No ‘About Time’ Puns Really Needed
Sometimes I make bad decisions. Everyone does. Sometimes I should be able to see them coming, though, so it’s a bit of a ‘whoops’ that I started this Time Team blog a month ago without considering that I wouldn’t have much time for Whoishness in September. As usual, I was away at Liberal Democrat Conference last week, and though I was expecting to spend a lot of time preparing for it, I’ve not been in the run-up to Conference with a blog before. Having also agreed to write pieces for another site, all my time seemed to trail away into covering Lib Dem policy papers in aggressive red biro and writing long articles about them, and this poor wee bairn of a blog was left all alone. Awwhh.
My plan, initially, was that I’d post on here roughly every fortnight. After all, the Time Team have taken various breaks as they’ve wound their way through Doctor Who, and it wouldn’t do to overtake them (though with the time it takes me to write things, that’s unlikely anyway). However, I notice the last post is only just short of a month ago, so that’s probably being a bit too generous with the gap. Don’t worry, there’ll be some more proper Doctor Who commentary along shortly, but before then, I’ve explained what gave me the idea for this blog but not what you might expect from it.
The main aim of this blog is to start at the very beginning of Doctor Who and publish all the disordered thoughts I’ve sent in to Time Team over the years. That means it’ll be less a set of reviews than a bunch of eccentric fragments which I hope will at least be diverting. There’s a slight problem to begin with, in that I didn’t start sending in comments to DWM until the end of William Hartnell’s time as the Doctor (and there are several others that I didn’t quite get round to submitting entries for along the way). Those stories will, then, be much closer to ‘proper’ reviews than my unvarnished ramblings. Fortunately, a couple of years ago I started a topic on a community site where I intended to review every Doctor Who story in order. I started with one-paragraph opinions which, being me, grew into full-length reviews after a few stories, and to begin with it sparked off an interesting debate. After a while, though, I was the only one still posting to the topic, and I was using the site less and less because most of my friends there had given up on it, along with most of the commentators on my Who thread. So I stopped with The Faceless Ones, as The Evil of the Daleks is a huge favourite of mine and I didn’t want to write about it when it felt like a chore. But, hurrah, that means I have reviews I can republish here for the longest run of stories where I have no Time Team entries, and, double hurrah, if no-one comments on a blog you can still hope people are reading it anyway (and in the absence of an ego-lacerating hit counter, there’s nothing to contradict me on that).
Though Time Team initially rattled through a fixed number of episodes each month, often splitting stories across issues, I’ll be doing one story at a time because I reckon it’s easier to follow that way. I’ll keep to strict order going forward, though if I come up with something I really want to share on something I’ve already done, I may go back to post another article on it. Unlike Time Team, though, I will have a few extra bits here and there. As well as my own comments, I’ll sometimes publish what Richard said about a particular story (though he’ll always be credited when I quote him directly). I’ll occasionally mention stories that weren’t on TV, or pass comment on the DVD or the novelisation of the Who story I’m looking at, and at the end of each season I’ll probably have a look at that bunch of stories together and see how they work as a set. I’ll also say what I thought of some of the Time Team’s views, perhaps displaying some of the best pieces of Adrian Salmon’s striking artwork, and once I reach those stories for which I submitted comments, I’ll mention which (if any) of them were printed.
There’s one other thing I’ll do for each story, though it’ll be easier with some than others… Having missed it for the Pilot episode, I think the answer there’s implicit, but it certainly includes Billy and “You and your companion would be footsteps in a time where you were not supposed to walk”. So what is this extra comment I’ll be adding? Reviews have a tendency to be critical, one-liners still more so, and Richard and I realised about a year ago that one reason most of the Doctor Who guides sprawling across our flat leave a sour taste if you read too much in a sitting is that the authors tend to lose sight of why they find the series fun. So, though no doubt I’ll often seem mercilessly critical, at the end of each story I’ll also answer the question, ‘Why is this brilliant?’