Capital Gains: Queens of the cosmic timewarp

There is a room at the back of the King's Arms in Soho which frequently plays host to gay social groups from across the capital. To this confined space every fortnight, comes the

Sisterhood of Karn.

It sounds like a lesbian organisation. It's not. For sitting quietly in a corner is a band of nondescript and pale-faced young men. Some of them display a black badge with a pink

triangle, surmounted by an old fashioned police box.

Overheard conversation: 'The film starts with the regeneration scene, because the seventh actor has simply got too old and worn out.'

Pardon? The speaker is a thin, moustachioed fellow wearing a beige summer suit and smoking a cigar. He is Ian Dixon-Potter, the founder of the Sisterhood and an architect by profession. He continues his pseudo-scientific discourse: 'They've never explained how it works and I'm going to for the first time - using a fusion of recessive gene combination and accelerated tissue generation.'

Ian Dixon-Potter is a Dr Who fanatic. He set up the

Sisterhood in January, calling it Strictly No Anoraks, a name which was swiftly changed. The Sisterhood, as one

member puts it, 'is a bunch of telepathic women in a Dr Who adventure entitled The Brain of Morbius. The Sisterhood tries to mess up peoples' lives.' Most simply agree that the name has a certain pretentious resonance.

Dixon-Potter explains the Sisterhood: 'I had met gay Dr Who fans over a number of years, and I often thought it strange that so many of the fans were gay. It occurred to me maybe there was room for a group.

'So I rang up Capital Gay, The Pink Paper and Boyz. I turned up alone, not really knowing what to expect.'

Fifteen others appeared, and now around 30 men and one woman meet every fortnight in the King's Arms to discuss the Doctor.

So what is the link between being gay and liking Dr Who? 'That's a very good question,' says Daniel Northover, whose father 'used to be tour manager of Led Zeppelin'. He pauses to consider. 'Not many people seem to be sure, except that most of the Dr Who fans that I know are

actually gay.'

Phil Melaney, a printer, says: 'You can get very involved in Dr Who and start to talk about being different, alienation and society. And it's the perfect escapism when you're growing up gay - the Doctor can always get away from it all.'

Several people mention that the series has been highly camp, a truth reflected in the tacky sets. Someone says the series had 'quite a few nice men in it', and unlike other science fiction media, is not overtly heterosexual. In addition, the Doctor doesn't appear to judge anyone (not gay, at least).

Dixon-Potter believes that 'gay people are more in touch with their childhood than straight people - they don't have to go through the

processes of marriage, mortgages, kids. However old we are, we don't feel the need to cast off our childhood. We don't feel ashamed to have a Teddy bear. Except instead of a Teddy bear, we have a Dalek.'

Dixon-Potter, whose first Dr Who memory is, aptly, of a Dalek 'coming out of the River Thames' also claims to be the eighth reincarnation of that most eminent of Time Lords. 'I thought it might be fun to muddy the waters a

little, for no better reason than mischief,' he coyly admits.

However, this is no small task, for the video in which he appears as the Doctor (an amateur production currently being filmed by the Sisterhood in the Docklands and on Hampstead Heath) is a four-part epic entitled The Resurrection of the Cybermen.

It has taken three months to write the script and its budget 'is zero, or slightly less, so within those parameters, we've got to put something together'. An editing suite has been secured at Elstree Studios, along with three Cybermen suits. Two members are building a Tardis 'but they're having a little problem with the inter-dimensional engineering'.

The majority of the Sisterhood are involved in the project. They also pursue their interest to other varying degrees - collecting videos, buying old Dr Who magazines, acquiring costumes and sets at auctions (a Cyberman costume, converted from an RAF flying suit, costs pounds 500), taking part in the Gay Pride march and publishing a fanzine, Cottage Under Siege. Dixon-Potter even has 'a few Daleks around the place'. This strength of feeling can be measured in the nostalgia for the older series, and affection reserved for certain actors. There are excited whispers as a middle-aged man wanders in during the evening - he played Davros' chief henchman, Nyder, in Genesis of the Daleks.

There is a vicious side to this nostalgia as well - series producer John Nathan-Turner is vilified by many in the Sisterhood. 'I think he ruined the programme and turned it into a pastiche of itself,' says Dixon-Potter, referring to the introduction of special guests, such as Ken Dodd, Hale and Pace and Nicholas Parsons in the later series. The last

Doctor, Sylvester McCoy 'simply couldn't pack the range of emotions that the Doctor required'.

There is also trepidation about Steven Spielberg buying the rights to the character. 'Fen, the only woman in the group, worries about this. But she believes generally that

science fiction 'can be a feminist Utopia'.

Adnan Andrews, an actor, sums up the general feeling: 'It's rare for a weekend to pass without watching Dr Who. It's a mainstay of my life.' Phil Melaney agrees: 'It really does give you a per-spective on life, in a serious way.' And he means it.

(Photograph omitted)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

    Recruitment Genius: General Processor

    £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

    Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot