Tag Archives: Doctor Who

What Doctor Who means to me: Part Two

Sometimes, Doctor Who means playing odd boardgames with fellow fans.

I had some wonderful responses to my competition on What Doctor Who means to me. The winners, Radioman and Melissa, shared wonderful accounts of how Doctor Who had played a part in their family relationships. I had other entries that spoke about the joys of sharing Doctor Who with their kids.

Nick Hudson grew up with Doctor Who and recently showed a recent episode to his  four year old son. Despite being scared by the story, Nick’s son asked to see the rest of the episode so he could find out what happened. “I was so excited that I tweeted with a mention to Steven Moffat, yet far more excited when I got a reply.”

Nick then shared delightful moments with his son, who loves his toy sonic screwdriver. “He chased a cat around so he could ‘fix’ it (obviously unaware of the other definition of the word). One particular day stands out, where I used my car’s central locking, fake weakness and sleight of hand to let him feel like the sonic screwdriver actually worked – to let him feel a bit of The Doctor’s magic in his real life.”

Nick finished his entry with: “It’s a bond, not just between a father and a son, but between a 4 year old kid and a 32 year old kid, thanks to a 900 year old kid.”

Dads are cool.

For some of the entrants, Doctor Who is meaningful because of the friends they’ve made as a result of the show.

Jason Cantwell joined a Doctor Who club in the 1990s before he’d even seen an episode, invited by a friend from the local Star Trek group. He enjoyed the meeting where people discussed “this kooky British science fiction show” and watched his first episode a week later.  He continued watching and going to the Doctor Who meetings, “and now, a couple of decades later, I am still friends with most of those people, the Star Trek club’s long gone and I’m still a fan!”

Tehani Wessely expanded on this idea. “As a newly minted New Who fan (I devoured all six seasons in 2011 – glom!), to me, Doctor Who means inclusiveness and community, both within the show itself and in the fandom at large. It gives people who are fans (in a devoted SF-nal way, or just as a casual viewer) a common lexicon, a framework within which to relate to each other, as well as setting solid examples of inclusiveness in race, gender, sexuality and more. When you are a Doctor Who fan(atic), you have a language to relate with, shared ground to converse on, and are a part of a community that spans generations – what could be more cool than that?”

Bow ties? A fez?

Others wrote about the sense of wonder and imagination that comes with the series. Lauren Harper – who says she’s been watching the Doctor since she was six weeks old! – wrote “Doctor Who is important to me because it lets you use your imagination and have your own private travels with the Doctor.”

Author George Ivanoff says “Doctor Who … means creativity and intelligence and escape; it means fun and fantasy and imagination; it means inspiration. With Doctor Who you have the ability to go anywhere and anytime — what more could you want? Not all episodes are shiny examples of brilliance — but even the worst of episodes have something to offer. In fact, I’d rather watch a bad episode of Doctor Who than pretty much anything else on television.”

Anne Arbuthnot wrote that “there has always been one primary point that has been a constant – the exercise of imagination that leads to wonder and excitement, creative problem solving and the possibility of other ways of being and doing things. The child within still “oohs and “aahs” at what she sees and as an adult I am in awe at the creative talent that is on display and am thankful that there is a place for it in a world that so often devalues such things.”

Ross Boyer shared how he finds Doctor Who an inspiration for his life in a more philosophical way.

“The Doctor is touted as a god-like figure of great mercy and unimaginable wrath. He’s undefeatable in battle, he’s unmatched in brilliance, and he lives in child-like wonder in his fanciful blue box, picking up humans and running them across space and time because he can. But the truth is he has no more idea of what to do with all his power than you or I. The Doctor is as human as any of us, with doubts and regrets and pains, but also with a never-ending spark of joy at the sheer majesty of the world he lives in. He loves his friends, he loves his enemies, and he hates himself, never believing he can be as good as he wants to be.

“This is the man I have modelled my life after. He teaches tolerance and forgiveness and the drive to better oneself. It’s not that he’s never wrong, it’s that he always strives to become right.

Doctor Who isn’t just well-written science fiction or fun characters to me. For me, the characters are real and they face real struggles. It’s more than fun-loving frivolity; it’s a testament to the human condition and our eternal struggle to be better. The Doctor is who I strive to be: not perfect, but always trying to be better. He has hardships all along the way, as all of us do, but he overcomes them and never forgets to enjoy the times he has or the people he’s with. Doctor Who is inspiration in its purest form, and that’s what it means to me.”

And you know, there is something in each and every viewpoint. A way to bond with friends and family; a spur to our imagination; an example of how to live your life positively – or just a ripping good adventure.

No more prizes are on offer, alas, but feel free to share your own ideas on what Doctor Who means to you!

Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, iPhone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.

What Doctor Who means to me: Part One

My collection of Doctor Who figures: because what's the point in being an adult if you can't behave childishly once in a while?

Thank you to everyone who entered the competition to tell me what Doctor Who meant to them. Everything people said resonated with me on some level, and several moved me very deeply.

In fact, I had reached a stage where I was lamenting that I had only one prize to give, as two of the entries really stood out for me, when the lovely Sally Edwards told me that she, too, had received awesome customer service from RedBubble.

A friend had sent Sally a TARDIS case for her iPhone, but Sally has the previous model, and the iPhone 4 case would not fit the phone. Sally contacted RedBubble, who promptly arranged for her to get a replacement case and told her to ‘find a good home’ for the original. Sally has kindly donated the second case to this competition. Hurrah!

So today I would like to announce the joint winner of this competition: Radioman and Melissa.

I received the email from Radioman first, and was deeply moved. This is his response:

Doctor Who has become a way for me to say to my 10 year old daughter things that I haven’t been able to tell her.  My job has required me to move our family several times, and it has forced her to leave schools, friends and family more times than a young child should.  It fills me with more pain than you can imagine to tear her away from friends she thought she would grow and graduate with. 

The book Radioman wrote for his daughter.

Bailey and I began watching Doctor Who together with season six.  She loves River and Amy and imagines riding in the TARDIS.  So for this last Christmas, I spent four months writing my daughter a short book called “Bailey and The Doctor”.  I had it printed in hardcover and gave it to her on Christmas night.  We read the first two chapters together before I had to stop. 

In it, the TARDIS appears in her room one night, and she and The Doctor go on a wonderful adventure.  She meets her first alien race and defeats a Weeping Angel! At the end, The Doctor sees that she’s sad when he announces he has to leave.  He then shares his sadness in leaving his home so long ago, and losing friends along the way.  But, he tells her how rich her life will be for the people she meets and the experiences she’ll have and that she and he are very much alike.  They are both travellers who make people’s lives better, wherever they go. 

This was a lesson I couldn’t teach her, but The Doctor could.

I, too, grew up moving from town to town, as my father was in the RAAF. Every three years I had to leave everyone behind, settle into a new neighbourhood and a new school, and make new friends. When I was a teenager that was particularly hard. Still, I think I benefited more than I lost from the life I had. Perhaps it’s one of the things I recognise and love about the Doctor, too.

Then I heard from 13-year-old Melissa. I think basically, Melissa reminds me a little of myself at that age, from the sneaky TV watching to the acting out of stories in my room. My Dad also introduced me to science fiction, so her description of her relationship with him reminded me of my own father as well. This is Melissa’s response  (edited slightly for brevity):

Since I was very little I was known as a “special Child” because I wasn’t very interested in all those baby shows like Hi5 or the Wiggles. Therefore, every night, I would act like I was asleep behind my mum on the couch and look at the TV when there were no ads showing. I would end up watching all sorts of these horror or murder mystery movies and series.

Then one day, when I was five, my dad was watching Doctor Who. He told me something like, “Doctor Who’s going to start. You can watch it as well, if you want!” So I sat with him, watching my first ever Dr Who episode ever, The Empty Child, staring Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper and John Barrowman, and I loved every second of it, from start to end.

Normally, I would go back to my room after watching something I really liked and re-enact the scenes I remembered, but by far Doctor Who had my favorite scenes to re-enact and I would draw pictures of my favorite scenes only with me instead of Rose.

I’m twelve now turning thirteen in July, and I’m still as lovestruck with it as I was seven years ago. I’ve started drawing the main Doctor Who characters and I’ve also been putting together Doctor Who cubees. Our ‘father-daughter’ project is to make a full-sized Tardis out of the left over wood from our new veranda (only not bigger on the inside,) and put all my Doctor Who art and collectables in.

The real reason I entered this competition is to show my dad how much I appreciate him and everything he did to make me how I am today. I think I don’t give him as much credit as I should. Winning this would prove to him, in every way possible, what he means to me.

What Doctor Who means to me? That’s an easy one: Doctor Who means, almost my life. A piece of me or simply a second father to me.

The TARDIS iPhone case in its box, and on my own phone

So, congratulations Radioman and Melissa – I’ll contact you shortly to get your postal addresses.

My thanks, too, to everyone who entered.  In my next blog, I’ll share some of the other thoughts that were sent my way: other wonderful moments of parent/child bonding and entries about friendships, a love of imagination and creativity, and ideas on how to be human and ways to live your life.

If you are not Radioman or Melissa and would still really like a TARDIS or Doctor Who iPhone case, visit RedBubble and see what they have on offer!

Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, iPhone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.