Tuesday, 5 April 2011
D is for Doctor
Or, in my case, The Doctor.
My association with the Doctor began during Tom Baker's tenure. I can recall the first episode of various classic stories - The Seeds of Doom, The Talons of Weng Chiang, Planet of Evil, Meglos - but nothing more, because before the end of the episode I'd be quite literally hiding behind the sofa, the TV would be turned off and I wouldn't be allowed to watch it again for a while.*
I can remember the end of Tom Baker's reign much more clearly and from the Keeper of Traken onwards was a fully paid up member of the Doctor Who fan club. I watched practically every episode from that point on (although I missed a few of the Peter Davison ones due to choir practice, or something equally annoying) and never fell out of love with the programme, even when it was quite clearly rubbish.**
And when Doctor Who was off the telly, I would pick up the occasional New Adventure (from Virgin Publishing) and even went so far as to pitch for the series myself.***
So it was great excitement***** that I greeted the news that Doctor Who would be coming back to our TV screens. On the evening of 26 March 2005, having made sure my seven month-old son was in bed early that night, I sat down to watch 'Rose'.
The Ninth Doctor isn't my favourite****** but Russel T built on what he had established that paved the way for David Tennant and, now, Matt Smith. I have to say I love what Steven Moffat's done with the show and I think Series 6 is the best of the New Who so far, so I can't wait to see what he does with it now, when the new series begins on 23 April!
It was during the Tenth Doctor's tenure that I started writing for the Doctor Who Children's Books range, thanks in part to good timing******* and thanks in a very large part to range editor Leanne Gill. Leanne is something of a superstar amongst commissioning editors - she's one of those people who actively seeks to find new writers and give them a chance. She has her stable of established, reliable writers, but isn't afraid to give others a break to see what they make of the opportunity. Thanks to that first commission from Leanne - which ended up as the Tenth Doctor Decide Your Destiny adventure The Horror of Howling Hill******** - I've since written for the Official Doctor Who Annual 2010, a new chapter book (out early next year) Terrible Lizards (featuring the Eleventh Doctor and friends) and two Star Wars The Clone Wars books. I've met a Dalek********* and visited various schools to talk about my work.
So here's to commissioning editors everywhere.**********
* My kids don't have that liberty. Their dad wants to watch it, so it stays on!
** The character Ace so wasn't. But I liked Sylvester McCoy.
*** As you can tell from a quick read of my CV I wasn't successful, but thereby hangs another interesting tale.****
**** Which will have to wait for another time!
***** Although to begin with I also met the news with no small amount of scepticism.
****** For various reasons, including Christopher Eccleston, the Slitheen and Rose's initial 'gor-blimey!' Laarndaarn accent.
******* Which I how I got my first writing gig in the first place, back in 1992!
******** Strangely I now live in just the sort of place where The Horror of Howling Hill was set (the fictional Wiltshire village of Caernbury).
********* Two, actually.
********** But especially ones who like to dress as Asajj Ventress in their spare time.