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Who's the greatest! (Winnipeg Sun)

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Fans have followed the enigmatic Doctor through time and space for 24 years

"Who's the best there is.

"Who?"

"Exactly."

"What?"

"No. Who. Who's Number One in my book.'

"How should I know?"

OK, OK. Nix the Abbott and Costello routine.

But the fact is, Who loves ya, baby.

Dr. Who, that is.

And literally millions of fans in 60 countries around the world love him right back.

Dr. Who, a 750-year-old Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation Kasterborus, was born into real-time almost 24 years ago and the BBC production chronicalling his cosmic-wide battle against evil is the longest-running sci-fi show on TV.

Space and time travel

No less than seven different actors have essayed the adventures of the intrepid Dr. Who as he zazzes through time and space in his TARDIS, a Time and Relative Dimensions In Space machine, which looks remarkably like an old British police call box.

Last week, 100-odd Winnipeg Dr. Who fans climbed into a pair of TARDIS disguised as buses and spent four bum-numbing hours rolling down to Fargo, N.D., to take in the Dr. Who Celebration and Tour, a mobile exhibition of Dr. Who paraphenalia appearing in 185 cities across the U.S.

Well, actually they weren't all that odd.

Not even Ray Plett.

Dedicated Kasterborians

"Have a jelly bean," said Plett, turning around in his seat and holding out a plastic bag filled with jelly babies, Dr. Who's favorite snack.

The 41-year-old electronics technician and wife Pat had managed to snag a free ride on the Dr. Who express since they were among the first 12 people to request tickets from Prairie Public TV, the people who founded the Kasterborus Club, dedicated to Telewhovians of the past, present and future.

Since the Dr. Who series is not included in its regular budget, PPTV founded the Kasterborus Club to obtain financial support for the program which it began airing just last fall.

Program associate Kay Christenson said half the $40,000 needed to bring the series to PPTV and carry it through next year must be raised from Who fans by Sept. 1 or the show will be dropped.

That would be a disaster of cosmic proportions to Whovians like 23-year-old University of Manitoba student Dean Weiss.

"They have more intelligent stories than most science fiction on TV," said Weiss, who appreciates the fact the show deals with themes like social justice, slavery and exploitation.

Weiss may have watched every episode of Dr. Who aired by Prairie Public TV. But twenty-year-old Steve Becker has taped and kept every show since he began watching Dr. Who in February.

"I watch them again and again to make sure I don't forget them," said the spikey-haired Who fan.

Metro and Terry Klimchak, a married couple in their mid-20s enjoy the show because Dr. Who himself is so appealing.

"He's like a guy from this time," said Metro, who appreciates the fact the show lacks the military atmosphere of Star Trek and isn't too flashy.

That's putting it mildly.

The program's special effects are about as technically advanced as the hand-lettered sign reading TARDIS some Whovian wag pasted on the door of the bus's toilet.

But the cheesy f/x seem to add rather than detract from Dr. Who's appeal.

"The show's got its charm in spite of the special effects," explained Plett. "Others have it because of them,"

In Fargo, Whovians spent a few hours viewing Dr. Who shows and documentaries and touring a 48-foot trailer filled with Whovarian monsters and villains.

The weary Whovians arrived back home 14 hours after leaving Winnipeg, laden with a good portion of the Dr. Who memorablia flogged by tour organizers.


Caption: Whovians Tim Webster and Marcus LeNabat (right) pick up Who souvenirs in Fargo. Colin Baker (above) was one of seven actors to portray the Doctor.


Doctor's companion suffers from jet lag

Janet Fielding, the actress who played Dr. Who's companion, Tegan, for three years, joined up with the trans-American Dr. Who Celebration and Tour last week in Fargo, N.D.

The Australian-born brunette proved as fiesty and spirited as her fictional alter-ego during a free-spirited question and answer session held for Who fans in Prairie Public TV studios.

When a young Dr. Who look-alike sitting front-row-and-centre in the SRO crowd mentioned she looked older in person than on TV, Fielding gave a chilly smile and looked out over the audience.

"We have a boy here of finite charms," she said.

And after the same brave lad asked how she's been spending the last two years, Fielding frowned in mock anger.

"Plucking out my gray hairs," she shot back.

Fielding, who had arrived in Fargo the previous evening after a long flight from England, later mantioned she was suffering from jet lag.

"Which probably accounts for the fact I look so old," she said, blasting the Who clone with another Arctic smile.

The poor guy probably wished he could crawl into the nearby TARDIS and scoot off to another dimension.

But it was all in fun as Fielding skillfully and humorously fielded questions and within a short time, she managed to develop a marvellous aura of give-and-take between herself and the audience.

Of actor Tom Baker, she told curious fans: "Right now, I think he's in a play in the West End."

"The West End of what?" someone shouted.

"London," she laughed. Fielding, who named actor Patrick Troughton as her personal favorite Dr. Who, was somewhat circumspect in her comments concerning Tom Baker, the Doctor's fourth incarnation and the version most familiar to Winnipeg audiences.

"Tom's a very eccentric man," she said, adding that she wasn't too crazy about the Sherlock Holmes Baker recently essayed for TV. "Very people know Tom Baker very well. I'd say nobody knows Tom Baker very well."

Later, when I asked her if "eccentric" was a euphanism for something else, Fielding would only say she was in awe of Baker.

"I respected him. I'll leave it at that. I think he's a very gifted actor.

Fielding herself is no slouch.

Since her days with Dr. Who, she has kept busy appearing in a number of theatre and TV productions, including John Fowler's The Collector and the BBC's popular Minder series, another favorite of local late night TV devotees.

Fielding was obviously a favorite with the Winnipeg Who fans in Fargo.

"When are you coming to Winnipeg?" someone shouted.

"When you ask me," she laughed.

"You're invited," was the reply.

"Want a ride?" called someone else.


Caption: Actress Janet Fielding talks about her travels with the Doctor.

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: McLennan, Ross (1987-07-26). Who's the greatest! (Winnipeg Sun). Winnipeg Sun p. 19.
  • MLA 7th ed.: McLennan, Ross. "Who's the greatest! (Winnipeg Sun)." Winnipeg Sun [add city] 1987-07-26, 19. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: McLennan, Ross. "Who's the greatest! (Winnipeg Sun)." Winnipeg Sun, edition, sec., 1987-07-26
  • Turabian: McLennan, Ross. "Who's the greatest! (Winnipeg Sun)." Winnipeg Sun, 1987-07-26, section, 19 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Who's the greatest! (Winnipeg Sun) | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Who%27s_the_greatest!_(Winnipeg_Sun) | work=Winnipeg Sun | pages=19 | date=1987-07-26 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=20 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Who's the greatest! (Winnipeg Sun) | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Who%27s_the_greatest!_(Winnipeg_Sun) | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=20 July 2024}}</ref>