Narrow Minds and Small Brains
Dave told me to write something that would provoke reaction, but above all else
"... don't insult the readership." Sorry Dave. I couldn't help it, but looking
into Who-fandom (why can't there be an easy word like 'Trekdom', 'cos 'Whodom' sounds
down-right naff) as I have largely from the outside, I can't help but think that a lot of
them seem to be SF's equivalent of Margaret Thatcher. Narrow- minded, single-purposed and
unwilling to compromise on anything.
Look at it this way, I attended my first convention, Follycon during Easter '88, and
was disgusted at what I found at the discussion group, 'When was Dr Who good?' If you put
all the minds there side by side you'd be approaching 1 nanomete. You had the standard
camps at the vote for favourite Doctor. A couple of 'mature' fans and pretentious
teenagers for Hartnell, similarly for Troughton, a large chunk of re-cycled teenagers for
Pertwee, everyone, their dog and as many arms as they could muster for Baker MK I, Dave
and one as yet unidentified other for Davison, and everyone staring blankly round the room
for Baker II, and an almost audible murmer of discontent for McCoy. I didn't place a vote
as I have no favourite, but on reflection it should have been Colin Baker, to cause a
little malcontent in their cosy little world, and because whatever any one else may say, I
thought he was just as good as Tom Baker, in his own way.
From there, it seemed to degenerate. When asked the question directly, 'When was Dr Who
good?', there seemed to be first off the opinion that it hadn't been the same since Tom
Baker left, not that they had watched it you know as it was so crap (© DWB); not to be
out done, in leapt the Pertwee fans with the cries of woe at the the ruthless
assassination of Pertwee by the great pretender Baker, but of course the crinklies were in
there next with solid support for Troughton, with emphatic claims that you couldn't beat
the quality of a story such as The Krotons (actually ...). Hartnell was king for a good
few seconds until the claims of it only being good pre-Hartnell's conception, and that
they had watched it before any one had ever thought of the idea! Okay, the last bit is
rather exagerated, but in essence is the kind of DWB that they were sprouting.
Then the common ground was found for them. Someone mentioned JNT ... Even the kiddies
seemed to have had the tales of woe concerning this man drummed into them. He was the
Devil incarnate, The Anti-Christ, "Com-parable to Donaldson at his worst" etc.
All this for the man who dragged the series up from the depths of Destiny Of The Daleks
and The Horns Of Nimon into the more sophisticated show of the 1980's? (I'll ignore all
coments concerning Sly's first season for the moment, THAT must have all been a bad dream
...) Mind you, I'm also not in the habit of lurking behind JNT waiting for the sunrise
either. He's probably hung around a bit too long and the show now needs a fresh producer.
After that and the normal burst of hysterical bickering over what makes a classic I
departed to do more constructive things, like batter my head against the wall. From what
I've seen of the fanzines, this is just the tip of the ice-berg.
Of all fandom I've come across, Dr Who's is the pettiest, ("My Doctor did more
episodes than yours!" "That right? Well my Doctor is bigger than yours and he'll
come round and beat yours up cos yours is a total wimp!"), and the most entrenched in
their own opinions. ("Look they must have filmed 'An Unearthly Child' in colour 'cos
I'VE seen the pictures and I'VE coloured every frame of mine in individually with crayon
to make it authentic. It gums up the video something rotten, but it's how you should see
By and large they seem to miss the underlying charm of the programme, the fact that it
is all, wait for it ... Dr Who! Obviously some stories are better than others, and the
reduced story count of these days means the bad stories are more evident, but can anyone
truly say they didn't enjoy 'Rememberance Of The Daleks' or 'Silver Nemesis', because
after all, enjoying the program is what it is all about, isn't it? Or perhaps I'm too
naive? I'm not concerned with ****'s adventures with little boys (a note to the BBC's
lawyers - Paddy did not just say that. He DID NOT just say that. Did he?), how many
times a line you can print crap in a review of a story ...
crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap
crap crap crap
(twenty times actually) or any such exercise in DWB. I've heard of one fan who's
stopped recording the series now that Sylvestor McCoy is here, never having watched an
episode in the secure knowledge that it was all bound to be crap, and in a few years he
and all the others with their otherwise complete collections will be looking for these
elusive McCoy episodes once he has gone, as they will then be classics. (And if those
horrible rumours about no more Dr Who are true, they are going to really regret it.)
Here is of course the shocker ...
IT'S ONLY A PROGRAMME, TIME-TRAVEL ISN'T REAL, ESPECIALLY IN A BLUE POLICE BOX WHICH IS
BIGGER ON THE INSIDE THAN OUT.
What about proving me wrong then? If you feel mortally wounded by my generalisations
and accusations, write to Dave and complain bitterly.
(P.S Tom Baker is not all he's cracked up to be!)
Issue five contents
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