The Greatest UNAUTHORIZED Doctor Stories, Volume One
Once upon a time, Doctor Who was a show in Crisis! So fans decided to started making their own. They’ve been doing it ever since…
When Doctor Who first went off the air in 1985, fans began to create their own films to fill the void. The decline and cancellation of the show resulted in a wave of unauthorized productions, including series, parodies and spoofs, stage plays and audio adventures, films that explored obscure corners of the Doctor Who, or that recreated the feel and style of the classic series with astonishing fidelity.
A unique exploration of an unexamined corner of the Doctor Who Universe. Ths book charts a hidden history of classic Doctors recreated, bold new Doctors, female Doctors, black Doctors, Doctors from around the world, filmed everywhere from Mayan temples to British ruins. These are the stories of the Greatest Doctor Who Fan Films ever made.
Written in a breezy informative style, the book consists of a series of entertaining reviews of the greatest and most important fan films, together with a series of essays that explores the politics behind Doctor Who’s crisis and cancellation, the emergence of a fan culture which supported these films, and the evolution of the technology which made them possible.
This is a must read for any Doctor Who fan, young or old, interested in the hidden corners and secret spaces of their favourite show.
Well, there you go. It’s up, it’s out, as an Ebook at least. I’m still working on the print version.
I suspect that this qualifies as shameless self promotion, and violates the etiquette of the site, or something. Not truly why I posted this.
Way back, I think in the mid eighties, back when I was in University, wandering through the Student Union Building, I paused in the common room to watch a bizarre story of two spaceships wedged together, apelike things running amok, some sort of drug, and a man in a long scarf who seemed to charm his way through every situation.
Years later, when I owned a television set of my own, in another city, I started to watch that man regularly. A couple of years later, I saw a notice for a fan club and joined. And a couple of years later, a young woman brought a VHS containing the female Doctor. That woman would later become my wife, although like all things, that would end.
The female Doctor stories blew me away. The idea that something so good could be produced was inspirational. Our fan club dabbled with the idea of doing a fan film, it never went anywhere. But I think it left me with a kind of sense of the creative potential of people, that we could do things, that we could be things. Shortly after, I decided I wanted to be a writer. Perhaps the female Doctor was part of that inspiration.
I was briefly interested in fan films. There was something important there for me. The fact that there was no commercial aspect, no one got a salary, no one made money. It wasn’t corporate or institutional. It was pure love. Love that brought people together, that they shared, that motivated them to try and be creative, to work hard, to achieve something. That’s …. wonderful.
Unfortunately, this was the early 90’s. I was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which is pretty much the ass end of everywhere, and money was tight, it was the beginning of my career. When there was an opportunity to go to Visions and actually meet Colin Baker and Jon Pertwee, Paul Darrow, John Nathan-Turner and the rest… we could afford to send my wife. I worked. Looking back, I wish I had gone too. But then, life is full of regrets, big and little. It doesn’t matter.
This early interest in fan films faded. Basically we were far far out of the loop. The few other fan films tended to be not very good and often suffered from multiple dubs.
Life just kept on. It happens that way. I still loved the show, but it was long dead. When pbs ran it, I tried to collect it on VHS. My career developed, my marriage progressed, I tried to be a writer.
Eventually, of course, it all goes nowhere. You stand over empty graves, holding a handful of earth in your fist, feeling the grains squeezing between your fingers, you sit in emergency rooms waiting but knowing, you come home and it’s empty and full of silence, you stop writing, your life fills with a maze of black walls. Because, that’s what happens.
But life moves. Doctor Who re-launched on television, it showed up on DVD, and after a while, there was a reason to start collecting them. I’m not a collector, but my ex-wife is. So there was a purpose. I got to watch the whole thing over in the process. A friend turned me onto Star Trek Continues, and I was amazed. I went back to the Barbara Benedetti Doctor, stumbled over the Rupert Booth Doctor, and I got interested. I started writing again. All sorts of things. About fan films even.
An old novel I’d written got published. Actually, just a few months ago. The Mermaid’s Tale, a fantasy murder mystery through Five River’s Publishing.
This place gave me a venue to publish all these fan film reviews that had begun to clutter up my hard drive. And with that, the simple presence of this encouraged me to write more. Eventually, that evolved into my corresponding with some of these creators, more or less to tell them I admired their work. I’m not really big on conversation.
And eventually, that lead to this book. So thank you, Drew. And thank you, Puro. And anyone else, I suppose. I’m not sure what for. I guess for being a part of the pathway. Or something. Whatever. But thank you.
I suspect I’m not really cut out to be a fan. I’m a bit too jagged around the edges, too prone to zigging when the consensus is to zag, perhaps a bit socially maladept, or whatever. I’m fine with that. I don’t know that. This is not my place, and I won’t be hanging out here. But that’s okay.
Anyway, it all helped to lead to this book. It’s a small thing about an obscure corner of the cultural landscape of somewhat obscure show. But that’s okay. It’s a fine book, I’m proud of it.
See you around.