The Faces of the Doctor
9 May 2013 at 10:44 #8297Anonymous @
Also @htpbdet – are you doing all of these analyses from memory? Or do you have all the (available) videos spread out in front of you as an aide-memoire? From how you weave personal moments into your narratives, it’s clear the programme details are so intertwined with pivotal moments in your life that you remember one in connection with the other – the warmest tribute to the show’s producers (and writers, actors, technicians etc) there could ever be.
If you went on Mastermind with Doctor Who as your specialist topic, I dare say you’d get the highest points ever awarded. Alternately, if someone else were to choose that topic, you should definitely be the question-setter.9 May 2013 at 11:17 #8299
@Shazzbot As the Doctor would say, “the human mind is a remarkable thing”. Mostly, these thoughts come from memory, although occasionally I have to check a DVD or CD or transcript if I want to get a detail exactly right.
But my childhood memories are very vivid – I remember a few years ago hearing the CD of Power of the Daleks for the first time since first broadcast and, totally bizarrely, knowing what the Doctor was going to say in certain sections – because it was so burnt into my memory.
Didn’t mean to drop a bombshell re Davison – acting and the world of television is very small and I have been involved in both my entire professional life (although never with Doctor Who). Actors are people – they have friends and associated and colleagues just as we all do – and sometimes they find themselves away from their home, on location for something, chatting with complete strangers. As Peter Davison did that night.
I have not said anything yet about Troughton, Pertwee or Tom Baker – I thought I should join in the Fifth Doctor discussion as we were, as @Phasehift says, in the month of the Fifth Doctor in this anniversary year. I will come back to the others along the way though.
Remember too, please, that these are just my own thoughts – they are not fact or canon – and anyone and everyone is free to disagree!! 🙂
As to my moniker, the initials are the Doctors who I think of as “my” Doctors: the ones who got the spirit, essence and joy of the programme (as I see it) and who regenerate my inner child each time I see or hear one of their stories. The ones whose initials are not there, do not – and, as I will explain when the time comes, that is not necessarily about the actor.
But bless you for your kindness – this site has been very good – essential my favourite nephew tells me – in my recuperative process. So, thanks again to humble @craig. And everyone else.9 May 2013 at 12:55 #8305Anonymous @
@htpbdet -I’m really enjoying these conversations with you! And it’s wonderful to hear that you’re recuperating.
The more I learn about the ‘old’ stories but especially about the companions / assistants and the Doctor through your eyes in your remarkable posts, I wonder about the conversation I tried to start in the CH episode thread about how the dynamic of Doctor/companion has changed over the decades.
There really isn’t anything new under the sun, just the changing times in which we live which are reflected in the scripts and character arcs. So, Tegan was gobby and annoying – and Donna was gobby (and annoying to the great many people who just couldn’t see Catherine Tate as a companion). But Tegan apparently didn’t grow during her time in the Tardis, and left fans as annoyed with her as in the beginning; yet Donna definitely grew as a character and left fans [albeit grudgingly in some cases] liking her so much they bewailed her memory wipe. (For me, the most tear-shedding moment was when Donna cried ‘Don’t make me go back to being her again!’)
Another thing is the inter-racial aspect of companions’ lives in nuWho – Rose started with a black boyfriend; Martha got together with the white doctor from her year-long rambles (although she did end up with Mickey at the end), and Donna had two black boyfriends. And Clara’s nanny-family is black. It’s all done so nonchalantly, it’s really refreshing; and hopefully reflects colour-blindness in current British society.9 May 2013 at 13:42 #8312
@Shazzbot Don’t mean to mislead you – I think Tegan does change, quite a lot really, during her travels with the Doctor. She has a wider world view by the end of her time – compare her in Four to Doomsday and then in Enlightenment and you will see what I mean – but she is also exhausted by it and by the way the Doctor lives (and thus makes others live).
This is her final exchange:
TURLOUGH: Shouldn’t we inform Earth’s authorities? DOCTOR: Er yes. Yes, indeed. Come along. TEGAN: I’m not coming with you. DOCTOR: I beg your pardon? TEGAN: I’m tired of it. DOCTOR: What’s the matter? TEGAN: A lot of good people have died today. I think I’m sick of it. DOCTOR: You think I wanted it this way? TEGAN: No. It’s just that I don’t think I can go on. DOCTOR: You want to stay on Earth. TEGAN: My Aunt Vanessa said, when I became an air stewardess, if you stop enjoying it, give it up. DOCTOR: Tegan TEGAN: It’s stopped being fun, Doctor. Goodbye. Turlough. TURLOUGH: Goodbye. TEGAN: I’ll miss you both. DOCTOR: No, no, don’t leave, not like this. TEGAN: I must. I’m sorry. Goodbye. (Tegan leaves in tears.) DOCTOR: It’s strange. I left Gallifrey for similar reasons. I’d grown tired of their lifestyle. It seems I must mend my ways. Come along. (The Tardis dematerialises. Tegan returns.) TEGAN: Brave heart, Tegan. Doctor, I will miss you.
Its interesting when you say “there really isn’t anything new under the sun” – because that, I think anyway, is very true of Doctor Who in some ways.
Tegan’s departure was just a re-working of Victoria’s in Fury from the Deep:
DOCTOR: Well, we have to wait.
VICTORIA: Wait? But what for? For one of those awful creatures to come and attack us all?
DOCTOR: Now, Victoria, it’s not as bad as all that, you know.
VICTORIA: Isn’t it? Even you don’t know really how bad is it, do you?
DOCTOR: Well, no, not exactly.
VICTORIA: Every time we go anywhere something awful happens. Daleks. Cybermen.
VICTORIA: Yes, and Yeti. Why can’t we go anywhere pleasant, where there’s no fighting. Just peace and happiness.
And Donna’s fate echoes the horrible punishment meted out to Jamie and Zoe by the Time Lords at the end of War Games:
TIME LORD 3: It is time to say goodbye to your friends.
ZOE: There must be something we can do?
DOCTOR: No Zoe, not this time. Well, goodbye, Jamie.
JAMIE: But Doctor surely we could
DOCTOR: Goodbye, Jamie.
JAMIE: I won’t forget you, you know.
DOCTOR: I won’t forget you. Don’t go blundering into too much trouble, will you?
JAMIE: Oh, you’re a fine one to talk.
DOCTOR: Goodbye, Zoe.
ZOE: Goodbye, Doctor. Will we ever meet again?
DOCTOR: Again? Now, Zoe, you and I know, time is relative, isn’t it?
(Jamie and Zoe enter a SIDRAT which dematerialises, taking them back to their respective time-zones)
DOCTOR: They’ll forget me, won’t they?
TIME LORD 2: Not entirely. They will be returned to a time just before they went away with you. They will remember their first adventure with you, but nothing more. But come along. Your fate has been decided.
