The new season of Doctor Who premiered today. For the first time in the show’s long history, a woman, actress Jodie Whittaker, assumed the role of The Doctor.
I have eagerly anticipated the return of Doctor Who AND this momentous episode when New Who is made even more…new.
As a recap, Doctor Who chronicles the adventures of a time traveling alien who routinely saves the universe. He is particularly fond of Earth and his traveling companions are typically humans. The Doctor, whose name is never revealed, explores time and space in a TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) that appears as a blue police box. Looks are deceiving though. This box is a spaceship that is much bigger on the inside.
Peter Capaldi recently stepped down as the 12th Doctor in the rebooted series known as New Who. However this alien with two hearts doesn’t die. He regenerates when he’s near the end of life, assuming a new body and personality while retaining memories. Thus various actors have portrayed the Doctor and continued the series over decades. With Capaldi’s exit, it was time for Doctor number 13.
New Who Has a New Gender
Season 11 opened today with “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”. Episode 1 starred Jodie Whittaker, Sharon D. Clarke, Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh. Jamie Childs directed the debut by new show runner Chris Chibnall.
Doctor Who airs on Sunday evenings on BBC America, at 8:00 PM Central Standard Time.
In South Yorkshire, mysterious things are occurring. Ryan Sinclair (Cole) discovers a peculiar vessel in the woods. Police officer Yaz Khan (Gill), who responds to his call, happens to be an old school friend. As the two examine the strange craft, Ryan receives a frantic call from his grandmother, Grace (Clarke).
A menacing intruder has boarded the train that Grace and her husband Graham (Walsh) were journeying home in. Locked into the train car, injury or death seems certain…until a woman falls through the ceiling, landing in front of them. Unsure of her name, and dressed in a man’s rumpled suit, the woman (Whittaker) nonetheless quickly takes charge of the situation.
Yaz and Ryan arrive at the stalled train. And an unexpected adventure unfolds that involves not one but two aliens, a newly formed group of allies and a woman who fights to save others while desperately attempting to remember exactly who she is.
The Woman Who Fell to Earth
I watched episode 1 three times today. Rather than reveal much about the story, I’d rather share a few thoughts about this new era in Who and encourage readers to become viewers.
First, well done Chris Chibnall, cast and crew on creating an engaging story as Doctor Who heads in fresh new directions. I enjoyed the cinematic look and feel of this episode. Chris sets the stage for future episodes that will focus a great deal on the human companions who accompany The Doctor. They have interesting stories of their own, these three companions, and the development of their characters is something to look forward to.
Jodie stepped into the role of Doctor and quickly made it hers. Regeneration episodes are always a bit tricky. A beloved actor has just left. A new person assumes the role. It usually takes me several episodes to get in sync with the new Doctor. I caught glimpses of Calpadi’s Doctor in the words and mannerisms of this fresh personality, and that eased the transition for me.
My Doctor Who
Jodie became my Doctor today. Confused initially about who she is, she asks Yaz why she keeps calling her “madam”. When Yaz shares it’s because she’s a woman, The Doctor whirls around and asks, earnestly, “Does it suit me?”
She didn’t asked if it suited the others or if it was okay if she was female. I loved that distinction. It was brilliant.
Jodie was brilliant. By the end of episode one I had embraced the change. I await further episodes and look forward to getting to know all of these new characters. What a great group of companions The Doctor has.
My favorite quote of the night was spoken by The Doctor, as she created her own sonic screwdriver:
“There’s this moment when you are sure you are about to die and then…you are born. It’s terrifying. There are echoes of who I was and this call toward who I am, and I have to hold my nerve and trust all these new instincts and shape myself towards them.”
What a tremendous place to exist in. We can grow into the person we are becoming, without losing who we are. Echoes and a call. Trust.
I am a huge fan of the long running British television series, Doctor Who. This show, spanning decades, is so much more than a sci-fi or fantasy series. Doctor Who stretches my mind, touches my heart, engages my imagination and broadens my beliefs while delivering consistently good episodes about humanity.
At the heart of this show is an alien from the planet Gallifrey known simply as The Doctor. He serves as a protector and defender of peoples from across the universe, although he has a particular fondness for humans. What has made the longevity of this series possible is a unique characteristic of The Doctor. Rather than dying, he regenerates, taking on a new appearance and personality when he does so. This cleverness has allowed various actors to play The Doctor over a span of more than 50 years.
At the encouragement of my grandson Dayan, I began watching the episodes dubbed as "New Who", featuring the 9th Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston). I have faithfully followed along through the regenerations of three doctors, which is tough on me! I came to love Doctors 10, 11 and 12, as portrayed by different actors. Each brought fresh perspectives and charm to the character. I was sad when each one stepped away from the show so that another could fill the role…and yet I quickly came to appreciate the new actor and the new Doctor.
