Viewing posts tagged colin baker

Where's Mother: The Doctor's Revisited (Colin Baker)

There are two observations about this special that strike me as getting to the heart of it. The first is that, more than ever, Steven Moffat is the most interesting thing on display here. I've been making snarky jokes here and there about it nearing the 20th anniversary of his great "slag off most of Doctor Who" drunken performance piece at a con, but it's here we have to admit that Steven Moffat has, at the very least, played two different characters in his life when it comes to commenting on the classic series. Which one is the authentic Steven Moffat is of course a matter for debate, and if you think the answer is either of them you're a fool, but nevertheless, we all know he's capable of a devastating and scathing review of this era that outdoes any other.

So it's fundamentally interesting to see him relied upon so heavily to offer a defense of this era. It is, to be sure, not hard to reconcile the positions. His praise is based on the daringness of the ideas in the Baker era, which has always been the thing you can praise about it ...

Overwhelming Presence

Just been reading the lovely Colin Baker's (less than warm) remarks about his encounter with Jimmy Savile on the... umm... Daily Mail website.  Bleurgch.  I won't link.

Found this delightful comment below.  As ever, click to enlarge.

It may be trolling, of course... but I doubt it.  It has the ring of genuine idiocy about it.

It restores a little bit of one's faith in humanity to see that even the Daily Mail readers downvoted this icky little splat of blinkered, slavering, buttmunching cockwitttery.

Just shows.  It's a jungle out there.

Time Can Be Rewritten 28 (Time's Champion)

Time's Champion - probably the single least findable thing I'll cover on this blog - is an unlicensed novel by Craig Hinton and Chris McKeon published as a charity endeavor in 2008. The provenance of it is interesting - Hinton pitched the novel to BBC Books, but it was rejected - instead they published Gary Russell's Spiral Scratch to fill basically the same purpose of giving Colin Baker a regeneration story. Separately the American writer Chris McKeon pitched a story to Big Finish about the Valeyard which was also rejected. McKeon and Hinton got in touch, and Hinton gave McKeon permission to turn his outline of Time's Champion into a full novel, which, following Hinton's death, McKeon did.

Let's get one thing out of the way- this is not a good book. McKeon, who is by far the more involved writer, is a weak prosesmith at best. On top of that, the plot elevates fanwank to a profound art, relying heavily not only on Hinton's previous novels Millennial Rites and The Quantum Archangel but with heavy references to scads of other stuff. This is not in and of itself a problem, except that it seems to be ...

Time Can Be Rewritten 27 (Millennial Rites)

More than anyone - even Gary Russell or Lance Parkin - the late Craig Hinton has a reputation for fanwank. But the fact that we're dealing with that list in the first place is interesting. On one extreme we have Russell, who I confess to having relatively little regard for as a fiction writer. (Although there's reason to rate him fairly highly as an editor or a writer of non-fiction material) On the other we have Parkin, one of the consensus best novel writers. So once again there's clearly not a direct correlation between fanwank and quality.

It's tempting to try to chart out some sort of principle based on the fact that Jubilee works and Business Unusual doesn't. Jubilee deals with the past of the program in broad strokes, Business Unusual gets bogged down in tedious and pointless details. But I'm hard-pressed to buy that as a logic - there's something desperately unsatisfying about the idea that the details not only don't matter but necessarily cannot matter and are fundamentally opposed to good storytelling. (For one thing, it would pose an uncomfortable existential challenge to the logic of this blog.)

We're at a ...

Time Can Be Rewritten 26 (Business Unusual)

Last time we dealt with Gary Russell we found ourselves reflecting heavily on the notion of fanwank. Broadly speaking, at least, I’m hard-pressed to complain too heavily about fanwank in the novel lines, particularly the Missing Adventures and Past Doctor Adventures, both of which by their nature appeal virtually entirely to dedicated Doctor Who fans. When you’re dealing with an audience of dedicated fans the extent to which you can rely on existing work increases dramatically. There is a fundamental difference between writing novels for a fan audience and writing television for BBC1.

But having navigated the Saward era and its continuity fetishism there become some new issues around this. Or, put another way, the mere fact that there’s nothing wrong with fanwank is not equivalent to fanwank being inherently worthwhile. There are things that you can do when working in the margins of existing work that you can’t do any other way - a fact that is responsible for no small part of my interest in things like Doctor Who and superhero comics. But the margins aren’t interesting in and of themselves - a problem that plagues Gary Russell’s work, and that, in a few ...

Time Can Be Rewritten 25 (Jubilee)

The first and most obvious thing to say is that the Sixth Doctor does, in fact, work. More than anything else, we ought to acknowledge the fact that Rob Shearman, with Jubilee, makes it so that Colin Baker has an unambiguous classic of Doctor Who under his belt. Baker has a lot of good audios, actually, but this is one that is blatantly a classic. So before we get into anything else we ought look at what it did with Baker's Doctor that finally got the character to work.

I would argue that there are two things. The first is a trick the show should have picked up from Jon Pertwee, who was so often at his best when his confident and at times outright arrogant Doctor was put on the back foot or the defensive. Baker's Doctor is helped enormously by the scenes in this story in which he gets to play the Doctor driven mad by a hundred years being locked in the Tower of London. Seeing his Doctor so weakened and afraid has the same effect it does for Pertwee, on top of letting Baker show off some acting ability that he was rarely given ...

The Catharsis of Spurious Morality (The Ultimate Foe)

Part 3: The Nature of Earth to Gallifrey

In the course of Holmes's mad recycling of the past, however, Holmes fires off one of the most fascinatingly problematic concepts in the history of Doctor Who, namely the idea that the Time Lords eventually yank Earth and its "constellation" out of place in the galaxy and plop it down elsewhere.

The use of the word constellation is interesting. It's a chronic foible of Holmes that he seems to use the word as a synonym for "solar system," but the error is almost the perfect Holmesian error. The nature of a constellation, after all, is that it makes sense only from a set physical vantage point. The constellations of one solar system are not the constellations of another. And yet the Doctor routinely identifies Gallifrey with reference to its constellation.

Tellingly, though, the constellation he names - Kasterborous - cannot be a Gallifreyan one, since constellations are merely happenstance arrangements of stars in the sky of a given planet, and thus one cannot see a constellation that one is a part of. So when Gallifrey is said to be in the constellation of Kasterborous, what can this possibly mean?

Clearly, and this ...

A Far Greater Crime (Terror of the Vervoids)

Part 2: Recycling the Future

The Mysterious Planet, of course, embodies the "past" idea in more ways than one. The story is an unrepentant "greatest hits" reel for Robert Holmes. Both stories that he wrote and stories that he script edited are plundered and reworked over the course of it. The underlying premise is The Face of Evil, with bits of The Krotons grafted on around Drathro. Glitz and Dibbler are, of course, just Garron and Unstoffe redone. The underlying notion of a Time Lord conspiracy is straight out of The Deadly Assassin. The notion of restoring a post-apocalyptic Earth is a reworking of The Ark in Space. Hints of The Time Warrior surround the Tribe of the Free, while the people in the tunnels feel, as much by set design as writerly intention, rather like The Sun Makers.

Of course, reckless plundering of the past has been the calling card of the series for some time now. But there's something very different about The Mysterious Planet compared to recent attempts to "do it like it was before" such as Timelash, The Two Doctors, and Attack of the Cybermen. Those were all concerned with plundering the actual signifiers of ...

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