On The Sofa (10)

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    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @mudlark   I sympathise with your historical misgivings.   As I said to devilishrobby, I’m a retired engineer, so my groans are usually elicited by mechanical absurdities.    I find I have to allow a moderate degree of leeway – so long as something looks ‘about right’ I let it pass.  For example, I approve of the East German ‘circus train’ in Octopussy (James Bond) which was hauled by a Norwegian steam engine which looks near-enough German – a British engine would have stuck out like a sore thumb.    (On the other hand, I can’t ever stand to watch McGyver, I have this theory that their lawyers ordered them to make every ‘clever’ trick as ludicrous as possible so that if some viewer tried it, it would never work in the slightest degree, thus giving them a defence in any lawsuits that ‘no reasonable person would believe it’).

    I do prefer it when historical stories are reasonably accurate (in conformity with my patchy knowledge of history), though obviously you as a historian would be more sensitive to that aspect.

    I believe the original premise of Who was to illustrate technology and history with the Doctor and companions as passive observers.   I don’t think that premise survived the Daleks.    In respect of Demons though, it almost achieved historical compatibility – aside from the tacked-on Doctor/aliens moments, the story itself could quite credibly have occurred in that place and time without altering any history, I think.

    The next episode I’ve just watched, The Witchfinders, is very much contra-historical in that the evil Becka drowns 36 alleged witches (whereas the notorious Pendle witch trials only involved 12 victims) so this would have been a huge black mark in history.  However, the writer ‘fixes’ it in time-honoured fashion by having King James decree that the village of Bilewood be abandoned and nobody ever speak of the events – a cover-up which has obviously been successful.    (I recall an episode of ‘Hercules’ set during Julius Caesar’s attempted invasion of Ireland – as the remains of the Roman fleet sailed away in defeat, Caesar said to his scribe, who had been industriously recording all the details of the disaster, “You were a good and faithful friend, Scribus – I shall miss you” [shouts and splash offscreen]    )

    But anyway, I’ve got some comments which I’ll post in the ‘Witchfinders’ thread, I was going to say “I’d be interested in your take on it” but I see you already made a long post in that thread, the sun is shining outside so I’d better go for my walk while I can, and when I get back I’ll have time to do justice to reading it all.   ‘Later’, as they say.    🙂

    janetteB @janetteb

    @mudlark I understand how you feel about the historical stories. There is always a problem with writing historical fiction. Most writers are only too happy to sacrifice fact for story or simply don’t do enough research.  I prefer stories set in the past or “other places” because I read/watch to escape my own reality. For that reason I will never ever ever watch Snowtown. I tend to view most historical fiction as “alternate history” though I would prefer for writers to just create alternative worlds if they want to mess with history, It still requires research though; a lot of research because it has to feel true. Years ago I started writing a early medieval novel set in an alternate world so that I could create my own history, and quickly realised that even if the events are “made up” the setting has to reflect an actual period in history. I am still researching it. Sometimes I suspect it has just become an excuse to keep buying books.

    Witchfinders is set in a period of English history that has yet to pique my interest. From the end of Wars of the Roses to the French Revolution is bit of an historical blind spot for me. (Though I am currently reading Wolf Hall. It is hard to avoid Tudor history) But the story of Witchfinders is so fantastical that it does not feel like an historical episode at all so I give it a pass as it is one of the more entertaining episodes in the series.

    I will pop over to the episode thread to read comments.

    Meanwhile I see that Martin Belam over on The Guardian has written an article about the 1995 film and there is another article about Yasmin Finney. I dispute Martin’s claim that it was the kiss that outraged viewers of the film. The film was rubbish. It felt glossy and Hollywood. It did not capture the feel of Dr Who.



    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Over the last few nights Mrs Blenkinsop and I have been catching up on stories from season 10, including “The Pilot”, “Knock, Knock”, “Empress of Mars”, “World Enough and Time” and “The Doctor Falls”. All of them were incredibly enjoyable, and in some ways I might even argue that the Capaldi tenure was at its best in his last season (of course the previous seasons had brilliant stories, but there was so much that was so good in season 10). And last night we watched “Twice Upon a Time”. I don’t think we had seen it since its original airing. What a fabulous story and send-off for Capaldi. The use of the 1st Doctor (and the brilliant performance of David Bradley) was just wonderful. And the way Moffat tied it all together, with flashbacks to the Hartnell Doctor at beginning and end, was like a love letter to the history of the show.

    After watching it, we both reflected on the subsequent stupidity of Chibnall’s idea of the Timeless Children/Child, whatever (even Chibnall didn’t seem to know) that relegated the importance of the first Doctor as the first Doctor to the rubbish bin. Time for a calming cup of tea.

    winston @winston

    @blenkinsopthebrave  I agree about season 10, it had some excellent episodes. The Doctor Falls is full of the feels and I think I get some dust in my eyes every time I watch it. Twice upon a Time was a satisfying send off for the 12th Doctor and I was happy he saw and remembered Clara at the end.

