On the Verity podcast last week, they were talking about their Doctor Who firsts, which got me thinking a little. There are a few that I can’t possibly remember–I was a Doctor Who fan by the time I was five, so I have no idea what my first episode was–but I can manage a few of them if I probe back through the depths of time.
It’s almost like time travel!
First Doctor Who episode/story purchased with my own money
The VHS tape of Castrovalva. It remains my favourite Fifth Doctor story for reasons I can never explain, although it must always be watched in a double bill with Logopolis. I replaced my VHS tapes of those with the nice DVD set that included The Keeper of Traken a couple of years before I left England, and I brought all my DW DVDs with me.
I also brought the beautiful TARDIS tin that The Trial of a Time Lord VHS came in, even though I’ll never be able to play the tapes. It’s a TARDIS! One can never dispose of a TARDIS.
First Doctor Who collectible bought with my own money
I’m not actually a big “stuff” collector, despite my huge book collecting issues, so I don’t have much around and a lot of it was bought for me as gifts. The first thing I remember buying for myself is a magnet, bought in the dealer’s room at a con, with all nine (at the time) Doctors on it. As it wasn’t official merch, it may not count. My first official licensed thing was my Eleventh Doctor sonic screwdriver. So it took me a while to buy anything!
First Doctor Who novel read
The Target novelisation of Logopolis. This was before I ever saw the episode and I can remember reading it on the coach journey into London for a school trip, absolutely fascinated and delighted by this Doctor Who magic in my hands. I read every Target book I could get from the library, which wasn’t that many, and borrowed the tape of Logopolis from the library the moment I found it. My first DW novel outside the Targets was one of the Timewyrm books from the New Adventures range, bought solely because Ace was on the cover. I have learned not to judge a book by its cover. Ace was there but… *shudder*
First Doctor Who convention
Despite my long history of con-going, I’ve never been to a Doctor Who convention. I KNOW.
The first event that I went to with a Doctor Who presence was something in Milton Keynes, a big collector and exhibitor thing in the shopping centre that had some pretty great guests (Nichelle Nichols, James Masters etc). From Doctor Who, there was Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Sophie Aldred, and Nicholas Courtney. I’m forever grateful that I got to see the Brigadier before he died. I only wish that Sophie Aldred hadn’t been away from her table every time I was in her area!
One day, I really must go to Chicago TARDIS or Long Island Who. They both sound fab. As Gally now sells out in approx. 6 seconds, I regard it as something akin to SDCC: a con that would be amazing to experience, but I’ll never be able to go to.
First episode to show a potential Doctor Who fan
A couple of years after I moved to Canada, I held a big viewing party in order to indoctrinate my new friends. I started them on Rose, and we also did The End of the World and The Unquiet Dead that night. That felt like the right combination and it clearly worked, because several of them got hooked and are still watching today.
Would I do it the same now?
Probably. Although I might add in The Eleventh Hour at the end, because it’s also a pretty good introduction to Moffat’s style in the recent series.
Best first story to use as a classic Doctor Who introduction
This is tricky, because I haven’t really tried it yet. Last year, I did show Genesis of the Daleks to a friend (converted from that gathering above) because she wanted to see a Sarah Jane story to find out why I love her so much. On reflection, it’s not Sarah’s best story, but it did prove prescient when The Magician’s Apprentice aired a few weeks later.
With my current group of New Who friends, I’d probably pick City of Death or Battlefield. The first is by Douglas Adams, it’s incredibly entertaining, the effects aren’t too bad, and there’s a John Cleese cameo, so it’s got a lot going for it. Battlefield does include some call-backs to old stories, due to the Brigadier’s presence, but it’s got fantastic Ace scenes, Arthurian legends, and women kicking arse, so it may play better to a modern audience. Also, it’s my favourite classic story. So it would be hard not to show that one at some stage.
I plan to test this out at some time this year, so I’ll report back on my findings!
Peter Davison. He’s my era. It probably explains a lot about why I love Castrovalva so much. Maybe.
How about you? Do you have firsts for any of these, and what are they?
Are there any firsts I missed that you want to know about?