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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. Tom Watts
    February 29, 2012 @ 12:48 am

    The reason it came last was "that snake". I don't think there was any other reason, and children are like that I guess – hairtrigger critics, especially when substandard effects have to be justified in the playground. One duff model and the whole story is dogmeat. But JNT and the team did commission Snakedance (the equal of Kinda IMO) and another story from the writer of Warrior's Gate and Enlightenment. And Frontios. If the policy for the show is also represented by those stories, that's not too bad. I don't believe that supposed remark by JNT that art should soothe. Or if I do, I remember Brian Ferneyhough saying that he wanted his compositions to be like a comfortable armchair. I mean, comfortable for what manner of Cronenbergian nightmare?!

    Also, a shout out to John in The Sensorites, the only (am I right?) adult and sensitive portrayal of mental illness in DW, and a performance a quiet match for that of Simon Rouse.


  2. John Callaghan
    February 29, 2012 @ 12:57 am

    I don't know how familiar you are with OMD, but they're hugely Kraftwerk-influenced and veer strangely between cheery synth pop and peculiar soundscapes. Dazzle Ships and Architecture & Morality are the two to begin with, in my opinion.

    In DWM, it was suggested that it's appropriate that the Mara manifests itself as a rubber snake with painted fangs because it's an incarnation of false fears. I think this is quite a neat idea, especially if it had been taken further. "It's just a rubber snake!" says Tegan, and thus completes the character-based aspect of the finale as everyone simply laughs the Mara out of existence rather than treating it as a menace.


  3. Lee Mansfield
    February 29, 2012 @ 1:05 am

    Phil, you talk a wise and good talk about appreciating multiple overlapping codes of meaning opposed to monomyth etc and then you go and get all hardline fundamentalist on any appreciation for the wonderful CGI snake of the DVD. By your own measure surely both versions are valid and can be appreciated? I was a teenager at the time of Kinda and loved the story but was absolutely embarrassed by that plastic snake. As a fan it really was something others would hold up as a reason to ridicule the show and it was hard to defend. So seeing the lovely new CGI snake all these years later is actually quite a profound healing process for many of us who were there at the time. A kind of CGI psychotherapy!


  4. elvwood
    February 29, 2012 @ 1:57 am

    Great analysis. Kinda is one of my top four Davison stories (possibly top three but I'm leaving a slot open for Frontios, which I haven't seen but have hopes for), whereas Time-Flight is in my bottom three; so I share your pain regarding the whims of fandom. But that's not what I want to talk about right now. Let's look at snakes.

    First, given your reaction to one piece of CGI (which is optional – the default is to watch the original sock puppet) I shall be interested to see what you have to say about "special editions" when we get to Enlightenment. Though I can guess, to an extent. I don't remember you commenting on the CGI spaceship in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, so either your opinion has changed or this is a bigger deal somehow. Which is odd, when you go on to say that it's the wrong ending anyway.

    I'm led to focus on your statement, "To treat Kinda as something other than the transmitted version is simply inaccurate." To which I respond, sure – if you're doing something like the TARDIS Eruditorum. If you just want to sit down and enjoy a story, then anything that makes that story more enjoyable is valid. I would be gutted if the "love conquers all" version of Brazil was the only one that existed, just because it was transmitted first.

    If there were only to be one version I'd say it really should be the original. But that's not the case here, and I see no harm in having the option to cover up one particular mood-spoiling failure.


  5. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 29, 2012 @ 4:06 am

    It's more a puzzlement over why you'd bother making a CGI snake. I mean, sure, once the thing exists I can understand watching it, but the basic idea of making it is just bewildering to me. Especially when the budget doesn't stretch enough to do a full and proper recoloring of Invasion of the Dinosaurs 1 and when there are still missing episodes to animate. Especially because the CGI snake still looks odd – it's visibly not a 1982 effect, which is just as mood-breaking as a crappy 1982 effect.

    As for The Dalek Invasion of Earth, I was unaware they added a CGI spaceship. That is also very silly of them.


  6. Alex Wilcock
    February 29, 2012 @ 4:14 am

    I was ten when Kinda was first broadcast, and I remember vividly why I voted to put it bottom in that season poll – though today it would be one of several that might be my favourite from that season (it’s easier just to pick The Tides of Time above the lot of them). It wasn’t just the snake, though that put the tin hat on it and was one of only three Doctor Who effects I remember everyone scorning the next day at school, and by far the most despised (the others being the Myrka and a kitling. I strongly defended Survival, at least…). I’d also found the story very unengaging up until that point, at least for the most part (and its leading role in The Unfolding Text appeared to confirm my prejudices), so I was ready to react to something turning up on screen that invited lashing out – and I suspect that was shared by a lot of kids at the time. So you’re right that changing the snake probably wouldn’t save it with pre-pubescent viewers; even so, if a young Davison fan asked to watch it without having been forewarned, it’s probably the only Who DVD I’d automatically switch to the CGI version, because if a single effect apparently took so many people out of appreciating a story, why treat it like spinach they have to swallow? Besides, surely most fans have always treated Doctor Who as “something other than the transmitted version”, however “inaccurate”; I’m not the only one who grew up seeing the books as more vital than the TV series, at least for many stories (and if all you talked about on your blog was exactly what was on screen, that’d be 90% of your entries gone).

