Five Hundred Eyes

Narrow Minds and Small Brains

Dave told me to write something that would provoke reaction, but above all else "... don't insult the readership." Sorry Dave. I couldn't help it, but looking into Who-fandom (why can't there be an easy word like 'Trekdom', 'cos 'Whodom' sounds down-right naff) as I have largely from the outside, I can't help but think that a lot of them seem to be SF's equivalent of Margaret Thatcher. Narrow- minded, single-purposed and unwilling to compromise on anything.

Look at it this way, I attended my first convention, Follycon during Easter '88, and was disgusted at what I found at the discussion group, 'When was Dr Who good?' If you put all the minds there side by side you'd be approaching 1 nanomete. You had the standard camps at the vote for favourite Doctor. A couple of 'mature' fans and pretentious teenagers for Hartnell, similarly for Troughton, a large chunk of re-cycled teenagers for Pertwee, everyone, their dog and as many arms as they could muster for Baker MK I, Dave and one as yet unidentified other for Davison, and everyone staring blankly round the room for Baker II, and an almost audible murmer of discontent for McCoy. I didn't place a vote as I have no favourite, but on reflection it should have been Colin Baker, to cause a little malcontent in their cosy little world, and because whatever any one else may say, I thought he was just as good as Tom Baker, in his own way.

From there, it seemed to degenerate. When asked the question directly, 'When was Dr Who good?', there seemed to be first off the opinion that it hadn't been the same since Tom Baker left, not that they had watched it you know as it was so crap (© DWB); not to be out done, in leapt the Pertwee fans with the cries of woe at the the ruthless assassination of Pertwee by the great pretender Baker, but of course the crinklies were in there next with solid support for Troughton, with emphatic claims that you couldn't beat the quality of a story such as The Krotons (actually ...). Hartnell was king for a good few seconds until the claims of it only being good pre-Hartnell's conception, and that they had watched it before any one had ever thought of the idea! Okay, the last bit is rather exagerated, but in essence is the kind of DWB that they were sprouting.

Then the common ground was found for them. Someone mentioned JNT ... Even the kiddies seemed to have had the tales of woe concerning this man drummed into them. He was the Devil incarnate, The Anti-Christ, "Com-parable to Donaldson at his worst" etc. All this for the man who dragged the series up from the depths of Destiny Of The Daleks and The Horns Of Nimon into the more sophisticated show of the 1980's? (I'll ignore all coments concerning Sly's first season for the moment, THAT must have all been a bad dream ...) Mind you, I'm also not in the habit of lurking behind JNT waiting for the sunrise either. He's probably hung around a bit too long and the show now needs a fresh producer.

After that and the normal burst of hysterical bickering over what makes a classic I departed to do more constructive things, like batter my head against the wall. From what I've seen of the fanzines, this is just the tip of the ice-berg.

Of all fandom I've come across, Dr Who's is the pettiest, ("My Doctor did more episodes than yours!" "That right? Well my Doctor is bigger than yours and he'll come round and beat yours up cos yours is a total wimp!"), and the most entrenched in their own opinions. ("Look they must have filmed 'An Unearthly Child' in colour 'cos I'VE seen the pictures and I'VE coloured every frame of mine in individually with crayon to make it authentic. It gums up the video something rotten, but it's how you should see it!")

By and large they seem to miss the underlying charm of the programme, the fact that it is all, wait for it ... Dr Who! Obviously some stories are better than others, and the reduced story count of these days means the bad stories are more evident, but can anyone truly say they didn't enjoy 'Rememberance Of The Daleks' or 'Silver Nemesis', because after all, enjoying the program is what it is all about, isn't it? Or perhaps I'm too naive? I'm not concerned with ****'s adventures with little boys (a note to the BBC's lawyers - Paddy did not just say that. He DID NOT just say that. Did he?), how many times a line you can print crap in a review of a story ...

crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap

(twenty times actually) or any such exercise in DWB. I've heard of one fan who's stopped recording the series now that Sylvestor McCoy is here, never having watched an episode in the secure knowledge that it was all bound to be crap, and in a few years he and all the others with their otherwise complete collections will be looking for these elusive McCoy episodes once he has gone, as they will then be classics. (And if those horrible rumours about no more Dr Who are true, they are going to really regret it.)

Here is of course the shocker ...


What about proving me wrong then? If you feel mortally wounded by my generalisations and accusations, write to Dave and complain bitterly.

(P.S Tom Baker is not all he's cracked up to be!)

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