Although my earliest memory of Doctor Who is running away from the theme music issuing from the TV set as a very small child in the 1970s, it was growing up in Australia in the 1980s that I began to watch and generally appreciate the show. By 1986 my fate was sealed when I took the final step into fandom by first borrowing my brother’s copies of Doctor Who Magazine and then eventually buying my own from the local newsagency.
As any Australian from that era will tell you, Doctor Who seemed to be on the TV every weeknight, year round. Sure, there were breaks in the programming, but it never actually felt like it. The repeat schedule was relentless. And which Doctor was repeated the most often? Tom Baker. Hands down. To this day, Australians of a certain age will remember him first, and daylight second, when it comes to the role of the Doctor.
However, being a contrary type I would look at the Tom Baker Doctor and agree that he was very good but he wasn’t going to be my Doctor. I wasn’t going to be swept along with the hoi polloi and simply like the Doctor we saw all the time, no matter how good he was. I was going to look at all the Doctors — there were six at the time — and make up my own mind. There’s a delicious arrogance when you’re 11 years old.
It was a tough choice at the time and all the Doctors were in the mix, even the ‘black & white Doctors’ that I hadn’t seen much of on TV, but whose stories were increasingly ending up in Target novels that I was reading at an alarming rate. In the end, however, I settled on the 5th Doctor — Peter Davison — who appealed through his youth, yes, but also his dry humour, modern (at the time) episodes, and love of cricket.
As an adult, I still like all those aspects of the 5th Doctor, but I’ve also come to see facets that weren’t top-of-mind to my still-forming, Star Wars-obsessed 11 year old brain. The 5th Doctor is kind. The 5th Doctor is decent (a remark made by Steven from the New to Who podcast when I guested on their Enlightenment episode, and which I shamelessly steal here because it’s true). The 5th Doctor is my kind of guy.
So now that I’ve told you who my favourite Doctor is (which is surely the first thing any Doctor Who fan wants to know of another, yes?), what I hope this website will become over time is a place where I will be recording thoughts on Doctor Who. Whether they’re deeply personal, fan-type thoughts like my first post, or whether they’re comments on new episodes, or behind the scenes of making my podcast The Doctor Who Show, or things that happen in the news… I genuinely don’t know where the blog will go. And that’s kind of exciting. A little like the series itself.
Rob Irwin (October, 2019)