Since Doctor Who is celebrating his 50th anniversary this weekend, I’m paying tribute to my two favourite doctors.
To the casual observer, the two probably don’t seem to have much in common: one renegade Time Lord from Gallifrey who is in possession of a TARDIS and a sonic screwdriver, and one human being from Earth, armed with a typewriter, black ink and crayons. One science fiction character, and one creator of children’s fiction.
An encounter with either doctor was filled with the promise of humour and adventure. Both doctors championed the idea that an individual, however flawed and strange, could instigate extraordinary things. And both left me thinking Wow! and What if…?
They were ingenious, my doctors. They conjured possibilities of other worlds so subtly or outrageously different to mine that I had to wonder if these were worlds within our world, or parallel to it. And could these worlds be kept alive outside the story if I carefully nurtured their seeds?
It’s only been in recent years that I’ve thought about these connections – as well as more uncanny similarities.
Why, for instance, did Dr Seuss take us to visit and revisit Whoville and the Who’s in several of his stories?
And why did he – plain old Theodor Geisel – flirt with with a series of playful pen names (Rosetta Stone, Theo LeSieg and Theostraphus Seuss) before settling on one with “Dr” in it?
Was he hinting at a more arcane identity, just perhaps?
Then, with the Eleventh Doctor, a new dimension to the similarities emerged. Because it turns out both my doctors revelled in a singular and somewhat marginalised belief that
Bow ties are cool.