A Casual Fan’s Guide to Enemy of the World and Web of Fear
Context: This is from Patrick Troughton’s second season, and aired over December 1967/January 1968. Troughton’s second season is known as the “monster” season, as six of its seven stories featured similar plots featuring various classic Doctor Who monsters. The Enemy of the World is the exception – nestled in the middle of the season, it has no monsters at all. Troughton is accompanied by two companions – Jamie, a Scotsman from 1746, and Victoria, from, appropriately enough, the Victorian era. In this era the companion roles were pretty well defined – Jamie was there to handle the action scenes (which Troughton’s Doctor rarely got involved in), and Victoria was there to put in grave peril.
It’s by David Whitaker, who was the script editor for the very beginning of Doctor Who, and who shaped the early direction of the show. In the Troughton era he turned in several scripts, including a pair of Dalek stories widely regarded as among the best things the series ever did. His later work focused admirably on prominent female characters – The Enemy of the World has two memorable ones that are well ahead of what the rest of the era does in terms of quality characters.
Premise: Instead of being a monster story like everything around it, The Enemy of the World is a James Bond pastiche. But the thing that really jumps out about it is that it features Patrick Troughton in two roles, both as the Doctor and as the villainous Salamander, who, by pure coincidence, looks exactly like the Doctor.
The premise is silly, but made worth it by Patrick Troughton, who is an absolutely amazing actor. (Legend has it that Matt Smith called Steven Moffat in the middle of the night upon first seeing a Troughton story, and proceeded to rave about how brilliant he was. Smith’s bow tie is an explicit homage to Troughton.) This was an opportunity to let Troughton cut loose and really show how good he was.
The story goes from being, in its initial setup, a fairly straightforward James Bond pastiche to becoming something steadily weirder. There’s an absolutely bonkers twist around the 2/3 mark, and it’s only one of many reversals.
What To Watch For: Troughton’s performance is going to be the big appeal here. Troughton was capable of incredible variety, and there should be lots to admire as he plays not only his two roles, but, at various points, each of his two roles impersonating the other. Expect lots of subtle nuances that separate the Doctor pretending to be Salamander from Salamander himself.
One thing, sadly, not to look out for is too much of Troughton on screen with himself. The Doctor and Salamander get one final confrontation, but the limits of 1960s television made staging more split screen scenes unfeasible. Despite that, keep an eye on the visuals – Barry Letts was an excellent director with a knack for action sequences (he went on to produce the Jon Pertwee era). The opening of the story has a bunch of them that will probably look quite good. But even later sequences are well directed. This is a very character-focused story, and Letts makes good use of close-ups. The cliffhangers are particularly interesting – they’re rarely moments in which characters are in any danger. Instead they’re moments when characters find out things that the audience already knew, but that subtly shift the balance of power in the story.
The third episode also has Griffin the Chef, one of the funniest supporting characters in Doctor Who.
Will It Be Any Good?: This is an unheralded classic – the chunk of Doctor Who fans more interested in memorizing the names of all the Cybermen stories overlooked it for years. But if you actually look at it, it seems like it’ll be an absolute stunner. It has a great writer, a great director, and one of the best actors ever to work on Doctor Who getting the chance to really stretch his wings. This should be a real pleasure even for people who haven’t seen any 60s Doctor Who.
The Web of Fear
Context: The story immediately after The Enemy of the World – its first few minutes actually wrap up the plot points that couldn’t quite fit in the final episode. This is a big story for fans. It’s one of two stories to feature the Great Intelligence, who was brought back by Steven Moffat in The Snowmen. It also features the Intelligence’s traditional henchmen, the Yeti, who are big, hairy robots. It’s a sequel to The Abominable Snowmen, a story from earlier in the same season, and features a returning character in Professor Travers, played by Jack Watling (the father of Deborah Watling, who plays Victoria).
The story also features the first appearance of Nicholas Courtney as Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, more commonly known as the Brigadier, but here a mere Colonel. Courtney played the part opposite every Doctor in the classic series save for Colin Baker, and reprised it in The Sarah Jane Adventures. The idea of a military team that responds to alien threats became the cornerstone of the Jon Pertwee era, which is where Courtney made the bulk of his appearances.
Premise: A dormant Yeti wakes up in then-contemporary London, and before long an army of them is stalking the London Underground, slowly taking it over. The Yeti are newly armed with guns that shoot deadly webs, which now line the Underground. London has been evacuated, and the Doctor finds himself helping a small military unit fight back. But there’s clearly a traitor in their midst.
