I first encountered Doctor Who as a wee slip of a girl, but as I was not 100% sure that I hadn’t hallucinated it*, it probably doesn’t count.  I encountered it again much later–after college, even–and recognized in it a union of my lifelong love for SF and the love of camp I’d developed as a teen.  After years of watching MST3K and feeling faintly guilty when I liked one of the movies, I discovered in Doctor Who a show where not only was it OK to laugh at the bad parts while still being inspired by the good parts, it was encouraged.

 

And lo! after years in the wilderness, Doctor Who is cool again.  Chances are good that you, O reader, know a fan, and are perhaps wondering what sort of gift would elicit the Squee of Joy and not the Oh How Very Nice of Meh.  We don’t know that, but you could do worse than to surprise her with one of our specially-selected treats–read on for details!

 

Shot of the TARDIS on a snowy hillside.

(Images mostly from the Doctor Who Image Archive)

 

 

  1. A multi-region DVD player.
    Non-British fans need one, because the cool shit has a distressing tendency to be released much earlier (or even only) in the UK.  The 1996 TV movie–the only onscreen appearance of Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor–might well never be released in the US, because of insanely complicated licensing issues.  If your intended recipient lives in the US, your DVD player will also need to convert PAL (their TV format) to NTSC (our TV format).
    There are loads of DVD players around, and selecting one is beyond the scope of this gift list. I have a Terapin TT-1800, whose technical virtues are all well and good, but whose chief virtue is its extreme cheapness: it was under $40 when I got it, and that was four years ago. (Note that players aren’t sold as region-free; what you’ll need to do is buy one that has a known region-free hack available on the Web. Here, for instance.)

     

  2. A copy of The Airzone Solution 
    Though it looks and sounds like something out of a fever dream–perhaps one borne of eating week-old extra-extra-spicy meat-lover’s pizza while falling asleep on the couch to a Classic Who marathon on PBS–this is a real actual movie that, yes, stars Doctors # 3, 5, 6, and 7.  Stunt casting is the entire point of this movie, so it seems wrong-headed (not to mention petty) to bring up such niceties as plot, production values, etc.  Suffice it to say that it’s an environmental thriller shot with a certain no-budget indie charm–Who fans, in short, ought to feel right at home.
    Six/Peri shippers will enjoy the love scene between Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant; everyone else may want to keep some brain bleach handy.
    A still from the 1985 serial

     

  3. A membership to Gallifrey One.
    It’s hard to oversell G1.  Gally is fifteen pounds of awesome in a five pound bag.  Last year we had, among other delights:
    • a toga party complete with a skit by Kai Owen and Gareth David-Lloyd;
    • a Dalek singing karaoke;
    • a ten-year-old dressed up like Jon Pertwee, not to mention a Cyber-toddler;
    • a wonderful fan-made TARDIS replica available for us to take pictures in and around;
    • episode showings with live commentary from writers and actors
    • live MSTing of classic Who episodes.

    So yeah. It is pretty damn incredible, and I haven’t even gotten into the fun that is drinking with Who writers, actors, and fellow fans.

     

     

  4. A subscription to Big Finish. 
    The adventures have been continuing, for over 10 years now, for Doctors # 5, 6, 7, and 8, in full-cast audio dramas released by British outfit Big Finish.  The original actors are used whenever possible, and the story quality is perhaps uneven, but overall stacks up very well, and the special effects are the best ever devised–the kind in your head.  Warning: Addictive.  Approach with caution.

     

  5. A Fourth Doctor scarf.
    Tom Baker’s Doctor is so iconic that the scarf is all you really need, in a pinch, to impersonate a Time Lord.  You loop it around your neck (very loosely) multiple times, and the key to not tripping over it anyway is to practice moving in it.

     John Simm as the Master, David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, and Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones all face the camera. The latter two have their arms crossed.  Simm is wearing what looks like a tux; Tennant and Agyeman are wearing the outfits they wore for most of season 29: blue striped suit and brown coat for him, jeans and shiny red leather jacket for her.

  6. Officially licensed Tenth Doctor longcoat. Also, officially licensed Martha jacket
    By AbbyShot, who’re also making the Official Browncoat and some other non-licensed-but-still-awesome fan clothing.  The coat has been nitpicked by the Gallifrey Base crew and found to be a few details off, but hey–the pool of people who will notice this is infinitesimal.  Note that a Tenth Doctor coat can double as an emergency Browncoat, in that it is a coat that is brown.  We here at GC are all about the value.

     

     

  7. Sonic screwdriver.  Also, laser screwdriver. (Who’d have sonic?)
    The bare minimum for the well-equipped Who-fan.   More ambitious fans may also want to complete their look with the fob watch (here in plastic, and here in glorious metal (n.b. I have ordered from the latter but not the former)) and possibly the Journal of Impossible Things.

     

     

  8. Adipose plush.
    (n.b. I have not ordered from this company) These things were the must-have item at last year’s Gally, and I can personally say that they are the most adorable plush Who monsters ever released.

     

     

  9. TARDIS playset
    It is hard to convey the… the majesty of this playset, not through words and not through tiny pictures on a computer screen, so you will have to take my word for it.  It is huge, and it is detailed liek woah.  It has a couple of removable panels so the Doctor can crawl around and fix things.  It even comes with a removable coat rack–in case you want to re-enact that part of “Frontios” where Turlough uses it kung fu style!–and a weensy little mallet for the Doctor to bang on the console, and  And it lights up and makes noises!  I have no idea where I’d keep such a thing, if I owned one, but there’s no denying that it was a potent inspirer of drool.

     

     

  10. Spiffy T-shirts
    Glarkware: home of, mostly, shirts I don’t get… plus a few articles of TOTAL WARPED GENIUS that reference pop culture in various sneaky (and doubtless copyright-friendly) ways.

     

     

     

    From Zazzle.com, which has a lot of Who shirts but only a handful of really good designs:

     

    And, finally, I wore this shirt (from shirt.woot) to Comic Con ’09 and it is now John Barrowman approved:

 

 

 

 That’s all for now… Happy Wholidays!

 

Still from the 1996 Doctor Who TV Movie, showing the Eighth Doctor and Grace facing each other, in animated discussion. In the background is a wooden building bedecked with festive Christmas lights.

 

* Imagine a bored little girl who, for whatever reason, finds herself in control of the TV with no parents around.  She flips through the channels and finds nothing but talk shows and soaps, and finally settles on PBS in the vague hopes of maybe finding a science documentary or something… but the local PBS is KTEH (one of the US’ top Who stations, back in the 70s and 80s), so instead there is a deeply weird program with disappearing police boxes and people with British accents running away from rubber monsters.  A lifetime of Sesame Street does not adequately prepare one for this.  And so she shuts off the tube and tiptoes away, unsure of what she’s just seen, but with a renewed appetite for reading some science fiction.