The inter-racial aspect, as well as the sexual identity issue, occurs only in Nu-Who because times in the real world have changed thankfully – and the world is a much more accepting and tolerant place. Sometimes, anyway.
I like to think that Doctor Who has contributed to that change. 🙂9 May 2013 at 13:46 #8314Anonymous @
Interesting to hear your thoughts on Davison — as well as how much they do — and don’t — chime with mine. I definitely agree that he was ‘nobbled’ from the outset by a rough set of companions. But I’m not sure if it was the companions themselves, just the sheer number of them that Davison had to cope with at any given time. It’s to his considerable credit that he managed to shine with this considerable handicap thrust upon him. But I do think that any of his companions (except Adric) would have been better served if they had been the sole companion. There was just too many of them for any one voice to sufficiently make itself heard and shine.
I think Davison’s Doctor was much more designed for a single companion dynamic. Colin Baker could probably have been improved by having a busier TARDIS. I think a couple of years of a Davison/Tegan dynamic could have produced something really special. I believe JNT had considered bringing back Sarah-Jane as a companion for Davison and while an interesting idea, I’m not sure that would have worked either. I think Sarah’s history with previous Doctors would have meant that she would have just overshadowed Davison too much. Although maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they would have been great together.
I’m afraid I don’t share your (and Davison’s) favourable view of Nyssa. Maybe I should rewatch some stories but I don’t recall there really being much of a chemistry between them and I found her quite dull. Compare that with Tegan where I always thought there was some connection between the characters. I always got the impression, as you say, that the Doctor made some effort with her, had a genuine affection for her and was actually quite gutted when she ‘rejected’ him at the end.
I also think there was some chemistry between Peri and Doctor Five in the few scenes they actually share in Androzani and I think had Davison stayed on they could have been a successful pairing. I think she did later become more whiny and annoying just because of the complete lack of chemistry between her and Baker and the latter’s generally overly abrasive and irritating persona.
Agree whole-heartedly with you about Ainley though. I loved that they brought back the Master and Davison was a good Doctor to have a nemesis. (Although can’t imagine Davison, er, coming up against the Rani. It just wouldn’t have worked.) Maybe if Ainley had been given a freer hand in how he approached the role. Creating a carbon copy of Delgado always seemed to me to be a bizarre idea — a bit like if every incarnation of the Doctor had been copies of Hartnell. It’s highly unlikely if the show would still be here if that had been the case. It’s one thing that RTD got right when he brought back the Master — letting him have different ‘incarnations’ . I didn’t dislike John Simm’s take as much as many did, but I still don’t think we’ve had a Master that is quite ‘right’ for the new series yet. I personally would like to see one a bit like The Mayor in Buffy — disarmingly affable and Uncle-like but, you know, evil.
And, finally, for what it’s worth, my five favourite Davison stories are: Terminus, Androzani, Kinda, Castrovalva and The Visitation.9 May 2013 at 17:23 #8340
I think the greatest issue with the TARDIS crew in the three companions Davison era is the false need for “tension” between them.
When there were three in the TARDIS in the Sixties, essentially, with the odd spat, they all got along – and it was a matter of them, as a cohesive but interesting whole, on the one hand and the Doctor on the other. Ian and Barbara and Vicki worked this way as did Ben, Polly and Jamie.
Nathan-Turner just had a specific idea about bickering in the TARDIS – something he allowed reach its zenith in the 6th Doctor/Peri combination.
You are right about Peri in Caves of Androzani – she is really quite good there. I was remiss to leave that out. But she wasn’t good in Planet of Fire and I never thought she was ever much good again. But, there is that lingering sense that with good writing and Davison, Peri might have been a better valued companion.
I never thought of Ainley as a carbon copy of Delgado – he just had no style, even though there was a superficial physical resemblance. But I take your point – and agree – the sensible choice would have been to give the Master a fresh look, so Ainley could be his own creation. I convinced myself that the Master was the vain type and had decided that the Delgado look was the one he liked best and, therefore, chose it upon regeneration, rather like Romana chose the body she wanted in Destiny of the Daleks.
I don’t know why people didn’t like John Simm – I quite liked him and he was infinitely better than the dreary dribbling disastrous dog-turd that Ainley was.
[PhaseShift Edit at authors request The comment about Ainley is clarified here]
As to Tegan, it always seemed to me that the production focus was on her to the exclusion of Nyssa, but that Sarah Sutton always did her very best and excelled in ways that the script and the direction/production did not expect. She was, as well, playing a shy, lost but smart Trakenite – not a human – and she had lost her father but kept coming in touch with a maniac who had stolen his body. I always thought it was a hard ask but that Sutton really did the job. She is subtle and underplayed – everything Tegan is not.
Indeed, I think the truth is that Nyssa shines most before Tegan arrives and Tegan shines most (Kinda aside) after Nyssa has gone.
Its odd to think about Sarah-Jane Smith travelling with Davison – personally, I think that Liz Sladen could have made anything work – but, mostly, I think if he had started with Sarah-Jane instead of Tegan, Nyssa and Adric, Davison’s Doctor would have been different. Probably fundamentally different.
Its why companions matter.9 May 2013 at 18:45 #8354Anonymous @
Nathan-Turner just had a specific idea about bickering in the TARDIS
Good point. I remember at the time thinking that JNT was a good producer but in hindsight I’ve revised that to him being in fact pretty terrible. He had strong ideas for Season 18 and the change in direction was much overdue after Graham Williams overindulging Tom Baker so much. Season 18 just seemed so sparkly and vibrant after the tired dregs of the previous one.
But even at the outset some of his ideas were terrible too. You’re dead right about the bickering companions dynamic. A 60s-style greater cohesion of the TARDIS crew would have worked wonders.
And the insistence on question marks everywhere even did my head in at the time. His concepts for the Doctor’s costumes were always terrible. Colin Baker’s being the worst example. But I also remember some alternate concepts for Davison’s outfit that were far better than the cricket schtick we finally got. And poor McCoy lumbered with that pullover. One thing that the TV movie showed was that McCoy looked far better if given a decent costume.
But at least during Davison’s tenure you got the sense that he was at least taking the show seriously. By the time Baker arrived it felt that he’d pretty much given up on it and just wanted to turn it into a comedic light entertainment romp — ironically, the very thing that he’d initially been brought in to avoid.
The show was only rallying towards the end because of the new breed of writers like Cartmel, Aaranovitch and Platt who had a genuine love for the show and a desire to take it new directions and because JNT had by then seemingly tired of the whole thing and seemed more happy to take a back seat. I wonder how different things would have been for the show’s history if he’d stepped aside completely at an earlier date and let a new producer put his mark on the show, say straight after the hiatus.
