No Coordinates, No Dimensional Stabilisers (Shada)

(34 comments)

The sole thing that Wayne Rooney and Professor Chronotis
have in common.
Somewhere out of time, in a space between mean and while, in the gap of the conditional, the Graham Williams era does not conclude.

If we were to pretend that this aired after The Horns of Nimon we would discover that The Pretenders were at number one with "Brass in Pocket." Two weeks later The Specials would take the top slot with "Too Much Too Young," which would yield after another two weeks to Kenny Rogers with "Coward of the Country." Styx, The Boomtown Rats, Joe Jackson, The Ramones, Blondie, and Elvis Costello would also have charted. Lower in the charts would have lurked Peter Gabriel's divinely good "Games Without Frontiers," which probably would have been in the top ten when this story would actually have aired. (The scrapping of Shada is, I would guess, why there was no Christmas break in Season Seventeen. The only reason Sixteen didn't have one was that it was a continual story arc. Season Eighteen had one again. This also rubbishes the idea that The Horns of Nimon was supposed to be a Christmas panto or whatever. In all likelihood the season was supposed to break after Nightmare of Eden, with The Horns of Nimon being planned for a January start.)

Again assuming a Key to Time sort of scheduling, the London Gold Fixing would have hit its highest price ever, while the same day the Greek ship the MS Athina B (previously the Japanese MS Kojima Maru) beached in Brighton and became a temporary tourist attraction. Israel and Egypt would have established diplomatic relations, and six US diplomats would have escaped Iran by pretending to be Canadian. (A fun fact - did you know that "Canadian" is actually a racist slur in some parts of the US? Apparently people use it in place of "blacks," as in "the neighborhood has gone downhill since all the Canadians moved in.") The Winter Olympics would have opened in Lake Placid, and the famed Miracle on Ice would have happened. A coup in Suriname would place, the Voyager 1 probe would confirm the existence of the Saturnian moon Janus, and Robert Mugabe would be elected Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, bringing an end to the whole Rhodesia problem and beginning a whole new problem.

While on television there is… not Shada. There is something else. Shada, like the eponymous Time Lord prison, remains a half-constructed phantom. Or perhaps more accurately, an over-constructed phantom. There are a wealth of versions of Shada floating around now: the Paul McGann audio/animated version, the John Nathan-Turner-produced video, the forthcoming Gareth Roberts novelisation, the Ian Levine-produced animation, the actual original script, the fan-produced novelization, Dirk Gently, and, of course most importantly, the version that we imagine. Like the legendary lost epics of Hartnell and Troughton there is a version of this story that exists only as the wish of what might have been.

This last version is, of course, the most problematic. Doubly so because of just how good this one seems like it could have been. There are things that are difficult to accept as a Doctor Who fan - the fact that we will likely never see Patrick Troughton's first episode, or the first appearance of Nicholas Courtney as Aleister Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. But there is perhaps nothing quite so galling as knowing that we are only fifty-five minutes short of a Douglas Adams story. And that unlike Power of the Daleks or The Web of Fear there's not even audio of it. Shada is not merely lost or missing, it is absent - a gaping, crushing, and mocking wound in Doctor Who.

It's tempting to say that it could not possibly have been as good as we hope. Certainly the sections that exist reveal their flaws. Christopher Neame is a damp squib as Skagra, a villain who positively drips with lethargy. But then, we see little enough of him and he's stuck striding around in an unfortunate piece of 1980 through Cambridge. Perhaps his appearances in episodes 3-6, which are almost entirely absent, would have been more impressive.

On the other hand, there are ways in which John Nathan-Turner did the story no favors in the video production. The most criticized aspect is the insertion of Keff McCulloch's score. McCulloch has the unfortunate but frankly largely deserved reputation as being the worst thing ever to happen to Doctor Who's incidental music, and he outdoes himself here. In particular, the dramatic orchestral stab in the middle of Professor Chronotis's "one lump or two… sugar?" joke has to go down as the most inadvertently hilarious moment of science fiction scoring ever. It's the musical equivalent of the giant rat.

