Thursday, 14 November 2013

He's Back! & It's About McGann

Yesterday I wrote the first part in my reflections on Doctor Who, during its 50th anniversary. As part of that blog entry, I put:

"I latched onto Paul McGann's Doctor, through all of the endless possibilities a new Doctor Who had. It didn't dawn on me for a long time that the show wasn't coming back."

Now, just a day later (and 17 years on from Paul McGann's Doctor Who debut...) he's back! Oh yes!

You see, the BBC have released a video to tie-in with next week's special, The Day of the Doctor. The 'minisode' introduces John Hurt as the Warrior Doctor... but before all that we get a new, proper glimpse of McGann's Eighth Doctor!

What's significant, for me and may other fans, is the fact that previous to this McGann only had a single televisual appearance as the Doctor. He's appeared in ample books, and comics, and audio adventures sure - but never on television again. Until now.

As I hinted in yesterday's love letter, the Eighth Doctor was MY Doctor growing up, because he was new - and anything could, and likely would, happen to him.

He appeared in comic strips, where companions were turned into fish people, and he himself also died at the hands of the Cybermen (in a regeneration-that-almost-was moment)

In the books, I read and read, following him from planets and stars, throughout all of time. I remember when he met his former selves, and then he battled vampires in San Francisco. He went off to fight the Daleks, then the confused Faction Paradox. He turned his companion into a living TARDIS (!) and slowly became less of the hero, more of the fighter.

I never finished those books. They... take a long time to read (some longer than others!). However, back in 1999-2004 these books were how my Doctor Who fandom lived!

There was a companion called Sam Jones that I latched onto as the best thing since sliced bread. Hindsight shows her actual flaws. Then there was the comedy genius that is Fitz Kreiner - although I was at least 10 years too young to understand or appreciate him at the time.

Lots of adventures there, yes - but where the Eighth Doctor really came into his own for me was in the short stories I would write, featuring him. I did so between 1998 and 2005. I had him meet characters recycled from the comics and books, but would go on to create his own 'new' friends and allies.

One of the most successful Doctor Who story strands was "The Radio Times Doctor Who" stories. See, back in 1996/7 the Radio Times published weekly comic strip adventures for the Doctor. Well, they did until the listings magazine cancelled the feature, probably realising that Doctor Who's return wasn't happening any time soon. Anyhoo... I adapted the stories already written, and then carried the series on, into new adventures - where Gods were met, and toppled, where companions fell in love - and where life changed then, for the better and worse.

When I post the second Adventures in Time & Space article, I'll also include a host of extracts from the series.

So then, the Eighth Doctor - more than a one night stand. The hero of my childhood, who's poster rested above my bed from the age of 7, and has stayed there ever since. He got me reading books, and comics, and listening to audiobooks for probably the very first time.

Earlier today, we were shown his regeneration for the first time. The end of his life; the end of his adventure with that face.

We were also shown a reminder, that Paul McGann was a great Doctor - and I celebrate what was, what now is, and the memories now permanently engrained upon my fan-mind.

Physician, heal thyself!
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