DWM 487 The New Recruits

Husband and I have reached The Curse of Fenric in our watchthrough. This story is especially dear to husband’s heart as a lot of it was filmed in Lulworth Cove, only a few minutes’ walk from his childhood home in Lulworth. In fact, as his dad was vicar of Lulworth, we have worked out that if his family hadn’t moved away to Bournemouth in the early Eighties, and if the production team had chosen to film all the rest of the story in the area, eg filming in the nearest church instead of going to one in Kent instead, his dad would have been Nicholas Parsons. Although there is a slight possibility that our logic may be faulty in some way.

Speaking of Bournemouth, by the time you read this, AFC Bournemouth should be in the Premier League (NB. this is something to do with football). At the time of writing, it would take some other club losing a match by 19 goals to prevent this happening, husband has patiently explained to me. This means there may be an influx of new Bournemouth fans (and probably means it will be more difficult for him to get tickets for matches when we’re down visiting).

OK, so I can understand why that could be annoying. There are only a finite number of tickets, so it’s possible that new fans may oust old fans. These undeserving Johnny-come-latelys haven’t served their apprenticeships, they’ve just waltzed in to grab the glory! And there’s always something exciting about being in at the beginning of something, before it’s famous. In the 1980s, it was clear to me that (a) having bought the Pet Shop Boys’ first UK single, which only reached 116 in the charts, and (b) having watched – and publically praised! – the first episode of Red Dwarf on broadcast, did in fact make me superior to people who only discovered those soon-to-be-incredibly-popular things later on. Except, of course, it was so much more fun when other people had discovered those things too. When there were people to talk to about them, to share them with.

There have been tiny whispers of these things in the world of Doctor Who in the last ten years (although not, I’m sure, from the lovely readers of DWM). How people who discovered the show only after it became a huge success aren’t ‘real’ fans like those of us who kept the faith through what have become known as the wilderness years. That girls who came to watch it because of its drop-dead gorgeous leading man aren’t real fans. That unless you can recite the names of all the companions (as the Seventh Doctor apparently does in The Curse of Fenric – if only we had that in full we’d know once and for all if Sara Kingdom counts) and know the individual episode titles for Hartnell stories you’re not a real fan. Which is, of course, all rubbish – if you like something enough to self-identify as a fan, then no one has the right to tell you you’re not. (I mean, how many of you can always get The Escape, The Expedition, The Ordeal, The Rescue, The Ambush and The Survivors in the right order? I can’t do it and I only looked it up five seconds ago.) There aren’t a restricted number of tickets for watching Doctor Who. Someone calling themselves a fan doesn’t detract from anyone else’s fandom. And sharing things is a lot more fun.

Some people policing what others are allowed to like is something I’ve come across recently with my children. There are certain things that eight-year-old boys are not permitted to like, either because they’re considered ‘girly’ or ‘babyish’. One Direction? Nooooo! Frozen? Nooooo! Cartoons that don’t feature Jedi or superheroes? With a few exceptions, nooooooo! (Thankfully Doctor Who does not, as yet, feature in these unwritten laws.) No one is quite sure who’s setting the agenda, but an agenda has definitely been set, and how sad is that? It makes me unhappy that peer pressure strikes this early in life. Sad that negative peer pressure is ever a thing, but for young children, capable of such wholehearted and uncynical enthusiasms, it’s particularly regrettable.

So, what would be nice is, if someone starts liking the same thing you do, welcome them. If you like something wonderful, share it with others. If someone likes something you don’t – let them.

(By the way, it’s The Survivors, The Escape, The Ambush, The Expedition, The Ordeal, The Rescue. And by the time I’ve finished typing this sentence I’ll have forgotten that again.)

(And Sara Kingdom definitely counts.)