Doctor Who: Classic or Dud?

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What was _your_ favorite story/Doctor/companion? Have you read any of the recent books published by Virgin or the BBC? Or was it all unconvincing crap?

Question inspired by an off-handed comment from Tom.

Dan Perry, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

CLASSIC!!!!! Doctor Who made me the person I am today, from when I was a wee dot, sitting in my dad's lap, watching the scary Jon Pertwee episodes between my dad's legs, to being a teenage sci fi freak, watching the Tom Baker episodes on Channel 13. I lost track after the Peter Davidson episodes (although I liked him a lot more than the later ones, he forever in my mind should be roaming around the Yorkshire Dales as a vet, not jetting around Galifrey as a Time Lord.)

There are too many great stories to count, but my favourite episode is probably The Ark In Space, or whatever that scary one with the sleeping people in the space station that got eaten by giant bees.

Also, the whole season that was the "key to time" story arc, I can't remember the name of any individual episodes, but just the fact that the Sonic Screwdriver ended up being the key on which the whole universe hinged was pretty damned cool. Plus, I had, like, a huge crush on Adrik, the original indie maths nerd, when I was a pre-teen. Though of all the companions, I think Romana was the coolest, just cause I wanted to *be* her. She was smarter than the Dr, after all. :-)

Funny, cause all the things that people point to, saying it's a dud- abysmally low production budget, lack of special effects, socks with googley eyes glued on for monsters- were all the things that made it endearing. And the quality of writing was just AMAZING- the minimal budget that they had, they spent on getting the very best in sci fi writers to come up with concepts and stories so engaging that you didn't care that it looked crap.

I could go on at length, but I've already outed myself as a geek enough on this board for one week...

masonic boom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I never really watched, but the opening would always scare the hell out of me when the faces flew out. Those faces and the sleestaks from the Land of the Lost gave me nightmares.

Jeff, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Yay! I'm not alone.

"Doctor Who" was far and away my favorite show growing up. "The Ark In Space" is definitely high on my list, along with "The Robots of Death", "Kinda", "The Caves Of Androzani", the whole Key To Time season, "Inferno", "The Mind Robber"... Oh, I could go on and on. Favorite Doc is Davison, mostly because he managed to pull off underplaying the role and comes across as even more powerful because of it. Hell, I'm so into it that I've got EVERY book published in the New Adventures series from _Timewyrm: Genesys_ in the Virgin series through _Vanishing Point_ in the BBC series. (I do draw the line at conventions, though. Even when I was a kid, I thought the entire concept of a Doctor Who convention filled with adults dressed as these characters to be really disturbing.)

Best companions? Without a doubt, Leela, Romana I, Tegan, Sarah Jane, and Turlough. Especially Leela. (cf: fictional characters I've had a crush on)

Dan Perry, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Classic: when William Hartnell went to sleep and Patrick Troughton woke up, and walked out onto the surface of Dalek planet, all bubbling withg liquid mercury. I watched this unprepared aged eight, and see it vividly to this day, in colour. It wz broadcast in black and white. Troughton = far and away the best Doctor + yeti on the underground; Cybermen; Ice Warriors [Iththe Warriors}

Classic: the (original) Master, played by Roger Delgado.

Dud: all the stuff with Unit (ur-notion for the Initiative in Buffy? Only rubbish instead of good, obviously), and Pertwee himself (to me = Troughton nut). But Pertwee's ENEMIES were often grate (=Devils, Sea Devils: one of the Devils was called BOD!!)

Ten-ton dud: Tom "Overract why fucking don't you" Baker. But the Gallifrey/Time Lord business was often amusing.

Three-ton dud: Peter Davidson. BUT the ing on the first season of stories (esp. CASTROVALVA, abut timewarps and paradoxes, name taken from a lithograph by ESCHER = overlooked classic)

Hundred-ton duds: subsequent Doctors /Peter Cushing movies

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

ing = writing

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Oh, go on! Tom Baker's total overacting was what made him so brilliant! It just went along with the melodrama of sock monsters and models exploding with firecrackers, it just added to the charm of it somehow. My fave Doctor is a toss-up between him and Pertwee, probably just because that was the era I first fell in love with. Granted, much of the time, Pertwee was annoyingly grounded with the UNIT stuff (though much of the annoying miltarism of this period was balanced by the fact that Brigadeer "fwah fwah fwah" Leftbridge-Stewart was such a loveable bumbling twit who wanted to blow everything up.)

Castrovalva! Was that the one where they were trapped in the scarily moebius strip city that Adrik (ah, archetype of all indie mathsrock nerds of my heart...) discovered that he had mistakenly created with his mathematical formulae?

Oh, and here's a question: K-9, what think you? Super-cool uber gadget who always saved the day, or annoying cutesy ploy, the Dr. Who equivalent of Ewoks?

Man, I have always wished that I had a sonic screwdriver!

masonic boom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

P.S. sorry, Troughton always looked to me like a puffin! Though I do have to admit, he had some of the best companions- that cute little mod girl was ace, and Jamie, that mad scotsman in the kilt... Those knees! Phwoar, etc!!!

masonic boom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

This is a Belle&Sebastian Wow-factor thing, tho, isn't it? Yr first, no, yr !second! is always held in specisal esteem? I always found Baker-era gadget-dom overdone. K9 was a pai9.

