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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.

91 Comments

  1. by Ewan Spence
    February 10, 2012 @ 12:40 am

    I think this is the time to paraphrase Monty Python. "Stop it, this is getting far too silly."

    😉

    Reply

  2. Eric Gimlin
    February 10, 2012 @ 12:44 am

    I'm trying to figure out the words to say just how amazing this post is, even if I did give up and read it through from the start after my first pass. Bravo.

    I'll need a few more tries before I much to say other than my burning need to praise this entry. I will agree with you on section 24: it is, indeed, good to know.

    Reply

  3. John Toon
    February 10, 2012 @ 2:07 am

    A Charged Vacuum Emboitement: a piece of television that carries within itself all its future iterations. Very nice.

    Reply

  4. Exploding Eye
    February 10, 2012 @ 2:20 am

    Gosh.

    Reply

  5. Iain Coleman
    February 10, 2012 @ 2:32 am

    Through the ruins of a city stalk the ruins of a man. He is wearing a Hawaiian shirt.

    OK, I think we have the quote of the week.

    Reply

  6. David Bateman
    February 10, 2012 @ 4:35 am

    Wow! Thanks! That was a lot of fun! Those questions about large swathes of the universe and Nyssa and Tegan never get a look in. They are just overshadowed by the demise of the fourth Doctor. Which in a sense was the end of the television universe as we knew it.

    Reply

  7. Andrew Hickey
    February 10, 2012 @ 5:38 am

    Wow. And I agree with Iain – that Hawaiian shirt line is possibly the best thing you've written.

    Reply

  8. BerserkRL
    February 10, 2012 @ 8:42 am

    The nature of mathematics is intrinsically Platonic. No thing called a right angle exists in the world

    Only if one holds a Platonic rather than Aristotelean view of abstraction.

    the idea that anarchism is not generated by fighting against the law but by the manipulation and play within its gaps

    And also, as anarchists have frequently insisted, anarchism is the only political philosophy that respects the rule of law — because only in a system without monopoly or a "final arbiter" can the fundamental principle of the rule of law be implemented, namely the submission of disputes to a neutral third party (a principle that states cannot follow in their disputes with their citizens without ceasing to be states). Thus anarchy comes not to destroy but to fulfil the law.

    And in a world where a TARDIS might suddenly materialise and a madman step out, there is always a third party arbiter available.

    only Davison followed the rule by choice

    Tennant?

    Reply

  9. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 10, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    Tennant did the specials victory lap. With the specials being the length they were, this amounts to seven extra episodes' worth of appearances – I'll count that as functionally a fourth season of Tennant.

    And I think mathematics pose something of a special case for Aristotelean/Platonic abstraction. I'm usually an Aristotelean in such things, but with mathematics I think there's something more to it. Mathematics flits in and out of immediate correspondence to the physical world in a way economics doesn't. I can calculate the angles of a regular -32-sided polygon despite the wholesale meaninglessness of that construct. So geometry as a sort of purely symbolic manipulation exists. So does geometry as something that parallels the real world. That contrast is where I think a whiff of the Platonic becomes impossible to excise.

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  10. SK
    February 10, 2012 @ 9:38 am

    only in a system without monopoly or a "final arbiter" can the fundamental principle of the rule of law be implemented, namely the submission of disputes to a neutral third party

    I can't see how that works. Who enforces the rule that all disputes must be submitted to a neutral third party? It seems to me that either someone enforces that rule, in which case you have not got anarchy; or the stronger party in the dispute will merely refuse to appoint a neutral arbiter, in which case you haven't got the rule of law.

    (I think also it's quite tendentious to claim that neutral arbiters are 'the fundamental principle of the rule of law' — I would have said that the fundamental principle of the rule of law is that the same laws should apply to everyone, ie, it's about the laws, not about who arbitrates them.)

    Reply

  11. Jack Graham
    February 10, 2012 @ 10:01 am

    "Whatever overdone sentimentality Roberts's tendencies may have, surely it is preferable to this amnesiac sociopathy. Surely an excess of an emotional core to a story is preferable to none whatsoever."

    Sentimentality is not emotion. It is the pretence of emotion. It is ersatz emotion. It is the bluster that covers the lack of anything sensible to say. It is the lady protesting too much. It is easy and cheap and exists to placate and flatter.

    When Roberts has Cybermen destroyed by love, this is the rump-gothic (the last gasp of genuine unease) soothingly, perfunctorily, ritually defeated by comforting certainties. It is no more genuinely emotional than the stunted awkwardness of 'Logopolis'. Indeed, the stunted awkwardness of 'Logopolis' stems from the inability of the show to find a way of satisfactorily dealing with how to portray the emotional impact of such an unimaginable catastrophe. Roberts, by contrast, cannot cope sincerely with even the comparatively minor horrors in 'The Lodger'.

    Roberts offers us platitudes while 'Logopolis' seems stunned into incoherence by the magnitude of its own story.

    Roberts forecloses upon the story he is telling. Lack of love is bad, love can defeat it. This from the man who sneered at political polemics because they supposedly offer only widely-accepted banalities.

    Moreover, Roberts kills the Cybermen stone dead by killing their meaning. When you defeat the Cybermen with gold or gravity or radiation, the essence of their threat is unaffected and survives, even as they themselves die. When you kill them with love, you 'solve' them away into nothing.

    'Logopolis' does not even try to solve the destruction of half the universe. It doesn't seem to want to dare. This has its problems, but insincerity and soothing ease are not amongst them.

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  12. Skye Marthaler
    February 10, 2012 @ 10:46 am

    Here is where I finally comment. I’ve been following and reading these for a good long while now and I congratulate you on a splendid effort.

    Looking back on it I’m rather surprised anyone in my family would have become a Doctor Who fan. Growing up on a small dairy farm in north central Wisconsin is not exactly where one would expect the seeds of Doctor Who fandom taking hold. I believe the only reason I still enjoy Doctor Who today is because my dad, a Midwestern farmer to the bone, really enjoyed watching Doctor Who. When I think about my dad it seems so out of place with his character that a guy like him would have any interest in, let alone be fan of, a fantasy/ sci-fi British TV show. Thankfully for me, he was. It is something we would always watch together on Sundays after we would get home from church. We’d tune in on the local PBS channel when Packer football wasn’t on.(What can I say, it is Wisconsin after all.)

    This is the Doctor Who episode that hooked me as a kid. It was one of the first episodes I saw and it has always stuck with me, particularly the name. It captured my imagination as a kid and today knowing what it means just increases my affection for it. That name, more than anything, has been bouncing around my brain for almost three decades. Even now when I think of Doctor Who and watch the new episodes
    Logopolis is never far away.