But there are frustrations that go beyond that. Tom Baker's preposterously self-indulgent intro is unfortunate, although to be fair could well have had nothing to do with Nathan-Turner. But my God, the script for his inserts is bewildering, especially if you read along with the actual script for the trimmed bits. One gets the sense that even in 1992 John Nathan-Turner didn't understand the Williams era. He recycles lines of dialogue in the narration - fair enough. But inexplicably he drops all of funny bits of Douglas Adams's dialogue while not only maintaining large swaths of Skagra's megalomaniacal rantings but transposing them from what are clearly meant to be delusional ramblings to entirely straight-faced descriptions of Skagra's plans.

But what would a "good" version of Shada entail anyway? No configuration - not the Paul McGann version (nobody but Tom Baker can really deliver those lines), not Levine's probably-never-seeing-the-light-of-day animated version (even if it did have the correct cast), not Roberts novelization (despite him being the great lost writer of the Graham Williams era). Because really, Shada is a story, more than any other, defined by its absence. It's the final cruelty of the Graham Williams era's failure to launch. It's the story that, through its non-existence, fails to give Williams the climactic send-off that would have justified his tenure.

Of course, that reading is as nonsensical as the others. Certainly the view of Shada as showing "what could have been" is rubbish. Adams was on his way out the door, depriving Williams of yet another one of his good writers. And Williams had already decided to leave. There's no lost WIlliams version of Season 18 that Shada would have served as John the Baptist for. And as a crowning achievement for Season 17 it runs into a different problem, which is that by all appearances City of Death was better. I mean, both are good and full of inventive twists and reversals, but Skagra comes nowhere close to Scaroth as a villain and the script for Shada, dense and charming as it is, lacks anything half as clever as discovering six authentic copies of the Mona Lisa in a basement. Shada's ideas are brilliant, but every one of them is a brilliant sci-fi idea. What's so great about City of Death is that one of its central ideas isn't, on the surface, a science fiction idea at all but a completely real-world idea made possible through a science fiction explanation. (Indeed, as someone pointed out in comments, it's really just a classic con that uses science fiction to paper over one of the deceptions)

So Shada is at once better than any of the manifestations of it we have and clearly inferior to the heavenly ideal that some have built it into. On top of that we have a bewildering canon debate. I mean, all canon debates in Doctor Who are inherently bewildering because of the basic ludicrousness of Doctor Who canon. But the attempts to adjudicate whether this story "happened" and if so whether it happened to the 4th or 8th Doctor is strike a strange sort of low. But this debate serves to further entrench Shada's odd status as the most absent story. When we speak of Fury From the Deep we try to figure out how good it was. The debate centers on reconstructing what was, not, as with Shada, on constructing it in the first place.

Let's abandon, then, trying to "complete" Shada and look instead at what is and what that implies. All writing works through ambiguities and gaps, after all. Shada need not be treated any differently, save for that its gaps and ambiguities are larger than they might have been. Enough of trying to see what Shada could be. Let's look at what is.

The first and most obvious thing is that this story marks the return of the Time Lords from The Deadly Assassin. It pointedly does not mark the return of the ones from The Invasion of Time, however. Equally pointedly, it does not mark the return of Gallifrey (which did return in The Invasion of Time, simply without its inhabitants.) Among the tangle of threads and paths that The Deadly Assassin left us was the image of the Time Lords as an extrapolation of Oxford and Cambridge. Here we juxtapose them directly, showing a great and ancient Time Lord ensconced happily in Cambridge. It is unmistakably and directly an invocation of Holmes's Time Lords.

But it is equally unmistakably an invocation of Adams's own past and interests. We have remarked previously on the odd centrality of Cambridge to the UK cultural export market. Much of this centers on the strange double role of Cambridge itself. On the one hand it is the very definition of establishment, the second half of Oxbridge culture and of the cultural and economic elite in Britain. In a country whose class system is enshrined fundamentally in the structure of government (no failing - the American drive to decouple class and government does nothing to eliminate class and much to sweep it under the table) this has real consequences. But on the other hand, Cambridge is always the second half of Oxbridge culture - the young upstart snapping at the heels. The eternal second son that will never and can never ascend to the throne. This contradiction sits at the heart of the cultural exports of Cambridge, embodied nowhere so clearly as in figures like John Cleese and Stephen Fry, whose entire comedic characters are based on the idea of the rogue aristocrat.

