Short thoughts on Doctor Who, disc by disc (originally published June 2012)

Underworld

Tonight’s soundtrack: Manorexia, “Cosmos Brutile”

If this copy of The Doctor Who Programme Guide, Volume 1 (reprinted 1984) by Jean-Marc Lofficier with a foreword by Barry Letts is to be believed (and it is; this is a Genuine Artifact from the First Age of my love for Doctor Who), when I was 13, I thought that making a reference to the legend of Persephone by naming your spaceship the P7E was pretty cool.

Cool, or at least significant. Maybe funny? It’s tough, at this remove, to interpret everything that my younger self intended when he marked up this paperback. There are at least four differently-colored markers at work1; “P7E” has been highlighted, exactly once, in orange2.

Other phrases highlighted in orange throughout the guide include:

“the Master, who escapes”

“(Doc Holliday)”3

“5G The Creature from the Pit (4 episodes)”

“Captain Yates has been converted to their cause and is working against UNIT.”

“The Beatles (Themselves)”

“(Seth)”

Young me left no actual notes in these books. No words. No arrows, no doodles in the margins. It’s all about calling attention to the facts, the words, the elements that seem important to him. Things he wanted to see, or remembered enjoying. I think he treated these books like maps. The highlights are plotting out a course, discovering and marking the story of how Doctor Who works, where it turns, what it’s built on.

It’s a kid working out the best way to break into a fiction.


1 And, intriguingly, a pencil that is only put to use on one entry: Colony in Space.

2P7E is not highlighted in its entry in Volume 2. Volume 2, however, has only two ink colors throughout. The entire entry for Rassilon is highlighted in pink.

3 “Richard Beale (Bat Masterson)” is not highlighted or remarked upon at all. Huh.

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