Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Do what I do. Hold on tight and pretend it's a plan!

I'm going to begin by saying "Quantum Mechanix, this is all your fault!" You can't escape this, QMx. You posted the link. On your head this whole thing lies! For you see ladies and menfolk, my mind is being warped...by the 1978 disco-style remix of the Doctor Who theme tune. In this article from io9.com, re-posted by QMx, therein lies the video with the aforementioned funky tune. I mean FUNKAY...oh dear gods, the funk. It won't leave my brain.

In order to distract myself (even though I have the video playing in the background because it's frakkin' addictive), I have decided that this will be the perfect opportunity to blog about that great stalwart of British science-fiction, Doctor Who.

I'm a geek and I'm British. It follows in bizarre logic that I am, of course, a fan of Doctor Who. While I imagine you could probably, somewhere, find a British geek not a fan of Doctor Who, it would likely be rather difficult. I will conduct a poll about this at work with all the geeky regulars, but until then, I want to talk about Doctor Who to get my mind off the brain-melting funk. That addictive, funky goodness...

Let's face it. As a science-fiction writer, I have toyed with the idea of writing about time travel. Come on, we all have. In fact, I dare any science-fiction writer who's watched an episode of Doctor Who to put their hand up and say they haven't dreamed about writing an episode themselves. While tied to a polygraph. With a bunch of kittens dangling over a shark-infested pool, to be dropped in at the first sign of a lie.

My journey with Doctor Who...well, I can't actually remember where it truly began, though I know my mother, something of a geek like myself, was an avid fan of Doctor Who in its glory days. One of my earliest memories of Doctor Who is a bizarre one. It was 1999. I can tell you that for a certainty because I saw this episode just before I went to see Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace for the first time. Before I truly understood the genius of the first three films and how Empire Strikes Back is the best by far.

But I digress. It was 1999. And it was perhaps the most epic of classic Doctor Who episodes to watch. It was, at the very least, the first part of..."Genesis of the Daleks". It was years later that I was talking to my mum about these episodes and she told me her favourite part...the part, which, as a child, had her on the edge of her seat screaming at the screen.

For those who have not seen "Genesis of the Daleks" and would prefer to watch it without knowing what happens...I'd stop reading about here...at least just skip over the next paragraph. Or two.

It was the Doctor. (*The* Doctor for all you Tom Baker loyalists out there). Holding two frayed lengths of wire. All he had to do was touch the wires together and *BOOM*, that's it, no more Daleks. But he hesitates. Two wires. Staring at these frayed copper conductors, he realises that of all the things he can do as a Time Lord, he cannot do this. He cannot destroy the Daleks. It would undo too much, destroy too much history, too much of the timeline. Too much of his timeline. Even though his companions are urging to do it, to end the most terrifying threat the Universe has ever known, the Doctor...spares the Daleks.

A part of me wishes I could go back and tell my ten year-old self just how incredibly important a moment that was, just how brilliant the writers were for putting the Doctor into that position.

Of course, six years later (2005), Doctor Who made one heck of a comeback. In the clever guise of Christopher Eccleston with the brilliant line "So? Lots of planets have a north!" to explain his accent, Doctor Who once again caught the hearts and minds of the British public. And in those last seven years...well. We've had Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith, all fantastic Doctors with wonderful companions but...


...a lot of my friends will be rolling their eyes here, but...well...

...it's totally all about Amy Pond.

I'll hold my hand up and admit it - feisty red head with a Scottish accent and a knack for being...well, fiery, determined and thoroughly Scottish? You're godsdamn right I went head over heels when this girl stormed onto our screens in 2011 screaming lines like "Twelve years and four psychiatrists!"

But that isn't the finest moment in Doctor Who. As much as I love Amy Pond and think she is wonderful (and Karen Gillan a fantastic actress), there is one episode that stands out above all others, that for me marks the high point of Doctor Who.


It's 2007. David Tennant is the Tenth Doctor. Freema Agyeman is his companion, Doctor Martha Jones. And yet this episode, this brilliant, brilliant episode features for them for probably a grand total of five minutes. For there's two things that steal the show - the beautiful, incredible leading lady Sally Sparrow (Carey Mulligan) and one of the most terrifying nemeses the Doctor has ever faced.

The Weeping Angels.

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but as a writer there are things you read or watch and you're thinking "Oh gods, why the frak didn't I think of that first?" I can honestly say, the Weeping Angels are up there. In fact, I might do a top ten list of things I wish I had thought up first in terms of genius storylines/ideas. And the Weeping Angels are definitely up there.

While their appearance in the 2011 series dulled their fire just a tad, the Weeping Angels remain one of the finest creations to come from the mind of head writer Steven Moffat. And when I was reading China Miéville's Perdido Street Station, the central "villains"/monsters, the slake-moths...they reminded me a little of the Weeping Angels. Insofar as when I was reading Perdido Street Station and the excitement that gripped me when the slake-moths were introduced convinced me that China Miéville should write an episode of Doctor Who.

Of course, no one would ever, ever sleep at night. Ever again. Yet I can't help feeling it would be *SO* worth it. Anyone else with me on this one? Might be a bit late for series seven (the trailers for which look EPIC), but maybe series eight, eh? I think it would be an epic idea. Neil Gaiman wrote an episode, why shouldn't China Miéville? *Sod's Law follows that China Miéville hates Doctor Who...*

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