As a Sci Fi, Fantasy and Horror fan I had tried to find a way for many years previous to me getting into Doctor Who. I would read sci-fi magazines (regrettably at that point I had no idea that Doctor Who Magazine existed) however it seemed that the one series I couldn't seem to get some way of seeing was that show. I grew up in the time that some Doctor Who fans like to call the Wilderness years, the years that we just didn't have Doctor Who on the air. However my determination to watch Doctor Who over the Wilderness years stems back a bit to a first very brief encounter with Doctor Who in the 1980s. I didn't know what it was that I was watching (I was four) but I loved the scary suspenseful feeling that the program gave me. I kind of wanted to watch more of it but I couldn't seen to find it when I looked for it to watch it again. There was a Smarties sweets ad that looked exactly like the opening credits to Doctor Who circa McCoy, I know this now to be a fact as someone else remembered the exact same thing as I had remembered and recalled it on the DVD commentary of the story 'Survival'. The next brief encounter that I would have had would not have occurred until 1996 and the TV movie of Doctor Who. I couldn't watch it because of a personal emergency which happened around that time. It was only when the show returned that I finally got to see this brilliant show. The 9th of April 2005 will always be a special date for me because of that.
I remember that I had turned it on just as the cadaver of Mrs.Peace in 'The Unquiet Dead' came screaming up the the screen before the opening credits. It was then that I knew I was hooked. And that summer when the series finished and Christopher Eccleston regenerated, (a new concept for me that I had to learn to grasp an understanding of fairly quickly) I found myself watching and enjoying Classic episodes of Doctor Who including the TV movie which i had missed out on watching the first time around.
That was nine years ago this year. It hasn't always been a smooth ride for me as a Whovian. I have had the experience as a relatively new Doctor Who fan at the time of being attacked by another fan in the then forums of Outpost Gallifrey. I found myself questioning did I like Doctor Who as a show or was I just watching it because of David Tennant (I know, silly right? I mean in hindsight I should have realised that the very fact of me buying the DVD of the classic episode 'The War Games' that year to see whether this was the case should have been proof enough that I was in this for the long hall). However I got through these hiccups and I am still here. I think that I am not the only fan to experience the ire of older fans of the forums that I mentioned. I know this because as time has gone on and Doctors regenerate we have gained new fans, some of us who joined back when the show first came back on the air have welcomed new fans, some unfortunately have acted like those who have attacked fans on forums. I myself have consciously tried be as welcoming to new fans as possible to the fandom because I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of the barbs and know that it isn't really nice. Despite all of this the fandom has grown from strength to strength, proof of which could be plainly seen by me at a convention that I went to a few weeks ago. There were an awful lot of people dressed up as the Doctor, there was even a River Song (and I cosplayed as Osgood), there is an interest in this series now even in Ireland that just wasn't there or wasn't evident when the series first came back nine years ago.
Personally I am very hopeful for the future of Doctor Who. It is always a good thing to have fans be involved in a show. And the best thing is, is that even if we don't agree with how the person lays out their plans for the series there is always fan fiction. And in fact some of these ideas are better executed by fan fiction writers than what the actual screenwriters write.There is one thing that fans must remember though, that is the fact that we all were fans just starting out in the fandom at one time or another. We also must acknowledge that as fans we must be receptive to what other fans theorise or even ship. It is also a particular thrill for me to see another fan Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. It was great having Matt Smith as the Doctor. I don't think that Doctor Who as a show could have ask for a better ambassador as we had gotten with him. Still it's always nice to see a fan be the Doctor again. The last time that we have had that experience was when David Tennant was the Doctor. And that was a good experience. Am really looking forward to seeing how Peter's Doctor will act in the role.
For fans just after experiencing their first regeneration, I know that it's scary seeing a new actor taking over from someone that you have grown to love in the role but I think I can safely say that the reason that Peter has been picked by the showrunners is because they have seen something innately special about him, something special that is waiting for to be unleashed, something very Doctorish. And even if some of us might still be sceptical about him, rest assured that this Doctor has been chosen because he is the type of Doctor we need right now. And even if you still don't like is portrayal after you see him in August, Doctor Who is the type of show that is worth investing time and effort in getting to know a bit better. It has been around for fifty years, that's around 800 episodes to go and watch(or watch again). I know for a fact that it helps to alleviate the break that Doctor Who goes on after a Christmas special or even when it takes a break. However, taking the plunge into classic Doctor Who can be a bit of a daunting task.
Where would you start? Well my best advice is to check out publications that talk about each episodes. When I first started out watching the series, I didn't know where to start. That Christmas in 2009, I bought a book on Doctor Who by Justin Richards called Doctor Who:The Adventure Continues (now a bit out of date, but a fantastic resource at the time for a new fan like me at the time), another book which I consulted in the early years of me being a fan of Doctor Who was the Pocket Guide to Doctor Who, this book provided a rating of each episode as well as a summary and brief synopsis of each episode. I am only mentioning the two ways that helped me. Since I started watching the show, the popularity of Doctor Who has skyrocketed and more and more great publications (some official some unofficial, all great) are being written about Doctor Who each year, Adding to this, with the rise of Wikipedia and Wikia pages, finding out about classic episodes that you would be interested in watching, and helping you know which ones are no longer available(for now) to be seen has thankfully become an awful lot easier Doctor Who Magazine is also an excellent resource for fans looking to watch some of the classic episodes. Getting more into Doctor Who has never been easier, my advice to fans, go on. Go take the Doctor's hand and discover all the Whovian universe has to offer. It's less daunting than you think.