Within this tension are a host of reiterations. The Doctor himself embodies this same tension, at once coming from a position of cultural authority and from the position of an outsider. He is mirrored in the story by Professor Chronotis, but what is crucial is that there are two reflections here. On the one hand is the difference between the Doctor's title - an academic achievement - and Chronotis's - a social position. A Doctor is simply someone who has completed a degree. A professor holds a specific job at a specific university. Here, however, Adams intervenes with his usual inversions and satires. Chronotis has visibly retired from being a Doctor into being a mere Professor. His ensconcing himself in the institutional structures of Cambridge does not mark him as superior to the Doctor but as an old man being put out to pasture.

But on the other hand is the Doctor's contrast with Salyavin. If Chronotis is a diminished Doctor than Salyavin is a legendary one - the famed master criminal. Much is made of the fact that we are supposed to mistake Skagra for Salyavin until Chronotis's big reveal in episode five, and we are, but the fact that Salyavin is a good guy is hardly hidden from the audience. The Doctor identifies Salyavin as a "boyhood hero" who had "such style, such flair" and is "a bit like me." That the Doctor should be allied with a great criminal cannot be taken as anything like a surprise from Adams, who did after all turn him into Tom Keating in his last outing. No, Salyavin is clearly a criminal in the great folk hero sense of the word. If the Doctor is on the one hand meant to be anxious about some day turning into Chronotis he is equally clearly meant to hope to some day have the legacy of Salyavin.

The trick, of course, is that the roles are one and the same, a trick emphasized by the final scene in which the Doctor imagines some day having an outsized legacy among the Time Lords that does not jibe with his own kindly and harmless demeanor. Again we see Adams treating the Doctor as a magnificent fraud. Much like Scaroth turned out to be an uninteresting villain well-handled by just being punched, Skagra similarly drops out of the story here, defeated in the end by a fake copy of the Doctor created while the Doctor was pretending to be stupid. The villain, once again, is silly and uninteresting. The real action is around the Doctor.

But you can also see Adams here reaching back to the Deadly Assassin and the Hinchcliffe era in other ways. The Time Lords' power is shown to exceed the quality of their civilization. They are shown once again to have long-forgotten secrets hidden within their traditions, to at once have godlike powers and an astonishingly limited and blinkered view of the world. On the one hand this is wholly compatible with the Williams era's tendency to show ignorance and insularity as the true sources of danger in the world. However well-meaning the Time Lords are their failure to understand their own power makes them dangerous in spite of themselves.

But Adams adds something that has been missing in recent years. There is a clear sense of evil in this story, and one that goes far beyond Skagra, who is just another blinkered fool. (There's a delightful scene scripted that Nathan-Turner skips over entirely in the linking narration in which the Doctor dismisses Skagra's tired rantings about trying to take over the universe only to be told that Skagra has bigger plans… mere moments before Skagra goes into exactly the tired rant that the Doctor predicted.) No, what's interesting here is the implication of dark horrors in the history of the Time Lords. Shada is a truly scary concept - a lost and forgotten Time Lord prison that houses unknown and unknowable terrors. That Salyavin turns out to neither be terrifying nor actually housed in Shada does not erase the larger issue that the very concept of this, or of a stray artifact as powerful as Chronotis's book, is scary. It's been a long time since Doctor Who presented a universe full of ancient and forgotten terrors, but here Adams not only brings that view of the universe back but merges it seamlessly with what the program was at the end of season seventeen.

But even when the implied bits of Shada are penciled in there is something of a gap around all of this. The connections are drawn, the ethics and aesthetics are all set up, the frame is there, but there's no sense anywhere in the script of the moment in which it would come together and execute what it seems to be pointing towards. For all that Shada seems to map out a new and vibrant vision of Doctor Who, it steadfastly does nothing more than map it. It never quite demonstrates it.

Which perhaps explains the tendency of people to treat the story as some lost herald of a never-made golden age of the series. Because even with as much filled in about the story, and even if one assumes that the Shada sequences and the final confrontation would have been as good as it could be, the end sense of Shada is that it suggests how good things could have been. Even if it existed it would be in some sense absent, a marker for the Williams era that never was and never could be.

But on the other hand, particularly in 2012, there has started to be another way of looking at it. Because the blueprint suggested by Shada is strikingly close to what the series actually is today. I do not mean to suggest that Moffat is simply executing the model of Doctor Who offered by Shada in a deliberate way or that Shada is somehow Moffat's primary inspiration. Rather, I think it's a matter of what we discussed last time about the fact that there just weren't the writers needed to do something like Adams/Williams style Doctor Who from 1977-80. Robert Holmes and Douglas Adams could do it because they were miles ahead of their contemporaries.

