Friday, 16 December 2011
Deeper Shade Of Blue
The latest Doctor Who Magazine and the Big Finish website have both announced that 2013 will see a second series of Tom Baker audio adventures, two of which are written by yours truly. They are ‘The Auntie Matter’, where he is joined by his companion Romana, portrayed by Mary Tamm, and ‘Phantoms Of The Deep’, where they are also joined by K-9, the adorably prissy robot dog portrayed by John Leeson.
Both stories were written earlier this year, in June and August respectively. I was lucky enough to attend both recordings and on both occasions at the end of the day my jaw was aching from constant grinning. To hear Tom Baker performing my words, and doing it so well, with such attention to detail, with such irrepressible humour and with such panache! Many times I closed my eyes and it was like being transported back to 1978, or sticking on a DVD of a Doctor Who from 1978. I count myself inordinately fortunate to have been given such an opportunity; even it retrospect I still can’t quite believe it happened. It will be a memory to treasure for the rest of my life. I’ve written two stories for Tom Baker’s Doctor (three if you count the adaptation of The Valley Of Death). That’s just mind-boggling.
My favourite moment was the first TARDIS scene from Phantoms Of The Deep (I wrote a TARDIS scene!). The Doctor and K-9... together for the first time since 1980. It was utter magic.
I can’t tell you much about the stories, because I’ll get into trouble with Big Finish, and because they won’t be released until 2013. (Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary year! No doubt Moffat’s TV show will be doing some sort of 3-D live spectacular with Jeff-Bridges-in-Tron-style CGI reconstructions of the deceased Doctors, but at least I’ll be contributing in my own modest way.)
‘The Auntie Matter’ stars Julia McKenzie, who I’m sure you know from Marple, Cranford, Fresh Fields and numerous Stephen Sondheim musicals. It’s a Doctor Who story written in the style of PG Wodehouse, a deceptively light comedy. ‘Phantoms Of The Deep’ stars Alice Krige, of Spooks and Star Trek: First Contact. It couldn’t be more different from ‘The Auntie Matter’; it’s a claustrophobic hard-sci-fi blockbuster. The sort of story that would be advertised by a poster that is mostly black but with a hint of dark blue. This might give you some clues as to the subject matter.
They can be pre-ordered; click on the names on the list of Things I've Written on the right. I also script-edited one story for the same season, 'The Justice Of Jalxar' written by John Dorney, in which the Doctor is reunited with Professor Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago of The Talons Of Weng-Chiang. It's a terrific story for which I can sadly take very, very little credit.
It’s a little strange, having these things announced so far in advance. I mean, where will we all be in 2013? What will the world be like so far in the future? The Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee and Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour Party will all be distant memories by then. And I’ll be nearly 40.