For a while, a certain breed of writer/Doctor Who geek was near-certain to have a pitch or two (or three) for the Doctor Who: New Adventures line of spin-off novels, by Virgin Publishing. In the 90s these kept the Who mythos alive and, surprise surprise, they were actually very good – inventive, quirky, and boundary-pushing in ways you can only be when your parent TV show has been dead for years and it never played by its own rules either. These were followed by another line of spin-offs by the BBC, which weren’t as good, but were sometimes just as wild and woolly and neat. It’s not just fans who think there was quality in there -a significant number of people who worked on the hugely successful Who TV revival earlier wrote for Virgin or the BBC.
Guilty as charged, m’lud. (Nor was I alone, as a certain award-winning Wellington-based theatrical personage might admit after a few drinks.)
I had, in truth, only three worthwhile ideas for Doctor Who novels.
Only one of them actually got submitted. This was given a bemused but encouraging rejection, as recorded on this blog here. The letter said “the idea of the support group set up for victims of the Doctor’s actions is a little too controversial to use as the basis of a novel.” Roll on the series revival, and the episode Love and Monsters, about a support group set up for victims of the Doctor’s actions. Well okay, not victims of the Doctor, more like fanboys of, but the core idea has a lot of similarities. An UNCANNY number of similarities. Like they STOLE MY IDEA.
This past weekend’s episode of Doctor Who was called The Lodger. I haven’t seen it yet because it hasn’t screened in New Zealand yet and there’s no possible way I could acquire it otherwise. It was about the Doctor going to live in a flat with ordinary people, while trying to make sense of a mystery unfolding around them. Here is the trailer for it:
This is UNCANNILY like one of my other two really good ideas:
An uninhabited bedroom, one of four in a cramped flat in Pilham Street, right on the outskirts of London. An ad goes up at the local video store. Only one person answers it. All three flatmates are there when he shows up to take a look at the place. He’s odder and older than any of them, with a clownish manner and a rolling Scottish brogue. A loon for sure, but probably harmless, and most importantly he has money. So he moves in. He becomes that old guy that some flats seemed to have, only he’s in this flat, not some other one. He doesn’t ever tell them his name, says he doesn’t have one, only a title. The Doctor.
He sure doesn’t seem to sleep very much. Up all night. Once Paul went to the kitchen for water at 3am and the Doctor was in there frying up a scale model of an aircraft carrier, flipping it over with a fish slice and playing the spoons with his spare hand. Paul had drunk his water and gone back to bed.
And then there are those times when the whole flat is asleep except the Doctor, who is in the living room. And he’s talking to someone with a sad, sad voice. She says she’s from the future. She says she might kill herself. She sounds like she means it.
I think it’s clear that they STOLE THIS IDEA too, which is even more sinister because I never even sent this one anywhere.
I have only one good idea for a Doctor Who story left. No, I’m not telling you what it is, are you insane? IT WILL BE STOLEN. They are very good at theft! And no I wouldn’t put it past them. Just look at what Jennifer Aniston and Vin Diesel did to steal GI Joe 2, and how they keep the secret that there are 25 slightly-different Megan Foxes! TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION.
SO THAT IS MY ADVICE FOR WRITERS OUT THEREYOU NEED TO WRITE YOUR IDEAS AND MAKE THEM FAST AND TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THEM AND SEND THEM TO PREDISENT OBAMA SO HE HAS PROOF WHEN IN TEN YEARS TIME THEY MAKE YOUR IDEA THAT IT WAS YOUR IDEA IN THE FIRST PLACE AND OTHERWISE PEOPLE WILL SAY YOU ARE CRAZY BUT YOU CAN TELL THEM TO CALL UP PRESIDENT OBAMA IF THEY DON’T BELIEVE YOU
Also, Matt Smith is a great Doctor.
[edit: Megan Fox link fixed. Clicky, it’s worth it.]