Humorist Roz Warren, our very frequent contributor, makes Whoniversal plans as a result of our March Challenge, in which we urged our readers to bring some change, however small, into their lives.—Ed


“There probably aren’t all that many [other] 60-year-old librarians in the Whoniverse. . .”

spring-summer-doctor-who-431x300BBC’s “Doctor Who”

This month Women’s Voices has challenged us to share the changes we want to make in our lives. The change I’m determined to make?  

Going forward, I plan to spend more time in the Whoniverse. 

The Whoniverse is the world of people who are fans of the BBC show “Doctor Who,” which first went on the air in 1963, and in 2013 celebrated its 50th anniversary. The show holds the world record for the longest-running televised science-fiction series, with 813 episodes so far.  

If I want to watch them all—and I do—I’m going to have to spend a lot more time in the Whoniverse than I currently do.  

I first got hooked on Doctor Who as a teenager in the ’70s, but stopped watching as I got older. I’m not sure what it says about me that when I recently checked the 2010 season out of the library where I work, I instantly got sucked right back in.   

And I’ve got plenty of catching up to do, since the show has been running for decades without my watching it.      

Has the same actor played the main character for five decades? Of course not! When the dude who plays the Doctor wants to leave the role, the character “regenerates.” With a whoosh of greenish light and appropriate sound effects, he’s replaced by another actor, whom we viewers pretend is the same guy, who then continues in the role. There have been 12 doctors so far. (Thirteen if you count the so-called “War Doctor.” Which I don’t.)

What’s the show’s appeal for a mild-mannered middle-aged librarian? The Doctor is a Time Lord who travels through time and space, saving the universe and having adventures. It’s just like library work! 

No, I’m kidding. It’s about as far from library work as you can get, which is probably why it’s so much fun. After an afternoon spent wrangling with library patrons about paying overdue fines, it’s a pleasant relief to watch somebody else battling alien monsters and saving the universe. Plus it’s the BBC, so the writing is terrific and the acting is too.   

I’ve got hundreds of episodes to watch. And re-watch, because the plots are so convoluted that it takes several viewings to figure them out. Plus there’s a limitless supply of podcast commentary, in which young men with engaging British accents speculate endlessly about every line and plot twist.     

There are also radio adventures, comics, special behind-the-scenes features, and, of course, books.  Meanwhile, the BBC continues to churn out new episodes. I may never catch up!    

There probably aren’t all that many 60-year-old librarians in the Whoniverse. Most inhabitants appear to be sci-fi geeks and computer nerds in young-adulthood. Many are the kind of people who get dressed up as Daleks (evil cyborgs) and attend conventions. 

I doubt I’ll ever dress up as an alien space monster and attend a convention. But who knows? I wouldn’t have predicted that at 60 I’d re-devote hours of my life to watching a TV show I loved at 14. 

By the time I turn 70, I may well be attending Doctor Who conferences dressed as a Ood. 

Women’s Voices’ prompt about the changes we’re going to make in our lives has prompted plenty of responses about the determination to change (and also the determination not to change). Which is great, and I can‘t wait to read them. But I’m done improving myself.  I’m okay with the way I am. I don’t want to eat more healthfully, learn to flawlessly play through a Beethoven piano sonata, or finally become fluent in French. 

I just want to spend more time having fabulous adventures in time and space with the Doctor. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

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  • Kelly April 11, 2015 at 9:07 am

    I want to watch! I love sci-fi. What season should I start on??

  • Roz Warren March 31, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Elizabeth W you mean the two part “Silence in the Library” + “Forest of the Dead?” I’ve seen it. Several times! LOVED it, of course. Although there are still aspects of it that I don’t understand. Guess I’ll have to watch it a few more times.

  • Rena McDaniel March 31, 2015 at 6:05 am

    I’m probably one of the only people in the world who has never seen the show, but it doesn’t sound like my cup of tea. I do agree with not wanting to make changes. I’m happy where I am right this minute.

  • Andy March 30, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    It’s fun to have a tv series to help organize your life. I sometimes miss the days when I would settle in for a new episode of Dallas every week.

  • bill March 30, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    If you’re going to spend more time in the Whoniverse, you won’t have to use phrases like “Going forward…” You will be able to go any which way you like!

  • Suzanne Fluhr March 30, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Now that “binge watching” has made it in to the OED, I find that I’m actually doing it for the first time. I’m almost caught up on Homeland episodes which I missed for the first 3 years, but I have most of season 5 of Downton Abbey to catch up on after binge watching the season 4 episodes I missed while living in Hawaii with no DVR last winter. (Please, nobody tell me what happens!) It sounds like I dare not venture into Dr. Whoville because I have things I have to accomplish IRL.

  • Elizabeth W, Librarian in training March 30, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Delightful (but then, I always, always love your writing and perspective.)
    Have you seen the episode with Tennant and the library yet? 🙂 I cannot wait til you do!

  • Mister Wonderful March 30, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    This is wonderful!

  • Judy Freedman March 30, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    I’ve never watched that show but may have to check it out.

  • Mel Beer March 30, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    That’s Fab Ros! I never used to watch the doctor as a kid, it used to scare the pants off me!! I’ve watched the last couple of series and really enjoyed them.
    It must be great to be a big fan of something, I’m afraid that my only real love is wine… 🙂

    Mel xx

  • Mickey March 30, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Kudos and hurray for Roz! I love you! This is a marvelous read. Thank you so much. Uh, what is an Ood? Never mind. I’ll google it. More thanks.

  • Wendl Kornfeld March 30, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Roz, I have to say David Tennant is my favorite Dr. Who. I also love watching him in in the Broadchurch BBC series…something about the scruffy beard, Scots accent and piercing eyes just gets to me. Ooh, gotta toss a glass of cold water in my face now.

  • roz warren March 30, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Wendl I was hoping that this essay would inspire my fellow WomensVoices-reading Whovians to identify themselves! Thanks for being the first. Which Doctor is your favorite?

  • Wendl Kornfeld March 30, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Wow. Dr. Who has long been my go-to guy for when I crave something silly, hip, and imaginative– like having a reliable and magical friend nearby. Roz, enjoy your voyages!