    Having said that, even Terrance Dicks’ novel was peculiarly poor – for me, it’s probably his weakest, and gives the impression he hadn’t engaged with it at all, either. It was only when the story was repeated a year or so later and a woman at our local church enthused about it that, after first asking really?, that I started to give it another chance. And, yes, after that and starting to think about it, I’d agree with your suggestion that it’s a hybrid rather than a steamroller, and the more interesting for that. Perhaps it also helped that within a couple of years I was into my teens and the Dark Places of the Inside suddenly seemed gripping and stylish, and well-suited to adolescent existential crises as well as being a sudden leap into pop video-land. I still feel embarrassed about that vote, but I can still understand it.

    Good analysis of the use of the TARDIS crew as characters, rather than merely plot functions, and it’s remarkable to compare them to the superficial notes used in the previous story; I can’t resist the obvious, though, and point out that in a character-based drama, Nyssa has to be completely absent.

    I’m with Tom Watts, though. Season 20 was at least as much like Kinda as it was like Earthshock, though Season 21 charged very much in a Sawardian direction and Colin’s first season more so; at least for a while, it seemed to me that the better Davison stories had found one of two clear directions, either ‘arthouse’ or ‘macho’ (before finally uniting both in Caves).


  7. Alex Wilcock
    February 29, 2012 @ 4:14 am

    But back to the snake, and while I agree with you about the ending, for me the problems with the story – though I’d still rate it very highly – come in earlier than that. The first half is much more successful than the second: perhaps the existential crises still appeal; perhaps the director becomes more at odds with the script; perhaps I like the second half’s ideas less. As a result, it’s a relatively unusual story that I feel works much better watched in one go than episodically, which leaves more of an impression of the better whole than the sharp decline. And while analysis ever since That Book has centred on the religious mixes, I’ve read some Ursula Le Guin, too, and while Doctor Who’s always borrowed cheerfully from everything in sight, it’s more effective when it translates its theft into something different rather than just nicking much of The Word for World is Forest for a similar setting but doing it considerably less well.

    I compare the two in some depth in my own detailed Kinda review, so I won’t go into it all on here (though the villain of the novel being “Captain Davidson” becomes funny in retrospect), but the really striking difference is that the “primitives” are genuinely sophisticated in one, but we’re only told they are in the other, acting like sheep and told off whenever they display any kind of individual thought. Are they called “Kinda” because they’re kept as children? It seems to talk down to the audience and sneer at enquiry, which really doesn’t appeal to me as a philosophy (and, ironically, appears to fall into exactly the same preaching that Ms Le Guin warns against in the Introductions to her book).

    Oh, and surely Richard Todd, while certainly star casting, is the very reverse of “stunt casting” – who else but the star of one of the Sanders of the River films would be better placed to subvert them? Many viewers would have appreciated the semiotic thickness of that very active performance code.


  8. Exploding Eye
    February 29, 2012 @ 4:38 am

    The retroactive CGI-ifying of historical products is one of my pet hates. The worst offender for me is Red Dwarf… the original Red Dwarf was one of the most impressive pieces of model work in British sci-fi history, and looks solid, real and large. The arrogant assertion that CGI is new and therefore better really grates, especially when you end with an obviously computer-generated Red Dwarf. (I have similar complaints about them replacing the mournful and perfectly-judged opening theme of the mournful and perfectly-judged first series with the standard-issue "this is going to be a romp" rock version. It'd be like going back and replacing the original Doctor Who arrangement – historical complaints aside, it wouldn't fit with the mood of the show).

    And I agree, it looks wrong context-wise. These are historical documents; like the 1997 version of Star Wars, the modern effects jarring against the 1977 filming techniques and model work pull you out of the moment… moreso 15 years later when the digital effects have dated more than those in the original movie.


  9. Exploding Eye
    February 29, 2012 @ 4:44 am

    I totally agree about Kinda's popularity – though I was too young to appreciate the snake being particularly bad, I did simply find the story boring. I didn't get the psychological insights, so for me not very much happened. No laser guns, no spaceships, no aliens, the plot was no kind of romp, and I didn't really follow the story. Worst of all – because I enjoyed Logopolis and Castrovalva just fine (and was a fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey from a very young age) – it didn't take me anywhere mysterious, it didn't bend my mind, I didn't go on a journey. It seemed stuck in two or three quite claustrophobic locations, with a bunch of people talking. The dream sequences were quite evocative but otherwise, yawn.

    Now, of course, I think it's one of the compelling greats. I just don't think it's children's TV.


  10. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 29, 2012 @ 4:49 am

    Was the bulk of the poll-voting audience children, though? I mean, if so I suppose that does explain it, but I'd have assumed the audience who was buying a monthly magazine and sending back a poll vote would mostly have skewed a bit older – that we'd be talking more about the teenaged Doctor Who fan here than the childhood one.


