Tuesday, 17 February 2015

We Want War!

Seasons of War to be specific.

Just in case you need background here:  This all begins in the last moments of the finale of Doctor Who's 2013 run, the back end of the split seventh season.  In the last few moments of The Name of the Doctor, with Clara having rescued the Doctor from the Great Intelligence's attempt to destroy his timeline, the Doctor rescues Clara herself from his own collapsing timeline. But there they see a mysterious figure, the 'one who broke the promise'. An old man who did what he did 'in the name of peace and sanity'.  But not in the name of the Doctor...

It introduced the War Doctor; the Doctor who fought in the Time War.  A man the Doctor deliberately tried to forget.  In reality the character's an elegant solution to the problem of Christopher Eccleston not wanting to appear in the 50th anniversary special - in actuality it's far more than that given they got one of the finest actors on this or any other planet, John Hurt, to play him.  It was a memorable appearance, Hurt playing off David Tennant and Matt Smith as the exasperated older brother quite wonderfully and switching from witty banter to gravitas in a heartbeat.  Or couple of heartbeats.  The War Doctor was to reappear just once more, in George Mann's novel Engines of War which details the incident leading up to the events seen in Day of the Doctor.

Such a waste.

Cue Declan May, looking for a way to raise money for a charity which had helped his family and many other families, Caudwell Children. The exuberant and talented Mr May hit upon the idea of telling stories of the Time War, tales of this Doctor we'd barely seen.  And so, after chats with Paul Spragg of Big Finish he embarked upon a quest to find the writers to make it all happen, by hook, by crook and by an open submissions process.

I had the fortune to be involved with a much smaller scale project with Declan in late 2013, the Twelve Doctors of Christmas. Declan wrote an extraordinary story re-creating the dash and wit of the year Douglas Adams script-edited the series, I came up with a vignette for the Christopher Eccleston's incarnation.  It was an immensely fun project which made us both a whole lot of new friends of extraorindary creativity - John Davies, Simon Brett, Lee Rawlings, Dan Barratt and others... and we agreed to be involved in the new anthology.  Who wouldn't want to? The chance to play with a new toy in the Doctor Who sandbox?  And for charity?  Sign us up!

Along the way the project expanded hugely, ending up spiralling from the original planned dozen stories to nearly 40.  And it acquired a film to go with it.  And a comic strip from Who novelist Jim Mortimore.  And contributions from Who luminaries such as Jenny Colgan, Lance Parkin, John Peel, Gary Russell, Andrew Smith and Paul Magrs.  It's ended up just under 400 pages and, as I type just over two weeks after release has raised £5,740.82 on ebook downloads alone. I've read every story and frankly it's a wonderful piece of work packed with imaginative stories, many of which couldn't be done with any other Doctor.  I'm deeply proud to have been involved.  To download it, go to Declan's Just Giving page, donate what you can and you should receive an email with a link to download it.  Or, if you're more into the hardcopy side of things, a paperback's due out sometime around April.

And if that still doesn't convince you, I'll be putting up a post with teasers for each story very soon (no spoilers though, obviously, because I'm not an utter bastard).

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