Viewing posts tagged hartnell

There Should Have Been Another Way (The Myth Makers)

From futuristic Scouse space girl to Shakespearean
title character. You go, girl.
It's October 16, 1965. Ken Dodd's Tears continue to rule the chart. It will continue for the next three weeks. For once, let's start with the opening shot of Doctor Who again, because last week left us in such a strange place. And we open with... Achilles and Hector fighting in the fields of Troy, with Achilles killing Hector when the materialization of the TARDIS distracts him. So immediately, we know that we are not in Dalek country.


We also know, by sight, that we're in a comic historical. We've seen them enough before. Perhaps somewhere in the back of our minds we remember that the last comedy historical, The Saxons, was unexpectedly interrupted, but one genre-breaking story does not erase the existence of the genre. So whatever shock we might have in the unexpected failure of the Daleks to show up again, we can at least settle down quickly.

And indeed, the first episode of this story is pretty straightforward. By the end of it, we know what we're watching. It's a typical historical. This is something that really can ...

My Mother Verity (Mission to the Unknown)

It's a fun Doctor Who fan parlor game to try to match names
to the alien delegates in this story. Here's a clue - the gal in
the super stylish dress? She's Verity Lambert. She's the
one who actually runs the universe.
It's October 9, 1965. Ken Dodd's "Tears" is still at the top of the charts. Post Office Tower, the tallest building built in London in the 1960s, opened yesterday, the biggest visible monument to the cultural capitol that is London. And Doctor Who is doing something unusual - the only single-episode and Doctor-free story of the classic run, Mission to the Unknown.

I've talked about the way in which the stories are, right now, building towards something. More than any story under the script editorship of Donald Tosh or John Wiles (who was producer in all but official name of the whole of this season), this episode exists first and foremost in service to that something. One of the things that was settled on quickly after The Chase was that instead of doing two Dalek six-parters on either end of the season, they'd do a massive twelve-part Dalek epic in the third ...

Eat Crisps and Talk About Girls (Galaxy 4)

Quick. Guess which of the two species in this photo is
the monster name-checked in The Pandorica Opens.
It's September 11th, 1965. The Rolling Stones are at number one with a more Rolling Stonesy recording than they've charted with previously, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." They'll give way to some less interesting stuff, namely The Walker Brothers for one week and Ken Dodd for a staggering five weeks with a song I have never heard of. A quick listen suggests I was not missing anything. In fact, hearing it, I think I might be missing the blissful unawareness I had before. (But we'll give Ken Dodd a slight break for appearing in Delta and the Bannermen in 1987.)  

Meanwhile, Doctor Who is starting up its third season with Galaxy 4. It also is, from a more historical perspective, starting the third longest stretch of missing episodes in the series, with all episodes of this, the next two stories, and the first episode of the one after that missing from the archives. 

Let's start there, actually. Because much as I favor treating Doctor Who as an evolving narrative, it's still an evolving ...

You Were Expecting Someone Else II (1966 Annual, The Dalek Book, Dalek World)

The thing in front is not David the
Gnome. It's the Doctor. Or did you mean
the Sensorite?
You Were Expecting Someone Else is a recurring feature covering non-televised Doctor Who from classic eras, generally more or less in the period where they came out. Today we look at the 1966 Doctor Who Annual (published in late 1965), The Dalek Book, and The Dalek World, the three earliest examples of Doctor Who spin-off fiction.


So, I'm getting a late start to the blog entry today, kind of have a sinus/allergy headache, and am in a strangely bad mood. Let's dive right in and tackle the question of canonicity and Doctor Who, shall we? (What? I mean, what do you do when you have a headache?)

I mean, it's not actually that tough a topic. The sadly defunct blog Teatime Brutality sorted out all the possible issues in Doctor Who canon over here. The piece is as good a take on the matter as I could possibly do, and reveals the rather surprising truth that the single most important episode of Doctor Who in explaining its canon is Gareth Roberts's The Unicorn and the Wasp ...