Interesting points on Nyssa too, by the way. Maybe I’m too hard on her. It’s a pity they didn’t make more of the trauma of seeing the Master in her father’s body at the time. You’re right, it’s an interesting concept and they could have used it as a far stronger plot point and source of character conflict, I think. Interesting, also, how tragic Nyssa actually was too. No happy ending for her either. Planet destroyed. Father killed by the Master. And ends her days on a floating leper colony.9 May 2013 at 21:36 #8387
@whisht Thanks so much. Very, very kind. Yes, I guess I underplay what I did because it’s part of what I do and find it reasonably easy. It amuses me, but also makes me feel good, that you say that I bothered to do this, because for the first few days I avoided it. I saw the calls at Christmas for a forum after about day three and thought “Yeah, that’s a good idea, someone will be able to set that up”.
About day five I revisited and there were still calls for a forum, and I really thought that amongst a bunch of Doctor Who fans there must be someone who knows something about websites (I’m avoiding calling anyone, especially myself, a geek 😀 ). So I left it again. Someone would set something up…
I went back to the Christmas special post on The Guardian a day before it was going to be shut and it was clear by then that no one was going to do it. Because I really loved reading all the comments, well the ones by the lovely people who have migrated here, and occasionally, very occasionally posting myself, I finally felt compelled.
So yeah, as the Americans say, I stepped up to the plate, and bashed together a site in a few hours. But it was my pleasure, I didn’t want the conversation to end either.
But you are right, it could have died on its arse, as several sites I’ve built have. That’s why I went for cheap hosting. £30 is a small punt for a year.
However, you all amazed me. Even when we had less then 30 members the conversations continued day after day. All those involved at the start, and I include you @whisht, deserve recognition for keeping it going when there were so few users and nothing happening in the Whoniverse (sorry) to keep it going except your enthusiasm.
It has, of course, taken a few more hours to get it where it is now. But it is worth it for the quality of the posts on here. I may be a bit biased, but I think this is now one of the most erudite, informed (is that the same as erudite?), honest, funny, civil and enjoyable forums I’ve come across on the web. So, okay, I accept that I did something special in setting this up, but all of you did something special too, with every post you made.10 May 2013 at 22:09 #8474Whisht @whisht13 May 2013 at 20:58 #8939
Here’s an extract only from the BFI Robots of Death Q&A featuring Tom Baker and Louise Jamieson. I guess they had a reduced panel in anticipation of Tom being “on form”.
It’s unusual to be an extract. Most YouTube uploads to date have been the full thing. After the Youtube preview is a link the page on the BFI site that has the whole thing (shame their Video processing is a bit more of a pain in the backside).
Full discussion:16 May 2013 at 19:30 #9384
The BFI are spoiling us this month!
Here we have Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse as well as director Graeme Harper on the era of the Fifth Doctor, and the making of The Caves of Androzani which was shown as a tribute to The Fifth Doctor.22 May 2013 at 04:51 #10318Ossian1898 @ossian1898
It’s been fun and interesting reading posts about the various doctors. I started watching with the 9th Doctor and have watched everything from that point forward. I’m wanting to watch the series prior to the 9th and was wondering where to start? I started watching from the very first episodes but when I got to the first appearance of the Daleks and subsequent chain episodes, I lost a little bit interest (maybe due to the fact that I was expecting the lore to start from that point forward but I now know that developed with the series). Which doctor should I begin with. I plan on watching them all but I want a good starting point to lead up to Eccleston.22 May 2013 at 05:29 #10319blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
Where to start… I think you are going to get many varied and personal suggestions, based on when the poster started watching. Although I started watching back with Hartnell, I would probably suggest “The War Games” with Troughton. The whole backstory of who the Doctor is and the Timelords starts here, in many ways. It is also a really clever story that starts out as one sort of story and ends up as another. It is hard to give any more details without spoiling the surprises–and it is a story with lots of surprises. Enjoy!22 May 2013 at 05:29 #10320WhoHar @whohar
This is down to personal opinion but I personally don’t think trawling through the entire back catalogue is the best way to go.
Have a look at the Doctor Who Memories forum for further ideas. Specifically from HTPBDET’s post #5101 over there (hope he won’t mind me repeating it here – he is indisposed right now):
When people ask me how to get in to Doctor Who, I always suggest that they watch the very first episode, then The Three Doctors, then Dalek Invasion of Earth, Tomb of the Cybermen, Terror of the Autons, Robots of Death, Talons of Weng-Chiang, Caves of Androzani and Remembrance of the Daleks.
That gives you an overview of the classic series. Once you have seen them, you can then turn to things like Five Doctors, Pirate Planet, City of Death, Kinda, Snakedance, Seeds of Death, The Axtecs, The Romans, The Meddling Monk, Earthshock , Curse of Peladon, Planet of the Spiders and War Games.
Look also at a couple of the blogs on this site for mroe expansive lists. Everyone has their favourites though.
Another option is to buy/download some of the books – Target novels were very popular in the 1970’s and still going up to the 1990’s I believe. Not brilliant in terms of literature but they give you a chance to find out about some of the missing episodes (those the BBC wiped off their tapes – 1st & 2nd Doc stories), as well as dip into some of the other Doc stories.
For background, there is also the BBC Doctor Who site – packed to the rafters with lots of info, pictures, clips etc. YouTube has many of the stories too. You could also try something like Wikipedia which can be helpful in things like titles for the stories, summaries of each of the Doc’s adventures and when they were broadcast.
Sorry if that’s a bit overwhelming but it is a 50 year old show. There’s lots of history but that’s a good thing. Enjoy.22 May 2013 at 18:31 #10379Tournikate @tournikate
@htpbdet Wow – thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!! I discovered Who eight months ago*** and then promptly and completely immersed myself in all things Who. lol Although I am all NuWho, so these insights into the past Doctors and companions are very interesting and informative. I appreciate how accesible you make it all through your writing style – just wonderful 🙂
Sorry if the following is off thread but I felt it need sayin….
[*** Eight months ago!! Really. I didn’t even know Doctor Who existed. I question the validity of the CBC for depriving us here in Canada of Doctor Who but finding time for other BBC programing (Masterpiece Theatre anyone? No disrespect intended but I would have prefered Doctor Who 🙂 Even stranger is that I spent a year living just south of London…A year! Still no Who in my life…although to be fair it was prior to the NuWho and its resurgence in popularity. Still. Thank goodness for Merlin which got me exploring BBC programing and subsequently leading me to Who]24 May 2013 at 15:45 #10708Allon-zee @allon-zee
A french site about classic doctor who, with almost all episodes subtitles in french (doesn’t matter to me, but pretty much the only place I can find them all together), has a very nice list of three or four episodes each from the classic doctors to get a feel of their incarnation :30 May 2013 at 12:15 #11360
It’s nearly June, and in a case of life imitating art I’m shoving the Sixth Doctor into the end of the Fifth Doctor period. Your thoughts on this chap are welcome.
