Issue 22 of Whotopia is out now.
Yes, the one with the massive Cyber-article. On Cybermen. That was a useful coincidence really.
Pride and Cyber-prejudice (now what is the point in an elongated article if you can't come up with a really godawful pun for the title) started as an SOS from Jez Strickley. Whotopia were several pages short for Issue 22 and they needed a miracle inside two days.
Instead, they turned to me.
No, I have no idea why either.
Jez and Bob Furnell wanted seven thousand words on Cybermen within forty-eight hours. I say wanted, it was more kind of an "asked kindly for some words, which could be on anything, and it'd be nice if they came in ASAP."
So, faced with the juggernaut, I did what any other writer would do in the position. Begged for help.
The miraculous bit was when it came along.
First off, I had Andrew Pixley to thank. Writer of more indepth TV history articles than you can fit in a massive anthology, and lovely guy to boot. Whilst I was writing this meagre article, he uncovered phone hacking world wide, wrote a novel on Sidney Newman, and had a 700 page critique on I Claudius finished. I exaggerate only a little (or a lot) but the man is an inspiration to all far lazier writers I could name. Like ones who write blogs people might be reading at this very moment. Anyhow, I expressed doubt at my ability, he told me to go do it, I did it. Without a nice Pixley comment at exactly the right part of the day, the thing wouldn't have happened. So he gets thanks right off the bat.
Phil Williams AKA Colonel Renegade AKA Him from Wales. He supplied the colourful description of his love of Cybermen in the early part of the article. Being Victorian in nature, I had to edit some of his swearing out, but otherwise utterly as it was. He DID also create the shortest Doctor Who audio in history, and I have a copy somewhere.
Arnold T Blumberg is a writer and expert on Doctor Who, zombies, horror, The Thing, comics, spinetingling horrors, old school horror, horror movies and LEGO. He can be found in a Starbucks near you, furiously writing away for a deadline, which could be on any number of things. Here, he continues his long tradition of being extraordinarily nice to me, by providing some quotes about his love of Cybermen and their return this year.
During the Wheel in Space section, I mention my first ever article for Whotopia. It may be online, but please don't go looking for it. It is really really bad. Bob wont ever say that, because he's a lovely chap, but it is. Sounds like it was written by a grumpy teenager. (Written eight years ago, it WAS written by a grumpy teenager!)
Seumas Skinner is Shim. Yes, if in doubt, bring in yer best pal. I could say many things about me and Mandy's best man at our wedding, and it would embarrass him greatly. (Isn't that what pals are for? Heh!) I will say he has the patience of a saint (he's laughing about now, but he DID survive sharing a flat with me for eight months, the poor sod) and I do genuinely believe he'll be a big shot politico one day... if his girlfriend doesn't beat him to it.
The Lucky Lady lot. McRani, Susan, Menny, Pete, Sosia and Steve W. Well, someone had to say something good about Revenge of the Cybermen. Lovely folk, even if they have some strange opinions on Doctor Who. Like not liking The Moonbase. Or liking Terminus. McRani also produced the joke very early on (about Moonbases), and is a man of the 90s. The 1790s.
One day I shall look in a pint glass forlornly, looking back at my missed chances, and tell the bar staff of the time I knew of that Tom Jordan, multiple time BAFTA and Oscar winner. No one will believe me. Tom took the very little info I can pass on about writing, and ran with it to the point where if he hasn't already, he will soon swiftly pass me by as a far superior talent. As one of the finest young playwrights I've read (is he even twenty yet?), the only thing that will prevent greatness is if he gains an ego or drinks all his shots away. If he does either, I will hunt him down and kill him.
Toby Hadoke. You may have heard of him. Earlier this year, I wrote him a "nice article" reply about one of his many pieces, and he sent me a very nice thanks. So naturally my next reaction was to say "Can you supply lots of quotes for my article, ta. PS I can't pay you." Instead of doing the normal thing in a situation like that, ignoring the pest or putting a hit out on them, Toby Hadoke gave me a long reply about his thoughts on Cybermen and some of his work, most of which I was able to use in the article. He's an exceptionally busy man and took time out to give me some help. I am very thankful of that.
Ben Adams (who will one day write that story about zombie toast) and John Davies (who once wrote his dissertation on Doctor Who continuity errors) both supplied support, and are wonderfully talented as writers too.
And finally, a special mention for Joe Lidster. A week after the article went to its Editors, he asked me if I wanted some quotes. I'd timed asking him for just after he went off on a holiday, very bad timing on my part. Joe is a writer I just knew would be pegged for big things about a paragraph into his first story of his I read. Eight years on, he has some acclaimed SJA scripts to his name, one of which was called "too scary" by some of its target audience. (Now THAT is a review I'd love!) His offer to help, even coming too late, meant an awful lot to me, as has his many small bits of advice and help over the years, so he too gets an acknowledgement here.
So thank you all!
And next time I am asked to write 7k on a Doctor Who thing, like, say, The Zarbi, I'll ask much further in advance for the help!