55: You never forget your first Doctor

Regular readers of my ramblings have probably noticed that I am a happy little nerd (and proud of it). My kids are resigned to the fact that if I am left alone with the TV remote and my latest project they will come back to find me watching M*A*S*H, an eighties movie, Monty Python or – most likely – Doctor Who. Over the past eighteen months or so I have worked my way back through from Nine to Twelve, with a festive break to watch all the Christmas specials. Clara Oswald is still in situ as companion, so I have Bill Potts to go before Thirteen makes her appearance.

While I love the reboot, my first Doctor was Tom Baker – Four – who is still the longest serving incarnation of the Doctor (1974-1981). He is probably the most recognisable with that wonderful scarf and the mad hair. I must have been very young when I first started watching the series, as I was only 8 in 1981. My dad, as I’ve mentioned previously, is an enormous fan of sci-fi and fantasy, so I suspect the Doctor was regular viewing. He also watched Day of the Triffids (the theme tune was more terrifying than the show), Blake’s Seven, The Adventure Game, Now Get Out of That, The Great Egg Race, Quantum Leap and more, so at least I was brought up with a good all-round TV grounding.

The special effects – for the time – were pretty good and the aliens were often quite scary so the old ‘watching from behind a cushion’ trope has some basis in reality. The writers were excellent, and I enjoyed the Terrance Dicks books when I used to get them out of the library. It’s no real surprise that I love Andrew Cartmel and Ben Aaronovitch as writers: they cut their teeth on Doctor Who.

Nine is my favourite of the rebooted Doctors, and his story arc with Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) broke my heart: he was so wonderfully mad and, I think, the most alien of the modern incarnations. The relationships with the companions have always been a huge part of the dynamic of the show. When Rose was replaced by Donna Noble – with Catherine Tate in the role – I stopped watching it quite so religiously: it was too soon after Tate’s own TV show where she played a series of very shouty characters for me to warm to her. However, on the rewatch, she was actually brilliant and the addition of the wonderful Bernard Cribbins as her dad was just genius. Clara Oswald is still too smug, but I rather liked the ‘fam’ that Thirteen collected and will be interested to see how John Bishop does in the new series.

Image from ‘The Parting of the Ways’

I’d like to see more of Captain Jack Harkness – both back in the TARDIS and a return of Torchwood please. I even liked Miracle Day, though I don’t think anyone else did. I love the fact that Ianto had a shrine down in Cardiff Docks! As for villains….the Daleks and the Cybermen are the classics (it’s not Christmas without one or the other), but some of the Masters have been archvillains indeed. The insane John Simm and the sociopathic Michelle Gomez have been properly scary at times: the tricky Doctor/Master relationship has been drawn so well here that you have to have sympathy for them.

My fondness for the Time Lord has spilled over into my crafting habits: I made a Tardis gift for a Whovian friend when he and his husband moved house, and one of my favourite work skirts was made from a Doctor Who duvet cover. I have enough fabric scraps left from that to put secret nerdy pockets into a lot of outfits! The last cross stitch I designed was a TARDIS in a bottle which is on the to-do pile, and once I have finished the Hobbit Hole I am currently working on and another gift for a friend, I think it will be next on the list.

Who’s your favourite Doctor?

The rest of the week…

…has been quite peaceful, which has been a relief after March’s frenzied union activities. The weather has been chilly but mainly sunny, so on Tuesday morning I went for a long solo ramble through the fields. In typical April fashion, it snowed later in the day.

There have been a few swims – the water has been warmer than the air on most days, but it’s so good to be back in the water regularly. The coots are building their nests in the reeds, so soon we’ll be sharing the lake with the noisy chicks. I can’t wait!

I finished the first of the Tunisian socks and got started on the second, and have also sorted out all my sock patterns from the various boxes in the shed. I think they may be my favourite thing to crochet, you know. I can also now share the latest gift to be given this week – a 40th birthday gift for a colleague who loves video games. The pattern can be found here, and I used the same string art tutorial as last time to do the back.

I also sent this floral wreath one off along with the Suffragette sashes, all the way to Northern Ireland – Royal Mail at least still admit that NI is in the UK! If you look closely you can see the tiny initials of the house’s new inhabitants. The final piece is a hobbit hole, which you can find here.

This week’s cover image was taken on Easter Monday at St Andrew’s Churchyard, where we went to plant spring flowers on my beloved’s mother’s grave. You aren’t allowed to leave pots, artificial flowers or plastic anything on the graves but many of them have been planted with daffodils and other spring flowers. It’s one of the most beautiful churchyards I have seen, with higgledy-piggledy gravestones, a covering of primroses and violets, riddled with rabbit holes and surrounded by fields. The church itself dates from about 1330. There is a small Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery and memorial in the churchyard as well, with the village war memorial in front of the church.

Thing Two is nagging me to go on a bike ride, so I had better leave this here and do some parenting!

Same time, same place next week then?

Kirsty

What I’ve been reading:

The Silk House/The Botanist’s Daughter – Kayte Nunn

A Comedy of Terrors (Flavia Albia) – Lindsey Davis (Audible)

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