    My dad liked this episode and his impression of it has impacted my memory of it. I recently watched it a few months ago and while I could pick out all the deficiencies in the story I really didn’t care, I still enjoyed the craziness of it all. In the end that is what I really want out of Doctor Who. My apologies since this is a bit disjointed but this is where Doctor Who get more personal and interesting for me.

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  13. Martin Porter
    February 10, 2012 @ 10:48 am

    Propaganda Due!

    Now there's a story which if RTD had scripted it would have us all lambasting the lack of believability in his plots.

    Reply

  14. Dan
    February 10, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply

  15. Dan
    February 10, 2012 @ 10:56 am

    I'm assuming the assumption is that a society without government will possess a harmony in which the rule of law as defined is naturally and correctly applied, and the same with it's enforcement.

    I've always assumed it meant that the law applies without exception to all, so that governments, for example, can't go around breaking the law as they please. The law is above all.

    The idea of a "neutral" third party is a bit troublesome, but in the UK at least the courts are separate from the executive and legislature. It's a fundamental principle of our unwritten constitution and this separation was taken even further under the last Labour government. I think I prefer our justice system now to the kangaroo courts that might come about in some forms of social organisation. But I'm interested in how we might know it the would be guaranteed not to occur under anarchism.

    I haven't read all this post (yet), but it seems very fair, and perhaps given how seriously Season 18 seemed to take itself, perhaps it's appropriate that it's so serious (or not)! And I had never connected Jewish mysticism with Dr Who before… It may go down in legend.

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  16. John Toon
    February 10, 2012 @ 10:57 am

    I have a couple of follow-up thoughts:

    1) I have to disagree re Sarah Sutton, she actually strikes me as wooden through most of her run, and the lack of any meaningful reaction to the subversion of her father and the destruction of her entire world could be laid at her feet as much as at the writers' feet;

    and

    2) If you want to anticipate the following eight seasons, the charged TARDIS emboitement in Part One of Logopolis might seem a strangely apt metaphor for JNT's run as producer. The further down the iterations you go, the colder and darker and more desperate things become, but always with the dangled promise that eventually you'll break through and back into daylight. (And of course, eventually you do.)

    Reply

  17. Dan
    February 10, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    Nice post.

    Reply

  18. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 10, 2012 @ 11:08 am

    I think slamming Sutton's woodenness misses the effect she was going for. Remember how central to British self-mythology the image of the Royal Family remaining in London during the Blitz is. The image of nobility putting aside their own personal feelings for the greater good is an inherent part of the reason why the nobility is, well, noble.

    Choking up a bit and then getting on with it after your entire race is destroyed isn't wooden. It's tapping right into a fundamental image of British heroism. The problem is purely that she needed to eventually come back to the emotion. Not that she pushed through it in this story. And I think that evocation of the "keep calm and carry on" image of nobility was a wholly deliberate choice on her part, and that she hit it note perfect.

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  19. Alan
    February 10, 2012 @ 11:49 am

    A truly amazing entry, Phillip. I am awed. My biggest thoughts are as follows:

    1. First and foremost, I think the Problem of Nyssa is at least as great as the Problem of Susan. Susan's problem was that she was left behind to an uncertain destiny. Nyssa's problem was that her destiny was assured — one day, she would die, and then her race would be extinct, without the Doctor ever having taken any meaningful steps to secure justice for the extermination of her species. The Problem of Nyssa would hang over every future appearance of the Master and would even carry forward into the new series. I finally lost all patience with Tennant's Doctor at the end of "Last of the Time Lords." Not with that silliness where he got magical powers due to everyone on the planet thinking simultaneously about how much they loved him. But the very end, when the Doctor unilaterally decides that no one on Earth is fit to judge the Master for the murder of innumerable people, including a sitting U.S. President and the entire British cabinet. Instead, the Doctor will place him under house-arrest and try to rehabilitate him. I remember practically snarling at the TV when he said that: "Awesome! You two should totally go visit Nyssa on Terminus! You can all reminisce about that time the Master murdered Nyssa's father and then wore his corpse like a cheap suit for the next few years! And then you can have a good laugh over the fact that there were now exactly twice as many Timelords as there were Gallifreyans!"

    2. Upon rewatching it last week, I was amazed once again to realize how much I still liked Adric. Granted the acting is weak and he was a little annoying in the first episode because Bidmead did that incredibly annoying thing where the guy listening to the plot exposition repeats in a questioning tone the last word in each of the other guy's lines, because that's easier than writing dialogue. He rather foolishly assumes the Watcher is the Master, but then the Doctor, who knows the truth, steadfastly refuses to tell anyone anything for no reason except to spoil the surprise at the end of the story. He does snap at Tegan in one scene, but since I loathed Tegan (see below), I couldn't bring myself to care.

    The thing about Adric in this season that gets totally ruined in the next is that he provides a perspective on the Doctor that has never been seen before or since. Ian, Stephen and Ben were grown men, and while Jamie was younger, he had also been to war when the Doctor found him. Number Two was also a very childlike figure and there relationship was more like two irrepressible friends who simply had a significant age difference. Adric represented the first male figure in the Tardis who was young enough for the Doctor to have actually had a paternal relationship with him, and I quite enjoyed those scenes where the Doctor seems to be interacting with his son (as opposed to his daughter which was more often the case — see Two and Victoria, Three and Jo on occasion, definitely Seven and Ace). There was no point in this story or this season in which I didn't buy Adric as being the Robin to the Doctor’s Batman, both in the “let’s go fight evil” way and the “older guy takes in a youthful ward” way. Here, he cleverly helps the Doctor escape the police at the start of episode 2, he helps the Monitor identify the mistakes that have endangered the Doctor's life at the start of episode 3, and he is practically the only person who even tries to stop the Master's plan to shut down Logopolis. (Even the Doctor just stands there like a lump while the Master fiddles with his remote control; Jon Pertwee could have karate chopped him six times over.)

    I enjoy these interactions now, since we're only two stories away from the deliberate sabotage of a heretofore likeable character by JNT. (TBC)

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  20. Alan
    February 10, 2012 @ 11:54 am

    Cont.
    3. You mentioned the Doctor's odd interactions with the police in episode one. I was even more struck by the odd actions of the police. It is one of the hoariest old tropes in fiction for the protagonist to be thought a murderer because he is discovered standing over a dead body. But I have never seen this trope enacted in a situation in which the police could not possibly know that a murder had been committed. Yet here, the police are extremely hostile to the Doctor to the point of implying they don't want to see him get a fair trial … because he was found standing next to an abandoned car with two dolls sitting in the front seat?!? (I'll pass over for now the Master's apparent ability to invoke mindless terror in his victims by chuckling softly.)

    4. Last and least, there is Tegan.

    Sigh.