It is time for the 12th Doctor, played by the wonderful Peter Capaldi, to regenerate into Doctor 13. The Christmas special in December will be Twelve's last appearance as he becomes Thirteen. During the last few months there has been a great deal of secrecy and speculation about who the new Doctor will be.
Doctors 9, 10, 11 & 12.
Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor.
During the rampant speculations about Capaldi's successor, the rumors began that the next doctor could be female. This would be a first, as all the other incarnations have been male. Some felt it was time for a woman to play the lead role, rather than that of the Doctor's traveling companion. And some felt changing the Doctor's gender, even though other Time Lords have been shown to do so, should not be done. It has been a hotly debated topic.
Honestly, I had mixed feelings. I like the male actors who have played the heroic Time Lord. I was especially fond of Scottish actor David Tennant, who played the 10th Doctor. And I have grown quite fond of Capaldi's older, sassier version. I wasn't sure if a female actor could capture the essence of The Doctor as well as these fine male actors.
As the time for the reveal approached, scheduled for last Sunday afternoon, I was sure I didn't want 13 to be female. The BBC planned to release which actor was assuming the role by way of a brief video shown during Wimbledon. I found myself fervently thinking, Don't be a woman…please don't be a woman.
Actress Jodie Whittaker was selected as the 13th Doctor, amid a furor of reactions. She is a fine actress, best known for her current role in BBC's crime drama, Broadchurch. I like that series. I like Jodie. I embrace change in my own life. So why my strong reaction to this change?
I have thought about that question all week. I am still sorting through my feelings about it. This is my concise answer to a complicated assortment of realizations.
I discovered that I have an appreciation, and perhaps even a need, for a powerful male lead as a father figure. As a child of divorced parents and the resulting consequence of seeing my dad on weekends and then less and less frequently as I grew up, I have longed for that strong male presence in my life. I have been drawn to characters such as Captain Kirk in Star Trek and a whole hosts of super heroes such as Ironman and Batman for that reason. The Doctor, who comes across as very fatherly with his wisdom and deeper understanding of the universe, satisfies that need as well.
But my goodness…I am no longer a child. I stepped up into my identity years ago. I learned to fill in any self perceived gaps in the parenting I had, by becoming the mother and the father to my inner child that I wished I had had. I have understood this week that I no longer need to look outside of myself for anything that seems lacking.
And with those thoughts, my attitude about the new Doctor, about 13, completely shifted. I am excited to see what Jodie brings to the role. I am a loyal Whovian. And I accept this change, just as I ultimately have which each previous regeneration. Yeah, it is just a television show. I know that. And yeah, it is more than that as it helps me to grow and expand my awareness and see life in bigger ways.
If I needed any other persuasion on embracing the first female Doctor, I received it yesterday. I asked my granddaughter Aubrey, who is a Doctor Who fan as well, if she had heard about who the new Doctor was going to be. She had not. Aubrey's favorite Doctor is David Tennant as well, as Ten. I was curious to see her reaction to Thirteen.
Holding her on my lap, I pulled up the video on my phone that the BBC used for the reveal. I watched Aubrey, as she watched the short clip. As the 13th Doctor's eye and forehead were shown, Aubrey turned wide blue eyes to me and whispered, "Is it a girl?!" I just smiled. As Jodie removed the hood covering her head and her face was fully revealed, my granddaughter squealed with delight and yelled, "It IS a girl! The Doctor is a GIRL! She just became my new favorite Doctor."
I still tear up when I think about Aubrey's response. It means so much to her that the Doctor is at last a woman. What a strong role model Jodie is going to be, for girls and for boys…and for me. I can imagine how many little girls will be wielding sonic screw drivers and dressing as The Doctor for Halloween in the years to come. Aubrey could be among those pretending to be a Time Lady. I hope so.
Throughout the day, yesterday, Aubrey would turn shining eyes toward me and ask, "The new Doctor really is a girl?" I was proud to answer that she was. And touched to my core by Aubrey's happy grin.
Welcome to the Whoniverse, Jodie Whittaker. I am so glad you are here. Take us all to new places, in the show…and in time and space…and within our hearts.
As the school year is completing, I visited each of my four younger grandchildren at their respective schools and brought lunch. Today it was Jonathan’s turn. His last day of school is Thursday.
As soon as we were seated in the cafeteria, this bright and creative boy informed me that he had gotten a low grade on a project he had just finished. He seemed genuinely surprised by his teacher’s assessment. As he shared his story, I was deeply touched, more than a little dismayed…and so glad that I chose this day to have lunch with Jonathan.