Castrovalva and Adrik: very possibly correct — of course, this era Who is NEVER repeated (cuz supposedly a decline on Pertwee/ Baker), plus my memory is swirling away like asteroids into a time discontinuity anyway, so I don't recall. Part of my mathrock reason for liking Adrik was that the maths was, erm, not utterly entirely bogus. (mathrock = mathmath in my case...)

Jo = my major crush-assistant, I suppose. Can't be: she always screamed and wuz scared. Who was the one who ACTUALLY DIED? Played by Jean Marsh (later of Upstairs Downstairs). Or am I tripping?

GOT IT! My major crush assistant was Zoe!! (This too is a Wow-factor thing...)

Sub-thread Q: lamest Dr Who assistant?

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

zoe = cute little mod girl

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Lamest assistant = Colin whassisface's backpacking American chick. Stupid, contrived and ANNOYING attempt to pander to the American market when, for fucks sake, the biggest Dr. Who APPEAL to yanks was the Anglophile factor.

masonic boom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

As I recall she got her brain swapped with a slug. And was then replaced by Bonnie Langford.

Mark is right - it's your second. Peter Davison in my case. This theory probably falls down if applied to any post-Davison due to transcendental awfulness.

Tom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

The depths of my fandom revealed:

Jean Marsh played Sara Kingdom in "The Dalek Masterplan" and has the distinction of being the only companion to join and die in the same story. (Of course, "The Dalek Masterplan" went on for 16 episodes or something like that...)

"Castrovalva" is definitely the one where the Master uses Adric to generate a trans-dimensional mathematical construct solely to trap a confused and newly-regenerated Doctor.

Patrick Troughton rocked the house as far as I can tell. The only stories of his I've really seen are "The Mind Robber" and "The War Games", though, so I don't have enough evidence to knock Davison outof the top spot. The Yeti were SORELY underused, though.

Frasier Hines, who played Jamie, was also on "Upstairs, Downstairs".

The Doctor had three companions die during the television series; Srar Kingdom, Katarina, and Adric. The books added Liz Shaw and Roslynn Forrester to this list, plus the Brigadier is now living out the rest of his life in an alternate dimension populated by faries. (No, really.)

The misfortune of the Peri character was teaming her with the sixth Doctor. Either forceful, grating personality could have worked, but both together were a SHOCKINGLY bad idea. Interestingly enough, the new fiction line has managed to not only completely salvage Peri and the sixth Doctor, but also the hideously misconceived Melanie Bush, who has gone from being a chirpy nightmare to one of the more capable people the Doctor has travelled with.

Worst companion? Victoria Waterfield, aka the extremely wet Victorian girl whose sole function was to scream, "Help me Jamie!" at every opportunity. They replaced her with Zoe for reason, folks...

Dan Perry, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

As a kid I enjoyed it, the Tardis was cool, and K-9 kicked ass. I doubt sincerely if I could sit through more than 5 minutes of it today, I wouldn't want to ruin my childhood memories. Therefore, I shall not be purchasing the DVD box set.

james e l, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Dr. Who is the way to be. Today they spend money on stupid computer effects. Why didn't they realise cheap video effects are way better! Doctor who is so Add n to x! I love docotr who.

-- Mike Hanley, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Someone's BRAIN got replaced by Bonnie Langford? Glad I missed that: I'd STILL be behind the sofa today...

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Someone's BRAIN got replaced by Bonnie Langford?

No, but that would have been awesome! More sad fannishness:

Sixth Doctor, "Trial of a Timelord". The Doctor gets taken outof time by the Timelords and put on trial for being a general menace to the universe. As it transpires, he was pulled out of time as he was rushing to rescue Peri from having her brain sucked out and replaced with one from a slug-like dictator. Therefore, he wasn't there to save her and she was killed, becoming an evil pod person. The companion who ended up replacing her, Mel, was played by Bonnie Langford.

(At the end of the trial, it's strongly hinted that Peri was actually saved by one of the people fighting the evil slugs and ended up marrying him, which is why I didn't list her amongst the dead.)

Dan Perry, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Speaking of BRANES... how about that Tom Baker episode where they had to go INSIDE THE DOCTOR'S BRANE!!! And it turned out to be just as pompous and overblown as Tom Baker's acting, which is what made the whole episode so brilliant. What was her name... (dammit, alcohol really does cause memory loss!) the cool Survateem warrior chick in the leather outfit... was attacked by a giant mathematical formula which came spinning out of his Left Brain as they crossed the hypothalamus. I mean... that's the sort of thing ONLY the writers of Dr. Who could come up with.

masonic boom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

That was LEELA, also known as My Long-Lost First Wife.

Dan Perry, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Leela! Right, I knew it. Damn memory loss... she kicked ass, she did! I think that's another of the things that was so cool about Doctor Who. They had powerful female figures (Romana was easily as intelligent, if not moreso than the Doctor, Leela, despite her scanty atire, kicked serious ass) at a time when other science fiction was still treating women as intergalactic dolly birds for one night stands (Star Trek) or damsels in distress needing to be saved by the hero (Star Wars). As Dan points out, even the early annoying "save me" Victorian heroine types were replaced by resourceful, intelligent and strong women.

masonic boom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

though much of the annoying miltarism of this period was balanced by the fact that Brigadeer "fwah fwah fwah" Leftbridge-Stewart was such a loveable bumbling twit who wanted to blow everything up.