    We've only recently lost Romana. Before her was Leela, who IIRC only ever screamed once (when a giant rat was actually in the process of biting her on the leg) and who often had to be restrained from killing the villain before the Doctor had a chance to talk with him. In just the last story, we introduced Nyssa who staged as one-woman jailbreak to free all the male cast protagonists.

    And then there's Tegan, who broke down and cried in near hysteria because she got lost in a maze for about fifteen minutes. Tegan, who is prone to say things like "My Auntie Vanessa has been murdered! And what's worse, I'M LATE FOR WORK!!!" Tegan, who upon encountering a completely alien culture for the first time, immediately assumed the head alien was running a math-based sweatshop. Tegan, the living embodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect, who would spend all of this episode and most of the next two and a half years convinced that she was more competent than she was. (Consider that she'd have never entered the Tardis and Auntie Vanessa would likely still be alive if she'd only taken her auntie's advice and hailed down someone to help them change the flat tire that she clearly didn't know how to change — "Shouldn't you put a jack under there first, dear?"). Lord in Heaven, what a triumph for feminism she turned out to be. I swear, between Tegan, Peri and Mel, I truly believe that a case can be made that JNT was a misogynist.

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  21. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 10, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

    To be fair, finding an abandoned car with a doll of a police officer when you're looking for a missing police officer is about as suspicious as an actual corpse.

    But yes, I largely concur or sympathize with your remaining points.

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  22. Alan
    February 10, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

    To be fair, finding an abandoned car with a doll of a police officer when you're looking for a missing police officer is about as suspicious as an actual corpse.

    My criminal law professor would beg to differ, I think.:) It was just such an odd scene. The investigating officer really seemed to be playing it like there were supposed to be mutilated corpses there instead of some frankly adorable little doll. I've wondered if the script actually failed to make it clear to the actor what he was supposed to be talking about and after rehearsing the scene thinking he was standing next to a bloody double homicide, he just decided to go with it on the set.

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  23. BerserkRL
    February 10, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

    SK,

    either someone enforces that rule, in which case you have not got anarchy; or the stronger party in the dispute will merely refuse to appoint a neutral arbiter, in which case you haven't got the rule of law.

    But if we look at real-world cases of nonstate legal systems, neither of those options is what happens. In some cases the rule is enforced, not by some one agency, but by people generally. In other cases the rule is not enforced at all, but people comply with it because of practices of boycotting those who don't.

    For that matter, even in state legal systems, there's no literal final arbiter, and yet no rule by the strongest either.

    I think also it's quite tendentious to claim that neutral arbiters are 'the fundamental principle of the rule of law' — I would have said that the fundamental principle of the rule of law is that the same laws should apply to everyone, ie, it's about the laws, not about who arbitrates them.

    I was thinking of standard arguments for the rule of law as e.g. in Locke. But in any case your fundamental principle entails mine.

    Dan,

    in the UK at least the courts are separate from the executive and legislature

    That's certainly an improvement over systems where they're not thus separate. All the same, it's not pure rule of law inasmuch as they're all prt of the same monopoly system.

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  24. BerserkRL
    February 10, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

    Alan,

    Well, given that the Doctor is essentially a Christ figure during the RTD era (and even more broadly, the Doctor is anti-retribution most of the time, though admittedly not all of the time), I don't really see anything incongruous in his forgiving and seeking to redeem the Master. It doesn't mean we're not supposed to take the Master's crimes seriously; on the contrary, the scene gets its power only against the background of the Master's crimes.

    Plus there's the additional wrinkle of the Master's being the only survivor of the Doctor's own act of genocide; he could hardly be expected to view the Master without feeling guilt himself.

    Btw, when you say "twice as many Timelords as there were Gallifreyans" I think you mean "twice as many Timelords as there were Trakenites."

    Reply

  25. WGPJosh
    February 10, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

    I adore Gareth Roberts, but I have to agree here. Good writers can have bad days.

    I haven't actually commented on the entry itself as of this writing…I need some more time to mull it out…:-)

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  26. inkdestroyedmybrush
    February 10, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

    Logopolis is a huge monument of different storytelling, so much so that Philip very accurately identifies it as the culmination of a shift of focus away from the the most popular Doctor ever.

    "The problem of Baker" is resolved here by diminishing him to inaction. It really does feel like the fourth body of the Doctor has lived out all the adventures we've seen on TV as well as allt he books that were written as well as the comics that were drawn. Its easy to imagine him living for hundreds of years in that body before knowing that his past was catching up to him. (It is as easy to imagine Troughton in season 6a having many more years of adventures besides what we saw, such was his zest for life) If Baker inhabited the image of the 4th doctor with himself more than most any of the other actors, then the sullen resignation of his leaving puts him even closer to the moment than the prior actors in the role. The story and the moment of departure has cowed him into being smaller, lost in the maze of the script that essentially pairs his options down to nothing. The irrepressible younger Baker would never have stood for it.

    JNT's reign could be summed up by abriging the phrase, "sound and fury, signifying nothing". All story arcs will be hinted at and lost, continuity and spectacle existing for sake of momentary enjoyment and then nothing. Doctor Who will become the equivalent of a one night stand, and one that, increasingly, you'll participate in with regret and the need for alcohol.

    The idea of recursion is an interesting one in the days of syndication. We can relive the moments again and again as well. Dangerous that. As with the Dalek Master Plan X-Mas episode, it was best to be viewed once. No recursion there.

    Excellent thoughts. Quite right noting that not one of Baker's episodes involves his Doctor in an emotionally weak moment (although Deadly Assassin requires a greater emotional role since he has no one to off that on). It was a style of TV that he embodied then, although I believe that he certainly could have given the right script. I have often tried to imagine his Doctor in "Midnight", Trying to use his persuasive powers to calm the shuttle passengers and failing, falling victim to the possession. I think that he would have been masterful at that episode. Hinchcliffe would have certainly bought that script. And liked that it only had one set!

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  27. Alan
    February 10, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

    Btw, when you say "twice as many Timelords as there were Gallifreyans" I think you mean "twice as many Timelords as there were Trakenites."

    Gah! Yes, I reviewed that post three times before hitting post and still missed that.

    Reply

  28. Alan
    February 10, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

    Anyway, topic: Yes, RTD treated Ten as a Christ-like figure which was awesome because that's not the most cliched thing ever. Neo was a Christ figure! The problem with that scene is that Christ came to forgive us for our sins committed against God, whereas Ten came to forgive the Master for sins committed against other people, and I don't think he has the right to do that.

    The real issue is that it creates the problem that TV Tropes identifies as "Joker Immunity." To wit: Batman cannot even try to kill the Joker without losing his good guy status, but since Batman is unwilling to kill the Joker (who will inevitably escape from Arkham to kill again), Batman bears some responsibility for the Joker's future crimes. In the real world, prison escapes are incredibly rare, as are escapes from mental health facilities. In DC comics, the Joker escapes from maximum security on average once ever 18 months or so (the frequency of Joker stories, I think), which means that Batman's victory over the Joker is ultimately meaningless.

