The Gallifrey Times has regenerated, and therefore this is the perfect opportunity to think about what “change” means for us, Whovians. Stating the obvious: change is part of a Whovian’s DNA. Change is Doctor Who’s trademark since Patrick Troughton took over William Hartnell’s role.
Whovians are used to see changes in Doctor Who, be it a change of actors, companions, showrunners, aliens, composers… you name it. And yet, I think that we all agree that the doctor’s regeneration process can be a (very) traumatic experience. Suddenly, the Doctor has a new face, a new personality… while our hearts are broken because we can’t let go of the Doctor’s previous face!
Change is good, as it helps the show regenerate as well. After 55 years of existence, isn’t it amazing to see that we don’t get tired of Doctor Who? Name one TV show that has such an impact on its audience? Alright, I grant you Star Trek, despite the fact that every variant of the show takes place during a different time period and that the main character is different each time! Change is an opportunity to transform the show, to keep it entertaining.
Then why don’t we like change? Let’s face it, change makes us feel insecure. We grow fond of a Doctor, a certain type of stories and we cling to it. We know change will come eventually, but as you know, human beings have this faculty of suppressing memories or facts that are too difficult to deal with. The same process could apply to Whovians. I can only start to imagine what fans of the 10th Doctor felt when their beloved Doctor who was (and still is) very popular turned into Eleven. I’m not ashamed to confess that I cried a lot when 12 turned into 13! Knowing that change is happening isn’t the same thing as witnessing it happening. As much as we try, we are never ready for a change to come…
Change brings excitement. We all waited for any bread crumbs or hint as to who the next Doctor would be when Peter Capaldi announced his departure from the show. Do you remember watching a Wimbledon finale just to watch who the next Doctor would be?
Change is a challenge. Not only for Whovians but also for the new showrunner and his team. They probably are quite anxious to see what the fanbase’s reaction will be after Sunday, October 7th. Change is a challenge for Whovians too, because no matter what we think about the new Doctor, we need to accept that ‘things have changed’. A new era is beginning, one we might like or not, but one that is changing things.
Please allow me to make a small digression in light of recent events. Like any Capaldian, I felt hurt by some poor choices of words coming from journalists, and I took a stand to support a brilliant actor. Yes, change can be an improvement, but we should always be careful when we talk about change. There were flaws in every Doctor Who era. There were strong and weak episodes; mistakes were made. But at the end of the day, does it really matter? Words are a powerful weapon that can easily hurt people and that’s why we should always be careful how we use them. That’s why writing about change as a general notion can be tricky. There is always the temptation of sharing a personal opinion on the matter. And indeed, how can I claim to remain impartial to the matter, when I just admitted to being a devoted Capaldian? That’s just another challenge, isn’t it?
Change calls for a personal opinion. Change is an opportunity to open new discussions, debates, but more importantly, change forces us to step out of our comfort zone, which is a good thing. We get to discover new things, we open our mind to change, and that’s why change shouldn’t be feared. Let’s embrace the change, and see where it leads us. But let’s not bury the past in the process, let’s accept change as a continuity of something existing, something that wasn’t necessarily bad, something that didn’t necessarily need improvement. Because, after all, where there is change, there is hope.