13 years ago, when I was first introduced to Doctor Who, it was a time of joy for Whovians. Their favourite show was finally back! 13 years ago, I discovered a fascinating character, I witnessed his regeneration and… I stopped watching Doctor Who.
Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t stop watching because my heart was broken when Christopher Eccleston decided to leave the show; it was not because I considered David Tennant a bad choice (I consider him a fine actor). The reason was much simpler: Tennant’s Doctor reminded me of a French comedian who has a way to get on my nerves with his overexcited acting. Ten reminded me so much of him that I just stopped watching Doctor Who. And since it wasn’t very popular in France back then, I pretty much missed all David Tennant’s era and a good part of Matt Smith’s era too. But you know how it is: once you meet the Doctor, you can’t escape him. He comes back to haunt you eventually.
I did try to watch some Tenth Doctor episodes over the years: the Fires of Pompeii (because Peter Capaldi was in it), Silence in the Library, Forrest of the Dead (because of River Song). Each time, I felt the same urge to run away from the Doctor.
Friends were telling me that I was missing some great stories; some even tried to talk me into watching seasons 2, 3 and 4. I wasn’t ready. And I wasn’t worried either, because deep down I knew that a day would come when I would watch those episodes.
“When” is now. It took me over 10 years, but I finally watch every single episode featuring the Tenth Doctor and you know what? I regret nothing.
I don’t regret watching the episodes because I enjoyed how the Tenth Doctor evolves.
But I don’t regret watching those episodes a decade after they were first aired. It felt like starting all over again, discovering Doctor Who and his universe. It felt like saving a bunch of jelly babies for later and enjoying them even more (and trust me, it’s close to impossible to get jelly babies here. So when I do manage to get some, I save some!).
My friends in the Whovian community know that I distasted the Tenth Doctor, but they also knew that I was leaving the door open for the day I might change my mind. This is why, when I hear Whovians expressing that same kind of distaste towards Classic Who or New Who, I wish to tell them this: Doctor Who is not just an era or a particular Doctor; it’s an ever growing fictional universe that you can discover whenever you feel ready.
You don’t need to watch every single season of Doctor Who to be a Whovian. You are free to take your time and it’s okay to dislike a Doctor because that’s your own opinion. But just don’t close the door. Leave it ajar in the hope that one day, you might want to cross the threshold, and remember:
“It’s not the time that matters, it’s the person.” (The Tenth Doctor)
That’s what I intend to do with 13. Because despite the fact that I’m not ready for a female Doctor yet, there might be a chance that I will change my mind. Maybe not this year, maybe I will stop watching Doctor Who for a while, but I know that one day I’ll be ready and that I will like this Doctor as much as I like the others.