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A Life in Doctor Who magazines

It’s mid-afternoon on Saturday 13 October 1979. I’m seven years old and I’m in the living room of my grandparent’s house at 85 Kenilworth Road, Aston, Birmingham. Out the window I can hear the crowds at the Aston Villa ground roaring in appreciation of another goal. When I hear the unmistakeable final roar that signifies the end of the game, I will turn on the telly for the football results and Grandad and I will sit there as he fills in the pools coupon and finds, yet again, that he’s not won a penny. Once that ritual is complete it will be time for the exciting third episode of the current Doctor Who story, City of Death. Earlier that morning Grandad and I spent a happy hour recording an improvised radio play on audio tape. He played Long John Silver and I was Jim Hawkins. We battled pirates and brigands, survived the curse of The Black Spot, fought swashbuckling cutlass fights, and retired to the Admiral Benbow Inn for ale after our exertions. Grandad is now tending his homebrew, which bubbles and belches under the kitchen counter where he hides it from my Gran, who tolerates it but disapproves. Left to my own devices, I’ve taken the eiderdown from my bed upstairs – no duvets yet – laid it on the floor and put the sheepskin rug on top of it. I’m lying there on my tummy, reading.  The gas fire warms the soles of my feet. Next to me lies a pile of Doctor Who stuff. Patrick Troughton stares seriously over the top of his 900 year diary...

Doctor Who and The Massacre (of St Bartholomew(‘s Eve))

Occasionally I lose my tiny mind and I pick a lost Doctor Who story, grab up everything about it that I can and devote a week to deep diving into it. This week it was the third season historical The Massacre, produced under the aegis of script editor Donald Tosh (who Loose Cannon interviewed about the story) and producer John Wiles. I have read the shooting scripts, watched the Loose cannon reconstruction, listened to the narrated soundtrack, listened to Peter Purves’ reliably brilliant reading of the novel, read the Pixleyana entry in the Complete History, read James Cooray Smith’s excellent and illuminating Black Archive book on the serial, read Rob Shearman and Toby Hadoke’s take on it in Running Through Corridors, moaned that there isn’t a Fact of Fiction feature on it yet, and rummaged through all the existing photographs. I’m not sure I have anything new to add, but these are the things that occurred to me, noted down as much for the benefit of my memory as your edification. For those who don’t know the story, here’s a précis. The script was substantially (totally?) rewritten by Donald Tosh because he felt John Lucarotti’s scripts were historically inaccurate – so all the historical inaccuracies in the script are Tosh’s own. In the process of rewriting, possibly due to time pressures, large parts of the storyline, particularly the Doctor’s role, become completely incoherent. In episode one I think it’s most clear what Lucarotti intended. When the Doctor is leaving Steven alone in the Inn, he is noticed by Roger, a Catholic. From what we can gather from the script, Roger...
The Paps, in their own words

The Paps, in their own words

Picture the scene… I’m standing in Trafalgar Square watching them film the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. I’m standing behind a barrier watching Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman filming a scene. There are other members of the public here taking pics and a good-natured, smiley guard on the opposite side of the barrier to make sure we don’t get in the way. One of the crew comes up to the guard and tells him that some paparazzi are being aggressive to members of the public by the steps to The National Gallery. Smiley guard goes  with police officer to tell them off – there are children here, after all. Result: the paps come and stand on either side of me. They talk over my head. Here is an exact transcript of their conversation, with no addition or embellishment: Pap 1: Thing is, I f***ing hate Doctor Who. F***ing rubbish. Wouldn’t f***ing watch it if you f***ing paid me. Pap 2: The bird’s nice looking though. Pap1: Yeah. (Pointing at smiley guard) He’s a funny c*** inne. Pap 2: Yeah, weird c***. Pap 1: (Addressing smiley guard) Oi! You shouldn’t let this lot in here (indicates public). Should just be paps. Smiley guard: (Smiling) Well, your photos aren’t gonna be worth nothing once this lot have put theirs up on Twitter. (Wanders off smiling). One-nil to smiley guard, I reckon. Meanwhile, in front of us, Matt Smith earned his wages like nobody’s business. Don’t believe me? Check this out!...

UNIT: The Coup

In 2004 I made my acting debut for Big Finish. Well, I say ‘acting’ I was playing a news reader, so it was hardly Hamlet. I remember trying to be very naturalistic and being told by the director to make it a bit more ‘Day Today’, so I made it hammier and that got the thumbs up. I must have done something right, as I came back again in another play as the same news reader – only to get blown up! Anyway, it was a huge privilege to be in the same play as the late and much lamented Nicholas Courtney, who played Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart on Doctor Who and its spin-offs for so many years. And you can hear the whole thing in the embed below courtesy of Big...

Doctor Who: The Anchorite’s Echo

In 2005 I was lucky enough to contribute a Doctor Who short story to a Christmas-themed anthology from Big Finish –  Short Trips: A History of Christmas , which was edited by Simon Guerrier.  It’s long out of print, and I certainly can’t charge for it, but I don’t think there’s any rule against me giving it away. So here is some free stuff – my first published short story, an adventure for the seventh Doctor and Ace. — I have measured out my penitence in Christmases. It was Christmas day when they bricked me up in my cell at the back of the church. The choir were making the most beautiful music. The congregation prayed for my good health and gave thanks for my sacrifice as the mason laid the bricks that sealed me in, leaving only a small window through which I could receive food and water. It was an honour to serve the people of this parish as their anchorite. I became part of the fabric of their church, fasting and praying for the safety of the community that had raised me. I was their talisman, their totem, their good luck charm. My offering served to insure the village from pestilence and famine and drought and war. As long as I remained in my cell, praising the Lord and begging his mercy, my charges in the world outside would remain safe. No calamity would befall them. Even now, so many years later, I still ask myself what it was about me that was not worthy…   ‘Thank you.’ ‘You are… welcome. Are you… are you an angel?’ ‘No....

Scorched earth & window dressing

Hello and welcome to www.scottkandrews.com. It’s a bit spartan at the moment, but the content is in, I just need to dress up the window a bit. All the info about my books and plays, and a few key old blog posts, are in. More will follow. You can subscribe using feedburner for RSS or email. Alternatively, you can follow me on The Twitter. This is the third blog I’ve had, on the third domain name – www.sixesandsevens.net and www.eclectica.info are now both defunct. The latter is still there, taking up space and cluttering up t’internet, but it will eventually die. I have scorched the earth and started again because Eclectica was set up a long time ago on Textpattern V1. Textpattern is now on V4 and my version is so old it cannot be automatically updated – this means no whizzy widgets, plugins or up-to-date stuff. I also can’t export from it in any format that I can then import into the current version of Textpattern. So if I have to start afresh I may as well do it in WordPress. Also the name – Eclectica – was chosen to support a radio show I used to do online. That’s also defunct and so the name doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense any more. Since I can’t get @scottandrews on Twitter I added my middle initial and became @scottkandrews, even though I don’t use it when I write. Then, once I’d done that it seemed logical to keep the K for the domain name, as there’s no point in confusing people. I bet nobody’s read this far. God, I’m boring...