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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. John Callaghan
    May 18, 2012 @ 12:23 am

    Interesting! What's your definition of single human female, by the way? Why doesn't Mel count?

    "Single Human Female" is the best name for a dating show ever.


  2. Andrew Hickey
    May 18, 2012 @ 1:46 am

    You could even argue that Jo doesn't count, and that Sarah doesn't count for most of her run on the show, as Jo was part of the larger UNIT supporting cast, though she did get the odd solo adventure with the Doctor, and that was Sarah's setting at first, too, and in her second series she had Harry Sullivan.

    Basically, if you take the show as being "the Doctor and his single human female companion travel through time and space", rather than "the Doctor works with UNIT and occasionally pops off somewhere else with his assistant", the only times that was the format were for a year with Tom/Sarah Jane, and for Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy's years.


  3. Shane Cubis
    May 18, 2012 @ 2:49 am

    I just watched it and though Gareth was great! He didn't fuck up a single line. Wonder how much criticism stems from envy; the jealousy of all those Pomgolian fans thinking, "Why didn't I get to be in the TARDIS?".


  4. 5tephe
    May 18, 2012 @ 2:58 am

    No – UNIT are clearly a supporting troupe, while Jo and Sarah are aloof from them, and occupy a special place at the Doctor's side narratively.


  5. Matt Sharp
    May 18, 2012 @ 3:50 am

    'Certainly his actual desires seem irrelevant to the process, and he spends most of the episode looking scared and like this isn't really what he wanted.'

    That was how Jim'll Fix It always worked, though – the 'please fix it for me' letter would get translated by the production team into what was actually possible, and then interpreted again depending on what was actually available. It always ended up being a sort of Faustian pact where the letter writer would end up doing something that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike exactly what they had asked for.

    Except in the very early years, when it was usually someone like Lewis Collins sitting in apparent agony while Jimmy Saville very slowly and relentlessly informed him that this prepubescent girl he was sitting next to was in love with him.

    Twas a puzzling programme…

    Except for that one with Peter Cushing in. That was nice.


  6. Elizabeth Sandifer
    May 18, 2012 @ 3:55 am

    Because I momentarily forgot about her, mainly.

    All good things…


  7. fdfc49e4-466d-11e0-963e-000bcdcb8a73
    May 18, 2012 @ 4:09 am

    "To be perfectly frank, extensive criticism of him is at best only barely above bullying, and at worst outright bullying that's been carried on some 25 years after the poor kid got "fixed." At this point this is like the general public mocking a middle aged man for a poor performance in a school play once."

    Sorry — are we talking about Gareth Jenkins or Matthew Waterhouse? Please remind me… πŸ˜‰


  8. fdfc49e4-466d-11e0-963e-000bcdcb8a73
    May 18, 2012 @ 4:11 am

    And FWIW, I've always maintained that Tegan Jovanka was the proto-Donna Noble. Just sayin'…


  9. Elizabeth Sandifer
    May 18, 2012 @ 4:16 am

    We're talking about the one who hasn't given any interviews or comment on the matter since his appearance on the program. πŸ™‚

    I mean, I recognize you're being cheeky, but I think the point matters – as it will in another way for Monday's entry. It's one thing to do a dumb thing when you're young. It's another to double down on it decades later.


  10. Iain Coleman
    May 18, 2012 @ 4:19 am

    I just watched this for the first time, and to my surprise it was perfectly charming. I'd rather watch this than Timelash any day.

    As for young Master Jenkins, he's understandably overwhelmed by being in the Tardis with Colin Baker, and he doesn't look like he'll be troubling RADA anytime soon, but he says his lines and hits his marks like a pro and I don't think you can ask much else of him.

    If this did receive such a degree of vitriol at the time, it's simply yet more evidence – if more were needed – that fandom in the mid-eighties was dominated by a bunch of bitter old cunts.


  11. Wm Keith
    May 18, 2012 @ 5:11 am

    Because she is River Song (prove that she isn't!), and therefore timey-wimey.


  12. fdfc49e4-466d-11e0-963e-000bcdcb8a73
    May 18, 2012 @ 5:31 am

    I thought that was already a well-established fact, Iain… πŸ˜‰


  13. fdfc49e4-466d-11e0-963e-000bcdcb8a73
    May 18, 2012 @ 6:24 am

    Also, has it been verified that the Gareth Jenkins in "A Fix With Sontarans" is NOT the same Gareth Jenkins who works (worked?) on Big Finish Productions DOCTOR WHO audios??


  14. Abigail Brady
    May 18, 2012 @ 6:45 am

    They have confirmed that it's definitely not the same person. See Vortex #22.


  15. Tom Watts
    May 18, 2012 @ 7:08 am

    When I was 10 I was walking across the playground into class and a younger boy ran excitedly up to me and cried, "You're Dr Who! You're going to be Dr Who!" He didn't explain any more, but I remember thinking: how incredibly unlikely, and also, if it were true, how wonderful. But also, I remember thinking, how crap. How would I feel if another 10 year old boy was cast as the new Doctor? Anyway, as it turned out, they wanted me to dress as the Doctor in a fancy dress parade.

    I enjoyed Fix. And I thought he did perfectly well.

    Btw, I visited a hospital today and came across a patient who looked remarkably like the Borad. He had learning disabilities too, and was maybe unaware of how grotesque he seemed. Which made me think of Timelash of course, and then of Daphne & Celeste and their famous song UGLY (U.G.L.Y. You ain't got no alibi/You're ugly!) and then of D&C getting bottled off the stage at Reading, and then when I came home I looked it up on Youtube. Daphne & Celeste seem careful to create fantasy images of ugly children ("here's a little kid who looks like a squid" etc.) so as not to encourage bullying based on actual everyday characteristics – but then I could never have supposed that anyone could look much like the Borad. So that's Season 22 I thought: brash and mean, or trying to be – and looking back to when they were bottled off, I gather that either girl interprets it differently: one as a career-destroying humiliation, the other as the best thing ever!


  16. Warren Andrews
    May 18, 2012 @ 7:59 am

    Ah, the Peter Cushing one (Naming a Rose after his late wife) was so sweet. Bless him.

    There was a girl in my infants school who went on Jim'll Fix It. I can still remember the assembly where she showed everyone her badge. She wasn't well liked.:)


  17. Exploding Eye
    May 18, 2012 @ 8:51 am

    I think the hatred has to be largely jealousy, the fact that some random kid got to do this and they didn't, or maybe because it wasn't a high-ranking recognised member or DWAS. This is fandom in general – all the hatred against Linda McCartney, for example, just for being someone other than each individual jealous girl.


  18. Exploding Eye
    May 18, 2012 @ 8:52 am



  19. David Anderson
    May 18, 2012 @ 10:05 am

    Jo and the Doctor appear without the supporting UNIT cast (as part of the main story) in 7 out of 15 of Jo's stories by my count, nearly as many as Leela or Ace, in total. (You have to qualify 'single human female' with 'contemporary' or 'from Earth' to exclude Leela.) So I'd say Pertwee and Jo pop off more than occasionally.

    That said, those five companions are between them overrepresented among the most highly regarded stories in the classic series. More so if you omit 'highly'.


  20. BerserkRL
    May 18, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    people who take Moffat's somewhat infamous interview comments about the classic series as actual dislike for the classic series

    Fair enough. All the same, there is certainly a contrast between his earlier and later remarks.

    there are those who seem to measure how much they love the show by how much of it they're capable of hating

    Or those (cough, tea With Morbius, cough) who prove their love of the old show by being massively uncharitable to the new one.


  21. tantalus1970
    May 18, 2012 @ 11:39 am

    Interesting that you picked up on the 'death by green slime' thing. I remember watching this as a teenager and thinking it was disgusting. IIRC it happens in other stories as well as the Sontaran ones.

    I also remember thinking that maybe the BBC had bought too much of the stuff and needed to get rid of it somehow!


  22. tantalus1970
    May 18, 2012 @ 11:43 am

    It's also the assumption that 'Oh, I could have done so much better.' Human beings seem to have a basic flaw in that we tend to think other peoples' jobs are easy.

    How many football fans think they could manage their teams better than the guy in charge?


  23. tantalus1970
    May 18, 2012 @ 11:49 am

    To be fair to Moffat, when he made those original remarks back in '95, he had been drinking! The full transcript of that discussion is out there somewhere and it's hilarious.