The arrival of Colin Baker as Dr. Who rather late in the series produced a rather cool response from sample members. Less than half were impressed by his portrayal so far; however, one or two of those who had found his performance convincing expressed the view that Mr. Baker had potential to become an excellent Dr. Who because his face was ‘not associated with so many other roles and he seems less wishy-washy than others who have played the part’. Respondents who were dissatisfied with Colin Baker’s interpretation of Dr. Who (a quarter of the sample) expressed the reasons for their disapproval quite clearly. The new Doctor was felt to be so totally different in character from others who had gone before him that he seemed ‘unreal’. In the opinion of his critics, he lacked amiability and was not a very likeable character. In the words of two respondents: ‘I find him too aggressive and just not as pleasant as other Doctors’; ‘The new Doctor is too stern and doesn’t have enough humour’.30 May 2013 at 12:38 #11363
To go off on an immediate tangent, one of the early Confidential series showed clips of a brief interview with Christopher Eccleston on why he wanted to play the Doctor.
“I wanted to play Charming. People told me I couldn’t do it, and I wanted to prove them wrong”.
I nodded at that. Not that I don’t think Eccleston has never played charming before, or couldn’t, but that he clearly identified a necessary trait for the Doctor. Let’s face it; the character has an arrogant side. A know-it-all superiority at times. He can be a bit of an egoist. Charm and humour can be used to undercut that, and also give the Doctor self awareness that show he realises these traits are within him, and he deliberately “knee caps” them with people he knows. What kind of monster would he be without charm?
Welcome to Colin Baker. The charmless Doctor.
I was a bit bemused by the casting of him as the Doctor. It had only been a short while since he was playing Commander Maxell in Davison’s “Arc of Infinity” as an unlikeable Gallifreyan guard who threw the switch in an attempt to execute the Fifth Doctor. He really didn’t seem a great choice to me, but what did I know? So at the end of “Caves of Androzani” the Doctor regenerates. In an otherwise excellent show, his immediate words and cutting attitude towards Peri seemed a little, well – “off”. Regeneration, though, has always been a tricky thing, so I went with it. The end of that series saw his first adventure, “The Twin Dilemma”. It was mind-bogglingly awful. The Doctor trying to stangle Peri. A pair of young actors so cringeworthy they made Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) look like Sir John Gielgood. The Doctor picking a costume that self-respecting professional clowns would reject as “taking the piss”. A plot so laughable it defied belief. Just f**king awful. “Never mind”, I thought at the end of the show, “Difficult regeneration episode over. A break until the new series. Time to start afresh.”
Series 22 came along. Oh Gods. “Attack of the Cybermen”. A story trying to resolve plot points from two Cybermen adventures that only fanboys such as myself even had a casual interest in. In which a Cyberman is killed by “a lucky shot” from a revolver. “Vengeance on Varos” had an entertaining turn by Nabil Shaban as Sil and some prescient points about reality TV that were ahead of its time, but sees the Doctor behaving like an intergalactic hooligan. “The Mark of the Rani” introduced The Rani (a fun enough turn in a campy way by Kate O’Mara). Just consider that the Time Lords had pursued the Doctor over time and space because he’d borrowed a TARDIS and interfered. Now we were to believe they would banish one of their own from Gallifrey with a TARDIS to continue her experiments on other species. Just crass. “The Two Doctors” does its best to piss on the characters of the Second Doctor and Jamie. “Timelash”?! Jesus wept. We ended on “Revelation of the Daleks”. Pantomime Davros and support cast. The best thing about it is the shot of a partly converted human encased in a transparent Dalek. For variety, add in Alexi Sayle’s DJ character and his really over the top death scene.
Throughout this we had poor Nicola Bryant as Peri, poured into ever tighter costumes, Her character was supposed to be a botany student, but they made her progressively dumber and dumber. I suppose it was all supposed to be “meant for the dads” but even my loathsome 15 year old self could dredge up enough empathy to feel sorry for her. Ultimately though – bestriding this carnival of horrors like a colossal ill-dressed arsehole stood Baker Mk II.
I wasn’t surprised by the announcement that the show would be put on hiatus for a while. I’d really lost patience. Something was fundamentally wrong with all this. I did consider if this was part of being a teenager. Most of my acquaintances who had watched the show had drifted away during the Davison era. Maybe I was the problem?
Spin forward and a new series was announced. The publicity machine kicked in. What delights had we in store, I wondered? Bonnie f**king Langford that’s who. For my generation she meant one thing. Violet Elizabeth in Just William. Thsqueaming and thsqueaming until she was sick.
Oh – the irony!
And so “The Trial of a Time Lord” began. Four adventures (Mysterious Planet, Mindwarp, Terror of the Vervoids, The Ultimate Foe) interlinked throughout by scenes in which the Time Lords put the Doctor on trial yet again.
- Gasp! At the opening CGI scene of the TARDIS being snared by a space station.
- Weep! When you realise that was most of the budget for he series.
- Sob! With laughter as Peri is first thought dead, and then shown to be happily married. To Brian Blessed.
- Scream! As Bonnie Langford turns up as “Mel” and starts screaming herself.
- Laugh! At the scenes where Colin tries to be all serious.
In the final story the prosecutor, The Valeyard is revealed to be a dark future incarnation of the Doctor. The problem for me with this scenario is that Michael Jayston seemed actually preferable to me than Colin Baker!
If, as fans would have it, this series was a metaphor for the show being put on trial, then I think the verdict could only be a guilty one. In the dock, the BBC who really couldn’t be arsed to make a verdict on the future of the show one way or another. They preferred to let the show starve of resources and become the personal plaything of one producer who really had no idea where to go. Aided by a man who was spectacularly miscast and who didn’t really understand the appeal of the show. His desire to “return” to some notional version of Hartnell was nonsensical, and shows he had no idea of how the First Doctor was really played. These factors really conspired to create a toxin for the show much more powerful than the Spectrox Toxaemia that had heralded the reign of the Sixth Doctor.
All should have been found guilty – but only one paid the price. As the “Face of the Doctor”, Colin Baker was the first actor to be sacked from the role. His fans (and he has them) were upset to be sure, but for me I treated it with some relief. The problem was, John Nathan Turner was still there as Producer, and I couldn’t see things changing much.
Taking the Michael
I have gone back to rewatch the entire run with a true Colin devotee. He’s explained many things some of which seem feasible and some that don’t. The notion that he had a four year plan to turn this charmless Doctor into something more familiar is the one I have most difficulty with. Listening to his Who audio work, and having seem him interviewed and in other productions, I don’t actually think he would have been capable of such a transition.
