Editorial River Song loves the Doctor - but not as much as we do.

Published on April 16th, 2012 | by Christian Cawley

Why Do We Love Doctor Who?

River Song loves the Doctor - but not as much as we do.

River Song loves the Doctor – but not as much as we do.

Our recent article by Jake Simpson has proved very popular with some older readers, and it has got me thinking about being a Doctor Who fan and fandom in general.

At its most simple, fandom is about loving the show. But why do we love it?

Probably most of us love the character of the Doctor, or the idea of travelling in time and space righting wrongs and defending the weak. But is there something more? Is it all about the TV show capturing our imaginations or do Doctor Who fans have a predisposition to becoming obsessive about things?

Perhaps it is just the Daleks, or the fact that the TARDIS is bigger inside than it is out. Or perhaps you’re just excited by the fact that the show can be anything it wants.

Speaking personally, I’m a big fan of certain rock groups, Terry Pratchett and some classic TV shows from the 1970s. Whether I’m as obsessive about them as I am about Doctor Who is another matter, of course; these are probably merely passing interests in comparison.

So what is it about Doctor Who that makes me – and you – love it so much?

Let me know your thoughts…


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

8 Responses to Why Do We Love Doctor Who?

  1. avatar Jo H says:

    Why do I love Doctor Who? There are many many answers to that one – I love SciFi,as a child of the 70′s I grew up with Star Trek reruns, Blakes 7, Star Wars and the Doctor all thanks to my SciFi/Astronomy obsessed Mother but the fundamental reason I love Doctor Who? Because it makes me feel safe – it takes me back to a time when all I had to worry about is whether I had a big enough cushion to hide behind (our sofa was always pushed up against the wall so you couldn’t hide behind that) and the thrill of watching a new episode never lessens.

    I have a lot to thank that madman in a blue box, I’ve found some fantastic friends and also the love of my life because of our mutual interest (or probably obsession) of the show.

  2. avatar Brian Stultz says:

    I think Doctor who’s appeal is very varied for the same reason that the show itself is very varied it is constantly changing.
    When ever I’m introducing someone new to the show I always forewarn them that if they are not terribly bowled over the first time out just wait till the next story. This week may be Gothic Horror, next week may be a mystery. Same goes for the Doctor. Every time he regenerates it breathes new life into the show and some times you have to wait for this version of the Dr. to grow and change. Some one who started watching during McCoy’s first year could watch him grow from his comic stylings to evolve over two series into the dark mysterious Timelord we all know and love .
    Basically I think the average person watching on some level is sucked in by all the excitement of what the next story, companion, villain or Doctor will bring us. Unlike most of our daily lives which are spent in whatever jobs Mon through Fri, 40 plus hrs a week, living, working, being with the same people and faces day in and day out get bored with the repetition. If your bored; fear not on a Sat this coming October we get to tune in to watch the 225Th story of a timeless character going on another adventure which will be totally new and exciting. The ultimate in television escapism.

  3. avatar Doc Whom says:

    For British fans “d’un certain age”, the Doctor is an extraordinarily powerful connection to our childhood. Anyone can remember things from their childhood but the Doctor brings back the very essence of a British childhood, the feel, taste and smell of it. The show only stops working when it stops being taken seriously by the writers, stops being written for children (but not written down to children) and/or when the link between Doctor and companion stops being that of best friends.

    I can find no affection for much of mid-to-late 1980s DW because in part the TARDIS crew were forever bitching among themselves (or in one case considering betraying the Doctor) and in part because it began to be written as geek-intellectual masturbation for students in their early 20s. You only have to look at the appalling “Ghostlight” (just about comprehensible on the third viewing) to see that the show had become written with the writers in mind and not the audience.

    Series One of New Who in 2005 recaptured proper Who as it was meant to be. A mysterious Doctor, a brave companion helping him and simple but intelligent writing. A Doctor that a child could truly worry about and feel the need to protect rather than sit back and admire how cool and awesome he was (a la Tennant). The Tennant era for me was too much of the Doctor as a cool guy down the pub (complete with bragging about women he’d shagged) and reached its nadir with the self-referential “Journey’s End” where one wasn’t quite sure whether they were bringing back all the Doctor’s friends or all of Russell T Davies’ pals.

    The Doctor ought to be a friend, not a hero. When DW is proper DW, you dream of travelling in the TARDIS for the chance of being the Doctor’s best friend. When DW goes astray, you dream of travelling in the TARDIS as a means of relieving some quasi-hormonal need to acquire some reflected coolness.

  4. avatar KevinCV says:

    Why do I love it? Because it’s one of the few sci-fi shows on TV today that maintains a sense of wonder and awe about the universe and the possibility that we’re a small yet important chunk of it. Also, I like that particularly the new series has properly explored that the Doctor may be a good and heroic figure, yet he’s not always a nice one. I like that because there’s not just black and white, but shades of gray. It makes him much more complex, dimensional and real.

  5. avatar Castellan Spandrel says:

    Where do I start and when do I stop?

    Firstly, the cosy warm glow of nostalgia – and an unnameable, happy feeling left over from childhood spent watching the show

    Other factors:

    -I liked Star Trek and most other SF showsfilms, but – come on. A Star Fleet Captain? Yawn. A bloody Jedi – more pseudo-religious mulch? Much more exciting to be a face-changing wanderer in a dimensionally transcendental time/space craft that can go anywhere and anywhen.

    -Horror and humour; some of it is genuinely dark while some of it is genuinely funny – the two work brilliantly together; Seeds of Doom, Talons, Blink, and Brain of Morbius among others provide ample demonstration of this.

    -The thrill of the ride; a giddy, Pavlovian response that kicks in when the theme tune starts.

    -The TARDIS; (paradoxically,) a timeless concept – and who wouldn’t want his/her own TARDIS?

    -Storytelling; when it’s as good as the best of Who, you don’t need great SFX or dud, boring, pseudo-scientific high concepts. Look at a story like Terminus; you can see what can be great about DW in the first 10-15 minutes of part one (the TARDIS stuck to an eerie, apparently deserted spaceship -and our heroes explore), and what can go wrong in the remaining 75 minutes of the story: the Big Bang was caused by an alien spaceship’s engines and that spaceship is now at the very centre of the universe = so what? Give me the fantastic storytelling in the first 15 minutes anytime – and thankfully, most of the series has done that.

    -Magic moments: shop window dummies coming to life, the decaying Master springing a surprise at the last minute by stealing Tremas’ body, Adric meeting a fate worse than Earth, the Second Doctor struggling to get to the TARDIS to evade capture by the Time Lords, Professor Yana turning over his fob watch to reveal…… and the First Dr appearing in a junkyard on a foggy night in 1960s London. And that’s without mentioning any cliffhangers. Or jelly babies.

  6. avatar Annalyn says:

    I still say it’s because of the characters. They’re real people, with vivid and plausible pasts (ok, maybe not Professor Song, but yeah). They are wonderfully multifaceted and sparkle like the gems they are!

  7. avatar Castellan Spandrel says:

    And monsters! Mustn’t forget the monsters.

    When they do a decent ‘monster’ season with a strong range of well-sculpted aliens, good and evil or just plain grey, that’s good enough for me.

    It was the monsters that first drew me in as a kid.

  8. avatar Anthony says:

    Its not simply a connection to one’s childhood – for me the most powerful thing about Who has always been that it dares tells stories that no other show will touch. It has a VOICE – it touches on Buddhism, Christianity, science vs religion. It asks what it is to be human – by showing us the view from someone who is not. It makes us question, to look at the human condition in a fresh light. Oh – and its a rollicking good time and a bloody fantastic show an’ all :)

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