Mark Berryman recalls how despite coming late in to the Whovian Universe he now embraces it with open arms.
My earliest memory of Doctor Who was as a child watching it with my Dad. The only part of it I can remember was Peter Davison’s 5th incarnation squaring off against Davros, or Stavros as I thought it was back then. The next vivid memory I have is of sitting down to watch the ill-fated Paul McGann TV movie.
I would call myself a huge Doctor Who fan, I love everything about it. But most people are quite surprised to find out just how late I came to it all. My wife and I knew that the Doctor had regenerated from David Tennant into Matt Smith, but we had barely seen any of the new Who between us. So before the 11th Doctor hit the screens we decided we were going to catch up. So in quite quick succession we watched the fantastic Christopher Eccleston relaunch the Time Lord. He was great, I don’t think enough people give him the credit he deserves for just how well he played the character. Whatever his reasons for leaving were, none of us really know, it’s all just speculation, when he regenerated I was sad to see him go. But then came the man who would properly get me into Doctor Who. David Tennant and his cool hair began what would become the start of Doctor Who’s most successful time. I thought he was great, my wife loved him even more! He is still her favourite. She (we) still have a little cry every time we re-watch the show and he regenerates.
The first time we watched new Who live was the 11th Hour. My wife was not happy that someone new was going to be taking over, I was looking forward to seeing what this newcomer would do. By the end of the 11th Hour I had found my Doctor, the one who I think will always be my favourite. The thousand year old Time Lord who looked like a young man, but felt like an ancient time traveller. With Eccleston you could feel the bitter soldier, who had had to kill his entire race, he was angry and at times he struggled to contain it. Tennant I always thought had the weight of the world or worlds on his shoulders. The smile that millions of women fell in love with all over the world hid the pain he felt, but he had managed to do away with some, but not all of the anger. Smith managed to merge the two, while bringing in a new sadness to the role, a sadness that would haunt him all the way to the end of the Day of the Doctor. I always look at him when he is lined up with the other Doctors at the end and think, for the first time since he came back onto our screens, he was truly happy. He was a crazy science teacher, who wasn’t fully in control of his own body, but felt like a thousand year old man. He really was the old man in a young man’s body.
A lot of abuse has been thrown at Stephen Moffat, a lot of it I think unjustly, but whatever he threw at Matt Smith, he always played a blinder on screen. That is part of why he, I think, is my Doctor. Even if it was a not so good episode he stepped up and performed the part wonderfully. When he regenerated on Christmas day, I finally understood how my wife had felt when Tennant regenerated. She told me after that I really did embarrass myself during that episode, I may or may not have had a bit of a cry! Matt Smith had one hell of a job following David Tennant, but he did it so very well. I was at first a bit bitter towards Peter Capaldi, I’ve said many times the only person I wouldn’t have been bitter towards would have been James Callis, someone who I still maintain would make an amazing Doctor. But since the regeneration I have come to terms with the new face and to be honest I am quite looking forward to seeing what Capaldi brings to the part. I think he will be much darker than we’ve seen before and that will be great. With the divine Jenna Coleman still playing Clara and the rumours that Charles Dance (who for me saved season 3 of Game of Thrones) will be playing the Master, series 8 is one I am now very much looking forward to.
So long live Doctor Who. Whoever plays him in the future I will be watching and I hope enjoying until one day it reaches it’s inevitable end.