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Vampyros Adric: Top Ten Writers

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Vampyros Adric
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« on: January 05, 2013, 09:57:43 pm »

My top ten is something that is inherently wrapped up with my love of Who: The writers. Ever since I was young, the Doctor Who universe offered me the chance to write short stories and expand the adventures of my hero. At heart I want to be a writer for Doctor Who (all I lack is the necessary talent). So my 50th Anniversary Top 10 is my own tribute to the men who are the dreamers of dreams and who have given us some of the finest tales ever seen in science fiction.

It is not a perfect list by any means. There is, it must be said, a shocking lack of diversity in the list. They are all white, middle class males. No female writer or writer of colour was even in the running for the list. I apologise for this but it reflects the reality of the writing pool. Also, as with all of these top tens, they are inherently subjective. This is my opinion and my categorisation as to who is the most important and significant writer. For this, I do not apologise - I have strong opinions on what is good writing and what isn't. But I would really love to see your opinions and ideas.

I have set certain criteria for acceptance into the list. I have discounted "one-off" authors who may be literary giants (Douglas Adams and Neil Gaiman are the two I was thinking of) but they haven't written enough for the show. Similarly, there are writers who have written numerous stories but haven't (in my opinion) made the cut on grounds of my own personal taste. 

I will add a writer every week until we reach the number 1 spot (who I know will be a controversial choice). So without further ado, on with the motley......
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013, 09:59:30 pm »

NUMBER 10



BOB BAKER & DAVE MARTIN





Bob Baker (born 26 July 1939) and Dave Martin (born on 1 January 1935) were an accomplished television and film writing team. Initially recruited by Terrance D1cks and Barry Letts to write on Jon Pertwee's second series, they went on to contribute numerous scripts for Doctor Who between 1971 and 1979 including:

The Claws of Axos (1971)
The Mutants (1972)
The Three Doctors (1973)
The Sontaran Experiment (1975)
The Hand of Fear (1976)
The Invisible Enemy (1977)
Underworld (1978)
The Armageddon Factor (1979)

Together they were nicknamed "The Bristol Boys" by the Doctor Who production teams with whom they worked.
Baker and Martin's most notable contributions to the Doctor Who mythos were probably the robot dog K9 (created for The Invisible Enemy) and the renegade Time Lord Omega (created for Doctor Who's tenth anniversary story, The Three Doctors).

Rather than have me write an inordinately long tribute I think it is best to let these two writers speak for themselves....

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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 12:30:03 pm »

It's nice to see the writers and behind the scenes staff get a mention here. I'm not sure if it is a list I would have been able to compile. I'm more than familiar with the writers of stories, but with Who I find that a lot of writers will write something great and then follow it up with a duffer. I'd probably have to base it solely on my top favourite stories and list who wrote them. It will be an interesting read, I'm sure.
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013, 02:04:31 pm »

I honestly have no idea who would make my top ten, but I know that I would put Nation at the top.
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2013, 11:46:04 pm »

I think that at times their stories can be a bit hit and miss, but one thing that you can't deny is that they came up with some brilliant themes and ideas to explore. The main plots of their stories were always decent, I think it was the dialogue that was sometimes a bit ropey. Never ever terrible though.
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 05:20:05 pm »

I'll be interested to see how this list plays out if these guys are only managing tenth position. There must be some fierce competition. Are you covering both eras?
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2013, 01:05:53 pm »

Does Bob Baker have something wrong with his hand? It looks really odd in that picture.

Anyway, two great writers who penned some brilliant stories for the show and who both went on to great things beyond Doctor Who (Bob Baker especially had good luck with the Wallace and Gromit stories). I think they definitely deserve a mention and I also think that they would be at the lower end of the list had I written it, too.
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2013, 01:32:38 pm »

Does Bob Baker have something wrong with his hand? It looks really odd in that picture.

It doesn't look quite right, does it?

Two brilliant writers and collaborators here. This would be a difficult one for me to call in regards to where I would put them, but I think they are definitely worthy of a place on any top Who writers list.
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2013, 12:18:13 pm »

When it comes to the writers of NuWho I am quite good with knowing who is who and who wrote what, but my knowledge of who wrote the classics is really limited. I know quite a few of the writers, but couldn't necessarily match them up to their stories. Or not all of them, anyway. And some of them I have no idea of at all. A list like this is good to highlight that, but I'd never be able to one myself.
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2013, 04:30:27 pm »

NUMBER 9


GARETH ROBERTS


Gareth Roberts (born 1968 as Gareth John Pritchard Roberts) is a writer and novelist. He has a substantial body of work related to Doctor Who and he has written four stories for the post 2005 incarnation of Doctor Who (and has co-written a fifth with RTD). He was one of the first of the 'new wave' of fans who became writers, and his first foray into writing for Doctor Who was The Virgin New Adventure series in the early 1990s. His writing was extremely well received and has led to him working extensively across the entire Doctor Who range.