And he had a soft spot for Jo. There's a scene in "The Green Death", at some point after she announces her engagement to Dr Jones, where he glances at her as if to say 'if I were ten...fifteen years younger'. Quite touching really.

David, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Didn't Leela reappear in Tenko, in more or less the same role (Tenko = all-female Burmese deathcamp TV drama w.Burt Kwouk as honourable camp boss under orders to be bastard...)?

The VERY FIRST companion was Susan, who was the doctor's DAUGHTER? No? She was interesting, it being 1963 and therefore pre- pop, let alone pre-Kate Millett: cuz she was SUPER-CLEVER, and the earth-boys were baffled and threatened and intrigued by this. But I don't remember her to look at since (a) B/W episodes never repeated; and (b) her character/look is overlaid by things I much later read in ancient second-hand TV comic-books and by the very repeated film with Bernard fucking Cribbins in it). (BC = cool, just not appropriate to this story...)

But I do remember a scene with her in it, which is poorly revisited in the film, when the white bedford van she is in (driven by a dalek-resistance soldier) is strafed by the giant dalek ship. Cuz where I lived and where my dad worked the staff van was a white bedford van, and when I was in it, I often used to check out that there was enough foliage near enough that I could jump out of the van — as Susan had — and roll to cover into it, shd the dalek ship appear and begin strafing.

That is all. (That is enough...)

An episode of Fireball XL5 gave me the all- time nightmares-for-week spooking, though.

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I could be really pathetic and list all the companions in order but I think I've scared enough people for one day.

Dan Perry, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

When I was very young, my sister's friend built a K9 out of Constructer Straws and paper which he dragged along behind him on a string pretty much everywhere he went. Accompanying his mother in a supermarket, he encountered none other than ... Tom Baker!

My memory of this is hazy, despite being told this story dozens of times in my youth, but by all accounts he was very nice, askign K9 why he wasn't in the tardis, who his friend was and so on. What a nice chap.

Magnus, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Yes: Sylvester [DanWillSupplyName], by contrast, would have stomped the pathetic object to splinters and punched the child in the throat.

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

McCoy is the name you're looking for.

DG, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

BBC Online is doing some web Doctor who, although unfortunately with Sylvester McCoy.

Best series Genesis of the Daleks, but only cos a friend did it as a one man show. His interpretation of Davros was jumping around in a frying pan, tom Baker was a pan on the head.

tom Baker was the best imho.

Ace was very annoying though, and janet what's her name from Blue peter

Ed Lynch-Bell, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Woah...this entire thread(is that what this is called ?I'm new to this)is a revelation to me I have never been in the closet about being a Dr Who fan ,but its just that I rarely encounter another...nayhow..Susan was the Doctor's(notice the caps!)granddaughter... I could never decide who I preferred Tom Baker or Peter Davison..but without the assistants, gadgets etc. they wouldn't have been much and perhaps thats the appeal compared to the rest of them...Romana II(the blond one ) did alot for me,but Ace has gotta be my favourite companion by far...tho I'm regenerating ahead of myself here...just cos she was so gutsy...when I was a kid at school we'd play Dr Who and I remember throwing gold coins to destroy the cybermen who were after us...and being chased by daleks etc. I'd write more but I've gotta go have a colposcopy....why can't the world be DR WHO????????????????????????????

Sara Lee, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Mark S 's call on Troughton is spot-on. The best by a mile, although I suspect it's because we're of similar vintage. The Yeti on the underground had a scene where a policeman is found inside a phone box, covered in cobwebs with his face set in a mask of terror. I can still see that face. At MOMI's "Behind the Sofa" exhibition (8 or 9 years ago?) they ran a continuous loop of all the Doctors morphing into the next one. It also had bits of all the various versions of the theme tune running as the soundtrack. Mainly subtle tweaks from the Radiophonic boys and girls until a J-M Jarre-esque update in the late 1970's. Robin would no doubt know all the details.

Anyway, Jo (Katy Manning) destroyed and stomped on my pre-adolescent heart by marrying the dull Sgt. Benson in the Pertwee/Unit days. I've never ever recovered, never will and don't want to. A goddess.

Great call on Roger Delgado. A scary mutha in a very English way.

Dr. C, Friday, 22 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Roger Delgado died in a car crash in Spain in (I think) 1971-2. I read the story in a tiny item in the Daily mail in my school library. Tho I was in that library EVERY WEEKDAY for three years and tho I always read the paper, this is the only story I recall. This and the (similarly sized) item about Ian Fleming's brother Peter dying!!

mark s, Friday, 22 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Dr C: the remake you're thinking of was the work of Peter Howell in 1980, as the RW gave itself what could politely be described as an "80s corporate facelift".

Mark: my school library also always had the Mail. The librarian was a self-described "true blue" Tory, hmmm, what a surprise ...

Robin Carmody, Friday, 22 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

To be honest, Robin, I approved: Mail = Peanuts, Express = Rupert the Bear, Mirror = The Perishers.

Taking sides: Peanuts vs The Perishers

mark s, Friday, 22 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I KNEW you'd know this, Robin!

Dr.C, Sunday, 24 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Oh, I think the Peter Howell theme is fairly well-known among DW / RW circles (I only fit into the latter, not the former). And nothing divides opinion more: disciples of 80s mainstream production techniques *love* it, but everyone else ...

Robin Carmody, Sunday, 24 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Leela temporarily reappeared more recently as a phony-Italian with stroppy kids in Albert Square - Rosa DeMarco.

K-reg, Sunday, 24 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Isn't Leela played by Louise Jameson? Also played Jim Bergerac's estate-agent girlfriend in er, "Bergerac".

Dr. C, Monday, 25 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Dr C lowers the tone...

mark s, Monday, 25 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I heart Louise Jameson. And Mary Tamm. And Janet Fielding. And Wendy Padbury. And Elisabeth Sladen. And *hangs head* Nicola Bryant.

Did you all see the mid-90's TV movie with Paul McGann and Daphne Ashbrook? Any comments?

Dan Perry, Monday, 25 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Was that the one where they invented a new enemy who moved faster than light and had no face? It was lame. The McGanns are the UK Baldwins, except that Canada has (inexplicably) failed to bomb their house yet.

mark s, Monday, 25 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

No, that was the Five Doctors, 1983.

Magnus, Monday, 25 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Doctor Who = best TV theme music and visual ever. But Blake's 7 the better show. Or maybe not: Blake's 7 was more soap opera than tech based plots (not that I recall a single plot from either, other'n Blake's 7's final: plot = "everyone dies"). Anyhoo, both shows had alien robots made from bits of cardboard. And monsters that looked like random bits from a hardware store glued together: bolts, old circuit boards, couple rubber bands, strips of sandpaper, and a lick of paint. Those rock. (Cf. budget contrast w/ US counterpart Logan's Run.)

AP, Tuesday, 26 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

McGanns = UK Baldwins? FEAR.

There's a great Doctor Who book floating out there called _Interference_ where the Doctor runs into an enemy who completely FUBAR's his past timeline. I love that idea and I'm kind of bummed out that the show never really exploited that aspect of time travel (ill-conceived Valeyard aside).

Dan Perry, Tuesday, 26 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
I know it's lovely weather out and all that but surely some of the people who've arrived since June 26th 2001 have an opinion on Doctor Who?

Tico Tico (Tico Tico), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 12:57 (sixteen years ago) link

Revive these threads as well, go on...

Doctor Who assistants - Search/Destroy
The Man That Ruined Doctor Who
Doctor Who Weekly/Monthly comic strips - Search/Destroy

Alan (Alan), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 13:07 (sixteen years ago) link

MIND FITE!!!

Grr! (starry), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 13:11 (sixteen years ago) link

HSA claims to *HATE* Sci-Fi. Yet, on the basis of Castrovalva, even he had to admit that Dr. Who was pretty darn cool. Hah!

kate, Wednesday, 7 May 2003 13:11 (sixteen years ago) link

I still haven't seen that. Sarah when I get a place you must come round and watch some hot Doctor action.

Castrovalva is rubbish though!

Tico Tico (Tico Tico), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 13:13 (sixteen years ago) link

The best record in my mum's record collection is probably her 7" of the original Doctor Who theme.

The VERY FIRST companion was Susan, who was the doctor's DAUGHTER? No? She was interesting, it being 1963 and therefore pre- pop, let alone pre-Kate Millett: cuz she was SUPER-CLEVER, and the earth-boys were baffled and threatened and intrigued by this. But I don't remember her to look at since (a) B/W episodes never repeated

I remember the surviving B/W episodes being shown on UK Gold when UK Gold first started, in the early 90s. I think Susan told everyone that she was the doctor's granddaughter, but this might just have been a ploy to explain why he was her guardian to boring Earth people.

My favourite Doctor Who related thing is probably Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, a Douglas Adams novel put together from late-70s Doctor Who scripts that were never broadcast. (as was the third Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy book)

caitlin (caitlin), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 13:16 (sixteen years ago) link

Castrovalva has 2 fun episodes, 2 boring episodes, a rubbish disguise, Michael Sheard, and a disappointing special effect which probably sounded great in the script. perfect.

Alan (Alan), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 13:18 (sixteen years ago) link

The grebtest cameo appearance EVER is in CITY OF DEATH (this == my fave Dr Who story I think, apart from FACE OF EVIL) where John Cleese and er.. some bird pop up in the Louvre, analysing the Tardis as a GRATE ARTWORK - someone pls fetch Turner Prize stat!

Exquisite. Simply... exquisite.

Tico - The BRANE OF MORBIUS should only be attempted after a couple of cans of RELAXANT in my opinion cos it is very silly. Also you will be annoyed by the rubbish assistant who falls over a lot. The priestesses are brilliant. But yes I am up for DOCTOR ACTION.

Secret flame! Secret fire!

