Sunday 18 July 2010

My Doctor is.... the New Adventures Seventh Doctor

Everybody has their own My Doctor. That is the Doctor they saw when they were first watching the program or when they were most enthusiastic about the show. Millions of older people have Tom Baker as Their Doctor (his era being the most popular time in the show's history, leaving aside some ambiguity about the viewing figures). For a lot of fans, Their Doctor is not necessarilly their favorite. A lot of fans got into Doctor Who when Peter Davison or Colin Baker was on t.v. and they retrospectively came to prefer Tom Baker or John Pertwee. And now we have many younger fans whose memory will be of Christopher Ecclestone or David Tennant being on the screen. Their nostalgia will be for him.

So who is My Doctor?

I got into Doctor Who bizarely enough through coming across an ancient Doctor Who annual from the Hartnell era. I believe Sylvester McCoy was still on television for a few weeks or months after I first got into Doctor Who, but I never watched him, barring a few moments of Curse of Fenric that terrified me. Instead, I devoured dozens of Target novelisations borrowed from the local library.

The first Doctor Who televised story that I saw on video was The Five Doctors. Its quite remarkable how many people have The Five Doctors as the first story they ever saw. I suppose this is at least in part down to publicity. Not only was the original screening well publicised by the BBC, but also the video release was given much publicity too. That means on the first story I saw, I had five Doctors to choose from. The next stories I watched on video were a mix of Baker, Pertwee and Troughton.

I spent most of my personal fandom during the wilderness years without Doctor Who. That means I had the Virgin New Adventures. I read a few of them during my late childhood and teenage years. I found them pretty hard going and difficult to follow, but I still enjoyed them. The one I really loved was Timewym Exodus, by every fan's favorite uncle, Terrance Dicks. I knew and loved him for his many Target novelisations and I just loved his novel about Doctor Who meeting the Nazis. I read it so many times. I was fascinated by the way the Doctor was portrayed in the New Adventures. I loved the idea of the Doctor as a schemer with the "cheek of the Devil." The New Adventures Doctor was deep and mysterious. Much more than the brash and bold Pertwee Doctor that I had seen on video. I also liked Ace. She was totally different from Sarah Jane Smith and Jo. She was violent and destructive. And the New Adventures made her even more violent, destructive and dangerous. She was cool.

Today, when I watch DVDs of Doctor Who with Sylvester McCoy and Ace, I am reminded of the New Adventures era. This was my era of Doctor Who. It was a time when Doctor Who stories were deep, intellectual and very weird. It was a time when the Doctor was deep, mysterious and manipulative and his companion was violent and dangerous. The Virgin New Adventures had their faults, but they were my Doctor Who.

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