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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. C.
    September 26, 2011 @ 6:41 am

    well said. I really like "Spiders," which, despite its many woeful spots, has a grandeur to it. It's arguably one of the more moving Doctor farewells, if lacking the odd, funereal tone of "Logopolis." As you said, it's the entire Pertwee era compressed into one 6-part episode (only thing missing is the Master), and it (perhaps subconsciously) shows up all of the era's weaknesses in stark relief, then draws the curtain.

    in retrospect it seems like all of Pertwee–despite the occasional great story and the undeniable mass popularity and viewer love that the era had—is a long, transitional, almost purgatorial period of "Who": one that was necessary for its long-term survival, but one that needed to be shucked off at some point…

    One reason I love "Ark in Space" so much is that it feels like old Who is finally back: the best of Hartnell/Troughton miraculously returned, and improved.


  2. inkdestroyedmybrush
    September 26, 2011 @ 8:40 am

    Agreed with the above comment, I find Spiders a slog not because I'm completely divorced from the story, but because its paced so oddly and my brain wants to re-edit the story so that, if this is the way that they're going to go out, it should have more craft.

    I also like a post that i read once on, I believe, the Gallifrey Base forums, where the poster mentioned that he remembered the original version of Spiders, the one that you can see only once: where Pertwee regenerates into the brown haired man with the wavy hair. As opposed to all the other viewings,where Pertwee regenerates in Tom Baker.


  3. Spacewarp
    September 26, 2011 @ 9:47 am

    Heh! I might have been that poster, or at least said something similar! I certainly remember my Doctor disappearing and leaving this horrible ugly stranger in his place…who I then instantly accepted as The Doctor about halfway through Robot.

    Phil, I now understand completely where you are coming from. Strange that we were both approximately the same age when we watched our first Pertwee, and yet I had just entered the 70s while you were two years into the 90s. I see now what you mean, and in hindsight the style of early 70s Who had run its course. By 1974 the world (or at least the UK) had moved on, and there was no room for a velvet-coated patrician aesthete. I guess it's only looking back that you can see these things, because of course to us back then in '74 the world was still as bright(although slightly less glittery) than it had always been , and we had no idea that Punk and Thatcher's Britain were only a few years away to give the Glam Rockers a very severe haircut.


  4. Spikeimar
    September 26, 2011 @ 9:59 am

    I agree with inkdestroyedmybrush's comments about not knowing who the brown haired guy was on original viewing, in that for fans of a certain age Pertwee WAS the Doctor when we first saw Spiders, we had nothing to compare him to other than a few photo's in the Radio Times special and the Target books, in which, to be honest, I just read with Pertwee in mind.
    The Third Doctor was the kind of adult kids adored, he was rude to other adults, knew cool stuff involving transistors and always won the battle.
    Imagine then the world shattering events of this story, our Doctor was dying, sacrificing himself to stop a bunch of horrible spiders. That within a few weeks of Tom Baker starting we had all forgotten Pertwee is neither here nor there, such are fickle children, and let us not forget that these programs were written and created for that very purpose, to entertain children (and to keep the parents watching amused enough to let their kids continue watching them) In that they succeeded with aplomb.


  5. 7a1abfde-af0e-11e0-b72c-000bcdcb5194
    September 26, 2011 @ 9:59 am

    Pertwee wasn't my first Doctor. I guess he was my 6th; the odd order in which I discovered the Doctors was TBaker – McGann – Smith – Tennant – Eccleston – Pertwee (and then the rest). But when I did find Pertwee I was utterly charmed (though I do agree with you in liking TBaker better); so as we leave the Pertwee era I want to salute it one last time.

    You've frequently said you like Pertwee best when he's off balance. I can't help hearing that as a symptom of your general lack of enthusiasm for Pertwee, because for me it's the reverse; I like him best when he's NOT off balance, when he's airily confident. And his airy confidence always seemed too subversive of established authority for me to see it as you seem to, as aristocratic-dismissal-of-social-inferiors.

    I came to appreciate Pertwee even more once I saw his predecessors. Hartnell likewise had confidence, but of a cranky sort, and often without much to back it up. And Troughton seemed to be constantly looking terrified and running away. Pertwee is the first Doctor I would actually feel confident in relying on. The gleeful enthusiasm in the face of danger, which would become TBaker's signature mood and which has been replicated in the modern Doctors, gets its first appearance, albeit in more moderate form, in Pertwee. To me it feels as though the Doctor first becomes the Doctor with Pertwee. So in THAT sense, he's my first Doctor.


  6. Steve Hogan
    September 27, 2011 @ 2:57 am

    This episode is the epitome of what Phillip has been calling Sloman/Letts "Curate eggs". It ranges from that touching goodbye to embarrassing yellowface performances.

    I kind of like the big crazy stupid multi vehicle chase, but it would work better if the footage was sped up and "Yakkity Sax" was added to the soundtrack.


  7. Spacewarp
    September 27, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

    Hear Hear Spikeimar! That's exactly how I approach Doctor Who now that I'm an adult. I try not to lose sight of the reason Doctor Who exists – for children.

    Like "Tomb of the Cybermen", which I saw on first broadcast at the age of 6 or 7. I've rewatched it since, and found my adult judgement to be somewhat different. However I still consider what I thought of it then to be just as valid as what I think of it today. In the same way I consider my opinion of "Spiders" upon first viewing in a pre-Tom world to be the important one to me.


  8. Alphapenguin
    July 3, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

    I just want you to know – you are not the only Doctor Who fan to know the misery that is western Connecticut. Congratulations on surviving a childhood therein.


  9. Jahirul Islam
    July 12, 2015 @ 3:39 am

    These days, there is no excuse for letting those home movies on VHS, VHS-C, Video8 orHi8 cassettes, MiniDV - or even old 8mm or 16mm film spools - rot away in dusty shoe boxes up on a closet shelf somewhere. Get your old film and video digitized and transferred to DVD. CD & DVD duplication


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