In which I sing the praises of casual fandom

So Missy is The Master. For those of you who have no idea what I’m rambling on about, Missy is a character in Doctor Who. In fact she’s the latest regeneration of recurring Timelord character, The Master. You know how Peter Capaldi used to be Matt Smith, who used to be David Tennant, who used to be etc. etc. all the way back to William Hartnell. Well The Master is exactly like that, only evil and with different actors.

And the latest incarnation of The Master, is known as Missy, because this time around the character has regenerated with lady parts, and is played by, Green Wing and Bad Education star, Michelle Gomez. However, the gender switch has caused mightily mixed feelings amongst the Doctor Who fandom. This range of views and comments on the Kasterborous site is a good example, but this list is way funnier so read it first.

Now I’m definitely on the side of the pro-Missy people. I love the Master – he/she has always been my favourite Doctor Who baddy. A dalek is all very well, but their dialogue is kind of limited. And Michelle Gomez is universally awesome and entirely suited to the part.  In fact, I’m struggling to think of a TV programme that wouldn’t be improved by Michelle Gomez playing a mad woman somewhere during each episode. If I was in charge of the world (which, rather upsettingly, I am still not), I’d have Michelle Gomez, in character as Missy, presenting Question Time. I don’t think anyone can claim that wouldn’t make the world more fun.

Anyway, my liking for Missy is not the main reason I gathered you here today. The reason I gathered you here today is to point out that even if I hated the idea of a lady-Master (like a StairMaster but with boobies), that wouldn’t matter one little bit. I’m a fan of Doctor Who. I don’t own every existing episode on both VHS and DVD. I don’t quote old scripts as a leisure activity. I don’t spend large chunks (small chunks maybe) of my free time reading fan forums. I just like the TV show. I’m that sort of fan.

And that’s ok. There is, in fandoms off all kinds, a tendency to look down on the casual fan – the ‘I watched the whole series, but I ain’t paying that for the special edition boxed set’ fan, the ‘I’d love to go more often but it’s quite a long way and a season ticket’s nearly a grand’ fan, the ‘No, I didn’t buy the special platinum re-release of the album; I already own the special gold release from six months earlier’ fan. There’s a tendency for fans to try to prove their fannishness (totally a word) by showing their greater knowledge of the trivia of the object of their fandom, and there’s a tendency for fans to think they own the thing they’re fanning over. Well, you don’t. And us casual fans know that. We know that it’s fantastic to find a thing you really really like. It’s even fantastic to find other people that like that thing too. And that’s enough.

Casual fandom is ace. You get all the joy of really liking something, and none of the angst that more serious fans have to deal with when that thing develops in a way that they don’t like. You’re enjoyment isn’t ruined by scripts getting leaked on the internet, because you’re just not quite interested enough to go and read them. If someone tries to chat to you during an episode of one of your programmes you don’t have to kill them (well I say you don’t have to kill them – if they’re a repeat offender and it’s like a series finale or something, then maybe.) Casual fandom- it’s awesome. You should try it.

And here endeth the lesson. Tatty-byes.

Author: Alison May

Writer. Creative writing teacher. Freelance trainer in the voluntary sector. Anything to avoid getting a real job... Aiming to have one of the most eclectic blogs around, because being interested in just one thing suggests a serious breakdown in curiousity.

3 thoughts on “In which I sing the praises of casual fandom”

  1. Yay! I’m a casual fan of a great many things (most of them a leeetle bit geeky) and whenever I have a rant, I have to preface it with ‘I’m not a PROPER fan, just a bit of a fan’. I shall adopt ‘Casual Fan’ now. It’s a much nicer way to say it.
    I love The Master – even when he/she was John Simm. Missy was even better.


    1. I really liked John Simm’s first story. I wasn’t so keen on his 2nd when he was reincarnated, but I loved David Tennant so that compensated more than adequately!

      I try to avoid saying ‘I’m not a proper fan’ – who decides what proper is anyway? 🙂


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