I often find myself wondering about my fasination with this strange TV show. I'm 40 years old for god's sake! I should be taking over the world or something, not wasting time watching something I've seen so many times before or spending more money on more damn plastic crap made in China and to be hidden away in a box.
I've watched Who since I can remember. I'm sure I can rememer Tom Baker's first story, Robot, and have definate memories of the Ark in Space and the green bubble-wrap maggot man. Hiding behind the sofa was no use here, terrified I ran and hid in the downstairs toilet, and in such a rush managed to break the toilet seat. I cried when Sarah-Jane left, got frustraited when Leela left (but got to go, and stay, on Gallifrey!).
I'm a big fan of the older stories, and I'm remembering now the Five Faces of Doctor Who repeat season on BBC 2 in the build up to Davison's arrival - that was when I really became a fan. I can remember watching An Unearthly Child, The Krotons, Carnival of Monsters and Logolopolis [hold on, that's only four, oh yes, and the Three Doctors... but that's still only four faces...] as if it was yesterday, and they are all firm favourites. This was before video, and it felt really special watching these old stories, almost like travelling back in time itself.
With the arrival of Peter Davision I was hooked, becoming a Doctor Who Monthly subscriber, probably triggered by reading the Target books, which I avidly collected, and exploring those stories which you'd thought you'd never get to see ever again. [Indeed some of them we wont get to see ever again - I'm fascinated with the missing episodes and their stories, and love the narrated TV audio soundtracks, which has lead me into the world of the Target novelisation audios.]
Back then my folks were'nt too keen on me spending all my spare money on something they saw as a passing phase. 'It won't last' they'd say, and perhaps my stubornness to prove a point became self-re-inforcing. But, my Dad was good enough to get me tickets and take me to the 20th Who anniversary thing at Longleat, which was truely amazing. I slowly got addicted to collecting Who stuff, and when I had the money ended up spending studpid amounts on deleted videos to catch up on my collection. And those last few damn target novelisations!
But what is it that makes me want to watch, again and again, the same stories when I know what's going to happen? I do have some memory issues, which makes watching something so familiar quite reasuring. But there's a particular phase I go through when I find myself 'Whoing'. I suffer from chronic depression, of cycles of self destruction and phases of slow rebuilding. Now I'm not saying that you have to have mental health issues to be so addicted to a TV programme - but it helps. It's during these regular cycles of rebuilding where I find myself revisiting Who, and using it as a tool to get myself back up and running. It's my escape, time off from myself, but it also becomes my vehicle to get busy doing something, reading, listening, watching and thinking about something which is, in the end, just a TV show, but, somehow, something which can get you thinking about all sorts of strange stuff. [Although parrallel universes are giving me some headaches at the moment thought. I just don't believe there's a different universe out there following every different decision or direction that every different person, animal, vegetable or mineral has randomly or otherwise taken over the history of the universe. Come on, is there really a different universe where I arrange my Target books in date of pubication (and their numbering) rather than the TV story order? I would never happen I tell you!]
My shrink just thinks I have too much time on my hands. And so have you probably if you've read all this!