I am, without a doubt a Doctor Who fan and would rate my level of enthusiasm for this institution of entertainment at a five out of ten. I place myself in the mid-range of fandom for several reasons. My familiarity with the first eight Time Lords is quite superficial and I have next to no interest in getting to know more about them. I’m not likely to dress up as a Doctor Who character, but I can’t ignore a TARDIS-themed merchandise display. I don’t differentiate between the models of sonic screwdrivers nor do I care that the Slitheen family come from the planet Raxacoricofallapatorious. My mind gets in muddle when they start talking about the danger of crossing time streams; nevertheless, I’ve come to accept that I don’t always know what’s going on and I just enjoy the ride.
I like the stories, I like the characters, and I like the twists that make your mouth drop open just a bit when the reveal happens. I LOVE the heartfelt moments and I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve shed a tear on more than one occasion. I am a fan, not a fanatic. Therefore the recent 50th anniversary inundation has presented me with a bit more Who than I require in most situations.
In the States, BBC America proclaimed this past week Doctor Who Takeover Week.
Marathons of all three Doctors’ episodes from the rebooted series were broadcast non-stop – even Christophter Eccelston’s meager one series run despite the fact he couldn’t be bothered to participate in the 50th anniversary festivities. Various other specials premiered including one where physicist Brian Cox explained how time travel and other Doctor Who concepts might be scientifically possible (I have a feeling it would have been more entertaining if the actor Brian Cox had been there instead, but oh, well)…
Friday night I did enjoy the bits and pieces I was able to catch of An Adventure in Space and Time. This TV movie tells the story of the beginnings of Doctor Who including the casting of William Hartnell (played brilliantly by David Bradley) as the show’s inaugural cranky time traveler. We get to see dramatizations of behind the scenes stories about how the sets were designed, why regeneration became a part of Time Lord canon and the many fights producer Verity Lambert (Call the Midwife’s Jessica Raine), the first female producer for the BBC, had to wage to give her show a fair chance to become the legend it is today.
Unfortunately I was in the midst of making Fish Finger cookies (chocolate wafer cookies rolled in graham cracker crumbs and baked until golden crispy) for my 50th anniversary Time Lord Trivia Tournament at work the following day. Some of you may remember my post from last year – How to Put on a Doctor Who Extravaganza in Six Not So Easy Steps. What I did this year was basically an upgrade of the original – I swapped out about 75% of my old questions for new ones, my co-worker Mary came up with a Tardis bookmark craft to replace the River Song diary and we had included food this time – the aforementioned Fish Fingers and custard. This photo actually demonstrates the incredible popularity of this snack as at the beginning of the event, this tray was completely covered in faux fish fingers.
I’m happy to say that this program drew twice as many participants as last year. I can’t take the credit for all the success as I had support from my co-workers Jordan, Kathleen and Fabian. And it must be said, all the 50th anniversary hubbub did much of my advertising for me. Stick a life size TARDIS replica in your lobby for a week and it will recruit a healthy crowd. No mere flyer can do as much!
Upon returning home after orchestrating this exhausting adventure, I settled down with some Chinese food to watch the encore showing of “The Day of the Doctor.” (See, if I was a true TARDIS-blue Whovian, I would have cancelled my program at work and stayed home to witness the global simulcast on BBC America at 2:50 ET.) I enjoyed seeing David Tennant back in the pinstriped suit and converse “sand shoes”. I liked John Hurt’s performance and his fauxhawk . Billie Piper didn’t annoy me as much as she usually does, but then she wasn’t truly Rose in this episode so at least I know it’s Rose Tyler, the character, I don’t like rather than just Billie Piper the actress and her amazingly equine-like mouth that bothers me so.
And dear Matt Smith, I’m missing the 11th Doctor already…
Three Doctors in one place, the potential to change Gallifreyian history, nods to Doctors past and future – what more could you ask for? Well, what I was most anxious to see was two Doctors on a couch answering (or not answering) the questions of Whovians perched precariously on a certain red chair…
Not only was the entire Doctor Who segment of the Graham Norton show great fun, but it illustrates my initial point. I am a fan, not one of those delightfully eccentric people we just witnessed getting flipped over by a their heroes in something approaching a comfy torture device. (I know you’re thinking it, “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”). Though when I think about it, that last tattoo guy got to not only meet David Tennant but also got to touch him when the 10th Doctor autographed his arm. Perhaps, I’m ignoring the fast track to fan girl glory?
The anniversary of any TV show that can draw a fan base for fifty years is an achievement to be celebrated for sure, but I’m happy to say the overwhelming wave of Doctor Who is over for now, or at least until Matt Smith’s farewell episode is aired this Christmas.
Until then I plan on recovering from my Doctor Who fatigue by avoiding reruns and staying away from time machines of all sorts. Anyone else experiencing a Time Lord hangover or is it just me?