Emilie and The Doctor
by Emilie Collyer
In 2013 my friend, writer Adam Ford, got in touch to ask if I’d be interested in submitting an idea for a Doctor Who Spoken Word event, as part of a 50th Anniversary Doctor Who Festival being presented by the Melbourne Library Service.
Adam and I had chatted about the Doctor a bit in the past, particularly how I’d never watched the show as a kid (too scary!) but had been reintroduced to it as an adult by my current partner, who has always been a fan. We wondered if this might be an interesting angle to explore as a contribution to this night of Who fandom in all its many forms.
I pitched the idea to the wonderful Aimee Rhodes who was coordinating the event and was super – almost ridiculously – excited when it got accepted.
Writing my piece, Love Poem to the Doctor was an act of the heart.
My poem is about how watching Doctor Who was a way for me to bond with not only my partner but his daughter. Our relationship was new at the time and watching the Doctor’s adventures was a shared activity to help us navigate the new family we were creating.
It was the first season in the 21st Century re-boot, with Christopher Eccleston at the helm, or – as I learned was the standard way to refer to the different incarnations – the 9th Doctor.
The fact that I was no expert on the show AND came to fandom late AND via a circuitous route was both exciting and terrifying. On the one hand it was liberating. There were no rules. I had carte blanche to express my own unique connection to the Doctor. The piece was personal, idiosyncratic and joyful to write.
On the terrifying side I was hyper aware of being part of an event with writers of amazing talent who ALSO had been Dr Who fans for years and knew the Whoniverse inside out.
And there would be an audience there, dedicated and long time fans. I worried that my piece would come across as too personal, not relevant or even interesting.
The event, with the wonderfully epic title: Not Quite the Big Finish: An Evening of Doctor Who Spoken Word was very special to be part of. I felt truly humbled to have been invited and accepted into the world and to be assured – as was coined by a couple of the other contributors – that there is no wrong way to be a Doctor Who fan.
Adam Ford spearheaded the idea to turn the pieces from this night into a book. Not only did he come up with the idea he drove the project so it actually happened. Another act of the heart.
If you love Doctor Who you’ll find much in this book to enrich your experience. Thoughtful essays about the show, its writing and politics, tributes to specific characters, memories of growing up with the Doctor as a constant companion.
But the book is also a great read for any ‘layperson’. You don’t have to be a fan, a nerd, or a Whovian to connect with the range of writing and ideas.
The details are specific but the themes universal. It’s full of deeply considered, intelligent, fun, ridiculous and – in all cases – heartfelt words about the many ways a relationship with a truly remarkable character touches and shapes so many lives.
Whose Doctor, the eBook, is available from here.
Emilie Collyer, John Richards, Philip Ashmore, Adam Form, Ben McKenzie, Jules Wilkinson, John Richards, LJ Maher, Karen Pickering, with introduction by Aimee Rhodes.