No nationalism but Terry Nationalism

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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. Sheโ€™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. David
    July 25, 2011 @ 8:25 am

    There's also the sense that Holmes really doesn't want to be writing for the Autons again and that these might as well be a new race of monsters. The Nestenes in Spearhead merely inhabited dummies and created doubles. The doubles thing is a case in point: aside from being murderous shop dummies, the main ability of the villains in Spearhead was being able to create near-perfect living replicas of people. But this is never used in Terror. If it were, the two policemen would be replicas and therefore wouldn't have faces to pull off. Holmes doesn't even want to keep the villains consistent between stories.

    One thing: I must admit, Pertwee's "gentlemen never talk about anything else" line always comes across as a condemnation rather than something he agrees with or believes in. Given that the 3rd Doctor spends much of his time bullying those in authority around him, I get more of the impression of a man who went to a gentleman's club and hated it, pissing off as soon as he was able. Certainly he seems less establishment to me than Hartnell in The War Machines.


    • Elton Townend-Jones
      September 9, 2021 @ 8:33 am

      The “Gentlemen” quote is a parody of Virginia Woolf’s quote (in response to Samuel Butler) about “wise gentlemen” never “talking about anything else” but women (see A Room of One’s Own).


  2. David
    July 25, 2011 @ 8:29 am

    Then again, it's not unknown for Pertwee to visibly not understand the emphasis on his lines. See his cheery "Well done, Brigadier!" when the Brig guns a Silurian down (without showing any regret at the loss of life), and "That's a typical Sontaran attitude!" in The Time Warrior, when the line is written as a condemnation but Pertwee delivers it as if he's surprised that Linx is displaying that attitude (and therefore surprised that the Sontaran is, um, a Sontaran).


  3. Gavin
    July 25, 2011 @ 10:01 am

    I agree that Pertwee's "Gentlemen never talk about anything else" line is not meant as a compliment. At the same time, it's suggestive of a man who knows exactly what he's talking about.

    Similarly, I completely agree that Pertwee mishandles the delivery of the the "Tubby Rowlands" bit and that it's meant to be an act. After all, the story is full of disguises and adopted identities. Further support, although not decisive: in the very next episode the Doctor calls Brownrose an "idiot." Not a pompous and annoying, but stupid – as one might describe someone one had fooled.

    At the same time, it's not quite bluster – it's based on the kind of knowledge of this social world and how it operates that suggests an insider. Specific knowledge, too, which differentiates it from classic Troughton, who overwhelms his interlocutors without knowing who the equivalents of Lord Rowlands are.

    Which makes sense, because this is how Holmes presents the Time Lords. Visually, there's the natty bowler-hatted figure at the opening. The conversation between him and the Doctor is redolent of exactly that sort of clubby atmosphere. The Master poses as that stereotyped perennial of the Daily Telegraph letters page, a retired army officer. (Is it in this story that the Doctor says "You might say that we were at school together"? If so, that's hitting the viewer over the head with it.)

    So I don't think it's that the Doctor spends his time on Earth consuming gin-and-tonics in the club. It's that Holmes's conception of where the Doctor comes from is already heading in the direction of its depiction in The Deadly Assassin. (Not as negative as that yet, but give the man time.)

    On another point, Jo Grant isn't as useless on paper as she comes across onscreen. On the page, this story's treatment of her character built around a progression from a first appearance as inept and the source of threat to the key moment in episode 4 in which she turns out to have valuable non-intellectual skills (specifically, escapology, but later stories would give her whatever the plot demanded, as long as it was a physical skill).

    It just doesn't come across that way, due to some combination of direction and Katy Manning's performance. And never would, even though Jo overall does quite a lot of superspy stuff. Because Manning has a remarkable ability to project wide-eyed innocence in all circumstances, even when karate-chopping a guard into unconsciousness.


  4. 7a1abfde-af0e-11e0-b72c-000bcdcb5194
    July 25, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

    Maybe Pertwee's Doctor is "visibly an aesthete," but the connection between being an aesthete and being a Tory is not obvious. (Oscar Wilde was an aesthete socialist anarchist.) And he's already been established as hostile to traditional authority and to military ways of doing things. (And I still think the interrogation scene in "Ambassadors" deserves a mention.) His aversion to bun vendors seems more a scientist's aversion to the incompetent laity than a Tory's aversion to the working class. I also agree with David that "gentlemen never talk about anything else" sounds like a criticism of gentlemen. So I'm having trouble seeing the Pertwee-as-Tory-toff.