  11. Lee Mansfield
    February 29, 2012 @ 5:23 am

    I enjoy Phil's notion of the meta-fictional semi-sentient phenomenon for Doctor Who which is why I am surprised at this rather reactionary attitude to CGI enhancements. Surely this is an example of the series reaching forward through time and building improvements to itself as technology and budget becomes available for us weary travellers stuck on the slow path. Is there ever a point where one can absolutely stamp THE END on a piece of work?
    Surely KInda is allowed to continue to evolve as a visual work over time? Why treat it (or any text) as stuck in amber in 1982 and untouchable? Certainly the CGI on Daleks Invasion Of Earth, Kinda, Invasion Of Time and a few others has been tastefully rendered and for my part adds to the overall aesthetic and enjoyment. Some CGI isn't as well executed (Time Warrior?) but generally I think most cases are positive improvements.


  12. Wm Keith
    February 29, 2012 @ 5:25 am

    As a result of censorship and time-slot cuts, multiple revisions of Doctor Who stories have been, and still are, transmitted.

    There's even an am-dram remake of "Mission to the Unknown" on youtube, the watching of which is a quite indescribable pleasure.

    The addition of CGI animation (or re-dubbing Dalek voices on "Day") does imply that there is something inferior about the original.

    How much would we object if the default option for the DVD of "The Celestial Toymaker" changed the lyrics to That Rhyme? What if the magic of CGI was used to replace Michael Gough's mandarin costume with a Santa Claus outfit?


  13. The Lord of Ábrocen Landmearca
    February 29, 2012 @ 6:12 am

    I don't nominally dislike CGI touchups in older works, I think it comes down to how subtle they are about it. The first time I saw the CGI in red dwarf resulted in lots of angry words – also, changing that cool, stately opening into something up-temp and hip just defeated the whole damn joke, you idiots! IDIOTS I SAY!


  14. Exploding Eye
    February 29, 2012 @ 6:15 am

    I think dubbing out offensive language is a different matter. There's nothing inherently offensive about seeing a mandarin costume, though, so replacing it would be silly, and I doubt the BBC would have access to the resources to make it work in a way that wasn't completely distracting throughout.


  15. Adam Riggio
    February 29, 2012 @ 6:17 am

    On the matter of who those mysterious fans were who liked Time Flight more than Kinda (Part One). I have a theory about this, which is linked to an admission. One of them was me.

    With some caveats, of course.

    Background: I'm a year younger than Phil, but came to Doctor Who in 1988 when I was five. Growing up in Canada, when the youth programming channel YTV was first launched around then, they bought a lot of their content from the UK, and foremost was Doctor Who. So I saw Sylvester McCoy's seasons less than a year after their UK broadcast (though I had no idea at the time what the UK broadcast situation was; I only know this was British and awesome). YTV also bought the entire Doctor Who back catalogue, so I could see all the episodes as they survived in the late 1980s.

    But my viewing habits were utterly unsophisticated. My favourite Master was Antony Ainley’s precisely because of his grinning supervillain OTT performance. I loved stories when Daleks appeared simply because I reacted to them like this: “Whoa!!! Daleks!!!” The same goes for Cybermen. Similarly to my Star Trek obsession at the time, I was obsessed with details of continuity, trying to figure out how which stories matched up with what I knew of Earth’s history and tried to reconcile them into one consistent whole.

    I hated the black and white stories because I didn’t think black and white stories were worth watching. Besides, I couldn’t figure out why the stories seemed so disconnected from each other. I hated a lot of the Davison era because he didn’t have the flash of Pertwee or Tom Baker, or the emotional connection I had made with McCoy. Because of that, I didn’t even see Caves of Androzani until I bought the dvd in 2004, probably having thought, “Oh, Blandy,” and changed the channel. My favourite story was The Greatest Show in the Galaxy because there were evil clowns in it.

    In other words, I watched the show like I was Ian Levine more than a decade before I knew who that parasite was. (Music sting, closing credits)


  16. Adam Riggio
    February 29, 2012 @ 6:23 am

    Part Two.

    A year or so after YTV stopped running Doctor Who, I was 12, and I saw a Doctor Who novel in a bookstore. It had a bright pink cover with a manic McCoy jousting at me with his umbrella, and I was ecstatic. My mom bought it for me. It was Sky Pirates. I read the whole thing, but the story was too slow, I couldn’t follow any of the subtleties, I didn’t know who any of the companions were, and I never bought another Doctor Who novel again, thinking it had all gone wrong.

    When I was 13, I got the internet. And I found real knowledge about Doctor Who online throughout my teenage years. Shaun Sullivan’s Doctor Who Reference Guide was a key resource for me, because I could read summaries of all the Doctor Who stories ever. I could now gain the knowledge to become a sophisticated viewer. I learned for the first time that there were missing episodes, and about the production details of the show. I was still a continuity junkie, but reading reviews of New Adventures novels at Outpost Gallifrey from age 17 onward made me realize was a bad attitude to the show (and to creativity in general) to take. My biggest regret as an adult Doctor Who fan is that I never gave the New Adventures a chance when they were in print and I could acquire them fairly easily.

