Friday, October 30, 2015

Writing Then and Now

I was shocked when I realised that I'd not actually written and released a book since 2011, when my horror fiction collection talespinning came out from Telos.  Time has a way of getting away from you ...

I have suggested a few titles to the BBC over the years, but unfortunately they seem to be running something of a closed shop at the moment, and anything coming in from 'outside' seems of no interest to them ... which is saddening ... but it also means that trying to do something good and cool with images and artwork is way out of the scope of an independent press - it all costs a lot to clear and to print, and then sales can be very hard to come by too - it's like a game of roulette ... you might succeed, but all the odds are all stacked against you.

Then, in May this year (which is 2015) I had an unexpected and massive heart attack, which brought me literally down to earth. I couldn't work, I couldn't really do much at all except recover. And that meant sitting around a lot and doing very little except watch television and watch the grass growing in the garden.

So, in an attempt to alleviate boredom, I decided to re-watch some Doctor Whos ... I started with Hartnell, and worked my way through the first season before getting a little restless ... there's not many monsters there you see, and the historicals have never been to my taste ... so I then skipped to all the available Troughtons and loved seeing those again ... and then I wondered whether to continue with Pertwee or move to something else.

I then considered that I had reviewed all the NuWho episodes from 2005 onwards on my Blog, and that here was a great opportunity to watch them all again, and to see if I agreed with what I had said at the time ... and what a great idea for a book!  Something which looked at Who as it was transmitted, and then was re-evaluated based on a current viewing. So that's what I did.

Starting with 'Rose' with Christopher Eccleston, I re-watched them, in order, and took in some of the special mini-episodes as well if they seemed relevant to the overall television 'story' of the show.

It was fascinating to see how the series developed, year on year, with Doctors and Companions coming and going ... Interesting to see how the Soap Opera elements which were prevalent at the start, lessened, and how the story arc idea, strong at first, again lessened.

The first volume of reviews, which I decided to call Then and Now, goes up to the end of the David Tennant era, as that seemed to be a good cutting off point. Plus, the book was getting too long!

I am currently up to the start of Peter Capaldi with my re-watch, and it's again been interesting to see overall what an impact Steven Moffat has had on the show during the Matt Smith years, with the narrative coherence slowly dropping away, and continuity, event and introspection taking the place of actual plot and adventure. Not that I see this as a good thing ... for me, the plot and 'adventures in time and space' and monsters have always been the prime focus of the show ... and the inner lives of the Doctor and his companions don't interest me ... but there you go.

I'm still enjoying the show, and like the occasional flashes of brilliance that it shows. I wish it could be more coherent and more consistent, but for that I suspect we need another sea change in the running of the show, bringing in fresh ideas and eyes to carry it forward.

For the moment, as I write this, we are in the middle of Capaldi's second season ... and I'm wondering if my opinions of these episodes will change between viewing them now, and then re-watching them in a few months time ... We shall see!

Then and Now can be bought from Amazon:

UK: BUY FROM AMAZON UK

USA: BUY FROM AMAZON USA

I should also have copies at various events I'm attending around the world ... so please come and catch me at one of them if you want a signed edition!

1 comment:

Robert H. Gerlach said...

Got this book this morning -in the USA- and have just finished reading it a few moments ago. Having loved reading David's previous Doctor Who Handbooks with co authors Stammers & Walker, I somehow figured this book might be good.I was not disappointed. I started liking David's very brutally honest, frank and strong opinions on certain stories in the classic Handbook series. I was not at all disappointed by his comments on the newer episodes. I heartily recommend this book for anyone who liked the opinion sections, in particular, of the 7 Doctor Who handbooks and for others who like authors who really tell it like they see it.