Sarah (starry), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 13:18 (sixteen years ago) link

looks like fury of the deep is up next? nice. interesting to seeing them get more creative. have to wonder if they're going to take a stab at those series 3 episodes. you'd basically have to make up shit for those (including, for "the massacre", at least one important plot point, right?)

maybe my standards are low... with the technology available, is it really reasonable to expect better-quality animation for these episodes? even "the good ones" (which probably isn't a descriptor that applies to "the faceless ones") are still episodes of a dodgy low-budget old '60s tv show.

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Saturday, 8 February 2020 22:10 (two weeks ago) link

It's not reasonable to expect better animation, for the budget they have, when these are being done as side-gigs by people with other jobs at the BBC, who do not have training or experience as animators or directors. It's also reasonable to be very aware while watching that the results are pretty underwhelming animation and that the preset faces under-serve the performances.

Fantastic. Great move. Well done (sic), Saturday, 8 February 2020 22:56 (two weeks ago) link

I thought the surviving episodes of The Faceless Ones were nicely spooky, but the audio couldn't carry the other episodes. I look forward to seeing the animated version.

wasdnuos (abanana), Saturday, 8 February 2020 23:22 (two weeks ago) link

I know it would go down very badly with the fans, but I'd like to see the 6 (or however many) episodes edited down to 45-minute single shows, even for the ones where every episode survives.

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 8 February 2020 23:29 (two weeks ago) link

for the first two doctors only, that is

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 8 February 2020 23:35 (two weeks ago) link

apparently there was somebody making classic series fan edits and sharing them on a blog (which is honestly the best you can hope for from the old series) but a little googling to find out what happened to them revealed that he is a garbage-tier human being so honestly good fucking riddance

it's an interesting thought experiment. what would classic doctor who look like without the padding? frankly i'm not sure there would be anything left. i can't even _imagine_ a tautly-edited and compelling edit of the first dalek serial.

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Sunday, 9 February 2020 00:07 (two weeks ago) link

for the first two doctors only, that is

Reminder that the third doctor has several 7-part stories and one 12-parter

TBH two of those 7-parters are remarkably well-paced, but Silurians is pretty flabby around the rubber gills. Hulke whittles the plot well down to make room for actual characterisation and backstory in the novelisation. I haven't watched the secret 12-parter since I was a kid but I dare say the two six-ep halves could thin down to a 2x45.

I died of old age twice in the cinema during Power Of The Daleks. If that blog still existed I'd try his hypothetical cut-down for a rewatch. (I downloaded loads of them years ago and got around to watching approx. 1.5. Dude's guiding principle was that if the Doctor wasn't on screen then nothing important was happening, which may fail to understand "premise" and "story" and "character" in important ways.)

i can't even _imagine_ a tautly-edited and compelling edit of the first dalek serial.

The seven episodes of this definitely could be filleted to, say 75 minutes without losing anything (**checks running time of the Cushing version: 82 minutes! **) iirc most of eps 3, 4, 5 and 6 are just going back and forth from the Thals camp to the Dalek city, getting captured and escaping, rinse & repeat. To be fair, when nobody had ever seen Daleks before, just getting a few minutes of them every week for a month and a half was probably enough to make a winter evening thrilling.

The Sensorites would be a good test case for a 45-min edit: fantastic haunted house / spooky spaceship first ep, although nothing actually happens per se. It then takes two eps just to set up the premise of aliens don't trust explorers / Doctor has chance to persuade them / intrigue within the caste system. Then about five minutes of investigation drag out over three weeks on the local planet, while Jacqueline Hill is on holiday IRL and Barbara stays on the spaceship.

Fantastic. Great move. Well done (sic), Sunday, 9 February 2020 09:50 (two weeks ago) link

I actually made a vague plan for these a I was watching -

An Unearthly Child - Leave this single episode alone
100,000 BC (other three episodes) = 30 mins edit
The Daleks - 45 mins edit
The Edge of Destruction = 20 mins edit
Marco Polo = 45 mins animation
The Keys of Marinus = 45 mins edit
The Aztecs = 45 mins edit

...and so on. The Daleks' Master Plan would be two 45-min episodes.
The test for me would be watching these and trying to work out where the cliffhangers are - because there were some really inconsequential cliffhangers.

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 9 February 2020 10:44 (two weeks ago) link

You can definitely write a 45-minute first Dalek serial, I dunno if you can cut a coherent one from the existing episodes. Most of the taped-as-live-ish Hartnells have that problem, of course.

I love Edge Of Destruction / Inside The Spaceship, but will allow it could get the job done in 30 minutes. I can just look at the TARDIS sleeping couches for ages though. The value of Marco Polo is supposedly sumptuous costume and production design, hopefully directed by the compelling Waris Hussein of An Unearthly Child, not the inert one of 100,000 BC*, but WE'LL NEVER KNOW!!!

* obv he only had the deadly dull script he was given

Fantastic. Great move. Well done (sic), Sunday, 9 February 2020 11:16 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, editing isn't about cutting out the dull bits, it's about piecing together what you have in the most effective way possible, even if that involves changing the structure of the story itself, naturally would have to keep or even emphasize how doddering Hartnell's Doctor is.

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 9 February 2020 11:33 (two weeks ago) link

Should say that I am 100% never going to actually make these, I have promised myself not to start any more ridiculous projects.

