I have to admit that I am a big fan of the British television series Dr. Who. For most of my life I have been watching a succession of “doctors” battle a selection of British actors in rubber masks through space or time. The series, which is now 50 years old, obviously has staying power. Now I am not a “Whovian,” the name given to hardcore fans, many of who dress up as their favourite characters and attend events. Frankly, I think those folks have taken the idea of liking something to a bit of an extreme. I do, whoever, have a Dr. Who poster in my bedroom, but that’s as far as it goes. Really, you have to believe me on this.
Even so, my heart did skip a beat when I discovered that the Royal Mail is bringing out a bunch of stamps to honour this iconic television series; in fact, 11 first-class domestic stamps featuring the 11 actors who have portrayed the doctor, and a miniature sheet with a further five stamps: one showing the TARDIS, and the four depicting some of the alien characters from the series (a Dalek, an Ood, a Weeping Angel, and a Cyberman). It makes sense because every fan has a favourite doctor, although a couple of his frequent enemies do not appear to have made the cut. In case you have never heard of Dr. Who, it is long-standing science-fiction series about an alien “Time Lord.” Leading an exciting life, he travels through space and time, usually going from one crisis to another, somehow saving a civilization or entire planet in each storyline.
He is particularly fond of Earth and many of his adventures seem to involve this planet. Being an alien gives the writers some advantages: Dr. Who has a spare heart and periodically dies and is regenerated with a new face, making it easy to change actors. Throughout this he battles a number of alien adversaries or unknown threats. During his adventures, he is usually accompanied by a companion, in most cases an attractive young woman who joins the titular hero for a few adventures, and then usually settles down to a normal life. A regrettable part of this is that the companions are not getting any stamps at all. But that does make sense; there have been 11 doctors, but there have been more than 35 companions, and everyone has a favourite. While some companions have been strong characters, others seem to have had the primary purpose of screaming and asking questions to help the viewer get some story background.
A complete set, with all the doctors, all the companions, recurring characters, and most of the regular enemies would have made even last year’s staggering Canadian Football League / Grey Cup anniversary issue look small. However, my interest in this set, and the CFL stamps just mentioned, puts me in a quandary. Here I am, someone who has always wondered why it was necessary to issue a whole whack of commemorative stamps, all excited about two massive programs, just because I like the subject. I guess in stamps, as in all other things, opinions can be varied and personal. The stamps are coming out in March, and I’m really hoping that some of my correspondents from across the pond see fit to use a few of them in their mail to me. Chances are most won’t, since they are usually smart enough to purchase older stamps, often at below face value in bulk. I may have to wait a few years.