mtvessel: (Default)
Mar 2014
The Life & Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner - Richard Marson - Miwk Publishing, 2013
* * * *
Dr Who has had a surprisingly large effect on my life, even though a traumatic early experience (the maggots in The Green Death) meant that I found it much too scary when I was in its primary target age range. I first started taking an interest in the final Tom Baker season, being impressed by the ingenious way in which ideas introduced earlier in the season, such as e-space, Charged Vacuum Emboitments and the Master's return, were all brought together in Logopolis. The following season introduced a new Doctor, Peter Davison, who felt fresh and modern after the hamminess of Baker, and there were some clever storylines such as Castrovalva and Kinda (rubber snake not withstanding), culminating in Earthshock, a story that actually lived up to its name. It is the first time I can remember being profoundly moved by something on television, and it's not an experience I have had very often since.

The fact that I remember the episodes so well shows what a profound influence it had on my imagination. But that was not all. My brother and his friend Richard started putting together tape-slide presentations of favourite Dr Who stories. Then portable video cameras became hireable from a local shop, and with the tacit support of my parents, they made a spectacularly amateur version of Pyramids of Mars, roping me in to play one of the bad guys. After that there was no stopping them. For over a decade they produced at least one film every year, starting with adaptations and then original scripts (I wrote a couple of them). They built up a team of actors and technicians under the name Mattol, derived by combining their surnames. From that group has come some life-long friendships, two professional actors (including one you will probably have heard of) and a TV producer. Not bad for a bunch of teenagers messing around with a video camera.
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