Azar (azarsuerte) wrote in het_reccers,
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Shipper Manifesto: The Eighth Doctor/Charley Pollard (Doctor Who)

Fandom: Doctor Who
Pairing: The Eighth Doctor/Charley Pollard

Blurb: Oh, wow, how to put why I love these two into words that don't degenerate into "OMGEIGHTCHARLEYLOVE"? I should probably start out by explaining who they are, because some of you are probably going, "I've watched a lot of Doctor Who and I don't remember a Charley." *grin* Well, that's because Charley never actually appears in the series. She's the Eighth Doctor's companion in a series of audio adventures released by a company called Big Finish that does "missing" escapades for just about all the past Doctor/companion teams and quite a few Classic Doctor/original companion teams as well. (With the exception, at least for the time being, of Nine onward.)

The Eighth Doctor as played by Paul McGann debuted in a rather horrible, Americanized 1996 TV movie, which is why a lot of fans barely consider *him* canon, even though he now officially is according to the new series. (SQUEE!) Charlotte "Charley" Pollard, played by India Fisher, joined him in his first audio adventure, "Storm Warning." They met aboard a doomed airship (a fictionalized version of the real R101) and soon started traveling together.

There was something special about the Doctor and Charley's relationship from the start: they were friends pretty much at first sight, and Charley trusted the Doctor instinctively almost before she had any reason to. They were so close so fast that what happened next was probably inevitable: when the airship crashed, the Doctor saved Charley's life, not realizing until too late that by doing so he'd changed history and ripped a gaping hole in the Web of Time.

Like the novels that kept the series alive after its cancellation, the audios are considered "dubious canon" at best. Still, the Eighth Doctor and Charley are probably my favorite TARDIS team of all, and one of my absolute favorite 'ships in the Whoverse. I love them both as a team and as a romantic pairing because they are at once kindred spirits and complimentary opposites. Eight is flighty, romantic, youthful and rash in spite of all his centuries. Charley is practical, snarky, responsible, a little cynical and, especially as their story goes on, surprisingly wise for her young years. But they both love adventure, they could probably both travel forever, and they both would do just about anything for each other, even die for each other. It also doesn't hurt that Paul McGann and India Fisher have the most fantastic, believable chemistry together, even without the benefit of body language. *g*

Whether you interpret the love between them as romantic or not, you certainly can't deny it's there. And I love every exhilarating, pulse-pounding, heartbreaking twist of their journey together.

Here, have a picspam of Eight/Charley and Paul and India:



And now for the recs (mostly short because I haven't yet found a lot of good, long, plotty fic for them, but maybe next time? *g* Also, possible spoilers through "The Girl Who Never Was"):




Fic Rec #1: Fetes and Fireworks
Author: RainyD
Link: http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=6115
Rating/Warning(s): all ages/none

Why This Must Be Read: Starting things off with something short and light. This is a lovely little snapshot of the Doctor and Charley early in their relationship, before the real consequences of what happened in "Storm Warning" are realized even though they've already begun to appear. It's lyrical, it's sweetly melancholy, and for such a short piece it's deliciously in character, even down to Charley's odd mix of wisdom and naivete.




Fic Rec #2 Near You Always
Author: Nineveh
Link: http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=3858
Rating/Warning(s): all ages/none

Why This Must Be Read: This is a gorgeous, spot-on insight into Charley and how she sees both herself and the Doctor. There's really nothing more to say than that without belaboring the point. *g*




Fic Rec #3: Plum Pudding
Author: moonmama (moonmere)
Link: http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=22405
Rating/Warning(s): all ages/none

Why This Must Be Read: One of the things about Charley is that, though she was pretty young when she started traveling with the Doctor, many of their adventures together forced her to grow up very quickly. "The Chimes of Midnight" is one of those: not only does Charley get the first inkling of the fate she has avoided, but she learns a hard lesson about the consequences even unthinking actions - even good ones - can have. These are the moments that start to differentiate her from the Doctor, who never thinks about consequences if he can help it. This fic illustrates beautifully the gap and the bond that are simultaneously growing between Charley and the Doctor; he's trying to figure out how to cook, she's trying to understand her impact on the universe. Intentional or not, moonmama beautifully foreshadows how the events to come will bring them together and at the same time very nearly tear them apart.