    I have to admit that although I watched all the Timeless Child episodes (some a few times) I still don’t get the point and have chosen to pretend it didn’t happen.

    stay safe.

    winston @winston

    We had an extremely bad storm here on Saturday with high winds, rain and hail. In one city they think it was a tornado that ripped off roofs and flipped cars.We were caught on the road to town when it got so dark then a bit of rain and suddenly a gust of wind that almost pushed our van over. We pulled off the road and sat silently and tensely for 15 minutes till it slowed down. Branches and dirt and debris flew past us and hit the van but we were OK. So scary!

    One son was on his motorcycle when it hit and had to go down into a ditch and hold the bike between him and the wind while the other son was walking and had to run and shelter under a bridge with another person until it passed but both were safe thank goodness. so far at least 10 people were killed mostly by trees. We have lost hundreds , thousands of trees, in our area.

    We were so lucky we only lost one big maple but it kindly fell away from the house and caused very little damage other than a lot of work cutting it up and moving it. We lost our power for a couple of days but some poor people may be in the dark for weeks because there is so much damage. So that was my weekend. I am so relieved that my family is safe but I feel so sad for those who lost people. The weather forecast was for rain and a bit of wind so we were totally surprised by the force of this storm. The news just confirmed it was a tornado.

    By the way we were all headed to the funeral of a family friend which is why we were all out in it at the same time.It will be awhile before we get over that day.

    Stay safe, we did!


    janetteB @janetteb

    @winston glad that you and your family survived the tornado. Must have been very frightening. Strong winds always put me on edge. A Tornado must feel like an full assault. Sad about the trees though. The loss of a single tree is sad, the loss of so many tragic.

    And @blenkinsopthebrave I like your description of Twice Upon a Time. It is a finely crafted episode, perfect in all respects and a fitting finale for both Capaldi and Moffat. (only I hope that RTD persuades the later to write the odd episode during his tenure.)

    Lets up hope that like Winston, RTD choses to forget the entire Timeless Child story and the destruction of Gallifrey. Jo Martin can be the Doctor from an alternative universe. No need to explain then why her Tardis is a police box as it is established that it was not in that form when Hartnell Doctor stole it.



    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @winston That sounds really scary. So glad those closest to you came through unscathed.  Sorry about the maple too. They are so lovely.


    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @blenkinsopthebrave I’ve just watched through Season 10 and of course I agree about the brilliance of the Moff’s writing. Though for me, World Enough & Time was probably the highlight, even though it was so dark. I was very relieved that it had a ‘happy’ ending (so far as Bill was concerned) with Heather. (‘Happy’ being relative, of course). I think my favourite episode of all would be Hell Bent, or possibly The Day of the Doctor. Twice Upon a Time was okay, nice to see ‘Bill’ again, and like Winston, I did like that Testimony gave the Doctor his memories of Clara back. (Um, just watched ‘It Takes You Away’ and it occurs to me that the other-universe incarnations of Grace and Trina – who thought they were real – echoes ‘Bill’ in TuaT. And similarly the ‘demons’ in the Punjab were ‘witnessing’ peoples’ deaths very like Testimony. Do I see a pattern here? 😉

    @janetteb Well I’m almost through re-watching Season 11 so I’m about to encounter Season 12 (was that the Timeless Child season?) for the first time. It will be… interesting. If it’s as dire as I’ve read then I would agree that RTD should retcon it out of the timeline, but of course that’s me pre-judging it.

    @winston Glad your family’s safe. That sounds like a very large tornado you had, to cause such widespread damage, and I’m saddened about the trees, too. I’ve never been through a really damaging storm (I was in Rarotonga about four decades ago when a cyclone was imminent, but the centre just missed the island). And in the past we’ve had a couple of large trees come down in our garden but by a very fortunate fluke they just missed causing much damage. We did have a big 50′ wattle tree on our boundary – it was a lovely tree overhanging our lawn, but it would have significantly damaged our house or flattened the neighbours, depending which way it fell – I regretfully had it cut down a few years ago (and that really hurt because I’m an unashamed tree-hugger). Until then I used to feel slightly uneasy any time there was a storm warning.


    winston @winston

    @janetteb @blenkinsopthebrave  and @dentarthurdent     Thank you all for the good wishes. Our area has declared a state of emergency now due to all the damage and that should bring in some more help. It is really a big clean up job. Our neighbours  have another neighbours 50ft spruce tree resting on their roof waiting for removal. It was pushed right over, lifting its roots right out of the ground. Unfortunately like many places deforestation already left us with too few trees and this doesn’t help. Also those trees were filled with the nests of all kinds of birds and they were destroyed. We searched our tree and found no nests but there are a lot of upset birds around. Most will make new nests but space is becoming hard to find. Poor things.

    I hope I never have to go through such a storm again (and to bring it back to Doctor Who) unless I had a Tardis to escape in.