But it took, in many ways, the 25 years of television that came between The Horns of Nimon and Rose before the model that Williams was aspiring towards could be done in the first place. It took a generation of writers who were completely comfortable with making sudden tonal shifts and an audience who could deal with a lengthy scary sequence comprised almost entirely of jokes without the dissonance causing them any problems. Something like The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone is doing almost exactly what Shada gestures at - with a very similar conception of the Doctor, his relationship with authority, and his relationship with his own legend and a very similar sense of ancient horror. Similarly, part of what is so compelling about City of Death is how much it still, 32 years later, adheres perfectly to modern taste and pacing. The fact of the matter is, for all the faults of the Williams era, the things that worked about it proved to be one of the most enduring models of Doctor Who ever.

But even this view falls short somehow. Yes, the Williams era was ahead of its time. But as the cliche goes, more by luck than judgment. You just can't read the Williams era as a couple of visionaries stymied by the fact that nobody else understood what they were doing. There are too many searingly obvious and avoidable failures to give it that much credit. But that doesn't mean that the underlying idea has to be abandoned. What can, I think, be fairly said was that the Williams era is a very, very rough prototype of what turned out to be the future of television. It cannot be credited with inventing that future; it's too far from getting it right. But it must be credited with seeing it, even if through a glass darkly.

And in many ways that makes Shada a more fitting monument for it than people give it credit for. Not because of its unfinished nature or its squandered potential, but because it is, in an odd way, the perfect fulfillment of everything the Williams era was. A joke far too clever for anyone to get. Even the people making it.

Comments

Iain Coleman 5 years, 7 months ago

Aleister Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart

ALISTAIR

You seem to consistently get this wrong. Watch out for it when you're proofing the Troughton book.

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Wm Keith 5 years, 7 months ago

It's fairly common for pantomime seasons to open only shortly before Christmas and run well into January. Indeed, there's one amateur dramatic club local to me whose pantomime never opens before the New Year.

Ah, the Miracle on Ice. And I thought only the British remembered Robin Cousins.

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Philip Sandifer 5 years, 7 months ago

Iain - I'll do a global search and replace on that one at the end, then change the mentions of Crowley back. :)

Wm - Well that makes the phrase "Christmas panto" a bit odd. Next you'll tell me the Christmas markets stay open into February or something. Still, I imagine televised pantos tend to be pre-Christmas, no?

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Andrew Hickey 5 years, 7 months ago

To the extent that pantomimes are televised at all (not all that much) it'd be likely they'd be between the 24th of December and the 1st of January.

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Wm Keith 5 years, 7 months ago

Eventually, I'm sure the Large Hadron Collider will provide us with information as to exactly when in the cosmic timescale Pantomimes come into being. However, Andrew Hickey is, I think, correct. I was exposed to the CBeebies pantomime three times in the week to which he refers. Oh yes, I was. And it's not behind me yet.

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Iain Coleman 5 years, 7 months ago

Driving past one of the main theatres in Edinburgh just a couple of days ago, I had to stop to avoid ploughing through a mass of kiddies and parents spilling out of this season's production of Cinderella. I gather the show is running till 22 January, so if you're keen to see Allan Stewart's panto dame, there's still time.

Tragically, John Barrowman's run in Glasgow with the Krankies finished last week, so if you didn't catch it, you're out of luck.

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Wm Keith 5 years, 7 months ago

John Barrowman and the Krankies...what were they in - "No Exit"?

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Iain Coleman 5 years, 7 months ago

"Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates", if you must know. This will tell you a bit more about it, and this will tell you more than you ever wanted to know.

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Exploding Eye 5 years, 7 months ago

I think Keff McCulloch is the worst thing to have happened to Doctor Who full stop.

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Wm Keith 5 years, 7 months ago

This -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqrfTRJboq4

- is the worst thing to have happened to television, full stop.

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Dougie 5 years, 7 months ago

I love the idea that Americans might now be reading the stories of the Krankies' Swinging lifestyle (stories that have been bandied about in "the business" in Glasgow for years- I heard them a decade ago.) Obviously I love it in the sense that I'm horribly embarassed by it...but then I decide it's fair play after "Diff'rent Strokes" (to name but one.)

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Exploding Eye 5 years, 7 months ago

Nah, Delta And The Bannermen is still worse.

