In 1979, when I was thirteen, I fell in love for the first time. He was a dashing, slightly shambolic, eccentric geek
with blazing eyes, a beautiful voice and the most glorious grin you ever saw. I never actually met him in the flesh, but all the fantasies of my fevered early teenage years - some intensely sexual, many simply heroic adventures in time and space - centered around him. Looking back over my real, human lovers, I can see his influence clearly imprinted on the type of man I'm always drawn to. Every single one has had qualities that remind me of him.
Then, in 1981, he changed.
He was sweet, uncertain, slightly sad. I still loved him - how could I not? - but the relationship inevitably changed too. The intensity and sexuality died out of it. But we had a lot of good platonic fun, and I remember him with fondness.
And then he changed again.
By this time, I had changed too. I was older. I had a flesh and blood lover, I had new obsessions and interests. His dress sense irritated me, his hair and mannerisms made him seem like a bargain basement remake of my original love, and he felt like one of the childish things that it was time to put away. I grew disenchanted and disinterested, and we lost touch. I missed out on his next incarnation
entirely, and when I heard the news of his death (some say murder) at the hands of the BBC, I was only a little shocked, sad and nostalgic.
The great thing about fictional deaths is that they never have to be forever. Two years ago, we met again.
We were both older, we and the world had changed a great deal. But the magic, the excitement? Still there.
The point of all this? In the absence of new episodes, I've been taking the time to go back over the archives. The fourth Doctor still makes my heart (and points south) beat faster and my brain seethe with novel uses for eight-foot-long scarves. The fifth Doctor still makes me smile. I haven't got round to catching up with the sixth on television yet, but he's very impressive in audio drama format.
The big surprise, though? Sylvester McCoy as the seventh. It's probably a good thing I missed these episodes as a late teenager the first time round. Then, I'd have been far too put off by the kitsch, the typical BBC production values and Bonnie Langford - people my age remember her far too vividly as Violet Elizabeth Bott
to be able to take her seriously in any other role. But now - all the things that would have put me off him then endear me to him now. After nearly thirty years, I'm in love again. And it's glorious.