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 9 February 2020 11:34 (two weeks ago) link

You can definitely write a 45-minute first Dalek serial, I dunno if you can cut a coherent one from the existing episodes. Most of the taped-as-live-ish Hartnells have that problem, of course.

― Fantastic. Great move. Well done (sic)

i come to realize i've never particularly wanted doctor who to be "coherent", the more like a bargain-basement un chien andalou the better

why yes i do love the first episode of "the mind robber", why do you ask?

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Sunday, 9 February 2020 13:21 (two weeks ago) link

The Mind Robber rules

totally unnecessary bewbz of exploitation (DJP), Sunday, 9 February 2020 13:33 (two weeks ago) link

The Web Planet is a good bet for sourcing a demented Un Chien Doctorwhovian fever dream short

Started watching The Chase for the first time this week, and I can imagine an impressionistic cut-up version might give just as much narrative satisfaction. Loving the commitment to having a different bonkers setpiece every 11 minutes so far, for sure

Fantastic. Great move. Well done (sic), Sunday, 9 February 2020 13:44 (two weeks ago) link

The Web Planet is a good bet for sourcing a demented Un Chien Doctorwhovian fever dream short

― Fantastic. Great move. Well done (sic)

i mean yes but at what point do you start turning literal christmas panto into bunuel films?

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Sunday, 9 February 2020 13:55 (two weeks ago) link

The more you change The Web Planet the better, for a show where the majority of the cast are dressed as insects it is incredibly dull.

The Chase is ridiculous, the Count Dracula and Robot Doctor parts particularly, complete pantomime, yes.

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 9 February 2020 14:09 (two weeks ago) link

i do think a lot of my love for doctor who, and my way of understanding the show, relates to it being shown in omnibus format past my bedtime. any particular episode tended to only get good for me about half an hour in, when i got too tired to be able to make out what was happening narratively. it's kind of weird to me how much short shrift is given to the visual aspect of the show.

which probably mostly is down to the set designers and the costumers, but i feel like talking about directors. who are your favorite directors on classic who? who are your least favorite?

i sort of wish more of hugh david's work for the show survived. The one minute of his that does survive is fucking amazing.

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Sunday, 9 February 2020 16:47 (two weeks ago) link

contrast with morris barry who was a fucking terrible director

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Sunday, 9 February 2020 16:49 (two weeks ago) link

Paddy Russell for sure!

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 9 February 2020 16:51 (two weeks ago) link

indeed, i don't know why "the massacre" never shows up on episodes people would like to see recovered, christ i would love to see how russell directed it

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Sunday, 9 February 2020 16:58 (two weeks ago) link

The workprint of Ghost Light on the S26 box set is quite brilliant, it actually makes sense while you're watching it.

Doubling down on out of date information (aldo), Sunday, 9 February 2020 19:38 (two weeks ago) link

i haven't bought any official who releases for ages... might be time for me to actually get some of these new full-season sets. of course i am grateful for all the care and effort the restoration team have put in to the stories and all the weird supplementary material they throw on... most of it i probably won't watch but i'm one of the, like, three people who does find film trims interesting.

i'm not _entirely_ sure i have a blu-ray player but i bet we have _something_ i can play them on. i still probably won't pick up s26, as interesting as a comprehensible ghost light is to me, because i'm just not a fan of that era of the show.

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Sunday, 9 February 2020 20:35 (two weeks ago) link

we just got rid of our blu-ray player, but i'd love to see the proper cuts of fenric and ghost light. they're like some lynchian puzzle that's never meant to be solved

mccoy's performance just grows and grows on me - he's such an unusual combination of very good and very bad actor. it's rare to see a performance go from extreme to extreme in the same scene - and yet he's always magical and charismatic, somehow. maybe sisko in DS9 is comparable for that weirdness

Chuck_Tatum, Sunday, 9 February 2020 20:45 (two weeks ago) link

embarrassingly it turns out i don't have a blu-ray player... the last tom baker season and first davison season are temptingly priced right now (30 USD), and i'm not sure if they'll stay that way. trying to decide if i should order anyway on the theory that i'll wind up with one of those fuckers eventually.

mccoy is fascinating to me, he's so outsized, so charismatic, so completely unsuited to small-screen acting. i don't feel like the three seasons of doctor who he appeared on necessarily present him at his best. i'd really love to see some of his "vision on" work, or some of the stuff he did with ken campbell, but fuck knows if any of that stuff even exists...

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Sunday, 9 February 2020 20:52 (two weeks ago) link

I wasn't buying them but the small rerelease of S12 flashed across my radar so I jumped in. Got all those available but will have to live with S10, S18 and S19 being unattainable as I'm not going to pay £200 for them.

Doubling down on out of date information (aldo), Sunday, 9 February 2020 21:05 (two weeks ago) link

McCoy is not a "good" actor, and Aldred is probably actively bad. But he's a wonderful performer, their chemistry is just magical, and sincere thesping would not enhance this era in which every story has a completely different heightened non-realistic tone from every other story's completely different heightened etc.

It's probably to McCoy's benefit that the only Cartmel story without another companion in it dispatches Bonnie Langford to go and look for a swimming pool as soon as possible, and lets him get on with things by himself for 3.5 weeks.