  24. Elizabeth Sandifer
    May 18, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

    I don't think there's so much a contrast between his remarks as there is a context between the fan cultures of the time. I don't think what Moffat said was even scandalous for 1995 – it was standard issue 90s Doctor Who fandom. I think Moffat's later retractions of that interview and switching to an "I love all of it" position has more to do with the fact that Doctor Who fandom in an era where the show is thriving has a very different tenor than the fandom of the 1990s. And even still Moffat has a tendency to let slip a certain distaste for the Hartnell era (though he's always been quite favorable towards the first episode.)


  25. Matthew Blanchette
    May 18, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

    …was that meant to be stream-of-consciousness? :-S


  26. Matthew Blanchette
    May 18, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

    He seems rather favorable towards "Daleks' Master Plan", as well… πŸ˜‰


  27. Matthew Blanchette
    May 18, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

    This might be the nadir of the Jenkins-bashing, actually:


  28. Iain Coleman
    May 19, 2012 @ 5:09 am

    Well, there's two faces I could never tire of hitting.


  29. BerserkRL
    May 19, 2012 @ 9:37 am

    The full transcript of that discussion is out there somewhere and it's hilarious.

    Yes — click on the link above, and the page that comes up has a further link to the whole thing.


  30. Tom Watts
    May 19, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

    All I was trying to say was that the Sixth Doctor persona might have worked better played by someone like Paul O'Grady (as Lily Savage). In which case Peri is less battered wife and more like nervous member of the audience, wondering whether the drag queen is going to say something cutting about one's clothes or hair or face. Colin is certainly dressed brash enough, but as a heterosexual male, he often comes across as boorish. Now Daphne & Celeste, despite a very professional publicity team, fell far short of what was seen as their commercial potential. As part of the background to that failure, I take it as read that their songs (at least UGLY and Stick You) were actually written by gay men. (I've not bothered to research that, but it seems obvious).


  31. ferret
    May 20, 2012 @ 2:31 am

    Two points – I hadn't seen this in ages, and presumed the "meson gun" Gareth was given was one of the Sontaran's stick-guns, so a bit naff. But they were huge and awesome! Lucky kid to have that hanging in his room.

    Second, I'd never normally point out a grammar-fix but this one is too funny – while the idea of the late Jimmy Saville extravagantly granting the wishes of people who write in is a fantastic one worthy of Zombie Jimmy Saville's career comeback, you may want to alter some tenses πŸ™‚

    "A Fix With Sontarans is a mini-episode shot for the show Jim'll Fix It, in which the late Jimmy Saville extravagantly granted the wishes of people who wrote in."


  32. Henry R. Kujawa
    May 20, 2012 @ 3:11 am

    I'm rather weary of people repeatedly feeling the need to refer to every deceased actor as "the late" so-and-so… just as much as those with "titles" as "Sir" (zis iss Amerika, ve don't DO zat here!!).


  33. Andrew Hickey
    May 20, 2012 @ 3:33 am

    It seems reasonable enough to refer to Savile as "the late" given that he died only a matter of months ago — it's not like every post about Hartnell, for example, referred to "the late William Hartnell"

    As for your comment about titles, firstly "zis" isn't "Amerika", it's the internet, where people of every country can talk, not just those from one.

    Secondly, Americans do use titles, just different ones. Note the way you refer to every president of your country, past or present, as President X, the way reports of Newt Gingrich's campaign refer to him as Speaker Gingrich, the way your elected representatives will insist on being referred to as Senator Whoever rather than Mr or Ms Whoever, and so on. Your press even insist on giving titles to British people who don't have them, thus press references to "Prime Minister Blair" rather than "Mr Blair, the Prime Minister" (Prime Minister is a job, not a title — I mention Blair because I've seen little or no US coverage of Brown or Cameron).

    Third, even if you dislike the idea of titles (as I do) then it's still polite to use them when referring to people who have them, because it's always polite to refer to people in the way they wish to be referred to. When someone is knighted, their name becomes Sir Whoever, not Mr Whoever.

    And fourth, given that Dr (another title…) Sandifer here refers to Sir James Savile OBE KCSG as "Jimmy Savile", it would seem rather odd for you to complain about that on this post of all posts..


  34. Iain Coleman
    May 20, 2012 @ 5:24 am

    "When someone is knighted, their name becomes Sir Whoever, not Mr Whoever."

    More precisely (and I'm only picking this nit because so many Americans get this Wrong on the Internet), when Mr Whoever Whatsisname is knighted, his formal address changes from Mr Whatsisname to Sir Whoever.

    (Of course you know this Andrew, and I'm just being annoying about an ambiguity in your post.)


