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Doctor Who fans are out of this world

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Doctor Who is the longest-running science fiction in the world. While that is in mainly due to its stellar casting and writers over the years, there is no doubt about it - the fans are pivotal to this iconic show's success. Elena Cresci met some of those fans and found out what it is about the show which makes them so loyal

AWAY from the sets, costumes and screenwriters, Doctor Who has a hardcore of dedicated fans - and the show would be lost without them.

For 18 months now, Comic Guru owner Kristian Barry has organised back-to-back viewings of Doctor Who episodes, starting from the very beginning. Every week, eight to 10 Doctor Who fans cram into the back room of his Comic Guru store in Cardiff and carry out their own journey through the Doctor's timeline from the '60s onwards.

"I just thought it would be a great idea to start from the very beginning," explained Kristian. "So we went way back to the start and have been meeting up every week to watch classic Who episodes.

"We're about halfway through Tom Baker's era now."

These are the fans who know the show inside and out.

Some, like Kristian, whose shop on Wood Street, has long been a specialist for Doctor Who merchandise, have watched it from very nearly the start.

He remembers his first encounter with the series well.

"I was only about 18 months old and I remember it being an episode with the Daleks," he said. "The music pulls you in right from the start. I couldn't help but watch it - and I guess it's gone from there.

"The story and the world of Doctor Who is quite unlike anything else.

And when it's good, it is amazing."

Others, like Merlin Cryer, picked it up when Christopher Eccleston took on the role for the 2005 reboot.

"I started watching when we got to Pertwee," he said. "I've watched all the new Who episodes, so it's been really fun to go back to all the episodes that came before."

Where the most dedicated fans are concerned, no corner of the Who fandom goes uncovered and their knowledge of the nooks and crannies of the Whoniverse is second to none.

These are the people Steven Moffat and co need to please with the 50th anniversary episode. And it's a tough crowd.

Moffat should know - he himself has been a lifelong fan of the show.

When it came to replacing Matt Smith, the Doctor Who showrunner admitted "one false move and the show's over". The same could be said of the 50th anniversary.

The Comic Guru crew all agree it's vital Moffat pulls it out of the bag for this milestone.

"If Moffat gets it wrong, there will be hell to play," said writer Andy Frankham-Allen, who recently released Companions: Fifty Years of Doctor Who Assistants.

"He has got to get it spot on really. And there's no way to hide from any bad feedback nowadays," he added.

Undoubtedly, the Whovians, the name some fans give themselves, are louder than ever before - thanks to social media.

When the BBC released their prequel to the Day of the Doctor last week, a mini-episode starring the Ninth Doctor Paul McGann, a cursory glance at Twitter showed the sheer level of fans' excitement.

The video clocked up a million views on YouTube alone just 24 hours after it was released - and that figure's still rising, as fans watch it over and over again as the anticipation for the big anniversary episode this weekend grows.

But their dedication goes back before the show regenerated in 2005. Gareth Starling, a fan who works for Cardiff council, said it is the fans who kept the fandom going after the show disappeared from television schedules in 1989.

"Fans created the demand for the books, the audio episodes and everything else that was produced before Russell T Davies brought the show back," he said. "There probably wouldn't have been a reboot were it not for the fans."

The show itself has long featured lifetime fans getting the job of their dreams - and the show's next Doctor is no different.

Shortly after it was announced Peter Capaldi would helm the show as the Twelfth Doctor, it emerged the Scottish actor had always been a huge fan of Doctor Who. It turns out being a fan doesn't harm casting at all.

Speaking about the choice of Capaldi as the next Doctor, Moffat said: "There's something very seductive about an utterly brilliant, arresting looking leading man actor...who you happen to know is a big fan of the show."

Tomorrow in Doctor Who week: 50 things every Doctor Who fan should know

GRAPHIC: A different Whoniverse: Doctor on a surprise tour of Welsh towns Who enthusiast Kristian Barry of the Comic Guru comic book shop in Cardiff. Left, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, the Tardis is and cities, stopping in Aberystwyth yesterday

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  • APA 6th ed.: Cresci, Elena (2013-11-20). Doctor Who fans are out of this world. Western Mail p. 18.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Cresci, Elena. "Doctor Who fans are out of this world." Western Mail [add city] 2013-11-20, 18. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Cresci, Elena. "Doctor Who fans are out of this world." Western Mail, edition, sec., 2013-11-20
  • Turabian: Cresci, Elena. "Doctor Who fans are out of this world." Western Mail, 2013-11-20, section, 18 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Doctor Who fans are out of this world | url= | work=Western Mail | pages=18 | date=2013-11-20 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 June 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Doctor Who fans are out of this world | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 June 2024}}</ref>