Few TV shows have held the attention of people like Doctor Who has, and entering its 50th anniversary in his many incarnations every fan has their favourite. But why become a fan in the first place?
Doctor Who is my great TV love. In fact, my love affair with Doctor Who has been one of the longest relationships in my life, starting when I was in primary school and still going strong over 30 years later.
Like any relationship, we’ve had good times and bad. In the late 80’s when the show was struggling to stay on the air, I would eagerly await the latest episode to be sent over from England on VHS. It was our version of downloading at the time, although we usually had to wait for all 4 parts of a story to go on one tape as no-one could afford to have them sent over episode by episode. I would always watch with optimism, only to be let down time and time again during the Colin Baker era.
Looking back, Doctor Who’s greatest saviour was possibly Michael Grade, controller of BBC at the time who tried to kill the program by putting it on hiatus for 18 months. When it was brought back it was pitted against the phenomenally popular “Coronation Street”. The show was eventually cancelled in 1989. As fans we hated the fact Doctor Who was off air, but it allowed the show to come back bigger and better than ever in 2005 (after a brief dalliance with FOX in 1996) and it was defiantly worth the wait.
Travelling back in time, it was at the very end of the 70’s, early 80’s that I discovered the show. My family were visiting my Great Grandmother in Strathfield and I was bored, so I decided to go exploring. As I was walking around the apartment blocks, a flickering light caught my eye. As I looked through the screen door of complete strangers, I could see a television screen. On that little screen a show called Doctor Who was starting. Next thing I knew I had watched the entire episode with Tom Baker in the role, peering through that screen door. The only thing to break me from my trance was movement inside the house as the credits rolled. Had I been spotted? I wasn’t hanging around to find out. I legged it as fast as I could but within that 25 minutes I had become a fan. I was hooked!
The story of an old man in a blue box (which is bigger on the inside) that has the ability to take you anywhere in time and space fascinated me. Not only am I a fan of the Doctor, I am deeply in love with the concept of the TARDIS. I am a sucker for any story which shows the interior of the TARDIS (don’t even get me started on my excitement for the upcoming episode this year that promises to go on a journey to the centre of the TARDIS). Add to that the ingenious idea of “regeneration” that allows the lead role to be played by a different actor every few years and you have an instant classic!
Doctor Who is more than a television show though, it goes deeper than that. The fandom side opens up a whole new world where you can discuss the show with like-minded people. Believe it or not, liking Doctor Who wasn’t always as hip as it is now (if indeed it is hip). No, once upon a time it was well and truly the domain of nerds, so knowing there were people out there like yourself was very reassuring. During my time as a member of the Doctor Who Club of Australia in the 80’s I met some of the most amazing people; from the downright nerdy, insane, socially awkward to the coolest, funniest and most fascinating people (and throw in some drag queens to boot!). It was a great period of my life and many of the people I met during those years are still good friends today. It was through the fan club that I got to appear on the ABC’s Afternoon Show in a Doctor Who quiz where I got to show off my Doctor Who knowledge…
You’d think I’d be ashamed but I’m not.
For some people Doctor Who is a nostalgic show that reminds them of their childhood. For me, nothing could be further from the truth. I am still a fan who (mostly) enjoys the new series. There have been some outstanding episodes through the course of the new series as well as some absolute stinkers. Peter Davison was my favourite Doctor in the classic series, although that’s probably because he was the first Doctor I spent a lot of time watching. In the new series it’s hard to go past David Tennant, although all three choices have been superb.
As the show prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, I look forward to joining the Doctor for each new adventure, knowing that I will be travelling with him until the very end.
Mainly working behind-the-scenes, Rob is the Creative Services Manager for News & Current Affairs Promotions at Channel 9. While in this role he started hosting online behind-the-scenes videos for the network. The role was expanded to include hosting studio based discussion programs made especially for an online audience.
Born in 1973, Rob grew up in Campbelltown, NSW and always had a passion for television. In 1993 he started working at Prime Television in Wollongong as a promotions Editor and tape operator for the local news before moving to Canberra to Direct the local news in that market. Rob made the move back to Sydney in 1999 and started working as an Editor/Director for the Disney Channel, which included directing several productions in Los Angeles and Florida at Disney theme parks.
After the Olympics in 2000, Rob started working as a Promotions Producer for the Seven Network. When Ian Ross joined the network as the Sydney news reader, Rob was given the opportunity to produce the launch campaign and continued to focus on news promotion. Later, he would go on to work as a producer on various programs including Sunrise. In December 2008 Rob was brought across to Channel 9 to focus on the promotion of News and Current Affairs programs. He also hosts 9Stream Live for the Nine Network Tuesday evenings.
Rob McKnight is married to Amanda and they are parents to young daughters Jasmin, Eloise & Genevieve. Steve Molk is not his illegitimate love child.