Sunday 26 November 2023

WHO REVIEW: 60th Anniversary Special 1 - "The Star Beast"

After thirteen months, Doctor Who is back on our screens, and after almost fourteen years, Russell T. Davies has delivered a Doctor Who episode starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate. It's an odd way to launch a new era of the programme, one intended to bring in a whole new audience through the BBC and Bad Wolf's deal with Disney, by leaning so heavily on the programme's past. Yet it's also a canny move, calling back to one of Doctor Who's most popular periods, drawing back older viewers who have drifted away during the interim.

Since his final episode as the lead, The End of Time – Part Two on New Year's Day 2010, Tennant has returned before, opposite his successor Matt Smith for the fiftieth anniversary special The Day of the Doctor. That was quite a different thing though; a Doctor returning as a guest alongside the current star is a favourite way to celebrate a milestone. Ten years on, this is something new: a former lead stepping back in to star in the show once again, with the Doctor regenerating back into an old form.

It's a backward-looking step for the normally forward-moving series, and one that has previously been dismissed. (Many people called for perennial favourite Tom Baker to return to the role to revamp the series in years past, and the programme's original creator Sydney Newman even pushed for Patrick Troughton to make a one-season comeback when consulted on the series' future in the 1980s.) It's something they can only really get away with on this one occasion, for a short run marking the sixtieth anniversary.

Fortunately, Davies is too canny a writer to simply wring this for nostalgia without constructing an absorbing storyline to justify it. The Star Beast is an exciting, funny, and moving tale in itself, but also the beginning of a short arc that explores the mystery surrounding the return of the Doctor's old face and his fated reunion with Donna Noble.

Tennant, still a popular and familiar face on our screens thanks to hits such as Good Omens, Around the World in 80 Days and Staged, strides back in and takes over as the Doctor as if he'd never been away. Based on this first episode, the new Fourteenth Doctor is little different to the Tenth, displaying the same quirks and style, save for his sudden emotional honesty. He even openly admits to loving several people, something that had been anathema to him in his earlier life. Otherwise, there's little to set the two incarnations apart so far, although we have another two specials to further explore the character.

Just as impressive is Catherine Tate as Donna, always the most real and believable of the Doctor's companions, now older and happier, but always trying to shake off a sense of profound loss. Tate's performance is moving and hilarious by turns, reminding us just how far her character has come since her first appearance in the 2006 Christmas special The Runaway Bride. Her original exit, in the otherwise overblown fourth season finale Journey's End in 2008, was heartbreaking. Naturally, it can't be expected that the audience will be familiar with or remember the story, which saw Donna become, briefly, part-Time Lord, absorbing some of the Doctor's personality and knowledge. With this threatening to burn out her mind, the Doctor was forced to wipe her memory of him, erasing everything she had learned and experienced over her travels. The episode recaps this, first rather clumsily in an in-character introduction by Tennant and Tate, and later more naturally through the story itself.

The End of Time had rather unsatisfyingly skirted the issue when it included Donna in its story. The Star Beast faces it head on, with the threat that Donna will join the dots and match up this strange man and the extraterrestrial goings-on with her suppressed memories never far away. Her death as her mind gives out seems inevitable towards the episode's climax, even though we know she's going to be in the next two. It's a testament to the writing and performances that this is sold so well.

Donna's family return as well, with the wonderful Jacqueline King (55 Degrees North, Adult Material) as Donna's mother Sylvia, and Karl Collins (The Bill, Hollyoaks) as her husband Shaun Temple, finally getting some actual character after his brief appearance in The End of Time. Most important, though, is the introduction of a new member of the family, fifteen-year-old Rose Noble, played by twenty-year-old up-and-comer Yasmin Finney (Heartstopper). Finney gives a warm, likeable and sympathetic performance as Rose, who is, unknowingly, named after the Doctor's earlier companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper). Both Finney and Rose are transgender, and this is a major focus of the story. It would be enough for the programme to feature a trans character and explore her experiences as an end in itself. In this case, though, Davies has crafted a story where Rose's gender identity is crucial to the resolution of the plot. It culminates in one of the most unsubtle yet powerfully affirming moments in the series' history. After Chris Chibnall's controversial era as showrunner, there were really fans who thought that Davies would tone down the “wokeness” of the series. As if Davies would ever knowingly make something less woke.

