The Doctor would definitely be in County: An interview with Lancs Uni WhoSoc

‘We’re a very friendly and welcoming group of people. You don’t have to be a die-hard fan of the show’

While the total number of societies that are running this year has reduced, there is still a variety of clubs, organizations and groups that the average Lancaster student can join to pass the time, with pubs and clubs shut for the foreseeable future. If quizzes, game nights or science fiction sounds appealing then Lancaster’s very own Doctor Who society could be the solution to any 2021-induced woes.

For the few that don’t know, Doctor Who is a British science fiction show, that has spanned over 58 years (minus a 16 year hiatus) and attracted millions of fans along the way. Therefore it is no surprise that a number of Lancaster students have banded together to form a society that celebrates everything Whovian-related.

Being a student right now is possibly more confusing and chaotic than it has ever been so it is fitting that a number have found solace in a series that has spanned almost six decades. We spoke to WhoSoc to grasp a greater understanding of what goes on in their meetings and why students should join in.

We also asked what college Whosoc think the Doctor would be in if she came to Lancs Uni. They said County, “because she’s very friendly, so would love to be part of the biggest college on campus.”

‘A place for fans of Doctor Who – of all levels and enthusiasms’

We firstly asked what the society actually consisted of and why it was created. Adam Dykes, the society’s president, responded: “We are the Doctor Who Society (often shortened to WhoSoc, especially on social media). We have been a society for the past seven years, as a place for fans of Doctor Who – of all levels and enthusiasms.”

When breaking down the reasoning behind the society’s inception, Adam explained that it was “to get together once a week to appreciate and debate the longest-running science fiction show on TV, and engage in a variety of relaxed socials”, indicating that the activities undertaken don’t have to be Who-centric all of the time, as anyone just looking to partake in a casual social could join to meet new people.

‘We have been able to run almost as normal over lockdown’

When questioned about how the society was functioning in the Covid era, Adam held a fairly optimistic outlook, elaborating that “Fortunately, we have been able to run almost as normal over lockdown. We still manage one event a week (even in Term three last year!), all done over Microsoft Teams as well as other platforms.”

Attempting to shed some light on the kind of activities and socials that WhoSoc were putting on, the President made it clear that there were a myriad of pastimes available to members. “Alongside our beloved episode screenings, we have managed a couple of quizzes (done over Kahoot), episode bingo, online game nights (Among Us, Cards Against Humanity, and and, on one occasion, a couple of online escape rooms! We also managed to organize a live watch-along for the 2021 New Year’s Day special.”

‘Lockdown has even allowed some of our alumni to join in’

With over 13 million people tuning in to watch an episode at the height of the show’s popularity, it is no shock that some members of the fanbase have found their way to Lancaster and continued their Time Lord appreciation at University.

Indeed, the WhoSoc President said that “We currently have just over 30 members, and lockdown has even allowed some our alumni to join in”, demonstrating that even the darkest clouds carry some silver linings as the now online format of WhoSoc’s meetings has allowed even more fans to connect with each other than would have been feasible in a normal year. With the society being able to offer much of what it was already doing in an online capacity while many others are culled by Coronavirus (temporarily or permanently), it seems inevitable that WhoSoc membership will increase this year.

@luwhosoc Instagram

‘Social media is a really important platform’

Being a friendly, open society, filled with people hoping to make connections with others via their favourite British Science fiction show (presumably), it stands to reason that WhoSoc will be looking to grow this year and take in as many members as possible, in spite of the difficult conditions that all university societies find themselves in right now.

When we enquired into how they planned on doing this, Adam stressed that “In these times, social media is a really important platform. We plan to just keep being ourselves through our social events.”

@luwhosoc Instagram

‘Just come along with some level of interest’

The purpose of shedding light on the various societies present in Lancaster in this Society Spotlight series is to give them a platform to communicate why they believe that students should join their society. Societies are possibly at their most valuable right now.

The ethos of WhoSoc’s argument for why people should join them seems to be one of relaxation, openness, making friends, and enjoyment via a shared interest.

WhoSoc President’s justification for the society was that they are “a very friendly and welcoming group of people. You don’t have to be a die-hard fan of the show, just come along with some level of interest, and enjoy our range of laid-back socials and friendly personalities.”

This pandemic that we’re experiencing seems insistent on sticking around far longer than it is welcome; but the Doctor Who Society has not allowed itself to be stifled by it and neither should you. If any of the reasons mentioned for joining sound appealing and make you feel like joining in, then feel free to contact WhoSoc via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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