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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.

8 Comments

  1. KalEl el Vigilante
    July 19, 2011 @ 4:07 am

    Congratulations for your work. I'm writing an essay about Doctor Who and mythology and your article have sparked some interesting thoughts that, of course, will receive due credit 😉

    Reply

  2. John Toon
    August 21, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

    Could the apparent resemblance between the Doctor and the Abbot actually be meant non-literally, as a way for the production team (specifically John Wiles, if you want to tie this in with your view of his producership as expressed in your Ark analysis) to suggest that the liberal gad-about Doctor is as responsible for the atrocities of history as the actual perpetrators?

    I don't honestly have a follow-up to that, it just occurred to me. Loving your blog though!

    Reply

  3. Flu-baby
    September 26, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

    Love your blog made me start watching all the episodes of classic doctor who. So thank you. I unfortunately was bored to tears by this episode

    Reply

  4. ventricle
    December 14, 2011 @ 11:19 am

    Fascinating blog, thanks for this. Plenty of food for thought, here. Like you, I've always been frustrated by the last episode of The Massacre – seems like the story's going great, and then the Doctor leaves Anne to a horrible death, Dodo barges in and the whole thing falls apart. I think every fan has the same thought at this point: "why couldn't he have taken Anne with him instead?"

    That said, I've been thinking about this, and there is another way to read the situation. After all, the Doctor has been in this exact same position before – at the end of The Myth Makers. There he found himself in a historical tight spot with a massacre going on around him, and the opportunity to save one girl – Katarina. And so he saved her. But he didn't, because four episodes later, she's suffered (arguably) an even worse death than she would have had at the hands of the Greeks – sucked into the vacuum of space.

    That is really the start of this series of defeats that the Doctor has suffered – Katarina, Bret, Sara – every time the Doctor has taken a positive step to interfere with the flow of history, he has lost someone. This could be why he insists during his monologue at the end of The Massacre, in the face of all evidence that he has made the right decision. He thought he had done the right thing in Troy, but he was proved utterly wrong. This time, he leaves Anne in Paris, assuming that whatever happens, it cannot be any worse than the alternative.

    Then when Dodo turns up, he feels vindicated. After so many wrong turns, so many defeats, perhaps this is the final victory for the Doctor. He has left hubris behind and accepted the flow of history and that is what restores the status quo.

    Admittedly, he does this on pretty thin evidence. We have no reason to assume that Dodo and Anne are even related. Perhaps what the production team are really asking us here is to take a leap of faith. It is certainly the only way I can think of that resolves the last 20 episodes.

    Anyway, I've very much enjoyed this little bit of speculation. Thanks again,

    Barry Williams

    Reply

  5. neroden@gmail
    December 14, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

    " But in the end, that begs the question of why they took the show down that road in the first place if they didn't have anything to say or do afterwards other than shrug their shoulders and walk away from it."

    The straightforward answer: Because John Wiles didn't like the show. He's said as much. He was very pleased to get a different job. 🙁

    Donald Tosh was more attached to the show, so his decisions require more explanation, though.

    Reply

  6. arse bandit
    February 15, 2014 @ 1:15 am

    After this, it's impossible to think of Hartnell's Doctor as anything but a concerted acting performance.

    Of course its a concerted acting performance. Just listen to the recently discovered interview with Hartnell backstage at the pantomime and he sounds nothing like the Doctor – more like brusque Sgt-Major Bill from his numerous Britush service films. He would have been a natural support actor for the British New wave of the early 60's. Its a shame that (recent rumours notwithstanding) we may never see his performance as the Abbott as it's one of his few classical, costume roles in bhis long career.

    Reply

  7. John Binns
    March 21, 2014 @ 5:39 am

    Is it a coincidence that the entrance of Dodo at the end of Bell of Doom bears a resemblance to the opening of Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks? It is quite a weird reboot: with no companions from 'our' contemporary Earth, there's no in-story reason for the TARDIS to go back there. The only other example I can think of is The Feast of Steven, which is really more like the TARDIS landing in the viewers' television set.

    Reply

  8. Chris
    February 6, 2021 @ 7:55 pm

    The fact that Steven sired Dodo’s ancestors makes me a bit queasy – fortunately there’s no question of a romance between them, and he seems almost paternal to her at times. It’s true that the whole tenor of the show lightens once Dodo is accepted abroard and it’s like the pall over the preceding serials is lifted.
    Acting-wise, this serial fires on all cylinders. One can only regret Andre Morell never gotto play a major villain opposite a Doctor.

    Reply

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