    @Gavin: "conversation between him and the Doctor is redolent of exactly that sort of clubby atmosphere"

    Well, yes — but it has more the feel, to me, of member-chatting-with-EX-member.

    "the uproar over this story, which focused mostly on whether it was acceptable to make policemen scary"

    Policemen are scary already. ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Gnaeus
    July 25, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

    I think it's right to say that Gallifrey, even before it's named, is clearly a Vatican-meets-Oxford-College-meets-Tory-Party-meets-London-club-meets-public-school. They're Time Lords, for starters.

    But there is also something very much of the aristocrat in the Doctor to this point. Hartnell at the start has open contempt for his companions, warming to a paternalistic, professorial oversight redolent of the idea of social-betters-looking-after-their-inferiors. Even Troughton in his brazen peculiarity, is very much an (English) aristo. Someone wrote that the difference between the British aristocrat and the British middle class person is in their attitude to eccentricities – the middle classes diguise them, the aristos revel in them.

    And throughout the initial run of the programme the character does, basically, flip between these two positions – the revelling eccentric and the paternalistic, slightly disdainful patrician, occasionally combining both in surprising ways.

    And this brings me on to something else… I think your description of Pertwee here is a little one-sided. While the Labour movement by the '70s is very much the established counter to the Tories, the Liberals are very much still around as a party, and while Labour has its working-class routes it also has its own remnants of the Whigs. The Third Doctor could just as easily be a Fabianist Labour man, say, or a Liberal, as he could a Tory. Clubs aren't the exclusive home of the Right in Britain, remember – just look at the founding membership requirement for the Reform Club!

    Of course, Cornell misses this, too.

    "Except Pertwee just delivers the line like he means it – as if the Doctor really does hang about bridge clubs talking to the nobility and joshingly calling them things like Tubby Rolands."
    I just took it as Pertwee playing a rather better liar – or perhaps more critically, not overegging it in the sort of way that Troughton does.


  6. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 25, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

    Gavin – As I said, I think the line as Holmes wrote it is fine. It's another instance of Pertwee giving a questionable delivery. But more broadly, I think this gets at a subtler shift between Troughton and Pertwee. Pertwee's Doctor cares what authority figures think in a way Troughton's doesn't. Not in a way that involves changing what he does to suit them, but in a way that has an investment in proving them wrong and getting them to admit defeat. In a real sense, Pertwee's Doctor appears to seek their approval.

    Gnaeus – If under Pertwee the Doctor demonstrated anything that ran counter to his newly found aristocratic tendencies, that would be one thing. But we don't. We see him speak confidently about how gentlemen behave, but he doesn't offer any comparable understanding of how, say, someone managing a failing manufacturing company might behave. And it's not like Holmes isn't putting ordinary people in the story. He packs the story with them. It's just that Pertwee doesn't warm to them.

    7a1 – Discussion of Wilde will come in time. ๐Ÿ™‚


  7. Tom Watts
    July 25, 2011 @ 11:29 pm

    These analyses have contained great insights every time, so on the one hand thank you, but on the other hand… Oh, I don't know, I'm wondering if there are any US cultural commentators who trawl through Doctor Who to identify traces of "liberalism". Good criticism marred each time by paragraphs of sententious moralizing for the sort of people who can't distinguish Osama bin Laden and Michael Moore. This discussion of whether or not the Third Doctor is a "Tory" is unbelievably petty. It reminds me of those stories about schools in the Deep South which would remove books about Robin Hood for being "Marxist". As Gnaeus has said, they're Time Lords. The stories, which rather perversely I think (with reference to your review of Silurians) you take as part of a linked series where one story follows on from the next, are surely more like knots along a string: there's no way one can rationalise a world in which one alien invasion succeeds another while the passers-by breeze along unaffected, as you point out. The politics is obviously going to be as tangled and contradictory as the social and cultural forces which produce each particular show. But the politics of this blog, and your ninth paragraph here is as good an example as any, is almost defiantly unthinking. Lawrence Miles is a fabulous writer and critic, but you seem to be drawing on one of his silliest ideas, the idea that "Tory" represents everything that's stunted and bad, and that "Left" describes the carnival of everything aside from that. And if one reverses the terms, the silliness is obvious.