On 25 December 2005 a special 'interactive' mini-episode of Doctor Who written by Roberts, Attack of the Graske, was broadcast. Roberts also wrote a series of Tardisodes the short stories which were available online promoting the Series 2 of Doctor Who in 2006.

Roberts graduated to fully fledged series writer in the third series, going on to write four full episodes of Doctor Who;

"The Shakespeare Code" (series 3)
"The Unicorn and the Wasp" (series 4)
"The Lodger" (series 5)
"Closing Time" (series 6)

Roberts also co-wrote, with Russell T Davies, "Invasion of the Bane", the pilot episode of the Doctor Who spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures. He wrote two two-part stories for the full series of The Sarah Jane Adventures, which began broadcasting in the autumn of 2007, and another two two-part stories for the 2008 series. He eventually inherited the mantle of head-writer for the SJA and contributed some of the most memorable adventures including 10th Doctor Story, The Wedding of Sarah-Jane.

Roberts co-wrote with Davies again for the second of the 2009 specials of Doctor Who, "Planet of the Dead".

It is a measure of the high regard in which Gareth Roberts is held that he was chosen by the BBC to produce a written novelisation of Shada, the uncompleted Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor) story written by Douglas Adams.

he's in the list because..

Roberts is a writer whose style tends to combine action and humour. His stories tend to include development arcs for subsidiary characters whilst generally portraying the Doctor as a sympathetic and 'human' character. Roberts writes extremely well for all protagonists in his stories and his plots are generally interesting and coherent. The introduction of the character of Craig Owens (played by James Cordon) has been a welcome addition to the "regular" irregular characters of the new series. Robert's stories are both warm and interesting, and he is a writer who is perfectly suited for the new style of Doctor Who, whilst retaining the flavour and charm of the classic series.

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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2013, 04:41:18 pm »

I've not been as keen on his stories involving Craig, but the rest of his work on DW has been brilliant imo, and he did an excellent job with his stories on SJA.
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2013, 05:30:12 pm »

I actually have a real soft spot for the Craig stories. And have enjoyed all the other stories mentioned - good choice  Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2013, 09:33:44 pm »

I think he's a great writer. I like the Craig stories, I just don't like Craig. Well, James Cordon. Someone else in the role would have made him a lot more watchable for me.
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2013, 03:48:31 pm »

I didn't like craig at first but he grew on me. I think Roberts is a great writer and a great choice for the list.
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2013, 08:25:29 pm »

I was also really glad to have a proper 'fan' on the list. A lot of my selections are jobbing 'writers for hire' who have a number of different irons in the fire but Gareth Roberts really is a fan of the show and wants his stories to be good Smiley

The selections start to get a bit controversial from herein... Cheesy
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2013, 07:58:54 pm »

Imo, the writers who are fans beforehand always come in and give the best stories. They know what it's like to be on the other side and most often give the stories that the fans want to see. Gareth Roberts is an excellent choice.
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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2013, 12:08:06 pm »

Gareth Roberts is one of those writers where I could say I knew he wrote for the show, but I wouldn't have been able to point you to his episodes, but when you see what he has done, for DW and SJA, he really has given us some excellent stories.
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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2013, 11:12:01 am »

Good choice. His stories have been great and he writes the characters really well. He tends to lean towards comedy, which he is obviously skilled at, but it would be nice to see something more dramatic from him perhaps.
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« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2013, 05:02:18 pm »

Gareth Roberts brought the Cybermats back. That's good enough for me for his inclusion Tongue
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« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2013, 04:49:02 pm »

This is possibly the most controversial of the list (and also I'm being a bit cheeky by cramming two writers in under one heading....)

NUMBER 8


Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis


Kit Pedlar (Dr Christopher Magnus Howard Pedler) (born 11 June 1927 died 27 May 1981) was a medical scientist, science writer and science fiction writer. He was brought into Doctor Who in the mid 1960s by Innes Lloyd to bring some 'hard science' into the show. He teamed up with writer and soon to be Script Editor Gerry Davis (born 23 Feb 1930, died 31 August 1991) and between them they created the iconic Cybermen based around Pedlars prediction of bio-engineering and environmental concerns (concerns that would later lead them to create Doomwatch).

Between them they wrote..

The Tenth Planet
The Tomb of the Cybermen

Kit Pedlar
The War Machines
The Moonbase
The Wheel in Space
The Invasion

Gerry Davis
The Highlanders
Revenge of the Cybermen

They're in the list because..

Ok, I admit a little bit of Classic Who snobbery sneaking in here. But without these two, the entire direction of the show might have been completely different. They invented the Cybermen and in doing so, tried to posit a warning about the future extrapolated from (then) current science fact. It is a theme that was returned to on numerous occasions (most notably when Christopher H. Bidmead tried to restore a science-centric approach to the show, citing Pedlar and Davis as a key influence on the early focus of the show. Even just for inventing Cybermen, their place amongst the Grandees of the Show is assured. But just look at the stories that they wrote (or in Pedlar's case suggested). They were way ahead of their time and without them, Doctor Who might not have been so popular - nor even so long-lived. This is my humble tribute to the forgotten heroes of the show!
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