Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Doctor Who 45th Anniversary – Why Was 1998 Brilliant?

The first Short Trips collection delights with stories like Model Train Set; Pat upsets Dreams of Empire; Peter faces the expletive-deleted Pope in Zeta Major; Bernice seeks The Sword of Forever and goes Where Angels Fear; the Doctor regenerates again in a DWM graphic story – or does he? And Big Finish’s first audio play stars Benny in Oh No It Isn’t! (Paul Cornell’s book rewritten for actors? Fancy). While back in history…

Doctor Who – The Witch Hunters
“Rebecca Nurse, you have been brought here to answer accusations that you are a practitioner in the black art of witchcraft.”
Steve Lyons takes us to Salem Village’s tragedy to put the TARDIS crew, the accused villagers and the reader through the emotional wringer – but the Doctor can’t interfere. I’m in the States, Fall ’98; on one of two days off, I visit the Danvers Memorial.

This is yet another one you’ll have to track down second-hand to read; once again, Billy’s Doctor gets the best from ‘his’ original novels.

Oh, and – this is getting to be a habit – popping back to real time for a moment, at this very minute (and I suspect for the whole of the last day, so it’ll probably still be there when you wake up and read this) the BBC are showing Doctor Who At the Proms on one of their red button channels. It’s much more full version than the one BBC1 showed on New Year’s Day, running at over an hour and a half rather than an hour, and a lot of it’s rather good. Other than the Doctor Who Theme, my favourite’s probably All the Strange, Strange Creatures, myself, though in our household it’ll always be known as ‘Dance of the Macra’. Anyway, on Freeview (it doesn’t seem to be there on Freesat) the appropriate red button channel is 301. Happy promenading!

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Our invoicing systems require wildcards for searches but not the complete word. I just dialled up the National Non Foods Crop Centre by searching under %OOD%CENTRE% and it made me think of you. Still really enjoying your countdown. I *so* should have read The Witch Hunters instead of The City on the Edge of Forever when I reached the end of my Season 1 watching. Ah, maybe next time. Looking forward to your selections during the fag end of the BBC Books line (IMHO).

And isn't it sad that Demons is not much cop? Surely Dr Who ought to be harder to do right and make original than something brand new, but none of its imitators ever come close to matching it. There are some basic misunderstandings happening. For example, if Doctor Who was doing Demons, Philip Glenister's character would be an eccentric old lady. Cast Anne Reid in that part and you automatically have an unmissable TV programme.

Hope you are well. Sorry - this ought to be an email rather than a reply on a blog but it's too late now. PS: I rewatched Androzani episodes 1 and 2 yesterday for the first time in years and it's heartbreakingly good. Really going now. Bye.
Can I just say, much as I like Philip Glenister even with a preposterous accent, Anne Reid as lead in Demons would be a phenomenally great idea. It's the sort of brilliant casting that gave Beryl Reid the Sigourney Weaver part in Earthshock, one of the most inspired Who choices of the '80s.

Which reminds me; I've just cut a disc of the Christmas Doctor Who Confidential, and in it Russell picked the same four 20th Century Cyber-stories I think are much cop, including Earthshock... But now I should shut up, for fear of suggesting on one of my ultra-positive 'years' posts that certain stories may not be up to much (and I may not always be picking BBC Books) ;-)
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