    Stay safe.



    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @winston You really have been through a lot. So sorry to hear about it, but so glad it is all over. The closest I have been to that was when we flew into Halifax about 10 or 12 years ago; the day after a huge storm had ripped up most of the trees in the city. It was chaos. The thing I do remember was that people took it in their stride, which was inspiring. Take care.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @winston   If the tree is just resting on your neighbours’ roof (not buried in it)  they’re lucky.  Possibly the roots were still hanging on grimly, absorbing masses of energy and slowing the fall for much of its descent.   A tree falling freely acquires huge momentum, as numerous Youtube ‘fail’ videos demonstrate.     Trees were ‘designed’ (by evolution or whatever) to stand in groups that gave each other mutual support against wind.   Unfortunately many trees in urban environments don’t enjoy that security.

    Anyway, best wisher for the tidy-up.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    I seem to be one of the few these days who post on old Hartnell stories which in this case, was “The Romans”, from 1965.

    SPOILER ALERT: I am going to give away some of the plot details, but I do so in the belief that so few people will ever get to see it. (Nonetheless, I am cutting in our wise time lord @jimthefish, who can make a decision on whether it should stay here.)

    The 4 part story has Ian and Barbara, along with Vicki, who had only recently replaced Susan, who the Doctor had left on a devastated Earth with her new love, at the very emotional end of “The Dalek Invasion of Earth”.

    Perhaps for this reason, “The Romans” was almost whimsical by comparison. The Tardis crashes on Earth in the first century AD in Italy. The Doctor and Vicki become separated from Ian and Barbara who are captured by a slave trader. After a series of adventures, all four (but still separated) find themselves in Rome, at the court of the emperor Nero (who is played as something of a comic buffoon). There is much intrigue involving Nero’s wife trying to poison everyone in sight, Ian fighting as a gladiator, Barbara turned into a glamorous maid-in-waiting, and the Doctor playing a game of double-bluff as he impersonates a visiting musician who is really supposed to be an assassin. It all ends up with the Doctor inadvertently putting into Nero’s mind the idea of burning down Rome (!)

    So yes, it is all rather silly, but actually quite enjoyable in a whimsical kind of way. The strange thing about it from my perspective was that, although I had watched all of Hartnell back in Australia in the mid 1960s at the age of 13 or so, I realised as I watched it, that I had never previously seen it. Why? I looked it up to discover that there was a lot of negative feedback when it was screened in reponse to a very funny, but rather risqué, sequence in one of the episodes of Nero chasing the delectable Barbara through the palace corridors like something out of a French farce. And Nero definitely had designs on her.  Apparently, this caused outrage among some offended English parents in 1965. Knowing what Australia was like at that time, I would not be at all surprised if the ABC had made a decision to ban it from impressionable minds such as mine.

    winston @winston

    @blenkinsopthebrave   I have never watched those episodes but your description makes me want to. I have a few DVDs of the first Doctor but that one is not on it. It is easier to find the old Who and watch on the internet so I will look for it. My library may have it.

    Years back we found a few old episodes of “Lost in Space” and had good giggles remembering watching it as kids. The mister wanted to travel in space with a robot and I was usually scared stiff watching it. When we put on and watched it we really laughed. How was I so scared by it?  The shows we watched in the 60s were pretty innocent compared to today and we children were “protected” from all the nasty things out there.  No sex! ever, but all the shoot em up westerns you can watch on Saturdays. No wonder I wanted to be a cowboy.

    stay safe.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    I do remember, when I was young, it was perfectly OK to show lots of people being shot on TV, Westerns revolved around little else, just not a trace of, errm, romance. But Doctor Who must have been very much a childrens’ show in those days. Because at the same time, we had Benny Hill, which was nothing but a comic character chasing delectable young women all over the place with only one purpose in mind. And his show ran for 15 years, apparently. Of course his single-minded pursuit was always foiled in some comically frustrating way. As, I presume, was Nero’s in The Romans.

    Nero’s wife – would that be Messalina? (Just, I’ve heard the name somewhere). Going off on a tangent, it’s probably just as well (for the keepers of public morality) that Doctor Who never visited the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt**, whose goings-on were spectacularly murderous and, um, unconventional. Made Messalina look like an amateur. Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘family values’ 🙂 I remember watching ‘The Cleopatras’ on TV and wondering ‘did these people really do all that stuff?’ And, apparently, they did. Our history lessons used to portray Henry VIII as a bit of a suspect character. He had nothing on the Greeks and Romans.

    On reflection, maybe it’s as well Chibbers didn’t go further into the society of the Ux, or how their species perpetuated itself, I think ‘inbreeding’ would have been a euphemistic way to put it.

