Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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Partners in Time

The new Bond film, SPECTRE, is out this week (I'm going tomorrow!), and new Doctor Who has been gracing our screens for a month or so now. Two very British franchises, both of which have played a not insignificant part in my life - Doctor Who from the age of eight or so, Bond from my teens.

The two have plenty more in common than my affection, of course. Both have a hero who, every so often, gets a different face; both are accompanied by a succession of young women who, this time, are different, because they're feisty and independent (in Bond's case, I think this was first said about Pussy Galore and has been repeated for every film since). The principal difference is that violence and killing are a last resort for the Doctor, and usually the first for Bond.

When I was a teenager, both series were in a state of hibernation, as well as deeply uncool. The BBC drop-kicked the Doctor in 1989, while Licence to Kill, released in the same year, looked for a time to be the end of Bond. Both were fatally holed by concerns about dwindling fan interest, and the licence to make Bond films also disappeared into legal hell for some years. (Timothy Dalton, my favourite Bond, and Sylvester McCoy, my second-favourite Doctor, both got a bit of a raw deal.)

Both made a comeback during my first year at university, Bond with GoldenEye and Who with the TV movie. Here their paths diverged for a while, the Bond flick enjoying more success than its counterpart. Pierce Brosnan went on to make a further three Bond films, while Paul McGann became a crucial component of the quietly thriving Doctor Who audiobook scene.

The re-reboot of each occurred within a similar timeframe, too. Christopher Eccleston made his debut as the Doctor in 2005, and Daniel Craig starred in Casino Royale in 2006. Both brought a new, slightly thuggish quality to the role, which worked better on Bond. And, suddenly, both franchises were cooler than they'd ever been.

They had new, young fans who were fans because the new stuff was good in and of itself, rather than of interest for what it represented. There was fanfic. The respective fandoms stopped being so male-dominated.

Neither seems to be for kids any more (and let us not pretend that the Bond movies weren't for kids). Doctor Who has been airing long past the bedtime of its former target audience. As for Bond, just look at the merchandising: when The Living Daylights came out, you could get collectable stickers in multipacks of Trio bars. Tie-ins for SPECTRE include Sony hardware and premium vodka.

So what is my problem? Why do I resent the popularity of something I liked during the wilderness years? Maybe I feel I deserve some kind of recognition, to be a higher-tier, more senior fan than the squealing Tennant-is-sexy/Craig-is-sexy mob (conveniently overlooking my own Pertwee-is-sexy/Dalton-is-sexy motives).

Obviously I'm not going to get it, because there is no higher authority (the M or Rassilon of Fandom) to bestow it. But I am grateful that both are providing me with more adventures to get excited or cross about, and while neither Peter Capaldi nor Daniel Craig will ever be my favourite incarnation of the character they play, both are doing a smashing job.

Carry on, chaps.
Tags: dr who, james bond

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