I realise that I’ve written a lot about a Doctor and a period of the show I really couldn’t get along with. This is because simply putting a picture of the actor and putting “TOSSER” beneath it is bad form. For me, this is a dark period for the show and one that I can’t really defend. If you are to dip into old Who, please do not start with any of the serials above. It may put you off for life.30 May 2013 at 13:34 #11364
I think ‘charmless’ is a pretty good description of the Sixth Doctor. Colin Baker was most horribly miscast; he’s great at playing nasty characters – but the producer of the time didn’t seem to realise that his off-screen charm didn’t extend to making him likeable on-screen. And the miscasting seemed to be a symptom of things going wrong behind the scenes; Who had lost its way. Even in Davison’s era, Davison seemed most comfortable in the role when he knew he was leaving it.
The scripts didn’t help; they were terrible. And yes, I agree. Michael Jayston would have been a far better Doctor than Colin Baker.
Personally, I bailed after Mysterious Planet, and returned when Colin Baker was replaced by Sylvester McCoy. I suppose the Sixth’s contribution to history is going to be in the idea that the Doctor can have a regeneration who isn’t ‘The Doctor’.
If Colin Baker had been given better scriptwriters – who knows? I cannot imagine either RTD or Moffat having kept Colin Baker on any longer than the contract required, but I can imagine both of them hurriedly rewriting to play to his strengths, to give him a series where we watched ‘the Doctor’ struggle with the fact that – this time – he’s not the hero everyone expects him to be. If we’d got that, maybe ‘Trial of a Time Lord’ would have been a series that meant something. Instead of a series that lumbered the current producers with the problem of the Thirteenth Doctor becoming the Valeyard.30 May 2013 at 14:03 #11366Anonymous @
@phaseshift , @bluesqueakpip – well, you’ve convinced me that I should avoid his episodes! But Phasey, I think your post less of a diatribe or invective simply for being so thorough in recounting why you reached your conclusion. It’s not just writing ‘Tosser!’ as you say, and that’s what makes this site such a joy esp over the G.
I saw the Ecclestone interview clip you referred to, and I wondered at the time about how his Doctor, when his series is viewed as a whole, could be defined as ‘charming’. He’s dark, he’s conflicted, he wants a laugh but sometimes it feels forced, he’s on a hair-trigger with old foes; but he also expressed such unrelieved joy in his ‘This time, nobody dies!’ cry that you caught a glimmer of what the man could have been, if he hadn’t been so dark/conflicted etc. And the fact that he risked ripping a hole in the universe just so Rose could see her Dad, that showed a deep well of empathy which for me is a key of the Doctor’s character. From your description of C Baker’s time, empathy was distinctly lacking.
And Bluey, you make an important point – it’s really not all about the actor, or the actor’s interpretation of the character (the latter can be blamed on the director); it’s about having a show-runner with a clear vision of the arc of the character, and it appears poor C Baker was lacking that in spades.30 May 2013 at 14:49 #11370
Completely agree. I dipped into Colin’s first episode and caught Vengeance on Varos – which was saved by Nabil Shaban. I really wanted to like him – loved him as the devious, creepy Paul Merion in the Brothers (1970s), but you have nailed it in summing up his take on Dr who as charmless.
The way the companions were presented was awful. Poor Peri was a constant moan – and no wonder. Baker’s Dr treats her like shit, including physically pushing her out the way on occasions. Pertwee might have been sharp with Jo occasionally but there was always a paternal warmth underlying it. And what was that dayglo pink outfit about??? Never been a fan of Kate O’Mara and the Bonnie Langford announcement was enough to send me thcweaming behind the couch, traumatised. (Sorry @htpbdet 😉 )
I doubt I’d ever have watched any of them had it not been for the reboot ie wrapped in the security of knowing there was better to follow! Curiosity value only for me.
Anyone for the defence?30 May 2013 at 14:53 #11371
Not to mention zero budget, uninspired direction, kids colouring box titles and the question marks on the shirt!30 May 2013 at 17:23 #11374
Yes, the scripts were really bad. The usually reliable Robert Holmes contributed some stinkers, but he’d been ill for a while (he died in 86). I think everyone was operating in the dark during this period. It felt like on one hand the actor wanted to do something, and the Producer had a different take on it. I don’t think any scriptwriter would have been successful in joining the two together.
These are just personal views. I hope (as @scaryb suggests) we get someone who will come in and defend him. I know the script for the Sixth Doctor fans pretty well, but I don’t buy it, even having sat through the run (and the spinoff audios) with someone who explained it to me. So I’ll leave it for someone who does!
I’m not a massive fan of Kate O’Mara myself, but I will be paying her a kind of compliment next month.
Peri – what can you say? At 15 years old I really did feel sorry for the actress. It just seemed so obvious I was supposed to find her attractive (look at her boobs!) that I automatically didn’t. They made her whine more than early Tegan, which was the wrong kind of achievement.30 May 2013 at 18:39 #11377
Re Colin – they really should have cast him as the Master rather than the Dr.
He does nice bit of scenery chewing as Bayban the Berserker (great jacket, and 5 stars for the flarey nostrils!) in Blakes 7
(and correction to my earlier post – that should have read Paul Merroney (not Merion) in the Brothers (that’s what I get working from memory))
@phaseshift LOL at Peri even being 15yo boy proof!30 May 2013 at 18:50 #11378Anonymous @
@phaseshift – being immune from the 6th Doctor’s charmlessness, and an utterly disinterested reader … Is it possible that they were trying to contrast his harsh demeanour with “a costume that self-respecting professional clowns would reject as ‘taking the piss’.” ?
On second thought, after typing that sentence, it seems in doubt that any viewer would see the 6th Doctor’s costume as ‘whimsical’, much less be misdirected by his dire costuming so as to be bedazzled by him as empathetic, Doctor-like, or in any other way, sympathetic.30 May 2013 at 19:17 #11381
That costume was unbelievable, even for a race of people who are now canonical for having “terrible dress sense” (Eleventh Doctor). To be fair, Colin Baker himself didn’t want it – he’d rather have gone for something in black. I think the audio covers generally use what’s now called ‘the blue costume’.
It’s a lot easier on the eye. I have seen suggestions that if you really, really want to make a proper Sixth Doctor coat for cosplay, you should just search pet shops for the appropriate dog blankets. 😈30 May 2013 at 19:20 #11383Anonymous @
@bluesqueakpip – nice codpiece! (was that the subtext? In phantasmagoric full-colour, or shades-of-blue?) … ‘Double Albert’ or ‘Prince Albert’? 😀30 May 2013 at 19:34 #11384chickenelly @chickenelly
Why have you posted two dolls of Michael Ball?
Oh, it’s Colin Baker30 May 2013 at 19:55 #11385
@everyone – there was a better image, but it was copyright.
Anyway, moving away from the codpiece jokes (on the grounds that talk of cod pieces might upset the fishes), I note that one of the recent waistcoats worn by the Eleventh would have been part of Colin Baker’s preferred costume – he wanted black velvet.