The same people who have a problem with a prominent trans character in their favourite show will likely have similar issues with the new character Shirley Ann Bingham, played by Ruth Madeley (Years and Years, The Watch, Then Barbara Met Alan). A wheelchair user, Shirley is one of the most competent and cool characters in the episode, being the heavily-armed new UNIT scientific advisor. (The Doctor claims to have been the first such advisor. I think Liz Shaw may have something to say about that.)

Perhaps the most surprising move on Davies's part is his decision to adapt a 1980 comic strip story into the opening special. Doctor Who and the Star Beast, by Pat Mills and Dave Gibbons, ran over several issues of Doctor Who Weekly (the predecessor to today's Doctor Who Magazine). A beloved story for fans, the strip forms the basis for the new episode, albeit with some quite significant changes, not least the new central characters. The eponymous Star Beast is the Meep, a cute, cuddly and seemingly harmless creature from the stars, here voiced with some brilliance by Miriam Margolyes (Blackadder, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Monkey). It's surely no spoiler to reveal that the Meep is more sinister than it first appears, and Margolyes gives a fabulously entertaining performance. The visual and practical effects that bring the Meep to the screen are some of the best ever seen on the programme (the Disney-backed increased budget is readily apparent throughout), and its enemies, the insectoid Wrarth Warriors, could have stepped straight from the pages of that original comic. Still, the sheer weirdness of seeing Beep the Meep as a primetime drama villain is hard to get over.

The plot is fairly slim, and Davies does occasionally fall victim to some of his perennial dialogue issues, with some unnatural exposition and a reliance on meaningless technobabble to stand for intelligence. It is, however, thoroughly entertaining, coming to a climactic resolution that not only relies on Rose's identity and involvement, but also satisfyingly resolves Donna's story, which is no mean feat. Two further specials will explore the Doctor's mysterious return to his old appearance, leading into the introduction of the eagerly anticipated Fifteenth Doctor, played by Ncuti Gatwa.

Links and References: They abound. Lovely to see young Fudge, a main character in the original strip. The Doctor refers to resonating concrete, a brief obsession he held in The Doctor Dances. The barrister's wig he keeps in his pocket must be a nod to the similar scene in the Tom Baker serial The Stones of Blood.

Placement: It seems to be very soon after the Doctor's regeneration in The Power of the Doctor, allowing for, if you include them, the DWM comic story Liberation of the Daleks and the Children in Need skit Desination: Skaro, both of which apparently took place across just over an hour.

This isn't the first time Doctor Who and the Star Beast has been adapted to another medium. The 2019 Big Finish audio version was a pretty straight adaptation which sat nicely with the original. Where this episode leaves those versions, and the various other appearances of Beep the Meep in comics and audios, is a mystery.

And one more thing: Davies really missed a trick by not keeping the Thirteenth Doctor's TARDIS interior for this episode, and have it regenerate into the new one after Donna destroyed it with her unlucky spillage.

Forty years of the Discworld

Years ending in a three really are among the busiest for notable anniversaries of my favourite series, with November being the busiest month. 23rd November 2023 is Doctor Who's 60th anniversary, and the very next day it's the Discworld's 40th! Unfortunately, busy life got in the way so I am posting this on the 26th rather than the 24th, but what's a day or two among cosmic turtles?

The Colour of Magic was published on 24th November 1983, the first novel in the late, great Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, which would eventually run to forty-one books, not including the various tie-ins, short stories, Science of Discworld books, expansive map books and assorted ephemera.

