October 2, 2015

Kasterborous Founder Christian Cawley Steps Down

It feels different this time. In just under 3 months, I turn 40. It’s been over 11 years since work began on Kasterborous, a period that has seen Doctor Who return to TV, and fandom develop in new and incredible ways around the world.

We’ve also seen some bizarre bullsh*t, such as a Doctor Who website accused of scamming customers and personal attacks against me by supposedly professional writers (you’ll have heard of them).

More worrying, however, is the recent discovery that at least one extremely prominent fan/blogger is compiling dossiers of perceived “bad behaviour” – sites and podcasts going off-message, so to speak – in order to ingratiate themselves with the production hierarchy at BBC Wales. (If you’ve heard the podKast this week, you should be able to work out who this is.)

At first, it wasn’t a big deal, and I thought of it as an amusing bit of nonsense to bring up through each podKast. But as disappointing it was to find that someone I admired was selling us and other sites out by insidiously recording bits of podcasts and website clippings and handing them on a plate to BBC Wales, it soon dawned on me that actually, this had stopped being fun.

Suddenly, I was Tegan.

And so, since then, the plan for the Kexit (Kasterborous Exit) has been underway. Because, unlike these bizarre egotists, I don’t actually *need* to do this. I already have a career doing what I love, helping people to make the most out of technology, and earning enough from it to pay the mortgage, run a car, and go on holiday several times a year. Kasterborous has existed 11 years because it was a fun project that paid for itself, and allowed me to collaborate with some truly talented, lovely people – not because I had some nihilistic obsession with being a celebrity super fan.

In reality, I was never likely to carry on with the site indefinitely, but with the big four-oh rapidly approaching, now seems the time to say goodbye.

Thanks to…

Over the years, we’ve been graced with a collection of utterly wonderful contributors. Anthony Dry was the first, my co-collaborator on the project, who left around 8 years ago to pursue his sideline career of DVD design. Brian A Terranova (who is also moving on) has been with Kasterborous since early 2005, and his input has always been invaluable. James McLean virtually single-handedly revived Brian and mine’s silly old podKast and helped us turn it into the 5000 listener strong event download it has now become.

Brian Terranova (left) is departing Kasterborous alongside Christian.

Brian Terranova (left) is departing Kasterborous alongside Christian.

On the news team, Philip Bates has been assistant editor for a couple of years, while Andy Reynolds has been an utter powerhouse of a news writing machine, along with strong, memorable contributions from Scott Varnham, Mez Burdett, Patrick Riley, Nick Kitchen, Jonathan Appleton, youngster Josh Maxton, Jeremy Remy, Katie Gribble, Billy Garratt-John, Becky Crockett… and if I’ve missed anyone, I’m sorry.

We’ve also developed a couple of reviews teams, with people from the news teams and others like Chris Swanson, Tony Jones, Peter Webb and Peter Shaw.

TV reviewers, features writers and interviewers such as Gareth Kavanagh, Barnaby Eaton Jones, Elton Townend-Jones, Nick May, James Baldock and others… you’ve all been great.

But most of all, we wish to thank you: you read the site, and supported it. You read out silly Time Leech comic, felt compelled to buy our Ultimate Regeneration book, and put your hands in your pockets to buy Rick Lundeen’s The Daleks’ Master Plan adaptation. We admired your patience with the Doctor Who @ 50 series.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a small boy. The first stories I wrote at primary school were Doctor Who-inspired time travel adventures in the TREEDIS (a tree-like TARDIS). When Anthony and I started Kasterborous, it was really meant as a vehicle for his artwork and my writing. 10 years on and I’m a consumer electronics and online security freelance writer with virtually zero free time.

Very little time to really write.

In some ways, I’ve been thinking about this since my children were born in 2011. One plan was to sell Kasterborous; another was to divorce from all but administering hosting. But in the end, a clean break is what I need from Doctor Who fandom, a world of bloody lovely people, occasionally overshadowed by power-mad opportunists with ridiculous, destructive egos. I have decided that I don’t want to be a part of that world.

So the answer is – and yes, it is sad – to just stop.

Until we meet again, please take care. (And please excuse this unusually self-indulgent post.)

Miss Me?

James McLean, Brian A Terranova and myself will be carrying on with the podKast, albeit with a new name. So you can still keep in touch with us, and find out what we think about Doctor Who… and beyond.

And Kasterborous is continuing without us. Please support the new owners and welcome them and any new writers they bring along.

