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Talking Meme #3

For the Talking Meme, from [personal profile] st_aurafina: Do you remember the moment when you learned Doctor Who was coming back? How did you think it would go? Were your hopes/fears realised?

This is a funny one, because I never really believed Doctor Who wasn't coming back one day. Also, as I've been a fan since 1988, it's complicated.


late 1990: Doctor Who will be back next year, with a new Doctor! Or so said my sister's youth-BBC magazine Fast Forward and I believed it. I was relieved, because I'd been waiting all year for any news and wondering what had had happened to my favourite TV series, but also annoyed and upset because I loved Sylvester McCoy as Seven. And also especially because it turned out to be a BIG FAT LIE.

Summer 1991: I got Doctor Who Magazine for the first time and learned the terrible truth that DW had been axed. But it was coming back as a film! And as a series of novels!

I was sceptical of the film, but I enjoyed the first few NAs, even the first one that is supposed to be so awful. (I got it via the library so I've never re-read it, a thing which would probably explain exactly why, no doubt!) After that, my relationship with the new book-only series varied highly. Especially after Peter Darvill-Evans claimed everyone knew all DW fans were 30-something males and that was who they were writing for. People, I was a 15 year old female! I hated Peter Darvill-Evans a lot for quite a long while.

1992: Doctor Who is back! Yes, they're showing old episodes on BBC2 on Friday evenings. OMG, actual moving William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, who knew there could be such a thing?

1993: Doctor Who is back as a Children in Need sketch! It's terrible, but look, Doctor Who! WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN. (Also Thirty Years in the TARDIS and more repeats, although this time we were strictly kept to Three and Four. And Three, and Three. And more Three. I'M NOT STILL BITTER.)

1995: Doctor Who is coming back in the new year with a new Doctor in a film! This time it isn't even a lie!

I didn't think that the TV movie was all it could be, but Paul McGann was great! My heartbreak over the shooting of Seven will remain forever, though. But I was at uni and had found newsnet, and alt.drwho.creative and rec.arts.drwho had burst into sudden, glorious life. It was amazing! We mostly all liked Paul McGann! (Some people v v much. They called themselves the Paul McGann Estrogen Brigade.) We hoped for more! Some people thought the TV Movie was glorious and wrote me long emails about it. It was all great! (Well, except for the trolling, the spamming, the flaming, and the endless 1980s-hate on radw.)

... and then Fox pulled out and all we had left was these measly Eighth Doctor Adventures that BBC Worldwide had stolen back from Virgin in villainous fashion, and we all knew those were rubbish. (They improved later. And then got very complicated.) So we wrote our own Internet Adventures in the form of round robins and they were our canon instead for a bit.

However, I knew that Doctor Who would be coming back in time, because the TVM had been huge in the UK. All we had to do was wait for the rights to fully revert back to the BBC and it would happen. Even more so, because increasingly from this time onwards, New Adventures writers were shaping the TV of the late 90s and early 2000s - Mark Gatiss, Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat, Paul Cornell in particular. It was only a matter of time before one of them helped bring it about, although I did worry that if they did, they'd make it adult and dark and 'cool'. But it was coming - all that was needed was patience. Sadly, we might not have Paul McGann by that time, but who knew?

1999: Doctor Who is back as a Comic Relief skit! It's v entertaining and there's a strange moment where Hugh Grant is actually the Doctor and it works, what is the world?

2000: It's not back on TV yet, but it's back as a series of audio adventures! They're genuinely great! Hurrah! (Thanks, BFA!)

2002-2003: I fear the moment may have passed. Woe is me, for I have waited SO LONG!!! But, wait, look, what is this in my next DWM, but... Doctor Who is coming back! With a new Doctor, made by Russell T Davies, and my DWM has 90s teen pop star Billie Piper on the front of it. What even is the world anymore? Suddenly there are even BILL BOARDS EVERYWHERE. So surreal.

By this time, I was a librarian and what I hoped for out of the new series was that the children would like it; that they would have a Doctor of their own. And they did, they did. It didn't feel real to me until S3, maybe in some ways not like actual Doctor Who until Moffat-era hit, but the children were loving it, and it was back. (Also, serious kudos to RTD: I think any of the other contenders would have gone for a slightly more adult version. I don't think anyone else would have fought for the tea-time Saturday slot and the family show aspect in the same way, and that was important - no matter how many grumbles it may cause in more 'serious' fans, who would have liked it to be cool.*)

Although I am still miffed that it stopped in 1989 and I never did get any more Sylvester and Sophie on TV, because they were the best. (I'm eternally biased in favour of the bits I saw when I was 11 and 12, but a) this is only right and proper and b) they are the best. ;-p) But I always believed that it would come back in the end, and - forgive me a moment of smugness here but - I was right!

