I like Doctor Who. I think if you’re a nerd of a certain age from the UK, it’s a requirement. When I was a kid, the only sci-fi shows available were Star Trek (original series) repeats and Doctor Who. I have vague memories of the last episodes of Blake’s Seven when I was four or five - and Red Dwarf when I was nearer to ten - but in reality Who was where it’s at.
Doctor Who is a program from an age of two channels - a show that everyone of a certain age remembers because there was not a lot else to watch…
…in the case of 1979 episode City of Death - quite literally. ITV were on strike - and Doctor Who achieved viewing figures of 16+ million people.
And then in 1989 the show was unceremoniously yanked from the airwaves…
And other than some Sunday morning repeats of episodes from the third Doctor, not really widely shown again… (It did end up more widely shown on UK Gold - but that was a satellite/cable channel I didn’t have access to) until returning freshened up for a new audience in 2005.
Some classic episodes were available on VHS and later DVD - but it’s an expensive way to catch up with a show with that many episodes. And besides, not all episodes were available in any case.
So when UK streaming service Britbox announced that ALL available episodes would be added to their streaming service in December 2019 I was very excited. And as a late Christmas present I signed myself up for Britbox.
And after bingeing on early episodes, gorging on Tom Baker favourites, and struggling through the difficult Colin Baker years, not to mention rediscovering just how good the Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred episodes were - there’s still a lot of unwatched Who.
Plus there’s lots of fighting for the remote control in my house. Dawson’s Creek is the show my wife is currently bingeing on for a start…
But I find classic Doctor Who a tough show to binge watch. Storytelling and pacing was slower in those days, and stories are dragged out longer than they need to be sometimes… not to mention a cliffhanger (sometimes shoehorned in) at the end and beginning of every episode.
But it’s also an important pop culture touchstone - and I really do want to watch it all. I feel very conscious that I know little or nothing of the second Doctor’s run… nor have I seen much of the first Doctor.
Enter - the Who project.
I’m going to try to watch an episode each day. Starting with “An unearthly child” - and see where it takes me. And I guess how long it takes me.
A time machine would probably help at this point as well…