  8. Wm Keith
    July 26, 2011 @ 2:15 am

    I think we're worrying too much. Cornell's review was a product of 1980s Thatcher-hate. If there is one word which could be used to describe the Tories prior to 1975, it is "paternalistic". There's little doubt that the Third Doctor was paternalistic, and he certainly believed in working within the existing power structures rather than subverting them. He also believed in change where change was necessary. So, yes, the Third Doctor was a Burkean conservative.

    Politics in Doctor Who is rarely left-right; more often it is anarchist-conservative. And if Troughton is the most consistently anarchist of the Doctors, then Pertwee is the most consistently conservative.


  9. Wm Keith
    July 26, 2011 @ 2:49 am

    On a different tack, I watched "The War Games" fairly recently and it struck me very forcefully that Troughton's strident impersonation of the War Office prison examiner was almost an impersonation of the Third Doctor. (It can't have been, because Troughton can't have known how Pertwee was going to play the role, even if he'd been cast. But Pertwee could have seen it).


  10. Tom Watts
    July 26, 2011 @ 3:48 am

    Fair points. I'd see the Third as the most paternal, rather than the most paternalistic. Maybe the paternal is more the problem. Cornell uses the word "Tory" as a shouty teenager might use the word "Dad". Frontier in Space is a good example of the right balance being struck between working within and subverting established structures of power. I can't help thinking that the Pertwee era throws up these issues because the concepts behind the stories are so much more consistently interesting than they had been. I'm just allergic to Troughton and the Troughton era I suppose, but it's easy to be anarchistic in the absence of solid walls, metaphorically speaking. Day of the Daleks is another example of a well-established world with some serious concepts to test the character against. With the exception of Enemy of the World, Troughton never seemed to operate in a credible political environment, where the choices are rarely straight forward.


  11. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 26, 2011 @ 5:12 am

    Tom – in my defense, the Tory example isn't mine, and isn't one I'd reach for particularly. I just wasn't inclined to pass up Paul Cornell, critical darling of the Virgin, new series writer, and someone both Davies and Moffat have spoken of in awed tones, savaging a story to the extent he does Terror of the Autons. I mean, it's one of the most controversial Doctor Who reviews ever. And it's not completely off planet.

    I don't think Cornell is wrong as such, although Wm Keith is on target to remember to read the word "Tory" there through Thatcher, a figure with which the show has a straightforwardly antagonistic relationship (thanks largely to the McCoy era, but less directly to the entirety of John Nathan-Turner's tenure). There's a venom behind Cornell's use of the word that doesn't port entirely fairly to Pertwee. (Although let's not forget that Thatcher's rise begins here. We're, what, a year out from Thatcher the Milk Snatcher now?)

    But on the other hand, under the venom, his basic point it sound – Pertwee is more establishment and more conservative than any Doctor before him, and, equally important, than any Doctor since. For all that Cornell's phrasing is venomous and willfully inflammatory, he's got a point. I think it's very hard to convincingly say Cornell is wrong to find what he does in the Pertwee era. I think it's far more on target to concede the point and then move on to find more in the Pertwee era.


  12. Millennium Dome
    July 26, 2011 @ 5:24 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  13. Millennium Dome
    July 26, 2011 @ 5:25 am

    Lots of good things to agree with here, especially your praise for Nick C and Katy M, but I am going to agree with Tom Watts about Cornell's use of "Tory": as a young radical lefty, writing in 1993 when the Conservatives had been in power for 13/14 years… Cornell is clearly using "Tory" as a four-letter-word.

    As my other half reminded me last night, Heath's government of 1970-74 was much more Thatcherism part 1 except pro- rather than anti-Europe, until it all collapsed in the face of a miner's strike. He only became a paternalist, one-nation Tory as a reaction to his successor and as part of his twenty year sulk about being ousted.

