It's a Doctor Who blog.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

When I was a child, I rated episodes on Gallifrey Base as a child

I don't know exactly when I first watched a whole Doctor Who story.

My first episode was Part Two of The Happiness Patrol. I lasted about five minutes before being freaked out at the shrieking, terrifying weirdness of the Candyman. I definitely caught parts of Planet of the Daleks and Pyramids of Mars on BBC 2 in the early Nineties. They were, again, unsettling and I didn't linger.

My brother bought Logopolis and The Caves of Androzani first, I think, but this may have come after we got Spearhead from Space out of the video shop near my grandparents in Hereford. We used to get Tom & Jerry and Tom & Jerry Kids out, and everyone put up with that, and then we got the omnibus edition of Spearhead.

This would have been some time around 1994, I think. Everything about it is now firmly ensconced in the past. You don't get omnibus editions. You don't get videos or video shops. I don't get to witness Doctor Who like that anymore, it's never going to be as weird and strange again for me.

My Grandad died at the start of the month. Gran died in 1997.

We were down in Hereford for his funeral, staying in their house. The video shop is a newsagent now, but I couldn't remember how to walk there. The house, a place we went on holiday, where the temperatures seemed dizzyingly high to a pale boy dwelling in Lanarkshire, wasn't the version I held in my head. It was a house that had been lived in for thirty five years.

I'd largely forgotten about the omnibus edition of Spearhead from Space to be honest, even though I remember the feeling when Ransome is disintegrated. I was already barely holding it together but when the 'Total Destruct' occurs, and he just vanishes, I shut down for a minute. I couldn't cope with the idea that you could just be utterly gone. Plus first you had to be shot. Really hard.

Doctor Who doesn't do the same thing for me now. I'm a 31 year old man, so there's a strong argument that it shouldn't have to do that much anyway. This means I've got at least three different versions of Spearhead from Space in my memory: the first time, the Hereford video shop time, on holiday at my grandparents; the first time after 2005, when I rediscovered fandom; the last time I watched it.

I looked up a blu-ray review I don't remember writing, where I mention watching the video in 1994. I assume, at this point, I'd have been looking at picture quality and bonus features, looking specifically at the aspects of the release that might make someone buy it yet again.

Context, essentially, is everything.

Loss, nostalgia, and the rarity of it – for me – means the context where I watched it with my family as a child, that's the best one. That's the one you're supposed to have for Doctor Who isn't it? That's partly it, but also it's that sense of surprise, of not knowing what Doctor Who was yet. It's when the show is most exciting - before the toys get put back in the box.

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