Tag Archives: the Dominators

DOCTOR WHO RE-WATCH – SEASON SIX

secondbannerFor the longest time, this was my favourite season of Second Doctor adventures — simply because this was pretty much the only almost-full season we had for Patrick Troughton (only The Tomb of the Cybermen existed in full outside of season six,  and even then that only from 1992).  Things have changed a bit since the days of BBC Video; now we have a fair whack of season five on DVD (as mentioned in the last entry), which upon this re-watch has made me re-evaluate Patrick Troughton’s tenure as the Doctor, and the superiority of season six.15390_original

There is an awful lot to recommend this season, so much creative energy is displayed on screen. From the fantasy and literary layers of The Mind Robber, to the sleight of hand used throughout The War Games with ten episodes of ‘loop narrative’ that works despite itself. And, of course, there is that final episode of the season, which totally dismisses almost every idea behind the Doctor’s origins up to that point. And in so doing, establishes several elements of Doctor Who lore that are still the backbone of Doctor Who today.

Yup, we finally learn that the Doctor is a renegade from the vaunted Time Lords, beings of immense power and total mastery over time itself. Not only is he one of these near-immortal beings, but he stole the TARDIS and went on the run because he was… bored. Yes, boredom is what drove the Doctor. The need to get involved, instead of observing from afar like the rest of his people (well, almost the rest of his people — there are two other exceptions, at this point in the show’s history). Of course, this need is not evident when we first met the Doctor, so it is fair to say that this bit of back story has a hint of revisionism behind it. Willingness to become involved, and fight against evil, without some selfish or nepotist reason, only came towards the end of season one.

So, despite all the greatness seen on screen, including the set-up of UNIT (a creative move that would set the template for the following five years of the series, although the UNIT set-up is based on much of The Web of Fear from the previous season), there was a lot of upheaval behind the scenes. An increasingly frustrated star, tired and overworked by the gruelling filming schedule, a script editor who seemed to find fault in almost every story idea, often to the point of cancelling scripts at the last minute, and a producer who was asked to move onto another BBC TV show, leaving behind a replacement producer who, arguably, created more problems than he solved. And yet, in spite of all these things, and with scripts that were being written mere weeks before production, the season was for the BBC management something of a triumph. Alas, the viewing figures were saying something completely different. By the episode eight of The War Games they were at an all-time low of 3.5 million! Something needed to be done… Change was in the air, in more ways than one.

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The Second Doctor regenerates

Picking a favourite story is not easy here, since season six contains so many favourites of mine. The Mind Robber is a inventive tour de force of television, The Seeds of Death is the first Troughton story I ever saw, and The War Games — ten episodes of epicness. The worst story is simple enough, so I shall start with worst to best…

  • The Krotons
  • The Dominators
  • The Invasion
  • The Mind Robber
  • The Seeds of Death

Which leaves, in mind, one of the most epic adventures of Doctor Who ever…

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PROJECT HUSH-HUSH Unveiled!

And finally I can reveal the secret behind Project Hush-Hush. Five months of secrecy and this is what it’s all about.

It’s with immense pride I’m able to announce that…

LETHBRIDGE-STEWART IS RETURNING

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What follows is the official press release…

———

Every legend has a beginning, and for Colonel Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart it was in the London Underground.

Candy Jar Books is very proud to present Lethbridge-Stewart, a new series of novels revealing the untold story of Colonel Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart set shortly after the 1968 serial, The Web of Fear, fully licensed by the Executor of the Haisman Literary Estate, Mervyn Haisman’s granddaughter Hannah Haisman, and endorsed by Henry Lincoln.

The first series consists of:

  • The Forgotten Son by Andy Frankham-Allen
  • Horror of Det-Sen by Lance Parkin
  • The Schizoid Earth by David A McIntee
  • Mutually Assured Domination by Nick Walters.

Brigadier Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart has been an essential element of Doctor Who since 1968. He was created by authors Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln for the six-part Doctor Who serial, The Web of Fear. A one-off character. Until over a year later when he was brought back to Doctor Who, promoted to Brigadier and the head of UNIT. Forty-six years on and the Brigadier has become one of the most iconic characters in Doctor Who, having appeared with ten different Doctors in countless TV episodes, books, audio dramas and comic strips! The character’s death was acknowledged in the 2012 Doctor Who series starring Matt Smith, and was resurrected briefly in the 2014 series finale starring Peter Capaldi. On TV the character’s story is over, but there is so much more to tell.

Andy Frankham-Allen has been a Doctor Who fan since his childhood and serves as line editor for the series, as well as penning the opening novel. Andy is the former line editor of Untreed Reads Publishing’s series Space: 1889 & Beyond, and has penned several Doctor Who Short Trip stories for Big Finish and Candy Jar’s very own celebration of Doctor Who, Companions: Fifty Years of Doctor Who Assistants. He said: “It’s an insane privilege and responsibility to put this series together, to reveal the real story behind such a legend of Doctor Who.”

Lance Parkin has written over twenty books and audio dramas for Doctor Who since 1996, including the 35th Anniversary novel, The Infinity Doctors, and the 2008 Tenth Doctor novel, The Eyeless. He also worked on British soap Emmerdale and wrote Magic Words, the definitive biography of Alan Moore. Lance said: “Lethbridge-Stewart was always a steady presence in the Doctor’s life. Even in The Web of Fear, he instinctively trusted the Doctor from almost the moment he met him. I wrote for the character in The Dying Days, and that was the version of the Brigadier we all think of now, I think, an old soldier, semi-retired, seen it all. It’s been interesting writing for a younger, hungrier Lethbridge-Stewart – not even a Brigadier at this point in his life. It’s also been nice writing a story that’s set in the aftermath of The Web of Fear, with Lethbridge-Stewart only just starting to realise that the Earth’s facing a whole new type of enemy.”