This last point is key, because it reflects a problem that anyone viewing this after 1968 has. Far from being the beloved Brigadier, typically described as the Doctor’s best friend, Nicholas Courtney’s character is intended to be one of the main suspects. For anyone who’s seen a lot of Doctor Who, it’s going to be impossible to divorce the character from what we all know he becomes. If you’ve not seen him in anything else, you’re lucky, as you get to experience the story fresh. Well, except that you’ve read this and now you’re spoiled. Oh well.
What To Watch For: If you’ve seen Nicholas Courtney in other stories, watching the ways his character here is different will be interesting. There’s some bits towards the end where the character is pushed to far darker places than would ever be allowed later, when the character became defined by an almost preternatural unflappability.
But the real star here should be the mood. This is hailed as a classic scary episode of Doctor Who, full of creepy and darkened tunnels and roaring monsters. When it first aired in 1968, there was a trailer of Troughton addressing the audience in character, warning them that this was an especially terrifying story and that children should be ready to reassure their parents if they got too frightened.
You should probably be aware that Patrick Troughton is not in the second episode – the intense shooting schedule of 60s Doctor Who meant that actors occasionally got weeks off, and this was one of Troughton’s. The third episode, on the other hand, is still missing. This will frustrate some fans, as it’s the first appearance of Nicholas Courtney. It’s been recreated with existing stills and the audio track, so you can still get the plot. If you find that unwatchable (some people really hate watching reconstructions), the gist of it is this: the Doctor is found in the Underground by Colonel Lethbridge Stewart, and both return to the base, where the Colonel takes charge. The Doctor works out the plot and explains it to everybody, and then the Yeti attack the base itself, leading into the cliffhanger.
Oh, and if the idea of robotic Yeti sounded ridiculous and slightly silly to you… you’re not wrong. But by all accounts, they worked in spite of themselves.
Will It Be Any Good? The people who saw it forty-five years ago certainly remember it vividly. Much of how this one works is going to be down to how well the mood is captured. This isn’t a story that’s long on subtlety. It’s a spooky action movie, and how good it is will depend heavily on the visuals, which, in 60s Doctor Who, ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime.
The good news is that it’s directed by Douglas Camfield, one of the best directors the classic series ever had, and the episode that we had before today looked great, so the odds that they got away with it are pretty good. Certainly the Underground sets are convincing – so much so that the authorities accused the series of illegally filming on the Underground itself. Normally a bit of 1960s Doctor Who that needs the effects and production to be top notch is going to be a let down. But this is the rare one that could turn out to be genuinely spectacular.
October 10, 2013 @ 2:16 pm
Where are the guides for the other 81 episodes? 🙂
The reconstructed version of Enemy is brilliant. In terms of entertainment value there aren't too many cliffhangers in the series as good as the Doctor stepping into the room as Salamander for the first time. If they had to find one Troughton story that wasn't Power of the Daleks I couldn't be happier that it was this one.
Think I'd have preferred just about any of the remaining Troughton stories to Web of Fear.
October 10, 2013 @ 2:18 pm
Stories get found, I'll write guides for them. 🙂
October 10, 2013 @ 2:33 pm
Here I am, at 20 past midnight on a cold October evening. The wind outside is whipping up, and there's the first autumn chill in the air. Leaves are littering the lawn below a grey and cloudy sky, so it seems appropriate that the mood of the night echoes my 45-year old memories of watching this serial and being utterly terrified by it. Living in London at the time, and familiar with the tube, I would never go down onto those platforms and look into those tunnel mouths again without imagining what might be lurking in the darkness. In fact this was probably the inspiration for a recurring nightmare of the London Underground that I had for many years afterwards, in which I could feel something inexorable and horrifying approaching out of the tunnels.
If there was ever a Doctor Who story that I wanted to see again, and thought I never would, this was it. It epitomised everything that Doctor Who was in the late 60s. The familiar made frightening, the commonplace made terrifying. And the only comfort the Doctor, who stood between me and the dark and alien.
October 10, 2013 @ 3:05 pm
I wonder if this will mark a new dividing line among fandom. What did you watch first, Enemy of the World or Web of Fear? I think the answer could be telling — who's into the show for its alchemy, and who's into it for the scares? (Well, of course, there are other dividing lines: who can or can't afford to download the stories or buy the DVDs, who will watch illicitly, who doesn't care for the old stuff at all, and so on, but that's not the point!) Might be more telling than the Love & Monsters litmus test.
