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I Married a Doctor Who Fan

I Married a Doctor Who Fan

My husband and I have been watching classic Tom Baker Doctor Who episodes on BritBox, the new BBC & ITV streaming service. Tom Baker’s Doctor was my first introduction to the show, and he’ll always be my favorite Doctor from the original series. (My favorite incarnation in the relaunched version of Doctor Who is David Tennant.)

We’re watching the show because I married a Doctor Who fan. That might not seem unusual today, given the show’s widespread popularity since the franchise returned in 2005. However, in 1982, I don’t think many Americans had ever heard of the show.

I met my husband-to-be just a few months after starting college at the University of Illinois. I was already a fan of British television; watching The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Upstairs, Downstairs on PBS started my lifelong love affair with the BBC. Once I got to 7th or 8th grade, my parents let me stay up late to watch Monty Python and other Britcoms such as the hilarious No, Honestly starring Pauline Collins and John Alderton.

However, I’d never seen a single episode of Doctor Who until we started dating. The Champaign-Urbana PBS station used to air half-hour episodes of Doctor Who on weeknights, mainly Tom Baker episodes. Since there were often four episodes to a story arc, it could take a week to watch an entire serial. I remember taking a spur-of-the-moment trip home one Sunday so we could catch the show on WTTW, Chicago’s PBS station. WTTW used to air an entire serial on Sunday evenings, which meant we could watch an entire story in one sitting.

Steve was such a Doctor Who fan that he even asked his mother to knit him an 11-foot long, striped scarf like Tom Baker’s. Try explaining that to your friends when no one’s heard of Doctor Who! I got my own back though. I made him wear a kilt when we went to a Halloween party dressed as Prince Charles and Princess Diana. (That was in 1982, when we still believed in fairytale weddings.)

So BritBox has been helping us relive the Tom Baker era of Doctor Who. The other day I found Steve’s Doctor Who scarf stashed in the back of a drawer. Now that he knows it’s still around, will he start wearing it again? Who knows, but it would certainly go well with our full-length Tardis blanket. (By the way, that’s Steve standing next to an official Police Call Box outside the Earl’s Court tube station in London).

If he does start wearing it in public, I’ll just have to grin and bear it. After all, I knew he was a Doctor Who fan when I married him! By the way, if you want to make your own Doctor Who scarf, I found instructions on the Vermont PBS website.





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