Tag Archives: Doctor Who

Harvest of Time

1 Mar

“The Harvest of Time” by Alastair Reynolds is an original Doctor Who novel featuring the Third Doctor (my favourite), the original Master (Roger Delgado incarnation) and the folks at UNIT.

There are mysterious happenings at sea and UNIT is drawn in.  But as UNIT is drawn further into the morass, someone is trying to unpick The Master from the fabric of time.  Soon, it will be as it he never existed…

This was a great read that took me right back to my childhood Doctor Who watching. The characters were kept perfectly inline with the actors who played those roles.

There was so much of the Master that I was nearly delirious with joy.  Roger Delgado will ALWAYS be my favourite Master.  None of the others even come close.

The Master is pretty much the star of the book on many levels, so I really can’t say too much about the book without giving away the plot.  Suffice to say Alastair Reynolds has a lot of fun with the Master.

Would recommend “Harvest of Time” to all Doctor Who fans, new Who and old.

Eleven Doctors, Eleven Stories

17 Aug

“Eleven Doctors, Eleven Stories” originally started life as eleven separate ebook novellas, which were, thankfully, gathered together into one paperback volume.  The book is yet another souvenir for the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who in 2013.

“Eleven Doctors, Eleven Stories” is a real treat for Doctor Who fans.  As it says on the cover there are eleven stories, one for each incarnation of the Doctor.

Being an anthology, the quality is a little up and down.  There are three that I enjoyed more than the others.

‘The Third Doctor: The Spear of Destiny’, by Marcus Sedwick, sees the third Doctor and Jo Grant heading back to the proto-Norse period for an encounter with Odin and others.

‘The Eighth Doctor: Spore’, by Alex Scarrow is set in a small town in Nevada in the USA.  The Doctor swinging his UNIT credentials around and acquiring a temporary companion.

But my favourite, the one on which my total enjoyment of the book pivots, is ‘The Tenth Doctor: The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage’, by Derek Landy.  The Doctor and Martha come across an alien who has created a world from the imaginations of others, mostly drawing on books they have read.  When the alien battens onto Martha’s reading memories, the story turns hysterically funny.

There is something in “Eleven Doctors, Eleven Stories” for every Doctor Who fan, and if you’re going to buy a few books as mementos of the anniversary, you could do a lot worse than buying this one.

Doctor Who: Forever Autumn

11 Mar

Having lost contact with the world of Doctor Who, I have been familiarizing myself with the later Doctors via both dvds and books. I have to admit the Tenth Doctor is probably my favourite, and “Forever Autumn”, by Mark Morris, is my favourite Doctor Who novel so far.

Set in a small New England town at Halloween, the Doctor and Martha have to battle aliens who have been stranded there, and need fear, pain, and horror to refuel their ship.

I have never read a book that had me swinging from curl-up-in-a-ball-and-whimper horror to gut busting laughter before.

“Forever Autumn” is bursting with pop culture references, but all of them suit the mood and the situation, so they don’t grate like they often can do. It doesn’t come across as a let’s see how many references we can cram in scenario.

The ending is not something you typically see in Doctor Who novels, but somehow perfectly suits the character of the Tenth Doctor.

“Forever Autumn” is a great read for any Doctor Who fan, and for anyone, like myself, who is coming back to the fold after many years away.

Doctor Who – The Daemons

11 Aug

Seeing as I was forced by illness to spend yesterday inside, I figured it was a good time to get stuck into the massive pile of dvds that I have accumulated.  I decided to watch the 1971 Dr Who serial “The Daemons”.  This has been one of my favourites ever since I first saw it, and I hadn’t seen it for at least 20 years.

I had forgotten just how damn good the story line of this one was. At Devil’s End the local white witch protests the opening of an apparent Bronze Age barrow claiming it will release the devil, all hell breaks loose and, as usual, the Master is behind it.

One thing that struck me was just how much research had gone into the story.  The story borrows much from English pagan tradition, Gardinerarian Wicca, and Aleister Crowley’s particular practices.  It is married well together and makes for very smooth, very polished, utterly delightful viewing.