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Matthew Blanchette 5 years, 7 months ago

Well... at least there's no controversy over this. :-P

By the way, if anyone wants to read both the original Shada script and a transcription of Baker's insane ramblings on the video release, look no further than here: http://homepages.bw.edu/~jcurtis/Scripts/Shada/intro.html

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Matthew Blanchette 5 years, 7 months ago

Whoops; sorry, thought the link would be clickable. :-S

Just copy and paste into your browser, if you want.

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WGPJosh 5 years, 7 months ago

While I can definitely see Williams' and Adam's influences in the New Series I think Moffat especially is looking much more at the Peter Davison era for inspiration, with a bit of McGann and John Wiles (especially of late) thrown in for good measure (which explains a great deal about my objections to him). RTD seemed more drawn to the Pertwee era, though David Tennant is of course also a huge fan of Davison and Christopher Eccleston seemed at times to be channeling a bit of McCoy.

I still don't think the Graham Williams model for Doctor Who has been fully explored yet and I still hope someday it will be. I think there are a lot of stories to be told with this model and these characters and wish someone would take another look at it. I know I'm in the minority here, but this is still very much a favourite era of the show for me, warts and all. But, I've stressed that many a time before so I shan't do it again now.

I'll instead hold tight and wait for the blog to change again. I'll be looking forward to seeing if Phil covers the Gareth Roberts books on Monday as I'm kind of expecting him to!

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9504184b 5 years, 7 months ago

A Doctor is simply someone who has completed a degree. A professor holds a specific job at a specific university. ... Chronotis has visibly retired from being a Doctor into being a mere Professor.

I'm afraid I disagree - a Professor has quite a different role in UK academia - it's very much an earned, promoted position, nothing to do with teaching or merely holding a job.

It's the next step *up* the University career ladder from being merely a Doctor - it's a serious promotion, and recognition of major contributions to their particular field of research... Universities give out honorary Doctorates, but rarely honorary Professorships !

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BerserkRL 5 years, 7 months ago

Likewise in the US, a doctorate is ordinarily a prerequisite for a professorship (let alone a Professorship, the highest grade of professorship) and not vice versa.

But then, one usually becomes a Master before becoming a Doctor ....

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Matthew Blanchette 5 years, 7 months ago

WPGJosh: Why so bitter about Wiles? His era started great; just because he fumbled the end goal doesn't mean what came before it wasn't spectacular.

Besides, he wasn't really driving it; it'd all been set up before by the writers of the Lambert era -- except for, perhaps, The Massacre, which Donald Tosh extensively rewrote the ending of to have Anne Chaplet die (thinking they'd get stuck in the Problem of Katarina again, but winding up with a whole new problem when Dodo boards).

Yes, The Ark, Toymaker, and Gunfighters may have been stinkers (they were all commissioned under Wiles, after all), but that doesn't diminish the great arc that'd been going on before the horrifically rocky patch of those three stories.

Moffat's learning from Wiles's mistakes; the Doctor himself doesn't cause horror, but his actions inadvertently do -- it's a very daring critique of the RTD era, and I think it works brilliantly.

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WGPJosh 5 years, 7 months ago

@Matthew Blanchette

Sorry, I can't agree. Even if parts of the arc had been set up beforehand, the fact is WIle's positionality is obvious and it's a repugnant one. It's clear to me this was something he was writing from all throughout Season 3 and his beliefs are too intertwined with the story for me to accept it regardless. I can't enjoy any of those serials knowing his distasteful political agenda.

And yes, Moffat *is* learning from Wiles' mistakes and I did grant that Series 6 ended on a much happier and much more appropriate note then the Wiles era (the fact that "Wedding of River Song" was a pacing disaster is another story). However, I maintain those themes and motifs are difficult to separate from Wiles' politics and any time a story arc like that is done the era's ugly spectre is going to be invoked. It's also just not a story I'm particularly fond of, to be honest. I'd rather The Doctor not be a spectacular failure *all* the time.

And I quite liked "The Gunfighters" myself. It was silly, but at least it wasn't racist and series-derailing.

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Jesse 5 years, 7 months ago

The Gunfighters is by far the best serial I've seen from the Hartnell era.

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Matthew Blanchette 5 years, 7 months ago

From what I've seen so far, it's The Daleks' Master Plan, and I really wish Sara Kingdom had stayed on the program past that serial, because she was an absolutely terrific companion -- completely refutes the "misogyny" argument against the Wiles era.

