“You never forget your first Doctor.” That’s what people tell me. I’ve also heard that your first Doctor is most likely your favorite Doctor. For me, this is true. Sort of. Technically, the Second Doctor was my first Doctor, and if you have ever watched “The Tomb of the Cybermen,” you would know that Two makes a rather distinct impression.
My first Doctor, Patrick Troughton.
But as much as I like Troughton, I did not become a true Whovian until the series was revamped in 2005 with the arrival of Nine and Rose. When David Tennant came on the scene as Ten, my one human heart was lost. I’m not alone; many of us Whovians didn’t convert until the swaggering Scotsman with the perfect hair came along. When he smiled, we smiled; when he cried, we sobbed and donned sack-cloth and ash. When he left in 2010, we mourned the loss of Ten, the way we would a close friend. It doesn’t help that his send-off was one of the most gut-wrenching emotional catastrophes in the history of television.
We didn’t want you to go either.
But as much as I could say about David Tennant (and his hair), this post isn’t about him. Or Eleven, AKA, The No-Eyebrow Wonderboy. This is one Whovian confessing to a fandom that I’m a terrible Doctor Who fan. I skip most of the Martha era; every time I watch “Doomsday” I can’t watch anymore DW for weeks (sometimes months); I’ve never seen any of the specials that Tennant made during his last year in the TARDIS. Donna Noble would probably say to me, “This fandom of yours, before they left, did they punch you in the face?” I broke the cardinal rule of watching DW—don’t get too attached because Davies or Moffat will rip your heart out, light it on fire, and then piss on the ashes.
And yet, I still call myself a Whovian, even though I don’t know why fezzes are cool or who the Silence are. I don’t understand references like “Hello, sweetie” or “fish sticks and custard.” In fact, I know nothing about Eleven other than he has no eyebrows. I am afflicted with the cenolatrophobia of the undecim variety. In English, that’s the fear of the 11th doctor. Okay, I exaggerate, it’s not a real phobia; I don’t shake like a Chihuahua or scream like a banshee whenever Matt Smith appears on television.
Ok, that last part was true for a while. People without eyebrows give me the heebie jeebies.
In the beginning, there were two reasons I wouldn’t watch Eleven:
- He’s not Ten.
- He’s not Ten.
Add some missing eyebrows to the recipe, and you’ve got everything I don’t want in a Doctor. I was fine, content, with my limited scope of Doctor Who for a few years. I watched more classic Who, and eventually, I moved onto other sci-fi like Battlestar Galactica and Firefly and eventually, the loss of Ten wasn’t so bad. Whovians, here is the worst part of my confession: I didn’t watch any Doctor Who for over two years. That’s right, rather than watch the show without David Tennant, I gave it up entirely. I imagined myself to be as faithful as Rose Tyler, who was ready to be separated from her family forever in order to be with her Doctor. (I conveniently forgot that Rose Tyler was a faithful companion to both Nine and Ten.) I forgot about the Doctor and went on with my life.
But as any watcher of Doctor Who knows, the Doctor has a way of reappearing at convenient times. I went on vacation last summer and fell ill with the flu, and DW was one of the few shows in English that were on the telly. [insert witty joke about how I needed the Doctor to feel better here] I rewatched almost all of Nine’s episodes in the span of a day, and I realized just how much I had missed the Doctor. Slowly, I watched Series Two again…and experienced the utter devastation and heartbreak that “Doomsday” brings.
I will never look at a white wall without dying inside.
During my re-immersion into the world of Who, I brought my own companion, who had never even heard of DW. She loved Nine, and initially rejected Ten. Seeing her reaction, I realized that I was foolish. The Doctor is the Doctor, no matter the face (yes, I know that’s the whole premise of regeneration, but I was too daft to see it until now). I decided to start small. In the dark of the night and in the throes of insomnia, my fingers furtively typed “Matt Smith” into the youtube search bar.
Three hours of youtubing later, I was cured.
So, if you suffer from cenolatrophobia of the undecim variety, I have found the cure:
Matt Smith’s charmingly geeky home video convinced me that he is worthy of the bow tie and sonic screwdriver, and that maybe, maybe this hipster-nerd version of the Doctor may just be what post-Tennant broken heart(s) need. I’m going to watch Eleven now. Eleven is cool. And this November, when Doctor Who will celebrate 50 years of televised nerdiness, I’m going to celebrate that I’ll finally be caught up.
But, if I ever hear the “whoosh whoosh” of a that blue police box, I will still cross my fingers that Ten’s the one to open the door.
- David Tennant and Billie Piper to Return for ‘Doctor Who’ 50th Anniversary (mashable.com)
- David Tennant Confirmed as the Only Returning Doctor for 50th Anniversary (haveageekasm.com)
- Doctor Who’s 50th: Official David Tennant And Matt Smith Pic! (geek-news.mtv.com)
- Fifty Years of Doctor Who in Caricature (media.gunaxin.com)
- Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Episode Title and Matt Smith’s Wig Revealed! (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- 11 Episodes of the Eleventh Doctor: The Wedding of River Song (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)