Single vision and Newtons sleep debt

Skip to content

Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Arieh
    March 9, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

    Great piece. I'm really enjoying reading these.


  2. Rob
    March 10, 2011 @ 2:47 am

    Wow. I actually want to re-watch this episode now. I'm starting believe that you will be able to find something redemptive in "The Gunfighters".


  3. Elizabeth Sandifer
    March 10, 2011 @ 11:55 am

    Ah, The Gunfighters. I'm actually looking forward to that one, in no small part because it seems that recent fan opinion has finally started to swing away from the Peter Haining orthodoxy that declared The Gunfighters the worst-ever story, and in fact most people these days seem to regard it as superior to The Celestial Toymaker.


  4. Heather
    June 24, 2011 @ 11:57 pm

    I am totally with you on the missing Barbara. I just started watching the show from the very beginning, and Barbara immediately stood out to me as one of the remarkable companions. I knew "The Chase" was the serial where she would make her exit, and I have been dreading it. While I have only seen the modern companions and the first 5 of the early years, I think Barbara may long last as one of my all-time favorites. She brings a groundedness to everything that I think really elevates the show and the other characters around her. Her and Ian's departure and the Doctor's reaction to it really reminded me of the 10th Doctor's line from "The Next Doctor": "They leave. Because they should or because they find someone else. And some of them, some of them… forget me. I suppose in the end, they break my heart." I never realized how long that had been true for the Doctor until Ian and Barbara left.


  5. Keith
    July 16, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  6. Seeing_I
    August 9, 2011 @ 4:29 am

    That "classical music" quip always struck me as just bizarrely nonsensical. How can Vicki have heard of them at ALL, let alone visited their memorial theater, without having some idea what kind of music they are famous for? That's some hacktastic writing right there.

    As for Ian and Barbara, I loved them both dearly. Ian-Babs-Vicki are still one of my all time favorite TARDIS crews, not least because Barbara, at least, is one of the few times the show has ever gotten an "ordinary person" character so, so right.


  7. SK
    August 22, 2011 @ 1:45 am

    And the version of The Chase that I can bring myself to quite enjoy is a version that seems to me to have been tremendously influential on, say, The Stolen Earth/Journey's End

    So we can blame that almighty car crash of unparalleled awfulness on Nation as well as 'The Chase'? Wow, he has a lot to answer for.


  8. Andrew Hickey
    September 22, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

    "Now the question is, is this a deliberate callback to 100,000 BC where the Doctor nearly brains a caveman. If so – and I am inclined to say that it is – it's the dramatic turning point of the show, because it is where Barbara asserts baldly that the show has changed and evolved. The Doctor can now be identified precisely because he wouldn't engage in the same behavior that, a year and a half ago, he did."

    I was just rereading this entry in your book because I rewatched The Chase today, and I think this is a bad misreading of the scene — it's when the duplicate Doctor calls Vicki "Susan" that Barbara backs away. It's not him wanting to kill what is, after all, a robot (robots normally being fair game in Doctor Who), but him not knowing that Vicki isn't Susan, because the Daleks have only programmed the duplicate with the information they knew from the previous adventures.


    • Dan
      June 6, 2018 @ 2:50 am

      It’s easily missed, but Barbara does realise that Robo-Doc is not the Doc because he calls Vicki “Susan”, although it is an interesting echo of the rock scene in An Unearthly Child.


  9. LittleSallyDigby
    June 9, 2013 @ 11:18 am

    It took me a while but I figured out a way this line makes sense. Vicki has heard the Beatles before, but not the song she's hearing now. The Beatles did a lot of different things with their music despite being mainly remembered as early rock-n-roll- evidently some of those things have been built on and incorporated into what modern-day music is like in Vicki's future, but others have been relegated to the past and designated as "classical". The former make up most/all of what Vicki as a future citizen knows about the Beatles, because as time goes on popular culture forgets lots of things but hangs on to what it considers extraordinary, so when she encounters the latter in the form of "Ticket to Ride", she's surprised to find that the Beatles weren't all (future levels of) cool, all the time.
    It's like finding a relaxed, comedic beach episode in the middle of an action-packed cartoon series, or a purely romantic novel in the bibliography of your favorite horror writer- it's not that your opinion of the entire body of work changes, just that you become aware that the body of work extends beyond what you knew about.


  10. Wm Keith
    November 7, 2013 @ 3:44 am

    Just an observation – the final scenes of the story are structured like a somewhat theatrical wedding:

    Father refuses consent
    Father relents

    Also, the Time-Space Visualiser's controls relate to eight of the nine Planets – omitting Mercury.


  11. Richard
    December 10, 2021 @ 4:24 am

    Commenting many years later, because Elizabeth pegs just how much I hate all the Timeless Child nonsense: even more than the idea of diminishing Hartnell, I fucking hate that it diminishes Ian and Barbara. The doctor’s not a hero because they’re a near immortal alien with a magic box that can go anywhere. The Doctor is a hero because they met these two ordinary people, who taught them to be brave and kind. For all the utterly stupid things we as a species can and will do, we’re all capable of becoming better if we’re willing to try, and we’re all capable of learning what the Doctor learned from those two teachers he met in a junkyard long ago.

    We don’t need any weird secret origin for the Doctor. We already know the Doctor’s real mother and father…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.