CALLING ALL WHOVIANS! TELL US WHAT DOCTOR WHO MEANS TO YOU
We are huge fans of Doctor Who at Tor and Pan Macmillan (see previous blog posts about this here and here), and have been eagerly counting down the days until the 50th anniversary episode this weekend! We are lucky enough to publish some of the authors most closely associated with the series – Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell (author of novel London Falling), Doctor Who audio drama author Andrew Lane (who also writes the Young Sherlock Holmes series) and we also publish the inimitable master of comic space travel and author of some of the earlier Doctor Who episodes, Douglas Adams.
As we are such huge fans in-house, we thought we'd ask some of our authors and in-house fans to talk about what Doctor Who means to them. We also want you to tell us what Doctor Who means to you in the comments below. Who is your favourite Doctor? Why do you think Doctor Who has endured for so long? How would you like to see the series progress? Scroll down to have a read of our comments and then add your own underneath.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE DOCTOR?
'My favourite Doctor was Peter Davison, the fifth and the most dashing. This is when the Doctor began to get dark'. RUTHIE CARLISLE, International Sales Administrator
'My favourite Doctor is Christopher Eccleston, mainly because he helped bring the show back from the dead, when we all thought it was gone forever. I wish he’d stayed longer, because he gave this children’s show a bit more of a “grown-up” feel than some of his predecessors and successors. Colin Baker comes a close second, for his sense of dangerous nuttiness!' HELEN PALMER, Operations Administrator
'Hard question but it has to be Ten aka David Tennant . . . Ten had class, style and most of all, specs appeal. That said, I am hugely looking forward to Malcolm Tucker’s Peter Capaldi’s take on the Doctor'. JOH ROBERTSON, Senior Contracts Executive
'Favourite doctor would have to be David Tennant although I did like Jon Pertwee – it was the cloak that did it for him!' SARAH WILCOX, Sales Manager
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE COMPANION?
'My absolute favourite was Romana (a Time Lady), the Mary Tamm version. Icy cold and intellectually superior to the Doctor, I adored her put-downs, her snippy remarks and the way she managed to put the Doctor in his place . . . Although I did start to get a little frustrated that she eventually ended up being a little more ‘damsel in distress’ – it’s nice to see that the companions have moved on from this – at least recently anyway'. JULIE CRISP, Editorial Director, Tor UK
'Sarah Jane Smith played by Elizabeth Sladen. She was amazing, and when they bought her back to the show in the David Tenant episodes I actually thought I was going to die with excitement. The episode where she hears the voice of a Dalek for the first time in years was so fabulously camp and utterly exciting'. WAYNE BROOKES, Publishing Director
'My favourite assistant was probably Ace, alongside Sylvester McCoy – enthusiastic, fun and smart, she was the person my teenage self most wanted to be'. HELEN PALMER
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE EPISODE?
'Even though it doesn't fully exist in the BBC archives, I think Evil of the Daleks is the pinnacle of Original Who. I had the audio tapes and novelisation as a kid and it's an incredibly ambitious story. It's set in the period it was broadcast - 1966 - and contains time travel outside of the TARDIS, plus the Dalek Emperor, Skaro, and the idea of humanised daleks. So many of those plots have since been revisited, perhaps most memorably with Rose in the episode, Dalek. I even like the fact that Patrick Troughton is more or less absent from episode four because he was on holiday! It's part of a golden period of writing, coming shortly after The Moonbase and directly before the brilliant Tomb of the Cybermen'. KERRY WILKINSON, author of the bestselling Jessica Daniels series and upcoming Silver Blackthorn series
'The Pirate Planet penned by a certain Mr Douglas Adams – it has a freaking robot parrot in it'. JOH ROBERTSON
'So many. In recent year's The Doctor's Wife, for casting Suranne Jones as the tardis. For Classic Who the City of Death - the Mona Lisa. John Cleese, ancient green aliens disguised as suave villains, it had everything'. LARA BORLENGHI, Finance Director
'My absolute favourites are the episodes which feature John Simm as The Master. His relationship with Tennant’s Doctor is heartbreaking and there’s a real sense that things might not turn out alright in the end'. ELIZABETH CAMPBELL, Digital Production Editor, Bello
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE MONSTER/VILLAIN?
'My favourite baddies have to be the daleks. Especially as the modern TV series still manages to make them so frightening'. SOPHIE JONATHAN, Assistant Editor, Picador
'My favourite monster is of course the Davros. The most evil creature that ever stalked the universe. He is both the Doctor’s opposite and worst fear'. RUTHIE CARLISLE
'Probably my favourite villain – or villainess – was The Rani. Again a Time Lady. Kate O’Mara played her brilliantly. And again, her evil genius was equal to the Doctor’s intelligence and she had her own Tardis!!' JULIE CRISP
DO YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC MEMORY ASSOCIATED WITH DOCTOR WHO?
'Earliest childhood memory of Doctor Who is hiding behind the sofa as Colin Baker discovered that Davros had found a way to turn humans into Daleks, as I was convinced he would turn me into one first. Scary stuff'. RUTHIE CARLISLE
'I clearly remember the first episode in 1963. I was wowed by the Tardis. Bigger on the inside etc. After the first episode the story about cavemen wasn't overwhelming. Then came the second adventure…The Daleks. These episodes used the "cliffhanger" at the end of each episode to great effect. Their first appearance was cleverly done and scary'. MIKE DAVIS, Art Director, Kingfisher
'My greatest adult memory is watching the episode where Sarah Jane came back to snoop around a school that was being over-run with aliens. When she sees the T.A.R.D.I.S for the first time since the eighties and then the Doctor, Well I don’t mind saying I shed a few tears. And of course we got to see K9 again'. WAYNE BROOKES
'Watching a young man cut off Tom baker's scarf with a sword in the Androids of Tara and then meeting my aunt's new fiance and realising he was the very same young man. Doesn't get better than that for a 6 year old fan'. LARA BORLENGHI
WHY DO YOU FEEL DOCTOR WHO HAS ENDURED FOR SO LONG?
'I think there are a handful of reasons why Doctor Who has survived for so many years. For a start, the invention of the TARDIS means that the programme perfectly mixes two different types of television drama – the ones where the characters stay in the same place all the time and things happen to them, and the ones where the characters move from place to place in search of something. Also, its format (travels in space and time) means that it can be any kind of drama you like – mystery, adventure, thriller, science fiction, historical, Western, romance... the possibilities are literally endless. Thirdly, by coming up with the concept of regeneration (which would only make sense in this series and no other) the makers gave themselves a way of endlessly changing the main actor for reasons that are actually explained in the show, rather than just glossed over by the cast pretending that nothing has happened. But most importantly, those kids who grew up alongside the programme are now in a position to make it themselves, so the Whonatics have literally taken over the asylum'. ANDREW LANE, author of the Young Sherlock series
'Doctor Who still feels like one story, despite being made by hundreds of people over fifty years. That's down to some brilliant decisions (the Tardis, regeneration) and the fact that the show tunes into an enormous archetype: it's the hero's journey, thirteen times in a row, with one Merlin/Arthur/Christ appearing as 13 knights/apostles'. PAUL CORNELL, author of London Falling
And finally, here is the ultimate Doctor Who joke from Helen Palmer’s school days:
Please answer these questions yourself in the comments section below - we'd love to hear from you!