The assignment was to build a doghouse out of foam board and paint it. In my family we have many Whovians…fans of the long running British TV show, Doctor Who. Jonathan came up with the clever idea of creating a TARDIS doghouse, making his project taller, and thinner, and painting it the bright blue that is characteristic of the Doctor’s traveling time and space machine.
Jonathan’s doghouse hints that it just might be bigger on the inside…a classic Doctor Who reference…and he even added the light atop the roof.
Listening to Jonathan as he described his project, I was impressed. However, his teacher was not. He is not familiar with Doctor Who, or the TARDIS. Giving Jonathan low marks, he said this 5th grade boy didn’t do the project in the right way, that he didn’t measure and cut correctly. In short, he told Jonathan he messed up, made a mistake, failed.
I understand that Jonathan might not have followed directions exactly. And his project didn’t look like everyone else’s. However, he chose to think outside the box and create something unique…and meaningful to him. He expressed creativity when perhaps following directions was the real assignment.
I am so proud of my grandson!
We spent the rest of lunchtime discussing creativity and expressing ideas and chatting about Doctor Who. I shared with Jonathan that sometimes people don’t understand those who think creatively but that doesn’t mean we have to conform. I’m not trying to turn my grandson into a rebel. However I wanted him to know it is okay to be different, create something different, and have a vision. I love his ideas.
Fortunately, another teacher, a Whovian, recognized his project for what it was and expressed delight with it. Jonathan’s teacher raised the creativity score, but did not change the overall grade. My heart felt this boy’s pain at not being recognized for his work. When he invited me to pop up to his classroom after lunch to see the TARDIS doghouse, I was thrilled.
In the empty classroom, a row of doghouses lined a shelf. They all looked exactly the same…square boxes with peaked roofs…except for one bright blue taller thinner doghouse that really stood out. What an extraordinary project, from an original thinker.
After much praise and many hugs, I left Jonathan with his teacher. Had the teacher not been in the presence of children when Jonathan joined his classmates, I would have had a few words with him. Nothing raises my ire like unfairness toward children. My words would have been civil, however, I would have loved to have asked him some questions.
Why is it more important to teach kids to always follow the rules rather than express creativity? Why not encourage, rather than condemn? And why not acknowledge that there are many ways to create a doghouse, other than making them all identical? Jonathan did measure. And his measurements were exactly right for the creation he had in mind.
I hope Jonathan will keep being his shining, creative, unique self. He will always be graded on his performances, by someone. I want him to know there is so much more to life and living joyfully and freely, beyond receiving marks, or grades, or scores on a piece of paper.
I think his TARDIS doghouse is beautiful and amazing, just like him. And I know a certain faithful Doctor Who companion who would absolutely love it…just as I do.
My attention today has been focused on the upcoming Italy trip. May 24 I will fly to that beautiful country, accompanied by my daughter Elissa and my grandson Dayan. I had a list of purchases to make and several tasks to complete. One by one I have checked them off as the day progressed.
Seemingly unrelated to the Italy trip was this item: Red Nose Day And even more unrelated were the words I added next to Red Nose Day: Doctor Who
Red Nose Day is held annually on May 25. You can make a donation to the retailer, Walgreens, and receive a bright red rubber nose to wear on that day. The money collected goes toward helping to fight childhood poverty around the world.
The movement began in the UK in 1988 and has raised more than one billion dollars globally. The US joined Red Nose Day activities in 2015 and in just two years has raised more than sixty million to assist children.
Elissa, Dayan, Greg and I participated in Red Nose Day last year, making donations and sporting our noses on May 25. It is a fun way to raise awareness and help children.
The cool thing about Red Nose Day is that it is tied to the entertainment industry. Many actors, musicians, performers and comedians participate, donning red noses and contributing funds, and their time, as they create projects to raise money.
Imagine my delight, on the day I intended to make a donation, to discover that seven of the actors who have played the Doctor on the iconic and long running TV series, Doctor Who, have created a fun joint project. These seven men are sitting down together, in London, to have breakfast, and they have extra seats available. For a donation of $10 or more, one can be entered into the contest. The higher the donation, the higher the number of entries. The winners will be selected randomly June 9.
For a Whovian like me, this was a delightful and unexpected turn of events! I happily made my donation today through the US website, securing entries into the drawing. I was going to make a donation anyway, however what a fun prospect.
Dayan and I met two of the Doctors at a St Louis ComicCon in April 2016…Matt Smith (11) and David Tennant (10). We enjoyed chatting with these sincere and humorous men. I would love to meet the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi (12), who will be present at the breakfast as well. The other four actors participating are Peter Davison (5), Colin Baker (6), Sylvester McCoy (7), and Paul McGann (8). Davison also happens to be Tennant’s father-in-law. And McCoy is known for playing Radigast the Brown wizard in The Hobbit films.
