“In terms of the series as a whole I know, there are quite a few things I know. I know some plans for the new companion and that kind of thing. The one downside of working on Doctor Who is that you know what’s coming up. I knew who River Song was months and months and months before most other people, and it was great. Doctor Who is not necessarily a job I need to do because Being Human keeps me very busy, but I love it.”—
Okay so my bestie is going to start watching classic who with me after my birthday (he wants to start with an Unearthly Child, which I’m hopefully getting as a present) and I thought I’d write a list of things to tell him about the classic stuff so that he knows what to expect. I thought I’d share it with you here.
1.This is the Doctor you love, but not the Doctor you know.
To begin with we see a very different Doctor than the one we see today. And that’s fine. In fact it’s more than fine, it’s wonderful. He wouldn’t still be on our screens if he hadn’t changed. Sometimes he is grumpy. Sometimes he doesn’t know the answer. Sometimes he almost gets everyone killed. But one of the many reasons that I love the Doctor so much is that he grows and you get to see him grow. We see him mature, learn how to love, learn how to think, learn how to understand. In the beginning he is driven by excitement, he doesn’t stop to think about the dangers. He’s not always nice. But that’s the beautiful thing about Who. It’s an almost 50 year long journey we take with the Doctor. He literally changes and grows in front of our eyes. But the key thing to do is see how much stays the same. The love of travel, the need for someone else to ground him. Unbridled enthusiasm at the thought of new places, new spaces left unvisited.
2. Effects and fancy sets aren’t everything.
Forget the computer based technology of today. It isn’t going to happen. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. The story’s are beautiful. Some of them are so wonderful in their design and delightful in their execution that you don’t care. The focus is on the characters, their experiences and their struggles. A good storyline beats special effects every time. Of course there are still times where you are floored by what you just saw because you know they were operating on a shoestring budget and you can’t comprehend how they managed to do that for so little.
3. Change. It happens. Frequently.
Characters will come and go, a lot. Often never to be spoken of again. The sooner you learn this, the easier it will be to accept it when the companion you’ve grown painfully attached to leaves.
4. It’s a kids show but it’s not just for kids.
Don’t fall for the misconception that early Who was just for kids and it’s not going to be intellectually stimulating. There is a lot happening, and some of it would fly straight over a child’s head. There are serious tales of oppression, laden with symbolism. There is a lot of violence implied off screen. People die. It isn’t all fun and games, no more than the Doctor Who of now. At it’s core, Doctor Who is a show about the struggle for survival, human and otherwise. It’s something we can all related to.
5. The companions are just as smart, and just as badass.
Heard that the old companions were a bunch of scaredy cats who ran around screaming while the Doctor got **** done? Wrong. Barbara Wright ran over a Dalek with a truck. Jo resisted the Master’s attempts to hypnotise her. Romana could stop both her hearts and fake death. Leela was Leela. Nyssa built a sonic booster by herself to take out an android that had previous disarmed and overpowered Fivey, Tegan, and Adric. Ace McShane gave a Dalek a good old thumping with a baseball bat. Grace Holloway barely reacted when a man who jumped in her car when she was trying to drive home proceeded to walk through a glass door. My point is that the old companions were amazing. Every single one of them.