Jon Pertwee’s Doctor has always been my favourite.  An elegant, sarcastic dandy whose relationship with Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart was one of the cornerstones of that era.  Nicholas Courtney’s Brigadier was the perfect military man, and how Nicholas Courtney could deliver some of his lines with a straight face was beyond me.  Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Chap with the wings there, five rounds rapid.

Roger Delgado excelled as the Master in the episode.  The Master is probably the pivotal role in The Daemons.  Everything hinges on him.  Roger Delgado did not disappoint.  His Master will always be THE Master as far as I am concerned.  No-one quite did controlled menace like Roger Delgado, and his laugh was second only to the great Vincent Price in the creepy chill factor department.

I had forgotten just how damn good the script for The Daemons was.  Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Do you know what you are doing?  The Doctor: My dear chap, I can’t wait to find out.

My two favourite exchanges take place at the end.

The first one is when the Master has tried to escape in the Doctor’s car, Bessie, that has been fitted, unbeknownst to the Master and Sgt Benton, with a remote control device, so when the Master tries to drive off, Bessie brings him back.  Benton (open mouthed): How on earth did you do that? The Doctor: Elemental, my dear Benton.

The second one is the closing exchange of the series.  Miss Hawthorne, the white witch, has dragged Benton off to dance around the maypole, and Jo Grant has dragged the Doctor.  Captain Yates: Fancy a dance, Brigadier? Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: That’s kind of you, Yates.  Rather have a pint.

The only thing I felt let The Daemons down was the alien, Azal, that people believed was the devil imploding when it couldn’t comprehend Jo Grant trying to sacrifice her life to save the Doctor.  Anything that old and that intelligent would surely understand the concept of self-sacrifice.

However, that small niggle really didn’t detract from the fun time I had rewatching it.  If you can get the Daemons on dvd or find it online, then I suggest watching it.  If you only know the recent doctors, going back and discovering the early ones will be a pleasure for you.

Doctor Who – The Crimson Horror

5 May

I want to get one thing perfectly clear before I start.  I hadn’t been a Dr Who fan since the Jon Pertwee years when I was very young.  I hadn’t liked Tom Baker’s Doctor, then had nosed around Peter Davison’s version, and been mildly interested in Colin Baker’s.  The modern reboot hadn’t registered on my radar at all.  Until last night.

I discovered that the episode “The Crimson Horror” was written by Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss.  As a devout admirer of that man’s twisted mind, I felt that the episode would be worth watching.  It was.

I’m trying to write about it without spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t yet been fortunate to see it.  Try to imagining a Doctor Who episode collaborated on by Jules Verne, H P Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and you get “The Crimson Horror” – more or less.

It was weird.  It was dark. It was totally enchanting.  And we didn’t get to see the Doctor until it was almost half way through.  When I was a kid the Doctor tended to be front and centre from the opening credits.  This, oh this was so very, very different.

I’m going to have to spoil a tiny bit.  If you don’t want to know, look away now!  Thank you.  Right, everyone else huddle round.  Matt Smith does a brilliant impersonation of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Frankenstein’s monster.  Those who, like myself, weren’t fortunate enough to see him on stage, watch the Sherlock episode “A Scandal in Belgravia”.  Matt Smith lurches up a corridor EXACTLY as Benedict lurched around Sherlock’s bedroom.

Speaking of Matt Smith, the Doctor has well and truly changed from the early days.  He’s running around, admiring the female form and smooching women!  When did the Doctor discover sex?  He was always such an asexual being.

I’m quite taken with Matt Smith’s Doctor.  He has all the eccentricity that I loved about Jon Pertwee’s Doctor, combined with the hyperactive energy of Tigger on anabolic steroids!

The last thing I expect from Doctor Who is to fall off my chair laughing.  But Mark Gatiss managed to do that to me last night.  There is a small boy giving directions.  I thought “He sounds like a GPS”.  Then the boy’s name was given as Thomas Thomas.  Tom Tom being a best selling brand of GPS units.  That was the point I landed on the floor in an untidy heap laughing hysterically.

Dame Diana Rigg turned in a wonderful performance as the villain.  She was such a joy to watch.

Mark Gatiss’ wonderful script has catapulted me straight back into Dr Who fandom.  Mr Gatiss is a Dr Who pusher…enabling my addiction once again.

%d bloggers like this: