More milestones

Since I started my Doctor Who book read-through just over a year ago, I’ve posted occasional updates about it.

Some of these have been at (or near) significant milestones for the series itself (such as the boundary between the Troughton and Pertwee eras – or, to put it another way, the monochrome and colour eras) and others have been just at at moments when I had something moderately interesting to say (such as the reference to a “ham-fisted bun vendor” in one story).

Now, however, I have reached a personal Doctor-Who-related milestone within my read-through and am within sight of another.

I’m currently reading the novelisations of Season 14, which is the season that was being broadcast when I was born.  In other words, unlike all of the stories (or at least the original TV episodes on which the novelisations are based) I’ve read up to now (this time round), the ones I am about to read come from within my own lifetime.  Specifically, I’m in the middle of The Deadly Assassin, the third story of the season, which has the distinction of being (as far as I can remember) the only story in the classic series where the Doctor is entirely without regular companions.

Actually, given that I didn’t start watching Doctor Who as soon as I was born (or at least, don’t remember doing so), a more significant milestone would probably be the point at which I started watching Doctor Who and therefore saw most of the stories first-time round.  As far as I can recall, that was the “Five Faces of Doctor Who” season that the BBC showed towards the end of 1981, between the end of the Tom Baker era (finishing with Season 18 in early 1981) and the Peter Davison era (from Season 19 in early 1982).  This included repeats of one story each from the previous 4 Doctors (including Baker’s final story, Logopolis, which had a brief appearance by Davison at the end, justifying the title of the season and leading nicely into the new season that was to be shown after the Christmas break) as well as The Three Doctors, which (as the name suggests) included all of the first 3 Doctors.

Still, conceptually there seems to be quite a difference between “stuff that happened before I was born” (which feels properly historical) and “stuff that happened within my lifetime” (which I’m more inclined to classify as “current affairs”, although that’s probably stretching the definition a bit for things that were going on nearly 40 years ago!)

The other milestone I alluded to earlier is the point where, in my previous read-through, about 7 years ago, I stopped reading.  That was after reading The Invisible Enemy (the second story of Season 15 and notable as K9’s debut story).  I can’t remember why I stopped reading at that point – I think it was probably that I just got distracted with reading other things (it was just after Christmas 2006, so I probably had a stack of new books to read) and never quite got round to going back to it until so much time had passed that it made more sense to restart from the beginning.

In any case, this means that most of the Doctor Who books I’ll be reading from now on are ones I haven’t read for a very long time, if at all.   This time I fully intend to get to the end of the classic series run (possibly minus a handful of the 6th and 7th Doctor books that I don’t yet have in my collection and don’t want to spend large amounts of money on).  I’m currently just under halfway through (including all the extra books I have which are not novelisations of the TV serials) so if I continue reading them at the present rate I’d expect to finish sometime in the middle of 2015.

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