I love discussing the ephemeralties of fandom. That’s a major part of my being a blogger. Geekritique is an outlet for my mind when mere coffee break conversation isn’t enough. Before I began my blogging career though, I was an avid reader of other blogs. One in particular became a tool for me, a newsstand for all things Doctor Who. That blog, run by superfan Cameron K. McEwan, is Blogtor Who – an apt title for a blog at the forefront of a growing and incredibly active fan community. In many ways, Cameron’s site inspired what I’ve attempted to accomplish with Geekritique, and I finally had the privelege of meeting him at New York Comic Con 2015. He’s written two books: “Who’s Who of Doctor Who,” and “Unofficial Doctor Who: The Big Book of Lists,” as well as creating the documentary “Who’s Changing: An Adventure in Time with Fans.”
I’m sad to report that Cameron is now stepping down from his no doubt exhausting blog (which he’s run for the past 8 years), but the site will live on in the hands of his protégé. Before he made the announcement, however, he consented to a brief over-email interview, which you’ll find below. Enjoy!
Cameron, your blog is well known in the Doctor Who community as a leading source of reliable news and insight. When did Blogtor Who begin? How has it changed over the years?
Well that’s very kind of you to say, thanks.
I started Blogtor Who in 2008 (May, I think) after I had been doing a blog about TV/film/music for two years (which started as it was a requirement of a uni course I once did). I figured that I was talking about Doctor Who quite a lot on the blog and thought that non-Who fans (unbelievably there are some) might be pissed at constant Doctor Who stuff all the time. So that’s when I decided to make the move.
It’s changed quite a bit, I think. I never used to do reviews. Didn’t see the point. Personally, I think there’s enough opinion out there already, what’s the point of adding another voice out there? But now there’s lots on Blogtor Who! And I get other people involved too to do the reviews, because I don’t have the time to handle them all.
When did you start watching the series? Do you remember the episode?
Oh yes! My earliest memory – and this is quite vivid – is the cliffhanger to Episode 1 of City of Death. Scaroth removing his “human” face to reveal his true one-eyed maniacal monster beneath. So that’s 1979. All those episodes from that year are embedded on my tiny little brain.
I’ve only been a fan for a handful of years, and I can say with confidence that it is a show that means a lot to me. What does the series mean to you, especially considering your exclusive devotion to it?
Oh, I don’t know! I love the fact that it’s different from week to week and has these huge jumps from comedy to drama to action to romance. There’s no other show that does that. Unique.
(Although, I will say, I am actually a bigger Star Wars fan, so my devotion isn’t that exclusive!)
You’ve written a few books as well. Tell us about them.
I was very fortunate to be asked by Race Point Publishing in the US to write a book. Out of the blue they contacted me and asked if I wanted to write The Who’s Who of Doctor Who. AND they would pay me! Which was nice.
I’d never written one before so it was quite a challenge and quite a lonely experience too. You have to become quite disciplined to get into the writing frame of mind every day.
Due to its success we moved straight into the next one, which was my idea this time. And we teamed up with the brilliant artist Andrew Skilliter again, who’s come up with some amazing pieces for both books.
I grabbed a copy of your Big Book of Lists while meeting you a few weeks back at NYCC, and have been enjoying going through it. Were any entries particularly challenging?
Thank you so much! Was lovely meeting you that day. Amazingly, we sold out of both my books there, was a great weekend! Glad you’re enjoying it.
To be honest, this book was a bit of a breeze and a total joy to write. No entry was any more challenging than any other. The more statistic based lists, like audience ratings, do involve a bit more research and fact-checking, but not in any negative way. I feel lucky to have had such a good time on the book.
Over the years you’ve been very closely associated with the industry. Has this afforded you any special opportunities/meet and greets?
Yeah, I’ve been lucky enough to meet the stars and those making the show, which is always fun as everyone is so lovely. Getting set visits and interviews is always wonderful and when people involved in Doctor Who know who you are by name, that feels very special indeed.
Where does Capaldi rank amongst your favorite Doctors?
He’s definitely in my Top 10. I really only ‘got’ his Doctor during THAT speech in The Zygon Inversion. And then he was stunning again in both Face The Raven and Heaven Sent. Maybe No. 6, just behind Hartnell.
If you were to introduce a New Who fan to Classic Who for the first time, where would you start?
Hhmm, good question. Probably The Five Doctors. It’s a neat way of saying, “Here are some of the other guys!” and it’s a lot of fun. One of my favourite eps actually. Robots of Death is pretty perfect and doesn’t outstay its welcome at all, very tight.
The very first episode, An Unearthly Child, is sublime. But maybe just play that episode and leave the following three from that story.
OH! Actually, thinking about it, I’d give them the Mark Gatiss penned drama An Adventure in Space and Time to watch. THAT’S a good start.
I had my 15 minutes of Doctor Who fame a few years back when I posted a few pictures on my Tumblr of a Blu-Ray that came in the mail before the season was through. What has been the biggest standout moment in your blogging career?
Oh yeah, haha. I remember that. Name of the Doctor. Blimey, I’ve had a few to be honest. My very first moment of OOOO came when the site was featured on the website for the Russell T Davies book, A Writer’s Tale. One of RTD’s illustrations, of him sitting at a computer, had been altered to feature Blogtor Who – that was pretty great.
Meeting people like Murray Gold, Matt Smith, David Tennant, Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and loads more have been so good. Could never have imagined that all this would have happened when I started the blog back in my kitchen in Scotland.
But THE highlight was probably getting my first book, The Who’s Who of Doctor Who, published. Still get chills when I see my books in ACTUAL book shops!
Lastly, if you had the option to travel with any previous companion, who would you choose and why?
Ooo, Donna. Without a doubt. Catherine Tate was a companion like no other. I love funny women, I love spending my time with fun people – and she is the most fun and funniest of the companions.
Thank you so much for your time, Cameron. Blogtor Who is a wonderful site, and I hope it only gets better.
My pleasure, thanks so much for asking me!