I remember 1963 for two things, one being the first time I encountered deep snow, playing outside this was wonderful stuff for a scruffy six year old kid living in the early council estates built in the late 1950’s, I still have a clear image in my mind of looking down at my feet and only seeing snow up to my knees, my friends and I even found the pond formed by a bubbling spring in the woods had frozen solid, so skating, probably more on our backsides than legs was to be enjoyed by all.
The second and most important thing for you readers was the first episode of Doctor Who, William Hartnell was like my Grandfather, thin and grumpy haha, so I already related to him as a grandfather figure, this was brilliant stuff too, a time travelling grumpy granddad, who you just knew would tell you, you’re not chewing your food forty times before swallowing.
The opening scene was like Dixon of Dock Green (Google it) with a policeman and his flashlight (these were also alien communicators to a six year old, but you had to hold it under your chin and talk in a deep spooky voice) the policeman seems to be checking everything is locked up and the name of the junkyard is lit up, 76 Totter’s Lane. Are you excited yet? You just knew something was going to happen in that yard, but what?
It does all fade a bit with time but I remember Susan being followed by two of her curious and worried teachers, she goes into the junkyard and they are not far behind. Police Boxes used to be a common sight in those days, so to see someone go inside wasn't all that strange, but this one buzzed and vibrated from the inside.
The rest is history as far as An Unearthly Child goes, so I wont bore you with the details, we talked about the programme at school and imagined how brilliant it would be to go back in time and see a Dinosaur or be a Cowboy, bang bang bang, you're dead, if you didn't play dead when you were banged at, you were a dirty little cheater.
My favourite time for Doctor Who for me was the regeneration of the Doctor, although I think they called it renewal back then, Patrick Troughton was now the Doctor and he was Brilliant. I’m now nine years old and very impressed, he was mischievous, funny , witty and clever, and a childish sense of wonder at all things new (Matt Smith has taken this aspect of Pat’s Doctor) an Uncle you wish you had, because you knew he’d give you a jelly baby even if you’d been naughty and had a sweetie ban slapped down on you to put you straight, My Great Grandmother was like that, she loved me and would give me a Jaffa cake even though I was in the dog house.
So again I could relate to this Doctor, when Jamie joined the crew things really took off, Frazer Hines and Patrick Troughton were a perfect combination, I was too young to appreciate Zoe’s assets to the crew because she was a girl errrrrrrrr.
I couldn’t bear to watch Patrick’s Doctor die, or in his case change his features so I never watched The War Games right to the end. I never saw the change, I didn’t like Jon Pertwee’s Doctor mainly because he wasn’t Pat, I do appreciate his portrayal now that I’m older, the BBC also ruined it for me by making Jon’s Doctor time locked on Earth so they could save budget on set designs. So he was more like Quatermass to me, that put aside I know Jon did a lot for the programme and headed the way to Doctor Who conventions.
My favourite episode of Jon’s era was of course The Three Doctors to see Billy and Pat back was just pure joy to me , now a teenager it was like Christmas and Birthdays had joined for one great show, it’s this episode where Pat says for the first time: ”I can see you've been doing the TARDIS up a bit, I don't like it.” Jon Pertwee was very much his own Doctor.
Tom Baker was a wonderful and funny Doctor, just like Pat. He even stole Pat’s Jelly Babies, an idea he’s often given credit for, really every Doctor that followed Jon seemed to take on some aspect of Pat’s performance, let’s face it if it wasn’t for Patrick Troughton, being accepted as the Doctor, the programme would have stopped with him, so he has more than earnt the right to be the Best Doctor of them all.
I enjoyed Peter Davison’s Doctor also, he had that venerable Doctor who cared for others more than his own life, Peter’s Doctor was also joined by a companion who's assets I was now old enough to appreciate even though she was a girl., as I’m now in my early twenties. There used to be a group called Yellow in the 80’s and when I first saw Peri that dat dat OHHHH Yeaaaa song was in my head. The Five Doctors was the best episode for what should be obvious reasons.
Colin Baker was another Doctor I liked, he had a darker, untrustworthy Doctor going on, unlike Pat.
The Two Doctor’s was the highlight because my favourite Doctor and companion combo were back, and fully in the driving seat. Patrick would steal every scene he played in The Two Doctors, The Three Doctors and even The Five Doctors.
Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor at the time I didn’t like, I never liked the Doctor being called Professor by Ace, another character I never took to at all, for me at the time McCoy’s tenure was the Death Knell to the series and Doctor Who was no more. (I know this will be a controversial view as most fans in their thirties grew up with McCoy’s Doctor.)
It's now 1996 and I thought Wow the Doctor is back, I’m now coming up to forty, and a fantastic actor, Paul McGann was going to play the Doctor, but due to America’s none acceptance of the show it died an early death, I feel he would have gone on to be one of the all time greats in Who History.
The rest you all know, 2005 saw the return with a cocky Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston. I liked Chris a lot, but when he left early I wasn’t surprised. So enter David Tennant and the fun loving Doctor is back taking on the talking to himself side of Patrick, and that sense of wonder. Tennant was my daughters Doctor, she absolutely loves David Tennant, and yes he was a great Doctor, but this is now the era where lovey dovey Doctor rules. There was no time for kissing in Pat’s day, there were monsters to stop. I do think David’s regeneration went on far too long, again lovey dovey diey Doctor.
Matt Smith is the Doctor and I rate him close to Pat, but if they shared a scene it would be Pat your attention would go to, I’m not a big fan of some of the stories and I’ve said as much on twitter, this again upsets people but I go back a long way into the show, so I see it from a different perspective to the new fans. If the writing was made more for the fight against all evil in the universe rather then the internal anguish of the Doctor, the Doctor could be amazing under Matt. But to me the stories have become all about relationships of the characters and the monsters have little air time.
Let me also add that some other character’s have helped this show last in the mind, the Brigadier
(Nicholas Courtney) and Sergeant Benton, (John Levene, who was the first person I met in Newcastle, and remarked how well I dressed in my Replay tweed jacket) and one I met in the Lanes in Brighton, when in my twenties but too polite to bother her while she was shopping was Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) fine fellows all of them.
Well these are my views and I’m being honest about how I see the show. I think Matt will be remembered as one of the all time Greats, after the Greatest of them all Patrick Troughton.
I thank anyone who has managed to read the rambling of the person now referred to as Besty.
Written by @BestDrWho