Friday, December 27, 2013

Adventures With the Wife in Space (Neil & Sue Perryman), not an adventure likely to be repeated in our house

Until recently, watching Doctor Who seemed destined to be a solo activity in our house. Cheryl wasn’t a fan and over the last ten years I’ve watched every episode of the new series alone.

She had an epiphany in November and watched the anniversary episode with Littl’un, declaring that it was quite good. Unfortunately an epiphany U-turn occurred about 10 minutes into Christmas Day’s episode – just after the weeping angels but before any of the really sad stuff – when Cheryl left the room and now her Doctor Who boycott seems as strong as ever!

For Christmas – post-epiphany, but pre-reversal of opinion – I bought her a copy of Neil Perryman’s Adventures with the Wife in Space: Living With Doctor Who, about Neil and his wife Sue watching the entire canon of Doctor Who. Sue scored and reviewed ranted about each episode and Neil posted about the multi-year project on his blog.

Having pinched the book and read it over the last two days – well it’s Christmas and everyone knows that they buy presents for other people that they’d really like for themselves – I’ve come to the conclusion that even if Cheryl was still hooked on Doctor Who, it might not have been the book to encourage her fandom!

Being of an age where Tom Baker was my first Doctor, Peter Davison my favourite, and the early novelisations in Lisburn Library my main source of stories, the book proved useful as a way of allowing someone else to watch all the early stuff that I’ll never get around to.

I’m a fan, but not to the extent I have that amount of time to devote to it, and Sue’s musings have given me an independent opinion on whether I’ve missed anything.

BBC Four broadcast the four episode-long original story An Unearthly Child in November and to be frank it was awful. The story crept along at the pace of K9 moving on a sandy beach. So I wasn’t sure the old stuff was as good as people said.

From Sue’s scoring and commentary it sounds like the Pertwee era was good. Not necessary for the Doctor’s performance, but the ensemble around him and the storylines that held it together. But I seem well shot of Hartnell and Troughton.

An amusing romp through the perils of being too caught up in the cult of Doctor Who, Adventures With the Wife in Space is a reminder that what seemed good at the time may not age well. It poses some good questions, like why – with all the modern Doctor references to the Time War – didn’t the earlier Doctors talk about it?

But in the end, it’s a celebration of an incredibly long-running series and its ability to generate conversation and relationship … and a warning that fans can really annoy the actors (like the time Neil upset Colin Baler with his fanzine, and Sue upset John Levene, the actor who played UNIT’s Sergeant Benton)!

Currently £7 for the dead tree version on Amazon, or £5 on Kindle.

Update - As if by magic, Neil Perryman is interviewed on the Tin Dog podcast this week.

1 comment:

Niall said...

Have to agree with Cheryl on the Christmas episode - we thought it was very poor (judged by Mrs Niall and I having switched attention to Candy Crush and news feeds within 10 minutes!)