    Or to put that another way, allowing the villain to perpetually escape any kind of justice no matter what his crimes because he's such a cool villain is dramatically flawed because it ultimately renders the hero ineffectual.

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  29. Anton B
    February 11, 2012 @ 12:08 am

    Stunning. I will enjoy returning to this tour de force and shuffling the deck. In fact never mind a book what about finding a suitable artist and publishing a deck of Doctor Who Tarot cards. I'd buy one.

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  30. Ben
    February 11, 2012 @ 12:19 am

    This was the story my dad chose to introduce me to Doctor Who when it was repeated before Castravalva and I was all of four (but nearly five! as I'd have said then) years old. It blew me away. I finally figured out from this blog that we'd watched Buck Rogers the previous year and I also see how it grounded me by giving me a crash course in sci-fi and TV cliche which would allow me to appreciate this properly. If I'd started on this it would've seemed normal.

    As it was I remember it really well. I joined the Tardis with Teegan and was all set for the usual sci-fi stuff only to have the good guys lose, half the universe destroyed and The Doctor die and turn into someone else. I couldn't understand it all but it was vast and intricate and mystical. It stuck in my head and though I forgot the name of the story, years later I was always fascinated by the word logos.

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  31. Ben
    February 11, 2012 @ 12:33 am

    They looked like dolls to us because they were in fact …. dolls! However they were supposed to be actual compressed dead flesh (ugh) which would be odd seeming at least. Also, the police aren't arresting him, but detaining him for questioning. They threaten to arrest him, but in my experience they do that even when they can't. I called them on this once and they apologised. Well, they didn't actually apologise, so much as glower but I took it as such.

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  32. Anton B
    February 11, 2012 @ 12:36 am

    By the way I've been following your blog (and Doctor Who for that matter)from the beginning and occasionally commenting. I've not always had time to praise everything you post but I'd like to say here how impressive this has been so far. Pretty much agree with all your interpretations and am intrigued by the Hermetic subtext you seem to have revealed. It makes me wonder as someone who grew up with Hartnell's Doctor how much my own interest in magic (both types since you ask) was primed by Doctor Who. All protesters that magic has no place in the Whoniverse really haven't been paying attention.

    "There are only two magic tricks. You either make something appear or make something disappear. You put it in the box or you take it out."

    That's as good a description of Doctor Who (both the show and the man)as I've ever read.

    The Doctor is a Magician. The actors who have and will portray him are Conjurors.

    (A Conjuror is an Actor pretending to be a Magician).

    The Doctor's act usually goes like this –

    A box appears a man gets out. He produces something from his pocket (a wand? A sonic screwdriver?) and makes something else appear or disappear. His 'glamorous assistant' is locked in a box. He opens the box. She is gone. He makes other stuff appear and disappear. His assistant re-appears. Finally he and his assistant get in a box and they and the box disappear.

    This is why the Doctor is so often at home in circuses, in thetres and around show people. He is a conjuror pretending to be an actor pretending to be a magician. Or is it the other way round?

    Boxes within boxes within boxes

    As above so below.

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  33. Janjy Giggins
    February 11, 2012 @ 12:54 am

    I think it's quite productive to think about Logopolis in terms of the rise of systems theory in the social sciences and humanities at this time. It offers a slightly different angle on a lot of the points that have been made her and for the last few weeks.

    People are very quick to focus on the fact that Bidmead was interested in computers and to identify the various reflections of this in the stories he was involved with. That's not wrong, but this blog has done a wonderful job of showing that that's a rather simplistic way of approaching what he was attempting to do.

    What I want to add is that this – and Logopolis in particular – ties into a wider current in much academic thought at this time. In a process beginning much earlier but reaching its heyday in the late 70s and 80s, sociologists and those in related disciplines (I'm an archaeologist myself so that's where I'm approaching it from) began to extend the approaches used for conceiving of and modelling literal, mechanical systems to other areas, and in particular to society and human interaction. Rather than being composed of people with free will, societies were seen as systems composed of subsystems whose action and interaction were governed by feedback responses and the nature of their role in the system. That's putting it quite simplistically, of course, and systems theories varied and developed quite a lot during the 20th century.

    This kind of theory has been quite influential in how people have thought about societal 'collapse', and later in the decade Joseph Tainter published a book looking at the fall of ancient societies in an explicitly systems-theoretical way. The emphasis is on the spiralling costs and diminishing benefits of integrating diverse subsystems into a coherent system, with collapse as the inevitable endpoint which can only ever be postponed. In short, it posits that societies rise and fall because of entropy in closed systems. This book didn't come out till 1988, so I'm not claiming it influenced Bidmead in any direct way. Rather, they're both coming from an intellectual trend where society and the wider world is conceived of in a mechanistic and scientistic way.

    It's a rather obvious point to say that Logopolis explicitly presents this vision of the universe. It's not just a computer-inspired set of logic games and flights of fancy but a response to a way real people thought societies worked. But I think what's more interesting is the tension between this and what had come before, and how the decision to embrace systems theory during Season 18 works for the programme.

    Systems theory – especially in the fairly 'pure' form it still had for many social scientists in the 70s and 80s – has two big problems as a model for society. It can't easily deal with individual agency: with the person as someone who might act in unexpected or capricious ways that aren't necessarily governed by a rationally-constituted cost-benefit analysis or which aren't responses to 'feedback'. Instead it's functionalist. People's actions are explained purely in terms of their role within the system: 'villains and allies alike… are defined ontologically, in ways stemming entirely out of the story's structure.'

    (contd.)

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  34. Janjy Giggins
    February 11, 2012 @ 12:55 am

    (contd.)

    The second problem is that systems theories don't cope well with change. Even as they posit entropy which will eventually lead to disintegration, the nature of the models tends towards equilibrium. Feedback mechanisms perpetuate themselves and the System is monolithic, reified and eternal.

    But capriciousness, agency and irrationality are the hallmarks of the Doctor. By his nature he doesn't fit into the systems. He might be reduced to his functionalist role in a system of narrative, but to explain him in functionalist terms is to miss the point of what he is. And, as Phil noted when he was discussing the Key to Time season, he's got a very uneasy relationship with equilibrium. More often than not, the Doctor is an agent of change, which any programme about time-travel must surely hold as fundamental.

    So to put the Doctor in a systems-theory universe is, paradoxically, to place him in a functionalist vision of the world but to rob him of his role, to deny him his agency and
    constrain him to limited action of stimulus and response. The whole nature of the way the universe works in Logopolis is part of the process of chipping away at Baker's show. Phil noted the upturn in postmodern elements early in the Hinchcliffe era and how these escalated as we went through Williams'. But now this postmodern Doctor's forced into a world which simply and explicitly doesn't work that way. It's modernist-functionalist through and through.

