Doctor Who – A Global Phenomenon: Part 5: An Unexpected Journey
As the the Doctor Who World Tour sets off DWTV contributors return to the series looking at the show around the globe.
Introduction to the Second Series
By Connor Johnston
It was during the week of the 50th Anniversary last year that we, four humble Whovians, embarked on a journey to discover how Doctor Who is received all around the world – and to prove that through its history and its future Doctor Who is a Global Phenomenon. One of the best things that stood out when the articles were being published were heaps of suggestions to tackle even more countries and find out how diverse the fandom really is… and so that’s exactly what we plan to do! It has never been more obvious that Doctor Who is most definitely a global phenomenon, and to celebrate the Doctor kicking off his own world tour throughout August, we’ve pulled together yet another group Whovians from different corners of the globe to show how Doctor Who is received in their own home country. However before the new countries take centre stage we’ve called back the original team to see how the 50th anniversary celebrations went in Australia, Canada, South Africa and the UK. Part 5 is: An Unexpected Journey!
To go back to where it all began and read the first four articles, simply click on the links below!
- Doctor Who – A Global Phenomenon Part 1: Australia
- Doctor Who – A Global Phenomenon Part 2: Canada
- Doctor Who – A Global Phenomenon Part 3: South Africa
- Doctor Who – A Global Phenomenon Part 4: UK
AUSTRALIA – Connor Johnston
G’day Blokes and Sheila’s! As an Aussie Whovian, the biggest problems I face has to be the dreaded time difference between us and the rest of the world… although there was one day – one marvellous day, where the time difference benefited us Aussie’s greatly. That day of course was “The Day of The Doctor”… or should I say in our case “The Weekend of the Doctor!”
The weekend kicked off on the morning of Saturday 23rd of November with celebrations and special events planned all around the country! Doctor Who Pop Up shops appeared in all the major cities, ABC Shops were decked in TARDIS blue tinsel, Dalek cut outs invaded shopping centre front windows, and finally, for those of us who like to indulge in a little shopping spree every now and then, 2 day sales appeared everywhere online and in store! 20% off DVD’s, 50% of Tom Baker scarves, 75% off New Adventure Novels… It was a dream come true! Doctor Who even earned a mention in Australian Parliament during the week of the 50th as a plea supported by many politicians to invite the BBC to film down under was officially registered. The evening took form with a special screening of “Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide” – the same documentary that aired in the UK a few days earlier. And as if that wasn’t enough, pay TV channel UKTV kicked off their Doctor Who marathon, screening stories from all 11 (at the time) Doctors from 6AM – 10PM on both Saturday and Sunday… and so ended the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who – the 23rd of November 2013 – and boy what a day it was!!
But then hold the phone… This all happened on Britain’s “Friday the 22nd” (Thank you time difference!!!!!) which means we still had another stunning 24 hours of Doctor Who Worldwide celebrations!!!!!!
6:00AM, Sunday the 24th of November and after setting 31 alarms and ignoring absolutely all of them I finally sat ready for “The Day of the Doctor” (Watch Number One) Live simulcast to begin! Following an incredible 80 Minutes of pure joy, I hopped on the bus almost immediately to attend the first cinema screening of Day (10AM – Watch Number 2). I can say without a doubt that I had never seen so many people in a shopping centre that early. Cosplay and TARDIS T-shirts flooded the theatres and the pure multitude of people attending was truly overwhelming! And so after another day full of celebrations, Whovians sat down that evening for a more suitably timed screening of Day (WATCH 3) followed by the Australian premiere of ‘An Adventure in Time and Space’.
Already this year Australians have been treated to many Who-vents including both “The Science of Doctor Who” and “The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular” live shows that toured the country earlier in 2014 and special visits from Who guests including Arthur Darvill, Freema Agyeman and John Barrowman. But keep an eye open Aussies, it doesn’t end there! Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman touch down on our Sydney shores (Like the first settlers from England way back in the 1700’s) for the “Doctor Who World Tour” and Australasian premiere of “Deep Breath” on the 12th of August, ABC1 is airing an exclusive half an hour one on one interview with Peter Capaldi entitled “When Julia met the Doctor” hosted by Julia Zemiro on the 20th of August and in the early hours of the morning on the 24th ABC1 will simulcast the series premiere “Deep Breath” alongside its UK transmission before it hits cinemas around the country later that day. (Yes everybody… we beat the USA!). In the next few months we can also look forward to the return of the “Doctor Who Pop Up Shops”, the third nationwide tour of “The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular” hosted once again by Peter Davison and an abundance of Who visitors such as Jenna Coleman and Sarah Louise Madison, who will be attending Melbourne Armageddon Expo, Neve McIntosh, who will be attending both the Adelaide and Brisbane Supanova Expo, Mark Sheppard who will be attending Sydney OZ Comic Con, and Richard Franklin, John Levene, Katy Manning and Matthew Waterhouse who will be touring the country as part of Lords of Time 3.
All in all, the 50th weekend completely exceeded my expectations, opened my eyes, and quite frankly overwhelmed me – to how much Australians really do value Doctor Who. One last thing: Film here… now.
Prominence – Previous Rating: 8, New Rating 8
Reputation – Previous Rating 8, New Rating 8.5
CANADA – By Laurinda Hartt
It’s been one of the coldest and snowiest winters in recent memory here in southern Ontario (Canada, although it feels more like Christmas—the town on Trenzalore, not the holiday) and it is snowing as I type, almost four months after the first heavy snowfall that took place on Saturday November 23rd, 2013. Sound familiar? Yes, on the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, while other Canadians were lining up to watch The Day of the Doctor in 3D in theatres in Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal and Halifax, I was just trying to find a way to get crosstown in Barrie so I could watch the excruciatingly long-awaited episode on a large 2D TV set with stereo sound. BUT IT WAS WONDERFUL!!