What an amazing breakfast that would be. And I could take one guest with me. I love that these compassionate men are donating their time to help raise money for such a worthy cause.
I was thrilled to cross this item off my list, in such a remarkable way, knowing my donation has been made.
On May 25, Elissa, Dayan and I will be in Rome. We are packing our red noses. On Red Nose Day we will pause in our sightseeing to pop on our noses and strike a pose. What an incredible photo opportunity that will be!
You can make a donation HERE if you would like to enter the Breakfast with the Doctors contest.
In 2014, during my Year of Firsts, I discovered a handy website that listed unique holidays for each day. While I didn’t choose one to celebrate every day…that would have become a Year of Celebrations…I often checked out the list and enjoyed firsts such as Face Your Fear Day. I still refer frequently to the list.
There were so many unique holidays listed for today’s date that I decided to see how many I could celebrate on this beautiful Saturday. Many of the events were connected, and seemed to flow into one another, which is perfect for one who is surrendered and living in that flow.
Impossible Astronaut Day is a Doctor Who related holiday, so of course I wanted to celebrate this one. On April 23rd, 2011, the Doctor Who episode The Impossible Astronaut premiered, starting off series 6 with mind-blowing plot twists and new monsters, the Silence. The Silence are creatures that you can’t remember seeing the second you look away from them. To combat this unusual type of warfare, The Doctor and his companions draw tally marks on their skin to remind them that they’ve had an encounter.
Connected to Doctor Who, today the new companion for the Twelfth Doctor was announced. Pearl Mackie joins Peter Capaldi when the new season begins.
Doctor Who is a British production and many of today’s holidays are English inspired. English Language Day is a United Nations initiative, recognizing English, one of six official UN languages. The other five are celebrated on different days throughout the year.
St. George’s Day recognizes the patron saint of England, who supposedly slew a dragon. Which explains why today is also Slay a Dragon Day. I have English heritage as well as Scottish and Irish and I enjoyed reading about St. George. I did not, however, cross paths with any dragons today.
Talk Like Shakespeare Day falls on the date recognized as the bard’s birthday. According to my research, this date also marks Shakespeare’s death anniversary as well. As this is also Lover’s Day, who better than Will to share a few words appropriate for the day.
Other celebrations that I worked into my day included:
Take a Chance Day, observed as I dug up 20-25 year old creeping phlox at the Arkansas house, to transplant into my garden. I truly hope it survives.
And National Lost Dog Awareness Day happened spontaneously as a stray dog appeared in my backyard while I was gardening. Fortunately his owner lives nearby and there was a happy reunion.
There were holidays I couldn’t get to, much as I would have enjoyed them, such as Movie Theater Day and National Picnic Day. And there were celebrations I chose to pass on, such as these three:
Who? I had to look him up.
At the end of this joy-filled and gorgeous day, I am enjoying National Cherry Cheesecake Day and World Book Night, curled up with a tiny piece of dessert, a cup of hot tea, and the newest Dean Koontz book, Ashley Bell.
Truthfully every day is full of moments to celebrate, recognized holidays or not. But what a fun, and full, day as I was especially mindful of today’s unique opportunities. Who knows, perhaps I will have a Year of Celebrations in the not so distant future.
The word that best describes what Dayan and I initially felt as we walked onto the floor of our first comic con was “overwhelmed”! The large convention building was packed with vendor booths, a large gaming area, a celebrity section and a photo op area. There were people everywhere, many in fantastic costumes. Dayan was actually in costume as well, as the 11th Doctor, sporting a fez and bow tie.
Being newbies, we immediately sought out the show volunteers, easily identified by their lime green shirts! Dayan and I purchased VIP tickets for this event, which included photo ops and autographs with David Tennant and Matt Smith and first access to discussion panels. However, we didn’t know what to do with all of our tickets and where to meet at the appropriate times. I’m grateful for the kind people in green! With their help we figured out schedules and put together a time line for the day.
After an early lunch, which turned out to be our only opportunity to eat until late that evening, we hit the convention floor in earnest. First lesson learned: grab food to eat while standing in lines. There was so much to see, so many amazing people to gawk at, that I’m surprised our necks didn’t hurt from all of our head turning. We found a replica of the TARDIS from Doctor Who to step into, talented artists selling beautiful artwork, authors of fantasy fiction, metalwork, and shops full of merchandise dedicated to specific shows. Dayan bought a Doctor Who case for his iPhone.
Photos with the W emblem are from the Wizard World Facebook page. They captured better photos of what was happening in St Louis than I was able to!