    And I think what's really important is that Bidmead recognises this incompatability. As much as he might believe in systems theory – and I'm sure he does – it's telling that when the Doctor Who universe is explicitly portrayed in such terms, it's a death-sentence. A confirmation that it can't go on like that and is doomed. For one of the first times in the series (as far as I can remember), the whole fate of existence – and by extension of the show itself – is at stake. It served Bidmead's interests and the show's purposes to diminish the Doctor by denying his postmodern universe of symbols and agency, but Logopolis is the acknowledgement that as the status-quo of the series, systems theory is a dead end. The Doctor gives his life to put an end to it.

    Reply

  35. Andrew Hickey
    February 11, 2012 @ 1:04 am

    "The second problem is that systems theories don't cope well with change. Even as they posit entropy which will eventually lead to disintegration, the nature of the models tends towards equilibrium. Feedback mechanisms perpetuate themselves and the System is monolithic, reified and eternal."

    Aren't you ignoring Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety here? That makes it clear that a control system can only work if it's at least as flexible as the most unpredictable element of the system it's trying to control. It's the most basic law of cynernetics, but it's one which a lot of systems thinkers (not the good ones) try their best to ignore.

    Of course, Ashby's Law is mathematically equivalent to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, so in effect the same thing that will eventually destroy us – entropy – is the only thing that guarantees us our freedom…

    Reply

  36. Dave Kielpinski
    February 11, 2012 @ 1:45 am

    The structure of this post is very interesting, but I have to confess I gave up on following the sections back and forth.

    Would you consider using hyperlinks between the sections instead?

    Reply

  37. zapruder313
    February 11, 2012 @ 5:06 am

    Great, great post: and how lovely to see that the Comments section has generated not one, but two of the most insightful quotes on Doctor Who that I have ever read:

    inkdestroyedmybrush: "Doctor Who will become the equivalent of a one night stand, and one that, increasingly, you'll participate in with regret and the need for alcohol."

    It's funny 'cause it's true. Hilarious and apposite!

    Anton B: "A box appears a man gets out. He produces something from his pocket (a wand? A sonic screwdriver?) and makes something else appear or disappear. His 'glamorous assistant' is locked in a box. He opens the box. She is gone. He makes other stuff appear and disappear. His assistant re-appears. Finally he and his assistant get in a box and they and the box disappear."

    Utterly brilliant. Don't suppose you'd consider expanding this paragraph into a full-scale essay?

    Reply

  38. elvwood
    February 11, 2012 @ 5:40 am

    For the benefit of any IFers here, I've thrown together an interactive fiction version of this blog entry. Hope you don't mind, Philip! You can find it here.

    Hope it's useful…

    Reply

  39. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 11, 2012 @ 5:42 am

    I've no problem in the abstract, but if you wouldn't mind expressly noting that the text is copyright to me and including the url of my blog I would greatly appreciate both gestures.

    Reply

  40. Dan
    February 11, 2012 @ 9:10 am

    Perhaps he had been hypnotised by the Master to think they were corpses? It's all sounds a bit dreamlike (not having seen it since 1981).

    Reply

  41. Matthew Blanchette
    February 11, 2012 @ 9:13 am

    What is a .gblorb? My computer won't open it… :-S

    Reply

  42. elvwood
    February 11, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    Philip, I've added an explicit copyright message (the text was already credited to you) and the url.

    Matthew, gblorb is an adventure game format. I've re-released it with a webpage here, containing a Javascript interpreter so that you can just play it in your browser (though it seems to mess up the centred palindromic text at the start); otherwise you need to install an interpreter such as Zoom (Mac/Linux), Spatterlight (Mac), Gargoyle or Glulxe (Windows) – I've only tried it on the last two. It's probably not worth doing unless you're going to play other IF!

    Reply

  43. Dan
    February 11, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

    Is the Platonic concept of mathematics explicitly to be found in the kabbalah?

    Reply

  44. Matthew Blanchette
    February 11, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

    VERY nice, elvwood! Looks good, so far… 😀

    Reply

  45. Matthew Blanchette
    February 11, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

    So, Philip, you going to do a few "gap" entries on the gap year between the respective transmissions of "Logopolis" and "Castrovalva"?

    Reply

  46. Anton B
    February 11, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

    Thankyou. That's praise indeed considering the company I'm keeping here. When I've got time I would like to expand on the concept. It's about locating the tipping point where belief in 'magic' became belief in empiricism or science. Somewhere around the nineteenth century I suspect. (A bit later than the usual 18th C Enlightenment locus). The pop culture manifestation was the rise in popularity of the stage conjuror. I've always thought the Doctor had the whiff of the Egyptian Hall about him.

    Reply

  47. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 12, 2012 @ 4:51 am

    Castrovalva is not going up Monday, no.

    Reply

  48. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 12, 2012 @ 4:51 am

    Very little is "explicitly" to be found in the Kabbalah.

    Reply

  49. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 12, 2012 @ 4:52 am

    Thanks, elwood – I quite love it. 🙂

    Reply

  50. Zapruder 313
    February 12, 2012 @ 5:42 am

    This sounds fascinating and is, I believe, largely un-remarked upon (at least, in detail) in relation to our show.

    We all know that the TARDIS is "really" Digory Kirke's wardrobe, made of the wood of the Narnian apple tree; but, as you point out, it is also "really" John Nevil Maskelyne's magical cabinet.

    I greatly look forward to reading your expanded thoughts on the subject!

    Reply

  51. Dan
    February 12, 2012 @ 9:13 am

    Thanks, for what it's worth I see the relevance now I've done a bit more research.

    Reply

  52. BerserkRL
    February 12, 2012 @ 9:49 am

    Christ came to forgive us for our sins committed against God, whereas Ten came to forgive the Master for sins committed against other people, and I don't think he has the right to do that.

    I'm pretty sure Christ is supposed to forgive people for all sins. And that he told his followers to do likewise.

    Anyway, it's not like the Doctor is just going to let the Master go. He's going to keep him imprisoned. Is there something more he should do? Torture him? Pluck out his fingernails?

    Batman's victory over the Joker is ultimately meaningless.

    I don't see that. Even if there's no final victory, every 18 months that the Joker is in prison is 18 months he's not killing people.

    Reply

  53. BerserkRL
    February 12, 2012 @ 9:54 am

    A lot of systems theory was already around a century earlier in Herbert Spencer.

    Reply

  54. BerserkRL
    February 12, 2012 @ 9:59 am

    Will you be doing a "K-9 and Company" entry?

