There is something about the Seventh Doctor that causes my brain to shutdown. Let me preface all of this by saying: the Seventh Doctor is NOT my least favorite classic Doctor. That reserved for a duel between the Fourth and Fifth Doctors that I’ll explain some day. For now, let me explain what I’m having trouble understanding myself.
I just got this book in the mail. I was so excited to receive Tales of Terror. I had been wanting this book since before Halloween. But, it wasn’t available in the United States UNTIL THE END OF NOVEMBER. *Sigh* By then I was in the middle of moving across the country, starting a new job and generally being ridiculously busy. Once winter break came along I was able to stop for a moment, remember and order the book. Of course, by then it was on back order. So, I order, I wait, then it finally arrives. I sit down, devour the whole book, until I get to the Seventh Doctor’s Story. Once there, I just can’t seem to keep pushing through. There are plenty of reasons this could be happening. I could be tired from reading so much. I’ve reached the halfway point of the book. It is later in the day, and there isn’t just a lot of lighting in my new house right now. It’s harder to read. My kids turn the television on and suddenly I’m distracted. There are lots of things that could be adding to this sudden lack of interest. However, it’s not just with this book.
This happened with the television show, too! As I was binge watching the Classic series, trying to watch every episode available to me I hit two major roadblocks, and I’m not talking about the missing episodes. First was the Fourth Doctor, so I skipped over most of his time, to come back to later. That was mostly because there was so much Fourth Doctor and just needed to sprinkle his stories while watching others. The other time was when I began watching the Seventh Doctor serials. I loved Happiness Patrol with every fiber of my being. It was one of the first Seventh Doctor serials I saw, and greatly raised my hopes for all his other tenure. It was such a rich and dense story, that to me had so many levels of metaphorical representation and political commentary. However, I just stopped watching Classic Doctor Who. I let it fall away for months before online discussion pushed me into watching again. Of course, I ended up loving the Seventh Doctor’s run, despite the maddening story of Ghostlight, which literally had me yelling at my television in frustration.
Still think I’m exaggerating? It has also happened with other Doctor Who books I own. That’s right, it’s not just Tales of Terror and the television show. Until I has this realization, and began digging through my books, I did not realize I had not read this chapter of Whographica, which I have owned for over a year (yes, I’ve fixed this, now.) Christmas anthologies, dot-to-dot, paper dolls… all of them I’ve seemed to glaze over, not pay attention to or not complete the Seventh Doctor. Eventually, I get around to them all. But, it takes a willful, mental force to get to it. Once there, I’m fine or find the enjoyable. Getting started can sometimes take days, weeks or in the case of the television show, months. Why is it?
I’ve often wondered if it is cultural conditioning for the tenure of the Seventh Doctor. People who are mid 30s and older tend to despise the Seventh Doctor. The late 80s are generally considered one of the worst in production value. The show was losing viewership at a mad rate. There are plenty of people who deride the yellow question mark sweater vest wearing, umbrella carrying, panama hat styling, scarf draping magician. Perhaps it’s just one more piece of received fan wisdom that had created a mental block whenever I know something is about the Seventh Doctor.
Then again, maybe I am just tired and need to take a break… and not let distractions keep me from coming back sooner.