When I was 7 or 8 years old I remember having a rather bad cold and my mum letting me stay home from school for a few days because of it. I was actually the kid that liked going to school so having to stay at home kinda sucked. I think the best part about being home sick was laying in bed, having my dear old mum making me canned soap (remember the Campbells Meatball Alphabet Soup? I use to push the meatballs on the side and eat all the noodles, drink the broth, and savor the meatballs at the end. When I think of it now I gag a little…ew! But when you’re 8 it’s pretty much gourmet!) and watching telly in bed.
I’m old enough to remember they’d rerun episodes of Doctor Who on PBS. My Doctor was and always will be Tom Baker, some folks consider him the ultimate Doctor, I think it’s because he’s so well recognized as the character and he’s the first thing you think of…the scarf, the hat, the coat, the jelly babies…!
I swear I can recall that magical moment I was first introduced to the good Doctor. Later in my life, after avidly becoming a Whovian, I learned that the episode that introduced me to the dear old Doctor was The King of Sontar from series 3, regeneration number 4. At this time in my life I’ve watched it over and over and over again and of course, have the DVDs (I almost have a complete set of the entire series from start to finish, 50 year’s worth of incredibly good BBC TV).
Sontarans at the time were pretty ugly. Commander Linx was crazy ugly! If you think Staal is a potato head google up Linx! Now Leela was the companion at the time I was introduced to the good Doctor, her bust sits happily on my desk, and she was sexy. I mean if I didn’t WANT TO BE the Doctor so much I def wanted to be Leela.
By the time I was 15 or so I had finally gotten around to actually seeing all of Tom Baker’s appearances. Some were even on VHS (remember tapes!?) as a friend of my family got them for me as a gift where as others were actually borrowed from the library. I’ve seen pretty most episodes at this point in my life.
In 1996 when the eighth took to the screen in an actual film I wasn’t as nearly as excited as I was when the Sci-Fi Channel aired a brand new series in 2006. I mean who wants a single movie when you can have the Doctor week after week in a series right? Say what you want about Christopher Eccleston and all the rumors that surround him but he’s part of what put Who back on the map. His rather slick leather jacket, talk of a Time War, and his ability to hold his hand out, and say “If you want to live come with me!” had me enthralled. Because I was older now and I was reliving my rather dorky youth through a brand new series of adventures that were unfolding on the Sci-Fi channel weekly. Some us will be honest and some not so much but we all kinda sorta love how RtD romanticized science fiction. And much of that started with nine and Rose Tyler his young, 19 year old companion and heck he had been away so long, doing god knows what, so long in fact the entire planet of Gallifrey was no more, that a little romance was what he needed to lighten up the mood! RtD got his grief for romance from me personally and from fans all around. Hey, wait, this is science fiction! But I think sometimes, deep down inside, we liked it a little bit.
Well..the Doctor made its way back to its home on BBC America after Christopher left us. And whoever runs that PR department did the biggest push I have ever seen in my Whovian life because they did something that in 50 years never happened….they brought the Doctor to America. Doctor Who was suddenly a geeky household name. He was at Comic Con, he was trending on Twitter within the US, he was, well he was EVERYWHERE! In the last two and a half years the Doctor has become both a beloved British and American character and television show. Ten never really got this royal treatment and most newbie Whovians will likely agree that Ten was the best of the best in this day, right now, in this age of Who. Matt Smith, he brought human, perhaps whimsy, comic relief, and total dorkhood to the role but David Tenant was electrifying at times. You wanted to run with him sometimes didn’t you? From what I’ve read David was actually hard to get a handle on because he was always just randomly adding a bit of unscripted dashing around into his parts. I think the Waters of Mars really displays that. It’s just him running all over the place in some mad dash to save the day, AGAIN. Which brings me to possibly one of the best scenes in Whovian history. There have been so many scenes across the series that are really incredible but David’s Time Lord Victorious speech was timeless. Here it was, FINALLY laid out, for all to see, the true ego of the Doctor that’s been joked about, hinted at, but never truly declared. And here was Ten, basically blowing his own horn, telling the world how incredible he was as a Time Lord, thee only Time Lord for that matter in existence as of now. This brought new meaning to the Doctor, it wasn’t all fun and games, he was truly a powerful alien and he could do some damage. Or did it mean he was just simply tired of being alone?
And here we are 50 years later….
Some of you are new Whovians, some of you old, and we all share something in common.
We love that mad man in a little blue box and we search the skies hoping someday we’ll get the chance to travel through all of time and space holding the hand of a most beloved time lord.
Happy 50th Doctor! Tomorrow we get to see you return to our screens and our hearts. And we begin to prepare to meet your next life, number 12, oh happy day what adventures are in store for us next?
I hope in the next 50 years you’ll be just as popular as you are today, now. Because when and if I have children I want them to sit home one day sick in bed and be able to enjoy your adventures too!