|Image supplied by the Scottish Tourist Board.|
Don't you just love it when a fan author does something fantastically unexpected with a character you love? Not unexpected because it's out of character (though that can be fun) but because you yourself had never really considered it.
Last night I read The Festival Of The Moon by Kathkin on Archive Of Our Own. It's a Second Doctor, Ben, Polly and Jamie story where the four accidentally gatecrash an alien marriage ceremony and have to get married to each other or die. After that minor moment of jeopardy the story becomes a brilliant little character piece for Polly as she and Jamie they wander the festival bound together at the wrist.
What I like about this story are two things. First, that Kathkin eschews the more traditional romantic pairings (Two/Jamie and Ben/Polly) to concentrate on Polly and Jamie as friends. She's a Swinging Sixties secretary! He's a Jacobite rebel! Together they fight crime!
(No, not really.)
But it is sweet. Doctor Who in Season Four didn't really do character pieces, in fact it's probably the nadir of the series' engagement with writing character. As seen on TV the four leads are a set of tropes in a blue box largely saved by good acting (great acting in Troughton's case). As Polly and Jamie wander the festival and Polly introduces him to concepts like kites and 20 Questions, as they both realise they have no idea how two men can have sex (this being a matrimonial festival of the liberal future) and as they discuss whether they really want to go home one day, it becomes clear what could have been done with these characters with better writing.
And this is genuinely one of the best Doctor Who short stories I have ever read and I would never have seen it if not for the miracle of the internet and how it has opened up the world of self-publishing. Yes, this means there's a lot of drivel out there but there are some genuinely fantastic creative voices to enjoy.