October 10, 2013 @ 3:06 pm
Since these were found in Nigeria, I wonder if this will give rise to Doctor Who fan-specific email scams. "I will be happy to share one-half of my Doctor Who collection with you if you agree to help with the costs of shipping the tapes into the safety of your country."
October 10, 2013 @ 3:15 pm
2011: Philip Sandifer initiates major critical reassessment of THE ENEMY OF THE WORLD, focusing particularly on David Whitaker's brilliantly subtle manipulation of magical symbolism.
2013: ENEMY OF THE WORLD rediscovered against all imaginable odds.
I suspect that David Whitaker is not the only alchemist in this particular room.
October 10, 2013 @ 3:32 pm
Just watched episode one of Enemy, while I won't wait the standard week (or even the day between episodes I normally try to allow) I am taking a brief break.
While both Enemy and Web are (or were) on my personal list of 8 most wanted stories, Enemy was a heck of a lot higher; with Web making it in as #8 mostly to see the first appearance of the not-yet-Brig. (The list ends at 8, with a secondary list of 4 least-wanted stories at the other end.)
Enemy had been at #3, right behind Power & Evil. And Evil only narrowly won 2nd place because it has my most wanted missing scene.
October 10, 2013 @ 4:08 pm
I am super excited for both episodes. I still want the Massacre, however. Ever since reading Phil's piece on it, I have been really into the serial as a whole. But who's going complain?
October 10, 2013 @ 4:10 pm
I expect that some people who would by all accounts be inclined to watch Web first will watch Enemy first on the grounds that the show should be watched in order.
October 10, 2013 @ 4:11 pm
If nothing else, given that Enemy has a smashing cliffhanger that Web picks up, this is a sound idea.
October 10, 2013 @ 5:28 pm
Watching the trailer for "The Enemy of the World", my hair was standing on end. 😀
It's still slightly surreal for me to see the famous shot of the Doctor and Salamander actually moving, but the rest of that final confrontation looks incredibly well-shot.
Now, for the "Web of Fear" trailer…! 😀
October 10, 2013 @ 7:28 pm
Of the two trailers the BBC have put out, Enemy of the World comes across as far more exciting and compelling – and this is speaking as someone who as a child dreamt of a movie version of Web of Fear being made (it's novelisation gave me something to be absorbed in the day my family accidentally left me at the library for hours and hours as a small boy, and the imagery it envoked was forever burnt into my head).
Admittedly since Phil's essays I've been crossing my fingers for Enemy of the World (and The Massacre) as they sound the most revealing (I'm just assuming Power of the Daleks is as great as we suspect).
October 10, 2013 @ 7:32 pm
I'm gonna have to watch that again.
The direction is just phenomenal. Letts has a lot of really neat tricks up his sleeve. Not just staging the action scenes, but his use of closeups and mid-range shots is perfect here given this is much more character-based drama that what the show had been delivering that season. His staging of chaos in the final episode, wow. Some fantastic sets, and some fantastic lighting — that scene under the dock with Astrid and Kent, the tight shots on the shoes of the guards above, not only creates magnificent tension, it sets up a cliffhanger in a later episode!
I love how Whitaker's characterizations fly in the face of the bog-standard base-under-siege. Everyone in this story (except the dreary henchmen) is competent, which does two things — it creates much more interesting room for a variety of motivations, and it generates much more tension. It's a lot harder to predict how conflicts will play out when everyone has a good chance of getting what they want; even a simple villain like Benik the Sadist (the Guy Crayford lookalike) is more threatening, despite the fact his machinations get short, simply because he's on the verge of figuring out what the hell is going on.
Which kind of gets at the power Whitaker holds over the entire narrative, and gets to what's really at the heart of a spy thriller — it's knowledge itself that resolves the character conflicts, and the acquisition of knowledge that's at the heart of the real cliffhangers. I love how Astrid, the Bond-Girl who's the "true hero" of the story, wins over the trapped scientists by demonstrating her knowledge of scientific processes — she doesn't use force to turn the tide, she uses her wits (very Doctorish, if you ask me.)
Most crucially, though, it's knowledge of identity and the ability to subvert it that creates the most leverage. (It's called Doctor Who, after all.) And this gets at what I think is the true core of the show, which is an exploration of identity, but through its negative space. The Doctor enters the world of Salamander and is able to navigate it successfully by becoming Salamander — by not being the Doctor. Astrid wins over the scientists by dropping the Bond Girl act — and indeed the Bond act itself — and playing by the rules of the people whose world she's dropped into. Salamander nearly steals the TARDIS by letting Jamie and Victoria think he's not Salamander.