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44 comments on “Kasterborous Founder Christian Cawley Steps Down

  1. Castellan Spandrel Oct 2, 2015

    I’m shocked and stunned, Leggy Mountbatten. Stunned and shocked!

    All the best.

  2. *sniff*

    Excuse me while I wipe away this thing that’s got in my eye

  3. Castellan Spandrel Oct 2, 2015

    Christian, your big announcement is far more interesting than last night’s ‘big announcement’ big announcement.

    • K Doctor Who News Oct 2, 2015

      You know the new podKast will be a young adult, BBC Three online-only, timey-wimey experience set in a school, right?

      • Castellan Spandrel Oct 2, 2015

        *LEAVES*

      • Castellan Spandrel Oct 2, 2015

        I must add – I’m very grateful to you for giving me the chance to write articles on here over the past ^&^&^ years.

    • TheLazyWomble Oct 2, 2015

      ‘big announcement’ big announcement? That thing about a spin-off thingy?

      • Castellan Spandrel Oct 2, 2015

        That’s the one.

        • TheLazyWomble Oct 2, 2015

          I wasn’t thrilled when I read of it.

          • Castellan Spandrel Oct 2, 2015

            Me neither. That was partly down to the official DW Twitter account promising some fantastic news, making us think it was about DW itself, when it wasn’t really.

  4. If life begins at 40 this is still just the beginning. if whatever else you turn your hand to works out as well as Kasterborous I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
    Amongst the millions of people who love Who there’ve always been a tiny few obsessives and extremisits with very strange ways of showing their appreciation of the show. Sorry some of them made things difficult for you, so forget them – they don’t leave a legacy like yours.
    Thanks from all of us ordinary fans, and good luck to those who develop it from here on. I hope they look after it for you; you’ve put a lot of work into it.

  5. Nick Caulfield Oct 2, 2015

    Both sad and I understand your reasons at the same time. I will migrate to the new Podkast once I work out how

  6. Dr. Moo Oct 2, 2015

    All the best and thanks for everything!

  7. Simon Danes Oct 2, 2015

    This is a huge loss. Thank you, Christian, for your tireless work; you’ve brought a huge amount of pleasure to many thousands of people over the years, and you will be sorely missed. I read Kasterborous daily, and it’s been a pleasure to post the odd offering. I’m also grateful to you, on a personal note, for all your support for my Who-related charity endeavours. Thank you for everything.

  8. Planet of the Deaf Oct 2, 2015

    Good luck with family life and all your other interests, it sounds like the end has been prepared for.

  9. Eduardo Moura Oct 2, 2015

    So long and thanks for all the fish!

  10. TheLazyWomble Oct 2, 2015

    Thank you for all you have done with Kasterborous, Christian, and all the best for the future. I am going to miss you and I wish you weren’t going.

  11. Ranger Oct 2, 2015

    Shocked, but can understand you’re reasoning. When something isn’t fun anymore, walk away. Thank you Christian for all of your hard work on making this a truly wonderful site. Best of luck for the future and don’t let the bastards get you down!

  12. Oh, Gosh, this is devastating news. Actually got tears in my eyes. You have always been courteous to me and given me friendly and amusing memories. Like others, I read your posts regularly and it feels like something will be missing. Wish you all the best. Not sure how to proceed…

  13. FrancoPabloDiablo Oct 2, 2015

    Say it aint so Christian!!! Really can’t imagine this site without your (or Brian’s) input and dedication. It stopped being fun for Tegan so she left. It has stopped being fun for you so you are leaving too. When Tegan ran back it was too late because the Doctor and Turlough had already left. If you ever decide to run back, we will all still be here with open arms ready to welcome you back. Good luck in your future endeavours and one simple word – THANKS!

  14. Rick714 Oct 2, 2015

    I have no idea what any of this other stuff is you’re talking about with these other parties and their actions—I guess I’m very much out of the loop….

    ….but while I’m sorry to see you go, Christian, I realize that you gotta do what ya gotta do and I wish you well. This place will undoubtedly not be the same without you. Cheers, my friend.

  15. Sorry to see you go, Christian! You’re part of the old guard and you will be missed!

  16. Prince Poopy Pooch Oct 2, 2015

    Good luck

  17. stephen bamford Oct 2, 2015

    Can’t wait until the new podcast gets underway!
    You guys are wonderful and it will be lovely to hear and see you cover a broader range
    of pop culture that doesn’t come in a blue box.

