scrum of the electrical section. My youngest nieces birthday is coming up, so I held back staring at the various toys parading in the colour that can only be described as vibrant pink.

    Walking along the line I came upon a Doctor Who rack. I was aware of Doctor Who toys. I kind of envied my successors that freedom of choice. My Denys Fisher K1 Robot was a bit battered and sad. I paused and mused on the ultimate question – what kind of kid would want destroyed Cassandra (an empty frame)?

    Smiling I started to turn. And then stopped.

    I was staring at a VOC robot. A Dumb. Next to him was a Super Voc. Next to him was Tom Baker (with a replaceable head!), Peter Davison, a Zygon, a Sea Devil! Magnus Greel AND MR SIN in a double pack!


    I think I giggled.

    My internal monologue went along these lines:

    “Shit. Look at those! Aren’t those fine and dandy!”
    “Yes – aren’t they glorious reconstructions. I hope the recipients of that purchase understand how powerful those stories were”.
    “We could buy those”
    “Of course we could. I have a couple of crisp twenties in my pocket. I could purchase all those toys at their remarkably lowered price of £1.99. “
    “BUY THEM…you want to!”
    “I think you underestimate me. I am a adult. This is marketing. I will not submit to these glorious creations. “
    “I’d buy them. I’m your inner seven year old. I would have sold my left testicle to own those.”
    “We were a clearer thinker – we’d sell somebody else’s testicle to own those.”
    “So you’ll buy them”
    “Of course”

    I found myself at a till with a handful of toys babbling at an uninterested till girl about how my non existent son would just love these. I returned to home base and joyfully unwrapped them. It really made me feel young. My inner 7 year old cried, while nursing a bottle of alcohol. I really would have killed for those toys at that age. Why run away from it?

    There is always a problem. A sting in the tale. In each of the packs was a part to construct another figure. A K-1 Robot. I was missing a part. A Figure was missing with that part.

    F**king Colin Baker had spoiled my fun again!

    I spent six months hunting that little fecker down! What a git. The times Ms Phaseshift sat in my car while I explored out of town “Toys R Us” actually seeking Colin Baker. I hated the git! I got the bugger in the end in an ASDA, ripped the packaging apart, cast the hateful form of the sixth Doctor aside and finished my K1 Robot.

    What did I do with them? They patrol my book shelves of course. Don’t worry. I realise this was a sort of temporary insanity. I’d never make that mistake again. Just be careful around my Iain Banks section. A First Doctor and a Tenth Planet Cybermen guard them. If you stop at the Pratchett section, shucks – is that the Cybercontroller and a couple of Tomb Cybermen? Mind the fleet of classic Daleks there! If you topple that eighth Doctor, I may have to kill you.

    I am a fanboy. And my inner seven year old has a sack full of other people’s testicles and grinning like an idiot. We are happy.

    Be what you are – Do what you feel is right. Embrace your nerd.

    This is really good advice.

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