I'm gonna have to watch this again.
October 10, 2013 @ 7:38 pm
"I am only a cleaner at NTAtv and fear if not removed the tapes will unavoidably be wiped for recording the 2014 Olympic winter games. I cannot get the tapes out of the building, but can put them into outgoing mail, if only you can cover the costs of prepaid UPS packages I will need to buy from NIpost."
October 10, 2013 @ 7:41 pm
"The question is whether the primary responsibility for that failure lays with Steven or the Doctor." Has anyone asked Peter Purves that burning question as pondered by Phil in that essay? Surely some Eruditoriumites have been to a Purves-attended convention since 2011. It's definitely the question that would be on my lips.
October 10, 2013 @ 8:28 pm
Have to admit when word got out of rediscovered episodes I kind of had my heart set on "Enemy", based solely on your intense love of it. Glad to see it finally vindicated like this.
October 10, 2013 @ 8:41 pm
iTunes NL, you are disappoint.
October 10, 2013 @ 9:27 pm
BBC News as usual getting it arse. "The following scenes have never been seen on television for 45 years!" they announce gravely, before proceeding to show a clip from Web of Fear episode 1…
Although we then hear a few words from Peter Crocker of the Restoration Team explaining how the film had deteriorated and what they had done to recover it. The same Restoration Team who claimed a month ago that they had no knowledge of any recovered stories.
When will we learn, eh? Rule 1 – The Doctor Lies. Rule 2 – So does everyone else!
October 10, 2013 @ 9:30 pm
Ahem…you won't find tapes in Nigeria, they're 16mm films. Now I know you're a 419!
October 10, 2013 @ 9:45 pm
And, a few hours later, Enemy of the World is watched. Wow.
We could tell a lot about how good this one was from the audios; but what was lost was just how amazing Troughton's performances were on every level. An absolute revelation even if I was expecting it to be amazing going in.
Side note: the part of me that was (and still is) frustrated with the delay in announcing the find is currently having an intense debate with the part of me thrilled that I got to see this the same week the find in general was confirmed, and the same DAY the episodes were confirmed. And that's from somebody who followed the rumors; I'm sure most people didn't have a clue the episodes existed before they were available. Anybody else have any thoughts on which way is best to handle this in the future?
October 10, 2013 @ 9:50 pm
Meh. I'm waiting for the 106 stories, all starring Willem Hartinall in "The Mariners of Quays" that were found in Ethopia. On betamax.
October 11, 2013 @ 12:22 am
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October 11, 2013 @ 12:24 am
"Anybody else have any thoughts on which way is best to handle this in the future?"
It seems impossible to keep secrets in this day and age, but I'm glad they tried (and almost got away with it too).
Having a fully restored episode immediately available is the perfect climax to top off the build up of rumour, hype and speculation. Speaking for myself, my fervour for Airlock and The Underwater Menace Ep. 2 fizzled out slowly between the announcement and their availability (and one technically still isn't available).
October 11, 2013 @ 12:39 am
Yeah good point. I was at a convention recently in Swansea where Peter attended and did not think to ask the good question above. I did say 'hi' to him though – shame he never acted much more since as he does strike a rather bold imposing figure.
Gotta say, love the idea of being an Eruditoriumite. Let's start a movement.
October 11, 2013 @ 12:43 am
Watched them both this morning at 7.30am whilst half asleep. Found your essay as part of my morning ritual of checking for new articles and then proceeded to the trailers.
And yes it felt almost unreal seeing Troughton moving after having heard the narrated audios. Amazing – looks great!
October 11, 2013 @ 12:51 am
A very similar experience to my own. The London Underground was an exciting and familiar environment to me as a small child of the 1960s taken on shopping trips to the West End. After The Web of Fear they joined the, still ubiquitous, police telephone boxes and Post Office Tower along with Sloane Square* as objects and psychogeographic locations of magical power which still, to this day, have the ability to send shivers up my spine. I wonder if those who are children of the Nu Who era have similar feelings about The London Eye or the Shard?