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Iain Coleman 5 years, 7 months ago

I've just watched it. I made it to about the three minute mark. Jesus wept.

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Stephen 5 years, 7 months ago

WGP Josh,

Phil's confirmed that he's doing four Baker era novels, and that the fourth (he's already done three) is from the Missing Adventures. Since the final three, chronologically speaking, are Gareth Roberts' post-Shada ones, he has to be doing one.

Right now, I'm expecting it to be The Well-Mannered War, because of the metafictional ending, and the opportunity to explore fannish notions about preferring to pretend that certain eras didn't exist which inspired it. However, I have been wrong before.

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Matthew Blanchette 5 years, 7 months ago

I wonder... will he ever do Time's Champion when we get to the space between '86 and '87, or is that just far too difficult to track down? :-/

Never mind the entire missing season between '85 and '86...

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Philip Sandifer 5 years, 7 months ago

If I could find a copy of Time's Champion, I probably would, but I have been unable to find one.

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Matthew Blanchette 5 years, 7 months ago

I understand; it was purely a charity release, limited run, etc., and once the run ran out, that was it.

I wonder... maybe if you contact Chris McKeown somehow? I think he's probably floating around the Internet somewhere.

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BerserkRL 5 years, 7 months ago

Or just drop by the public library in Whittier, California.

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Matthew Blanchette 5 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps some of our UK-residential users could try some of the other locations listed in that link?

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Gnaeus 5 years, 7 months ago

Still can't be as awful as Time Rift. (Which isn't much of a co-een-see-dense, unfortunately).

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Alan 5 years, 7 months ago

I've seen the JNT version of Shada and I say it would never have worked simply because of that hat. You know the one. The white hat that Skagra wore around Cambridge in the company of a brain-sucking killer beach ball. The one he apparently stole from Greta Garbo solely because it matched the rest of his all white ensemble. I always assumed that he later showed up wearing jeans and a Members Only jacket because there was a missing scene in which Cambridge students point and laugh at how preposterous he looks. On the bright side, if the serial had aired as planned, I do think the Krags might have done a good job of making the Mandrells look more impressive.

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Henry R. Kujawa 5 years, 3 months ago

9504184b:
"a Professor has quite a different role in UK academia - it's very much an earned, promoted position, nothing to do with teaching or merely holding a job. It's the next step *up* the University career ladder from being merely a Doctor - it's a serious promotion, and recognition of major contributions to their particular field of research... Universities give out honorary Doctorates, but rarely honorary Professorships !"

BerserkRL:
"Likewise in the US, a doctorate is ordinarily a prerequisite for a professorship (let alone a Professorship, the highest grade of professorship) and not vice versa.

But then, one usually becomes a Master before becoming a Doctor ...."


Fascinating. I never made that connection between the "names" ot the 2 characters before.

I guess "Ace" didn't realize it, but she was giving The Doctor more respect than it seemed.


By the way, for some fun Christopher Neame work, see "DRACULA A.D. 1972"-- my favorite of the 9 Hammer "Dracula" films.

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Kat42 5 years, 1 month ago

Can't say I agree with you about DRACULA A.D. 1972, that was my least favorite Hammer film so far. I think the problem for me was maybe that they are much better at putting together nice looking sets and costumes from the past, but when they tried to do modern stuff, everyone looked badly fake. I've hear the one with Joanna Lumley is better but I haven't seen it yet.

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steve7876 2 years, 2 months ago

very informative writing plan the writer write so well for more information visit on Forte School

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orfeo 1 year ago

I've just watched the John Nathan-Turner-produced video version. And the quality of the script does shine through (especially, perhaps, having watched the weak Nimon beforehand) in the parts that were filmed.

The first couple of episodes are engagingly witty, and although that side of things does dry up a bit later on (or is it just there is less filmed material?), there's still a sense that the plot held together. No-one is doing absurdly foolish things or behaving against character. It also feels like a 6-part story that wasn't going to merely mark time for a couple of episodes in the middle.

So all in all it does feel like a real shame that it was never completed. A missing story that is missing in a different way to those of the Hartnell and Troughton era, but I feel the same reaction as I did to some of the strong stories from back then, like The Myth Makers or The Power of the Daleks. As I sporadically move through the classic series, it's been a long time since I've had that mixed sensation of pleasure and loss.

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