Music boomed overhead, with theme songs from various movies playing frequently. And little dramas and scenes were enacted as people in character bumped into each other. Some of my favorite cosplays included a Mad Hatter and White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, the Joker, and Wolverine. Every sci-fi and fantasy movie was represented and it wasn’t unusual at all to see Cinderella walking alongside Darth Vader and the 10th Doctor.
We only had an hour and a half to walk the floor. I know we didn’t see everything and unfortunately we didn’t make it back to booths that we wanted to inspect closer, such as a Scottish shortbread and wares shop. There wasn’t time. Second lesson learned: you need more than one day at a comic con. We did, however, get a great overview of what’s available from vendors. And walking down the celebrity row, we got our first peek at Matt Smith and Billie Piper. Also signing autographs were actors William Shatner and Lou Ferrigno. We ended up at the photo op area, where our first scheduled event was about to take place.
In line for our photo op
The photo op allowed each of us to have our picture taken with Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor, and David Tennant, the 10th Doctor. We were excited…giddy might be a better word! This was the moment Dayan had been looking forward to, meeting his two favorite Doctors. Hundreds of other people were looking forward to the same experience. I have to admire the actors who handle these situations with such grace and good humor, as person after person steps before them for an autograph or squeezes in for a photo. I never saw their smiles waver.
The process ran efficiently too, with the line moving smoothly and quickly through a tent where Tennant and Smith waited with the photography team. I watched, delighted, as Dayan stepped between the two Doctors for his photo. Matt reacted with glee that Dayan was dressed as his character, while David playfully swatted at Matt, in acknowledgement. The result was a perfect picture of the three of them. I’m so happy about that photo.
Dayan exited the tent and it was my turn. I stood between these two amazing actors, an arm around each one, their arms around me, and just before the shutter clicked, I quietly said “Two of my favorite guys…” They laughed and David immediately quipped, “Two of your favorites? How about your top two favorite guys?” I laughed too and changed my remark to “Okay, my top two favorite guys…” said as I walked toward the exit. The photographer called me back, saying a bit tersely that we were talking during the photo and she wanted to retake it. “When I say ‘Ready’, stop talking,”she said. Which made us laugh harder, but I found myself back between these two fun guys, and this time, we stopped talking when the photographer said “Ready”.
I thought I looked goofy in the photo, caught mid sentence, but what a fun moment. Dayan later said that while he got the great photo, I got the great story! Fortunately, I ended up with two photos, with the latter one, shared at the end of the blog post, being a better pic!
Dayan and I headed to our next event, autographs by Matt Smith, while the photo op concluded. We discovered that standing, or sitting, while in line, is a great opportunity for meeting fellow geeks and convention attendees. They are a friendly bunch, with stories to share.
As we stood before Matt, 8x10s in hand to be signed, Dayan experienced another great moment. Volunteers write down your name and attach it to your choice of photos to be autographed. Dayan has an unusual name. Most people pronounce it wrong. Dayan and I waited to see how Matt would pronounce it. Matt peeled off the name sticker and as he held his sharpie ready, said, “Let’s see, this is Dayan”. He looked up at my astonished grandson. He had pronounced the name perfectly. As Dayan gave a little cheer, I informed Matt that what he had just done was rare. As Matt signed a photo for Dayan, I told him that he was Dayan’s favorite Doctor. Matt replied with a smile, “And he’s my favorite fan.”
What a happy teen Dayan was in that moment. As Matt signed my photo he looked up and grinned. “We just did a photo shoot together,” he said. We laughed again about having to do two takes.
Next on our schedule was a Q&A forum with Matt Smith, immediately followed by one with David Tennant and Billie Piper, who played Rose in Doctor Who. It was wonderful to sit down for a couple of hours! This gigantic ballroom was packed out, standing room only by the time they closed the doors. I was grateful for our VIP passes, which put us up near the stage.
What a wonderful two hours of listening to Matt, and then David and Billie, as they answered questions and told stories. We laughed. We cheered and clapped. We teared up. This opportunity allowed us to see more deeply into the hearts of these three beautiful people. Each one related so well to the audience. And David and Billie have a lovely friendship, their fondness and respect for each other evident in their interactions. I felt like I got to know Matt and David and Billie, beyond being actors who have played some of my favorite characters. I learned who they are and what they enjoy and how they view life.
Our fun day was drawing to a close. Our last event was an autograph session with David Tennant. I estimate there were four hundred or more people waiting in line as David took his place at the table. Because of the group we were assigned to, Dayan and I were near the end of the line. We stood for an hour and a half before it was our turn, and to speed the process up, David wasn’t personalizing the photos, just signing them. And yet, tired as he must have been, he still took time to speak to each person who stood before him.
