Shabby Efforts

I’m sometimes rather startled to realise just how much Doctor Who I’ve missed.

I mean, chronologially, the last actual TV episode I saw was ‘Night Terrors’.  I watched that ages after transmission, as part of a foolhardy attempt to catch up with the series (which I finally gave up watching upon transmission roundabout the time of ‘A Christmas Carol’, which I liked about as much as I like Ian Duncan Smith).  I was hoping that I’d either get my mind changed by the catch-up session – i.e. become persuaded that Who under Moffat isn’t just empty, bombastic, cynical, reactionary, sexist, culty drivel – or, alternatively, that my justified hatred of what I was seeing would give me something to furiously blog about.

As it turns out, my undignified little scrape with ‘Night Terrors’ (see here) put me off the project again.  Initially inclined to be soft on it, despite some nitpicks, I was soon convinced by commenters that it’s actually the story where the Doctor becomes David Cameron, lecturing the clueless working schlubs on how to solve their problems by being better parents.  Dispirited, I quit again.  So, I’ve not seen anything after ‘Night Terrors’.  And I feel just peachy about this, to be honest with you.

Besides having been driven away from the TV show, I was surprised to realise, as I was following Sandifer’s analysis of the Virgin New Adventures at his blog, how many of those I’d missed back in the day.  I always thought of myself as a follower of the line, but it seems I neglected to read a fair few of them.  Still, I was going through college and university at the time.  I had other things to read.  The menus of pizza restaurants, for example, and loan forms, and letters about my overdraft.

It’s the same with Big Finish.  I’ve heard, I suppose, about a fifth of their Who output – at most.  I guess I just haven’t tried hard enough. 

And as for the late-90s BBC novels line… well, I think I’ve read all the Lawrence Miles ones and all the Chris Boucher ones, but beyond that… I think I tried reading one by Justin Richards once.  It was called ‘The Burning’, as I recall.  It’s possible that my copy (with the first 12 pages lightly thumbed) may still be being used as a wedge under a table leg in a rather seedy set of student digs on the South coast.  I wouldn’t be surprised.

I actually suspect there are a lot of fans like me.  In this respect, anyway.  But the point I’m limping towards is this: there are lots of things that a sizeable number of Who fans know about that I simply don’t.  I don’t know what’s so bad about those John Peel Dalek novels, for instance.  Never read ’em.  Never will.  I also don’t know (not from personal experience anyway) what’s so bad about ‘The Eight Doctors’ by Terrance Dicks, though I know that it is generally considered to be absolutely awful.…

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