Doctor Who first started in 1963. I was nine, and my dad said to me that a new programme was starting that I was going to like, and did I want to watch it with him. Mum wasn’t keen on Science Fiction but Dad loved it. So we’d watch it together while mum was cooking. (Dad used to do a lot of the cooking, but Mum was a great cook too.) Dad died in 1978 when I was 24. I rarely missed a Doctor Who episode, it was only when it got a bit silly towards the end that I gave up on it.
When it started again with Christopher Eccleston, I was very excited and we watched it as a family. My daughters love Doctor Who and so do their husbands, so it is still a family thing. I had an A level class who loved it as well and we’d often discuss it at the end of lessons, and in my writers club at school.
The new Doctor Who benefits from stylish special effects, unlike the first series which was done on a shoestring. All three doctors so far in the new version have brought something new to the role, and it’s also good to see ‘assistant’ becoming ‘companon’. I am exicted to see what Capaldi brings to the role. The Doctor needs to be capricious, mysterious, wise, energetic, brave, resourceful and if I am honest, a little bit sexy too.
Here is my Doctor Who poem, written for Split Screen (Red Squirrel), included in Paper Patterns (Lapwing) and in my selected Letting Go (Mother’s Milk Books).
Jon Pertwee as The Third Doctor
Doctor, Doctor, when you first called I was nine.
I couldn’t come with you then, still hiding behind daddy,
sheltering in his shadow in front of our monochrome set
dreaming of Gallifrey, of diving into your kaleidoscope.
I was changing like you, renewing all my cells,
going through to my third incarnation:
a new version of myself with pointed breasts, long hair,
a waist. Not nylon slacks but Levi’s, lace and scent.
Doctor, Doctor, oh you dandy, velvet smoking jacket,
bow ties and leather gloves, you lounge lizard.
My mother warned me about men like you.
And yet you were the perfect gentleman, like daddy.
I watched as you outfaced Silurians, always polite
but not afraid to punch when words failed,
reverse the polarity and get the hell out of there.
I was getting out too: boys, A levels, university.
Doctor, Doctor, your world was colour like mine.
We watched you in black and white but knowing
others could see your green, burgundy and blue
as you strutted in galaxies, finding yourself, like me.
Daddy’s girl learned to argue, teenstruck and difficult.
I had no tardis to travel back to myself. You
could have made everything alright again.
Where were you? Too busy on missions to call again.
Doctor, Doctor, you missed your chance with me.