Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Way You Watch Doctor Who

I wanted to share this with everyone who listens to our's a very well written piece by our very own Dale Who.
Read and ponder.
-Lewis B.

My View of Who.
I've been getting increasingly annoyed, upset and angered by Doctor Who fandom recently nit picking, moaning and whining from the beginning of episode one of the new series. It's gotten to me in a way I didn't think it could; so I decided to look at what makes my view of Doctor Who - which is usually glowing and happy - so different from those fans - in many cases friends and peers; and I've figured out what it is.

It's HOW you watch Doctor Who that counts. For me it's an immersive experience. I can easily and completely suspend my disbelief for 45 minutes, I can access my inner child with remarkable clarity and ease. He's the one who told me that despite being told many times to the contrary, there were ghosts. He's the one who told me that it's entirely possible to have a time slip when my rational brain ran out of excuses for what happened to me on several occasions in Lincoln. He's the one who loves Doctor Who totally, and I think he's very wise.

And so when I sit down and the continuity announcer comes on just prior to the show, everything changes. The whole ball game. Nothing interrupts Doctor Who. And should anything manage to, the level of irritation and anger felt is that of a cheated six year old. Completely out of proportion to having a TV show interrupted; but entirely in keeping with someone getting in the way of me spending time with my hero.

I watch every new Doctor Who as a kid would. Completely entranced, and following what The Doctor's doing intently. I stare and laugh and gasp and jump in all the right places, and don't see what others point out about effects or plot holes or anything else. My hero's on and it's him I'm interested in. And when the episode's done... it's automatic for my brain to remember that it was an amazing 45 minutes because it's time I spent with my Doctor.

I've had to stop watching Doctor Who Confidential as it's ruining the main programme for me. Little inner Dale isn't in the slightest bit interested in how which effect was done, or whether Mr Guest Star got unexpectedly concussed when a dolphin felt out of the sky in Utah and smacked him in the head. He's got bigger concerns about Amy, River, Rory and The Doctor, about whether the TARDIS is alright and that evil's been defeated for another episode.

By the time I'm on repeat viewing number three, inner Dale has gone back to wherever it is he goes when his heroes aren't on and I can see the show as a show again. But this isn't *just* in play for Doctor Who. Superman gets the same response, as do Batman and Wonder Woman. You criticize them and you wake a sleeping monster; an over-protective hero worshipping kid who can't see that views are subjective; to him you're being rude about his heroes, and that isn't tolerated.

But it goes further than that, too. I can't watch the scene in Superman Returns where Lex's thugs beat the crap out of Superman on the island made of Kryptonite, and Lex stabs him with a shard of the green rock. It upsets me far more than it should. Someone is hurting one of my heroes. Batman having the snot beaten out of him by Bane. And the whole opening sequence of the DC Online game where Lex and the Joker manage to kill Batman, Wonder Woman *and* Superman leaves me reeling and in shock. It's not even something I get used to.

On the flip side though is the amount of pure unadulterated joy this brings, which far, far outweighs the down sides. Doctor Who, when it's new and I've not seen it before is an almost religious experience. The amount of joy that an episode brings is almost unequalled; the same with my other heroes. It comes before all but two things. They being my Mum and my Dad. They're more important to me than anything else on this planet... because, like any kid will tell you they're your heroes, your protectors, your safe place when all else fails.

I wanted to get this down, to give people a clue as to why I'm SO protective of The Doctor and Co, and why it seems I'm scarily obsessed with them. It's because I love them with the degree of love my inner child thinks is appropriate... and as with most kids and their heroes, that's total, unconditional, and everlasting.

Dale Who


  1. Hi Dale. I've been listening to the Happiness Patrol ever since after Gallifrey this year. Unfortunately I was too busy at the convention with our own Five & Dime video track panel and helping out in the Green Room to attend the podcast panel, but I wanted to make up for it by listening to and contributing feedback to more podcasts this year. The Happiness Patrol is in my top favorites.
    I totally and completely agree with you about the onslaught of criticism Doctor Who has been taking this season. The nasty comments fired at Steven Moffat on Twitter have both irritated and angered me. No Show Runner is perfect, but knowing Moffat from his past track record with Doctor Who and the love he has for the show, I have faith that his plan for this season is just as grand, awesome and fantastic. If people would just be patient, it will all work out and make sense by the season's end. My inner Amelia Pond was taking all this criticism as fighting words at first, but my outer, adult Zen is fighting equally hard to just ignore the idiots and impatient wankers out there who delight in making their bad attitudes well known on the internet.
    “The Doctor’s Wife” is proof positive that Moffat still has a fanboy’s love for the show and that he is bringing on the most amazing writers available who share that love. Things will come together – I believe it’s just too soon to judge the entire story arch yet.
    I am very lucky to have a husband and a house full of family and friends that also cried buckets at the end of this amazing episode during the tender, poignant scene between Idris and The Doctor. If there is one thing I could say to not anger the unhappy fan masses and bolster up the many of us who still have faith, it would be this: “Have faith in the man who brought us the magic of Amelia Pond and her Mad Man in a Box last year. He won’t let us down.”

