Monday, October 19, 2020

Primal Who: Figuring out the different Doctors

I always thought my absolute primal memory of Doctor Who must be a lie, because it never made any sense. The earliest thing I can remember about watching the greatest television show in the history of everything, it's thinking the Third Doctor was the Doctor on one channel, and the Fourth Doctor was on the other. There were only two channels in New Zealand in those days, so it made sense.

But it didn't. This didn't make any sense at all. I can clearly remember watching Destiny of the Daleks, which would have played in this country in the very late 70s, but the Third Doctor had mostly come and gone before I was born in 1975.

Fortunately, there are people more obsessive about this than me, and I can take massive advantage of their hard work and research. So all I had to do was go on to the NZ Doctor Who Fan Club webpage, where they have listed the local transmission times of every Doctor Who story and I can figure what it was. And I can see that the Green Death suddenly played in a run of Fourth Doctor stories in very early 1979, when I was four years old and allowed to watch Doctor Who at 6.30 on a Friday night.

Then it went back to Tom Baker, and the rest of the 1970s were full of his greatest adventures, including eventually Destiny of the Daleks. And if my Doctor Who obsession started anywhere, it started there.

Because New Zealand is a strange and backwards place, there were only two channels for years, and one of them changed its name from SPTV to TV2 between those two Dr Who stories, so I can see where the confusion came from. There were two channels, and there were two Doctors.

The internet can be a fearful place, but it's also a place where you can go and find out facts, and check whether your earliest memories actually have a basis in fact, and haven't been too distorted. There were two Doctor Whos on New Zealand's TV channels, and I saw both of them. The primal Doctor Who memory is present and correct. 

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