My childhood in the 1970’s was defined by that great Doctor Who companion, Target books. These adapted TV stories have influenced a whole generation of children, and they are responsible for introducing me to the TV series too. It was in the 1980’s however, that my lifelong obsession began in earnest.
At home we had a big, wooden-cased, colour TV set that didn’t even have a remote control! My television landscape was made up of kids shows like Grange Hill, Saturday sports coverage, and family viewing like The Generation Game, Wurzel Gummidge, Bullseye, and The Muppet Show. I suspect that my first contact with televised Doctor Who was either through post-Grandstand trailers, ot via Blue Peter. It wasn’t typical viewing in our household because my dad hated Doctor Who, and it’s genre in particular. I’d therefore catch most episodes from the comfort of my own refuge, the bedroom I shared with my two younger brothers, also vehement anti-Who. I remember when our Nan bought a portable black & white TV for us to share, but since they preferred to play-out I could usually watch stuff in peace.
My initial memories of Doctor Who are quite vague, but I do recall being blown-away by the series of repeats shown to celebrate the Fifth Doctor’s debut. The Five Faces of Doctor Who season (1981) comprised of stories from each previous Doctor’s eras: An Unearthly Child, The Krotons, Carnival of Monsters, The Three Doctors, and Logopolis. I’d read about such classics in The Making of Doctor Who, but this was the first time I’d ever seen any past Doctor, and it was a revelation. So I’d watched some of Tom Baker’s final season (I especially recall the Marshmen rising from the swamps in Full Circle), witnessed my first regeneration, and the new Doctor was now on TV twice a week. Peter Davison quickly became my Doctor, and for me, the ultimate ‘magic moment’ of his tenure is the reveal of the Cybermen at the climax of Earthshock, part one. I was hooked, and still am!