And so I don't really worry about the show ending again, because if it does, it will come back. It'll take time, but everybody knows it's a phoenix of a TV show now - and give it a decade or so off-air, and all the 21st C fans will be the ones making TV and saying, "Hey, let's bring back Doctor Who!"

* Even though Doctor Who just isn't cool. It has never been cool, or at least, not for long, and I feel sure it will never really be. Have a jelly baby, wear a fez, and stop worrying about the Kandyman and the Slitheen, or even the Myrka. The Not-We think it's all equally silly anyway.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth -- Comments there: comment count unavailable


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 12th, 2017 09:32 am (UTC)
I love this! Doctor Who could never die for good. It's a shame Paul McGann didn't get more screentime though. Also, how bizarre that Doctor Who fans were supposed to be 30-year-old men??
Feb. 12th, 2017 09:57 am (UTC)
Nope, it just regenerates! ;-)

It is a shame about Paul, but the main Eighth Doctor audios are lovely, which does make up for it a lot. (I love him with Charley!)

And the '30 something males' thing was just... I think, maths and how it appeared at UK conventions as to who the 'will buy merchandise' fans were, I suppose? (Given that nobody was a fan of the 1980s back in 1993 (even though some of us were), all Doctor Who fans were thus around 10 in 1970, and so, now, 30ish. And it probably was very male in DWAS and the world of the 'zines. The NAs had only one female author (Kate Orman) and it took a while for the EDAs to get another (Lloyd Rose).) But, yeah. I hated Peter Darvill-Evans for that comment for at least 10 years! :lol:
Feb. 12th, 2017 09:52 am (UTC)
This is brilliant! XD
Feb. 12th, 2017 10:06 am (UTC)
Thank you! :-)
Feb. 12th, 2017 02:11 pm (UTC)
There is always a misconception that science fiction fans are all male. Which is nowadays sexist and ridiculous as any perusal of fan fiction sites will show,unless they imagine all the males have adopted female nom de plumes.

I'm now wondering who they will get to replace Capaldi.
Feb. 12th, 2017 02:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I'd say it was actually pretty sexist back then, but at 15, I just felt betrayed and ready to hate Mr Darvill-Evans with all the passion of a fannish teen. (Besides, he messed up Ace!)

I don't know! New excitements and/or annoyances ahead... :-)
Feb. 12th, 2017 03:39 pm (UTC)
I didn't know Billie Piper was a 90s teen pop star!

everyone knew all DW fans were 30-something males and that was who they were writing for

:( I thought Doctor Who fans were small children hiding behind the couch!

I'm also really glad that the Doctor Who revival stayed goofy instead of going "adult." <3
Feb. 12th, 2017 05:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, she was! She had an annoying teen hit that was huge in the UK. I never wanted to see or hear anything from her again, but it turns out she can act, although I'm not sure if it's apology enough!

I think DW can and should be many things, but it should always have room for the children, because, really, the Doctor belongs to them. <3
Feb. 12th, 2017 11:18 pm (UTC)
It was one of those manufactured pop situations, apparently, where the record label comes up with the song and the persona to sing it and then goes looking for someone to fill the role. She did an interview later where she said that she'd always intended to be an actor, not a pop star, but it was pitched to her (or at least she chose to think of it) as a well-paid acting gig that involved some singing.

I think the theory was that all the old small children had grown up and the show hadn't attracted any new small children, although where they got the latter idea I'm sure I don't know. (Superhero comics started suffering from a similar delusion around the same time, and unlike Doctor Who they still haven't gotten over it.)
Feb. 12th, 2017 03:59 pm (UTC)
Aw, I love your optimism! I accepted DW was over except for the odd Children in Need thingy.

I'm usually the strange female who likes things that women aren't interested in. Because women only care about shoes;p
Feb. 12th, 2017 04:58 pm (UTC)
I don't know if it was optimism, it was just that clearly Doctor Who wasn't going away. It just was never going to be my Doctor coming back, though! :-/
Feb. 12th, 2017 08:08 pm (UTC)
I think everyone in the UK watched Doctor Who at some point. Tom Baker was the Doctor Who of my youth (complete with watching from behind the sofa because the Daleks were on screen). I remember Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred too though. I almost became a fan but then it disappeared off screen. (I'd like to see those seasons again at some point.)