*Mentioned by Cushing in the movie as the probable landing spot of the Dalek saucer
October 11, 2013 @ 1:23 am
So looking forward to rewatching these episodes. My personal childhood memory of the two stories is so tantalisingly made up of flashes of vivid imagery coupled with hazy recollection of the actual performance and, for me, both are connected in a number of ways. I recall being intrigued that (I believe for the first time) with The Web of Fear Doctor Who was presenting a sequel: examining the way a time traveller like the Doctor could re-meet a character at a later point in their life while a comparativly small amount of time had passed for him and his companions, something not fully explored again until Moffat. I've described the psychogeographic frisson of those tube train tunnels that lasts to this day in my reply to Spacewarp above. Of course we were not to know that Lethbridge Stewart would also be returning at a later point in his life and that the 'Doctor helps army unit V aliens' would become the dominant trope of the next Doctor. Another point to mention is the way location shooting was used effectively, again I think for the first time, in Enemy of the World which must have had some influence on the later Pertwee stories. I vividly recall another innovation – a trailer for Enemy of the World was shown after the final episode of the previous story. I remember a helicopter chasing a car along a stretch of beach. I don't thonk this had ever been done before and as I recall, was heavily suggesting that Doctor Who was entering a new era of excitement. Now a confession – despite the trailer really getting me worked up into a state of unbelievable anticipation – due to some long forgotten family occasion I never got to see the first episode of Enemy of the World and thought I never would. THIS is why I'm so excited by these discoveries.
October 11, 2013 @ 1:27 am
Very pleased about this – not only getting two Troughton stories, but two that follow each other. Could hardly contain my excitement, bought them immediately!
I figured that something was up as I was at a small convention in Swansea three weeks ago and there was a panel with Frazer Hines, Deborah Watling and Anneke Wills. I know that Anneke was not in the stories involved, but she had such a twinkle in her eyes when she said "I know nothing, I know nothing !" in response to questions about missing episodes. I figured something must have been found.
October 11, 2013 @ 1:36 am
I suspect that, as an actor, he would be rather nonplussed to be asked about a back-story from nearly fifty years ago that he had no input into other than performing the role as written. I'm sure out of politeness he probably would venture an opinion but this could in no way be taken as definitive. Sorry if I sound dismissive but I know actors get particularly irritated and uncomfortable when put on the spot in that way. I believe it happens a lot at conventions and suggests that some fans misunderstand the way actors approach a role. Some may consider non-diagetic motivation but most will not.
October 11, 2013 @ 2:53 am
No surprise there…
October 11, 2013 @ 3:05 am
Given the report from the restoration team, I wonder if the reason that all the early leaks gave such variable numbers on what had been found was that they actually recovered a lot more raw film, but most of it was damaged beyond repair.
Like, it seems a bit strange to me that they recovered two consecutive serials, intact but for ONE episode in the middle — that suggests to me that there was a copy of the still-missing Web of Fear episode, but it had been reduced to vinegar-scented confetti.
October 11, 2013 @ 3:12 am
Anyone know if there are plans to release these in any format viewable by people who can't run any apple software?
October 11, 2013 @ 3:43 am
DVD releases next month and early 2014.
October 11, 2013 @ 4:04 am
I am inclined to watch them in order, but since I won't get a chance to until about 11pm tonight (and can thus do only one or the other), and I'll be watching it with friends who are newer Who fans, I plan on showing them the trailers & letting them decide.
October 11, 2013 @ 4:05 am
No not at all you don't sound dismissive.
I actually completely agree. During one panel I did ask Sylvester McCoy a question that sparked off a lovely moment – but not one about stories. I myself am more interested in stimulating a creative dialogue. So yeah I would feel embarrassed asking questions that came from the above point of view as seeing the Doctor 'as real' or the worst -'what's your favourite story/monster/ etc' – I did cringe a few times during panel question times and did marvel at the wonderful politeness of the actors.
Had a great conversation with Michael Jayston about British and religious history over a cuppa.
October 11, 2013 @ 4:24 am
Anneke! She blurted out about "Power" being found a while ago. Mercy!
October 11, 2013 @ 6:21 am
Oh no, to hell with letting them decide. We are DEFINITELY watching the one with Patrick Troughton in his longjohns!
October 11, 2013 @ 6:27 am
I had heard that they recovered much more film…including things like Dad's Army. It's possible that this was all the Doctor Who in the cache.
October 11, 2013 @ 7:15 am
I was astounded by how DIFFERENT Salamander and the Doctor are kinesthetically — the massive difference in the way they move adds to the first cliffhanger immensely. And being able to see Giles Kent and the expressions on his face goes a long way to explain the Doctor's skepticism. It's a master class in broad acting.
October 11, 2013 @ 9:07 am
Entirely possible that other stuff is there too, although Dad's Army seems to rank second only to Doctor Who when it comes to lost tapes. The trouble is that there's been so much misinformed speculation, the truth gets lost in the rumour.