And it was one of the happiest days of my life not only because I was watching Doctor Who at the same time as millions of people were watching in 94 countries around the world, but also because I was watching it in the home of my super-Whovian friend, the now legendary Helena, who managed to keep herself from knowing who the New Doctor was until she first saw him in the Christmas special. I am sure you are thinking, “Wait. If she was watching The Day of the Doctor, she SAW the new Doctor!” Yes, but only for a flash of eyes and eyebrows, accompanied by a sharp intake of breath from me as I realized her plan was about to be blown. I asked her whether she had seen him and she said, “Yes, of course I did, but I couldn’t make out who he was…Is he someone from Harry Potter?” Breath exhaled. Secret kept!
I have found that as a result of the 50th and the Christmas special and the departure of Smith and the arrival of Capaldi, Canadians are emerging out of the shadows and revealing their Whovian reality. Or maybe it’s because I am not keeping it quiet anymore, myself? When I mentioned the word to my dentist recently, he didn’t recognize the term Whovian but revealed that his teenage daughter and son loved the show and each have their own sonic screwdriver and built a detailed walk-in model of the TARDIS (outside only) out of cardboard boxes and that his entire family visited the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff in April! Who knew? I’ve been going to this same dentist for years and never said anything to him about the show and when I did… WOW!
My most recent experience of the on-going vitality of the show’s popularity in Canada was last week when I pulled out a hard cover Doctor Who novel (with a picture the 11th Doctor, Amy and Rory highly visible on the cover). I had my head down and heard excited gasping and a gentle giggle and an OH, LOOK! A lovely young woman of 15 excitedly realized she was sitting across from a kindred spirit, a true Whovian and could not hold back! We chatted and bubbled breathlessly for almost two hours, sharing our love of the 11th Doctor and our curiosity about the new Doctor, as her very patient mother smiled. All three of us (spanning three generations) talked about other things as well, and got to know each other a little bit, but without the book and Doctor Who to break the ice, we might never have met.
So now, with Doctor Who moving into its 51st year and not far from the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the New Who series, a love of the show continues to thrive in Canada, bringing extra joy with the realization that Canadian Whovians are everywhere!! Hiding in plain sight. All we have to do is speak up!
Prominence – Previous Rating: 8, New Rating 8.5
Reputation – Previous Rating 8, New Rating 8
SOUTH AFRICA– By Gustaff Behr
The Day of the Doctor – the actually day, not the title of the story – was simulcast in South Africa just like it was all around the world, but not much else was going on. Nothing that caught my vision anyway. Doctor Who is not as big a wave as it is in other places – not yet mind you! With all the events going on everywhere else, I decided to prepare for The Day of the Doctor – the actual story this time – the only way I knew how: by re-listening to The Light at the End and honoring the first eight Doctors before moving on to The Night of the Doctor again.
Due to the airing schedule being synced, I was one of the fortunate ones to catch the 50th special at a convenient time without having to digest a dozen cups of coffee. How do I know some fans used this stay-awake drug? There was this digital climate all over the internet as thousands of fans (myself included) communicated their wait and rituals – some more hyper than others. All this seemed to pretty normal stuff for Who fans and I logged off as the time drew close, but it wasn’t until the opening scene hit that I realized just how much I’d been anticipating this event. You know the feeling, you build something up so much that when it eventually comes along, you realize it was just a thing. This wasn’t just a thing! Not for me. I knew it was honoring something fifty years old in that first ten seconds, harkening back to the very first episode of Doctor Who. It was the perfect – no – the only way to start the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who. While the following in South Africa still isn’t a substantial one in the slightest, I can only appreciate how much of a global phenomenon it is by admiring in awe the many connections I share with people worldwide thanks to the internet and specifically DWTV. It truly is the show to unite us all.
Prominence – Previous Rating: 2, New Rating 2
Reputation – Previous Rating 1, New Rating 1
BRITAIN – By Francis Milan
Last November, I wrote an article for this series deliberating over whether Doctor Who was a national treasure. I was fairly doubtful; it’s a TV programme, not strawberries and cream. Then, as we reached the middle of the month, the big week rolled around – and the country went Who-mad! The TV and radio schedules alike were inundated with documentaries, tributes and stories, as for a short period of time, people across the nation unearthed memories of those wintery Saturday evenings and everyone realized the respect they held for the ultimate childhood hero. (Well, apart from those of us who grew up in the nineties, who were probably wondering what the heck was going on. Poor nineties kids.)
There was something for everyone, from Brian Cox’s feature on the science of Doctor Who, to the finest Who audio dramas on Radio 4. Not to mention, of course, the ratings smash hit that was The Day of the Doctor. While the children revelled in the finest performances of the current Doctor and companion and the return of David Tennant, the adults delighted in the return of Gallifrey, Zygons, and Tom Baker. I realised the extent to which these images are embedded into the face of pop culture, which came as a little bit of a shock to me. We exited the week jaded – it was an indulgent time for Whovians and non-fans alike. And I reached my conclusion – Doctor Who most certainly is a national treasure. Catch the Doctor Who World Tour in Cardiff and London this August.
Prominence – Previous Rating: 9, New Rating 9
Reputation – Previous Rating 10, New Rating 10
Join us next time as we begin a new chapter in the series, and dive into the first of our four brand new countries! The Global Bunch is growing!