    (** Although I do seem to recall that Doc 12 mentioned having made the acquaintance of Cleopatra – presumably Cleopatra VII)


    janetteB @janetteb

    @blenkinsopthebrave  We bought a VHS of Dr Who and the Romans back in the nineties so it is one of the first Hartnell stories I ever saw maybe even before we saw Unearthly Child. It is a fun story, very hammy but fun. Ian and Barbara are really well established in their roles and this story brings to the fore the relationship of the respective characters. The Doctor is at his most “twinkly” in this story, being clever and mischievous and more than a tad arrogant all through. Vicky as a character, works well, better than Susan I think. This is one of the best Tardis teams.




    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    Umm, so I just watched Orphan 55.   (For some reason I thought Orphan 55 was going to turn out to be the Timeless Child).    Bit of a drop from Spyfall.   It could have been a better episode with some good editing and an application of Occam’s Razor to the storyline, I think.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @dentarthurdent Well I finally finished reading the Dirk Gently books, in the wrong order but that seems oddly appropriate. The first book is very clearly taken from the scripts for the cancelled “Shada”. There are so many Dr Who elements in it. Now I want to re watch Shada to look for more influences. It is understandable that D.A. would want to make use of the story he wrote and at that time looked as though it would never “see light of day.” BBC probably were not even interested in publishing it as a novelisation back then as it had not been aired. Obviously there are also some significant differences too to Dr Who though he sneaks in a story element from City of Death. Clearly Douglas wasn’t adverse to reusing a good idea.




    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent


    Well, a short while back I re-read the first Dirk Gently book (as I think I mentioned). I think it’s the most convoluted of Adams’ books (but also one of the best). I found it improved on re-reading, I think the first time through gives a rough idea of the lie of the land, the second time through one is better equipped to appreciate all the nuances. A bit like a good Moffat Who episode.

    Can’t help noticing that Professor Chronotis’ trick with the salt cellar in the ancient pot, was precisely copied by the Doctor to save the ‘fam’ in the crashing A320 in Spyfall. In fact, given the Doctor’s (and Tardis’s) powers, I’m surprised he doesn’t pull that trick more often – though if he did, it (like the fix-everything sonic screwdriver) would remove a lot of suspense.

    I don’t blame Doug Adams for re-using story elements. Of course the most noteworthy re-use has to be the various formats of Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy, which must easily hold the record for the number of different mediums it’s been produced in. (And also, each version was significantly different from its predecessors). But, given his legendary writers’ block, it must have helped him enormously to have a skeleton to start with.

    I’ve never watched ‘Shada’, I should probably do do. Maybe after I finish Season 12. Currently just watched Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror. It was watchable, though I have some geeky reservations in relation to the train, and also the story of AC vs DC current which was in reality more a battle between Westinghouse (who bought Tesla’s patents and made AC systems that worked) and Edison. And, with regard to radio, I tend to favour Marconi (I’m naturally biassed since my father was Cornish and Marconi built his first transmitter in Cornwall) over Tesla – Tesla took out some patents before Marconi though neither of them ‘discovered’ radio waves, and I tend to give precedence to whoever actually ‘made it work’ over someone who just jotted down an idea. Else we’d have to credit Leonardo for inventing almost everything. 😉

    Similarly, I’m okay with crediting the Wright Brothers as ‘first to fly’ although they certainly didn’t invent the aeroplane, everybody and his dog was trying it, and it’s possible that one or more others may have made slightly longer ‘hops’ before the Wrights’ first recorded ‘flight’. Also the Wrights weren’t particularly nice people. But they were way ahead in making and developing a flying machine that worked.

    Sorry for rambling on 🙂

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Both Mrs. Blenkinsop and I decided today that we needed a diversion and, on looking through the DVD collection, discovered something I had obviously ordered at some point but never watched. “Daleks – Invasion Earth, 2150 A.D.”, with Peter Cushing as the Doctor.

    Whoa! It was something…and not something good. It was made in 1966, alongside (but totally separate from) the Hartnell era shows, and (sort of) replicated the utterly brilliant “Dalek Invasion of Earth”, but…it turned a wonderfully dystopian story with an incredibly poignant conclusion (where Susan is left behind by the Doctor) into…a ridiculous paint-by-numbers sci-fi adventure with incredibly silly comedy sequences.

    And yet it was so silly that we found ourselves enjoying its ridiculousness.

    But, as I said, we were in need of a diversion.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    Apparently that movie wasn’t the first.   It followed ‘Doctor Who and the Daleks’, which was based on the original TV serial ‘The Daleks’.   And was apparently no better than the second movie.   So why they made an unsuccessful sequel to the unsuccessful first attempt I don’t know.    I wasn’t aware there were two movies, though, and I must admit I haven’t seen either (or the original popular TV episodes).

    (Currently working my way through ‘Danger Man’, the Patrick McGoohan series that slightly pre-dated Doctor Who.   It has a distinct advantage over Who in not needing any sci-fi special effects.   It could almost be a modern series, until one suddenly realises the changes the digital age has made.   In Danger Man there are no cellphones, no digital cameras or CCTV.   I just watched an episode ‘The Battle of the Cameras’ where both sides are snapping each other with hidden cameras – except it takes place in a sort of slow motion, the film has to be retrieved and developed and couriered off to be identified…   the same episode could be made now, but all the action would take place in an afternoon.

