Doctor Who: One Fan's Analysis
No My Sweet, Doctor Who Doesn't Begin with Eccleson
At forty, I am one of those fans that began watching Doctor Who with the original seven. I time my fandom to begin in 1985 because I have a Doctor Who book from 1985 that I remember proudly receiving as a child. When I was a child I remember Peter Davison had just ended his time on the show and Colin Baker took over as the Doctor. By the time I went to my first SciFi convention in 1988, Sylvester McCoy had taken on the role as the Time Lord. Soon after that the show was cancelled which made me very sad.
In my childhood, Doctor Who was not readily available in the USA. I had to stay up late on Friday nights (10:30 PM) and watch Doctor Who on PBS (Public Broadcasting Station). On weeks I was in school, I often fell asleep in the middle of the show. The first two Doctors were Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. My father was the one who introduced me to Doctor Who. "Hey," he said, "Come see this weird English Science Fiction show." I didn't see it as weird, I loved it! I was hooked!
So, when I hear today, young people talking about Doctor Who, referring to the "old Doctor Who series" I correct them with, the "Classic Doctor Who." I also lecture them about how as a "To be a true fan, one needs to watch the classic Doctor Who." I know this is arrogant, a bit. I have been traveling with the Doctor longer then the young fans and remember the 25th anniversary of Doctor Who as well as the 50th, so I have the years. No my sweet, Doctor Who does not begin with Christopher Eccleston!
To Young Fans
Don't get me wrong, I love young fans. You are what gives Doctor Who a future. You are what keeps the spirit of the show alive. All I ask is that you do not discount the classic Who. Also, please do not disregard Peter Capaldi based on his age. Every Doctor is different, with some basic similarities (ie. Doctor Who seems to always have a defined moral compass). As an older person, I had my specticism of Matt Smith as the youngest Doctor but I gave him a chance and even though I love Peter, I miss Matt now. Give all Doctors a chance, that is all I ask.
Yes, I know the classic Who is kind of silly, you can see strings on the spaceships and some of the special effects are laughable. Remember, the BBC did not have the budget it does now. The Doctor Who Magazine is a good place to read to appreciate the work that went into the early show. It was truly brilliantly done. People were hired to literally hand make the monsters. It really was a show run on a dream and imagination. It is great! It is one of the things I enjoy about the show. What I love with the new series is they have stayed true to the quirkiness of the show but have improved it with better budgets and advances in technology.
A Female Doctor Who
If you look at the Internet a lot of speculation and thoughts have been shared on the casting of Jodie Whitaker as the latest Doctor. There was a time that even I was skeptical of having a woman Doctor. The main selfish reason for this is because, what female fan doesn't have a crush on Doctor Who? And being a straight Doctor Who fan, even the twenty year younger Matt Smith after a while grew on me where even he had an attractiveness to me. Peter Capaldi once a while back mentioned, I think, about the chemistry of the set up of a male Doctor and a female companion. It was a recipe that worked.
One thing that makes something a classic is its ability to stand the test of time. For instance, Shakespeare is a prime example of this. Shakespeare has been made into a modern dress version and I think Prospero was even played by Helen Mirren to put a change on the gender of Prospero in the Tempest and it worked well. I think the reason Doctor Who is a classic television program is like Shakespeare it has stood the test of time. I remember as a girl being frustrated with Jo Grant as a companion because she did an awful lot of screaming and I wanted to yell, "Fight the monster girl! You can't always depend on the Doctor to save you!" Further down the line we have Amy Pond who might scream but at least she is spunky enough to pick up something and start swinging at the monster. So I think the role of companion has evolved.
I think Peter Capaldi's regeneration was after a storyline that showed how the Doctor has changed. We see the sexist, politically incorrect sixties Doctor in his first incarnation. And then there is the Twelve incarnation telling his first self that, "You shouldn't be saying that." This different and changing Doctor transitions beautifully into Peter's regeneration into the first woman Doctor Jodie Whitaker. I think we will grow used to a female Doctor and will love her just as much as the Doctors other incarnations.