The fob watch itself (or a visible chain) has been used by over half the Doctor’s incarnations – the First, the Sixth, the Seventh, the Eighth, the Tenth and the Eleventh.30 May 2013 at 20:35 #11388
He looked much happier in Bayban’s studs and kitschy 80s black leather! The fob watch would’ve looked a bit odd though 🙂
@bluesqueakpip Dog blankets would’ve looked better… but the costume budget couldn’t stretch that far 😈31 May 2013 at 11:19 #11442
That is top quality footage of Baker as Bayban. Blakes 7 was a show which easily accomodated over-the-top scenery chewing. I actually like that episode “City at the Edge of the World” a lot, mainly because I liked Vila, and that was a strong episode for him. Vila and Avon were one of the best double acts of their type.
For reasons I may go into some time, the figure of the left actually haunted me for a while. A long complicated and bizarre story which will need me to explain why Alec Guiness may have been my Doctor for a while. One for some other time in the Memories thread.31 May 2013 at 12:28 #11445Anonymous @31 May 2013 at 13:01 #11446
He could certainly go into that territory at times.
Mostly though it was just the aching sense of self-satisfaction unrestrained that made him so unlikeable. Here is his introductory scene (prior to trying to kill Peri).31 May 2013 at 13:37 #11447Anonymous @
@phaseshift – ‘he had a certain feckless charm, which certainly isn’t me.’
Whoever thought up that line – indeed this entire characterisation of the Doctor based on that line – is hopefully spending eternity having a continual loop of the Teletubbies blasted directly into their brain.31 May 2013 at 21:31 #11468curvedspace @curvedspace
Just have to say that I love this thread. It’s the one that drew me to the board, actually. I tend to prefer post-analysis rather than speculation; this topic is quite meaty. I rarely am caught up on new eps, but have been slowly backfilling Classic Who. (I’m still on Pertwee.) I’ll have to just lurk about this thread until I’ve watched more.
I love the idea of reading the Target novels — it’s time in front of the telly that’s hard to come by with a toddler awake and underfoot but I am a pro at sneaking in books during odd moments. (Sometimes the novels are really different, though — I read the Target novelization for The Daleks and it’s got some changes.) On the other hand, the brains on eye-stalks in Keys of Marinus make for one of my favorite Hartnell monster moments, and those seem best when experienced visually.
And even though I’m new, I’ll join the chorus of appreciation for @htpbdet‘s post (@whohar said it so well) and for @craig setting up the board. I’m having fun. I’ll keep dipping my toe in here and there.31 May 2013 at 23:52 #11479
is that Blake’s 7 clip indicative of how C Baker played the Doctor?
No, he’s much cuddlier as Bayban the Berzerker 😉31 May 2013 at 23:55 #11481
There must be SOMEONE out there prepared to speak in Colin’s defence…?!
Oh and hi to @curvedspace Thanks for joining us and thank for the posts4 June 2013 at 21:47 #11858Anonymous @
Some thoughts on the Sixth Doctor.
I find that there’s not much I can say about the Sixth Doctor as I found him pretty much a turn-off from his first episode onwards. And there’s probably not much I can add to the masterful analyses by @phaseshift and @htpbdet. So apologies if this is all a bit random.
When Davison’s departure and Baker’s arrival were announced I found that I was strangely hopeful. Despite Davison being very much ‘my’ TV Doctor, I accepted his going without too much protest and thought from the initial pics that Baker looked promising — like a cross between Davison and Tom Baker. This could be OK, I told myself.
Then there was the catty last five minutes of Androzani — which almost ruined one of the greatest stories ever (I still wish they could have shut Baker up until the start of The Twin Dilemma). That should have been enough to set my alarm bells ringing. But, no, I told myself. Give it time. It could just be a quirk of the regeneration. But by the time we’d reached the end of episode one of The Twin Dilemma, there was no doubt. We’d seen the costume. We’d seen him try to strangle Peri. The new Doctor was an absolute arse.
During Baker’s tenure, I would occasionally tune in – partially out of loyalty and partially to see if he’d improved any. No such luck. There is not a single Colin Baker story that I could really stomach watching and there’s certainly none I would ever think of revisiting now. The closest to bearable for me are the last couple of episodes of Trial of a Time Lord, which have a quirkiness to them, I think. But to be honest I was starting to enjoy them for Michael Jayston’s Valeyard rather than the Doctor. If the show had then gone on to follow the Valeyard’s misadventures I think I’d have been more inclined to tune in than to watch any more of this travesty of a Doctor. That, at least, would have been more fun.
However, I’m reluctant to condemn Baker himself too much for the disaster of his era. I think the blame pretty much lies much more at JNT’s door than anything else. By this time I think JNT had comprehensively run out of ideas for the show. His impressive (ish) Seasons 18-20 seemed to have exhausted what he had to contribute to the programme and he now seemed to be consider Who as his own private fiefdom where he could indulge his caprices rather than take the show seriously. He should have gone at the same time as Davison and let someone with some ideas and enthusiasm take over. That way, I think, Baker might have stood a fighting chance of being a half-decent Doctor.
Baker said he considered his Doctor to be someone who would ‘walk over half a dozen dead bodies to weep over a fallen butterfly’. That, to me, is not the Doctor. It sounds more like a more interesting take on the Master to me. And, as others have said, maybe that’s who he should have been cast as. But I think another producer could have tempered this concept and helped him come up with an interpretation that still had the aloof amorality he was aiming for but yet still being remotely likeable.
The costume. Oh god, the costume. I still find it hard to believe that anyone thought that that look was remotely a good idea. Someone should really have taken JNT aside and told him to think again. I’ve always hated the whole ‘question mark’ motif that characterised the costumes of the JNT era and this was the worst example of the lot. I think Baker was right on the money that his Doctor needed something a bit more sombre. I think something like a mid-period Tom Baker outfit sans the scarf would have been perfect for him. Although I also had the idea that the Sixth Doctor would have looked quite good in a sort of Elizabethan cut-purse outfit. Long buff-leather jerkin, frilly-ish shirt, dark trousers and buccaneer boots kind of thing. Something rogue-ish.
The general garishness. This was a period in Who where it was up against the glitz of Hollywood SF. It made the mistake of trying to compete directly with that — something that was doomed to failure. Instead the show should have played to its strengths. If the show had opted for a darker palette, moody lighting, sombre browns and burgundies and blacks, and moodier, more brooding stories, instead of overlit, neon garishness then I think its fortunes would have been measurably different. A return to Hinchcliffian Gothic in other words. This, too, I feel, would have suited Colin Baker’s Doctor a lot more.