    I still recall, in the sequel series The Prisoner, how high-tech and unsettling it felt to have CCTV cameras watching the inmates of The Village, and the door of Six’s cottage opening by itself.   This was futuristic stuff.   And now, I have, a couple of times, walked into shop doors because they *didn’t* open for me…  )

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    @blenkinsopthebrave surely you and mrs blenkinsop have also seen the first “Dr Who” by Cushing Dr Who and the Daleks which much like the Dalek invasion of the earth reduced the original tv version to another formulaic 60’s sci-fi film with heavy comedy element. I always have thought it was a shame as I felt Cushing could have made an excellent Doctor oven the right script, but given the “Hollywood” treatment of  Who to make the Doctor appear more of a bumbling  scientist rather than the  brilliant Timelord we all love and know from the series it kind of made it more of a comedy sci-fi like you have said about the Dalek Invasion of Earth.

    Brewski @brewski

    A bit of trivia on this: the original script for Day of the Doctor called for a poster of the first Peter Cushing movie to be in the background in the Black Archives. But I guess they had copywrite issues with it.

    It was the joke for when Kate Stewart remarks on what would happen if Americans got hold of time travel. “You’ve seen their movies!”


    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    I just put that Kate Stewart line down to a bit of snark about the way certain famous wartime exploits had changed nationalities in a transatlantic, westerly direction by the time they made it to the screen.   🙂

    Anyway, I just watched Fugitive of the Judoon and I quite liked it.   I had a few minor quibbles but nothing serious.   (I stuck my comments in the forum for the episode, as usual).    Leaves me wondering where Ruthdoc fits in the sequence, doubtless all will be revealed later.

    So, I guess Spyfall and Fugitive are the first two Chibnall era episodes I’ve unreservedly liked.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @brewski and @dentarthurdent The Dr Who movies are British. IT was a thing the Brits did back then, make movies of popular tv series, usually just an extended episode. They were cheap to make and I guess had a guaranteed audience. I don’t think Kate’s comment was a reference to the Dr Who movies, nice though that would be, but to Hollywood movies which notoriously re write history. The Brits have not forgiven Hollywood for U-571




    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    @janetteb I think it was me who referred to the 2 60’s Dr Who movies as being Hollywood as I remember they were made at Elstree Studios under their banner so that was my mistake. My referencing to them being Hollywood was more in the style that Sci-fi films of the period even from Britain seemed to follow the U.S. model of what I would call B-Movie Hollywood style that the science fiction genera seemed to be treated. As you say they were essentially the tv series stories truncated into if I remember a right as 90 minute format. Also they tried to simplify the even then limited Who lore by not even referencing the fact that the Doctor wasn’t human but had Cushing portray him more as a brilliant if absentminded professor type . I  think it was a similar mistake that was made with 2000 Dr Who movie given that it had tried in part to re-write the Doctors history as being part human, as a lot  Who fans  took exception to this bit of non-cannonal history. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed McGanns portrayal of the Doctor and would have loved to see a series launched off the back of the movie.


    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @janetteb   Yes I think I had U571 in the back of my mind (was that the one where they captured the Enigma cipher machine / code books?)


    @devilishrobby    I haven’t seen the 2000 movie, but I have seen McGann in the short special episode written by Moffatt (I forget its title – was it The Night of the Doctor) and I thought he was very good in it.    I should probably try and pick up the movie at some point.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @devilishrobby Apologies for the error. I did not know they were made at Elstree. I lived just down the road for a few months, at Stirling Corner. Some of the “regulars” at the Pub had worked all their lives in the studios there.

    @dentarthurdent. That is the one. The Canadian movie was not good. It doesn’t have the feel of Dr Who. McGann was excellent though.



    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    @janetteb It was a joint BBC/overseas venture not sure who the non Beeb studio was. It actually started out not too bad and as you say McGann actually made a good stab  at being the Doctor in the movie as I said it was some of the more non-cannonical story line that caused some fans to kick up a fuss that and the “love” interest and americanising that seemed to make it less than ideal. As you say when McGan reprised his role for the Night of the Doctor short he made an excellent Doctor. In part it’s a pity they can’t do a retrospective Who series with McGann reprising his role and filling in the ‘missing years’ , though depending on what the 60th anniversary special/s turns out to contain may be a past doctor will be able to come back

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @janetteb    @devilishrobby

    I’d certainly watch a retrospective ‘fill in the gaps’ episode(s) with McGann in it.

    While we’re messing with time, if I had a (real) time machine, it would be nice to go back and get McCoy and Ace for a couple of episodes (maybe written by the Moff? and with modern production values).   They had a good vibe going by the end of Survival.