I told him how much I appreciate him and that Dayan and I have Scottish ancestry. “I’m grateful that you, as a Scotsman, so beautifully share your gifts with the world,” I said. The look on his face was priceless. He reached his hand out to me and said thank you. I turned to walk away and suddenly realized that I was still clutching my photo. In my fan girl moment, I forgot to hand him my photo to sign. He was laughing as I turn back around and said he wondered what I was doing. He signed with a flourish as we also talked about our funny photo shoot earlier in the day. In a full Scottish brogue he handed me my autographed picture and said with a smile “You go and behave yourself!” I was the one now having a very happy moment.
Lithographs that we received as part of our VIP packages.
And comic books too!
What a great day. We were very tired, and hungry, and full of chatter as we left the comic con, which had closed as we waited in line for autographs. We created wonderful memories today, in the further Adventures of Dayan and Yaya. I cherish that my grandson and I had the opportunity to experience comic con and the meeting of the Doctors, together.
I feel like I got the hang of comic con. I know now how it flows and what to do, and I know what to expect. That’s good, because I have other grandchildren and great nephews and nieces who, in a few years when they are a bit older, will enjoy visiting a comic con and meeting their favorite actors. And Dayan and I will do this again. Even after he starts college, we agree that it would be fun to meet in cities such as New York or even London or Edinburgh to attend comic cons together. I can’t wait. I hope the Doctors will be there.
I’m going to do something I’ve not done before, in my blogging. I’m posting an introductory piece with a couple of pictures tonight. Tomorrow when I’m fresh after a good night’s sleep, I’ll post a follow up with more stories, pictures and highlights from my first ever Comic Con.
I shared previously how my 16 year old grandson Dayan and I set the intention to attend a comic con, after he was unable to go three years ago. He found out about the event late and tickets were sold out. Because we are Whovians, fans of the BBC show Doctor Who, we were interested in seeing cast members from that particular show.
Shortly after we released the outcome of that desire, I saw that the 10th Doctor, played by David Tennant, was going to be at the St Louis Wizard World Comic Con. Billie Piper, who played the 10th Doctor’s companion Rose, was also scheduled to appear. We were excited! St Louis was close enough to be very doable.
And then, incredibly, Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who, joined the line up. This was so amazing because Matt is the Doctor Dayan wanted to see three years ago. While I’m particularly fond of the 10th Doctor, I like Matt’s portrayal of the character too. Our excitement was boundless.
We left Joplin at 6:30 this morning and drove four hours to get to St Louis. I’m very grateful that Greg drove us to the convention center and dropped us off, giving up his Saturday to chauffeur us.
It was with high anticipation that Dayan and I walked into our first comic con. I’ll share about our experiences tomorrow. We are headed back to Joplin with an ETA of 1:00 am. It’s been a long day, and Dayan is already asleep in the back seat. Oh, but the day was worth the time and the money to get here. What memories we created today!
This was a special journey today, for a Whovian. And I most certainly am one. On November 23, 1963, the first episode of Doctor Who aired on British television. Fifty-two years, and thirteen Doctors later, the show continues to do well, producing quality episodes that expand the mind and touch the heart.
I was introduced to this phenomenal show by my grandson, Dayan. I originally watched it so I could discuss his favorite show with him. But something happened three episodes into New Who, Series One, which launched in 2005. I was hooked. I fell in love with the show, which is often described as being more of a fairy tale, rather than sci-fi or fantasy. The stories are powerful glimpses into the frailties and the magnificence of humanity, as seen through the eyes of an ancient Time Lord, who does not die, but regenerates when death is imminent.
Dayan and I established the weekly practice of getting together after school on Wednesdays to have a late lunch and watch two or three episodes, to catch me up to the current 9th Series. That’s eight seasons to get through. With some binge watching thrown in this past summer, Dayan succeeded in getting me to the current season in a little more than a year.
I will always treasure that year of Doctor Who. The episodes, the characters, the actors, made me laugh, made me chew my lip, made my eyes fill with tears. I’ll never look at angel statues in the same way, or bow ties, or bright blue police boxes. I think of Shakespeare differently and seeing a Vincent Van Gogh painting makes my lip quiver. Doctor Who has made me “bigger on the inside” and my experiences are richer because of the impact of that show.
Today I celebrated Doctor Who Day in the best possible way. Dayan and I watched two episodes together. We completed series eight with the Christmas special and I’m now ready for this year’s episodes. Scottish actor Peter Capaldi is the Twelfth Doctor (the War Doctor didn’t have a number). I’ve watched through four Doctors, three regenerations, and six companions so far. While the Tenth Doctor is still my favorite, by a very slim margin, I’ve found characteristics about each portrayal to appreciate.
