Right to left: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith.
BBC America has been asking about a time when we were new to Doctor Who in preparation for a new series of the the iconic television show. They are asking people to share their first experience with the show, and I have wanted to share, but my experience is a bit of a blur. You see, it was a very long time ago, when I was but a wee lad (my Scottish homage to Amy & Rory). You see, I was a young boy living in Folcroft, Pennsylvania, still counting my age in single digits. I can remember watching this bizarre television show with my mother. It was on public television, I believe, for I don't remember commercial interruptions. There were these strange people doing odd things, and they were speaking with these exotic accents. Hey, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, the British accents were a bit exotic. And the main guy, he was funny but odd. And he had this mop of dark hair, that reminded me of Moe from the Three Stooges. And did I mention this was all taking place in black and white?
The Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton
I would watch Doctor Who with my mother, fascinated by the odd stories, and the costumes and special effects that even an eight-year-old knew were kinda funny. Honestly, I don't remember the story lines, or anything about his companions, just watching the show with my Mom and laughing. In 1969, we moved to Delaware, and I remember watching the show even more. And at some point, my Doctor went away, and regenerated to a new form. I remember he had the most remarkable white hair. And I remember the show suddenly was in color, which for some unknown reason, surprised me.
The Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, and companion Sarah Jane Smith, Elisabeth Sladen.
And, for the first time, I remember a companion. Sarah Jane Smith, played by the late Elisabeth Sladen, was a remarkably smart and brave. She and the Doctor had such remarkable adventures. They traveled the universe, and battled with Cybermen, and with the dreaded Daleks. And they flew in the TARDIS, a blue phone booth. Of course, TARDIS stood for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. It was bigger on the inside than on the outside, which fascinated me! And as I prepared to go to high school, there was a new Doctor in the TARDIS. He had a brilliant mop of curly hair, and this colorful scarf that went on forever. He was perfect for technicolor!
The Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker.
Unlike the previous Doctor, who was quite fatherly, the new Doctor so very funny, even a bit goofy at times. And Sarah Jane went traveling with him, too! The TARDIS still made that same wheezing noise, and the theme song remained the same, too. Soon, it was time for me to go to college. And like many of my friends and family, I only saw The Doctor when I was home for vacations. I remember the very handsome Doctor Five, Peter Davidson, but after him, they become a bit fuzzy. Soon I was living in New York City, working and leading a busy life. I don't remember when Doctor Who went off the air, I wasn't really watching anymore. I had drifted away, out of touch with the series.
That changed in 2005, when I began reading reports online that the BBC was rebooting Doctor Who for a new generation. I was excited, and couldn't wait to renew my acquaintance with the franchise. And once it began, I was more than thrilled. The Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, was a revelation. He was bold, strong, and very sexy. And there was this gorgeous bisexual character, Captain Jack Harkness, and I couldn't get enough of him. In fact, when he was given his own show, Torchwood, I watched every episode, and bought the DVDs. But soon there was Ten, David Tennant, who brought a new sense of humor, a cheekiness that was delightful. He had some of the best companions, like Rose, Donna Noble, and my favorite, Martha Jones. And he also had a few visits from Sarah Jane! And now there is Eleven, Matt Smith, a whole new level of energy and humor, the very definition of adorkable. At least for me. And he has Amy and Rory, and the flirty River Song. What an amazing mix of people! Tonight, the new season begins on BBC America. But before that, here is a quick tutorial for those who might not have spent a descent amount of the last 40 years with The Doctor.
Tonight at 9PM on BBC America. I know I will be there, will you? I'd say "be there or be square," but I am pretty sure being there is, by definition, being square. And I am okay with being that nerd. For more about Doctor Who, visit the official BBC America website.