Monday, May 19, 2014

M(a)y Doctor

Fascinating fact: although for a very long time there have been two Bakers amongst the actors to play the Doctor, until last year there had never been a repeated first name (at least in the main series). And then two came along at once: a second John (or Jon) and a second Peter.

Okay, maybe it's not 'fascinating'. But it is a fact.

May, being the fifth month, is the month of the Fifth Doctor, as portrayed by Peter Davison. Who is, as I've mentioned before "my Doctor". I just barely remember seeing the last little bit of Tom Baker's run (I think), which means I was around for Peter Davison's run. And, indeed, Tegan, Peri, and Adric are all characters I remember seeing live.

And yet... I find memory is not wholly reliable, because I have no real idea who Nyssa is, and Turlough is also something of a void (despite my knowing I watched "The Five Doctors" when it was first on). I guess they just didn't make any real impression. (On the other hand, Tegan is memorable for being one of the longest-serving companions of all time, while Peri was both the last companion of the Fifth Doctor and the main companion for almost all of the Sixth Doctor's run. And Adric is perhaps memorable for the wrong reasons...)

This month's short story was "Tip of the Tongue", by Patrick Ness. This one features the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, presumably in the brief gap while Tegan was off the TARDIS. That said, both Doctor and companion only actually feature in the story very briefly - it reads like one of those episodes in recent years when one of the main actors has been given the week off so they've done a Doctor-light episode such as "Blink" or "Turn Left". Which is fine, as it makes for an interesting approach.

And the story is okay. It's not a stand-out like, well, "Blink" or "Turn Left", but it's a decent story with attractive characters and some fun along the way. Plus, it doesn't feature the Master, which is probably something of a boon for this anthology (since both the Second and Third Doctor stories did feature that opponent). So, good stuff.

The novel, which I finished on Saturday, was "Fear of the Dark", by Trevor Baxendale. This was a strange one, as I know I'd never read it before (I haven't read any for the Past Doctor novels before the 50th Anniversary collection) and yet I had the strongest feeling that I had. That's, probably, mostly a good thing - the author had obviously managed to capture the spirit of the show, the characters, and the many stories I have read pretty accurately. And reading it I found myself agreeing - yep, that was my Doctor, and it was Tegan. All good.

But it had a big down-side as well. I hadn't read that story before, but I've read (and seen) ones just like it any number of times. It was pretty much a bunch of secondary characters running around a quarry being picked off by an unseen menace, at least for most of the time. So, it was all rather predictable, which was a shame.

Still, not to worry. I started it one Saturday, about tea-time, while huddled behind some seats (on a bus rather than a sofa, but it counts), and I finished it the next Saturday while huddled behind some seats (another bus), so it was all positively nostalgic. Good stuff.

Next up is the Sixth Doctor, widely regarded as the worst Doctor. I feel that's somewhat unfair, for various reasons I'll get into next month, but I'm definitely hoping that the novel and story will play on certain aspects of that Doctor and leave certain others in the background. I guess we'll see next month.

1 comment:

Kezzie said...

He wasn't the worst Doctor but he was the most sarcastic and mean to his companions!
If you want to know who Turlough is, you need to read of watch Mawdryn Unread, Terminus and Enlightenment and then Planet of Fire. Nyssa relies on The keeper of Traken.
If you read any of the 8th Doctor novels, read The Crooked world-it is genius!!!