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Terrifying Childhood Memories to Cherish

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

Peering out from behind the sofa was a weekly treat even if I was only five years old. Too terrified to watch yet I didn’t want to miss a second. Dr Who was a favourite in our house when it first hit our television screens back in 1963. Yes really, 1963, hard to believe to some of us oldies.

The day before the first ever episode went out the assassination of JFK had taken place so apparently this was the reason given for running ten minutes late.

The electronic theme tune, now iconic, used to send me scurrying off behind the sofa and I’d spend the next twenty-five minutes trying to watch through my trembling fingers.

The big mystery of all though had to be the Tardis. It never ceased to amaze my young imagination how all these people could go into a telephone box and fly off to another planet.

I loved the Doctor, played by William Hartnell and over the years and after many replacements he remained my favourite.

The changing face of Dr Who

· William Hartnell 1963 – 66

· Patrick Troughton 1966 – 69

· Jon Pertwee 1970 – 74

· Tom Baker 1974 – 81

· Peter Davidson 1982 – 84

· Colin Baker 1984 – 86

· Sylvester McCoy 1987 – 89

· Paul McGann 1996, 2013

· Christopher Eccleston 2005

· David Tennant 2005 – 10

· Matt Smith 2010 – 13

· Peter Capaldi 2014 – 17

· Jodi Whittaker 2018 - present


The Dalek was this aggressive alien who would haunt my nightmares and when the Doctor and his friends would try to overpower them by damaging their ‘eye’ the repetitive metallic voice of ‘exterminate’ would ring through my ears for days to come or even until the following weeks episode.

As if the Daleks weren’t frightening enough, I hadn’t banked on another species far more terrifying: The Cybermen.

I suppose the modern-day Cyber men would be The Borg from Star Trek.

Of course, there were many different species over the years but these two were and remain my favourite of all times.


Of course, merchandising soon followed, and I remember having a collection of baby Daleks which had a ball bearing underneath so I could move them on our lino flooring. This type of flooring might not have been great for walking on with bare feet but for playing with Daleks it was perfect!

Growing up and moving on

As I grew up life got in the way of TV and the Dr Who replacements were just not my English cup of tea! Then along came David Tennant. Suddenly Dr Who became popular in our house again and we thought he made a fantastic Doctor, but I’m biased anyway as I think he’s an all-round brilliant actor.

Then David Tennant was replaced with Matt Smith, it worked perfectly. After Matt came Peter Capaldi, and although I do like him as an actor playing the Doctor didn’t do it for me, so I stopped watching it.

Which brings us up to the present day and the first ever woman Doctor played by Jodie Whittaker. Because we are so heavily into Star Trek and watch several episodes every night, I’ll be honest and admit we haven’t watched anything of Jodi yet but maybe over Christmas.

*Rubbish joke alert*

What did the dalek say to the omelette? EGGSTERMINATE!

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Dec 01, 2020

Shirley, although I wasn't around back in the 60s, I envy you for watching the first Dr. Who episodes as they aired live! Thanks for sharing your personal experience. It makes me want to watch all of the Dr. Who episodes from beginning to end. My family and I watched the Christopher Eccleston season and two of David Tennant's seasons. Like you, I think Tennant is a phenomenal actor. He's my favorite doctor so far. I also liked him in Jessica Jones. He played such a sinister role in the first season of that series. Anyway, I'm glad I found your blog and look forward to reading more!


Michelle Oram
Michelle Oram
Nov 24, 2020

Oh my goodness. That brought back memories. My sister used to terrorize me with Dr. Who when we were kids. Like you, I used to hide behind the couch. I was petrified of Daleks. My sister would run after me saying “I will exterminate you“. LOL It’s a show I have never watched as an adult. Maybe that’s where my deep-rooted dislike of science fiction comes from. LOL Thanks for the morning laugh.


You have detailed your experience so well, that your enthusiasm is conveyed, even to a person such as myself, who is unfamiliar with these characters, and shows. Maybe now is as good a time as any, for me to discover Dr Who.

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