    When I first started watching Doctor Who, all I had were the images on the screen. So it was the images alone that hooked and excited me. I didn’t even know how superficial my knowledge was, because no one else of my age group in my city knew anything more than me. My understanding of Doctor Who couldn’t become sophisticated until I knew anything about its history. Until I read about Caves of Androzani, I didn’t even know it was worth watching.

    The Logopolis entry described exactly this phenomenon: a show that exists for its viewers only as superficial images will ignore the sources of its genuine substance. Even facts about continuity and in-show history become superficial when they don’t have deeper meaning than the simple propositional truth value of a statement like “Skaro is the Dalek homeworld.” That’s what made the 1996 movie so bad, though I couldn’t articulate it this way at the time: it was superficial imagery and continuity with no deeper organizing purpose.

    The 21st century series is so good because the current producers have comprehensive knowledge of the show’s past, the ability to create striking images, and deep thematic understanding. That’s what you need to create great art and great life.


  17. Stephen
    February 29, 2012 @ 6:40 am

    On the reasoning behind the CGI snake, what they have or haven't done on other releases is largely irrelevant. Each release has a budget, and that budget can't be transferred to other releases. If it's affordable to replace some notoriously poor effects with some decent CGI, then it's a perfectly understandable decision to make – it will improve the viewing experience for those who really don't like the effect in question. As long as you aren't cutting some better extras from the disc as a result, why wouldn't you use up the budget in that way.


  18. Adam Riggio
    February 29, 2012 @ 6:42 am


    When I was 5-13, I may have been a superficial television viewer compared to myself at 29, but that's no indication that the only viewers JNT was paying attention to literally were children. I was reading Kurt Vonnegut when I was 12 years old and loving it (not getting all the subtle aspects of it, but still loving it when everyone around me was into young adult novels about monsters [boys] and horses [girls]).

    Superficial viewing habits could exist among people of any age. The only prerequisite is that they lack the sufficient depth of knowledge to understand the multiple meanings and thematic interplays of a television show, its production, and its history. Many of the adult Doctor Who fans of the early 1980s, at the time, had little knowledge of the history of the show aside from hazy memories. And there were no online communities that could quickly update people on the knowledge they lacked. For those who knew the history (like Ian Levine), the superficial aspects mattered more than the thematic.

    This is just a common attitude among sci-fi fans, unfortunately. It was the training in multiple genres and sophisticated storytelling skills that developed among Davies and Moffatt's generation at the BBC which let them create the deep and complex Doctor Who we (and the world) love today.


  19. Tom Watts
    February 29, 2012 @ 6:49 am

    I'm feeling a bit sorry for The Visitation already!

    Superficial appreciation can be deeper than one realises of course. I mean, in Confessions of a Mask the young Mishima feels a superficial appreciation of a painting of a martyred saint, but it either scars his mind permanently or acts as a foreshadowing. Say one has a profound interest in rubber – no surprise then if as a child one had poured over photographs of Voord.


  20. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 29, 2012 @ 7:01 am

    Exploding Eye captures the crux of my issue here – the resulting CGI-enhanced Kinda looks neither like a 1982 production nor like a modern production. The snake is still jarring. It's just jarring in a "Oh, they CGIed a new snake in" way instead of a "well that's a rubbish snake" way. The result is pointless – you've not fixed the original, nor have you made a credible or coherent new version. I feel similarly about The Celestial Toymaker in Wm's thought experiment – the result would be less offensive than The Celestial Toymaker, but would not undo the original. (And the archivist in me would be mortified by replacing the original, just as I'm mortified that no version of Fantasia with Sunflower exists.)

    Mind you, if you wanted to go whole hog and do, for the 50th anniversary, a quick set of five or six classic series scripts remade with modern filming techniques and directing and a light rewrite to suit the current cast? That would be positively delightful. It's the idea of repairing the original that bothers me, particularly when the repair is so visibly not the original.


  21. Wm Keith
    February 29, 2012 @ 7:22 am

    It would seem only fitting, given Winston Smith's day job, to re-release the Peter Cushing TV play of "1984" with CGI rats.


  22. Anton B
    February 29, 2012 @ 8:11 am

    '"It's just a rubber snake!" says Tegan, and thus completes the character-based aspect of the finale as everyone simply laughs the Mara out of existence rather than treating it as a menace.'


    In my mind the 'real' ending of Kinda has always been something like that. The rubber snake works precisely because it's pathetic. Like a balinese shadow puppet. Isn't that the point of it in Snakedance or am I remembering selectively? It's a while since I watched that story. Anyway If they were gonna CGI anything I'd suggest making the big robot exosuit thing more like Ripley's one in Aliens.


  23. elvwood
    February 29, 2012 @ 8:50 am

    "…one of only three Doctor Who effects I remember everyone scorning the next day at school, and by far the most despised (the others being the Myrka and a kitling. I strongly defended Survival, at least…)."

