Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Inspirations 3: Snake/Buddhist metaphor

Today's Inspiration: Doctor Who

I missed out on Tom Baker, because I got into Who late. The main reason for this was sheer terror - the theme tune sent me scurrying from the room, and the only glimpses I'd catch usually involved that most fearsome of creatures: K9, or as he appeared to my fevered Childish imaginings: 'Doctor Oo's little horse'. He would belch out beams of red death that felled many a guard. Evil.

But I saw a big load of repeats, including all the old doctors, in the Autumn after Baker quit, and then I saw Peter Davison's first year on the job, and I was hooked. I remember having to feign illness twice to get out of cubs so that I could see every episode of Kinda and enjoy odd pre-pubescent stirrings seeing Janet Fielding being all possessed by a snake/Buddhist metaphor.

[Another aside, another survey: I remember everyone at cubs having a vote on their favourite TV show. I told the truth this time, but Doctor Who only got my vote. What won? TJ flippin' Hooker by a landslide. The 80s, they really were a different place.] 

Anyway, as soon as I got into Doctor Who, I also got into a thing called Doctor Who Magazine. And for years, it was the only magazine I read about the making of television. And it was good too: always highlighting the importance of the writer, and covering pretty much every aspect of production, in increasing detail during the wilderness period before the 2005 resurgence. 

It was in DWM that I read about Robert McKee's Story book and seminar in an article about story structures in 1999. I booked myself on the next available London dates: my first writing course. And that was what started my path to where I am now, for better or worse.

Now a parent, I find myself in the same position mine were way back when: should I be too stringent? Or is that worse than being too lax?  As a confused white liberal, I do the whole "we don't like to let him watch too much television" thing, but - you know - it didn't do me any harm (twitch).

This year, as my boy was two years old, and Doctor Who was being shown earlier, I thought I'd give it a try.  The cute Adipose episode was fine, and he seemed to really enjoy it (although at 45 minutes he was getting restless halfway through - Daddy sat rapt throughout, obviously).  But the following week, big lava monsters in Pompeii scared the be-jesus out of him. Who do you think you are scaring my child, Mister Moran?* Well, you're pretty cool, actually. I'm sure some day soon he'll be remembering "the one with the big lava monsters" in fond terms.

Or he'll think Doctor Who is rubbish 'cos his Dad likes it, and he'll want to play football instead.  Well, it'll be fun finding out...

* If it wasn't clear, this is not an attack on James, but a very obscure Doctor Who reference.  If you know to what it refers, you are as sad as me.  Well done.

Next: The Singing Detective


Phill Barron said...

I missed every other episode of Peter Davison's first season because of cubs.

Twice a week, what the fuck were they thinking?

Luckily, my mum described each episode in such amazing detail I felt like I hadn't really mised anything.

The land before video, eh? Another world.

David Lemon said...

Hi Stuart
never that scared by Dr Who apart from some monsters who were basically people with no faces, (a bit like the ones in the Mark Gatiss 2 ep 'The Idiot's Lantern') I think they might have been the faceless ones.
I was more scared by a little remembered series about a boy who could turn into a creepy middle aged man called 'Big John Little John'
Anyone? No just me then...

Phill Barron said...

Presumably so he could buy fags, porn and booze?

Si said...

Hi Stuart - long time stealth reader of blogs, first ever comment. I've been talking about this a lot lately and I too was haunted by the sight of 'evil Tegan' although for me there was nothing more terrifying than Bagpuss and his arcane yawn-magic!

Piers said...

Evil Tegan was hot.

Si said...

Hotter than in the Amsterdam episode that had Omega in it and where Colin Baker shot Peter Davison? This is a Doctor Who fan blog, right?

Stuart Perry said...

Phill - we didn't go to the same cubs, did we? I got the end epsiodes of stories, but missed the set ups. I don't know if that's better than the other way round.

David - surely you are far too young to have seen The Faceless Ones? Or are you a time traveller?! (It's always the ones you least expect).

Piers - you're damn right.

Si: Welcome. Is this a Doctor Who fan blog? "Oh, Yes!"

Si said...

Thanks Stuart! In that case I should point out that I mixed up 'Arc of Infinity' with 'Mawdryn Undead'. Oh, the shame of it. It'll be all 'Caves of Frontios' and 'Attack of the Mark of the Rani' next...

Phill Barron said...

"Phill - we didn't go to the same cubs, did we?"

I doubt it. Unless you too are a secret Northerner banished to the temperate climes of the South of England.