I”ve been a Dr Who fan for as long as I can remember. When I was a child, we’d watch an episode every week day evening from Monday to Thursday on the ABC. The first doctor I remember clearly was Patrick Troughton – the Dr with the recorder stuck in the Tardis console. I vaguely remember William Hartnell, and did get to know him later during repeats, but it was the end of Patrick Troughton’s tenure that led me into watching Jon Pertwee in all his subsequent adventures and confirmed my enthusiasm for the series.
I remember waiting with baited breath for the familiar theme to begin pouring out of the television speakers and then the swirling pattern of greys would begin to herald the opening credits. (We only had black and white TV in those days.)
We’d go from adventure to adventure with The Doctor and his companions, and wander off to exotic world after exotic world meeting new cultures and sometimes being scared of them.
With Sarah Jane and Tom Baker, we watched as the Daleks were born, and I remember thinking about the potential paradoxes of time travel for the first time. I was slightly freaked out by the Mistfall when The Doctor first met Adric, and then saddened when Adric died. I enjoyed the intrigue of the Doctor’s encounters with The Master, and the search for The Key of Time when he first met Romana.
Leela was one of my favourite companions – she didn’t scream, which I considered a huge plus, and was very prone to waving her knife around.
As I was watching tonight’s episode with Peter Capaldi as The Doctor, I was marvelling at the longevity of the series, which has even survived a hiatus and reimagining.
I really like Capaldi’s Doctor. His portrayal reminds me very much of Jon Pertwee – his age and alien qualities are evident in his mannerisms and comments, and there are hints of the way Christopher Eccleston played The Doctor. (I’ve always wished he’d had more than one season.) Obviously the script is a large part of this, however I really like the way he doesn’t mince words. There’s such a mixture of irritation, anger and vulnerability in this doctor that I’m intrigued, and can’t wait to watch each episode.
I think it’s the universal themes that Dr Who explores that keeps the audience hungering for more. Some episodes are just pure fun, but more often than not, The Doctor and his companions are faced with moral and ethical dilemmas, and sometimes the choices are not clear cut. Underlying all of this however, is the inherent nobility of the character – an angry and sad character at times, yet always a character who is willing to self sacrifice for the greater good, a part of the character that sometimes alienates his companions.
It seems to be taken for granted that Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswald) will be leaving the series shortly. I wasn’t initially fond of her character when she first appeared with Matt Smith, but this latest series has developed her character much more fully, and I’m really enjoying her interactions with Peter Capaldi. I suspect (hope) that her leaving episode will be an absolute classic, but it’s really nice to see a character develop her own life, separate to The Doctor, during the season.