I completed Doctor Who Day by watching the first episode that aired on this date in 1963. The film was black and white and the special effects minimal, but there was the same TARDIS, and the familiar opening song that starts with WOOOO EEEEEE OOOOOO…. The Doctor looked different. And his companion was his granddaughter Susan. I’ve heard her referenced in the newer episodes. I looked up info about her. Her Gallifreyan name meant “Rose”. What a nice tie-in that the Ninth Doctor’s companion in New Who is named Rose.
The thing I love most about Doctor Who is that Dayan and I watch it together. We have shared Chinese food and conversation, laughter and teary eyes around this campy British show. Some of the episodes have sparked new thoughts and made us wonder, “what if?”. We have fun spotting obscure references and seeing the connections between the current Doctor and past ones. Doctor Who has created another strong connection between my grandson and me, one that will endure. I can image texting Dayan while he’s away in college, saying “Wow, what did you think of that Doctor Who episode?”.
Travels through Time and Space can be experienced without a TARDIS. Dayan and I share a Whovian vocabulary that will instantly connect us, no matter how far away he goes in his own adventures, no matter how much time passes. For that, I’m extremely grateful to Doctor Who. Allons y, Dayan.
Some days are so full of amazing journeys that I have to choose between them when I write my blog post. Yesterday was one of those days. My son was promoted to sergeant in his police department, there was a surprise that confirmed how amazing the journey is, and I concluded my day by attending a demonstration of the beautiful and passionate flamenco dance at MSSU. I chose yesterday to share about my son and his journey, as I have watched that one unfold for years. It was a proud moment for him and for his dad and me. The surprise from yesterday is part of a journey that has unfolded over a couple of years, and that will ultimately conclude next April. I’ll share that story today!
A little over two years ago, my grandson Dayan, then 14 years old, called me early on a Saturday with a request. “Can you drive me to St Louis?” That city is 4 hours and 19 minutes away. Dayan had just found out that morning that Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who, and Karen Gillan, who played his traveling companion Amy Pond, were at the Wizard World Comic Con in St Louis. He so wanted the opportunity to meet those amazing actors/characters from one of his favorite shows.
As a Yaya, I practice saying “Yes!” as often as I can. I knew how much seeing The Doctor and Amy in person would mean to my grandson. Greg was willing to drive us to St Louis. Sadly, we discovered that the tickets needed for the event were sold out. There was no point in making the trip. However, I told Dayan that if there was another opportunity in the future to attend a comic con that featured The Doctor, I’d do my best to get him there.
Two years passed. Last fall, I began watching Doctor Who, beginning with the first series in New Who, as it’s called, to distinguish it from Classic Who. Christopher Eccleston was the 9th Doctor and Billie Piper his companion Rose. I had only watched five episodes before Dayan suggested that we watch the series together. A tradition was born that is still continuing. Once a week, during the school year, I pick up Chinese food and Dayan after school and we watch a couple of episodes of Doctor Who. During this past summer we worked in some binge watching. By the time the 9th Doctor regenerated into the 10th, at the end of the first season, I was a fan of the show. A HUGE fan.
With the transition from Nine to Ten, David Tennant assumed the role of The Doctor. I love this Scottish born actor. He brought his own charm and infectious joy to the role, a playful Timelord who explored the universe with Rose, still portrayed by Billie Piper, meeting challenges and saving worlds with no weapon save a sonic screwdriver. Although Tennant stayed in the role of The Doctor for four years, Piper only played Rose for one of those. The story of The Doctor and Rose is filled with whimsy and fun, adventure and love, and at the end of their time together, angst. Say “Doctor and Rose” to most Whovians and they will say “awwwww” with a sad look on their faces.
I renewed my determination to take Dayan to a comic con, especially if the 10th Doctor was present. I now wanted to see The Doctor too. We put that intention out there. A couple of months ago, scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I was stopped by an anouncement through the David Tennant fan page. Tennant was coming to Wizard World Comic Con…in St Louis! Next April. I was excited. Dayan was excited. By the next day, it was announced that Billie Piper would be joining him. We were beyond excited!
It’s not easy to get tickets to a VIP event at comic con. The tickets sell out quickly because of limited availability. And tickets aren’t cheap. It’s the rule of scarcity. I told Dayan I would do my best to secure each of us a VIP pass, which gains entrance to comic con plus allows the holder to sit in on panel discussions, meet the actors, and get autographs and have photos taken with both. He understood. We agreed that if we were meant to go, all would unfold perfectly. If we weren’t, it wouldn’t, and we accepted that.
