Pete: Saturday 30th April
After spending nearly twenty minutes bashing out a detailed and thought provoking critique, detailing my issues with 'Day of the Moon', and posting it on 'Last of the Timeboards', I have to say I was horrified by the responses. Someone calling himself 'BonerBaz' (I'm assuming this alias wasn't thrust upon him by his parents) said he 'didn't get why the Doc went all girly when River planted a smacker on him' and boasted that – true to his nickname – he 'had a hardon just watching'. 'Princess_Lolita' said she 'wouldn't mind a threesome with Matt Smith and Rory the Roman’. 'Sylvester McCock' weighed in with his thoughts on how much he'd like to 'give Amy one' and even went as far to suggest that he was probably the baby's father, which means he's obviously a liar or the kind of moron who confuses real life with television. And 'Douglas' said he was 'well up for a four-in-a-bed with Nixon and the male itinerant of the TARDIS crew', then asked for the ASL of the OP (???). I wish everyone wouldn't resort to nonsensical abbreviations these days. I mean, WTF?
But that's not the point! The very fact that the internet forum (previously the sanctum absolute of intelligent science-fiction discourse) has been reduced to gossip about who's giving one to who (no pun intended) just shows how much The Moff is playing with fire. I'm not saying The Doctor shouldn't have romantic interests. Maybe... Behind closed doors. But this is all too much. It's interfering with the very fabric of the show we love. What are we going to do if River Song becomes a full time cast member? It'll be like Sapphire and fucking Steel in space! The Doctor won't be our best friend anymore, cause he'll be too busy with his girlfriend for Fifa ’98, Playstation and the tin dog (metaphorically, of course). It'd be like if Jeff moved abroad. I'm not sure I could cope.
There was a time when Doctor Who was elitist and for the fans. Now they're marketing it as the sort of thing just anyone could watch. But it means more to me than BonerBaz. I bet he hasn't stopped to question the potential continuity errors, even for just a second.
Jeff: Monday 2nd May
Work was manic. The authors of “Beam Me Up, Dotty!” had come in to do a book signing, and I'd spent the day fighting back crowds of fat Klingons. I'd been given a complimentary copy, the blurb of which I perused once I slumped onto the sofa.
Beam me up, Dotty! Is the story of two Sci-Fi fans: best buds united by their social detachment and love of Star Trek, but divided by their love of the same girl, Dorothy Williams. Will their friendship survive? Will they like the new Star Trek Film? And Who will boldly go where no man has gone before and win the heart of their beloved Dotty?
What utter toss! Still, I could hang onto it. Doms birthday was coming up. I felt geeked out, I needed a healthy dose of a certain renegade Time Lord to put things right.
However, upon opening the case of Return To Devil's End I noticed the video had been replaced with a leaflet, which read “JESUS LIVES! Beware of False Gods.” Instead, I watched that Sherlock DVD that Pete got me for Christmas and it got me thinking. I know there's been a lot of nonsense about how Benedict Cumberbatch was the first choice for the Doctor, or that he's going to be the next Doctor – but I realised, if I had to pick someone to be the Doctor, it would be Benedict.
Now, I'm not saying I want him to be The Doctor! But, when we found out the show was coming back (I still get teary at the thought!) my mind was full of actors that I wanted to play the part. Alan Davies, Bill Nighy, Mark Gatiss, Richard Coyle and of course Paul McGann. But definitely not Paul Daniels. Now I know that none of those choices would have worked, but at the time I had no idea what kind of show would be coming back. But once the show was firmly re-established, and it was announced that David was leaving, I was absolutely stumped. I knew that I didn't want Paterson Joseph to be The Doctor, but other than that I had no idea who should be – and that's not right. In the 70s and 80s, there were always actors who should or could be the next doctor. When I heard that “the guy from hitch hikers guide was going to be “the new Doctor Who” I was really excited. Then I realised that “the guy” in question was not, in fact, the cool, eccentric, charismatic and handsome Ford Prefect, but the big pig. But the point is, in the 80s David Dixon was the guy who could be the Doctor. In the 70s, I always thought that Peter Cushing could have been a great Doctor – a chance to play the part properly, rather than his human “Dr. Who” on the big screen. I loved those movies as a kid and, secretly, I always thought that Cushing would have made a better first Doctor than Harnell, although I know that's sacrilege. Even I find it hard to forgive the lines “I am Dr. Who” and “This is my ship, TARDIS.” But that wasn't Peter's fault, it was the studio. I always hoped he'd be given another crack at the whip at some point.