    Heh. My children hadn't been impressed by Remembrance of the Daleks, the first McCoy I got, and didn't watch as I gradually picked up more, despite my recommendation. I happened to mention one day that Survival had a really rubbish special effects cat; and with only this information they asked to watch it there and then. I still don't know why! They've seen plenty more since, but Survival remains my daughter's favourite Mccoy story. What this says about anything I have no idea…


  24. Lee Mansfield
    February 29, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    But why does NuSnake have to fall into either 'modern' or '1982' boxes? Surely it just looks 'better'? And the original version is there as default for those that want it. I usually agree with Phil on most things but scratch my head at this. As I said above, Kinda continues to evolve before our eyes in its own mercurial majesty – why constrict it?


  25. Alex Wilcock
    February 29, 2012 @ 9:15 am

    Was the bulk of the poll-voting audience children, though?

    I wondered exactly the same thing as I typed, but I don't know if there are any demographics. It began as a children's comic (albeit surely with a large injection of older fans) and at this stage is still certainly aimed at a lower age range than it later grew into, suggesting an audience ageing with it, but I'm wary of conflating observation of the magazine with knowledge of its audience. My early copies are a bit inaccessible, so I can't check to see how much the vote might, alternatively, have been steered by DWM itself: did the previews promise only to disappoint? Did the reviews praise one and kick the other?

    And great anecdote, Elwood. I remember being relieved that I could say so many good things about the story, as (like a snake, come to think of it) the problem with the "cat" wasn't the 'that's a rubbish alien' but the much more distracting to the casual viewer 'I know what that's meant to look like, I see it every day, and it doesn't'. I've not seen any work done on such images, but my instinct is that 'real' things done so 'unrealistically' have unusually little tolerance in terms of suspension of disbelief.


  26. Dr. Happypants
    February 29, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    Well, does the CGI snake actually look "better"? Not to me. The 1982 version is a crap rubber snake. The new one is a crap CGI snake. Given a choice, I prefer crap rubber. CGI is too often bland and forgettable, while at least physical props have texture. The worst thing that can possibly happen to a Doctor Who story is that someone makes it look bland or generic.

    I have nothing against sprucing effects up in general if it genuinely is an improvement, but in my opinion it's almost never an improvement worth the effort. Obviously opinions will differ here. If I were that bothered by crap rubber monsters, I feel like I'd have a lot of difficulty enjoying classic Who at all. A lot of the time, watching older Who, part of the fun is seeing how they handled effects with the techniques of the time; going back and "fixing" things would ruin that whole aspect. These are cultural products of another time, and I'm loathe to lose that another-timeyness quality in most cases…

    I'd be a hypocrite if I said I was against "special editions" in all cases though, because for example even before CGI the special edition of "Curse of Fenric" was unquestionably better than the televised version.

    One case where I can see it as a definite improvement is the special edition of "Day of the Daleks": the new voices and the spruced-up battle at the end really do add to it, and help the spectacle live up to the script. The original Dalek voices there are just so…flat that it's hard to convince myself anything is really being lost.

    Now if someone wanted to go in and re-edit "The Celestial Toymaker" to make it not-racist and also not-boring, that could be a very interesting project, along the lines of "The Phantom Edit" of Star Wars Episode I…but that would go way beyond a few effects tweaks or just redubbing that one bit.

    I have a hard time thinking of many examples where the effects are such a letdown that they'd be worth tweaking at all: usually when an effect is crap enough to disappoint me at all, the surrounding story is so weak that there's very little anyone could ever do to fix it. For example, CGI'ing a new Mestor into "The Twin Dilemma" still wouldn't leave you with a watchable story unless you also change literally every other aspect of the visuals and dialogue, preferably with fire and acid. One that definitely jumps out at me though is "Battlefield". My God, if someone could figure out how to fix the fight scenes in there…Great script, great ideas, terrible execution. I'm not sure if that would even be possible without restaging the whole thing though…


  27. Exploding Eye
    February 29, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    I showed my wife Four To Doomsday, saying, "You won't like this". She loved it and has been a Doctor Who fan ever since. Work that one out!


  28. Exploding Eye
    February 29, 2012 @ 10:34 am

    The thing with replacing bad monsters/effects with CGI is it just serves to highlight the bad monster/effect. I don't think, "Ahh, that's better", I think, "That's where the rubber snake used to be", rather than just taking it as part of the whole.

    By the way, could we replace the CG cats in Let The Right One In with badly-animated puppet cats? That would definitely be an improvement.


  29. Alex Wilcock
    February 29, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    Oh, I can believe that – there are so many different tastes out there.

    My prime memory like that is from the early '90s, living with a young couple and their little boy; I'd get him breakfast in the morning and show him an episode of Doctor Who, and always wanted to terrify him as much as I'd been (because I loved being frightened by Who when I was tiny). I was careful not to scare him too much, but built up to the likes of Pyramids of Mars… He liked them, but none of them ever bothered him.

    Then one day I put on The Seeds of Death, which I thought of as a bit plodding, and it was the scariest thing he'd ever seen. He hid behind my legs. So you never can tell!


  30. Lee Mansfield
    February 29, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

    Guys – seriously? – The CG snake is 'crap'? In comparison to that sub panto rubber thing? I just can't buy that. Didn't Barry Letts himself almost beg the DVD guys to attempt CG dinos for Invasion? Would you have felt the same way about that had it been done? As I have already pointed out – you can still enjoy your original rubber monsters as the default is unaltered.


