Classic Who back in the day

I see so many posts epitomizing what classic Who fandom is, and admittedly they’re mostly sharing modern in-jokes and not meant to be serious.

I feel like sharing my own experience of classic Who and classic Who fandom back in the day (1979-1989)

— having a favorite Doctor and companions, plural (there were so many)
— Constantly hearing about complaints that it was too scary for children. We even knew the name of one of the fiercest critics on this front, Mary Whitehouse
— my Who fandom circle consisted of Mom, Dad, and a few classmates. Who was something the family watched together.
— how many of the old eps you’d gotten to see, as they weren’t available unless you caught the rerun

— assembling your VHS library of the show was a major part of fannish experience, a multi-year activity requiring organization, planning, negotiation with family members, hundreds of dollars in VHS tapes, and that new arcane technical skill, programming the VCR — and it was only possible in those few areas where reruns were being broadcast that you could record
— The Tom Baker years and his scarf. He seemed to go on forever, so in most people’s minds, even most diehard fans and those who liked another Doctor more, he was the quintessential Doctor Who
— Dalek episodes (just like now)
— most stories NOT taking place on Earth, or at least modern-day Earth; the UNIT period was unusual in that regard
— multi-Doctor specials. There were only 3, but they were all fan favorites
— stuffy Time Lords getting on the Doctor’s back like annoying parents imposing on adult children, when he just wanted to ramble around the universe having fun
— The show was about the adventures of the Doctor and his companions, rather than being about the Doctor and his companions
— lovable low-budget, handmade special effects. And yet at the same time, we could suspend disbelief so they looked AMAZING
— zines and those fantastic hardback commemorative books by Haining that started coming out around the 20th anniversary, with interviews, behind-the-scenes glimpses and trivia. They were our version of DVD commentaries, the sort of info you get easily in online fandom nowadays that wasn’t available to overseas fans.

— in the last few years, debating whether S21+ was still Doctor Who, since the show had changed so much


News clippings from various British papers, reproduced on inside cover of Doctor Who: The Key To Time — A Year-By-Year Record

…by Peter Haining, who interviewed numerous members of the classic Who production teams, nearly all the actors, and also published the 20-year and 25-year commemorative books  for the show, “by arrangement with the British Broadcasting Corporation.”


On this date — January 27, 1968 [above, recon with original audio]

"For the first and only time in the history of the programme, the Doctor appears immediately after the final episode of ‘The Enemy of the World’ to deliver a message of warning to viewers. Against the background of an Underground set for the next story, ‘The Web of Fear’ by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln, he tells the audience, ’Oh it’s you! I thought for one moment… Goodness me, I must sit down for a minute. I’m glad I’ve met you. As a matter of fact, there’s something I want to tell you. When we start out on our next adventure, Jamie, Victoria and I meet some old friends and some old enemies…very old enemies! The Yeti as a matter of fact. Only this time they are just a little bit more frightening than last time. So I want to warn you that if your mummy and daddy are scared, you just get them to hold your hand!’"

— Doctor Who: The Key to Time by Peter Haining