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Jul 19, 2006

Meet the Authors: Jon Clifford

Age: 37 Very_recent_photo_of_me_1

Location: Bath

Homepage: PeterClifford.co.uk (Undergoing extensive overhauls). It’s nothing about me, but it is a chance to give my brother a little more exposure.

Earliest Doctor Who Memory: I wrote something a long time ago in a fanzine about the memory of waiting to watch being far stronger than the programme itself. Having said that, I have vague memories of Jon Pertwee in what, I think, turned out to be Carnival of Monsters.

And on the opposite end of the spectrum: Most of the McCoy era can be written off as light entertainment nonsense and the TV Movie should be derided as much as the Star Wars Holiday Special is. Fear Her deserves special mention, too, for being the worst episode of the last two years. Overall, I think I’ll go for that one.

Favourite Doctor Who TV Story of all-time: City of Death was a great story but I don’t know if Father’s Day didn’t just beat for the sheer emotional power it had for me.

Favourite Doctor: Terrible outfit aside, I always had a fondness for Colin Baker. Special should go to Christopher Ecclestone for bringing the whole thing back so well, but I did like Colin’s verbose ranting.

Favourite Companion: It has to be Captain Jack. Despite tough competition from the likes of Sarah-Jane, I think he was the favourite.

Favourite Doctor Who Novel: Unless Target novels count (of which I have quite a few) the only one I’ve read was a gift from my bro. The Clockwise Man.

Favourite Doctor Who Audio: The only one I managed to hear all the way through was one of the BBCi productions in which Colin Baker battled the Cybermen.

Favourite Doctor Who Website: Would have to be Tachyon TV.

Favourite non-Who Website: Where to start? BBC for news, Overheard In Ney York for eavesdropping, Post Secrets for human interest and Office Humour for laughs. There are many others, but these are my regulars.

Favourite Film: Impossible question. Even if I were to list my fave film in each genre it would still be nigh on impossible. I’ve always loved Harvey, think that Michael Douglas gave a career best in Falling Down, really enjoyed The Mummy and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was fascinated by Short Cuts and Memento and could (and have) watch The Princess Bride many times over. This is a sample of those films that I consider great but which of these should my favourite. I wouldn’t like to say.

Favourite TV Show: I’m a fairly recent convert to the marvellous Scrubs. Fraiser is another all time great along with Buffy, Angel and 24.

I enjoy listening to: Music has never been much of a driving factor in my life. I tend to go for individual tracks rather than groups. Although I do like Frank Sinatra and Elvis. Then there’s the compilation that I have on my PDA for when I do feel like music. That has selected tracks from Queen, Bon Jovi, the Young Ones (With Cliff Richard), Del Amitri, the Toy Dolls and other varied and eclectic numbers.

I enjoy reading: To quote Hamlet "Words, words, words!" Or to put it another way, this is where my passion lies. I love reading. Favourite authors number among David Gemmell, Colin Dexter, Mike Gayle, Christopher Brookmyre, Stephen Fry, Terry Pratchett, the excellent Lee Child and the hugely clever, funny, weird and overall captivating Jasper Fforde. There are so many others that I could name, but I know I have to stop somewhere. The only genre that I avoid is, oddly, the ‘classics’. Once in a while, I do try to get on with the Penguin Classic series but fail every time. Oliver Twist was dull and nobody sang in it at all. The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Don Quixote were turgid nonsense. Moby Dick (which I’m sure you all know concerns a big whale) was so slow that it took Ishmael 120 pages to even get to the boat! I’ll stick to the contemporary stuff thanks. Oh and then there’s the comics. I’ve always been a Spider-man fanboy, but do like the JLA and Batman books, too. I’ve recently got into the Marvel ‘relaunch’ of their main characters under the Ultimate banner particularly Ultimate Spider-man run.

Other sci-fi I enjoy: Buffy and Angel were both very good. I was a huge fan of Babylon 5 and do enjoy Smallville.

Thing that irritates me the most: Being a miserable old bugger, I would have to say that pretty much everything irritates me to an equally massive degree. But if I had to pick something specifically, I’d have to say excessive negativity is a real downer.

Favourite Joke: There is one that I used to tell, but since I reformed I try not to gloat anymore. There is one joke, the punch line to which I use a lot.

A coach full of day-trippers gets a flat tyre the driver gets out and starts to replace it. However he’s having trouble loosening the wheel nuts. Eventually a young lady gets off the bus and in an attempt to help says to him

"Would you like a screwdriver?"

"Might as well" he replies "I can’t get this bloody wheel off."

Now almost every time I’m looking for a screwdriver, or have to use one I at least think to myself, if not actually say aloud, "Might as well. I can’t get this bloody wheel off." Which is very sad, but just the kind of guy I am.

Guilty Pleasures: You need a conscience to be guilty about stuff, so I’m pretty much in the clear here. Actually I’m kind of boringly straight up. Although, I suppose that Poker (both online and live) could be listed here.

Reasons for Blogging: I’ve always enjoyed writing. I had a staff appraisal once that said "Jon won’t use one word where ten will do". So the chance to practice that was very tempting and it does save my poor wife from having to endure endless discourse on the ups and downs of Who. So, I do it because it’s fun, I enjoy getting feedback on my views and it’s a humane act within my marriage

Comments

Aha, a Colin Baker fan. Good for you, there aren't enough of us!

It wasn't Col's fault he was saddled with shit material and that bloody costume. Take all the tacky visuals away and give him a decent script and he really makes the role his own; he comes out top in the Big Finish audios BY MILES.

Slipback was still fucking dreadful though.

Actually that audio you mentioned was, I believe, "Real Time" which was a joint production of BBCi and Big Finish. So, yeah, that definetely counts.

I think this blogging lark benefits the friends/family a huge amount; no longer do my mates get bored being told how bad/brilliant something was.

Jon,
If you're a fan of Colin, you might want to give 'The One Doctor' audio a go. Both his and Bonnie Langford's performance in this story really surprised me. 'Chimes at Midnight' is another favourite of mine.

Glad to hear that you're also a fan of Batman and the JLA. DC are doing some really great work on both Superman and Batman right now. The 'Up, Up and Away' story arc is well worth buying. And 'Face the Face' by James Robinson really invigorates Batman after years of him being an obnoxious git. And after Identity Crisis, hopefully Brad Meltzer will redeem himself with the new JLA. Not too sure about Marvel's Civil War though.

Actually, I tend to be a bit lazy in my comic reading. I wait for the 'graphic novel' to be published and then just buy that. It saves having to collect the individual issues month after month, means I don't have to wait to see a cliffhanger resolved and they look better on my bookshelves.
So, despite having heard some interesting things 'Civil War' wise, I've yet to read any of it.

Speaking of comics, it seems to me there's some parallels between what, say, Grant Morrison has been doing with things like 'Seven Soldiers' and 'All-Star Superman' and what Rusty and the gang have been trying to do with Who - which is to make a tired genre fresh and fun again.
Some of the praise heaped here on the Battlestar Galactica remake reminds me of the persistence of the post-Watchmen/Dark Knight generation of superhero comics, where superficial and self-conscious grittiness was taken as a mark of greater maturity and superiority.
Discuss...

Except that the BSG reboot is good - make that BLOODY good - and the fact it's gritty (self-conscious or otherwise) is incidental.

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