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.