(The following blog entry contains only the mildest of spoilers. I know the Venn diagram of Doctor Who immersion has a small overlay between the circles “haven’t seen The Day of the Doctor yet” and “care enough about it to not want to know the merest detail” and “inexplicably on the Internet anyway”. I cater even to this tiny, tiny niche.)
I’ve come to realise there must be a difference between a lover of Doctor Who (like myself) and a fan of Doctor Who.
I was vaguely aware, for example, that there was this guy Moffat who was responsible for writing /creating a lot of the episodes of the new series of the show. I was aware, in much the same way, that there’s this guy Phil Collinson who does some episodes, because every time I see his name in the credits I start to get Genesis songs playing in my head.
I did not, however, realise that there was a running complaint about the show being “Moffat-y”, and his involvement spoiling things. These people seem to think it would have been better if the show had been left on hiatus, perhaps never to return. I don’t know. Maybe if I re-watched the new episodes, I could track which ones have his name attached against which ones I liked more and which ones I liked less. Maybe I could just go on Wikipedia or other episode list and do so.
But I’m not gonna. Because I love the show, I’m not a fan (which comes, after all, from “fanatic” or “fancy”, and according to Wikipedia actually means something even more intense for science fiction, but none of us should be surprised by that).
If I was a fan, and the things I’ve just said caused you to question or dismiss my dedication, credibility, or even my liking of the show, I would destroy you. As it is, I think I’d probably just laugh.
Or maybe I am a fan, and one of such fangasm-blinded fanboyosity that I’m willing to overlook the awful, awful Moffat and his screwing up of everything. I guess I won’t know until someone tells me I’m not really into Doctor Who, and then we’ll see how I react.
So that will be interesting.
I was mildly interested when I heard they were going to make a special for the 50th Anniversary of the show. I have a few friends and family members who I knew would be excited about it, but I live in a bit of a Who-vacuum here in Finland (that’s the cue for Finland-based Whovians to shout at me … sorry, I told you I wasn’t really on board with this whole thing) so it was a while before the viral marketing and global hoo-hah got through to me. Still, as time went by I realised this was going to be a lot of fun, and something I’d really quite like to take part in. Well, “take part in” as a viewer, anyway. I haven’t quite given up on the dream of finding or building a TARDIS yet, but one must be realistic and I think playing a Time Lord on the telly may be all I can really hope for at this point in my life.
As it happened, we were away on the weekend the show was to go out worldwide. Since we don’t have a TV antenna anyway I would have been watching online or crashing a friend’s place to watch, but instead we were off at a second-cousin-in-law’s birthday party. I set up so I could watch online on Sunday night after returning home, but hadn’t given up hope of seeing the show as it happened. I’d brought Twisties and Chicos with me, just in case – Twisties because they’re my old-timey snack of choice, Chicos because they were the closest thing to jelly babies I could rummage up from my stash. Both imported from Australia, both delicious.
After driving out to the countryside and attending the party – which I wouldn’t have missed for the world, good food and excellent company – it became increasingly obvious as eight and then nine o’clock rolled around that I might just be in with a chance to see the show. We were staying over at my Great-Auntie-In-Law’s house and the party was just down the street. Everyone was still there but my three-year-old daughter was getting tired and the birthday boy was upstairs playing on his computer anyway, bless him. And after I suggested to my daughter that we could go back to her Great-Great-Auntie’s place for sleep, and maybe watch some telly and eat snacks beforehand, I had an immediate – and adorable – co-conspirator.
So it was that we made our excuses and strolled out. You must never run in such situations, and we also made no secret of the fact that we were going to watch the show, because we had nothing to gain and everything to lose by attempting to be sneaky. And as I said, I had a collaborator and “adorable blonde toddler” trumps “hobo-bearded nerd trying to be devious” any day of the week. A brisk walk through the freezing darkness between houses, and we were in with ten minutes to spare before the 21:50 showing. Enough time for me to put my daughter in her pyjamas, get our snacks into place and figure out how to get the television onto the right channel.
Oh, and clean up the dog poo, since in our absence Great-Auntie’s dog had gotten lonely and decided to make a little collection of friends to talk to. So that was an adventure. Finally, though, we were ready.
My daughter was right into the spirit of it. She wanted to know which one was the Doctor, and when she said it was scary and I told her she could cover her eyes, she insisted “no, I like it.” The episode itself wasn’t exactly monster- or action-driven, at least not so a three-year-old would be gripped by it, and it was ten at night, so after a while she lost interest and went to bed, but the next day she told me she wanted to watch more Doctor Who. So I call it a win.
Overall, a fun episode and a memorable night. Every bit what I was hoping for – as a lover of the show rather than a fan, of course, my sights were not set high. I shall list here a quick set of notes about the highlights that immediately occurred to me, although there were others. Hopefully these will be vague enough to not quality as spoilers.
- The Queen’s “weak and feeble woman” reference.
- Sneakers, Granddad and Chinny.
- The Round Things.
- The absolute scorn about the timey-wimey way the new Doctor speaks.
- Regeneration gag about ears.
- “I don’t want to go.” (“He always says that.”)
- Lucky Thirteen.
- The final scene cameo. Misted up a bit (and so did he)
- Okay, not entirely sure how the final scene cameo can be justified or worked into the canon … who was he meant to be?
- They could have done more with old-footage CGI editing if they didn’t want to use the old guys but still include them in the show – or they could have younged them up digitally or whatever, but it was just fine with me. You can only cram so much fan service into a show before it gets cumbersome, and it’s not like these guys don’t get the occasional appearance in clips in the normal episodes anyway. And besides, they got this.
See you at the 75th!