Taboo Who

The Fan Can investigates fandom's most ridiculed and misunderstood club.



One of the more unusual fan clubs, the Taboo Doctor Local Group (known popularly as TTDWLG) was once affiliated to the DWAS but was controversially excommunicated in 2008. The Newbury-based TTDWLG is now proudly independent, and run by Sophie Nuthurst and Pete Grinstead. The Fan Can had heard some curious stuff about the pair, and so got in touch with them to ask what they were all about.


PETE: It all started, believe it or not, with a viewing of Terror of the Vervoids on DVD, and Sophie's physical response to the titular villains of the piece. Rather than terror, or even incredulity, what she actually experienced was a base arousal whenever the monsters came on screen. It was like an epiphany for her, and a definite turning point in our relationship.


SOPHIE: From then on I made Pete put a pink shower cap and some dock leaves around his head whenever we made love. It really completed us as a couple. We have a lot to thank Pip and Jane Baker for.


PETE: It also got us wondering if there were others guys around engaged in similar activities. But the challenge was how to get people to open up about their Who Taboos.


THE FAN CAN: Which you achieved by forming your own distinctive DW Local Group?


PETE: Precisely. We put the word 'taboo' – which, incidentally, has become a fandom code word for dressing up as DW aliens in a consenting sexual situation – at the heart of our Local Group's name, hoping we might link up with like-minded fans. We were dying to know what floated other people's DW boats. It was Vervoids for us, but it could just as well have been Sensorites or the Pescatons, and perhaps with others it was.


SOPHIE: We placed an advert on Gallifrey Base, and before we knew it a bloke from down the road was attending our first meeting, dressed up as the Archimandrite from The Androids of Tara.


PETE: There was a Voord too at that first meeting, but he was expecting a bit more than just adult discussion over tea and biscuits. It was a bit embarrassing, putting him right. We never saw him again.


THE FAN CAN: How difficult was it to get your group's mission statement across?


SOPHIE: We were treading a fine line from the start, having to stress the adult nature of our meetings, while making it plain we weren't organising orgies or the like. Ours was a meeting ground for social, not sexual, interaction; something that clearly left the Voord nonplussed.


THE FAN CAN: But the former often leads to the latter, doesn't it? If the Voord had stuck with it, he might have got what he was after.


SOPHIE: True, but we didn't want the idea of being on a promise if you attended one of our meetings as something that defined us. We were anxious from the start to avoid misunderstanding, to discourage the sex seekers and also their polar opposites, the sexless oddballs that dress up for no good reason.


PETE: Yeah, it's hard to believe, but plenty of strange people turn up to conventions draped in multi-coloured scarves and alien protuberances without any inclination to use their scarf for bondage or their tendril as a whip. Fortunately our original GB advert, the one with the picture of the Dalek Plunger and the Zombie Gas Mask, was enough to put that lot off. We didn't want the purpose of our meetings to be open to misinterpretation.


THE FAN CAN: But that did happen, didn't it?


SOPHIE: Sadly, and almost inevitably, yes. A filthy rag, our local Daily Mail wannabe, made us out to be perverts and deviants rather than ordinary guys connected by a common interest in DW themed adult role-play. That was a tough time. One of our members, Gerty, was portrayed as a necrophile, just because she fancied long-dead Remembrance of the Daleks pin-up, Dursley McLinden. Quite ridiculous.


PETE: Still, no publicity is bad publicity, and although we were subjected to some degree of hate crime as a consequence of the article, more people than ever before attended our very next meeting.


SOPHIE: TTDWLG has been a spectacular success. We're really proud that people who might have spent a life alone have discovered partners through our group. Did you see the pictures on Facebook of the two Movellans who just got married in Compton Bishop wearing matching silver dreadlock wigs and white body armour? They would never have met in a million years if it hadn't been for us. Their witnesses on the big day were a Toberman and Kaftan, also from our group.


THE FAN CAN: Do you connect with the new series at all?


PETE: Oh yes, especially after Amy and Rory demonstrated their predilection for role-play in last year's Xmas special. That Christmas episode validated what it is we do. We're not a club for pervs: we're a place of assembly for Doctor Who fans who dare to do things differently.


If anyone is interested in attending The Taboo Doctor Who Local Group's monthly meetings, details can be found on Sophie and Pete's TTDWLG website, which you can find yourself by using Google.


Neil Humphries



Taboo Who
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