The Anglo Files 14
by Cara Winter
As a writer, I am always fascinated by how and why certain stories ‘catch on’. Why do some films or TV shows crash-and-burn, while others capture the imagination of legions, scoring passionate, die-hard fans?
If the world-wide reaction to the new STAR WARS trailer has taught us anything, it’s that die-hard fans are often life-long fans, as well. But, why? What are the components, what is the magic recipe, for creating a tale that inspires such rabid fandom? And what’s inside the head of a super-fan; and why do they get so attached?
My current working theory is that the younger a person is when they are introduced to a great story (or, one might say, indoctrinated), the more that story sticks with them as they grow older. The UK television hit DOCTOR WHO has rabid, die-hard super fans (called Whovians), similar to STAR WARS and STAR TREK fans. So I thought it might be interesting to interview a young Whovian, a super-fan in the making, and pick his brain about why he loves DOCTOR WHO.
Below is the transcript of my interview with a 10-year-old Whovian named Thomas, about his love for the 1,000-year-old Doctor.
CW: I understand you’re a big fan of the UK television series DOCTOR WHO. Can you tell my readers a little about yourself?
THOMAS: I AM ALMOST ELEVEN YEARS OLD. I LIVE IN KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN, AND I AM A FIFTH GRADER.
CW: How did you get into DOCTOR WHO?
THOMAS: I GOT INTO IT BY MY FRIEND, JOSH, WHO’S A GEEK ABOUT THESE SORTS OF THINGS. AND HE TOLD ME I REALLY NEEDED TO WATCH THE SHOW. SO I DID, AND I GOT REALLY INTO IT.
CW: How many seasons of DOCTOR WHO have you seen?
THOMAS: I HAVE SEEN ALL OF THE NEW SEASONS, AND I’M WAITING FOR SEASON NINE, BUT I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY OF THE CLASSIC SEASONS ALL THE WAY THROUGH.
CW: I’ve actually never seen DOCTOR WHO, and I’m thinking about starting to watch. As a newbie to the show, what episode/s or season/s do you think I should watch first?
THOMAS: SO, I RECOMMEND WATCHING SEASON ONE, BUT NOT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. SORRY, CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON, BUT YOU’RE NOT MY FAVORITE DOCTOR. I RECOMMEND WATCHING THE EPISODE “ROSE”, “DALEK” AND THEN I RECOMMEND WATCHING “THE EMPTY CHILD” AND “THE DOCTOR DANCES” AND “FATHER’S DAY” AND, UM, “BAD WOLF”, AND “THE PARTING OF THE WAYS”. AND THEN WATCH THE REST ALL THE WAY THROUGH. ESPECIALLY, DON’T SKIP SEASON 2, OR SEASON 3, OR SEASON 4, BECAUSE THAT HAS MY FAVORITE DOCTOR IN IT.
CW: What do you love most about DOCTOR WHO?
THOMAS: I LIKE THAT HE GOES AROUND IN TIME AND SPACE, AND HE GETS A TON OF FRIENDS, AND HE’S REALLY OLD, AND HE CAN TRAVEL INTO ALIEN PLACES. AND I LOVE HOW HE HAS HIS TARDIS, WHICH IS A BLUE BOX WHICH IS SMALL AND CAN PROBABLY FIT INSIDE YOUR CLOSET, BUT IT’S SUPREMELY BIG ON THE INSIDE.
CW: Which actor so far has been your favorite Doctor?
Thomas as “The Doctor”
THOMAS: MY FAVORITE DOCTOR, BY FAR, HAS GOT TO BE DAVID TENNANT, WHO WAS THE TENTH DOCTOR, AND WAS IN SEASON 2 SEASON 3 AND SEASON 4. I JUST REALLY LIKE HIM. HE’S FUNNY, AND HE’S WITTY, BUT HE’S ALSO VERY SMART AT TIMES. HE’S SMART WHEN HE NEEDS TO BE SMART, AND FUNNY WHEN HE NEEDS TO BE FUNNY. I LOVE HIS FAKE GLASSES, TOO.
CW: Who is your favorite companion?
THOMAS: WOW, THAT’S TOUGH. I’M GONNA SAY AMY POND, CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS, AND RIVER SONG. THAT’S MY TOP THREE.
CW: Apparently people’s opinions vary wildly as to what actor should play the Doctor, after Peter Capaldi’s done. Do you have any opinions about this subject?
THOMAS: NOT REALLY, BUT – I KINDA LIKE THE YOUNGER DOCTORS, BECAUSE THEY SEEM MORE, LIKE, FROLICKY? KINDA CRAZY-ISH? BUT, NO, I DON’T HAVE AN OPINION AS TO WHAT ACTOR SHOULD PLAY HIM NEXT.
CW: Do you think the Doctor could ever be played by a woman?
