Thursday, July 9, 2015

In Writing

Doctor Who debuted on BBC television way, way back in 1963 and ran for 30 years, albeit with a brief hiatus thrown in.  When it went off the air, the BBC simply announced it as another "hiatus", but it soon became apparent to fans of this hugely popular show that the BBC had no intention of bringing it back.

Novelizations of the series were also popular, and when the TV show went away, it was decided to continue on with the adventures in paperback form.  Seven actors had portrayed the Doctor by that time.  (The Doctor had the ability to regenerate, enabling another actor to step into the role.)  While many novels were written featuring The Doctor in all of his incarnations, the "New Adventures" decided to focus on the last actor to play the role.

The Seventh Doctor had been played by Sylvester McCoy, who most recently played Radagast the Brown in the "Hobbit" movies.  His travelling companion at the time was Ace, portrayed by actress Sophie Aldred.  The novels were written with those characters in mind, but the decision was made to add a third companion--a character that also became very popular with Dr. Who fans.

Bernice Surprise Summerfield--also called "Benny"--was the creation of author Paul Cornell, first appearing in his novel "Love And War" in 1992.  When she joined the Doctor and Ace on their journeys, she was a 26th century archeologist.  She remained a character in the books right up to the last story in 1997.

To get back to our usual topic--spanking just didn't seem to happen in the Dr. Who universe.  There was never any spanking in the TV show.  I can think of a threat or two, maybe a one-whacker.  There was a script, I believe, during the run of the 2nd Doctor with a spanking in it, but that show was never made.  Even the novels ignored the practice. But I did find one cute reference in the book, "All-Consuming Fire", written by Andy Lane and published in 1994.

In this story, the Doctor, Ace and Bernice become involved in an investigation of an alien plot, and they meet some other people also looking into it--Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

At this point in the story, Dr. Watson and Benny find themselves in a battle, being advanced on by an alien who clearly plans to blow them away.  Just before that happens, the alien is killed by a character named Lord Ruxton, a member of the English aristocracy also involved in the fight.  Benny had spoken disparagingly of the aristocracy in the past, but now having had her life saved by one of them, the following exchange occurs as told by Dr. Watson on page 198:

"Well," Bernice said, "if you ever hear me say that the aristocracy was a useless vestigal appendix on the body of society, you have my permission to spank me soundly on the bottom."

I turned my head, and found myself gazing into her eyes from a distance of less than six inches.

"Can I have that in writing?", I asked.

"Ask me again when this is all over."

Nothing ever happens, of course, but it's always nice to run across these little mentions now and again!

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