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)

There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
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: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

    £7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

    Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

    Day In a Page

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'