Sadly, Pratchett made an appointment with Death in 2015, after just about finishing the final book, The Shepherd's Crown. He made it known that he didn't truly consider it finished, but he was no longer able to continue editing, and the book was published posthumously a few months after his death. It hardly seems like it can be over eight years since we lost him, but it is somehow true.

The Discworld books have brought me so much joy over the years. They weren't the first of Pratchett's books I read, but there's a reason he so rarely strayed beyond that funny little world once he'd created it. Simply, it's a perfect setting to explore the absurdity and beauty of human life. The Colour of Magic was a pretty straightforward sword-and-sorcery parody, but as the series went on, Pratchett used the Discworld, and particularly its first city, Ankh-Morpork, to take the real world to account. His books were, very soon, works of literary genius, yet they never for one moment stopped being a silly fantasy parody. There was always a touch of cynicism to the books, but by end, they'd become angrier, as Pratchett stopped pulling his punches - but they never stopped being hilarious.

There follows my tenuous top ten Discworld books, which could very well look different if you asked me again next week. It's not a reading order, but it is, perhaps, a good way to start. Or, if you're already a fan and have been reading them for years, a good thing to argue with.

10) Mort (1987)

The fourth novel, and the first one to really reach the Discworld's full potential. Death, one of my favourite characters in fiction, a looming, cowled skeleton who comes to claim your soul at the moment after your last moment, is also a rather lovely gent. Often he'd rather be doing anything other than his job. After some fun cameos in the first three books (he'd actually appear in all but two of the novels), Mort is the first to focus on Death and his rather lonely existence. 

His bewildered young apprentice, Mort, is a sweet and sympathetic character, even as he beaks reality itself trying to do what he thinks is the right thing. The book also gives us a proper introduction to Death's adoptive daughter, Ysabel, a rather sinister figure in her first brief appearance in Magic but a more loveable one here. Then there's Albert, Death's servant, master of frying and secretly... well, secretly.

9) A Hat Full of Sky (2004)

In the latter years of the series, the stream of novels that focused on the witches branched into a sub-series of Young Adult books starring up-and-coming witch Tiffany Aching. This is her second appearance, aged eleven, and is a sequel to her first book The Wee Free Men and the short story "The Sea and Little Fishes" from the fantasy collection Legends. 

In spite of being ostensibly for younger readers, the Tiffany books are among the most intelligent and questioning of Prachett's books (indeed, his kids' books have never talked down to their audience and there's little between them and his adult-aimed works). Tiffany has to deal with learning how to be a witch from much, much older witches who all know best and disagree vehemently with each other, as well as being the Big Wee Hag of the Nac Mac Feegle, Pratchett's race of little people who are both a parody of woad-covered Celtic tribesmen and the Smurfs. 

All the Tiffany books are wonderful, but this one stands out for me. In all her storeis the young witch stands as one of the Disc's defenders against powerful entities from beyond, in this case facing the quite terrifying Hiver.

                                                        8) Feet of Clay (1996)

Not the first Discworld book I read (that was Guards! Guards!) but the first I bought, brand new, when it was published. Both are stories of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, the rag-tag but increasingly effective police force headed by Sam Vimes. Ankh-Morpork is the melting pot to melt all melting pots, with all manner of people from every background imaginable, many of them not even remotely human. 

Feet of Clay deals with the lives of the downtrodden, the necessity of resistence, and the perils of dehumanisation. Of course, it's easy to dehumanise someone when they're not even human, and yet we on the Earth manage to do it to our fellow Homo sapiens with depressing frequency. Drawing on Jewish folklore, Feet of Clay is the first book to focus on the Disc's literally silent underclass, the golems, and discusses what might happen if they finally decided they deserved a voice. All of this wrapped up in two murder mysteries, and it introduces one of series' most beloved characters, Cheery Littlebottom, who will start a revolution in dwarfish gender politics.

7) Witches Abroad (1991)

The third novel of the witches, centring on the first among equals, the great Granny Weatherwax. Equal Rites, the third Discworld novel, had introduced Granny, and Wyrd Sisters had given her a coven. The lascivious Nanny Ogg and the wet-behind-the-ears Magrat Garlick joined Granny, the three standing as the mother, the maiden and... the other one. 

Witches Abroad took them on a tour of Genua, a nation reminiscent of New Orleans, with a bit of Southern Europe and a bit of the Caribbean thrown in. When Magrat unexpectedly inherits the role of fairy godmother and must seek out her new ward Emberella, Granny is forced to confont the mystical machinations of her estranged sister Lilith. It's a wonderful send-up of fairytale tropes, while poking fun at parochial attitudes as the Lancre Three find themselves face-to-face with all manner of foreign nonsense and some of the most dreadful jokes in the series. "Get me an alligator sandwich - and don't take too long about it!"

6) Hogfather (1996)

Pratchett does Christmas by taking it back to its dirty pagan roots. The Discworld version of Christmas if Hogswatch, a midwinter festival personified by the Hogfather, a powerful and vital entity who thrives on the belief of the Disc's children. When the Auditors of Reality decide enough is enough and humanity really need to be sorted out, they go for their very soul and employ an assassin to take out the Hogfather. Fortunately, Death is on hand to step in and take the reigns, quite literally. 

Human belief and our need to tell stories is central to the Discworld's philosophy, and it's never more present than here. The Hogfather is a grubbier but obvious reflection of Father Christmas or Santa Claus, and likewise has evolved through the centuries as culture has reshaped him. It goes deeper than that, as Death's granddaughter Susan (it's complicated), a governess who beats up bogeymen to help her wards sleep, faces a threat to the very nature of childhood imagination. A perfect Christmas tipple, and a thought-provoker when you're beginning to wonder which of the various minor deities you're going to encourage your child to believe in. You won't think of the Tooth Fairy in the same way again.

5) Going Postal (2004)

A wonderful, Victorian-style novel (it has chapters and everything) which introduces the fabulously named Moist von Lipwig, another late addition to the Discworld's all-time great characters. An unrepentant conman, Moist given one last chance to evade the hangman's noose when the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork appoints him head of the city's ailing Post Office. This may not sound like a recipe for a gripping novel, but it truly is, as Moist faces the brutal opposition of Reacher Gilt, owner of the Clacks network (the Disc's sempahore-based long-distance messaging service). Gilt will stop at nothing to maintain his monopoly over communications, and so unravels a web of conspiracy and murder.

Moist's continual twisting out of trouble as he gradually comes to care about something bigger than himself is a joy to read, as the man proves he can talk his way out of or into almost anything. Going Postal also continues the golems' story, as Moist is assisted by the unstoppable Mr Pump, and falls for the head of the Golem Trust, the formidable Adora Belle Dearheart (aka "Spike"), the one person who can see through everything he tries. Moist's story continues in Making Money and Raising Steam, but sadly it never reached what I am sure was its ultimate endpoint with Moist becoming Patrician himself

4) Small Gods (1992)

Set some considerable time before the other books (although exactly when is a point of some debate), Small Gods follows Brutha, a simple novice of the Omnian Church. A brutal theocracy, Omnia adheres strictly to the worship of the great god Om. You might think that a monotheistic religion wouldn't do too well on a world that is objectively home to thousands of gods, but there we are - as long as he has enough believers, Om will remain the great and powerful one god of them all. Unfortunately, when he chooses to manifest for the final time, he discovers that Brutha is the only one left who actually believes in him. As a result of this, he manifests as a small, grumpy, one-eyed tortoise.

A savage satire on organised religion, Small Gods takes on the close-mindedness and hypocrisy of "true believers," the brutality of Christian history and the difference between religion and faith without mercy. Yet, in true Discworld style, it remains whimsical, witty and very funny. This should be required reading at any faith school.

