Audio Review: Diary of a Doctor Who Addict

The secret diary of a teenaged Doctor Who fan growing up in the 1980s...

(AudioGo)

Written and read by Paul Magrs

DOCTOR Who has always been about metaphors and underlying messages, whether it’s the parallels between The Happiness Patrol and Thatcher’s Britain or the similarities between the Daleks and the Nazis. Away from the show itself, the life of the teenage Doctor Who fan, isolated from the mainstream and focused on continuity and collecting, reflects a microcosm of the feelings many young people experience during adolescence, and their subsequent regeneration into an adult.

This semi-autobiographical work is set in the early 1980s, when Tom Baker’s Time Lord changed into Peter Davison, and finds its protagonist David starting secondary school but still hanging onto his childhood rituals, particularly his addiction to Doctor Who. But as time moves on, his best friend and neighbour Robert rejects the Doctor in favour of girls, free weights and new music, leaving David to ponder his continued love of the sci-fi series, but also to come to terms with his own changing identity.

For any child of the ‘seventies growing up at this time, the attention to detail is nothing short of beautiful, with particular resonance to any Doctor Who fan of the era, as it changed from a Saturday night family show into something to be sniggered at in school corridors and eventually ignored by the world at large.

This is by no means a nostalgic look at the 1980s, as you might find in any number of talking heads TV retrospectives, but a much more grounded look at growing up during the period and never quite fitting in with one’s peers or social conventions.

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A coming of age story which is at times deeply moving, but also often hilarious, with a leisurely pace of narrative which allows for reflection and contemplation of David’s experiences. A deeply effective piece of writing, supported by Magrs’ own interpretation of his work, and one which is sure to impact on anyone who has even been a fan.

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