Review: “Who’s Changing: A Look At Doctor Who Fandom”
After spending much of 2013 celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and saying farewell to Matt Smith, a new documentary takes a look at the reason why the show is more popular than ever… the fans.
Who’s Changing: An Adventure In Time With Fans, made by Capital City Entertainment, is an informative documentary about how fandom slowly developed in England in the 1970’s, then exploded when the show returned in 2005. Much of the film looks at fans, but it also includes exclusive interviews with Louise Jameson (Leela), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Simon Fisher-Becker (Dorium Maldovar), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint), Caitlin Blackwood (young Amelia Pond), and Dan Starkey (Commander Strax). There’s also interviews with Jane Espenson (Buffy, Torchwood Miracle Day), script editors Gary Russell and Eric Saward, and Who writers Andrew Smith (“Full Circle”) and James Moran (“Fires of Pompeii”). Here’s a trailer of the DVD…
It starts with how Who conventions started with a small gathering at a church hall near London that still included Tom Baker, Jon Pertwee and Louise Jameson, then grew from there. It also points out that fans of the show were almost exclusively male. That’s a far cry from the past ten years, when it’s more of a mix of males, females and kids. There is some discussion about how there’s a hint of romance in the show in recent years (remember that the Tenth Doctor married Elizabeth I in “Day of the Doctor?”), and that may be why there’s more female fans of the show. Of course, there are some fans who think there should be less romance.
There’s also a look at how fans coped without Doctor Who on TV for 16 years. There were still a lot of things that kept the show alive including the Big Finish Audio dramas and the Fox TV-movie. There’s also a look at fan cosplay, and why a lot of female fans like to dress as the Doctor. Jane Espenson, who wrote for Torchwood: Miracle Day, has an insight about this. For the record, there is a guy in the DVD who is dressed as Vastra.
It also shows how watching Doctor Who has always been a family experience, and that one generation is passing its love for the show to the next.
One of the more interesting stories is how Aldred was introduced as the Seventh Doctor’s new companion. She was disguised as the winner of a “raffle” to visit the set. The other fans were jealous at first, until they found out who she really was.
The DVD includes footage from several conventions in the UK from last year. It would have been great if it included early U.S. conventions from the 1980’s, and how public TV spread the world about Doctor Who.
Still, Who’s Changing is a fine DVD that shows why, after 50 years, we’re still fascinated with a alien who travels through time in a big blue box. Look at how how this young fan from 1978 showed his support for the show.
You’d almost think he was made to be the Doctor… and he is (note the name on the lower right).
For more information about how to buy the DVD or see it online, go to http://whoschanging.moonfruit.com.