I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who since I was five years old, sitting too close to the TV every weeknight at 7 on PBS (WGBH in Boston). At that age, it scared the ever-living crap out of me (Sarah Jane’s android clone losing it’s face, anyone?) but I loved it. When I was around eight years old (I think), a friend of the family who knew what a budding young fan I was brought me my first piece of memorabilia from the show — a signed photo of Nicholas Courtney, the Brigadier, personalized to little ol’ me. He was, it turned out, a friend of a friend of a friend, and our friend came home from a trip out west with the treasure in tow. The Brigadier became my favorite character on the show. It didn’t take much to buy my loyalty.
Fast forward three(ish) decades: Doctor Who is set to return to the airwaves after an absence of sixteen years. I say to myself, “Well, if I ever had the chance to write an episode, it’d have to be one for the Brigadier.” Not that the opportunity was every going to come my way, of course, but it was a nice dream.
And then Nicholas Courtney died, and my hopes of ever seeing the Brigadier on Doctor Who disappeared (and don’t tell me he made it onto The Sarah Jane Adventures — that doesn’t count). I thought they did a lovely job of acknowledging his passing towards the end of David Tennant’s run. That should have been the end. And then there came “Death in Heaven” and the whole dead arising as Cybermen and oh my god what are they doing to the Brig?! I know it’s only a TV show, but I was livid. It felt like the producers were pissing on the man’s grave. Awful. And then I started thinking about the imaginary episode I would’ve written, and I decided it was time to give the man a better exit. So, here’s my stab at it. I don’t do fan fiction, well, ever. Probably won’t again after this. But here’s to you, Brigadier. And you, too, Mr. Courtney. Thanks for making an eight-year-old boy happy.
NB: I haven’t done much revision on this.
Old Soldiers (or, Another One Fades Away)
This story takes place somewhere after “Flatline” and before “Dark Water.” It completely mucks up the timeline. I don’t care. Continue reading