3) Snuff (2011)

One of the last books in the series, and one of the best, Snuff is another one that focuses on Sam Vimes of the Watch. By this stage he has moved up several stations in life, and is now Duke of Ankh, much to his chargrin. Holidaying in the countryside with his wife, Lady Sybil Ramkin, and their poo-obsessed son Sam, Vimes stumbles upon one of the few truly brutal crimes to appear in the series, as a young girl is found to have been murdered. That girl is, however, a goblin, the last of the uncivilised fantasy races of the Discworld, underground dwellers generally considered vermin by "civilised" society.

While Snuff is a little less accessible than most of the books, being that it builds on a number of elements from earlier stories, Pratchett's deftness means that it's easy to catch up on the complexities of latter-day Discworld lore and politics. As with Feet of Clay, Snuff deals with the dehumanisation of other cultures, with the ever-present reality that even in the most progressive societies there are alsways some who are treated as the lowest of the low. By this point, the Watch itself includes dwarfs, trolls, vampires, a werewolf, a gnome and a golem, and even - gasp! - foreigners. Goblins, however, are just animals, right? But when had anyone ever tried talking to them to find out?

While there's some unflinching stuff in here, there's also some of the series' most wholesome material. The meeting between Young Sam and the goblin girl Tears of the Mushroom is particularly sweet.

2) Reaper Man (1991)

The second Death-centric book, and the last to focus on him alone without involving Susan. This is a tale of two halves, in some editions even presenting them in different typefaces. One thread deals with Death's unceremonious sacking, leading him to take up a new life as a farmhand for the wonderfully straightforward Miss Flitworth. The other deals with the consequences of the temporary lack of a psychopomp, as spare life force builds up, causing peculiar supernatural events, such as the unexpected un-death of elderly wizard Windle Poons. (Pratchett truly had a way with names; unlike Death, who take an age to come up with the moniker Bill Door.)

It's a slim book, in spite of the two storylines, but it's quite perfectly contained and rather moving. Death's story is the better of the two, as he learns a little more of what it means to be human, with his very respectful friendship with Miss Flitworth being a highlight. The other section, the Ankh-Morpork part, introduces various supernatural characters, some of whom, such as zombie rights activist Reg Show and small-medium-at-large Mrs Cake, reappear in later books. It also brings in the current Faculty of Unseen University, who have to deal with the side effects of the excess life force, and an alien invasion of Ankh-Morpork, in the form of snow globes. Believe it or not, it does eventually make sense.

Reaper Man is an easy read that, in spite of its silliness, will stick with you a long time after you finish it.

1) Night Watch (2002)

Absolute perfection. While the City Watch books include some of the very best of the series, Night Watch stands above them all, as Sam Vimes is thrown back thirty years into Ankh-Morpork history, in the days building up to the Glorious Revolution. Immediately arrested by his own younger, greener self, Vimes is forced to step into the shoes of his own mentor after he is murdered by Carcer, the truly vile character who is also swept back in time.

Much of the fun of this novel comes from seeing the younger versions of familiar characters, such as Havelock Vetinari, destined to become Patrician but currently an unpopular boy at the Assassins' Guild School; the boy - or boy-like individual - known as Nobby Nobbs, one day to become the least law-abiding watchman ever; and a still livign Reg Shoe, already a staunch campaigner for, well, anything going. Nonetheless, it's still a riveting story for a newcomer to the series, a gripping thriller that reminds us that power - be it that of the politician or policeman - comes with both responsibility and tempation. It also reminds us that history is going on around us all the time, and that we might just have to stand our ground when faced with the darker realities of that.

It's a harder, less comedic book, but all the stronger for it, and when the laughs come, they're truly earnt.

Saturday 18 November 2023

WHO REVIEW: Destination: Skaro

 It's a bit odd to be sitting down and reviewing a five-minute skit from Children in Need, but here we are. There's already been a minor explosion in online discourse about this silly thing, thanks to its gleeful rewriting of Doctor Who continuity.