    Right decision at the right time this show and its fandom are in such an odd place.
    Can’t wait to hear you cover Force Awakens the X-Files, Twin Peaks and more in 2016!
    We love you allxxx

  18. Nigel Webb Oct 2, 2015

    good luck Christian and Brian – see you on the other side (of the podkast)

  19. I know how hard it is to leave something that you’ve poured your heart and soul into for such a long time that you can’t remember what life was like without it. Good luck and godspeed Christian, you will be sorely missed.

  20. Parkern1 Oct 2, 2015

    Thankyou for this brilliant website Christian- I haven’t been here long, but already I can see how much hard work you’ve put into this wonderful site. You are truly a fan of the highest calibre and respect, and you clearly love the show a lot. I wish you well for all your future endeavours. Goodbye!

  21. theshipoftime Oct 2, 2015

    Genuinely shocked and saddened to read this Christian. Have loved listening to the podkast – you’ve a winning formula there don’t throw it away (which I know you aren’t). Greatly enjoyed hearing all your varied opinions on Who. Also, I’m minded to say you should just ignore whoever is stirring up trouble and just carry on regardless, but I understand where you’re coming from. All I can say is, ‘splendid chaps, all of you’.

  22. alistair thosmon Oct 3, 2015

    It was clear how upset you were by the apparent goings-on at the offices of others. Still its sad to read that you’re leaving the project. I guess that you may have empathised withe the base-under-siege scenario a little too well.

    I’m tempted to say an apt phrase; as #8 and Clara dropped it in to conversation a few times, but then I wondered; “Hmm, this would make a great Who podcast name”. Your honourable intentions will steer you through, and you even though need no advice from me; here it is….

    “Think it through….”

    Thanks to you and Brian generosity of spirit and love for the programme. I hope that you both prosper and find continued delight in the world of The Doctor..

  23. BrittlePacker Oct 3, 2015

    Echoing the sentiments of so many others – thanks for everything, Christian, and good luck in your future endeavours!

    There have been times when merely as a consumer and occasional commenter I have found myself turning away from the mania that hovers at the edge of online fandom: I shudder to think how unpleasant and abusive some of that must have been for you. I hope you’ll take away from all your years of hard work the knowledge that the overwhelming majority thoroughly admire and appreciate what you’ve done for them!

  24. Prince Poopy Pooch Oct 3, 2015

    I just listened to the pod and I’m still not sure who this well known blogger compiling a dossier is. *shrug* Maybe I’m a bit thick.

  25. TimeChaser Oct 3, 2015

    Not fun news when you’re laid up in the hospital again. Sorry to hear about all the crazy drama that is forcing the decision. Thanks for creating the site and sticking with it for as long as you have. Good luck in your future enveavours, Christian.

  26. Grumpy The Unicorn Oct 3, 2015

    Go softly on, good sirs, and may your paths be lined with celery, and paved with unlimited rice pudding. You will be missed here.

  27. itsonlythesoaps Oct 4, 2015

    I’m surprised this happened now, as we’re at a beginning of a series. I was expecting it eventually just due to certain things that had been said in the podcast in the last few months. (I haven’t listened to the last two yet due to the two-part nature of these episodes.)

    Since I don’t use Facebook, I hope it will be available in some fashion so I can continue to listen. My iTunes is also broken (long story). Thank you for everything that has been done as I appreciate the hard work. This place was the only primarily DW site that I ever felt comfortable enough to want to post at which says a lot about you. Good luck in the future, and you never know what you’ll get interested in next.

  28. Something fresh in BBC News this a.m. Examples came rushing to mind, in particular in connection with Doctor Who fandom: offered as a thought, not a polemic.

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150130-the-man-who-studies-evil

  29. Semi-Evil Semi-Genius Oct 4, 2015

    Wow, this feels like the exit of a Doctor himself. We need a regeneration effect at the end of that video. Sad news. I can’t say I understand it myself, but I like your work, and I hope this site continues the quality you created, and I look forward to your future podkasts (I guess they’ll just be podcasts with a c now).

  30. Pantz Oct 5, 2015

    I’m saddened to hear you’re leaving Kasterborous, Christian and Brian. I discovered this site about a couple of years ago and visit it regularly. I always enjoy the podkast and I’m glad to hear that you’ll be continuing with it. I wish you both all the best for the future and thank you very warmly for all that you’ve given to us Doctor Who fans!

  31. kwijino Oct 6, 2015

    Wow. Just saw this. Sorry to see you go. Sorry that whoever the idiot is managed to do us harm. You are a good guy.

    Best of luck in your new ventures, and I hope to hear from you at least in PodKast form.

    Thanks for all your work on making this site…

    Rick

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