Thursday, January 18, 2007

Is it the 51st century already*?

I got an unexpected email from Ian Potter the other day, with some very good news. For those unaware of Ian, he - along with Phil Purser-Hallard - is one of the main reasons that I wish the BBC Doctor Who book range had either (a) kept going a bit longer or (b) been more receptive to talent over nepotism.

Put simply, Ian is the one great discovery (for me, at least) of the Big Finish short story collection, and I think it's a great shame that he never got a chance to write a full length Who novel. For Big Finish, he never disappointed and wrote the first truly excellent Short Trips story, "Still Lives", which uses a minor detail from Inferno to create a subtle and genuinely moving tale of alternate universes. If you haven't read it, hunt down a copy of the collection on eBay and give yourself a treat.

Anyway, the good news is that Ian has had a comedy series commissioned for BBC radio, in seven fifteen minute parts and called No Tomatoes , to start later this year. I've never seen any of his non-prose work (although he was short-listed for the Alfred Bradley Bursary Awards for one of his plays recently), but if his prose is any measure, the series should be more than worth tuning in for ('tuning in for' - how old does that make me sound? Someone get me the wireless, a pair of comfy slippers and a copy of 'Dick Barton - Special Agent').

Between this and little hints that the likes of Simon Forward and Mark Michalowski have dropped on their blogs about mysterious new commissions, it looks like this year could finally be the one in which the cream of the Who crop stage a great breakout from the tie-in ghetto and launch mainstream careers.

And not before time, frankly.

* Do I win a prize for most cumbersome and geeky blog post title ever?


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Blogger IZP said...

Kind words Stu, but (I sound like a young Richard Herring only not as good) I honestly don't think anything held me back with BBC books other than my own lack of comfort and confidence with big long twisty plots and my laborious approach to prose writing. Simply, I never pitched anything to the BBC but if I had it would have been far too slow and too dull for the brand.

All the best


PS There's only six episodes of the radio show, and I'm thrilled that Mark and Simon are making leaps forward too. I rate them very very highly.

8:23 am  
Blogger Stuart Douglas said...

Ian: "it would have been far too slow and too dull for the brand"

Which just goes to shwo what authors know. Apart from anything else, slow and dull would have fitted in perfectly towards the end - and anything you wrote *must* be better htan such artistic triumphs as Island of Death and Spiral Scratch...

9:19 pm  
Blogger SAF said...

Man, you guys are just too kind. Meanwhile, I am resolved to make this 'my year' but I'm not half glad it's looking like it could be 'their year' for certain well-deserving others too. :)
(IIRC I told Ian he should write a full Beeb novel, but frankly he's moved on to better things. Onwards and upwards!)

11:15 pm  
Blogger TimeWarden said...

Hope you're enjoying your "Sykes" DVD. Which episodes? About time the BBC repeated some of them again as much as I enjoy "Porridge"!

I've several b/w "Steptoe" DVDs, from Christmas, to watch my way through, meantime...

2:48 am  

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