Stephen Fry talks Who!

The latest issue of SFX celebrates 45 years of Doctor Who, and to help us mark the Time Lord's sapphire anniversary (yes, we had to look that up) we've asked everyone from Russell T Davies to Clive Barker, Steven Moffat to Mark Gatiss and Paul Cornell to share their memories of the show.

We're also privileged to have the thoughts of Stephen Fry, rumpled polymath and Greatest Living Englishman (check out his journey across the States in Stephen Fry's America, Sunday nights on BBC 1 - and head on over to his website to download his diverting podgrams). We thought we'd share his monochrome era memories here with you now...

When I was 7 my parents moved house. Well, we all moved house as a family, I don’t mean my parents left me behind, though who would blame them if they had?

We owned, in those days, a television that disguised itself as a mahogany drinks cabinet, in the way they did – and they were never called just televisions, by the way, they were television sets.

This one’s screen was, of course, black and white, it boasted one channel, the BBC (what we’d now call BBC1) and had a knurled volume knob in dark brown Bakelite. The set smelled the way dust always did when it was cooked on Mullard valves as they warmed up. It slid about on castors and had doors that closed with a satisfactory snick as a ball bearing rolled into its slots to secure it.

The week before we moved, the BBC started a new drama, starring William Hartnell. An old man, whose name appeared to be Grandfather or the Doctor, had a police phone box of the kind we saw in the street all the time in those days. It turned out to be a magical and unimaginably wonderful time machine.

My brother and I watched this drama in complete amazement. The first ever episode of Doctor Who. I had never been so excited in all my life. A whole week to wait to watch the next instalment. Never have seven days crawled so slowly by, for all that they involved a complicated house move from Buckinghamshire to Norfolk.

A week later, in that new house, my brother and I turned on the good old television set in its new sitting room, ready to watch Episode 2. The TV had been damaged in transit and was never to work again. We missed that episode and nothing that has transpired in my life since has ever, or could ever, make up for that terrible, terrible disappointment.

There is an empty space inside me that can never be filled. It is amazing neither of us were turned into psychopathic serial killers from that moment.