I'm glad it's back though. I don't watch it now but I know a lot of people love it. And people should have the things they love.
Feb. 13th, 2017 06:48 pm (UTC)
*nods* Yes, which is why it's such a cultural institution and hard to kill off!

Aww, yes, you should try and rewatch S25 and 26 someday! Seven & Ace are still the best! (So says my inner eleven year old, and who am I to argue?)

Yes. I always loved as a children's librarian, hearing the kids talk about their favourite books and shows - and it was always an extra kick when it was Doctor Who!
Feb. 12th, 2017 11:21 pm (UTC)
I was a fan about your age, as I may have mentioned before (Sylvester was my doctor too), and I used to daydream that when I grew up I'd become an astonishingly talented writer-producer and revive Doctor Who and make it such a hit the BBC would never think of cancelling it again. For a while there I was quite annoyed that Russell T Davies had beaten me to it.
Feb. 13th, 2017 06:43 pm (UTC)
But it was a great plan - it actually worked! It was just a shame that fate had decreed it for someone else. :-)
Feb. 13th, 2017 04:57 am (UTC)
I like your optimism. I was so attached to McCoy and Aldred that it hurt quite a bit when they were shoved aside when DW had become pretty good again. 1996 was bad for my fandom -- the TVM stank, Jon Pertwee died, there were online fan wars -- so I left. What brought me back in 2008 wasn't modern DW, but a regenerated interest in old DW, which led to my rewatching McCoy, and joining a McCoy fangroup (which is now defunct, but I met a lovely fannish friend that way, which has led to hanging out with her in person a few times). Also, I got around to doing a great big DW rewatch, all of still-surviving DW in order.

Capaldi's my modern Doctor (though I liked Smith much more than Eccleston or Tennant), and it feels to me as if I'm being told by fandom, the media, and maybe the BBC that I'm wrong (again, because being a McCoy fan has always been a problem). Yeah, put it on hiatus again, with excuses, though at least it returned for Christmas, so it'll return for S10. But of course Capaldi's leaving because of all the delays. Uggh, sorry, I'm done for a long time again after S10...

Edited at 2017-02-13 07:36 am (UTC)
Feb. 13th, 2017 06:46 pm (UTC)
Well, I wasn't always optimistic - I always thought it would come back in the end, but I didn't like at all that it was never going to be Seven and Ace again, or all the waiting in uncertainty. But I just like to emphasise this one time when I turned out to be right. :-)

I will forever be a little sad still that we never got S27, though. And, hey, you don't know what or who the next Doctor will be yet. They might even keep you around for a bit, you never know. Or not. That's the fun (and heartbreak) of it. *sends hugs* (It's always rotten when your Doctor goes, though. I'll be very sad when it comes to it, too.)
Feb. 17th, 2017 04:02 am (UTC)
Aw, man. The PMEB. That brings back so many memories (and was my own introduction to online Who fandom, though I was never on usenet, I remember the days of the automated list servers and IRC).
Feb. 17th, 2017 05:34 pm (UTC)
Hee, I don't remember much about them, other than that they existed, but I left again in 98, so I missed all the stuff in between newsnet and Teaspoon and LJ.
Feb. 18th, 2017 05:33 am (UTC)
serious kudos to RTD: I think any of the other contenders would have gone for a slightly more adult version. I don't think anyone else would have fought for the tea-time Saturday slot and the family show aspect in the same way, and that was important - no matter how many grumbles it may cause in more 'serious' fans, who would have liked it to be cool.*

YES, 100%. RTD and I have definite differences of aesthetic but there's stuff I love about his work and this is a big one. Doctor Who is FOR CHILDREN (and adults) and that's not something to be ashamed of.
Feb. 18th, 2017 06:18 pm (UTC)
*nods* Yes, it may not be a children's show, but it is a family one, and I'm glad that it got brought back that way. :-)
Feb. 28th, 2017 05:53 pm (UTC)

1993: Doctor Who is back as a Children in Need sketch! It's terrible

I saw this for the first time only last year, and yes, so, so terrible.

1999: Doctor Who is back as a Comic Relief skit! It's v entertaining and there's a strange moment where Hugh Grant is actually the Doctor and it works, what is the world?

Yes, that was very strange!

Very entertaining post!

Feb. 28th, 2017 06:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And, to be fair, Doctor Who is pretty strange itself, I suppose...
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )


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