  31. Dr. Happypants
    February 29, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

    Seriously, yes, it is.

    As far as Invasion of the Dinosaurs goes, Lawrence Miles has a much better idea: replace the crap dinosaur puppets with good dinosaur puppets. Modern rubber monster technology is amazing and reasonably-good physical effects stand up better to time than computer-generated ones tend to. It's like comparing the gorgeous Dalek Sec prop in "Doomsday" to the underwhelmingly animated flying Dalek horde, just no competition at all.


  32. Dan
    February 29, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

    Is it the case that the CGIed snake on the DVD is optional?


  33. Zapruder 313
    February 29, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  34. Zapruder 313
    February 29, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

    According to the Restoration Team website, it is:

    "Optional CGI Effects Sequence – option to view episode four with the original giant puppet snake replaced by a CGI snake"

    My two cents: the optional extra is great to show "non-we's" who might otherwise get dragged out of the story by the giant pink puppet. We hardcore fans who were there at the time can remember the original puppet, and it is still there as the default option on DVD if we want to relive it, but my wife has never seen Kinda, and, when we reach it in out marathon, I will have no hesitation in showing her the CGI version as her introduction to the story.

    I have to say, though, that if they had gone for an actual Balinese Shadow Puppet, and Tegan saying "But it isn't even a real snake!", that would have been utterly brilliant. In my mind, that is now the "real" ending of Kinda. Great call, John Callaghan and Anton B!


  35. Lee Mansfield
    February 29, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    I like Lawrence's idea – that made me smile. I would not be opposed to a 'better looking' rubber snake either if it were possible to insert. But I am fine with the CG version, I honestly don't see whats so terrible about it personally. I guess we will have to be Tegan and Turlough at the start of 'Terminus' here and 'Agree to disagree agreeably!' I'll be Tegan! πŸ˜‰


  36. Dr. Happypants
    March 1, 2012 @ 3:06 am

    "I would not be opposed to a 'better looking' rubber snake either if it were possible to insert."

    I hear you can work wonders with Crisco.

    "I'll be Tegan!"

    Thank you for taking one for the team!

    It's not that it's "crap" in the sense of technically incompetent: it's a very reasonable CGI snake by current standards. But that's the crux of my problem: to me, it looks like a pretty standard contemporary effect and doesn't particularly stick in my mind. Say what you will about the original, but by gum, it was memorable. Now, if the CGI one had been hot pink…Or more blatantly phallic…Or ideally both…


  37. Spacewarp
    March 1, 2012 @ 3:37 am

    @Adam. This is exactly the attitude young viewers of Doctor Who have always had, and always will. My daughter's 9 now, and she's been watching for about 2 years. That's all she was interested in – the Daleks! The Cybermen! The Angels! – and nothing wrong with that at all. Her older brother before her (he's now 14) was exactly the same – Gas Mask Zombies! Daleks! Angels!

    I suspect my son will drift away from Doctor Who in a year or so, and I think that's always how it is. For some people Doctor Who is a weekly dose of wonderful childhood terror that they grow out of and move on from, in the same way as older generations grew out of Battle of the Planets, He-Man, Scooby Doo. However those once-were-fans will always have a soft spot for the Doctor of their youth (my son will always remember David Tennant, whereas I suspect my daughter is more attached to Matt Smith). These people become the Not-We.

    However other viewers keep watching, and grow with the programme, successfully navigating the awkward transition between Doctors, and replacing the now-not-so-scarieness with an appreciation of the subtleties of the storyline and an increasing enjoyment of the rich tapestry of continuity. These are what are knowns as "The Fans", and both they and the Not-We should always remember that all of us started out exactly the same – 7 years old thinking that Time Flight is better then Kinda, or "Revenge" is better than "Genesis" (because there's lots more Cybermen in it). Hell if I was 7 I'm sure I'd prefer "Evolution of the Daleks" over the boring "no monsters" trudge that is "Blink". In fact I'd probably never have watched Blink because it was too scary (my daughter has yet to watch "Waters of Mars" all the way through!).


  38. WGPJosh
    March 1, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

    I'm usually supportive of changes if they improve something that was obviously a mistake in the original. For example, in the new Blu-ray restoration of Star Trek: The Next Generation, they're changing a scene in the pilot where Captain Picard orders an energy transfer through the phaser banks and it came from the Captain's yacht in the shot. The designer of the Enterprise was very unhappy with this so they re-did the scene for the new HD transfer. The difference is that, due to the way TNG was shot, the effects are on different reels from the other scenes so the all the restoration team had to do was recomposit the shot because they had access to all the original effects work. They didn't have to do any new CG. I think that was fine because it was done the exact same way as the original effects, using the original effects, and was an admitted mistake.

    If you're fixing a mistake, or otherwise trying to do something that would help realise the vision of the original filmmakers in a way they were unable to do, then I think it's justified.


