The past twelve months have seen Doctor Who finally return to the realm of mainstream entertainment, thrilling and exciting audiences of millions and winning a clutch of awards and critical acclaim.
With a second and third series and a 2006 special already confirmed plus news of a spin-off (Torchwood) the Doctor’s immediate future looks pretty good. But before we rush too far ahead we’ve asked two very good friends of the site to share their reflections on 2005:-
“2005 was a slightly odd year for Doctor Who fans. It started ordinarily enough, if with a little more excitement due to the impending new series. But mostly we were still sidelined as fans of that odd little series that used to be good 30 years ago but really, it had seen its day and it was all a bit sad.
For me that changed when I was lucky enough to get commissioned to write it up for the Radio Times. This led to a trip to Cardiff and a chance to see some of Eccleston’s Doctor Who before anyone else. While the clips were running I thought, bloody hell, this time they’ve got it right. Everything fitted � the episodes, the warmth of the people making the thing and the fact that I’d had a chance to run around on the Tardis itself. The other journalists were pretty excited too.
In many ways, that was it for what I’d always thought of as �fandom’. The cat would be out of the bag, our little club in which we were the only ones who could see this was any good was effectively finished. As of March, surely, everyone would be a Doctor Who fan. And so it was to prove. The show was a roaring success and suddenly everyone’s in on it � my five year old daughter included.
It’s the beginning of an era, but arguably it’s the end of an older one. The cosy coterie of fans meeting up in corners of pubs or corners of the Internet as a minority are effectively redundant now that it’s mainstream again. We’ve won the argument. It’s better this way of course and it’s a wonderful show, but I suddenly feel a little old…” Guy Clapperton, Journalist.
“This time last year we were all chewing at the bit waiting to see the new Doctor Who which would be starting in just 3 months time. Generally speaking I don’t think we were disappointed � we got a dynamic new Time Lord, suitably vague backstory, a feisty sexy companion and Daleks finally became scary again.
All of us, of course, apart from me and Anthony Dry who were desperately trying to formulate a template for our new website Kasterborous.com. After meeting on the Outpost Gallifrey forum, we knew we had the basic idea of a Doctor Who site that wasn’t a blatant rip off of one of the others � a bit of a rarity all across the web � but had no idea whether anyone would want to read it!
Luckily, we had picked probably the best time in the previous 8 years to start a new site. While the name “Kasterborous” is unlikely to be mentioned much more in Doctor Who, it is still a name synonymous with the show and as such was absolutely priceless in allowing us to do something individual � namely create a website with a focus on original art coupled with critical comment and opinion.
As the months went on, the hit-rate slowly grew and we collected more writers and artists. Doctor Who came back on air and we took a step back from the critiques of the Doctor’s first regeneration or interviews with artists such as Lee Sullivan and focussed on the new series. It was on-stop as we marvelled over the new Doctor and the wonderful Billie Piper on our editorial page, wrote about them both and their TARDIS and Captain Jack and Mickey and Jackie and Harriet Jones MP for Flydale North and the range of new villains but as soon as the series reached it’s stunning conclusion, it was back to basics.
Twelve months on, I feel we’ve probably achieved what we set out to do in the first year plus heaps more. We’ve interviewed Peter Purves and Andrew Skilleter, built up a forum that reflects the basic tenets of the site, added two domain names, introduced RSS feeds and built relationships with some great people in Doctor Who fandom. Anthony’s work has appeared on the front cover of “Celestial Toyroom” and people have actually started paying me to write for them!
Doctor Who’s return has opened some surprising doors for me, but to be honest there is one thing that hasn’t changed. Doctor Who is still the best damn show in the Universe, the one thing that makes me stop everything to watch it, and the one show to truly inspire me, just as it was when I was a child.” Christian Cawley, Kasterborous.com.