  2. Hello there!

    Firstly, I wanted to thank you for such a lovely, and considered response. It always heartens me no end to find that there are other people who care as much about the show as I do; and voice their love for DW in a positive, and constructive manner.

    My strongest belief about the showrunners we've had - especially since the show's return in 2005 - is they know ull well what they're doing, so I should trust them to deliver and let them get on with their job. People who can cast the likes of Eccleston, Tennant and Smith in the role of The Doctor obviously know what's good for the show.

    I'm also very happy to hear you enjoyed The Doctor's Wife as much as I did... and yes, the end scenes between Idris and The Doctor really were touching and amazing.

    Glad to hear you're enjoying THP, and even though I'm on it rather less these days it remains something fun and enjoyable to be a part of, and hopefully that shows through!

  3. It's the desperate desire among some fans to be cooler than the show itself. Or they're watching the show paying less attention to enjoying it than to what they're going to say about it on the internet later than

    Take one fan and you have a fan.
    Take two fans and you have a forum.
    Take three fans and you have a gang of bullies.

  4. I don't see this at all.

    I don't follow twitter that much, but what I see in the blogs is a tidal wave of praise for the current season. Those who are criticising it (like myself) are very much in a minority.

    The reason I can't watch Doctor Who in the way you suggest is because I just can't recognise what I am watching as Doctor Who. It seems like a totally new and different show that is trying to be Lost or Dollhouse.

    We fans have a right to judge what the BBC serves up. If they give us a load of rubbish and call it Doctor Who, we have the right to pour scorn on it.

    We fans have been watching Doctor Who for years. We know what the show is about and what is true, probably better than the production team do.

  5. So was it wrong for DW to try to be:

    Sherlock Holmes
    Sax Rohmer
    Agatha Christie (ignoring Unicorn & Wasp)?

    No disrespect, Matthew, (well a little) but some of what you say reminds me of the people who complain that a new Doctor is insufficiently Doctorish. As if "Doctorish" by definition was not all the previous Doctors plus the current one. The idea of what's Doctorish changes with every new Doctor. And the notion of what DW is as a show changes with every new era.

    It's just too clichéd and lazy for words to dismiss DW as trying to be Lost or trying to be Dollhouse. It has about as much worth as those who saw that Rose lived with her Mum and had a boyfriend in S1 and started screaming "Soap opera. They've turned it into a soap opera."

    Or the mean spirited swine who saw the fabulously designed and created range of new aliens at the start of End of the World - something we could never have dreamed of the original show being able to afford - and their love for DW was so profound that all they could come up with was "Ugh, they're just trying to copy the Cantina scene in Star Wars."

    I always thought they were less outraged that DW resembled something new and more insufferably pleased with their own cleverness at being able to spot a filmic reference.

    If you truly believe that you know what DW is better than the production team does, then you must think that you know what DW is better than the previous team did too. And the one before that, and every production team back to Verity Lambert. So, you understand what makes DW better than anyone who DW?

    If any group of people is going to decide the direction of DW, I'd prefer it to be creative powerhouses like RDT and Moffat rather than the sort of people whose hinterland of cultural reference points consists of Emmerdale, Lost, Star Wars and Dollhouse. So ner.

  6. Docwhom... Thank you. A thousand times thank you. My feelings precisely. And for ending with "so ner." you win the Universe.

  7. Dale, what can I say. Your words crystallise my feeling exactly. (With the possible exception of Superman & Batman - not that worried about them.) My Inner Child is possibly further away than yours, having watched the 1st Doctor as a five-year-old, but he is just as delighted whenever the theme tune is recognised. I even have it as a ring tone on my phone.

  8. There's nothing at all wrong with that ringtone, sarky... so do I! Thank you for taking the time to comment and agree, it's been most uplifting to find I'm not alone in my views!

  9. Very nice post, Lewis. One of the reasons I listen to THP, as opposed to some others, is that you err on the side of delight in the show. (The Ood Cast does as well.)

    While I've certainly been known to snark a bit myself—and I think a critical eye is healthy—this show is very much, for me, about recapturing that sense of wonder from childhood.

    As I've written elsewhere (, I think Moffat's first season was all about finding the child in the adult. Amy was the first companion who didn't have to leave the TARDIS to get married and have a life: she gets to have her husband AND her imaginary friend; she gets to be both Amelia AND Amy; she gets both adult responsibility AND childhood wonder.

    And so can we.