I asked for God’s guidance…to smooth the way if this was going to happen. Make me aware. Nudge me when I needed to be nudged. And then I let go of the outcome. The VIP tickets were supposed to go on sale at the end of October and then that was changed to November 15, according to the website. I have been blessed with a multitude of closings, with more scheduled. I felt that financially, this was very doable. I was ready. I was watching, without stressing about it or feeling anxious. If the event came to mind, I immediately said, “Up to You” and let it go.
Yesterday I kept getting these nudges that the tickets were about to go on sale. But it was the 10th, not the 15th. I checked the site and Facebook. Not available yet. I went to my son’s ceremony. Back home, while waiting for him to complete his shift so Greg and I could take him and Megan to dinner, I strongly felt I needed to get on Facebook. The first post that I saw in my news feed was from the David Tennant page, announcing VIP tickets for St Louis had just gone on sale. That moment. A very short time later, I sent Dayan a text with a picture of two VIP tickets, and the words, “And then there’s this to look forward to…we are going to COMIC CON!” His response was priceless. And filled my heart with joy. Only today did I realize that they put the tickets for David TENnant, the 10th Doctor, on sale on the 10th. Had I not checked until the 15th, I believe they would have been sold out.
I am grateful. I’m grateful that I get to do this for Dayan and with Dayan. Attending a comic con will be a first experience that we can share. We are both excited to meet Tennant and Piper, The Doctor, for goodness sake, and Rose. And I am grateful for this amazing journey that continues to teach me about trust, about being open to everything and attached to nothing, and that nothing in my life is too insignificant to God. There’s no mistaking the presence and guidance of the Divine in the unfolding of events. How can I not walk in complete trust and surrender?
We have a few months before the road trip. And that’s okay. Dayan and I will enjoy the anticipation and my grandson reminded me today that it is common to attend comic con in costume! I need the time to plan. But come April, it’s St Louis here we come! It will be a blast!
I had the pleasure of spending the morning with my youngest grandchild, and only granddaughter, Aubrey. This six year old girl is such a delight to me. She is bright and articulate, curious about the world and open to exploring it. She inspires me and makes me laugh, and brings joy to my heart and often, tears to my eyes.
We had breakfast together at IHOP, walked through Toys R Us so I could note her preferences for birthday presents (her birthday is on Halloween….however it is never too early to plan!), and spent time at my house, watching a DVD and playing, talking and working in my office together. In fact, it was while I was working that she grabbed my digital camera and began to take pictures, which was the inspiration for today’s blog post. My grandson Dayan did a guest blog for me several months ago. Aubrey is sharing her photos today. I look forward to having Joey, Jonathan and Oliver do guest blog posts for me as well, whatever they want to share. I love seeing the world anew through the eyes of my grandchildren.
I love Aubrey’s perspective. She captured my Vision Board, which hangs in a prominent spot in my office, and talked primarily about traveling to “Skinny Scotland” together. Why she calls Scotland Skinny, I don’t know! Aubrey examined my passport and expressed a desire to have one of her own someday, and use it. What an adventure that will be!
One of my vignettes. This granddaughter of mine loves to stage items and decorate, just as I do. When she visits, she enjoys rearranging my shelves and tabletops, and I let her. It is good experience for her, and I like seeing her arrangements.
Aubrey discovered what happens when you take a picture of a brightly lit window…it throws the rest of the picture into shadow. Love her viewpoint.
A “screen shot” of Girl in the Fireplace, a Doctor Who episode from Series Two. Aubrey is the most recent family member to embrace this great BBC series. So far, this is her favorite episode…and happens to be the only one she has watched!
More Doctor Who…Series One and Two DVD sets. She likes the 10th Doctor, on the right.
My favorite Aubrey photo from today. This is Rilynn, aptly named by Aubrey, who gave this friendly cat her own middle name.
I sure enjoyed having this sweet girl with me for part of the day. Our conversations were amazing. Although we watched Doctor Who today, Aubrey and I have not talked about that TV show previously or discussed time travel. And yet, she informed me before we watched Doctor Who together that she wants to travel in time and we talked about whether that is possible or not. She asked me, “Do you know where I would want to travel in time to first?” I made a couple of guesses. All wrong. I asked her where she would go. “To your childhood, Yaya,” she answered. “I want to see you and be with you, when you were a little girl.”
That made me teary eyed. Of all the places and people she could have chosen, she picked me. Aubrey knows I was fearful as a child. Her loving presence would have comforted me. And you know what? Who knows. Perhaps, this precious child has done just that. As she sleeps, as she dreams, maybe she reaches back to a frightened little girl who dreaded nighttime. Just knowing that she would do so, if she could, brings peace and courage to that small girl that still resides within me. Thank you, Aubrey. I love you so much.