THOMAS: UM, I DON’T KNOW. I MEAN, LIKE, IT FEELS LIKE THE DOCTOR HAS TO PLAYED BY A MAN, BECAUSE THE DOCTOR’S LIKE, THE DOCTOR. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, THE MASTER HAD REGENERATED INTO A WOMAN, AT ONE POINT. SO I DON’T KNOW, IT COULD BE TOTALLY POSSIBLE!
CW: Could the Doctor be played by a kid?
THOMAS: UM, I DON’T KNOW. IF THE DOCTOR WERE PLAYED BY A KID, I FEEL LIKE IT WOULD TAKE THE WHOLE POINT OUT OF HIM BEING, LIKE, 2,000 YEARS OLD. IT SEEMS LIKE 20 YEARS OLD, I THINK, MIGHT BE THE MINIMUM.
CW: The Doctor has never been played by an American actor. Would you like to be considered for the role someday, despite being an American?
THOMAS: I DON’T KNOW. I THINK IT WOULD BE REALLY, REALLY FUN TO BE THE DOCTOR. BUT IT’S KIND OF LIKE HAVING THE LEAD ROLE IN A PLAY. YOU’VE GOTTA PRACTICE EVERY DAY. BUT IT WOULD BE FUN TO BE THE DOCTOR, AS YOUR JOB. LIKE, GOING INTO A CROWD OF WHOVIANS AND BEING LIKE, “I’M THE DOCTOR!” AND THEN PEOPLE WOULD BE LIKE, ‘OH MY GOSH!!!’ THAT WOULD BE PRETTY COOL.
(Side bar: I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say he’d be perfect. Check out this video Thomas made:
CW: Would you like to write for the show?
THOMAS: THAT WOULD BE PRETTY FUN, TOO. BECAUSE YOU CAN CHOOSE WHAT HAPPENS IN THE STORY. OR, LIKE, IF YOU’RE A CHILD, AND YOU MAKE UP ALL THESE GAMES OF DOCTOR WHO, YOU COULD MAKE THAT COME TO LIFE, IN AN EPISODE.
CW: Some grownups talk about seeing the show when they were younger, and it scaring the bejezus out of them. Are there any moments in any episodes that stand out, to you, as being the scariest?
THOMAS: I ACTUALLY CAN SAY THAT THERE IS A VERY SCARY EPISODE: IF YOU ARE GOING TO WATCH WITH YOUR CHILD, I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND SEEING “THE EMPTY CHILD” AND “THE DOCTOR DANCES”. IT’S a TWO-PARTER EPISODE. A GOOD EPISODE, BUT IT IS PRETTY SCARY, IN MY OPINION. I WAS CREEPED OUT BY IT. ALSO, THE WEEPING ANGELS ARE PRETTY SCARY. BUT ALL THE OTHER CREEPY EPISODES ARE, AT MOST, HALF AS CREEPY AS “THE EMPTY CHILD”.
CW: What’s your favorite episode or episodes?
THOMAS: “THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR”, and “A GOOD MAN GOES TO WAR”, and “TIME OF THE DOCTOR”, and “SILENCE IN THE LIBRARY”.
CW: If the Doctor existed in real life, and you could talk to him – what would you ask him?
THOMAS: PROBABLY, “COULD I TRAVEL WITH YOU?”
CW: If he said yes, where would you go?
THOMAS: I DON’T KNOW, IT DEPENDS ON IF IT’S JUST ONE TRIP, OR AS MANY TRIPS AS I WANT. CAUSE, I KINDA WANT TO GO BACK IN TIME, BUT ALSO WANT TO GO TO THE FUTURE. AND I KINDA WANT TO SEE AN ALIEN PLANET.
CW: What character/s in the DOCTOR WHO universe do you love most, besides the Doctor himself?
THOMAS: I REALLY LIKE CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS, WHO’S INTRODUCED IN SEASON 1, BECAUSE HE’S LIKE, TOTALLY SUAVE AND COOL. AND HE MAKES JOKES A LOT AND STUFF. HE CAN HOLD A SMILE WHILE BEING VERY SERIOUS. AND I LIKE RIVER SONG BECAUSE SHE HOLDS SO MANY SECRETS. THAT’S PRETTY COOL.
CW: What character or characters do you hate?
THOMAS: I LIKE THE MASTER, BUT IN (SPOILER ALERT) THE MASTER’S VERSION OF MISSY, I DON’T REALLY LIKE HER. SHE JUST SEEMS SO RUTHLESS.
CW: I imagine you feel a sense of kinship with the Doctor. What is it about him, do you think, that you identify with? Or what is it about him that you like?
THOMAS: I LIKE THAT HE’S WISE, BUT FUNNY, AND REALLY SMART. I DON’T KNOW. HE JUST SEEMS REALLY COOL. HE’S REALLY NICE, HE’S FUNNY.
Well, there you have it. Everything that makes a Whovian tick. Everything that makes them come back for more.
Special thanks to Thomas, and Thomas’ mom, Sarah, for her assistance with this interview, as well as for the photos / video.
Cara Winter is a Contributing Editor to TVWriter™. You can learn more about her HERE.