Fantastic. Great move. Well done (sic), Sunday, 9 February 2020 21:12 (two weeks ago) link

there's a few episodes of McCoy era Vision On uploaded to youtube

also McCoy and David Rappaport as the O-Men from about 10 minutes into this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9HLOEkwZK0

soref, Sunday, 9 February 2020 21:32 (two weeks ago) link

the "what would make the mccoy era more watchable for me?" is an interesting one, because i don't find it watchable. i feel like a lot of it is just the technology of the times. i hate the visual aesthetic of the mccoy era and i love the visual aesthetic of the '70s. personal bias.

so no, merely putting an actor in the role in place of a hyper-kinetic stage magician like mccoy probably wouldn't improve things by itself because there's too much else going against the era.

if the uk ones are going out of print already i guess i will jump on them whether or not i have a blu-ray player. just seasons 18 and 19 as those are my favourite of the ones available right now - season 12 is of course classic but i'm a bit burned out on it.

let's see, what other seasons would i buy? 7, 13, 14 for sure. the rest honestly i'd have to think about... season 10 probably is the second-best pertwee season, but i really only like the first two stories.

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Sunday, 9 February 2020 21:40 (two weeks ago) link

oh yes, popped right up, now why could i never find that before?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyWKcgmHwpo

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Sunday, 9 February 2020 21:42 (two weeks ago) link

i hate the visual aesthetic of the mccoy era and i love the visual aesthetic of the '70s. personal bias.

nah, they were basically filming on tin cans connected with string at this point. I appresh the fact that the most allusive and layered and ambitious stories were being made on an afterschool show's budget - and making four stories a year on the allowed budget for three - but they'd all be even more enjoyable with Season 14 or Series 5 production values.

Fantastic. Great move. Well done (sic), Sunday, 9 February 2020 22:13 (two weeks ago) link

i only own season 12 (tom 1) from the classic series. it's a silly show to put on blu-ray, given how shit most of it looks.

wasdnuos (abanana), Sunday, 9 February 2020 22:28 (two weeks ago) link

it's unsilly to put out a package with six discs and new documentaries and improved edits, that is cheaper than the previous seven packages with eleven discs total

(it's idiotic to press fewer copies than demonstrated customer demand, especially for a perennial-replacement product, but that's different people making that decision)

Fantastic. Great move. Well done (sic), Sunday, 9 February 2020 23:01 (two weeks ago) link

yeah seriously number of doctor who DVDs i own = 0, number of doctor who blu-ray packages i have purchased since finding out about them = 2, and again i do not actually own a blu-ray player, i understand one can't generalize from one data point but while i know they've resisted putting the show on blu ray for quite a long time for reasons of quality, i'm happy to able to affordably own full seasons of my favourite tv show in high quality with lavish extras. thanks to y'all who bought the dvds for basically subsidizing my getting reams of cool shit super cheap...

probably the budget for the mccoy series being unusually low has something to do with it. i'm sort of in the same place re: those episodes as the people who point out, rightly, that the animated episodes are filled with paper dolls. chief difference being that i wouldn't be surprised if the animation was redone at some point to a higher standard, at least as long as people keep caring about "fury from the deep", which isn't something that's really possible with "ghost light".

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Sunday, 9 February 2020 23:24 (two weeks ago) link

counterpoint: Ghost Light is one of the best Dr Who stories ever, whose frustrated ambition was a beacon to much of what kept Who alive through the '90s, and for which viewers' calls for a restoration have continued to increase over thirty whole years until finally fulfilled this month

while Fury From The Deep is some endless old guff about murderous seaweed that's only getting a paper doll version from Big Finish because it was sensibly taped over with billiards as soon as practical

Fantastic. Great move. Well done (sic), Sunday, 9 February 2020 23:56 (two weeks ago) link

I think the truth is probably somewhere in between.

The older I get, the more I finally realise that Sylv and (especially) Colin were just let down by their times and these days I'm as likely to put on Paradise Towers or Vengeance on Varos as I am Enemy of the World.

I am almost certain Fury is going to disappoint, because the John Cura version isn't exactly sparkling, but will buy it anyway.

Doubling down on out of date information (aldo), Monday, 10 February 2020 00:06 (two weeks ago) link

i mean maybe it's a great triumph that a rough cut of "ghost light" has finally been released, and if it's basically coherent so much the better, but i can't help but note that apparently reconstructing "the urge to survive", which was taped over with billiards on account of being shit before it was even broadcast, was a higher priority. of course that was all fucking ian levine, wasn't it? maybe all of the "missing episode" mystique is a result of being ensorcelled by his malign influence and once he's finally gone for good ghost light will get its due.

i respect "ghost light", i think what the people working on doctor who those last couple years did made a big difference in allowing it to come back. i'm glad home recording technology existed by the time "ghost light" was broadcast so it didn't get taped over by billiards. i don't necessarily think marc platt is as clever as some people think he is, and i'm not fully convinced that lungbarrow contributed anything of value to "doctor who".

maybe a coherent "ghost light" would change my mind on some or all of these issues, but the likelihood is pretty low i'll ever actually see it. i'll probably watch the animated "fury from the deep" when it comes out. i might just put on the second episode of "The Underwater Menace" in the background (old Doctor Who is great to play in the background, where I can just sort of half-pay attention to it) right now. of course it's some old crap, of course people are going to forget it even existed probably sooner rather than later. it's, i don't know, comforting to me.

