Today marks the 55th Anniversary of Doctor Who. Throughout the day the writers of BlogtorWho will share their stories of the show. They’ll explain what this simple television programme means to us. How it has shaped our lives. Our favourite moments, stories and characters. Read on to hear one of our writers, Bedwyr, share some of the unforgettable experiences provided to him by Doctor Who…
I have been a fan of Doctor Who for as long as I can remember. Back in 1992 I clearly remember watching ‘The Sea Devils‘, ‘Genesis of the Daleks‘ and ‘Battlefield‘. They were repeat screenings on BBC2 and it captured my imagination. It was unlike anything that I had ever seen before. Quickly I immersed myself into this exciting new world. At the library I would borrow Doctor Who Target novels and read them several times before returning them a week later. For Christmas in 1993 I was given ‘Ressurection of the Daleks‘ on video. The Daleks exploded onto the screen and a deeply dark story revealed itself. From that point I had to own every video so I could watch every story in this mesmerising show.
That video collection has grown into a library of books and DVDs plus enough costumes from Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures to open an exhibition. But growing up in the 1990’s being a fan of Doctor Who was not easy. For a start the majority of people my age didn’t even know what it was as it hadn’t been on television for a decade, except for one night in 1996. But even during the worst times the programme was there for me. Recovering from open heart surgery, Doctor Who provided an escape from the pain and boredom. But Doctor Who has provided me with so much more. I’ve met wonderful friends and been provided with some incredible opportunities.
Making an Exhibition of yourself
As a regular attendee of Doctor Who exhibitions across the country I never thought that I would have the chance to write a book about the subject (due out in 2019) nor the opportunity to work at such an attraction. A life ambition was achieved to operate a Dalek. Emerging from inside, with much assistance and soaked in sweat from shifting the screen-used prop across the floor, an enormous smile beaming across my face. I discovered how many pieces make up a modern Cyberman costume, forcing them onto a mannequin like an elaborate jigsaw puzzle. Standing quietly gazing at my favourite TARDIS console (1983-1989) whilst inside my younger self excitedly squealed. Reattaching bits of Weeping Angel together to create additional exhibits.
I was even in ‘The Five(ish) Doctors’. Nursing a serious hangover, wearing the same clothes I had worn the night before and after a negligible amount of sleep. But there I am walking passed the Doctors of the 1980’s. Opportunities like that were, and still remain to this day, mind-blowing experiences that my younger self could scarcely have imagined. There was surely only one thing that could better it…
Behind the Scenes
Never could I have imagined during those Wilderness Years of the 1990’s that the show would return to it’s rightful place on BBCOne with brand new adventures. Even less likely was the possibility that I might actually work ON the show itself. Admittedly I didn’t get an onscreen credit but I have multiple callsheets for Doctor Who with my name on them. I can say that I have worked with Cybermen and helped them climb out of graves. I’ve bought Peter Capaldi a can of Diet Coke from the BBC canteen in Roath Lock. Working on ‘Thin Ice’ I saw Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts long before the character hit the screens. I was even on location when we ‘ran over’ Danny Pink. After working on Doctor Who I had no interest in pursuing a career in television. Nothing could match the thrill of working on my favourite show.
I’ve been very lucky but ultimately Doctor Who is more than just a television programme. It triggers deep emotions within it’s fans. Some of them are even luckier than I and get to take charge of the show! But for all of us it remains a constant presence in our lives. In times of hardship and uncertainty it unites us and brings people together. Thriving on change and reinvention, the messages remain the same. A programme that entertains, teaches and moves the viewer. No wonder it has lasted 55 years!