In short, Baker’s era was a disaster from beginning to end. Baker himself seemed to flounder from a lack of direction. The look of the show now seemed to designed to highlight rather than conceal the show’s flaws and the quality of writing was, by and large, terrible. It’s to the credit of the strength of the core concept of the show — as well as the high esteem it was generally held in — that it even survived this period to be here today.7 June 2013 at 14:11 #11985
As we’re touching on female writers in the Whoniverse elsewhere, it timely to point out that it has been left to US writer Richelle Mead to do the short story for the Sixth Doctor as part of the Puffin range. As we have not had a positive response about Colin on the faces strand here is what she says:
“I’ve always loved watching Colin Baker as The Doctor. When he’s on the screen, you can’t take your off eyes off of him — and no, I’m not just talking about his infamous wardrobe! Everything him about is larger than life: his personality, his ingenuity, his biting humour. He’s one of the darker of the Doctors, and yet through it all, that heroism and need to do what’s right never fails. That’s what makes him so fascinating to me. It’s an author’s dream to be able to write with a character like that.
“Something Borrowed” sees a wedding invitation and “the return of a formidable old foe whose genius matches the Doctor.”
The Guardian has an extract here. It appears to be unusual in that it is written from the first person (Peri).21 June 2013 at 11:46 #12690
Peoples of the Forum, please attend. We control the horizontal. We control the vertical. We… oh, wrong show. We interrupt this celebration of an ill-dressed oaf to present a subject which demands your admiration and respect.
Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks defined the character of the Master in this Document.
The Master has a chameleon like ability to adapt to any society in which he finds himself. He will therefore be completely natural and convincing in his various human roles. He must not be written as a moustache twirling villain of melodrama, or given melodramatic dialogue; If anything his evil quality should be underplayed, though never forgotten
One Roger Caesar Marius Bernard de Delgado Torres Castillo Roberto (Roger Delgado) was selected to play him. Tuesday 18th June 2013 saw the 40th anniversary of his death.21 June 2013 at 12:01 #12691
My introduction to the character of the Master came through some of the early novelisations, particularly The Daemons and Doomsday Weapon (televised as Colony in Space). They were fun reads, and I was really interested in this character who was meant to be the equal of the Doctor in many ways. It was only when Doctor Who Weekly started years later that I saw a picture of Roger Delgado in a “Unit Fact File” – a page profile of the character and actor who played him. The picture amazed me – that had to be the Master I’d read about. I also discovered the actor was dead and I can remember being really saddened for a reason I couldn’t put my finger on.
Armed with a very striking face to ponder on, I suddenly started to realise I’d seen him before. He was a guest star in the re-runs of The Avengers, The Champions, Randall and Hopkirk Deceased and many other shows that were on my favourite list.
One day, when watching the film Belles of St. Trinian’s, I said, knowledgably, to my dad – “look – it’s Roger Delgado, from Doctor Who”. My dad looked up. “Ohhh yes. He was in Quatermass, you know. A reporter”. “Not – THE PIT?” (Quatermass and the Pit deserved capitalisation in our household. Something of legend to young me, due to stories abou it from my father). “No”, he said, “the one with the domes. He got killed.”
I shrugged philosophically. Not in “THE PIT”, but still in Quatermass. The man had to have been some sort of acting legend to appear in so many good shows.
I was thirteen before I actually got to see Delgado as The Master in a celebratory showing of The Daemons. It was brilliant and he actually surpassed what in retrospect were some pretty high expectations. I watched all his stuff over the next 10 years as it gradually became available on VHS. Only eight stories in total, but well worth the wait even if a couple are pretty flawed. Like the Doctor himself, sometimes the guests can overcome poor material to deliver a performance that makes them worth watching.
The character was introduced in Series 8, Terror of the Autons, along with new companion Jo Grant and UNIT character Mike Yates. It’s a great intro for Jo and the Master, as he allies himself with the Nestene consciousness, and their Auton servants for their second invasion attempt.
The battle between the Doctor and Master continued throughout that series, with The Master harnessing a mind parasite in a prison to gather physchic forces to force an atomic war on the humans (Mind of Evil). I really like this story, and am looking forward to seeing it finally restored in full colour on DVD. The Claws of Axos, I seem to have enjoyed more than others, but Colony in Space, as a story, was better served by the book I think. It’s very interesting – a communal colony who have escaped a polluted earth come into conflict with a corporation that wants to strip mine and exploit the planet. Underneath the surface is an ancient weapon the Master seeks, in his guise as a galactic arbitrator. The production values and pacing let down a good story. The season finished on The Daemons which I’ve always found engaging. Not only because of Delgado, but the fact this is a story for people like John Levene (Seargeant Benton) to shine.
At the end of the story, our hero is led away in chains – incarcerated by UNIT.
In Season 9, after a couple of stories in future and off-planet, we find the Master in prison, but like the trooper he is, still plotting. The time in conjunction with The Sea Devils, those aquatic cousins of the Silurians. Another story which I thoroughly enjoy. Not least for the scene where Delgado enjoys the Clangers. He escaped the resulting carnage of course, and laid low for a story before trying to trap Kronos the Chronovore in The Time Monster. Delgado is in it. That’s the best thing I can say about it, apart from some humorous references to how the Doctor and Master used to sabotage each others experiments in the Academy.
In the middle of Season 10, with the Doctor free to roam the Universe again, the final appearance is in Frontier in Space. It’s a difficult story. The end was cocked up spectacularly. Film was lost, they couldn’t re-shoot and the Master just well – disappears. There is still stuff to enjoy. I loved the idea of the Master trying to engineer two great empires (Earth and Draconia) into war. Loved the design of the Draconians themselves (the modern Silurians owe a lot to them). Loved the reveal that the Daleks were behind this plan…. But ultimately it feels like what it is. A lead in to Planet of the Daleks, a story in which everything you’ve seen doesn’t really have any resonance anymore.
Throughout these stories, Delgado becomes a binding force. The person on screen you are drawn to whenever he appears. It’s a graceful and charming villain. Largely, as the script said, he avoided melodrama but when he did do it (as in some extracts in The Daemons) he plays it as a performance to his devotees. You, as the audience, are in on the joke. He was sensational in his time, in that he was a sensation. The BBC production team were used to receiving letters from children addressed to The Doctor. Now they had a mail sack for The Master as well. Kids wrote to him c/o the BBC to ask him to mend his ways and join the Doctor on his adventures and free him from his exile. Those kids knew a good double act when they saw it, because Roger always seemed to make Jon better – as an actor and a Doctor. Natural chemistry perhaps, because they became good friends. His Master was a hard villain to dislike. Willing to act the fool on occasion. Or reveal frustration, petulance, jealousy, humour and charm. Much like the Doctor.
Delgado had agreed to one more appearance in a cunning wheeze. He and Jon would leave together in The Final Game, a story which would see the Third Doctor regenerate. Many fan legends surround this – that it would be revealed that the Doctor and he were brothers, that they were Ying-Yang of the same person. All utter bullshit of course.