    Oh, and the suggesting that tackling the power of the 1970's British Trades Unions was a policy that would only "help the rich get richer" is just plain wrong. If nothing else (and on topic, if completely trivially) we would have had a complete "Shada" if it wasn't for the crazy powers of the unions to shut down the entire BBC at a moment's notice over a demarcation dispute over who got to move a prop clock on a completely different show. (And that's without going into the contribution union pay demands made to the inflation that will shortly annihilate Graham Williams ability to make the show on a budget.)

    Anyway, you are quite right when you say that the tome is right off for the Doctor. For me, the ending where – the Master having just murdered at least a half-a-dozen people and quite possibly many more – the Doctor say's he's "Looking forward" to another encounter. He's anticipating with pleasure another bout of people being killed in the crossfire, eh. Nice.


  14. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 26, 2011 @ 5:45 am

    Well, and here I'll confess that as a pile of issues amasses, eventually I just have to put my finger on the scale as the one who's writing this and thus gets to be the absolute authority on the universe as long as we remain within this domain name. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Which is to say, yes, unions on both sides of the pond overreached badly and destructively in the 1970s. On the other hand, I wish to hell they hadn't had their backs broken over the course of the 70s and 80s, because we could really use a strong labor movement right now. I also think the BBC union issues are somewhat unique. Remember that almost everyone working at the BBC is making less money than they could elsewhere. The same bizarre divisions that meant in 1985 that Doctor Who's overseas success couldn't be taken into account at all when deciding whether to keep making it.

    I love the BBC, but the degree to which it is simultaneously a massive media corporation and a public service does allow for an abusive exploitation of labor whereby you're a poor public service institution when people ask for higher wages, but a massive media corporation when it comes to making as much money off of their labor as possible.

    Which still doesn't mean the unions were right in the 1970s, but it does mean that I'm not without sympathy for them.


  15. Tom Watts
    July 26, 2011 @ 6:31 am

    Anyway, you are quite right when you say that the tome is right off for the Doctor. … He's anticipating with pleasure another bout of people being killed in the crossfire, eh. Nice.

    Does it feel wrong, though? Or do we feel it ought to feel wrong? Or maybe the problem is we've all seen an excessive number of philosophically and politically serious dramas and we're wronging the programme by reading it against them? People dying in the DW universe is mostly not a huge deal. I'm looking forward to seeing what you reckon to the Doctor's strange prejudice against Ogrons and his apparent disregard for their natural worth! I think Philip and I are at variance in terms of the pleasures we get from the show – and for me it's a "show". It belongs in the same cultural space as a Tod Slaughter movie or a Tom and Jerry cartoon (which are in no way trash, and can be food for much thought, but it would be absurd to worry too much about the moral implications of the mutilations visited upon Tom – at least, I think it would). Your comparisons of TotA to a cartoon are entirely apposite here. If something feels off kilter, it's probably that we're not reading it right.

    I still don't concede that Pertwee is establishment. He's been confined to earth, and has made a shelter for himself within an establishment, but, and I don't mean to sound obtuse, this is the only time the limits of the character are explored with respect to the concept of an establishment. Say the Doctor works in MacDonalds. That doesn't mean he's MacDonalds – it's just an opportunity to see how he operates within a corporate environment. It's hugely interesting, and I wish the show had done more of it.

    I like it personally when the Doctor's unlikeable. Not unlikeable in an awsome and remote way, as in Pyramids of Mars, but plain unlikeable, as in The Daleks or, maybe, here or in the Daemons. To be honest, and I don't know what others think, I wouldn't want to travel with any incarnation of the Doctor. I don't like him. I love the show, I love watching it, but the prospect of being inside it would be seriously unappealing. And that shouldn't be surprising. Who'd want to run away with someone else's Dad? It seems unnatural.


  16. Gnaeus
    July 26, 2011 @ 8:44 am

    "I also think the BBC union issues are somewhat unique."
    I'm afraid you're wrong. Just consider that the National Graphical Association had a monopoly on the computer keyboard. There are a few old journos I know who told me that if they even went down onto the print floor and so much as touched some of the equipment in there, the entire printing room would strike, if not the whole of Fleet Street's presses. So no, it wasn't just the Beeb.