    And do you have thoughts on when in the Doctor's personal chronology he sent K-9 to Sarah? Was the 4th or 5th at the time? Seems like he couldn't have done it when he was still in eSpace.

    Reply

  55. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 12, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    K-9 and Company is one of the entries that will appear before Castrovalva. I have no particular thoughts on when the Doctor sent K-9 to Sarah, but if forced to think about it I'd assume it was between The Invasion of Time and The Ribos Operation. After all, if you're building one, why not build a second? And that's still close enough to when he'd last seen Sarah that the act of sentimentality makes some sense.

    Reply

  56. Adam Riggio
    February 12, 2012 @ 10:13 am

    One of the many, many things I find interesting about this post is the iconography. There are particular images that, as Doctor Who fans explore more of the show's history, ordinarily insignificant images become powerful emotional triggers. In my case, long scarves, bow ties, umbrellas, and of course police boxes, have become associated with joy and confidence.

    It's not even just the images that are on the screen, but the images that came out of the production of the show. Badly clashing coats and Hawaiian shirts give me chills, and not just because of their visual ugliness. Not only the content of the broadcast, but the whole history of its production in the BBC and wider culture is inseparable from the Doctor Who story. You can't understand the fictional narrative of Doctor Who without understanding Philip Hinchcliffe's firing and the production problems that followed it. And you can't understand why Hinchcliffe was fired without understanding the UK conservative movement. Which is, of course, your point, Phil.

    Reply

  57. elvwood
    February 12, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    Philip wrote: Thanks, elwood – I quite love it. 🙂

    Cool! Consider it my way of giving something back. Well, that and buying the book version(s).

    I think straight text on a computer screen is, unfortunately, the worst of both worlds when it comes to a CYOA. You lack the ability to flip to the right section physically, and you don't have the convenience of hyperlinks. I could have just converted it to a webpage, but where's the fun in that when I could do something more… nostalgic for the 80s?

    I'm not saying you shouldn't have done it, BTW – I've really enjoyed following various paths (particularly once I converted it). It's just run up against a limitation of the blog medium.

    Reply

  58. BerserkRL
    February 12, 2012 @ 11:37 am

    Makes sense. I certainly prefer it to be the 4th rather than the 5th.

    Reply

  59. Axel Brass
    February 12, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

    That was mind-shuttling. When I hit the section where I died and then came out the other side I felt like I'd regenerated.

    I wonder how this'll play out in book form? I'd like hypertext in the ebook, if I'm allowed to make requests. Anyway, I have to review The Hartnell years on Amazon now.

    I love this post, and page generally, even – especially – when I don't know what to make of it. Since my brain is a-racing, I'll paraphrase my gratitude:

    It's a strange blog. Let's keep it that way.

    Reply

  60. Alan
    February 12, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

    Part 1
    I'm trying to figure out how to put this without sounding like a death penalty supporter, because I unambiguously am not. I would prefer to see the death penalty abolished completely in America. This is because I live in America, where it is perfectly feasible to contain someone in a maximum security prison for the rest of his natural life, and so killing a convicted murderer serves no purpose except revenge. If, OTOH, I lived in the fictional universe of Gotham City, where the Joker is apparently capable of escaping nearly at will and every single time he does, he runs up a death toll higher than the worst real world serial killers before getting captured, punched in the face and put back in the same cell, I might reconsider my opposition to the death penalty. I definitely would if my concerns about less stringent punishments were met by death penalty opponents saying "look on the bright side, that's 18 months that you DON'T have to worry about your loved ones being reduced to grinning corpses." That is the essence of the Joker immunity problem — that Batman appears ineffectual if the best he can do is provide a brief respite from the Joker's killing sprees. The Joker HAS to escape to remain a viable villain (and he really is the best Batman villain so he's going to escape), but the fact that he escapes and that he will never get anything worse than a punch in the face from Batman followed by being led back to Arkham in time for jello is an indictment not just on Batman but the whole judicial system. I mean, a societal rule that allows for serial killers to continue serial killing is, by definition, a bad rule, isn't it.

    I'm pretty sure Christ is supposed to forgive people for all sins. And that he told his followers to do likewise.

    Living in a Bible Belt death-penalty state, I find that statement sadly ironic when I contemplate the contortions my fellow citizens go through to justify the death penalty. More importantly, are you saying that Nyssa should simply forgive the Master for his crimes? The murder and cannibalization of her father followed by the extermination of her species? Is she a bad person if she refuses to do so and chooses to seek revenge against him? I might or might not forgive my father's murderer, but I think I'd be a bit put out if someone else whom I considered a friend were to say to me "don't worry, I've already forgiven him for you."
    (cont.)

    Reply

  61. Alan
    February 12, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

    Anyway, it's not like the Doctor is just going to let the Master go. He's going to keep him imprisoned. Is there something more he should do? Torture him? Pluck out his fingernails?

    What do you think I am, a Republican? No, I don't think the Master should be tortured. I am simply commenting on (1) the inadequacy of imprisonment for one of universal history's greatest monsters and (2) the arrogance with which the Doctor assumes total responsibility for making that decision in the first place.

    First of all, if the Doctor has anything more than naked contempt for the human race, he should have acknowledged that the people of Earth have the right to subject the Master for punishment for his crimes, including but not limited to the assassination of the President of the United States and of the MP's who made up nearly the entirety of the British government. That's assuming we don't punish him for a deliberate genocide against the human race that was qualitatively worse than what Hitler enacted simply because the Doctor retroactively undid it all. Viewed in that light, shepherding him away into the Tardis for "house arrest" because he's the only one worthy of deciding the Master's fate reflects very poorly on the Doctor, IMO.

    That said, if the Doctor is the only one entitled to decide the Master's fate, it had better be a damn sight better than "house arrest." The Master represents an existential threat to the whole universe. Unless the Doctor has something comparable to the Pandorica to hold the Master in, then frankly, I do think he's obligated to kill the Master. Because if he goes with "house arrest" and the Master escapes, how can the Doctor not be considered partial liable for his future killings. And it's pretty obvious he will escape, if only because Ten is so emotionally besotted with him that making some mistake in containment is inevitable.

    I don't see that. Even if there's no final victory, every 18 months that the Joker is in prison is 18 months he's not killing people.

    Then, by that logic, killing the Joker would be a greater victory, since he would never kill anyone again. Honestly, if one of your loved ones were brutally murdered by the Joker — after his 39th escape from jail! — and Batman were to show up at the funeral and say "don't worry, he won't do that to anyone else for at least 18 months," what would you say?!?

    Reply

  62. inkdestroyedmybrush
    February 12, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

    Axel, FYI i've been posting different Planetary characters on my art blog for three days now…

    http://inkdestroyedmybrush.blogspot.com/2012/02/sketch-day-20-john-stone-from-planetary.html

    Reply

  63. 5tephe
    February 12, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

    Hells bells, Phil! You are insane. You are wonderful.