Look, the thing about Doctor Who is that it's been going for sixty years, has been written by dozens of people, many of them gleefully contradicting their own material, let alone everyone else's. And that's only if you watch the actual TV series and ignore all the expanded universe stuff. It's fun to try to make it all fit, but it's essentially impossible, because it is, after all, made up.

At the end of the day, this is a bit of fluff, nothing to take to seriously, even if RTD has declared it canonical. I rather enjoyed it - a fun skewering of the Daleks, who are wonderful but also very silly. It's our first proper look at David Tennant in his return to the role, and from what little we've seen so far there's no difference between the Tenth Doctor and the Fourteenth.

Julian Bleach does a good job in his old role of Davros, seen here presumably some time before his terrible injuries. I understand that RTD didn't want to continue to depict Davros as a disabled character who was therefore considered evil and monstrous, and this is one of Doctor Who's Victorian fiction holdovers that probably doesn't have much place today. Still, it's not always a good idea to mess with such an iconic character. Then again, a few minutes in a charity skit is hardly going to overwrite the popular image of the villain, any more than this story will overwrite the actual events of Genesis of the Daleks.

Mawaan Rizwan is great as Davros's previously unseen colleague Castavillian (cool name), and there's a pitch perfect impression of Peter Miles's Nyder off screen, and there's even a brief hint at the Daleks' oneday taking on the name Klade (as seen in the far future history of Lance Parkin's works). When it comes to it, though, this is a very limited story only ever intended to be a bit of fun, and that's what it is. And if it distorts Doctor Who's long history for a moment? Why not? This is a show about time travel, after all.

Friday 17 November 2023

Introducing "Scientific Advisor" in Forgotten Lives 3

There are only two weeks left to order Forgotten Lives 3 from Obverse Books. This is, almost certainly,
the last such collection of adventures for the Forgotten Doctors (AKA the Morbius Doctors, the Mindbend Doctors and the Pre-Doctors), and so my last opportunity to write for the Christopher Baker Doctor and his two children. (Well, excepting anything I write purely for my own enjoyment and post here, but this will be the last in print.)

The first Forgotten Lives was a real treat, taking those eight face in their various hats and false beards and extrapolating them into distinct characters, all unique versions of the Doctor. Andrew Hickey created the Christopher Baker Doctor in “The Cross of Venus,” a wonderful retro-futuristic adventure which introduced this jolly Doctor and the mischievous Jilly and Cedric. I practically begged editor Philip Purser-Hallard to be considered for the second volume, and was fortunate enough that he asked me to submit an idea.

I actually submitted two (there’s another reason for some indulgent fanfic), one for the Baker Doctor and one for his predecessor, PPH’s own creation, the Robert Banks Stewart incarnation. These Doctors – the explorer and doting father, and the wartime occult operative – were the ones who sparked my imagination the most. The second volume was presumably intended as the last, at the time, and was meant to deal with the various Doctors’ regenerations. By the time I was asked to submit, it had changed direction, with two stories for each Doctor, and only a handful involved regeneration. Andrew Hickey gave us another for his Doctor, “Swan Song,” a more melancholy story than his first, while I got to write “The First Englishmen,” very much a silly romp in an lost, imagined past than a lost, imagine future.

I was surprised when PPH asked me to submit another story for the Baker Doctor, with a short turnaround due to the upcoming revamp of the series which, potentially, could make it harder to get away with unauthorised publications. (These things go in waves.) He came up with a brilliant hook for this collection, tying the eight stories together and back to their inspiration. We batted some ideas back and forth, coming back often to the transition between our Doctors. PPH’s story “House of Images” had introduced the Banks Stewart Doctor into a fully realised setting, with his own fascinating companion, Miss Weston. Kenton Hall’s “The Hounds of War” and Matthew Kresal’s “The Rosewell Incident” expanded this, and PPH was now working on a story to move his Doctor and Miss Weston onto the next phase of their story.

