Michaele Jordan‘s novel, Blade Light, is a charming traditional fantasy that was serialized in Jim Baen’s Universe and is now available as an ebook at Amazon or at iBooks. Her newest novel, Mirror Maze, is available now.
When I am not writing books (such as Mirror Maze) or even stories (check out the March issue of Redstone Science Fiction for my latest, “I Will Love You Forever“), I like to relax by watching Doctor Who.
I first met the Doctor in August, 1979. I was attending the Louisville NASFC and happened to attend the masquerade. One particular costume caught my eye. A tall man with a wonderful head of thick lamb curls, topped by a dramatic fedora, walked down the aisle. He had a scarf around his neck. And such a scarf! It was at least fourteen feet long, and adorned with rainbow stripes. Red stripes, green stripes, yellow stripes-I was charmed! I had no idea who he was, but I was in love.
Did I mention that, barring the scarf, he was nude?
In retrospect, I dare say he had a little bit of duct tape securing the scarf into position. Or maybe not. We fans were still young then, and often bold. So, barring both the scarf and the hypothetical tape, he was nude. The MC announced, “It seems that the Doctor has forgotten something again.” That costume made a permanent impression on my mind. I still didn’t know who the Doctor was, but I remembered him.
Round about 1983, I was in South Bend, IN (never mind why) watching TV. And there on the screen was a thick head of curls, a big hat, a colorful scarf. God help me, I recognized him. “That’s the Doctor!” I cried (I did not add, “whoever he is.”) and turned up the volume. Shortly thereafter, my local PBS affiliate picked up the show, and I became an addict.
For years I was almost obsessed. I collected every episode still extant. I compared Sylvester McCoy to Patrick Troughton and Colin Baker to Tom Baker. I reflected deeply on the underlying mythos. I wrote dozens of fan scripts. I only made one mistake. I recorded my whole collection on Beta.
So in 2008, circumstances forced me to start again-with a huge and heavy sigh-building a complete collection of all the extant Doctor Who from scratch. I was astonished to discover that it would not be as large or extensive as a collection of all extant Doctor Who from the mid-80’s.
I’ve acquired a certain reputation by now. So I was recently asked to join a convention panel, Farewell to Sarah Jane. In preparation, I went on line to review all Sarah Jane’s original episodes, starting with “The Time Warrior” (11th season, John Pertwee) and continuing on through “The Hand of Fear” (14th season, Tom Baker).
You know what? The official BBC episode guide is short by (at least) one story. It’s mildly possible that’s it’s missing from the beginning of the thirteenth season, but I’m pretty sure that it’s missing from the end of the twelfth season. (The official guide lists 20 episodes in season 12, while all surrounding seasons from the 7th to the 16th run 25 or 26 episodes.)
I am forever humiliated that I cannot remember the title of the missing story. But I can tell you what it was about. A stone hand with an unusual ring was found in a quarry. It got tossed into a nuclear reaction chamber just before a meltdown, and regenerated into a silicon being. (I hope you were not expecting rigorous science. This is Doctor Who.) This original incarnation appeared to be female, due to the proximity of Sarah Jane who provided a pattern. Later the alien decided to re-regenerate, this time as a masculine bad-ass who wanted to go out and conquer planets and revenge himself on the people who stuck him in the quarry in the first place.
During the course of all this excitement, Sarah Jane ran around wearing a costume that was astonishing even by Doctor Who standards (and I suspect the Doctor’s companions had to take bad taste tests), a pair of hot pink and white striped ‘Andy Pandy’ overalls. She uttered the immortal line, “If the Doctor’s scented a rat, than you can be sure there’s a rat about.” When temporarily taken over by the evil alien, she repeatedly chirped, “Eldrach MUST live!” All in all, it was a particularly memorable episode for Elizabeth Sladen fans.
Yet the BBC appears to have forgotten it existed. I could, perhaps, reflect sadly on the ravages of time. I could say, “All things must pass,” or even “Dust to dust.” But I’m not like that. I wrote the BBC. I don’t particularly expect an answer, but I wrote them. Because I am not hallucinating. I did not slip into a parallel dimension. That episode was real, and I saw it. Did any of you see it, too?