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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. Mackerel Sky, Ltd.
    July 29, 2011 @ 6:01 am

    I was going to post a pithy comment about the picture but decided not to, since my role as commentator does not include posting comments about pictures.

    As soon as you mentioned 'image' and a monster bearing the image of gold, I knew it was only a matter of time before alchemy showed up. I miss Whitaker already.


  2. Adeodatus
    July 29, 2011 @ 7:55 am

    "The visuals on this are… the temptation is to say stunning, but that's not quite it."

    I think you need the word "lava-lamp-ilicious".


  3. David
    July 29, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

    "There are of course problems here, not the least of which is that Pertwee is clearly not in on the joke on any level. But in the hands of clever directors and writers, that can be made to work. Pertwee's failure to get the joke he's performing just becomes another layer of the miscasting – another aspect of the way in which the Doctor doesn't quite play the leading man role correctly. Pertwee may not be in on the joke, but it's not his joke. It's the Doctor's joke. Jon Pertwee, just as much as Chinn inside the story, is being outfoxed by the Doctor. The part, if you will, is playing the actor."

    I'm afraid you've lost me a bit in this article. I'm not quite sure what you mean when you talk about Claws not needing a leading man when it has the supporting cast, or indeed why Pertwee's Doctor isn't a leading man in "the right sense". And when you say it's all a big joke, but a joke that Pertwee isn't aware of, but the directors and writers are in on it… I can't help but feel you're assuming a lot of everybody involved and seeing things that aren't quite there. That may be because I don't quite understand your fundamental points.


  4. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 29, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

    Well, I should perhaps be specific about what I mean by "leading man." Which is not just a main character, but a character who is central to the story precisely because of his charisma – someone who is both the central character and a "star," so to speak. The thing about the star role is that it's a role that expects everybody to close ranks around it. The star is supposed to be the center of gravity of the entire story, and every other character is supposed to be defined by their relation to him. That's how the leading man role works, classically.

    But in a story where every single character is Brigadier-style and programmatic, there's no point in a leading man. The leading man usually functions by being the only programmatic character in the story. When every character is just a stock role played inflexibly, there stops being a point to having a leading man.


  5. 7a1abfde-af0e-11e0-b72c-000bcdcb5194
    July 30, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

    I'm finding your Pertwee-era posts harder to relate to than with Hartnell and Troughton. I keep feeling as though you and I are watching two different Pertwees; I just don't see Pertwee the actor as a humourless, clueless egomaniac, nor do I see his doctor as an unlikable clubbish Tory. I see Pertwee as a brilliant comic actor, and I see much more continuity than you do between his playful, impatient, subversive Doctor and Troughton's — the major difference being that Pertwee's Doctor is more unflappable.

    On another note: My Lai (rhymes with "free sky"), not Mai Lai.

    Since I notice I seem to comment only on points where I disagree, I should mention that I'm greatly enjoying this blog; I've plugged it here:

    And I do like the captions!


  6. 5tephe
    July 31, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

    You know, you may have just made Axos slightly watchable again for me. Not having ever taken the time to understand what Glam was trying to do, I was always mystified by this story.

    Oh, and just because we don't comment doesn't mean we aren't appreciative. Personally, I took your Yeti post's image and caption around the office and showed it to all the geeks, barking like a loon.


  7. Seeing_I
    August 31, 2011 @ 5:16 am

    Great/awful lines in this story. "You stupid quack!" and "Can't ya stop it, Doc?" stand out for me. Plus the scene where the Doctor and Jo are attacked by, as Miles & Wood have it, a pile of spaghetti bolognese and an ambulatory duvet cover.


  8. Craig
    March 2, 2012 @ 1:20 am

    I'm afraid this one went right over my head. But one thing that is crystal clear – Pertwee is definitely NOT "my" doctor. He's my mother's Doctor, in fact the Pertwee era is the only time she's been interested in the show, but if asked to list all Doctor's from favourite to meh, I'd have to put Pertwee at the bottom of the list. Perhaps this is why I'm struggling a little with your Pertwee essays – I'm just not interested enough in the leading man.
    But it's not going to stop from keeping on reading though!!


  9. Henry R. Kujawa
    August 11, 2012 @ 10:56 am

    Philip Sandifer:
    "Never before has so little effort been made in establishing the logic of events. Characters are introduced without meaningful explanation, behave in seemingly insane ways, and interact with a sprawling plot that just about hangs together so long as you don't do anything unexpected like think about it."

    Sounds like a 70's Bond movie.


  10. thingsiambotheredby
    March 28, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

    Completely agree. I'm watching the entirety of the classic series having never seen it and I'm considering not reading the Pertwee entries until I'm done with his era since I find that it's sort of influencing me to dislike his performance. Before I started reading this blog (just over a week ago though I'm mostly caught up) I had seen the Pertwee stories up until Inferno and found him quite charming and Doctor-esque (as I tend to with any incarnation of the Doctor). I mostly attributed his testy nature to his frustration at being exiled and his cockiness as a sign that he has become quite used to saving the world. I fear that this blog's constant insistence on Pertwee's and the Third Doctor's egomania will make me enjoy these next few seasons far less. Not to say that this isn't an excellent blog, because that it is.


  11. orfeo
    October 28, 2013 @ 3:13 am

    "But this isn't a … case of sloppy and incoherent execution."

    Yes. Yes it is. Possibly not in the script, but in the direction, this is an absolute mess, the worst story in several years of Doctor Who. And while you try to defend it as being somehow cleverly innovative and in touch with the glam zeitgeist, I largely see a bunch of people who've stopped trying to impart any meaning or nuance to their roles because none of them have a damn clue what they're trying to achieve.

    There are a few flashes of character from Delgado as The Master, but that's probably it. At one stage in the 'climax' of the final episode, Katy Manning is the very essence of a stunned mullet, staring blankly at the camera. And that's just the one I remember because it was near the end. The actor playing the American agent is absolutely woeful most of the time.

    And then just before this, you have The Mind of Evil, which you grudgingly admit is well executed television, only you think it's not the 'right' kind of television for Doctor Who. I understand your point, but give me the polished execution of The Mind of Evil over this shambles any day.

    Because to me it's absolutely no use having interesting ideas if you can't actually get them onto the screen properly. This isn't a screenwriter's workshop, this is about the end product. And the sad thing is, I actually think the ideas in the script are intriguing.


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