Before we start, I just wanted to give everyone an update on the Troughton book – and this seems the appropriate post to do it in. I’ve switched to paying someone to copyedit in the hopes that it will reduce the number of infelicities that creep into the text. Unfortunately, that person is booked through to July, which means that the book is probably looking at a fall release.
That said, once I finish the first draft on the Wonder Woman book this summer I am taking a few months to do revisions on a couple of projects – both getting some proper academic work, and doing my revisions and additions to the Pertwee, Baker, and Davison/Baker volumes one after another and with the ability to focus on them as a main project instead of as something I’m fitting around the blog and another book. So while the wait for Volume 2 of TARDIS Eruditorum is going to be longer than I’d hoped, the wait for volumes 3-5 should be considerably shorter.
On to the post.
|That’s right, it’s the same picture again.|
It’s one way of learning visual literacy!
It’s February 16th, 1985. Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson remain at number one, remaining there for all three weeks of this story. Kirsty MacColl, The Commodores, and Howard Jones also chart. More inspiring are the album charts, where The Smiths’ landmark Meat is Murder debuts at number one in what is one of the most perfect thematic convergence of music charts and Doctor Who in some time.
In real news, William J Schroeder is the first person to receive an artificial heart and leave the hospital. It doesn’t go terribly well, admittedly, but it happens. EastEnders starts, and the day after the story ends the miner’s strike ends. Oh, and Doctor Who gets cancelled. Damn.
When last we looked at this story the question was whether or not it functioned meaningfully as a Patrick Troughton story, and it was found wanting. Lucky for it, then, that its primary job was not to function as a Troughton story but as a Colin Baker story, a job that it performs markedly better at. Especially so under the model I’ve been approaching the series under – indeed, the “Baker era as exorcism” theory has, perhaps, no evidence better than this.
It can hardly be called a surprise. I said we’d have to drop the “no talking about the production team” rule for this story, so let’s go ahead and point out that this is a Robert Holmes script. Holmes is always a nice writer to deal with as a critic simply because the authorial intent objection falls away. Holmes is a smart and clever enough writer to have intended much of what we’ll find here, and it’s only the alchemical embellishments that strike me as at all improbable.
The key detail is the part of the story everyone seems most ready to ignore – the Sontarans. Apparently Holmes was not terribly thrilled at the instruction to include the Sontarans, but was eventually mollified by Eric Saward pointing out that nobody had done them right since he created them.…