You Were Expecting Someone Else? (Dr. Who and the Daleks)

I wonder what the major selling point of this movie was.
You Were Expecting Someone Else is a recurring feature covering non-televised Doctor Who from classic eras, generally more or less in the period where they came out. Today we look at the 1965 film Dr. Who and the Daleks, staring Peter Cushing.

It is August 23, 1965. A month after Doctor Who left television for its summer break, and a little under three weeks until it returns. As it should be, The Beatles have #1 with "Help!" And, in order to fill the sad gap in our lives between July 24th and September 11th, AARU Productions have helpfully released Dr. Who and the Daleks.

More than anything, to understand this we need to back up and look at British culture in the summer of 1965. We've done this to some extent already - we know about Swinging London and the rise of mod and post-mod youth cultures. We know that we're in the midst of a Labor government, and that there's a strong sense of overthrowing the old and putting in the new. We know that the Beatles are big, and that they brought with them a ...

Feels Different This Time (The Time Meddler)

No matter how much she points at the naked lady
with the Dalek, Steven's attention will not be swayed
from the burly Vikings.
It's July 3, 1965. The number one single is going to trade back and forth between Elvis and the Hollies before The Byrds storm in and take #1 with their cover of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man." Although the Byrds are American, this still seems like the completion of a deal that started back in The Reign of Terror, when Bob Dylan introduced the Beatles to drugs. In turn, the Beatles, indirectly through The Byrds, introduce Bob Dylan's sort of music to rock, creating folk rock. The day after the last episode of The Time Meddler, Bob Dylan plays his infamous electric concert at the Newport Folk Festival.

The comparisons to The Reign of Terror are apt, as this is the second time Dennis Spooner has been tapped to write a season finale. I was none too fond of his first story, and his second did not particularly endear itself to me either. The flip side of that, however, is that he's been the script editor since The Rescue, which means he ...

Anybody Remotely Interesting is Mad (The Chase)

The Daleks realize the difficulty of fighting a monster
who does not so much roll natural 20s as is a natural 20.
Hello. There's a lot of you reading this post right now, and I can't figure out where you're all coming from. Would anyone mind letting me know? I'm just curious. Thanks. Hope you enjoy.

It's May 22, 1965. Number one is going to pass among four artists for the next six weeks - Jackie Trent, Sandie Shaw, The Hollies, and Elvis. So, basically, a melange of pop acts. Which is once again fitting for Doctor Who, which airs The Chase, a story that is, basically, a melange of set pieces punctuated by occasional Dalek attacks.

Let's start by being honest here. There are, two my mind, two ways to read this story. Either it's a flawed but mostly edgily brilliant piece of early post-modernism, or it's a complete crap-fest.

I won't lie and pretend the latter case is not, on paper, stronger. Terry Nation is, in many ways, a tough writer to love. He parlayed his brief description of some robotic monsters into copyright on one of Doctor Who's ...

Time Can Be Rewritten 3: The Plotters (Gareth Roberts, Virgin Books, 1996)

Here's one, Fact Fans! If you lay the
Missing Adventures next to
each other in chronological order,
then Vicki is staring with alarm at
Jo Grant in a necktie. Probably
thinking "Oh, she's the one who got
naked and humped a Dalek, isn't
she?" Yes, Vicki, she is. Jealous?
Time Can Be Rewritten is a recurring feature in which stories written in later years that were intended to be retconned into previous eras are analyzed in the context of their presumptive eras. Today we look at Gareth Roberts 1996 novel The Plotters.


So here's the thing about Doctor Who that we may not have talked about quite enough yet. It has fans. Exactly when it acquired this potential affliction is hard to pin down, but the answer probably has something to do with 1980. And it's been a solidly mixed blessing. If it weren't for fandom we wouldn't have, well, Doctor Who from 2005 on. But, on the other hand, if it weren't for fandom, we wouldn't have had Doctor Who from 1985 to early 1987. Which might have been nice.


But Doctor Who has fans. It has fandom. And it ...

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