Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Ultimate Geek Moment

Five Doctors
William Hartnell look-alike Richard Hurndall, Peter Davison, Tom Baker, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee

Since 1963 the BBC serial adventures of a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey known as Doctor Who and his various companions have enthralled and excited viewers of all ages. I watched the program with my younger sisters when it aired on TVOntario and it became a delightful habit.
The Doctor was first played by the dour and professorly character actor William Hartnell. When he left the program, the role was recast, and The Doctor regenerated into the quick-witted Patrich Troughton. His leaving brought the dashing and caped Jon Pertwee into the mix. When Pertwee moved on, the rascally personality of Tom Baker made The Doctor an international phenomenon. The trouble with these British actors is that they are all so darn good at what they do. As each new Doctor stepped into the role, there would be anguish from fans followed by wholehearted acceptance of the most recent interpretation.

Four Doctors
Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy

Following Baker was the wonderful Peter Davison who must hold some sort of record for TV series roles with 18 and counting, among them All Creatures Great and Small, Campion, The Last Detective and Law and Order UK. After Davison went on his busy way, Colin Baker became an enegmatic Doctor and then Sylvester McCoy's bemused Time Lord. Paul McGann played The Doctor in a 90s TV movie after the cancellation of the series in 1989.

In time Doctor Who became part of my past with a nostalgic glow and the occasional discovery of a paperback novel adaption found in a box in the back basement. In 2005 the series was relaunched by the BBC Wales with co-production from the CBC. I considered myself mildly curious about the whole thing, but thought my daughter Janet, who likes her sci-fi, might be interested. I think it was one second (well, maybe two or three) into the first episode of the new series starring Christopher Eccleston when they grabbed my imagination and Doctor Who became my only must-see television program.


The trailer for episode 6 spurred my ultimate geek moment. An old enemy was about to reappear in the form of - gasp! - the Daleks.


My daughter smirked at the salt and pepper shaped adversary and commented "They don't look like much of a much." It was then I saw myself rise up to full height and point a shaking finger in Janet's direction. I heard my voice, coming from the depth of my being, coldly announce "You haven't lived through a Dalek invasion, Missy. I have!" My geekiness has always been on display, but never so fervently, never to be denied again.


  1. I will admit that although I wasn’t around to watch the initial incarnations of the Doctor; I have learned to embrace my inner geek through the most recent series. I am familiar with Peter Davison from his many “Masterpiece Theatre” series, and Paul McGann from “Withnal and I,” but Christopher Eccleston was the first Doctor to make a house call. I wasn’t impressed with his interpretation, and I didn’t care for the companions, but I stuck with the series on BBC America and when the Doctor met Doctor-Donna; I was hooked and haven’t looked back since.

  2. Ah, whistlinggypsy, when you speak of Doctor-Donna you are speaking of my heart. Truly epic television storytelling. Some things are worth sticking through the rough patches for, and Doctor Who is one of them.

  3. Your daughter must have had some interesting thoughts at that moment, Caftan. As for Dr. Who, I'm not a big fan. I did watch a really cheesy BBC Dr. Who spoof film with Hugh Grant in it--it wasn't very good.

  4. Yes, Kim, the look on my kid's face was a study in horror and confusion. Lucky for me that she is slightly warped in her own special way.

    The thing about us "geeks" is that we don't have to be geeky about the same thing (such as Doctor Who) to be able to relate to the emotion. If someone ever says to you that you should check out the episode "Blink", don't pass it up. I think it would impress even a non-fan.

  5. Oh CW, we are speaking geek-to-geek (as Fred Astaire might sing). I don't know Dr. Who, somehow missed ever watching it -- but I am a true geekazoid for the black and white Andy Griffith shows. (As soon as they went to color, the show went to pot! And I will stand firm and speak my opinion strongly!) I get made fun of about it, but I don't care. All I have to do is see Barney Fife in goggles on the motorcycle, or Gomer shouting "Citizens' arrest", or Andy, Barney and Gomer walking stuck together in the haunted house -- good stuff.

    Now look what I have done in my nerd status -- talked about my own geek moments. I loved your article -- it made me laugh and want to see Dr. Who...

  6. Becky, if anything is worth having a geeklike obsession over, it is definitely Don Knotts as Barney Fife. Certain lines spring to mind and laughs are not far behind.

  7. "My bullet -- wait 'til I get my bullet!"

  8. Hey, Caftan Woman, all of us fan geeks of various stripes must stick together and support each other! :-) My hubby Vinnie is the real DOCTOR WHO geek of our family, but he's written a lot about the show, and I'm going to forward this to him because I know he'll grok it most appreciatively! And I absolutely loved your response to your daughter: "You haven't lived through a Dalek invasion, Missy. I have!" But with all our shared pop culture favorites, CW, you're our kind of people! :-)

  9. Dorian, please pass on that there are times I think of the Three Sontarans and slap my knees.

  10. Caftan Woman, Vinnie is delighted to hear that The Three Little Sontarans are still sparking laughter and merriment in your household! :-) Beaucoup thanks, my friend!

  11. CW,
    I was in fits of laughter after reading "dough headed, wax eating"! I have to steal that one for future use.

    Everything about this review was great. Loved the mini bio on those two genius's then with your wit, the review just got funnier as I went along. (You know I'm seldom serious).

    The perfect contribution for our Comedy Classics Blogathon.

    You really should write more light hearted write ups.


  12. Ummm... Hate to tell you this... but the image you have of the five Doctors does not include William Hartnell. The person playing the roll of the "First" incarnation of the Doctor is in fact Richard Hurndall. Richard replaced William for the "Five Doctors" episode from which this image originated. Hartnell died in 1975, and the "Five Doctors" was aired in November of 1983.

  13. Why "I hate to tell you"? I appreciate the information. I knew it was someone else and should have taken the time to put the proper name.

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