The Final Game would have seen an alien incursion organised by the Master in which a time/dimesional portal was activated. To deactivate the portal whoever ventured into it would be exposed to radiation. The Doctor tries, and collapses. The Master pushes him aside, saving him (he would regenerate) but leaving the question – did the Master seek to save the Doctor or merely possess the power source that created the rift. Both would die, but with the potential to return in another form. You can see elements of that scenario in End of Time, but it’s explored more thoroughly in the Mark Gatiss Third Doctor novel Last of the Gaderene.
Delgado’s tragic death in Turkey in a road accident robbed us of that ending, and much more I feel. He was being noticed and had many projects on his schedule. Had he lived I think he would have been an even more successful character actor of note later in life.
I don’t think any actor who has portrayed the character since has come near to this Charming villain. To say that Derek Jacobi in Utopia portrays some of the elements I see in Delgado is, in my mind, a compliment. I think Jacobi, combining the outward charm of Yana, and the seething hate as he became the Master would have nailed it completely for a modern era, but we didn’t have the time.
So – All hail Roger Delgado. The true Master, and rocking Black Sabbath devotee (OK –I made that last one up).21 June 2013 at 14:23 #12692
@phaseshift Brilliant, utterly brilliant. Thanks so much for that. I’m off work today and guess what I found.
Fourth Doctor currently missing unfortunately.21 June 2013 at 16:40 #12696Anonymous @
@craig – thanks for posting those. Absolutely perfect for a viewer like me. I hope the 4th Doctor clip shows up, too. Now I have to re-read what the Sage Ones have posted here about previous Doctors and companions – all the hate for Adric is really interesting in retrospect. Matt, the actor, paints the character as the Doctor as a young child – it appears that fans of the show never saw him like that!
Why oh why did American viewers get programmes like these, whilst here in Britain we get … bupkiss. Grrr.21 June 2013 at 20:30 #12716
Many thanks for digging those up @craig, I’ve just watched the Third and Fifth Doctor ones, and will save the first two for tomorrow morning I think. They are actually better than I was expecting. Some good talking head contributions as well, which is nice.
I’ve actually got links for all the Doctor Who at 40 shorts on each of the Doctors as well, and I was wondering about posting them at some point.
Ahhh Mr. Waterhouse. Watch the BFI Panel footage of the TARDIS team together higher above and you may get a realistic appraisal of how the others view him. I’ve you’ve watched that though, you now get the joke in Crimson Horror about “trying to get a gobby Australian to Heathrow airport”.21 June 2013 at 20:37 #12720Anonymous @
@phaseshift – after only hearing of Tegan on this forum, I was looking forward to the clips of her in these videos. I’m far from an expert in accents, but jeez, Russell Howard does a better cod-Oz accent than what I heard here. To my ears, she was completely English.
EDIT: and how interesting that the Scottish companion was played by an actor who apparently doesn’t speak in RL with a Scottish accent.
Oh, and John Barrowman grew up in Glasgow?! He did an excellent bit in his childhood accent (one of the vids above; I watched them all in a row so am a bit fuzzy on who was in each one with their ‘talking head’ routine.)21 June 2013 at 21:06 #12724
@phaseshift Cheers. A lot of love for Delgado in the third one. Thought you’d like that.21 June 2013 at 22:57 #12734
I find Tegans accent really funny, but it amazed me when I discovered Janet Fielding has a massive following in Oz. Frazer Hines, who played Jamie is actually from Horsforth in Leeds, believe it or not (hence years in Emmerdale when it was Emmerdale Farm).
I’ve watched the other two now, and they are really good introductions to those years. I was surprised they didn’t mention Susan leaving in the First Doctor one though, as it’s quite a big moment. Great that they picked The Aztecs to show though.
Yes, that was nice to view after writing that. If I’d seen it before, I would have had to rewrite my own in a way, because so much of it seemed similar (Tennant talking about a great double act with Jon, etc).
My parents found it odd the people I enthused about as a child. I mentioned watching “Belles of St. Trianians” as a kid and seeing Roger, and that was due to a fascination with Alastair Sim.21 June 2013 at 23:13 #12735Arkleseizure @arkleseizure
@jimthefish: Well, not just @ you, but I think something needs saying. I quite agree what the Colin Baker years were the show’s absolute nadir, and I really don’t get the recent revisionist idea that he was a brilliant doctor who was completely let down by circumstances beyond his control. The sixth Doctor was a catastrophic mistake, and Colin’s as much to blame as anyone else. And of course, the anyone else includes JNT. All I’ll say in JNT’s defence is that he knew as well as anyone that he’d burned out on Doctor Who, and he wanted to leave. The BBC told him to either stay or go freelance. He needed his job, so he stayed. It’s another thing that convinces me that the mid-eighties BBC were hell-bent on destroying the show.
But my main reason for commenting is to put a share of the blame on the third member of the troika that messed up Doctor Who in the 1980s. By name, Eric Saward. A script-editor who agrees with the producer on everything won’t work: creative tension is vital. But Saward absolutely hated JNT. And that won’t work, either. There needs to be some connection. Saward seemed to revel in brutality as much as JNT wanted to turn Doctor Who into a camp pantomime (hello Bonnie!). The sixth Doctor was the result: a violent bully dressed as a court jester in a dayglo-pink universe of horrific acid baths.
Apologies if I’m rambling, but I can’t stand by and watch Saward getting off the hook!21 June 2013 at 23:23 #12736
Umm… wasn’t Janet Fielding from Brisbane? And had a degree from Queensland University?21 June 2013 at 23:32 #12737
@craig Thank you so much for digging out the video links. Just a had a lovely half hour reliving memories of Hartnell And thinking haha Mr M, you may be in charge of the programme now (and younger than me), but I do remember that first scene as Ian and Barabara burst into the Tardis. And yes it WAS awesome! And I just love the big thick doors and the hum! Looking forward to watching the others also. (Agh! But I’m also getting behind on my homework – dbl dose of Talons tomorrow to catch up 😉 )
@phaseshift – Love it! Great post on Delgado’s Master, thoroughly enjoyed reading it. And btw Alistair Sim was a comic genius, so no apologies needed. (And agree re the Hartnell years vid – Susan leaving would have been a lovely bit (they could have cut out Moff repeating Tennant 😉 ))
@arkleseizure The whole team should take the blame, but I think Colin probably less than the others. Actors can only work with what they’re given scriptwise and has to do what the director says. Also as someone else (@bluesqueakpip?) pointed out – he had a particular style, he’s given the part, so he’s going to presume he can do it, because he’s been told he can! And it’s on record that the Beeb wanted rid of the show as an anachronistic embarrassment so were doing their best to undermine it at every turn. Trouble was the damn thing kept regenerating 😉
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