The very fact that there were always actors who could be The Doctor demonstrates the extent to which Doctor Who was ingrained into British culture. It wasn't just that these actors happened to be Doctor-ish, it was that Doctor Who was such a massive influence on everything that it was absorbed by everyone. If a film, book, cartoon or TV show needed an eccentric hero – or any kind of hero that wasn't a gun-toting macho type, inevitably the writers or producers would say “Well, he needs to be like Doctor Who-ish then!” Because The Doctor is a British treasure, he's like red phone boxes, London cabs and Big Ben – only he'll outlive them all. But in the 2000s, there weren't any Doctorish actors on TV. Because everyone had forgotten about it, it was no longer an important part of culture. Christopher Eccleston saved the show and reminded us that, for all the Twin Dilemas and Dragonfires there was a Genesis of the Daleks. David Tennant became a Tom Baker for the 21st century, cementing the Doctor once more as a natural treasure. But at the same time, those actors and the era of their episodes were very contemporary. It was an old idea getting a makeover and fitting (spectacularly) in with the new kids. In 2005, Doctor Who was a transit van trying to park in a taxi lane, but miraculously it fit perfectly, and then all the Taxi drivers started driving transit vans. And then, before you could say “Geronimo!” Matt Smith exploded onto our screens and Doctor Who wasn't apologising for being Doctor Who anymore – because now it's the greatest show on television. (Well, obviously it's always been the greatest show on television, but now everybody else agrees.) And now, I'm looking at Benedict Cumberbatch and saying “This guy could be The Doctor.” Whether or not he ever plays The Doctor is irrelevant – the fact that I, and probably many other people, think that he could me can mean only one thing: DOCTOR WHO IS BACK!
Jeff: Friday 6th May
Two emails from Dad in my inbox. The subject of the first was “IMPORTANT – DO NOT IGNORE”, but confusingly the subject of the second was “IMPORTANT – IGNORE PREVIOS E-MAIL”. I opened the second one.
Apologies for my previous e-mail. The intended recipients were my former work colleagues, however, there was clearly an error on the part of my Personal Computer and the letter in question was eroniously posted to everybody in my address book. Although it may have been lacking in the relevance department, (That is, relevance to you.) I imagine you will have found it entertaining and been able to emphasise none the less.
Sorry for the inconvenience, but as we used to say in my days in the Armed Forces: You don't regret your mistakes, you learn from them.
Apart from the ones that kill you.
Out of curiosity I just had to read the first one...
Now, as many of you know I returned to the staff room yesterday (8/4/11) having not set foot upon the premises after the management and myself came to the agreement that I would like to leave in back in 2008. June 2008. Thursday if I'm not mistaken. The sky was unusually Grey for summer, but there was a humid feel to the air.
The reason for my visit – apart from to check up on you all! - was to reclaim an item of my own personal property that had somehow been overlooked by certain members of staff on the day I left. The item in question was a mug. Plain white, five inches high, with the manufacturers name: “Olympus Mugs” printed on its base. Although my description here his hardly needed as I am sure that many of you are more than well acquainted with it by now!!
Yes, I'm sure the few honest and decent members of staff among you will be shocked to hear that in my absence, my own personal mug had BEEN USED.
Now, share and share alike is one thing. I humbly remember the occasion on which I borrowed Ian Chesterfields ruler to make sure that the shopping centre's wheelchair ramp was in accordance with the latest Health and Safety booklet. (Which reminds me – the council will be issuing a new booklet come the end of this month. Now, obviously I'll be coming in to guide you through these, but please feel free to make a start on it without me: There's no harm in double checking.) But on this occasion I had the written consent of Mr. Chesterfield and I reciprocated by buying him a half of bitter.
Not only had my mug been used without permission, it had also not been washed! There were numerous stains tarnishing the previously pearly white interior of the mug. I struggle to think what drives a society to use a mug for one of these “instant-cup-of-soups” and then coffee WITHOUT washing it in between. What's more, there was a used teabag balanced upon the rim, causing residue from said bag to run down the exterior of the mug, thus staining the outside too.
I'm not pointing fingers, but I shall be launching a full investigation.
Your Former Head of Security,
Mr. R. Slater.
Pete: Saturday 7th May
Come on, ‘Curse of the Black Spot’, we need a romp! A good, old-fashioned, paradox free romp through time and space with silly hats, pirates and jelly babies. Ever since The Doctor got shot in ‘The Impossible Astronaut’, I’ve been constantly on edge. It’s like that feeling you get when a beloved relative’s in hospital, and you just can’t relax. But worse! I thought I was getting better. I didn’t think the continued well-being of The Doctor was quite so inextricably linked to my own nowadays. But it suddenly seems like I haven’t come very far at all. How could you do this to us, Moff? Over the last few weeks, me and Jeff have had the inevitable ‘beginning of the end’ conversation more times than I can remember (well, three). I try to be rational. I try to argue that everything’s okay. But, deep down, I don’t know if I believe it. How else could I explain the panic attacks? The cravings? The morning sickness? I’m pretty sure I’m not pregnant, although that can happen to men, because I read it in The Sun, and there was that Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary. Nevertheless, I haven’t had sex in 22 years, and that’s usually a bit of a stumbling block for people who are trying to conceive.
These are samples from the forthcoming sequel to Life Begins at 40, which is currently available now from Hirst Publishing.
You can also check out the Lancashire Writing hub's review of LB@40 here