Fic Rec #4: When Once the Young Heart of a Maiden
Author: Icepixie
Link: http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=7084
Rating/Warning(s): all ages/none

Why This Must Be Read: Another bit of Eight/Charley fluff, this one involving a...well, I guess you could say kissing contest. *g* But as with most fic for these two, there are more serious undercurrents. There's something poignant and charming about the innocence both characters seem to possess in pre-"Neverland" fic, every bit as compelling in its own way as the deeper, more mature relationship of later years.




Fic Rec #5: The Things We Leave Behind
Author: Britta (balcarin)
Link: http://oxymoronassoc.livejournal.com/398030.html
Rating/Warning(s): all ages/none

Why This Must Be Read: Achingly beautiful little story in which the Doctor takes Charley home...or at least to the house that once was her home. Charley is inimitably Charley as she journeys from the nostalgia of coming back to the place that was once the most familiar, to facing the consequences of the choice she made to leave her family and her own time behind. Would be absolutely flawless except for the unexplained choice to call Charley by her full name for the whole story. :-o




Fic Rec #6: Joyful
Author: having_written
Link: http://having-written.livejournal.com/5934.html
Rating/Warning(s): all ages/none

Why This Must Be Read: Another short but sweet one set between "The Chimes at Midnight" and "Seasons of Fear." This is a much lighter take on the aftermath of the episode than "Plum Pudding," but since it's from the Doctor's POV and he knows the truth, said truth still underscores the whole thing. A nice little five-minute (or less *g*) escape. :-)




Fic Rec #7: I Now Pronounce You
Author: Samantha Wilkinson
Link: http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=13
Rating/Warning(s): all ages/none

Why This Must Be Read: Now, I should preface this by saying that in canon, I don't really like the idea of the Doctor getting married. It would feel too much like the show elevating whoever he married above his other companions. But in fanfic, I don't mind so much, because all fans have their preferences and it's not as if the series is endorsing it. *g* And if any version of the Doctor was going to get married, it would probably be Eight...and on a whim, no doubt. That's what this lovely little piece of fluff offers: the Doctor and Charley deciding to get married, more or less on a whim. It's only a pity we don't get to see the wedding itself. ;-)




Fic Rec #8: No More I Love Yous
Author: Suzanne
Link: http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=18212
Rating/Warning(s): all ages/none

Why This Must Be Read: During their very first adventure together, Charley once described something as "like the feeling you get when you meet someone you know is going to break your heart." One can't help but wonder if the reason that particular metaphor occurred to her is because she'd just met the Doctor, and knew what was coming. This story is set between "Absolution" and "The Girl Who Never Was," Charley's last two adventures with the Eighth Doctor, and it's pretty much about the moment when that heartbreak comes. The moment when Charley realizes that she can never really know this man she's come to love. Absolutely gutting, even if (especially if?) you've heard both of these audios and know what comes next.




Fic Rec #9: Flowers in Summer
Author: Icepixie
Link: http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=7459
Rating/Warning(s): all ages/none

Why This Must Be Read: This fic is unusual in that it's one of the few to give us an outsider's perspective on the Doctor and Charley's relationship. In this case, it's seen through the eyes of Charley's sister, Cecilia "Sissy" Pollard. The premise is that at some point during their early travels, Charley accidentally gets left behind. She finds her way home and is reunited with her family, but Sissy can't help but notice that the sister for whom their quiet life was always too small seems even further away than usual, as if she were waiting for something...or someone. I don't know if this one was written before it was revealed that Charley *can't* go home to her family or if it's meant to be an alternate universe, but either way it makes for a lovely little bittersweet "what if."




Fic Rec #10: What Was Lost in the Eye of the Storm
Author: moonmama (moonmere)
Link: http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=23367
Rating/Warning(s): teen/it deals with the Time War, so character death

Why This Must Be Read: Set years after the Doctor and Charley have gone their separate ways, they meet up again in WWII Singapore. But things are not as straightforward as they seem, and it isn't chance that's brought them together, but design. Someone needs them to change the course of history. The fate of the universe depends on it, but the cost for both the Doctor and Charley will be incalculable. I saved this one for last because I think it has to be the absolute best Eight/Charley fic ever written. moonmama writes timey-wimeyness nearly as well as Steven Moffatt, and that's saying something! The plotting is as tight as it is epic, the characters are utterly recognizable as themselves even though both are much older and more war-weary than we knew them, and the story's emotional arc will make you smile, laugh, and cry, sometimes all at the same time. Why this author is not writing for the series, or at least for Big Finish, I have no idea. ;-)
Tags: fandom: doctor who, ship: charley pollard/the doctor, special: manifesto
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