I’ve been a huge fan of Doctor Who ever since it made its glorious return in 2005. Prior to this, I have a vague memory of watching the TV Movie, but other than that, I’d barely seen a scrap of classic Who. But I did my research, spent many nights at university reading everything I could about the show’s history and invested in 20 or so classic DVDs.
I’ve always considered myself a proper fan, with a decent grasp of the folklore and mythology of the first twenty-six years, but the gaps in my knowledge always bugged me. I’d seen a bunch of old stories, but that only gave me a snapshot of the characters’ journeys – I didn’t experience their story with them, get to know them and watch them grow like I did with The 9th Doctor, Rose, even Mickey, et al. And so, in October 2014, buoyed by how much I was enjoying Series Eight, I decided to go back and watch it all, in order, right from the beginning.
And I meant all – I wanted to experience every single second of Doctor Who’s televised history, including the missing episodes. So I added hundreds of DVDs to my Christmas list, bookmarked Youtube searches for missing episode reconstructions, and built myself a spreadsheet…
All the stories listed, each episode colour coded, with the dates on which I watched them to be filled in. (I later went back and added in various spin-offs and specials, but we’ll come to those in a couple of years.)
I decided to set a pace of one individual episode a day. This seemed a manageable amount – I’m pretty busy a lot of the time, but 25 minutes of viewing is easy enough to squeeze in somewhere. Crucially, I didn’t want to watch more than one a day, in case I got fatigued or lost concentration during a viewing. As you can see above, it was pretty difficult to stick to the pace at the start (I’m a freelancer and was engaged on a particularly time-consuming and tiring job), but it got much more regular at the turn of the year.
Three months, two seasons and three companion departures in, I’m really, really enjoying this little venture, to the extent that I really want to talk to people about it. But the problem is, it’s quite a niche topic. My girlfriend is a very patient woman, but for the sake of her sanity, I think it’s time I reached out to the internet.
I’ll be using my blog to document my thoughts as I journey through time and… well, mostly time. Not huge essays or full reviews, just nuggets of what occurred to me as I watched. There may be a few short tweet-length posts after I’ve just finished an episode, but the bulk of my musings will be done after each story is completed.
One last thing to note, if you’re coming to this some time between now and when I finally catch up in about three years – it only occurred to me to start this blog while I was watching Galaxy 4. Therefore, the first two seasons are covered in a very brief manner; just vague memories written anywhere up to three months after viewing.
Oh, and also: This thing started off as a Tumblr, which was a medium that was not entirely fit for purpose. So, in early June 2015, as I was coming to the end of Season 5, I moved it over to its current home as a standalone blog.
It all started out as a mild curiosity in a junkyard, and now it’s turned out to be quite a great spirit of adventure.
My name’s Ian Symes. I was born when Colin Baker was The Doctor, grew up in Birmingham and now live in London. I work in the television industry as a Digital Producer. I tweet about lots of things that aren’t Doctor Who, and I write much longer and geekier things at Red Dwarf fansite Ganymede & Titan.
By the way, that’s me on the right.