  39. WGPJosh
    March 1, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

    Seconding this! I'm a huge fan of both OMD and Kraftwerk. "Radio-Activity", "Trans-Europe Express" and "Dazzle Ships" are three of my all-time favourite albums. The fact that both them and The Jam are charting this week makes me feel unbelievably proud and excited!

    I quite like this theory about the Mara, by the way. It certainly would have made for an interesting conclusion.


  40. WGPJosh
    March 1, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

    Adam, Spacewarp:

    Have to say my story is similar to yours in some ways, as are, I presume, the stories of many of us here! Don't have children, but my much-younger sister is watching Doctor Who for the first time and I can definitely already tell she'll be one of us. I'm not sure how many other kids watch the show this way, especially with the New Series. Most people I know watch it like any other drama and dutifully turn in every week and if that Saturday morning/afternoon tradition you spoke of is going to live on.

    Incidentally, I grew back in to Scooby-Doo myself, but that's another story…


  41. WGPJosh
    March 1, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

    I believe all the new CG effects are optional; I know everything is optional on the new "Day of the Daleks". My copy of "The Ark in Space" has new CG effects for the exterior shots, and my copy of "Destiny of the Daleks" has it for the city models and both of them are fully optional. I agree-it's definitely a good way to tantalize the "Not-We's" who might be turned off by the…I'll be kind and say "dated" effects of some of these serials. And hey, for purists who hate them they don't have to watch it that way. Problem solved IMO.


  42. Elkins
    March 2, 2012 @ 1:42 am

    I'm guessing that the majority of voters in that poll were not adolescent girls.

    Because to the adolescent girl that was me when I first saw Kinda, it was one of the most awesome Doctor Who stories EVER. Indeed, it's really rather embarrassing to me now to look back on just how well the Not At All Subtle psychodrama of this story played to me at that age.


  43. Alan
    March 2, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

    Turning aside from the rubber snake, I just rewatched Kinda and I noticed something I'd totally forgotten — the fact that the Doctor is a complete jerk to Adric in this episode! Rewatch the first episode, specifically the scene where the Doctor very harshly chews out Adric for accidentally activating the mech simply by closing its door ("There is a difference between serious scientific investigation and meddling, ISN'T THERE!?!?"). And all the while, the Doctor has been solely and directly responsible for freeing the Mara due to his carelessly mucking about with the wind chimes, a fact that he never acknowledges even after Paruna expresses shock that anyone with an unshared mind would be so foolish as to sleep near the chimes.

    Adric should have tried to leave for E-Space earlier, IMO.


  44. timber-munki
    March 4, 2012 @ 2:23 am

    About the benefits of inserting new effects to old stories, personally I'd like to see the Tombs Cybermen voices replacing the audio for their other appearances, especially the new series.


  45. Henry R. Kujawa
    May 10, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

    WHAT rubber snake? (Obviously, I'm watching the story, not the effects.)

    If they wanted to re-do it, why not use a REAL snake? Or have someone do some stop-motion animation?

    This was my intro to Richard Todd. I've seen him in a number of other things since, including "ASYLUM" (which also features "Doctor Who" in it, but not in the same story).

    Nerys Hughes was wonderful. Why didn't they dump Tegan into a black hole and drag "Todd" around instead?

    Philip Sandifer:
    "let's make this perfectly clear – if you prefer either Time-Flight or Four to Doomsday to Kinda, there's something seriously wrong with you"

    I tend to feel that way toward anyone who prefers Peter Davison over… well, ANY of the other Doctors!

    Let ME put it this way– a "REAL" Doctoe would NOT have tolerated Panna's unbearable rudeness of repeatedly calling him "Idiot!" It was nice after she died and reincarnated that she quickly pegged that he wasn't, and suddenly, Todd was the odd one out instead of The Doctor for the rest of the story.

    Mary Morris, sadly, did NOT age well. I always remember her as one of the most insidious "Number Two"s on THE PRISONER, in the episode "DANCE OF THE DEAD". (Did anyone besides me notice that all of the female Number Twos were the most DEVIOUS by a mile?) And something always told me from watching that, that when she was younger, she must have been one HOT number! I was surprised (but not too much) when I learned she'd been in a production of PETER PAN. That explained her party costume. Ah well, that voice didn't change! (Or if it did, it must have happened long before 1967.)

    I've read the theory about "It's just a rubber snake!" long ago. I like it.

    As for the DALEK INVASION spaceship… well, I always remember the IMMENSELY HUGE one from "INVASION EARTH: 2150 A.D." I suspect saome of Gerry Anderson's people were moonlighting. (Barry Gray certainly was.)

    Regarding the cat in "SURVIVAL"– these days it reminds me of Salem from SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH.

    Oh yeah– and "REVENGE" is my favorite Cybermen story. It moves so fast, it's so much fun to watch. And nothing can replace that voice… "The planet will be fragmentized!"

    I just realized. Hindle's "character arc" in this story could be compared to Willie Loomis on DARK SHADOWS. He went thru 3 stages… nasty, REALLY screwed up, and finally, a better person than he'd ever been.


