Deeply saddened this week to hear of the deaths of Trevor Baxter and Deborah Watling, respectively Professor George Litefoot and Victoria Waterfield in Doctor Who. Both brilliant actors and beloved characters.
Deborah Watling played Victoria, companion to the Second Doctor, from 1967 to 1968. All but a handful of her episodes are, very sadly, missing from the BBC archives. It’s a great pity, because in her surviving episodes Debbie is always a delight. She sparkled in every scene she was in.
Her most famous moment, a quiet scene from Tomb of the Cybermen in which the Doctor comforts her following the recent death of her father, is poingnant viewing and thoroughly recommended.
Trevor Baxter was only in one classic who serial, 1977’s The Talons of Weng-Chiang, but his character went on to a second life thanks to Big Finish and their Jago and Litefoot series. I’ve listened to the first few seasons and I could swear he and his co-star Christopher Benjamin hadn’t aged a day. He was always a soft-spoken, comforting presence in his stories and I look forward to listening to the rest, bittersweet as it might be.
Other than that sad news, I’ve had a pretty normal week. I’m still waiting to hear back about my hard drive (latest news is, they were having trouble sourcing replacement parts due to some dodgy behaviour on the part of the company it was originally purchased from), so a lot of my projects are still in limbo – plus this morning I remember another story that’ll be completely gone if I don’t get my data back. (Technically three stories, but I have hard copies of two.)
I’ve skipped ahead in novel-editing, so I’ve spent this week writing some new material, namely some samples of in-universe books to use as chapter epitaphs and a new prologue consisting of a heavily edited extract from a prequel short story.
Otherwise, I’ve been working on my new project, now sitting at just under 13,000 words (minus the stuff trapped on my dead drive).
I’m still reading A Song of Stone by Iain Banks, which I’m not loving, but reserving judgement on until I’m finished.
I listened to Big Finish’s two newest Short Trips, How to Win Planets and Influence People and Flashpoint.
How to Win Planets and Influence People is the latest in a line of stories featuring Rufus Hound as Classic Who villain the Meddling Monk. I have, hm, ambivalent feelings about it. The story itself, taking the form of a lecture delivered on the subject of invading the earth, is a delight, but I’m not sold on Rufus Hound’s Monk.
The Monk was only in two TV serials and in the first one he wasn’t actually a villain. An antagonist, but a largely benevolent one – he’s essentially a well-intentioned thrill-seeker. At one point in his introductory story, he takes in and cares for an injured medieval peasant and even laments not having better medical facilities.
In his second and last appearance, he was out for revenge on the Doctor, but more of an annoyance than an actual villain.
Rufus Hound is essentially playing the Master, but slightly less evil and a bit funnier. He’s a lot of fun to listen to, but he’s not really the Monk as I’d imagine him.
Flashpoint is read by Sheridan Smith as Eighth Doctor Adventures companion Lucy Miller. No complaints on this one – it’s more or less half an hour of solid action and I had a great time.
I also listened to The Eleven, the first episode of Doom Coalition, Big Finish’s most recent Eight Doctor boxset series. I’m reserving full judgement for now, but I’ve heard good things and I look forward to seeing where it’s going.
And I went to see Beyond Caravaggio at the Scottish National Gallery. Not 100% my thing – the Caravaggios themselves were all stunning, but the Caravaggioesque paintings I found less thrilling and (after a while) a bit samey. But interesting nonetheless, and I got some lovely postcards.
Next week… more job applications.