I am forty four this year, which means that I was five when the Tom Baker Doctor Who adventure Terror of the Zygons first aired. I have a memory of it being utterly terrifying. And strange. And wonderful. And too much for my tiny mind to deal with.
Out of pure fear, I then decided to avoid Doctor Who for the rest of my childhood. I don't remember much else clearly from the Tom Baker years. I vividly remember literally hiding behind the sofa when the Daleks came on screen and still being able to see them in my head.
I remember Weetabix releasing tie-in Doctor Who cereal boxes and cards when I was seven. Their images are burned indelibly into my mind. They evoke childhood to me in a way that shows of the time never can. In many ways, my Doctor will always be two dimensional and made of cardboard (a fact I truly hope is not reflected in my work on the show).
Fast forward to 2014. I am writing for the British institution, children's nightmare factory and infinite narrative sand-pit that is Doctor Who. Which is an honour. And a joy. And a huge pressure. And very, very cool. And a chance to shine in front of the biggest audience I have ever had. (Or fall flat on my face, but let's not dwell on that.)
And I am going to do my damnedest to knock it out of the park. (I mean come on, if you don't go into writing anything with that as your aim, you're not a writer. With Doctor Who, that goes doubly so.)
A nice bonus of all of this is that I am now the coolest Uncle in the world. To not only my niece and nephew, but also to a bunch of my friend's kids. And I can finally show them something I've written because it doesn't have any swearsees or disemboweling.
Okay, maybe a little...
I am huge nerd in many ways but have never really succumbed to buying action figures. I told myself that if I got the Who gig, I'd buy me a couple. Just a couple.
As I sit writing this, on my desk I have two Tardises, a Tom Baker, a Tennant, four daleks, a Davros and a Matt Smith.
They're clustered around my keyboard. Totemic artefacts of an ancient and wonderful phenomenon with a voracious appetite for stories. And they watch me type. Awaiting the arrival of new monsters, worlds and adventures.
And I open my screenwriting program and I type: THE DOCTOR for the very first time. And I smile. And I put words in his mouth. And I make him run. And think. And fight. And the action figures look on, as another piece of their long never-ending history slots into place.
I love my job.