    But the more important point is that you've misread class and political alignment in Britain. Yes, the Labour movement is, in theory, the movement of the working man. But look at some of the post-war Labour leaders: Clement Attlee, an Oxford man and barrister, who went to a boarding (independent) prep school; Gaitskell, who went to Winchester and Oxford, and became a lecturer; Wislon, another Oxford man and a lecturer… Blair, who went to Fettes.

    All right, no major members of the aristocracy and far more working class men in the senior posts than in the other parties, but this is no party made up purely of the working man. But a fair number of men in the top ranks of the Labour party who were well within eligibility for the London clubs. And this before we get on to the existence of Labour and Liberal hereditary peers…

    I think the key thing here is that, perhaps unlike in other countries, the British left-wing did not derive from an upsurge of popular revolt, but rather evolved out of the super-wealthy Whigs.

    The point is: paternalism and a disdain for common folk is not the exclusive preserve of the Tory party. Cornell's point on this is hyperbolic sixth-form cant.


  17. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 26, 2011 @ 11:27 am

    Gnaeus – Of course. Likewise, American liberalism was dominated by the Kennedy family for decades. And of course Cornell is being hyperbolic. But he's not disengaged with reality either.


  18. Wm Keith
    July 28, 2011 @ 12:30 am

    Americans, other aliens, and indeed my fellow Britons may find the following link of interest. It describes itself as a "political glossary". The writer (who is not me!) states his biases in the first paragraph.


  19. tantalus1970
    January 23, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    Regarding the overuse of CSO, although it looks silly today, remember that in 1971, not only were the vast majority of the audience watching in black and white (for the previous season, it was over 90%), but many of them would also have been watching poor-quality TVs and with poor reception (people forget now what a hassle it was to tune TVs properly; even now, I live in East London and the reception here is terrible). CSO wouldn't have been as jarring back then.


  20. GarrettCRW
    March 6, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

    Chiding Doctor Who for "excessive" use of CSO/chroma key effects is terribly silly, IMO. It was one of the very few techniques that anyone shooting on video in the '70s could use. Frankly, Cornell would have hated the work of Sid and Marty Krofft here in the US, because they used it even more than Doctor Who in the '70s (and they simply could not have made Land of the Lost without it).


  21. Henry R. Kujawa
    August 11, 2012 @ 7:45 am

    Philip Sandifer:
    "It's astonishing how many Robert Holmes scripts make sense if you hypothesize them as deliberate insults."

    Fascinating comment.

    "This is a brilliant turn – take the character Terrance Dicks designed to be a useless bimbo and make her into yet another subversion of the entire structure of the show."

    I admit, I didn't like her at first… she finally grew on me by "DAY OF THE DALEKS". But in retrospect, as I got to like her so much later, re-watching her early stories, I enjoy her more than I did originally. And she really gets some great scenes in the next one.

    This is probably a good place to note the differences between The Doctor's first meeting with Liz, Jo & Sarah. Liz & he hit it off right away, got to be good friends. Sarah HE took to immediately, perhaps seeing her deviousness & pluck as a mirror of himself. With Jo, it was "I'm your new assistant." "OH NO!" I know how he felt. But she really was so nice, she grew on him– and me.

    On the other hand, I once ran this story for a friend who had never seen the show (partly because HE reminded me a bit of Roger Delgado!!). His main comment was how "Of course their sexism is showing, the woman is kidnapped, hypnotized, trips when she's running…"

    "Barry Letts, as director, is working at cross purposes with Holmes as a writer. Letts wants the Master to be all sneering menace. Holmes wants the Master to be hilarious."

    Not sure I ever noticed that, though I've seen this many times since taping it in the 80's. (Though I haven't seen it in color since the eartly 70's. Honest, Philly's PBS station did not get these– the independant UHF channel 17 did.)

    "The fact that he manages to give the strong impression that Yates is gay approximately once every three lines does nothing to improve matters."

    This is strange, as I never noticed that at all.

    "You can imagine Troughton delivering the line, visibly pausing to try to remember the name he wants to throw around, changing his demeanor slightly to stress the fakery of it, etc. Except Pertwee just delivers the line like he means it – as if the Doctor really does hang about bridge clubs talking to the nobility and joshingly calling them things like Tubby Rolands."