  35. Andrew Hickey
    May 20, 2012 @ 5:28 am

    Good point. I wrote that comment before I'd had any coffee, or I wouldn't have made that mistake.


  36. timelord7202
    May 20, 2012 @ 5:53 am

    Tantalus1970 –

    GREAT points!


  37. timelord7202
    May 20, 2012 @ 6:04 am

    Holy bleep… talk about an inane, vicious, retarded, uncivilized, and unnecessary attack on a kid back when television (ironically) was more innocent… that link needs a disclaimer.

    Indeed, this Jim episode was 24 years old when these two kids did their skit. They might make good writers for SNL or almost anything on Comedy Central since the level of wit they exude is pretty much on par, but they have nothing better to do than brainlessly go after some kid caught in the middle? (the blog spells things out neatly but one doesn't always need it spelled out. There is no reason for Gareth to be so ridiculed…)

    Iain – pummeling is a bit wrong, but those two brats have been off their Ritalin for some time, I suspect… But such addled amphetamine addicts should be left in a padded cell. Maybe those two can share it and save on cost.


  38. Nagisa Furukawa
    May 21, 2012 @ 2:32 am

    "And here, paired with little prep with Colin Baker, she manages to demonstrate how a companion can be paired opposite an arrogant and argumentative Doctor. I don't mean this as a criticism of Nicola Bryant – I'll have plenty of good things to say about her when she departs – but Peri, as conceived, was never a good match for Baker's Doctor as originally conceived. Janet Fielding, as has been pointed out by several commenters, would have been. And was. The two of them are by far the best part of A Fix With Sontarans, and in some ways the story is worthwhile for that alone."

    I agree completely. Rewatching this in preparation for reading your post, this is what struck me most about it. I don't think Fifth/Tegan or Sixth/Peri ever really worked as well as they could, because neither Fifth or Peri really had enough… bite when dealing with the other one. But Tegan and Sixth just bounce off each other wonderfully in the sketch.

    Now that Janet Fielding's doing Big Finishes, I'm surprise they haven't taken advantage of this, given their bizarre tendency to give Sixth other Doctors' companions…


  39. Andrew Hickey
    May 21, 2012 @ 2:44 am

    They did a one-off with Fielding a few years before she became a regular, in which she met up with the fifth Doctor twenty years after she left him, said she hadn't seen him in the interim, and had a terminal illness which meant she would be dead very soon afterwards.

    Admittedly, they've had 'explanations' for more impossible situations before now, but it would seem to preclude bringing her back with the Sixth Doctor.


  40. SpaceSquid
    August 20, 2012 @ 7:31 am

    "Her job is to give voice to a position that isn't quite the reverse of the Doctor's, but that is nevertheless unambiguously informed by a completely different set of values and judgments. This leads, in some accounts, to Tegan being a bit thick. The show, after all, is fairly steadfastly aligned to the moral perspective of the Doctor. So Tegan, as a character who is atively set on a different perspective, is fairly consistently proven wrong by the series."

    Making Tegan Doctor Who's very own Agent Scully.


  41. daibhid-c
    October 10, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

    He is, however, the same Gareth Jenkins who is now Head of Campaigns for Save The Children. Prompting one Twitter comment from Eddie Robson "Maybe every child should get to be Doctor Who for eight minutes and we'll see what happens".


  42. Matthew Blanchette
    October 30, 2012 @ 11:18 am

    Since those allegations have come out, you have to wonder just what else Jim "fixed" for little Gareth… πŸ™


  43. nobody
    November 11, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

    I have to say, I'm fairly new to Who fandom, I watched all of nuwho, about half of the 1st doctor, and just finished season 22, all this year, so my opinion is based on that… Peri is a terrible companion, I like the sixth doctor, I think Peri ruins it with her terrible wishy washy scared ass whiny acting.


  44. Alphapenguin
    January 31, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

    In light of certain recent revelations about Jimmy Saville, I can't imagine what the book version of this entry will read like…


  45. David Gerard
    December 1, 2013 @ 11:23 am

    The idea of the fans taking out their frustrated fanboy angst on the small child … this is why people hate fanboys.


  46. David Gerard
    December 1, 2013 @ 11:30 am

    "I think Peri ruins it with her terrible wishy washy scared ass whiny acting. "

    It was the accent that did it for me at the time. She'd have done much better doing an accent she could actually do.


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