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    @dentarthurdent hmm yes for me Survival always felt a bit incomplete I think in part because there was never a what happens next  as that was the last pre gap story before the  2000 Who  film and then Post Gap series start. But I agree McCoys final season did have a definite vibe with there being hints then that there was more to the Doctors past that we then knew. In part I think this may be where Chibbers got his idea for the timeless child as there were hints that the Doctor was much older or from a time in Gallifrey’s ancient past comparable to Rassilon’s and Omegas time making him some kind of 3rd Founding Timelord. I think this was expanded on in one or two of the inter gap years who books which are not necessarily considered canonical and referred to as the Trickster.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @devilishrobby    Yes I think Survival was probably made with the assumption that the story would continue, I don’t know if they adjusted the ending at the last minute to leave it open-ended.   But then, other than the three last McCoy episodes, I’m not familiar with any of Old Who past Jon Pertwee’s time.

    More recent developments, I watched Fugitive of the Judoon a week ago and I was pleasantly surprised – quite impressed, in fact.   (I stuck a post in the relevant page to say so).   I definitely liked Ruth-doctor.   Unfortunately I’ve just watched Praxeus for the first time and – the first half was promising but then got completely smothered by overpowering environmental message.   Natuire = good, artificial = bad.   Not to mention the evils of reckless scientists.   I’m a left-of-centre treehugging greenie but I don’t want to be preached at.   I’d rate this as the 13th Doctor’s Kill the Moon.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @dentarthurdent the overall philosophy of the Chibnell era seems to be, “show and tell and tell again, and again, just in case they missed the message the first second and third times. The problem with that is no matter how much you agree with the message being hit over the head with it, over and over, makes anyone want to disagree. Praxeus could be a good story. I liked the concept but it fails in delivery.





    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @janetteb     I agree with all that.    In fact if I disagree with the message, it annoys me, but if I agree with the message it’s actually worse because it embarrasses me.   I start to think ”this is propaganda, why would anybody agree with this?”    There are far more effective and subtler ways to get the message across.

    (I’d make a terrible politician – in the middle of stating some ‘fact’ I can’t help thinking “is this right?   Am I sure?”)

    I think the entire storyline of Praxeus is actually fine, even including the aliens looking for a place full of plastic to carry out their experiments.    I quite like the absence of a villain and ‘sh*t happens’ storylines.  If only the writers had a bit lighter touch.   We could draw the moral for ourselves.

    winston @winston

    Hello all my fellow Whovians!  I am an extremely proud and happy Whovian this evening. We just got home from my granddaughters high school graduation ceremony and she is a wonderful, kind ,empathetic, feisty and determined young women. She  gives me hope for the future.

    Her graduating class is so inclusive and so diverse and so accepting of each others differences that it makes my heart swell. Let the dinosaurs who practice and preach hate of any kind step aside for this new generation of people who deny all those divisive  isms for love. I am sure that this shift from exclusion to inclusion is happening among  the young people all around the world and it should fill all like minded people with hope. We have taught them well and they will go out into the world with the hopes of making it better.So good.

    Enough gushing and bragging for tonight.

    My son got me a 11th Doctor stuffy who wears a fez and has a sonic screwdriver that lights up and whistles. He also talks if you squeeze his tummy. So cool. He also found me a 1979 paperback called “Doctor Who and the Cybermen” by Gerry Davis. It is a story about the 2nd Doctor and I can’t wait to read it. Did I mention that he is my favourite son?  Just kidding, but he is the father of my smart, independant, hard working Granddaughter who just graduated!

    Stay safe and have hope.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @winston    Congratulations.    It’s nice that you have a granddaughter you can be proud of.     I envy you your optimism about the younger generation, I hope it’s justified.

    Your son is fortunate to have a mother who’s so easy to buy gifts for.   🙂    ( Mrs D and I are hopeless, to the extent of having to ask each other what we want for Christmas – and it doesn’t help  (“Oh, nothing really”).   So I get her a box of chocolates and she gets me socks.   🙂

    Enjoy your Doctor Who reading.

    Missy @missy

    The above post reminded me of a card I once bought for a friend. It ran thus:

    what can you give someone who has everything?”



    winston @winston

    @missy  Nice one!

    winston @winston

    To  @nerys and @blenkinsopthebrave and @arbutus and any other Canadian Whovians  I missed “Happy Canada Day”.  I hope it was a good one, you all deserve it.

    The mister was watching series 7 of A Canadian comedy called Letterkenny  when during their table talk one guy says “Everyone loves Doctor Who , right?” the others all agree “Yep” ,”for sure”  and so he says “and everyone loves Who’s the Boss, right?” The others all agree so he says make a new show called “Doctor Who’s the Boss” It involved Tony Danza traveling through time and space.  I ran into the room  and made him rewind so I could watch it.Silly but it got a giggle out of me.Anyway I thought I would share a very Canadian connection to the Doctor for Canada day.