    Another excellent observation. Pertwee's delivery was so convincing, it did seem to fly in the face of WHO his character was supposed to be. I tend to put much of this down to the Time Lords having tried to mold him more into their own image.

    "And in episode four, he finally hits his stride for the first time when he gets his first big face to face meeting with the Doctor. And he nails it."

    This I DID notice! Maybe the best scene in the whole story, the one you feel you've been waiting for the whole time.


  22. Henry R. Kujawa
    August 11, 2012 @ 7:46 am

    "It's not entirely clear that this is a healthy position for the series to be in. It's suddenly flipped to where the major engine of interest and excitement in the show is the villain, while the Doctor is, absent the villain, kind of a pompous bore. The villain makes everything a lush, thrilling carnival of scares. The hero plays bridge with rich people and yells at the tea lady. It works. It's even very very good. But as Doctor Who, it seems to be stretching the concept to its breaking point."

    As I said earlier, after "THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD", Jon Pertwee was not my idea of a charismatic leading mad. Too egotistical to be likable. Fortunately The Brig was there to pick up the slack. But when The Master arrived… well… HE was more likable than the "hero"! Suave, cool, sophisticated, intelligent, well-spoken… so why the HELL is he KILLING all those people????? It's sick, that's what it is– sick.

    I was so impressed by Roger Delgado that back in 1975 I wound up basing one of my own characters on him. (Although he didn't travel thru time, he was the hero in my stories.)

    "Because Manning has a remarkable ability to project wide-eyed innocence in all circumstances, even when karate-chopping a guard into unconsciousness."

    Hmm. That reminds me of "Melody Valentine" (Tara Reid) in the movie "JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS". (another character I adore.)

    Wm Keith:
    "On a different tack, I watched "The War Games" fairly recently and it struck me very forcefully that Troughton's strident impersonation of the War Office prison examiner was almost an impersonation of the Third Doctor. (It can't have been, because Troughton can't have known how Pertwee was going to play the role, even if he'd been cast. But Pertwee could have seen it)."

    Seeing as "THE WAR MACHINES" feels like a prototype for the UNIT era, I often wonder how The Doctor ever did get acquainted with that government type he spent most of the story dealing with? They almost seemed old friends.


  23. Josiah Rowe
    February 10, 2013 @ 6:53 pm

    Small point, as I'm going through these entries somewhat belatedly: I believe that the not-TARDIS-blue colour which the 1970s production team used most often was yellow, not green. Green would probably have been a better choice, as yellow was prone to more visible "fringing".


  24. David Ainsworth
    March 4, 2013 @ 5:30 am

    Also late to the party here: I'm finding myself generating redemptive readings after going through your criticisms, so I'm not necessarily offering these alternatives with full conviction. But I wonder if the Third Doctor's odd relationship to authority figures doesn't follow directly from the conditions of his regeneration and exile? His people executed him and then trapped him on Earth. However much he likes human beings, he hates being unable to travel. This Doctor's tinkering with motorcars and his love of driving/flying could be seen as a displacement of his desire to hop in the TARDIS and be off.

    And his mingled obsequiousness toward and contempt for authority figures could be seen as a natural projection of his feelings toward the Time Lords responsible for his exile. He doesn't really need the Brigadier, but the Brigadier represents some form of the Time Lord authority structure which he does require in the sense that only they can lift his exile. His increasing desperation to fix his TARDIS without Time Lord support implies that he sees the situation as an undesirable one.

    On the other hand, he genuinely likes human beings. Three seems pretty emotionally distant, though, expressing himself through action but often insulting those he feels close to in an attempt to deny those feelings. Jo offers a rare reversal of this trait. Part of the problem is Pertwee's own skill at covering: one senses this emotional stiltedness is intrinsic to Pertwee and he thus covers so well that it doesn't read on-screen as acting.

    His express admiration for the Master at the end of this story could be read as an ability to express emotional warmth only when its subject isn't in the room. More on that when I get to The Green Death.


  25. Nicholas Tosoni
    August 2, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

    @Millennium Dome:

    Apparently the line was softened in the final cut. The Doctor was supposed to say at the end, "Until I destroy him, or he destroys me!"

    As delivered, though, I read it more as "he enjoys the battle of wits."


