Doctor Who Am I (2022)

Director: Vanessa Yuille, Matthew Jacobs

Running Time: 80 Minutes

Certification: 12

Starring: Matthew Jacobs, Paul McGann, Eric Roberts, Daphne Ashbrook

It's an understatement to call Doctor Who a beloved part of British television and science-fiction. Ever since the first episode premiered on 23rd November 1963, the show followed a two-hearted alien travelling through time and space in a blue phone-box while regenerating into new bodies. After the BBC cancelled the show in 1989, screenwriter Matthew Jacobs wrote a television-film hoping to revive the show and eventually get a new series made.

The self-described mid-level screenwriter came up with the idea of the Doctor losing his memory, to simultaneously have him rediscover who he is and introduce the character to a new audience through Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor. This also included controversial changes such as the character being half-human and kissing his companion, elements which were considered fatal errors at the time.

For the longest time, Jacobs avoided conventions due to fearing fan reactions to what he wrote, yet his filmmaker friend and co-director Vanessa Yuille encourages him to reenter this world. These are where the strongest moments lie, as this man behind once-controversial aspects is embraced by fans who recognize such elements as being part of the show since the 2005 revival, and believe bad Doctor Who is better than having no new episodes.

The documentary offers a look at the fandom made-up of various people from different walks of life, brought together by their love for this long-running show. There's some cute tales within, such as the fan who got various Doctor's signatures tattooed on his arm, yet it's a thin idea which feels stretched out. The numerous instances of fans showing off what they own or have made becomes repetitive, and struggles to sustain even such a short runtime.

One person describes this fandom as a substitute for what religion once offered them, as this belief system unites people to craft a loving community. It's clear how much this means to some as it offers different things, be it making connections, escaping harsh realities, or offering a nostalgic feeling the series once gave them. There's a noticeable distance from Jodie Whittaker's era and the toxic reactions which arose from her casting, leaving the decision to focus on the loving side of fandom to feel slightly untruthful. A shame, as there's notable heart(s) to this documentary.

Doctor Who Am I is available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital Download now