It sounds mealy-mouthed, but the big, box set releases hastened my demise as DWM‘s regular DVD reviewer. Just too much stuff to wade through, and a little soul destroying watching a zillion DVD extras that were often neither very good, nor very bad.
This is from DWM #426, and the opening paras were my attempt to bring a slightly different perspective to the story. Namely: Can you imagine nowadays if they introduced a new Doctor in such a haphazard fashion? You probably can’t, because they absolutely wouldn’t. It’s staggering to think poor old Sylvester McCoy was revealed in such a botched way.
I did enjoy coming up with my own bastardised aphorisms; making some fun out of that silly conceit. Although I fear I rather over-egged the prodding.
When I first submitted this piece, the preternaturally personable Peter Ware at DWM gently advised me I had to change the opening. I’d been bold, and slung in a wholly critical remark about something/someone (forgive me for being vague)… with the ‘joke’ being, later on in the piece, I’d recant completely. But, as the principled Peter pointed out, readers would possibly never get beyond that jibe.
It was a good point, and so I rewrote. I’m glad I did, even though my pay-off in the second paragraph is now very flabby indeed. But the original draft would have haunted me forever,
There’s an all-too-easy trick if you want to give the appearance your writing is structured and thought-through. Have the ending of a piece tie up its opening. That’s blatantly what I did here (from DWM #424.)
I recall a very good pal from a rival magazine telling me how neat this review was and I attribute that entirely to its symmetry. It’s not something I resort to very often. It makes me feel as though I’m not trying hard enough. Likewise, closing on a pithy final bon mot.
My final effort from DWM #423. This one was published credited to ‘James Kargoh’, rather than myself, as a bit of fun in deference to The King’s Demons.
I really, really hated the ‘special edition’ of Planet of Fire on this release, and remember the spite pouring from me as I wrote the curt few lines about it below. It felt quite brutal, but when I saw it again on the printed page, it wasn’t so cutting. A lesson, there.
Well, this one is full of a load of old nonsense, isn’t it? Although I was quite pleased with the “limey wimey” gag (even though anyone still trading off “timey wimey” come summer 2010 was probably pushing it a bit). After filing this piece, I remember Peter from DWM gently advised me it was felt I was quoting from the episodes a little too much. I was.
Hah! Well there’s a tiny bit of a story to tell with this one, from DWM #420…
And it begins with this, photographic evidence. I really did spot – and then push myself upon – William Russell in Wagamama one lunch time, an incident I wrote about in my review.
It was a happy coincidence. I was about to start work on this thing, and aside from helping me view the episodes more kindly than perhaps I might, it gave me an additional bit of business for the piece which, for a change, actually seemed worthwhile.
It also highlighted for me a truism. If your review ends up somehow as a sort of valediction for Doctor Who as a TV legend per se, then folk mostly like that. Continue reading →
From DWM #418, and after this one was published, one esteemed colleague texted me to say he thought I’d found my voice. And another also got in touch to tell me how disappointed they were with one of my remarks. Continue reading →
From DWM #417. A textbook, nonsense, delaying-writing-about-the-actual-story opener, here. And I remain puzzled to this day as to why Eckersley isn’t a more-loved character in DW lore. Continue reading →