I’ve always been a night owl. When I was around 3 or 4, my bedtime might have been 8:30, but there were many nights I’d still be awake when my parents were going to bed after Carson’s monologue. My parents gave me an old AM clock radio with glow-in-the-dark arms that I would tune in to WLS-AM 890 out of Chicago to hear music that was supposed to help me fall asleep. Instead, I would often lie in bed listening to the radio, then get up for a glass of water, lie in bed some more, then get up to have Mom or Dad come in and read to me, when they left the room I’d lie in bed for a while, then get up and have Mom come in and rub my back, then I’d lie in bed for a while, before eventually getting up and Dad would let me snuggle in next to him in his recliner to watch this weird show on PBS called Doctor Who.

I loved Doctor Who as a little kid. The Fourth Doctor, played by the wild-eyed, wild-haired Tom Baker, with this seemingly endless, multi-colored scarf, was the first Doctor I knew. As the fandom says, Baker was “My Doctor.”

Tom Baker – The Fourth Doctor

He was great, but for me, the star of the show, was his robotic dog partner, K-9. I know, I know – he was the equivalent of the child-pandering Ewoks – but I was four, so give me a break. The patch below is from my childhood and I can’t believe I never put it on a jean jacket or something…

During the day, I’d draw K-9 and the Doctor and his famous TARDIS going on adventures through time and space. Sometimes on road trips, I’d dig into the glovebox and pull out a tire pressure gauge and pretend it was the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. I mean, the resemblance was close enough for a 4-year old…

I can remember making that “squee-ir-ee” sound effect like I was analyzing something, then I’d pull the bar with the PSI numbers out of the bottom, and pretend like that was my reading of whatever I was scanning. “Ah, yes, it looks like there are Daleks up ahead!”

I continued to be a fan into the Fifth Doctor’s reign, but by the time he regenerated into the Sixth Doctor, either I’d lost interest or maybe our PBS station wasn’t running it at the same time anymore; I really can’t remember at this point. Either way, I stopped at number Five. To this day I haven’t watched any of the Sixth through the Eighth Doctors’ adventures. I’ve heard some of the storylines from those years are worth seeing and all of the Doctors are good in their own way, so maybe I’ll put in the effort one of these days to see what I missed.

When it was announced that the show would be rebooted again in 2005, enough time had passed – plus I’d found more nerdy friends who cared about Who in the meantime – that I was looking forward to it, but kept my expectations low. I was pleasantly surprised when the show met and exceeded my expectations with almost every episode. The Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, was a great Doctor, so I was sorry to see him go after only one series.

Christopher Eccleston – The Ninth Doctor

But I think we can all agree that the new Who really hit its stride with Doctor Number 10, David Tennant.

David Tennant – The Tenth Doctor

Not every episode of the Tennant tenure was perfect, of course. But there were some all-time bangers in there, like the two-parter Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, The Girl in the Fireplace, and, a personal favorite, Blink.

During the Tennant years, my wife and I had a friend that was teaching in the UK in Felixstowe, a south-eastern coastal town near Ipswich, and she was kind enough to send us all kinds of Who stuff. But some of our favorite UK Who merch were the Time Squad figures.

The Time Squad figures were released in 2009 and feature the Tenth Doctor and his enemies. As you can see, they were short, squat, and, dare I say, cute, much like the Star Wars Galactic Heroes that Playskool was putting out at the time…

Galactic Heroes from Playskool

I think out of all of the figures, the funky Dalek figures are my favorite. I just love how they’re kind of fluid, which goes against they’re rigid, robotic structure on the show.

If you clicked on the photos above to see them up close, you probably noticed that some of my Time Squad figures are in pretty rough shape. We let our kids play with these over the years, so they’re scuffed and worn, and some, like the Daleks, have bigger issues – the Dalek Supreme is missing his eye stalk entirely and the other Dalek’s eye stalk has been Super Glued in place.

One fun feature is found on the Weeping Angle figure. There aren’t two different figures – a normal one and an evil one – but just one figures. You can take off the Angel’s hair and turn her head around to reveal whichever face you’d like. Her hair covers up the back of her head, so you can’t see the opposite face. It’s a really clever way to show the two sides of one of the modern Doctor’s most infamous enemies.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the complete set of Time Squad figures.

We have all of the first wave…

But we’re missing the entire second wave…

From TL to BR: Ood, Clockwork Droid, Sycorax, Pyrovile, Gold Dalek

Though we do have the final wave…

Later, a handful of the figures were re-released as a “Build-A-Figure” collection that came with all the parts to make a figure of The Doctor’s nemesis, The Master (which we also don’t have).

The Time Squad figures didn’t end with the Tenth Doctor. Many were released with the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors, along with Clara, a companion that spanned both Doctor’s timelines. The older figures got some new paint jobs and some other tweaks to the designs, but I have to say, the Doctors and Clara just look weird to me. I don’t have any of these, but there are a few that I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on…

They later released these figures as blind box keychains, which I’m not really a fan of, either.

While the Time Squad figures were never released in the U.S., they’re easy to find on eBay, so it might be worth my time to slowly put the rest of the collection together. Or, start grabbing them for yourself!

Thanks to tardis.fandom.com for info on the Time Squad figures.

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