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.


Anonymous said...

I'm also a TBaker era Whoist. In fact, because I'm THAT OLD, the first episode I can consciously remember seeing was the last one of 'Planet of Spiders' where Wurzel Gummidge turned into Tom Baker.

Am also a big Who fan and have even written my share of Who-fic...


C R Ward said...

I have a sonic screwdriver.
I have a TARDIS USB hub attached to my computer that makes real TARDIS noises.
I have a 20 foot long, striped scarf.
I love Dr. Who, especially the Tom Baker years.


Jonathan Green said...


I want! I want!

Shannon Lawrence said...

My memories of Dr. Who are vague, but it's still a fond character for me, because I used to stay up and watch them with my dad. I've avoided the new series, because I was afraid of sullying a good memory, but that may change, as I am hearing good things about it all around.

Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!