  26. Chris
    September 20, 2013 @ 1:27 am

    Personally speaking, I think the Doctor is an acquaintance of Lord Rolands and, being the most clubbable incarnation we have to date, probably spends all his time downing wine in congenial clubs in central London and the West End. I doubt if he spends every spare moment working on the TARDIS. Also, the Time Lord is a nod to the corrupt effete spymasters in 60's spy silms like THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM and THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, sending the Doctor to do their dirty work while refusing to sully their own lillywhite hands.


  27. Chris
    September 20, 2013 @ 1:34 am

    With the Master, there is the chilling prospect that blood is thicker than water and the third Doctor feels a kinship to him he doesn't normally with humans. This is the first time since Susan its been tested.


  28. JJ Glamma
    October 22, 2013 @ 11:19 pm

    To be pedantic, the first ODI match was not played between Australia and the UK, but between Australia and England.

    As is the case in many sports, UK cricketers play for their constituent countries, rather than for the UK as a whole. So Scots play for Scotland; residents of both Northern Ireland and the Republic play for Ireland, and English and Welsh play for England.

    This is complicated somewhat by the English team being of Test Status (ie top-tier) and the others not; leading – when combined with ease of migration within the British Isles – to the case of Scottish and Irish players regularly playing for the English team. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom does not field a unified cricket team.


  29. Andrew Stevens
    November 5, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

    Paul Cornell was a very young man in 1993, intoxicated by his own voice and taking an idea he had and, rather obviously, pushing it much, much too far. A little later, he wrote (on radw ca. 1996, I believe) that he would, given the chance, burn the entire Pertwee era. However, nobody seems to have pointed out that Paul Cornell, in his 40s rather than in his 20s, wrote this, in which he refers to the Pertwee era as "this wonderful period in the show’s history," and quite right too.


  30. Andrew Stevens
    November 7, 2013 @ 8:30 am

    Ah, pinned down when Paul Cornell announced that he had changed his mind on Pertwee.

    He wrote a post on radw in 2003 where he announced "I love the Pertwee era."


  31. Chris
    February 6, 2021 @ 7:48 pm

    Pertwee played down his contribution to the war in his book as a kind of Spike Milligan at sea- but recent research has shown he had a more impressive record than that. He was alligned to Intelligence – and probably had a better right to play the Doctor as a Bondian figure than anyone else. This probably explains several of his character choices for playing the Doctor. I may be fancifully imagining this, but a character like James Bond being able to attract women in plentiful numbers is no great stretch of the imagination if playing the Alpha Male was part of his training as much as any other element of spycraft. It is entirely possible Pertwee received a similar training, or access to it, as we see a Doctor often self-consciously behaving as the PUA’s dictate an Alpha Male should – dressing well, leader of men, economy of gesture, risk-taking. Jo – the adoring dolly bird- can be seen as part of it since it indicates he is preselected by other women in a way that he wasn’t with Liz. Young girls before Jo were very definetely Susan-substitutes or there was a virile male like Steven, Ben and Jamie around – hence the marginalisation of Mike Yates who may have originally being intended as a Jamie substitute. Letts tended to indulge Pertwee, often to the shows’ detriment towards the end, so I assume he was merely following orders from his star.


  32. Elton Townend-Jones
    September 9, 2021 @ 8:44 am

    The “Gentlemen” quote is a parody of Virginia Woolf’s quote (in response to Samuel Butler) about “wise gentlemen” never “talking about anything else” but women (see A Room of One’s Own).


  33. Elton Townend-Jones
    September 9, 2021 @ 8:52 am

    Whatever our interpretation of the overall tone of the third Doctor (who, like all his other incarnations is probably disgraced royalty – cf. the Capaldi years – and like all of the first three Doctors is ENTIRELY paternal), his encounter with Brownrose is simply the Doctor taking the piss, using knowledge to shut down an annoying a-hole. It always struck me as a thoroughly Doctor-ish moment and not for once have I ever genuinely believed he hangs about in Gentleman’s Clubs. Nor is there any on-screen evidence to prove this. Its actually a wonderful moment. Brownrose is a dreadful and insulting arrogant, privileged jerk who deserves the dressing down. And, hey, it works.


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