Viewing posts tagged davison

Nothing Ever Changes in London (The Visitation)

The flat share sitcom Eric Saward proposed as a spinoff
tragically never really took off.
It’s February 15th, 1982. The Jam remain at number one for the entirety of this story with Soft Cell, XTC, Depeche Mode, and Hall and Oates also charting, making this the only time that list of four bands has ever happened. Depeche Mode, it should be noted, are here debuting in their Vince Clarke-free version with “See You,” their first single written by Martin Gore. Lower in the charts Journey appear with “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which will peak at 62 before vanishing, getting the reception it deserved until the damn thing reappeared repeatedly from 2007-2012, eventually becoming a top ten single.

In real news, a general election in the Republic of Ireland boosts the centrist Fianna Fáil party who, after a few weeks of jockeying, form a government. The DeLorean factory in Belfast is put into receivership. And, two days after this story airs its last episode, the European Court of Human Rights determines that caning, belting, or tasing students without their parents’ permission is a human rights violation, which is one of those rulings that just makes you wonder how anyone ever ...

One Tiny Little Gap in the Universe Left, Just About To Close (Kinda)

A snake! A snake! Ooooooh! A Snake! (Badger badger...)
It’s February 1st, 1982. Kraftwerk! They’re at number one! With “The Model/Computer Love!” It only lasts a week, but they’re overtaken by The Jam, also a fabulous band, with “A Town Called Malice/Precious.” The rest of the top ten isn’t hugely interesting, although some mention needs to go to the rather fabulously named Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, who chart with the equally fabulously named “Maid of Orleans (The Waltz of Joan of Arc.” Meat Loaf and Christopher Cross also chart, taking the positions on either side of OMD. Oh well.

In real news, Hafez al-Assad, father of current Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, conducts a scorched earth campaign in Hamathat kills between seventeen and forty thousand people, mostly civilians. Like father like son, clearly. And British airline Laker Airlines abruptly goes out of business, stranding six thousand passengers when their flights are cancelled due to lack of airline. Putting the creativity into creative destruction, then.

And then on television, Kinda. As such things go, Kinda is one of the most overdetermined Doctor Who stories in existence. So we’ll start with a book that I’m ...

Because We Don't Quite Fully Understand (Four to Doomsday)

And apparently one of the things we don't quite fully
understand is basic physics. 
It’s January 18, 1982. Bucks Fizz are at number one with “The Land of Make Believe,” with Kraftwerk threatening to take the number one spot. Unfortunately it is instead Shakin’ Stevens with “Oh Julie” that inherits the number one from Bucks Fizz. Elsewhere, The Human League have two separate songs in the top ten and are joined by Kool and the Gang, Foreigner, and Meat Loaf.

The trouble with these twice-weekly airings is that I get very little window to cover any non-musical history in. To wit, all I’m finding is that the post-war peak in unemployment happens in the UK, with over three million people out of work. Ah, the triumphs of Thatcherism. (Yes, she cut the unemployment rate later. But in the process she presided over a complete realignment of the economy that was... less than ideal.)

While on television, it’s Four to Doomsday. With the exception of The Highlanders, which is, of course, missing, I am reasonably certain that this is the second appearance of a Doctor that the fewest people care about one way or another. The ...

Time Can Be Rewritten 17 (Cold Fusion, Virgin Books, 1996)

As novels that I couldn’t possibly avoid go, this one ranks pretty highly. I’ve noted several times that, within the classic series, McCoy is “my Doctor,” so to speak. As the only Doctor (after my first three episodes) I didn’t originally know existed he was the one I got to discover without episode guides. But even still, when I got into Doctor Who it had been off the air for three years. The McCoy years may have been the televised Doctor Who that I came to freshest, but until the dark days of 1996 the only Doctor Who that I got to follow as it came out were the Virgin books.

I’m going to cover much of the Virgin and BBC books lines as if they were new episodes when the time comes. (I haven’t gotten a firm list together, but on a quick scan of titles I think I’m going to do about 30 Virgin books and about 15 each of the BBC Books and Big Finish Eighth Doctor stuff.) But my relationship with them was... interesting. I was reading them roughly from the ages of 11-13, which is just a bit too ...