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Monday, 10 February 2020 00:44 (two weeks ago) link

IMO ghost light gets worse the more coherent it is - the atmosphere is great and there are some excellent characters and clever jokes but the actual story is ridiculous and stupid.

JoeStork, Monday, 10 February 2020 01:04 (two weeks ago) link

I just rewatched The Pirate Planet and will probably have “MOONS OF MADNESS!” echoing in my head for the next week.

JoeStork, Monday, 10 February 2020 01:05 (two weeks ago) link

going through the entirety of pertwee and a) just hoovering up 70s institutional architecture, scientific-military infrastructure and heavy industrial energy plants. plus gorse. lot of gorse.

come to the conclusion that i must somehow have absorbed pertwee in a pre-natal phase and my sense of pastoral aesthetic rules are intrinsic to that.

also v much enjoying reading the Tardis Eruditorum by Elizabeth Sandifer alongside it.

Fizzles, Monday, 10 February 2020 19:49 (two weeks ago) link

also it amuses that i now work round the corner from where the shop dummies took over the world in Spearhead from Space - an event which my mum used to tell me was one that had stuck with her ever since she saw it

Fizzles, Monday, 10 February 2020 19:51 (two weeks ago) link

oh who am i kidding, i ordered seasons 10 and 12 too, fuck this whole "oh i'll be sensible and only get _some_ of them", they've only got four seasons out over here, they're all fundamentally good seasons, and they're all on sale at $30/season.

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 00:40 (two weeks ago) link

I see that one of the seven complete seasons they've released on blu is Colin Baker's second season. How random.

wasdnuos (abanana), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 01:38 (two weeks ago) link

that's always how the release schedule has been for who; the understanding is that it'll all come out eventually as enough people will buy it (and enough people will put time in cheap) to make it worth it, that it's not practical or economically sound to put it all out at once... i mean theoretically there might be people raising a stink that "trial of a time lord" is out on blu-ray and "caves of androzani" isn't, but i can't imagine what possible rational reason there would be to do such a thing. different people like different eras of the show. some people like endless old guff about murderous seaweed, some people like incomprehensible under-budgeted parables about evolution, and some poor bastards even like some old racist bullshit. not too keen on those last folks mind, but for those of you who fall into that category season 14 is going to be out next!

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 01:53 (two weeks ago) link

maybe they did it for the germans. when germany dubbed old who into german and broadcast it it was the colin baker episodes.

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 01:54 (two weeks ago) link

I'll stick up for Trial and say that more than anything else in the Classic Series it looks like a template for a season of NuWho.

Story arc check
Deepening of Time Lord/Gallifrey lore check
Timey-wimey regeneration bollocks check
Surprise return of The Master check
Returning monster that nobody really asked for used to ill-effect check
Departure of a companion after a transformation which then gets undone check
New companion hired because of their work in the theatre check
Event finale that is too convoluted and doesn't really work check

The Mysterious Planet is genuinely good and the reveal works very well.
Mindwarp is a load of old bollocks in places and overacted terribly but at a minimum watchable.
If Vervoids was a Tom/Leela story we'd be talking about how brilliant it was.
Ultimate Foe is a product of how it was written, unfortunately.

Doubling down on out of date information (aldo), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 08:47 (two weeks ago) link

I’ll rep for Trial. It was the first season I watched without my family in the room – I was eight – because no one else like Colin Baker. Peri stuff obviously terrifying and created a deep and well-loved psychological wound, But that was nothing compared to the shame of remaining a Doctor Who fan to schoolfriends, family etc.

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:50 (two weeks ago) link

Was put in mind of ToaTL recently with that Judoon Ep of the new series. Same sense of being superficially intrigued by the ideas on offer, yet ultimately disappointed and left with a sense that successfully landing these kind of "significant" revelations requires a skill that is beyond the current creative team. Say what you like about Moffat but his toying with the mythos never felt cheap and tacky (YMMV of course).

umsworth (emsworth), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 20:07 (two weeks ago) link

I'll stick up for Trial and say that more than anything else in the Classic Series it looks like a template for a season of NuWho.

and yet NuWho has yet to be cancelled, so clearly there can't be _that_ many similarities, no?

The Mysterious Planet is genuinely good and the reveal works very well.

it's a decent riff on "planet of the apes". i'd rank it above "the power of kroll", "the two doctors", holmes' two troughton eps... probably also "talons" because "talons" is super racist and "sunmakers" because fuck libertarianism. i'd definitely call it the best story of the season.

If Vervoids was a Tom/Leela story we'd be talking about how brilliant it was.

― Doubling down on out of date information (aldo)

like we talk about how brilliant "underworld" is?

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 22:41 (two weeks ago) link

like we talk about how brilliant "underworld" is?

I've very nearly grown to appreciate Underworld.

Actually, it's Nightmare In Eden it's most like, now I think about it.

Doubling down on out of date information (aldo), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 23:14 (two weeks ago) link

Tom Baker's Who novel Scratchman now costs 99p on Kindle, if that interests anyone.

Fantastic. Great move. Well done (sic), Friday, 14 February 2020 03:25 (one week ago) link


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