David A McIntee has written novels for Star Trek, Final Destination and Space: 1999 and over fifteen books and audio dramas for Doctor Who since 1993, including the Brigadier-centric novel, The Face of the Enemy. David said: “To be honest it (the series) is something I’m amazed hasn’t been done before – it’s just such a natural and obvious thing. The form it’s taking is also cool because it has the flexibility to move between styles and genres – thriller, SF, horror, etc – while maintaining a definite identity. As for the Brig himself, he’s one of those characters where the casting was so perfect that it just made the character so memorable, and who (usually) feels so right.”

Nick Walters has written five novels for Doctor Who since 1998. Nick said: “After the Doctor himself the Brigadier is the best-loved character in Doctor Who. I met Nick Courtney a number of times and he really is a splendid fellow. He brought a real humanity and vulnerability to the role without compromising the essential toughness of the character. Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart is the chap you’d want on your side in a fight – any fight – and it is a real privilege to be exploring what made him into the character we came to know and love.”

Simon Williams, the man behind the cover art, is a former artist for Marvel UK having drawn for The Transformers, The Hulk, Spider-Man and Death’s Head. Simon said: “I’ve always been a big fan of Doctor Who and the Brigadier and having the opportunity to draw this iconic character is a huge privilege.”

Candy_Jar_LS_Front_Amended2-mediumHannah Haisman said: “This project has been a long-time coming. I had to be certain that I was entrusting my grandfather’s legacy to a publisher and authors who would respect what he created. Candy Jar and Andy have assembled a team that are sympathetic to the Brigadier, and these are very exciting times that we can all be proud of.”

Lethbridge-Stewart will be launched on 22nd February 2015, the fourth anniversary of Nicholas Courtney’s death, the actor behind the Brigadier. The first series of novels will be released one book per quarter throughout 2015.

The Forgotten Son is available for pre-order from the Candy Jar Book store, where you can pre-order all four titles in the Four-Book-Bundle for a special discounted price. By pre-ordering directly from Candy Jar you ensure you’ll get your copy of each title a couple of weeks before official publication.

———-

Now the ‘cat it out of the bag’, as Sir Alistair would say, I can talk about this series, and I will. Keep tuned for insights into the development of this series, and indeed the first novel, as well as discussions between me and the rest of the creative team behind the project. 🙂

Update Number Something Or Other

And lo, it’s been over two weeks since the last update. I’m really rubbish at this, aren’t I? Well then, let’s cut to the chase and update y’all.

Secret

I’ve been hard at work on Project Hush-Hush, primarily with chapter eleven of The Forgotten Son which has been a very hard chapter to break. Writing a narrative that’s set in the late ’60s has its share of difficulties since it was a time of great change and a time before I was born — only just, though, but still, we’re talking at least seven years before any real memories of mine. It’s kind of like writing an historical, with lots of research to get the small details right. In some ways not a whole lot has changed, but in others everything has changed. People are people, and basically the same throughout history, all struggling with the same emotional issues and relationship complexities no matter what era you’re writing for, but it’s the small details that create the era. And this is why chapter eleven has been so difficult. The setting for that chapter is 1937/’38, a time when the political climate of the world was undergoing a massive upheaval, where Germany was making itself known is no uncertain way, a time when Britain believed it was finally escaping the depression that had claimed it after the Great War, not knowing they were on a brink of another world war that would do more damage to British economy than ever before and change the face of the world forever. And all this is important background stuff which informs the characters in chapter eleven, although it had no actual bearing on the story told in that chapter. The hardest part was trying to find the voice of the child characters who dominate that chapter, especially children living in the late ’30s. A very different time to be a child, but not so different as all that, as I discovered when I was writing it. How well I’ve succeeded is something which the readers will have to judge, but after two weeks I believe I’ve broken it well and made it work. Certainly my first draft editor (fellow author and unbiased voice, Jonathan Cooper) thinks I did a good job of it — although, of course, he had some useful advice and suggestions. My intention was to capture the Chocky vibe, and I hope I’ve done that.

Beyond the actual writing, I’ve been in important meetings about the series, which is ever near being announced now. We’ve got our cover artist, the hulk_by_soulman_inc-d6ro55amaestro himself, Marvel UK’s very own Simon Williams, and some exciting ideas about what direction we’re taking the cover design. I’ll be getting to see some cover images within the next two days, which is VERY exciting indeed!

In other news I’ve been posting some fun stuff over at Type 40, most notably an interview with Hannah Haisman, granddaughter of Mervyn Haisman, co-creator of the Brigadier, the Great Intelligence and the Dominators from seasons five and six of Doctor Who, plus a top ten of my favourite stories to feature the Brigadier. Pop over and have a butcher’s.

So, that’s me these last two weeks. Now I need to get back on with The Forgotten Son — only got another three chapters left, so I hope to have the first draft finished within a week. It’s all exciting times, with the other authors working on Horror, The Schizoid Earth and MAD while I finish work on my book. Four books coming next year — watch out for the announcement VERY soon!

Incredible Hulk art © Simon Williams 2014