Is there a Doctor in the house?

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DALEKS scared the bejesus out of me as a kid.

The fact they could be stopped by a set of stairs didn’t lessen their menace—but did have me on the lookout for a handy staircase should one of them materialise.

That creepy call to “ex-term-in-ate” would be my cue to leg it off to bed.

Technology has come a long way since those early Dr Who shows; alien monsters are more realistic and special effects something the original Doctor could only wonder at, but I still think of the Daleks with an affectionate shudder. And in the modern version, the bloody things can fly.

In various human forms the sole surviving Time Lord of Gallifrey has been saving England and the universe since first airing on the BBC on November 23, 1963—50 years ago next week.

The theme tune is the most recognised in TV, and was apparently the first time electronic music was used—well before the Moog Synthensiser came along.

William Duffy is the founder of WA’s Dr Who Fan Club, having been bitten by Whovian fever aeons ago.

“I am old enough to have actually watched the first episode on TV…I’ve been addicted ever since.”

A screening of the Peter Cushing Dr Who film, and a visit by Dr Who number three Jon Pertwee to Sydney sealed his fanaticism.

The family moved to Perth in 1981 and, with no fan club here, he was in a Dr Who wilderness for a couple of years.

A visit to the UK coincided with the 20th anniversary of the show.

A huge celebration at Longleat was packed with “just about every surviving” Dr Who.

“The place was absolutely mobbed and it was really impossible to see anything,” Mr Duffy says.

What was even more disappointing was receiving an invite to see Dr Who number five (Peter Davison) in Australia.

“Unfortunately it was a few hours previous to my arrival back in the country.”

With Whovian logic, this was the key to starting a local branch for fans: “The first meeting was in my house with about a dozen members.”

Numbers quickly grew and within a year the club needed to hire a hall.

The show’s longevity is put down to a hero who travels in a police phone box that’s bigger than it looks from the outside, and that he can change his appearance, Mr Duffy says

“And [who] uses his brain instead of brawn, or weapons.”

His favourite doctors are number one William Hartnell and number two Patrick Troughton, “because they’re the ones I grew up with”.

John Hurt is in the 50th anniversary showing of The Day of the Doctor and speculation is rife he may be a Doctor to come.

“One recent theory is that he may be an older version of eighth Doctor Paul McGann,” Mr Duffy says.

The show will be screened around the world, and Luna has the exclusive rights in WA.

Dr Who Fan Club members will be celebrating at a member’s home, with special viewings from the UK screened live.

Can he see the show going another 50 years the Herald asks? “Easily,” Mr Duffy replies.

The club meets the first Saturday of the month, 12.30–5pm at the Collins Street Centre, Collins Street, Kensington.


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