    Stay safe eh!

    janetteB @janetteb

    @winston congratulations (now belated) on your granddaughter. I agree that the young generation are showing a lot of promise. They are growing up in a very different world, in some ways much more enlightened but also prone to frightening extremes.

    @dentarthurdent When it comes to Christmas my partner and I buy our own presents and hand them over to be wrapped and put under the tree. I am already collecting books for my Christmas Present.



    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @winston In our part of Vancouver Island our street is covered by a canopy of Gary Oaks. Canada Day began for me when I came downstairs, peered out the kitchen window to discover bits of one of the Gary Oaks scattered across the street–the tell-tale sign of an overnight dust-up between two squirrels. The rest of the day passed without incident. In other words, a quiet Canada Day.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @missy        Yes, nice one!     Best one I can recall was one of those cutesy animal cards with a cartoon of a jolly hippo wearing a pink bow on the front and  “Hi.   I’m all yours”    Inside it said  “You’ll have to pay to get me towed away”

    @janetteb    I wish Mrs D and I were sufficiently well organised that we could use that stratagem.    However, I’m afraid she would probably regard it as cheating.

    @blenkinsopthebrave    What exactly do the squirrels do to the oaks?     July already – time is flying.   Down here in upside-down land of course it’s midwinter, I haven’t yet adjusted to the idea that the days are really short (like it gets dark just after 5pm) and already they’re starting to get longer again.   But we live up the warmer end of the country, so we never quite get snow or ice, just a few morning frosts.


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @dentarthurdent There are a couple of options. It could be males duking it out to prove their sexual prowess. It could be the habit of grey squirrels to rip off the bark for the sap (which is bad for the health of the  Garry Oaks). When the acorns appear, they are a prized treat (although it is a bit early for the acorns). Who knows? Drunken revelry? Well, perhaps not the last one.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @blenkinsopthebrave    Ah, okay.   I wouldn’t put anything past them, cunning little buggers.   Beware of squirrels carrying chainsaws…

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    Apropos of nothing very much, anybody here watch Westerns back in the day?

    Somewhat to my relief, our ‘oldies’ TV channel that resurrects old TV series (most of which have been mercifully forgotten for good reason) seems to have run out of the 13,573 episodes of the Western sitcom ‘Bonanza’ that they were screening (and which Mrs D, bless her, used to watch – her tastes are, I hate to say it, indiscriminate, but I love her anyway. But not for her taste in TV 🙂 – and replaced it with High Chaparral, which I remember as a far superior series. Which is to say, actually watchable. And I’m pleased to say I actually still find it so. The characters are much better written (IMO) and more serious, I specially like Manolito who acts the affable Mexican in-law with a deadly edge to him. (In Bonanza he would inevitably be just be a comedy character).

    winston @winston

    @blenkinsopthebrave    We have a white oak in our garden and if it is a good acorn crop there is a feeding frenzy, Everybody shows up to eat them, grey and red squirrels, blue jays and red headed woodpeckers and even the cottontail bunnies eat the grounders. The grey squirrels bury them all over and then forget them so we counted 17 small oaks growing around the yard. We transplanted about 30 little trees into the woods across the creek last year and this bunch will go down the creek to fill in some of the spaces along the banks caused by the storm and the emerald ash borer.Thanks squirrels!

    @dentarthurdent   As a kid I watched Bonanza and had a crush on Little Joe, a crush that continued for life. Now I find most old westerns cringe worthy. I still enjoy John Wayne westerns especially True Grit and the Cowboys and the mini- series Lonesome Dove is a once a year must see. High Chaparral is one I don’t remember but maybe I will after I IMDb  it.

    @janetteb  Thanks! I agree, the kids today are walking a very different path then I did and it must be a hard walk. They think that all the tech and the social media make things better but I think it adds a whole new mine field to navigate through. They need all our help and encouragement to face such a crazy world.

    stay safe

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @winston I agree, many old Westerns (and in fact many of our old favourite TV series) seem cringeworthy now. I was a little relieved to find that High Chaparral wasn’t. I know as a young teen I was dismayed when Westerns started going all Little House on the Prairie, because what is a Western without gunfights? (I should emphasise that that was young teenage me, I’m not a gun lover and very relieved to live in a country where I have never even seen a handgun in public). I like a couple of Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns, though the ultimate one of those, Once Upon a Time in the West, wasn’t Eastwood but Charles Bronson who filled the role of the man with no name as if it was written for him. (Interestingly, the full-length movie is way better than the shortened Hollywood version, which is maybe why it was a cult hit in Europe but flopped in US cinemas. And it had a haunting music soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. Sergio Leone understood that the way to build up tension is to take your time, as soon as someone starts shooting the tension is broken. More guns and more firepower does not always equal more drama).

