I was a teenaged in the northeast US. We lived in the middle of nowhere - they put this housing development in the pine woods near a Boy Scout Camp, and there was nothing nearby except some old brick apartment buildings, loads of trees, and a graveyard from the 1700’s. No swimming pool but I could hike a couple miles to a pond and swim there; they’d set it up with some sand for a beach, so sometimes in summer we’d hang out. I spent a lot of time in the graveyard and the woods though because they were nearest, there was literally no place else for miles, and I didn’t have a car. The graves were gorgeous, all hand-carved and weathered.
But when I couldn’t go out - it was too late, or raining, or something - I’d stay home and read or watch TV and escape that way. We only had 4 or 5 channels on TV, because we didn’t get cable (cable was for rich people, in the 80’s and 90’s.) Most TV’s still didn’t have remote controls. We had a spare black and white TV too, from the 60’s or 70’s, that still worked perfectly well so we didn’t want to get rid of it.
Anyways I was a big old sci-fi nerd back when this was a really bad thing, before the internet existed. Girl nerd in jeans and sweaters and no make-up, the first girl in the strategic games club where we played Risk and D&D. With broken glasses, if you can believe it, really cliche, but we couldn’t afford to get them fixed so I used scotch tape. I watched Star Trek: Next Generation, and stayed up late to watch Forever Knight back when this was a big risky thing for a network to show on TV. Knight Rider and Airwolf, Quantum Leap and Alien Nation.
And I watched PBS. Mystery, and Masterpiece Theater - PBS got away with a lot of stuff back then that a regular network would never have managed. I saw a naked guy, full frontal, in a British movie and couldn’t believe it was on TV. This was a big deal (I feel so old saying this.) I was afraid PBS would get in trouble, but PBS was an Art channel and everything is classy with a British accent, so they likely didn’t get fined. Not like anyone would have reported them anyways.
So I’m watching all this stuff, very indiscriminately consuming everything out there, and sometimes PBS had Doctor Who. Mostly then the 4th Doctor was playing. So I caught a few episodes here and there, and wasn’t quite sure what was going on or anything, but it was fun, so whenever it was on (and there wasn’t much of a real set schedule) I’d watch it.
The effects were terrible, like most stuff back then, but it was like watching a play - you ignore the set dressing because the story and the acting are wonderful. The Daleks never scared me. None of it ever scared me - it was a wonderful crazy sci-fi box of mixed up stuff, with monsters and robots and that wheezing TARDIS. I loved that the Doctor was this hodgepodge, this mad uncle, a magician. And that everything about him was broken down and only worked half-right but he still somehow always won because he could put all the bits together.
And then it went away and I grew up, and I got my own house and my own TV with a remote and everything, and the new Doctor Who came on. I watched the first episodes and it was so different - but that was ok, because it was always different, every Doctor is different. Every Doctor is a new thing, a new time and place, all tied to the same grand long story.