WHO'S CHANGING - AN ADVENTURE IN TIME WITH FANS is the new documentary from Capital City Entertainment about the changing face of fans of Doctor Who.
The film features familiar faces both in front and behind the camera as well as contributions from fans themselves.
Yes, that's the word that ably describes WHO'S CHANGING - AN ADVENTURE IN TIME WITH FANS.
The inevitability of Time is that it has the unnerving ability to be unpredictable, random and changeable, and over the series' fifty years DOCTOR WHO has spawned nefarious inventions of itself influencing its equally nefarious fans. It can be said that these fans themselves have defined the outward appearance and generational-bridging appeal of the very series that they follow.
For every multi-coloured, spacial defying scarf or natty (read: cool) bow tie that is seen on the high street there is a waking within the general public's psyche that relates to a certain British sci-fi drama series.
However, that's not always been the case as WHO'S CHANGING - AN ADVENTURE IN TIME WITH FANS ably discusses as it attempts chart the course of DOCTOR WHO fandom from the earliest faltering 'homely' meetings to the mass-market conventions attended by tens of thousands that mirrors the diversity of its television audience.
Has fandom come full circle or created a new, more provocative incarnation of itself as the adventure through time and space continues, and what will DOCTOR WHO fandom like in fifty years' time?
WHO'S CHANGING is an irreverent but not entirely irrelevant talking-heads dissertation drawn from the hardiest of fans, both those who have been an integral part of the series (past and present) from both sides of the camera (cast and creative team) and amateur sofa-encamped members of the general public.
In comparison to the BBC-released DOCTOR WHO DVD 'value added material' (read: documentaries) that analyses the history of the series, WHO'S CHANGING ditches the earnest tone for a more approachable, conversational content that is both thoroughly fresh & entertaining and partially infuriatingly naive. It's not a serious assessment but a skim across fandom's history from Broomward Church Hall (Battersea, London) on 6 August 1977 to the ExCel London for the BBC's official 50 th CELEBRATION three-day event with a focus on the odd, the overly gregarious and the plainly ridiculous. However, unlike the BBC-produced content, this release focuses attention and probably for the first time, on the sexiness of the series and how fans have coveted this new liberation front.
DOCTOR WHO writer/series script editor, Gary Russell asserts that whilst the casting of David Tennant and, latterly, Matt Smith has cemented 'sexiness' in the series, as the majority of commentators and fans believe, he cites that the 'sexiness' (rather than 'sexuality') was introduced in the 1996 TV movie. In which the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) seemingly influenced by his recent regeneration engaged in a rampant 'snog-fest' with Dr. Grace Holloway that had no intrinsic narrative (i.e. key to plot events) that frequently was attributed to similar lip-smacking action undertaken by his future self [i.e. the Ninth Doctor kissing Rose Tyler to 'extract' time vortex energy from her (THE PARTING OF THE WAYS); or the Tenth Doctor discharging his Time Lord DNA into Martha Jones (SMITH AND JONES); or the Eleventh Doctor kissing Clara Oswald (THE CRIMSON HORROR)]. One kiss and he dived in for another. New shoes, new mouth.
In the DVD's wittily crafted 'chapter' titles, like "The Seeds of Sexy" and "The Romance Of Doom", the hand-picked fans - primarily, young female (though with rife cross-dressing abounding at DOCTOR WHO conventions nowadays, it's increasingly difficult to highlight those who are female or male.) - embrace this new so-called 'sexiness' that they see within the series (.a case of The Emperor's New Clothes fable? Only the biased can see what the truth cannot) and extol its virtue. However, as one stoical Adric-dressed (female) fan adroitly stated:
"I'm not a fan of sexualisation on TV."
And I'm probably in her camp (sic); DOCTOR WHO has never been a portal for a covert or, Gallifrey forbid, overt for it's all about moralistic tales of friendship, companionship or partnership rather than relationship.
I'm reminded of the bemusement of Professor Rubeish (DOCTOR WHO - THE TIME WARRIOR ) as the Doctor disappears to find his new errant companion;
"Young girl? I would have thought he was too old for that kind of thing."
And then there's the Americanisation of fandom that has infiltrated original British fandom like a self-replicating cancerous cell that seeks out and latches onto unaffected cells. DOCTOR WHO APPRECIATION SOCIETY co-founder, Jan Vincent-Rudzki decries the introduction of their phrase "Whovian" into DOCTOR WHO folklore in addition to the 'actor's fees' being paid for their Convention attendance (and charging for their autographs). However, in recent years, there has been another plague that has been prevalent; the phenomena of both 'cosplay' ('costume playtime'; dressing-up as their favourite character) and 'crossplay' ('cross-dressing costume playtime'; males dressing-up as female characters and vice-versa). WHO'S CHANGING treats the viewer to a menagerie of female fans dressed as the favourite Doctor and a psychologist's waiting room of novelty-factor cross-dressing male fans dressed as their favourite Doctor.
The DVD's Extras are 'edited' interviews with both CLASSIC and NEW SERIES actors (Louise Jameson, Sophie Aldred (drawn the short straw having been interviewed in a corridor in London's NFT), Neve McIntosh, Dan Starkey, and the highly ebullient Simon Fisher-Becker), and it's refreshing that their contributions are not simply repetitious anecdotes that have been endlessly trotted for other DVDs.
Effectively, this DVD is an entertaining, sassy, diverting two-part essay that, at times, marginally rambles and could have been edited with greater deftness. Simply, twenty-minutes could have been purged without the message (read: within a universe of DOCTOR WHO, for fans there is enough space & time for the obscure, diverse and purely bizarre) being lost.
Nevertheless, whilst it is overly drawn-out, settle down on the sofa and relish in the Circus of DOCTOR WHO fandom accompanied by a selection of beer or vodka shots - or both - and a voluminous sharing bag of Tortilla Chips.