Apparently, it was 32 years ago yesterday (yes, yes, I know I’m late to the party) that Macmillan published Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text. It’s one I confess I haven’t read, although it set something of a precedent for academic analysis of the show, being (as far as I’m aware) the first of its kind. It’s a trend that’s continued through the decades that followed, perhaps reaching its zenith in Philip Sandifer’s Tardis Eruditorum series.
But something that struck me about the Manuel Alvarado book yesterday was that if you add a single word – ‘and’ – it sounds like a story. A slightly strange story, perhaps, but a story nonetheless. And I imagine it would look like this.
(Yes, yes, I know it ought to be Troughton, giving the obvious Mind Robber associations, but I couldn’t find an image that worked. Besides, Capaldi’s wearing his trousers, so not all is lost.)
Obviously, TV stories like this were few and far between – ‘…and the Silurians’ is about the only example I can think of before caffeine. But in the novelisations, it became something of a trend – sixty-eight of the first seventy were titled Doctor Who and the…, whether the TV story had done it or not. Only two – Death to the Daleks and The Three Doctors – were spared.
Why did they stop? It’s probably connected with Davison’s run in the TARDIS, in which credits began to list him as ‘The Doctor’, rather than ‘Doctor Who’. (There is a generally sneering attitude among many fans towards those supposedly inexperienced people who refer to the title character as “Doctor Who”, rather than “The Doctor”. The truth – as is usually the case in these things – is much murkier and more ambiguous.) In either event, subsequent stories were given the same titles as their TV adaptations, which in a way is something of a shame.
I’ve examined titles before, of course, but in any event I did a couple more in this line. Those of you wanting to know whether the Doctor ever went back for the book that he threw into a supernova (“Because I disagreed with it”) may examine this 2010 Steve Tribe volume:
And meanwhile, Marcus Hearn investigates sinister goings on at a London bank:
I think you get the point.