    (Eastwood actually picked up on that, the scariest movie I have ever seen was ‘Play Misty for Me’ where he played a DJ who was being stalked by a psychopathic ex-girlfriend who had already (unknown to him) stabbed to death the detective assigned to protect him, and who was waiting somewhere in his house. The camera just followed Eastwood as he wandered from room to room – every time he casually walked through a door I wanted to scream at the screen “Look Out!”)

    I did like Who’s foray into the Western genre, A Town Called Mercy. Many series have ‘done’ a Western at some point. The Prisoner did (Living in Harmony), Farscape did (less successfully IMO – Home on the Remains), Red Dwarf (Gunmen of the Apocalypse), apparently Star Trek did. Blakes 7 I don’t think had an officially ‘western’ episode but the whole series was not far off a western. And of course Firefly was almost explicitly a space Western, with horses yet.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @dentarthurdent I have never been a fan of Westerns though I enjoyed the occasional spaghetti western when I was studying film but I do have very fond memories of watching old Westerns with my Uncle many years ago. We were both in stiches. He loved Westerns but also enjoyed the silliness inherent within them.

    I think that is why I never warmed to Firefly. We might be watching it later this year for the podcast series so maybe I will change my mind then about it.

    @winston. The digital age has its benefits and its massive negatives. I love the research opportunities it opens up, having resources available to me always that once could only be accessed through libraries and select libraries at that. Being able to attend classes and tutorials from their bedrooms during the pandemic has been fabulous but they are not getting the human interaction that was such an essential part of the University experience. There are wonderful corners of the internet like this one but there are some truly dark places too. They do seem to be very adept at navigating that though. Generally I have great hope for this generation. In the most recent Australian election the younger generation tended to vote, green, left or independent. (the “teals”) which I consider to be a good sign.



    ps and because this is the Sofa must mention Dr Who. Just over a month ago, before the first Covid strike on the household we did a podcast on the first episode with Tom Baker. I forgot to post the link so will do that.


    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @janetteb I’m more of a sci-fi fan than a Western fan, and in either case Sturgeon’s Law applies (95% of anything is crap). I’m trying to think what attracts me to (some) westerns and among their good points is, there’s usually some good dramatic tension as the action comes to a climax, also the scenery is often great (whether Monument Valley or Andalusia, I love those arid deserts with rocky outcrops and cliffs). Certainly beats the setting of most detective dramas.

    Firefly was never much of a favourite of mine, I couldn’t really warm to any of the characters. I became rather fond of Farscape, with it’s bizarre Henson creatures and its subversive Aussie-inspired touches of slightly vulgar humour. Speaking of which, Red Dwarf, if there was an off-colour joke to be made they were right on it. (Favourite quote: “No way are these my boxer shorts, these bend!”) Although many of Red Dwarf’s plot lines were seriously interesting sci-fi concepts dressed up as comedy. And I liked Blakes 7, particularly Avon’s cynical one-liners – the Seven were very much anti-heroes. Killing off the entire cast in the finale – that was bold.

    And Battlestar Galactica (the re-imagined series, I never watched the first one) – I must re-watch some time. Much of the interest first time through was guessing who was a Cylon ‘skin job’, be interesting to see if it’s still as interesting now I know most of them. Though actually I found the Cylon ‘skin jobs’ more interesting than the humans.


    I actually love the digital/internet age. (I just deleted a wall of text, but it included maps, travel bookings, digital photos, music on Youtube, how-to videos on car/computer repairs… )

    Doctor Who mention? – about to re-watch Praxeus. Now I’ve got my gripes about the Message off my chest, I may quite like it.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    OK, Praxeus – setting aside my previous irritation with the Message, it’s still not as good as Judoon was.   Yaz got to do a bit of adventuring by herself, good.  Gabriella going off with the newly-reconciled couple at the end – kinda awkward, I think the writers just didn’t know what to do with her.

    The stuff about enzymes, virus and bacteria sounded a bit shaky but I’m not enough microbiologist to know.   The alien bacteria causing bodies to explode was definitely – well, let’s say fantasy.   As was the bacteria making a plastic pressure dome at the bottom of the ocean.    And the bacteria not being human-transmissible but only from birds – weird.   And why were the birds attacking people anyway?   And why was the hospital in Peru and the street in Hong Kong completely deserted? – it gave an ominous ambience (which I guess was the reason) but was never explained.

    So it had a lot of good things about it – production values were good – but just too many story elements competing for attention.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    I just realised that a lot of the questions I just posed about Praxeus are answered if the bacteria is intelligent and telepathic – as the script said: “it’s smart, it’s relentless, and it knows you’re onto it.” Kind of hard to take that as a metaphor. But – I couldn’t really credit it literally. It’s a matter of consistency. The episode starts out as a realistic story (disease, microplastics, menacing birds) – very John Wyndham (Day of the Triffids). An intelligent alien bacteria planning a takeover is a way-out-there science fantasy concept, the sort of thing Red Dwarf would do (and probably has done). It needed more build-up than just a one-liner. My ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ is very context-dependent.


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