We've Materialised With Considerable Finesse (Castrovalva)

It wasn't until Matthew Waterhouse watched the fourth
episode of Castrovalva that he realized that he hadn't been
hungover at all.
It’s January 4th, 1982. The Human League are at number one with “Don’t You Want Me,” but are unseated by Bucks Fizz’s “The Land of Make Believe,” a song whose lyrics, by former King Crimson member Peter Sinfield, were supposedly a subtle attack on the Thatcher government. Very subtle, in fact. Also in the charts are ABBA, Adam and the Ants, Kool and the Gang, and, now in the top ten, Kraftwerk!

In real news, AT&T agrees to being broken up, the coldest temperature ever recorded in the UK is managed in Braemar, and, at least from my perspective most importantly, the Commodore 64 is introduced. Although I’m still nine months out from my debut (I’m strictly gestational for Season 19), my parents got me a Commodore 64 in the name of getting themselves one when I was about two, and my earliest memories are of playing it.

This serves, in part, as another transition point then. The fact that my entrance to Doctor Who came at the end of the Pertwee ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 26 (Coronation Street)

The Davison era is described, usually by its detractors, as a soap opera. “Soap opera,” it should be noted, is one of the great denigrating terms in science fiction fandom. There is nothing, including the Star Wars Christmas Special, quite as bad in the world as being a soap opera.

To anyone outside of science fiction or soap opera fandom this is completely insane since the two are self-evidently the exact same thing. To someone uninvolved in either there is no difference whatsoever in what die-hard sci-fi fans do and what die-hard soap fans do. Both are equally objects of mockery. One dresses up more, the other sends panicked letters in that don’t quite seem to grasp that the characters are fictional. But other than that they’re exactly the same thing.

Consider a recent example. In 2011 Coronation Street brought back the character of Dennis Tanner, who had not appeared in the show since 1968. The only thing that can possibly be reached for as an analogy would be something like bringing Sarah Jane Smith back to Doctor Who in 2006 when she hadn’t appeared in it since 1983. Or bringing Leonard Nimoy as Spock back in ...

Outside the Government 2 (K-9 and Company)

The 1980s called. They said you can keep their bloody
title card.
It’s December 28th, 1981. The Human League are now at number one with “Don’t You Want Me,” with ABBA, Adam and the Ants, and Eurovision winners Bucks Fizz also charting. Kraftwerk are lower in the charts, if you’re into that kind of thing. (I so am.)

Since the Five Faces series wrapped, an inconclusive attempt at an arms reduction treaty between the US and USSR takes place in Geneva, Arthur Scargill becomes president elect of the National Union for Mineworkers, which is likely to end well. Muhammad Ali fights his last fight, the US-supported El Salvadorian army kills 900 civilians, martial law is declared in Poland, the Penlee lifeboat disaster takes place off the coast of Cornwall, and the first test tube baby is born.

While on television we have one the only attempt in the course of the classic series to produce a spin-off: K-9 and Company. This is, perhaps, one of the stories that has most substantially shifted in how we must take it following the new series. Given that Russell T. Davies showed rather conclusively that, in fact, a series following the ...

Outside the Government 1 (The Five Faces of Doctor Who)

Outside the Government is an occasional series focusing on televised Doctor Who material that is not a part of the series proper - spin-offs, documentaries, and, in this case, reruns.

It’s November 2nd, 1981. Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin are at number one with “It’s My Party.” I’m finding records on this point just a little dodgy, but I think we’re looking at a five week run, in which case what we should say is that in one week The Police overtake them with “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.” Two weeks later Queen and David Bowie take over number one with “Ice Ice Baby,” which holds number one for the remainder of this experience. Elvis Costello, The Jam, The Human League, Rod Stewart, Soft Cell, The Pretenders, and Oliva Newton-John also chart.

Since the prepared-for end, Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr. Jodi Foster was unimpressed. Pope John Paul II is also shot and nearly killed. And Marcus Sargeant took six blank shots at Queen Elizabeth II. The first Space Shuttle takes off, serving in most regards as a tombstone for all dreams of spaceflight that had animated the 1960s, reducing wonder to ...

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