Yet this Doctor had no regeneration, so my Doctor had no beginning. This, certain story coincidences, a joke by the first volume’s artist Paul Hanley (whose Doctor portraits were as vital in breathing life into these Doctors as the stories were), allowed us to come up with the bare bones of the story that saw the Banks Stewart Doctor become the Baker Doctor.

"Scientific Advisor" is not that story. It does impact on it, rather heavily, but it isn’t the story either of us wanted to tell. No, my story was informed far more by my own experiences. Between the second volume and my being asked to write for the third, my partner Suzanne and I had a mischievous child of our own. This led me to want to tell a very different story this time, although it also made it much more difficult to find time to sit down and write the thing in the very tight turnaround we had.

I managed it, though, with some much-needed encouragement and support, and a new and essential chapter in the Christopher Baker Doctor’s life is nearly here. So thank you to Philip for working with me and creating this wonderful set of books, Andrew Hickey for giving life to my new favourite Doctor, Suz for making me sit down and work, TVMigraine for being my first, honest-to-goodness fan, and to Astrid for changing how I view my world (through very tired eyes).

I hope you enjoy it, and the stories by seven other wonderful authors.

You can order Forgotten Lives 3 here until the 1st of December 2023.

Sunday 12 November 2023

Announcing Forgotten Lives 3 - available to pre-order until 1st December

I am thrilled to announce that the third and final collection of the Doctor's Forgotten Lives is now available to order from Obverse Books, featuring eight new Doctor Who stories including my second story for the Christopher Baker Doctor and his children Jilly and Cedric.

"How far, Doctor? How long have you lived?'

The Doctor has inhabited countless personas, some of which even he seems to have forgotten.

Long ago, in a deadly battle with a rogue Time Lord, eight of those past lives were brought briefly into focus, only to disappear once more.

Now, those Doctors return, in the final stories from their forgotten lives.

FORGOTTEN LIVES III - Available for pre-order from now until 1 December


‘The Seven Scholars and the Storyteller’ by Simon Bucher-Jones (featuring the Christopher Barry Doctor)

‘The Country of the Young’ by Philip Purser-Hallard (featuring the Robert Banks Stewart Doctor)

‘Scientific Advisor’ by Daniel Tessier (featuring the Christopher Baker Doctor)

‘The Swan and the Flame’ by Kara Dennison (featuring the Philip Hinchcliffe Doctor)

‘Hope Springs’ by Chris Wing (featuring the Douglas Camfield Doctor)

‘Admission to the Unknown’ by Ian McIntire (featuring the Graeme Harper Doctor)

‘Who Needs Enemies’ by Jay Eales (featuring the Robert Holmes Doctor)

‘The Lungs of a Birastrop’ by Paul Driscoll (featuring the George Gallaccio Doctor)

Edited by Philip Purser-Hallard.

Cover art by Jon Huff.

Cover design by Cody Schell.

Make sure you order soon - after 1st December all orders will be over and that will be that!

This is an unofficial publication with all profits to Alzheimer charities.

Saturday 4 November 2023

The Doctor Who Project presents: Timebase

A long time ago, I began work on my third full-length story for The Doctor Who Project, Timebase, which at the time was intended to feature the TDWP Tenth Doctor.

In the end, though, I never finished it. Sometimes stories just don't seem to come together, and while I think Timebase had some really good ideas, I just couldn't get it to work.

However, it has since been revived - regenerated, if you will. Meg MacDonald and Hamish Crawford have reworked the story based on my original draft. It's not quite the story I had planned, and has been altered to feature the new TDWP TARDIS team of the TDWP Eleventh Doctor and Maggie. Hamish in particular has jettisoned elments that were dragging it down and tied it up into a proper story.

So, finally, we can present Doctor Who: Timebase, available for free PDF download.