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Nostalgia – just what the doctor ordered…

November 20, 2013

It’s the 50th anniversary of Dr. Who. On Saturday evening we are promised a treat as millions of fans, old and new, tune in to “The day of the doctor.” Whilst Dr. Who is clearly a cultural phenomenon, a piece of televisual delight, what do anniversaries tell us?

Anniversaries are as much about ourselves as the thing we are recognising and celebrating. I can’t remember the first few series of Dr. Who because I was too young, but the urge to look back at past episodes gives me the opportunity to get a real sense of where I have been, and where I am now.

When I think about Dr. Who, I not only remember episodes, incidents, monsters, I am thrust into the hinterland of the past and forced to allow myself to explore , through feelings my own past.

Without wishing to bore you with too much detail, please take my hand and allow me to take you on a brief walk down memory lane.

I’m about eight or nine years of age, and am watching Colin Baker and Peter Davison on a small television in our kitchen in West Drayton. I am sitting on a bar-type stool and the television is on the breakfast bar. I am close to the telly, but can see well enough to see the screen. My mum is in and out of the kitchen doing various chores. My older sister is in the living room or upstairs, my dad is watching television in the living room, and my younger sister is barely a baby. I am happy and excited – it’s winter and always cosy.

I am in Moorfields eye hospital, around the same age. I have just watched mastermind and am back in bed. It is getting late, the night shift is beginning. One of the questions Magnus Magnuson asked was about vampires. The answer was garlic, but in my post operative haze I miss heard the contestant and thought he said Dallek. For the next few nights I am plagued by fantastical nightmares about Daleks battling pale faced vampires.

I am a little bit older. I am watching television in the living room – I think it’s a weekend but I can’t be sure. Sylvester MaCoy is the new doctor. I think he is brilliant, stories like Battlefield, The Curse Of Fenric and Ghost Light are wonderful. I love Dr. Who!!

I am at boarding school. My friend Daniel has piles of VHS tapes. The familiar music and voices make me feel at home. He is still a close friend and we still speak about Dr. Who.

I am at home having left school. I am depressed, I sit in my small study and watch tapes of Dr. Who. I feel sad.

Dr. Who is back on air! My mum enjoys it – I like the stories in the first series but am not bowled over by Christopher.

I continue to watch the new series – Matt Smith is brilliant. I can no longer see the screen, or much else for that matter! My mum isn’t here anymore, and I am married.

Dr. Who has been a part of my life for a very long time. Dr. Who and Star Trek have been my companions, marking rights of passage, cheering me up and enthralling me ever since childhood. If this 50th anniversary means something now, it should mean everything for the adults of the future who will have a fast paced, energetic group of doctors to look back on, rather than our eclectic mix of brilliant, floored and miscast men who try to weave magic with the aid of a blue box.

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