Doctor Who Dreams Come Through

Once, when I was very young, I asked my mother a question which understandably bamboozled her.

"Mum... did we ever go hunting for The Master?"

I dearly wish I could remember her exact reaction.  As it is, I can vaguely recall her kindly humouring me by taking a brief moment to think it over.

"No," she said.  "No, I don't think we did".

Turned out I'd had a dream, you see, in which my family crept around our own house, searching for The Master, cowled nemesis of TV's Doctor Who.  The Master had recently scared me witless in The Deadly Assassin, by dint of having bulbous ping-pong ball eyes, the most theatrically malevolent voice imaginable and lurking beneath Gallifrey's political chambers like some horribly decaying Satan with a creepy grandfather clock for a time-and-spaceship.

Contact had been made.  Doctor Who had taken root in my subconscious mind and flourished, until I couldn't distinguish between dreams and reality.  The show had engaged and ignited my imagination, fanning the flames of creativity.  Me and my folks hunting The Master in the darkened corridors of our home in Suffolk's Carlton Colville was almost certainly the first fictional story I ever 'wrote'.

If Doctor Who had never existed, I don't doubt that my brain would have been inspired by something else.  I do doubt, however, that it would have been something which encouraged such infinitely fertile imagination as Who - a show which spans all of time and space. 

That dream about The Master led directly to this:

And this, in which TV's Doctor Who does battle with the, ahem, 'Sontans':

According to my mum, I "never stopped writing".  There are books and books of these Doctor Who tales, all of which feature the word "suddenly" quite a lot.  I still find myself deleting the word "suddenly" from second drafts of scripts all the time.  It's an affliction which affected me suddenly, over time.

Those books eventually led to the lovely headmistress and English teacher at my middle school conspiring to have my stories put together in a couple of bound volumes and placed in the school library.  

Here I am, holding one of those volumes and displaying cheekbones for which I now hate my younger self.  Halfway through my teens, rock journalism swept me off on a violent side current, but it always came back to stories of one form or another.

Ultimately, Doctor Who and the dreams it spawned have led me, via a fairly circuitous route, to write fiction for a living.  I've written prose for the Fourth Doctor, audio adventures for the Fifth, Seventh and Eighth, and come bang up to date with the Eleventh Doctor for audiobook Doctor Who: The Gemini Contagion and The Brilliant Book Of Doctor Who 2012.

My first produced feature film, Stormhouse, has rightly drawn the odd Doctor Who comparison from reviewers - it is, after all, essentially about a terrible entity in a cage and fits the show's classic 'base under siege' template.

Stormhouse had its world premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival, its London premiere at Leicester Square's FrightFest and will have its US premiere at the Los Angeles Screamfest tomorrow afternoon.  (Update: Lionsgate Home Entertainment have bought it for US distribution and cut a brand new trailer). Now that I really stop to think about all this, it's pretty mind-blowing.  Needless to say, I have a vast amount of things to learn and no end of things to achieve.  But it feels important to always stop, take stock, and never forget where my career really began.  Hunting for The Master in our old house.

I've so much to thank Doctor Who for, beyond the considerable entertainment it has brought, and continues to bring me.  

You see, Doctor Who isn't just a show you watch.  Doctor Who isn't just for Christmas.

It's a show which combines with your DNA, coils tendrils tightly around it and informs your entire creative life. 

You'll never be the same again.  Thank God for that and thank God for Doctor Who.

UPDATE: I'm among the many contributors to Behind The Sofa, a book of people's favourite Doctor Who memories - including people like Charlie Brooker, Jonathan Ross and even Bill Oddie!  It's 100% in aid of Alzheimer's Research.  You can see the site here, follow the Twitter feed here and buy it here

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Want to feel afraid in your own home?  My short story A Sincere Warning About The Entity In Your Home can help.  Presented as a letter to YOU which is delivered to YOUR house, this grave warning from the previous resident tells you things you really don't want to hear.  A Sincere Warning... can be purchased as a low-priced ebook or as a uniquely personalised physical letter which is mailed to your home address!  Full details at

My novella Beast In The Basement is a twisted tale of obsession, revenge, censorship, blame culture and parental responsibility.  In a big house in the country, an increasingly unstable author toils over a new hotly-anticipated novel which will close the best-selling trilogy of Jade Nexus books.  A violent incident tips him into a downward spiral with horrific consequences.  Beast is available for Kindle (which can be read on most devices) at Amazon UK, Amazon US and more.  It's also available as half of Brandy In The Basement, a collaboration with JMR Higgs.  More details here.

My acclaimed non-fiction ebook How To Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne And Everyone Else aims to tell you everything I learned about interviewing people, in my past life as a journalist.  It's available via Amazon UK, Amazon US and Amazon Germany, among others.  You can also buy it direct from me, in a Triple Pack of all three major file-types (PDF, ePub, Kindle), via PayPal.  Full details here, you splendid individual.

How to Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne and Everyone Else


John Dorney said...

My sister still delights how my dad used to spend all his time telling me not to watch my Dr Who videos and go and do something that might be productive. Now it's my career.

EllieAnn said...

A brilliant little post about how what you watch/read will invariably shape who you are and the type of art you create. I love the pictures of your stories!

radiantabyss said...

Haha, I fondly recognise "suddenly". Such a crutch for inexperienced writers.