  46. GarrettCRW
    July 20, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

    The TNG example is unfortunately becoming poor, as some of the "before" and "after" shots being posted to the TNG page on Facebook clearly illustrate that things aren't being re-composited, but outright changed. For instance, one comparison has the Enterprise orbiting a planet, and the "after" planet was clearly a new CG model as it didn't even come close to matching the original planet. Another shot from "elementary, My Dear Data" had the framing affect of the Enterprise interior shifted, and the lighting altered.

    And let's not even get into the "restorations" of G.I. Joe and The Transformers (not exactly high art, I know) that used incomplete film prints as the basis of the restorations, and used bad video effects, highly obvious footage from the old '80s transfers, and a big batch of nothing to get episodes of that show to match the originally transmitted versions (and that's before the alterations and even censorship applied to G.I. Joe to "fix" that show).


  47. Josh Marsfelder
    August 1, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

    I know there are one or two new CGI effects, but I think they're only for some of the shots with high particulate counts, like transporter beams. I do believe the planet shots are all original-The Okudas have explicitly said a number of times that's all they're changing.

    It really does look that different and that much better when recomposited.


  48. Tom
    February 2, 2014 @ 2:43 am

    A two-years-too-late comment seems a good place to exorcise 31 years of hurt (and slight smugness TBH): age 9, I voted Kinda top in that DWM poll, and was horrified when I saw the results.

    I suspect I was quite a Milesian kid, voting mostly on tone/oddness/cleverness – and scariness, frankly – so the uncanny Kinda was an easy favourite. My claims on being a critical savant end there, though – I put Time-Flight second.

    Re. Who voted in the DWM polls – DWM had had a huge publicity push a little before this poll, moving to photo covers and IIRC glossier stock for Davison’s arrival, and may even have changed distributors, so even if young fans weren’t the majority of its readers it would have been very accessible to them and probably a bunch would have got on board with the new Doctor. As for the voting, every kids’ comic and cereal box was festooned with coupons – for competitions, fan club sign-ups, etc. 2000AD and other comics had “favourite story” feedback coupons every issue. So I don’t think there would have been any barriers at all to filling in the poll among the younger readers.


  49. encyclops
    April 16, 2014 @ 2:56 pm

    Something for your proofreader, when you get to the Davison book(s): Karuna does spell out that Aris is one of her seven fathers. Whether that's the whole story or not depends on how much of a skeptic one is, I suppose. πŸ™‚


  50. Joachim
    November 8, 2014 @ 2:23 am

    adult and sensitive portrayal of mental illness in DW, and a …


  51. John Seavey
    March 10, 2015 @ 1:21 pm

    I have to say, I don't think the possibilities of this "CGI Adric" were fully explored…


  52. Maximalian Kaiser
    June 22, 2015 @ 1:01 pm

    Maybe it's a rare rubber-based life form.


  53. Jahirul Islam
    August 14, 2015 @ 8:31 pm

    Much oblige for sharing this article. It is really helpful to me. Keep writing. VHS to DVD transfer


  54. George Lock
    November 18, 2015 @ 8:19 am

    This was the first Davison story I personally owned on DVD (as part of the Mara Tales boxset no less), having watched a few of his stories (as well as handufuls of Pertwee to Colin Baker) on the reruns UK Gold used to do on saturday mornings. I must have been about 15 or 16, and was just getting into stuff like David Lynch and Beckett. I guess I was just in the right place to be blown away by this story. I hadn’t remembered anything like that being in Doctor Who at all (obviously must have missed State of Decay when UK Gold ran it…)

    Not being overly familiar with Buddhism, I never picked up on the naming.However, I always thought that the three human characters in Tegan’s dreamscape were meant to be nightmarish parodies of the TARDIS crew (Dukkha/Doctor for instance?). It seemed to me like the Mara was twisting Tegan’s insecurities about the other regulars as a way to get to her. For someone who hadn’t seen Doctor Who properly since he was ten, this kind of depth was mindblowing.

    Which is why I’ve loved reading your posts. Been devouring them in my spare time since I stumbled across the blog several months ago. Seriously, thank you for the countless hours of enjoyable reading!


  55. Ross
    May 26, 2016 @ 11:03 pm

    I voted in that DWM poll. I voted Kinda best story, with Earthshock in second place. I’m probably not exaggerating too much to say that I was horrified when I read the poll result. Even as a 12 year old I thought the snake was a poor reason to vote it bottom.
    The previous year I’d voted Meglos second behind Logopolis so I had form, but then I just sort of accepted it. With Kinda I knew that everyone else was wrong.


  56. orfeo
    August 28, 2016 @ 1:55 pm

    Enough about the snake. Let’s talk about the stellar acting from the guest cast. They largely sideline the Doctor’s regular companions, and on the whole the story is the better for it.

    Though it should be said that the possessed version of Tegan is excellent. It turns out that Janet Fielding can do something else besides shouty and over-anxious, which rather makes me wonder why her normal character was made shouty and over-anxious.

    Except for that snake climax – unconvincing not because of the prop but because, as you say, it doesn’t arise out of the characters that have underpinned the rest of the story – I found this one of the more consistently gripping stories in a while. Warrior’s Gate is probably the previous story that it is most similar to in mood, and it was equally intriguing.


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