    You are definitely a mad man with a blog.

    Oh, and "Harry, I'm standing on a signifier." is a moment of unalloyed genius.

    Reply

  64. Ian Caldwell
    February 12, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

    A Choose your own Adventure game? You Could use a world map!

    I've measured it in all 37 dimensions and devised this:

    http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww234/aka4x7b/LogoPolis.jpg

    Hope this aids in navigation. Start at the top and head down … down … down …

    Reply

  65. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 13, 2012 @ 6:32 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply

  66. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 13, 2012 @ 6:33 am

    http://www.ancientquest.com/assets/treeoflife.gif is also a fairly good map of it, though I handled Da'ath differently.

    Reply

  67. SK
    February 13, 2012 @ 7:10 am

    Reply

  68. Matthew Blanchette
    February 13, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

    I'm surprised you didn't try to analyze David Fisher's original Kabbalist influences back when you wrote on City of Death — the species was originally called the Sephiroth; i.e., the 10 attributes/emanations in Kabbalah through which God created the world and/or manifests.

    Go down the rabbit hole a bit, who knows what you can find… 😉

    Reply

  69. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 13, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

    That was mainly because, frankly, I think you just captured a solid 90% of what's Kabbalistic about City of Death. 🙂

    Reply

  70. sleepyscholar
    February 13, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

    A message from a lurker who massively appreciates this whole work:

    Overly pedantic and trivial it may be, but CYOA was an American phenomenon. I think mention of Fighting Fantasy would have been apposite, not least because the Virgin Books DW line editor, Peter Darvill-Evans, wrote some Fighting Fantasies, as well as co-writing the Doctor Who rolegame Timelord with Ian Marsh. He was also my first boss…

    (I confess to being an interested party in this, as the author of a couple of FFs myself)

    Reply

  71. Andrew Hickey
    February 14, 2012 @ 3:47 am

    While the CYOA books were primarily published in the US, they certainly weren't unknown over here – when I was a kid everyone preferred Fighting Fantasy of course (because it was the 2000AD to CYOA's Superman comics, far more violent and funny) but CYOA were still far better than TSR's Find Your Fate series, which were also available.

    More to the point, though, CYOA has become a generic term used online to discuss all these types of books. And of course there was no way Philip was going to write a dice simulator to get the full Fighting Fantasy effect. (Maybe an I Ching simulator would have been more appropriate?)

    Reply

  72. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 14, 2012 @ 3:51 am

    Fighting Fantasy also debuted in 1982 and would have been anachronistic for this post.

    Reply

  73. Matthew Blanchette
    February 14, 2012 @ 6:57 am

    I dunno; the whole fragmented Scaroth (originally Scorath, apparently) seems to try and do some sort of Kabbalistic metaphor (out of the multiple fragments form the whole, etc.) — but also, I think a lot of what Fisher wrote still remains in the script (for example, large hatted gunmen which seem out-of-place in 1979 Paris but would've fit right in with 1920s Monte Carlo)… really, only the names and dialogue were changed, and the plot immensely simplified.

    He's not given enough credit, I think.

    Reply

  74. Janjy Giggins
    February 16, 2012 @ 5:43 am

    BerserkRL – Yes, I think I did say it started much earlier (if I didn't, I meant to), but it was certainly very popular around this time in certain academic circles and was influencing wider culture. And indeed Culture – there's a fair bit of it in some of Iain M Banks' novels for instance. I don't think it's that much of a leap to imagine someone like Bidmead might have had a passing familiarity with it.

    Reply

  75. Guy Incognito
    February 17, 2012 @ 9:30 am

    That was an amazing production Philip. I know you are intimately familiar with it, but for those who aren't, if you liked this post, you will like Alan Moore's Promethea.

    Reply

  76. Ian Caldwell
    February 19, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

    Reply

  77. Alex Wilcock
    February 28, 2012 @ 2:27 am

    It’s Logopolis’ birthday today (woo hoo), so I thought I’d pop in a little congratulation – it seems perverse to celebrate one tiny piece of what you have above, but I was struck by the equation of the Watcher with the viewer, making us all complicit in every terrible thing that happens. I thought that was rather clever.

    Though, in terms of the storytelling of the series, I prefer the argument that the Doctor(s) isn’t responsible for the death of a third of the Universe, but for saving two thirds of it.

    Reply

  78. Alex Wilcock
    February 28, 2012 @ 2:28 am

    Celebrating Logopolis’ birthday (woo hoo), I thought I’d chip in with a very silly but slightly plausible explanation: “Give Sarah Jane Smith my fondest love…” That doesn’t sound like any Doctor Sarah knew back then. So, which Doctor left it? From his surprise at K9 in School Reunion and his habit of round-the-companion tours, surely Mr Tennant pops back retrospectively.

    Reply

  79. Henry R. Kujawa
    May 8, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

    Philip Sandifer:
    "This from a show that is increasingly obsessed with continuity – with nods to the past. But only the spectacle of the past – the montage of past characters, the nods to past stories, the return of past monsters. Never to a sense of history, to a sense that the characters change or have any sort of dramatic arcs. Never to anything that isn't chum for the narrow segment of people who give a flying fuck if the Cybermen ever return. That's what killed the program. That's why it goes under. Because in the end, John Nathan-Turner doesn't care about the program beyond as a succession of images."

    Here here. It took the virtual apocalypse (the deaths of Holmes, Marter & Troughton, the resignation of Saward, the firing of Colin Baker & the willful deceit of the BBC), before things turned around. The sort of character growth last seen with Ian & Barbara (well, and maybe Jo Grant and Romana) didn't return until Ace. When such a thoroughly unlikeable character can grow before your eyes into a firm favorite… that's magic.

    "Why does Nyssa, who previously showed no particular awareness of the TARDIS, now have the capacity to send a message to it, to toll the bell for the Doctor?
    Why does the Watcher appear here and here alone of all of the Doctor's regenerations?
    What happened to the rules about TARDISes materializing within one another? And what the hell is the Doctor thinking with his flushing out the TARDIS scheme?
    Is the Master not chaotic even as motiveless malignancies go?
    Why is Logopolis mirroring late 20th century Earth technology for their brilliant plan to save the universe?
    Where are the Guardians? Or the Time Lords?
    Why does the Doctor think that his method of dealing with the police is remotely sensible?
    How exactly does the Doctor plan on perfectly modeling the measurements of a Police Box that is obviously of a different design from the one the TARDIS looks like?
    Why does shrinking the exterior of the TARDIS affect the interior? It's already bigger on the inside.
    Why is the Watcher willing to send the Doctor to Logopolis when doing so obliterates a large swath of the universe, including inhabited worlds? And why is this never mentioned again?"

