Today we celebrate a whole decade since the reboot of Doctor Who, to many a show they didn’t know before it came back, to many the rebirth of a beloved sci-fi classic that accompanied them through the years. I had planned a Top 10 episodes post for 10 years and that might still happen this week, but today I want to talk about how Doctor Who has shaped my life in terms of fandom-involvement, and how it is heavily responsible for me being able to write this post, at this very moment.
Before I even knew what Doctor Who was most of my fan-experience, similar to the one I still live today, had been limited to Buffy and Charmed forums, back when I was probably too young to be on forums (I was about 12) and yes, I watched an absurd amount of TV, but I was in no way as involved as I was when this show came into my life.
In 2007, however, I caught up on Doctor Who via Spanish TV, where they only aired the episodes from “Rose” to “Christmas Invasion”. I caught just about the end of “Rose” and my first reaction was “what in the fresh hell is this?”. However, the next night, I was sitting in front of my TV again, watching “The End of the World”. There is something about that episode, low budget CGI and everything, that instantly tells you whether this is the show for you. There is a sense of wonder in Rose’s first space (and time) travel, but also a deeply-rooted sense of sadness which you do not expect from a family show. The emotional layers to the good ol’ sci-fi are what make Nu-Who what it is, and this episode gives you a taste of the emotional journey ahead, through Rose’s eyes.
I remember the ridiculous amount of rage I felt when the Ninth Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston and still my Doctor to this day) regenerated into David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. I didn’t know what Doctor Who was, I didn’t know what regenerations were and I didn’t know why this overly eager puppy was on my TV talking about his teeth.
That rage lasted for about 15 minutes of “Christmas Invasion” where I immediately fell in love with Tennant, and right after I launched myself online to find the rest of the episodes. Soon enough I was in Livejournal, meeting other Spanish and international fans of the show and making friends that to this day I still communicate with.
2007 was also the time when I caught up to speed with the show, being “Voyage of the Damned” the first episode that I watched live, before the show went on hiatus until Catherine Tate’s return in “Partners in Crime”.
That’s when Doctor Who started taking over my life: University essays were written about it (with really great grades, to my credit), official books were purchased, merchandising made its way to my room and I became a diehard fan. I had never loved a show as much as I loved Doctor Who at that very moment and when I traveled to London for the first time in 2008, everything I could find in Forbidden Planet within my budget, I brought back home with me. I was, quite officially and unashamedly, a Whovian, with well-reviewed fanfic (to my surprise due to my not-so-great English back in the day) and a bunch of new friends. I had my first convention experience and met other fans just like me. Then fandom moved from Livejournal to Tumblr and we kept in touch through Twitter, where we got each other into other shows: Glee (when it was good), Pushing Daisies, Ugly Betty, Sherlock, Life On Mars, Community, The Walking Dead, and a very, very long etc. As I met people through other shows, I converted them into Doctor Who, which is what fandom is truly about: sharing your love for something with others and then destroying their lives by giving them even more things to love.
In 2011, I lived in England for six months and my fandom friends were the ones that convinced me to give it a shot. Those I knew who happened to live in England too, I ended up meeting up with there. I also saw David Tennant and Catherine Tate do their thing in Much Ado About Nothing, then went to Dr Faustus and met Arthur Darvill. In 2014, I threw myself on a plane to London to see Tom Hiddleston play Coriolanus at the Donmar Warehouse, without even having tickets. I traveled to New York for NYCC and it was one of the most fun, enriching weeks of my entire life and had it not been for the friends made through fandom, who I was so fortunate to meet, it wouldn’t have been possible.
Yes, not all of those things have happened directly because of Doctor Who, but had I not entered fandom through Doctor Who, they wouldn’t have happened. This show has been on of my life’s biggest catalysts: those fanfics I am now ashamed of were the reason I improved my English writing and are partially the reason I am able to write this post today. Those friends I made are now people I know I can count on, people I know I can speak to about anything, people I am free to be as nerdy as I can be with and people who can be as nerdy as they want to in front of me. It gave me an ability not to judge, an admiration for all its women, a love for all its Doctors and for the Rory Williams of the world and made me find the joy in sci-fi. It introduced me to actors that I now admire and follow and genuinely love and will love for years to come. It made me better. It made my life better.
So thank you, Doctor Who, for giving me a sense of wonder, a passion for writing, for traveling and for bringing me friends I would have never met otherwise.
May you give me many more more years of entertainment.