Formerly, before the internet, I used to read a lot and watch a lot of television. That has all changed now, thanks to the internet and growing up. But there’s still one program, one series, where my guy and I sit down to watch. And that’s Doctor Who, on BBC1, on Saturday evenings. Doctor Who is a series that both of us followed even before we met each other. He in England, me in the Netherlands. It’s quite amusing how a series like this can connect us. Why do I still think Doctor Who, a children’s or family series, is so good?
Who is Doctor Who?
The Doctor is an extraterrestrial, a so-called Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. He is incredibly old because when the Doctor dies, he regenerates and becomes a ‘new’ Doctor. (They came up with this trick when the very first actor playing the Doctor wanted to quit because his health was deteriorating. In order to continue with the popular series, they needed another actor. And this was a clever way to explain why the Doctor suddenly looked different. Clever, isn’t it?)
Earth holds a special place in the Doctor’s heart. He protects everyone on Earth, in all time periods, as best as he can. He loves humans, especially children. He prefers not to travel alone because he might do strange things then. His companion is almost always a young man or woman from Earth. At the moment, the Doctor is in transition, and I don’t know the new companion yet. Usually, the companion keeps the Doctor in balance as much as he/she can. Because the Doctor has done terrible things and can be very tough. When you are so old, can travel through time, and have been the last of your kind for a very long time, sometimes you just stop caring.
Doctor Who started as a children’s series, but because the stories went a bit deeper than the average Studio 100 episode, adults also enjoyed watching it with their children. Sometimes Doctor Who could be scary for children because the writers took them seriously. Thus, a series emerged that was watched by the whole family. Because the stories are sometimes quite challenging. The underlying tone is that the Doctor is there to help and protect you. That’s a beautiful message for children. And besides, it’s often exciting, with plenty of humor.
And sometimes, very rarely, there’s a message that goes a bit further. One that you hope will stick with children. That violence is not the solution, for example. Or that not everything is as it seems. Or that there are some things you just can’t change, no matter how much you want to. But most of all, that everything will eventually turn out all right.
The Doctor’s Different Personalities
That’s the most fun part. That each doctor, each actor, puts their own stamp on the character. Tom Baker was a somewhat eccentric doctor, with a lot of feeling. Christopher Eccleston was a kick-ass doctor with a leather jacket. And Peter Capaldi is a damaged doctor, haunted by his past, but he wants to make sure no one ever makes the same mistakes he did. Plus, Capaldi has cool sunglasses and plays the electric guitar. How cool is that?
Everyone has a favorite Doctor. And I still don’t know who mine is. But Capaldi is really great. Just like I thought Peter Davison was a very lovely Doctor, sensitive but smart. And David Tennant was, of course, simply a wonderful Doctor to watch. He’s my favorite in combination with his companion, Donna. But Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, oh man, what a strong Doctor he is. But…there’s a Doctor for everyone.