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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. Daibhid C
    December 5, 2012 @ 2:22 am

    It's just occured to me that this is also around the same time as RTD's was writing Children's Ward. I only saw odd episodes of that, but am I right in recalling it was about as dark as you could get in a CITV slot?


  2. Adam Riggio
    December 5, 2012 @ 7:51 am

    I remember one of the many making-of bits of paratext that sprung up on the 2008 season of Doctor Who (Don't ask me if it's a Confidential, a commentary, a season wrap-up doc, a companions special, or whatever — I've lost track), where Steven Moffat described, referring to Donna's tragic end, that "Russell T Davies is a very very bad man." And I think in these earlier adult shows, you can definitely see that. His vision of human nature is mean, cynical, and his laughter is cruel. After all, he banged his head to Bon Jovi and his head fell off.

    If one element enters Davies' worldview, as expressed in his writing, after the drug overdose and the development of Queer as Folk, I'd have to say it's hope. That's what allows the joyful spirit of his Doctor Who to thrive. The hopelessness is, I think, the essential problem with why Torchwood doesn't always work. This was true especially in Children of Earth, the triumph of Torchwood that shows how incompatible it is with the spirit of Doctor Who: victory can't come in Torchwood without some manner of self-destruction. In Doctor Who, we can come out the other side. Queer as Folk and his Doctor Who have a joy that can plough through the darkness, where with these shows and Damaged Goods, I don't think that joy is there.


  3. Christopher Haynes
    December 5, 2012 @ 8:13 am

    Children of Earth certainly gave the lie to the Doctor's "When you talk of the Earth, then make sure that you tell them this. It is defended." speech in The Christmas Invasion, didn't it?


  4. Matthew Celestis
    December 5, 2012 @ 9:01 am

    Oh yes. It was really depressing. I hated that program when I watched it as a child.


  5. Spacewarp
    December 5, 2012 @ 9:15 am

    Ah…"Touching Evil". Essential viewing for us during the late 90s. But we jokingly referred to it as "Touching Cloth", so much so that we occasionally forgot that this wasn't actually what it was called. Imagine our surprise and amusement at the recent Procedural Crime Drama parody, also starring Robson Green…"A Touch of Cloth".


  6. Daibhid C
    December 5, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

    And yet before all this, he was writing ChuckleVision and Why Don't You..? (Granted, he completely reinvented Why Don't You..? to make it another Not Quite Doctor Who, but I don't recall it becoming depressing as a result; certainly not to Children's Ward standards.)


  7. Dougie
    December 5, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

    I watched much less tv twenty years ago-acting in a lot of plays in the early-to-mid 90s and I had my telly stolen at one point. but I did see exactly one episode of Springhill. It felt almost parodic but intriguing: like a Magical Realist Brookside.


  8. Adam Riggio
    December 6, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    I wouldn't necessarily say that Russell had a heart four sizes too small before his OD. Anyone who can do children's television well needs some sense of intelligent whimsy. But having some basic wellspring of happiness to channel enough of it into children's television to avoid losing your job is one thing. The mind-set Davies eventually brought to Doctor Who (and Queer as Folk) created a tone that he didn't seem capable of before that era of his life. There was no longer an equation between adult drama and cynicism.

    His children's television successes used to be the exception to an otherwise cynically satirical outlook. Now the purity of his misanthropy is the exception, just as Torchwood is in the context of Queer as Folk, Bob and Rose, Doctor Who, and Sarah Jane.


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