WHEN Louis Moorhouse was nine he discovered Doctor Who. But, as he was blind, the only way he could really get to know the Doctor, Daleks and other characters was to play with the toys.

A decade later, Louis is on a mission to create ‘Touch to See’ Doctor Who stories - featuring raised tactile images - so that other blind and partially sighted fans can enjoy the Time Lord’s adventures.

Louis, of Idle, initially set out to raise £15,000 from crowdfunding and, having smashed that in a few weeks, his target is now £25,000. His campaign has been backed by Doctor Who actors - most recently Tom Baker.

“The only way blind/visually impaired fans can see what the weird and wonderful characters from Doctor Who look like is through buying the toys,” says Louis. “But this isn’t always possible, either because there isn’t a toy of a particular character or they’re difficult to get hold of. Touch to See gives you an idea of how the characters look.”

Louis, 19, has teamed up with charity Living Paintings to produce Touch To See books - packs of thermoforms, brightly coloured for people with low vision - featuring all incarnations of The Doctor, and classic villains from each era of the show. The charity hopes actors who have appeared in Doctor Who will voice audio descriptions.

Louis has been blind since he was a baby due to Neuroblastoma, and learned to read with Touch to See books. “Living Paintings had a huge impact; from the first time I found out what Thomas the Tank Engine looked like. Until then I had no idea what a train with a face could possibly mean,” he says. “They opened up a world of books. I went on to do English A-level. I got into Doctor Who in the David Tennant era, I loved the idea that he travelled in time. This character has been around for 60 years, and unites people. That’s why Doctor Who works well in Touch to See.”

Living Paintings, which runs a postal library for blind and partially sighted people, has permission from the BBC to produce three books of Doctor Who adventures - the world’s first tactile and audio books bringing the much-loved characters to life. Louis is overwhelmed by the support for his campaign from the likes of Sylvester McCoy, the seventh Doctor, previous Master Sir Derek Jacobi, Fugitive Doctor Jo Martin and Dalek operator Barnaby Edwards. “I’ve been on Chris Moyles’ radio show, and Matt Lucas and David Walliams follow me on Twitter,” smiles Louis. “If I could sum up my campaign I’d ask a sighted person to close your eyes and imagine you can’t open them ever again. You want to read a book or watch Doctor Who. How are you going to do that? How would you feel if that was taken away? Then you discover Living Paintings books full of characters you’ve imagined. They’ve been on TV, you’ve listened to the audio books, had books read to you, and you never quite understood what they looked like. Touch and See books will let us see, in our own way, the Doctors, Daleks and other aliens, monsters and devices from the show.”

Living Paintings’ free Touch to See books are used by 2,000 adults and children in the UK. The charity relies largely on volunteers, who hand paint every plastic mould. Publishing manager Liz Davies says: “The universe of Doctor Who is an immensely visual extravaganza. Through tactile pictures, atmospheric audio guides, music and sound effects, we’ll bring the spectacle to life, hopefully with a little help from some of the Doctors, their companions and adversaries!”

Chief executive Camilla Oldland adds: “I’ve had the honour of watching Louis grow up with our Touch to See books, it touches my heart to know what a difference our work has made in helping him become the inspirational young man he is today.”

Louis’ cherished collection of Doctor Who figurines and toys includes Daleks and Sonic Screwdrivers.

His favourite Doctors are Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant and he was thrilled to chat to Tom Baker on a recent Zoom call. “I was so nervous, he’s iconic in the Doctor Who universe.

“He’s such a genuine, nice person. It was a pinch yourself moment hearing that voice talking directly to me.”

With speculation mounting on Jodie Whittaker’s replacement, Louis would like to see Jo Martin as the next Doctor: “Her Fugitive Doctor is an interesting incarnation - is she from the Doctor’s past or future? I’d love to see that explored further.”

Louis, who is studying music production at Leeds Beckett University, has Doctor Who to thank for his love of music. “I learned to play the theme tune on my keyboard,” he says.

“I love the TARDIS because I’m a music producer and I like to press buttons. If I was a Doctor Who companion I’d be in there all the time on the controls!”

l Visit livingpaintings.org/doctor-who. On Twitter @LouisMoorhouse @LivingPainting