    YEAH. Good questions.

    Reply

  80. Henry R. Kujawa
    May 8, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

    Alan:
    "I have never seen this trope enacted in a situation in which the police could not possibly know that a murder had been committed. Yet here, the police are extremely hostile to the Doctor to the point of implying they don't want to see him get a fair trial … because he was found standing next to an abandoned car with two dolls sitting in the front seat?!?"

    YEAH. That too.

    "And then there's Tegan, who broke down and cried in near hysteria because she got lost in a maze for about fifteen minutes. Tegan, who is prone to say things like "My Auntie Vanessa has been murdered! And what's worse, I'M LATE FOR WORK!!!""

    I know that, somehow, someway, Tegan was created after both Leela & Sarah turned down invites to come back. And the BBC & JNT were looking into a co-financing deal with Australia. But really… as if Adric wasn't bad enough…

    "I swear, between Tegan, Peri and Mel, I truly believe that a case can be made that JNT was a misogynist."

    Strangely enough, I never knew until a couple months ago that JNT was gay. I wonder if that had anything at all to do with it? 😀

    Dan:
    "Perhaps he had been hypnotised by the Master to think they were corpses?"

    That would have made sense. But with all the other holes in this script… gee, it really begins to look like Chris Bidmead was about 100 times better at being a story editor than being a story writer. (The exact opposite of Eric Saward.)

    Philip Sandifer:
    "K-9 and Company is one of the entries that will appear before Castrovalva. I have no particular thoughts on when the Doctor sent K-9 to Sarah, but if forced to think about it I'd assume it was between The Invasion of Time and The Ribos Operation. After all, if you're building one, why not build a second? And that's still close enough to when he'd last seen Sarah that the act of sentimentality makes some sense."

    Makes sense. He'd been in that crate for some time before she opened it.

    Reply

  81. Kat42
    July 14, 2012 @ 2:02 am

    Oooh I think I might play with that idea if you don't mind. I'm happy to work on Doctor Who related projects with others as well, but if not, I might just do some of the cards just for fun. 🙂

    Reply

  82. Froborr
    October 1, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

    Ow.

    Ow ow ow ow.

    Owwwwwwwww.

    This makes my brain hurt. In all the best ways possible… but what an evil trap to set for people trying to read through your archives… this article will take DAYS to explore!

    Reply

  83. Alphapenguin
    October 22, 2012 @ 10:39 am

    I just reread this today. I found I got a lot more out of it on the next reading, but now I've got "That's Entertainment" stuck in my head. I HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY!

    Reply

  84. Elizabeth Sandifer
    October 22, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    I'm happy. Hope you're happy too?

    Reply

  85. Daru
    March 14, 2013 @ 1:37 am

    Hi Philip – I love the coincidence that the website (ancientquest.com) is that of my Medieval Historian and musician friend Karen Ralls.

    SO late to reply on this thread I know – but adore this entry – especially the I.F version!

    I am an artist and professional storyteller – and I found your use of imagery very strong and inspiring personally. Much regards for a great piece of work.

    Reply

  86. David Gerard
    December 1, 2013 @ 1:11 am

    And don't forget! "That's Entertainment" was not actually released as a 7" in the UK. It became a chart hit in the UK purely on copies shipped in from Europe.

    Reply

  87. Andrew Bowman
    May 8, 2014 @ 1:35 am

    The difficulty with the "death of the Master" (or the "death of the Joker") is what happens next? Do people stop being killed? No, of course not. The answer then is that another, very similar, character needs to be created. Problem there, of course, is that there's no real need, in dramatic terms, to do that if you already have the template available. I agree that the notion of "18 months in/18 months out" or whatever is, in principle, flawed, but both the Master and the Joker sell their respective stories. Otherwise, the nearly-identical replacement will just raise the question, "why didn't they use the Master/Joker?" To get all het up about it is peculiar, as it's a fairly straightforward (On UK telly at least) plot device: let's bring back so-and-so, he/she's popular and will boost the ratings. That sort of thing 🙂

    Reply

  88. Albrecht
    December 2, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

    The woman does not produce or give birth, instead she expels. … wwrestlingshoes.blogspot.com

    Reply

  89. Herrmann
    December 7, 2014 @ 9:04 am

    For some people, simply put, it's not Doctor Who after Tom Baker leaves. It's true that even in the most optimistic reading things get bad more … opoolleafvacuum.blogspot.com

    Reply

  90. Henry R. Kujawa
    October 21, 2015 @ 11:22 am

    In my latest DOCTOR WHO marathon– this time, watching the individual episodes for the 1st time since the 80s (I have “Inferno” up to “Terminus” that way). I just reached the point where I was painfully reminded that the writing FELL RIGHT OFF A CLIFF.

    Yep… “LOGOPOLIS”.

    I swear… Christopher Bidmead is like the exact opposite of Eric Saward. He’s a MUCH better story editor than he ever was a writer. Plus, this was his first of ONLY 3 scripts he ever did on his own. And it was a rush job. What you get is a mixture of fascinating ideas… and REALLY terrible characterization and dialogue. Tom Baker, Mathew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton, Anthony Ainley… all were wonderful in “The Keeper Of Traken”. Yes, even “Adric”. And NONE of them come off good in this one. In fact, more than ever before, I was renminded of what a WONDEFFUL character “Tremas” was… so intelligent, reasonable, warm… he deserved better. He deserved a return appearance… not to be MURDERED so that a ONE-dimensional erratic bad parody of Roger Delgado should take his place.

    Frankly, I think they only come off looking acceptable because Janet Fielding– who I KNOW is a nice person off-camera– came across as such a TOTAL B**** as “Tegan” (my LEAST-favorite WHO companion of all time).

    I swear, the ONLY actor in this who comes across well in this is, surprisingly, John Fraser as “The Monitor”.

    Looking back, I wish to God that John Nathan-Turner had left after this one year. Because I KNOW… as wonderful as Peter Davison is as a person and as an actor… the BULK of his 3 years was EVEN WORSE than this. BAD writing, BAD directing, BAD acting across the board.

    This time around, I’ve been skiping any stories I just don’t like. I managed to get all the way through Tom Baker’s 7 years and ONLY skip one single story (one that I simply have seen too damn many times for something that horrifically downbeat and disturbing). I’m wondering if I’ll even watch HALF of Davison’s stories?

    I know one thing… as soon as I’m done with his, I’ll be pulling out CAMPION to watch again. Man, I LOVE that show!!!

    Reply

  91. chinmay
    February 21, 2017 @ 7:42 am

    good we recommend BlueStacks. Comply with the full vidmate for pc the internet services like Vimeo, Dailymotion nice.

    Reply

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