For a bad pun, that title works much better than expected: it is the story of how I personally came to Doctor Who.
Doctor Who came to US screens in the spring of 2006, via the Sci Fi Channel. At the time, my husband and I were enjoying a full cable package, and Sci Fi was a regular stop on channel-flipping nights. (Once we stumbled upon a movie featuring not one but two personal acquaintances from my husband’s acting circles.) Doctor Who was pretty heavily promoted in the months leading up to the premiere, and the promos looked pretty cool. Both of us had heard of the show, but neither of us was particularly familiar with it; I had vague memories of a fuzzy picture of a man with a scarf on an implausibly colorful set, but no more than that. Still, we were intrigued enough to sit down and watch when it aired late at night on Friday, March 17. (We haven’t gone out on St. Patty’s Day in years – apparently it was inadvisable even then.)
As you likely recall, the show opens with Rose. Accompanied by a rock-n-roll-ish soundtrack, she wakes up to her alarm with authentic bedhead. Already I could relate. Scenes of London abound as she goes to her dull retail job. Then on her way out the door she is sent on an errand to the basement.
The scene is instantly creepy. I’m not a fan of horror, but the thrill I felt was more electrifying than off-putting. Tension builds: and then, with a single word, we are made captive.
From that moment I became a fan. Everything that followed – “Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!” “Lots of planets have a north!” – the madness, the humor, even the belching bin – everything told me I was in the right place at the right time. It was a perfect balance of silliness, scariness, real human drama, and pure fantasy. I was in love.
We sat down regularly every Friday night for the rest of the series. We endured the agony of seven days between ‘The Empty Child’ and ‘The Doctor Dances’ – complete with nightmares of terrifying children and barrage balloons. At some point we saw the Christmas special – I don’t recall precisely when or where – and my brother gave us S1 on DVD. And then, probably due to the unreasonable costs of cable television (oh Brits how I envy you your annual license fee) we gave up the Sci Fi Channel along with its lesser brethren, and Doctor Who came to our home no more.
We hadn’t discovered streaming yet.
It was therefore some years before we tried again. My brother had discovered streaming, and provided us with digital files of the second season. We finally watched them sometime in early 2011. We didn’t like our first look at David Tennant – Nine will always be my Doctor – but like Rose we didn’t take long to fall in love all over again. That year we binge-watched the rest of Tennant’s era, and impatiently awaited the DVD release of S5 and then S6, available at our local library. By then we were fans of a higher order: we participated in the first ever Pedalpalooza Doctor Who Ride that spring, and the first ever Geek Girl Con later that year. I began collecting: toys, t-shirts, books, DVDs. I began reading everything I could find about the show. I began writing fanfiction. We watched S7 as it aired. I acquired costumes: Rose, the TARDIS, Fifth Doctor, Liz Shaw, and now Nine and Ten as well. We took a day out of our whirlwind trip to Ireland to visit the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales. (Best decision ever.) And most recently, I started this blog.
You could say I was committed.
And it all started with a single word.