However, given that Troughton stories have suffered so many losses, it's great to have these two (almost) back with us.
October 11, 2013 @ 10:08 am
At this point in our history, any more lost episodes (no matter which serial or Doctor) should be treasure. Every year our chances of finding more go down. It's surreal to see anyone complain.
On the otherhand, seeing two episodes of Doctor Who beat out Homeland for top seller on iTunes is a good feeling.
October 11, 2013 @ 11:34 am
Indeed! Whenever I do occasion to travel on the Tube (not very often now as I live in the Midlands), there's always a little frisson whenever I walk through a passage where the curving "ribs" of the tunnel are on view. Tonight I'm rewatching Web and I can see why. 45 years ago, and one programme affected me so much. The power of Who, eh?
October 11, 2013 @ 12:56 pm
Does anyone know if there's any truth to the Levine-tweeted suggestion that download sales of these episodes is crucial to recovering additional episodes? I don't use itunes, so I'm minded to wait until the DVDs (as difficult as that will be, seeing everyone else so engrossed in them!), but if there is any truth to that rumour then I'd change my mind.
Anyway, I loved that clip of Troughton having a dip! So amazing to get these episodes back after nearly 50 years.
October 11, 2013 @ 1:03 pm
Hmmm. The Enemy of the World trailer that's on Youtube ends with a clip of the final scene. That's bordering on unnecessary.
October 11, 2013 @ 2:07 pm
The iTunes charts are enlightening in this respect.
Enemy is outselling Web in Australia and the United States.
Web is outselling Enemy in the U.K. and Canada.
The fact that these stories are charting in the top five in all these regions (and are top two in the U.K. and Australia) warms the cockles of my heart.
October 11, 2013 @ 2:17 pm
Compare the difference between a recovered Dad's Army and a recovered Dr Who. One gets a high-profile press conference after months of secrecy and disinformation, followed by a midnight release on ITunes and a promised future DVD release. The other gets no publicity at all, followed by an eventual showing on BBC2.
October 11, 2013 @ 11:00 pm
Hope not, I use iTunes but I've pre-orderd the DVDs, I can't afford to double dip on them and a sale is a sale AFAIC. I must admit I am a bit frustrated at the staggered release dates, I'm secretly hoping because it's down to them making an animated version of ep3 of Web of Fear for the DVD but realisticaly I guess they wouldn't do that because you've then got the PR nightmare of thousands of people who brought the iTunes version with a less watchable reconstruction been less than pleased.
I would have prefered the Enemy of the World DVD a week earlier, I recently picked up Ambassadors Sting OF DEATH on DVD so was planning a mini Whitaker-thon on the 23rd.
I realise this sounds like I've won the lottery but whining about it not been a rollover but in the positive column, this time last week the amount of lost eps was in treble figures, now it's in two.
October 12, 2013 @ 9:39 pm
I have to admit I've never been to a convention – but what's the point of having a Doctor Who convention if you're going to avoid talking about Doctor Who and their (the actors) time on the show?
October 13, 2013 @ 1:14 am
No not really avoiding it – they do loads of talking and chatting about many & varied aspects of their Doctor Who career during the panels – as well as answering questions that they may have had many times before, but from what I saw, being wonderfully polite and answering.
So I am interested if I am having a chat with them or asking questions, in them as people and any aspects of their wider career – obviously in relation to Doctor Who – but I would like to where I can make any dialogue interesting for them.
October 13, 2013 @ 2:38 am
ferret, just to clarify, I'm not accusing you of this but there are some people who seem to think that the actors in a drama make up the dialogue and react to and further the plot without recourse to script or direction. I have experienced this personally as an actor, chatting amiably to an audience member after a performance and being stunned to be asked about obscure character details that I suspect not even the writer would know or (even more wierdly because it's always meant as a compliment) being told, for example, "I loved the bit where you said…such and such…it was so clever" I always have to point out that the cleverness of the lines was entirely the playwright's all I did was learn them.
So yes, by all means ask Mr Purves and other actors for entertaining anecdotes about their time on the show but don't expect insights into plot or narrative; for that you'd need to ask the author.
October 13, 2013 @ 1:22 pm
fair enough, thanks 🙂
January 1, 2014 @ 7:27 pm
In terms of The Massacre, it's worth noting that the script editor/writer of the final version of the story, Donald Tosh, is apparently still alive. So, apparently, is the director, Paddy Russell.