My first proper bit of Doctor Who was the Target novelisation of The Invasion of Time. I do not know what drew me to this book. I remember being familiar with the name of the show and I was very familiar with this joke…
Who is there?
Yes, my childhood was a sheer riot of hilarity.
I remember being impressed enough to seek out and locate the other novelisations. Which was followed up by Virgin’s New and Missing Adventures. With the spin-off literature, I would only read the bits which involved the Doctor because, at the time, I found the Doctor-less bits boring. Of course, since then, I have fully read the book
I do have memories of the show. Two of them. I recall the Third Doctor sword-fighting on a black-and-white telly. I recall the Seventh Doctor looking serious in a dark crypt.
My first piece of televised Doctor Who may have been Dimensions in Time, a charity skit involving all the then-living Doctors. You can imagine how disappointed I was by this. This wasn’t Doctor Who as I knew it. This wasn’t even good television as I knew it. This was a pint of cold sick. And the 3-D sucked. Don’t get me started on the floating heads of Hartnell and Troughton.
My second piece wasn’t much more successful than the first. The TV Movie. Yup. I remember exactly where I was when it was broadcast. I was swimming at the Exeter Golf and Country Club (yes, I am that posh). I saw the story a day later via the magic of the VHS machine. To be fair, I did enjoy it.
After that, the Whovians had to make do with the, quite frankly, fantastic, Eighth Doctor books that the BBC published. Plus their Past Doctor Adventures which were slightly less fantastic. But it was all good. Mostly. OK, John Peel’s Dalek books were absolute pants but don’t quote me on that.
When the show returned in the new millennium, I think I shared the concerns that other fans may have been having at the time. Would it be good? What would it be like? Would it have cliffhangers?
I remember laughing at a letter writer to Doctor Who Magazine who complained about Billie Piper being in the show. They were outraged. The missive-writer said he wouldn’t be watching the show. He may have said the show was dead. DWM responded by saying “Cheerio” or “Goodbye”, I forget exactly.
The show was renewed. I enjoyed it. I love it. But I secretly, in my little black heart, feel that the books are much better. If that doesn’t get me lynched by the Whovian community, nothing will.