Sneakily taking the hinges off the doors of perception

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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. goatie
    April 5, 2013 @ 2:04 am

    When Big Finish made their own Eighth Doctor Adventures line, those were made as single-episode adventures of around 50 minutes (with the occasional 2-parter) specifically to align with the format of the new television series.

    Since they did it through 4 seasons, I can't say it was a failed experiment. They must have reasoned that each Doctor was locked into a format, and sometime between McCoy and Eccleston the format changed, so that change happens with McGann.

    The new Fourth Doctor Adventures, however, consist of two 30-minute episodes, so that's a kind of hybrid of the two formats.


  2. Daibhid C
    April 5, 2013 @ 2:22 am

    "but you’d never see an emotional character departure story where the Doctor doesn’t remember it and the companion doesn’t get an emotional payoff one way or the other."

    I'm not sure I agree that "restored to factory settings" was an acceptable emotional payoff to Donna's journey.

    And I'm not sure why making the monster in the WiFi the Vardans would be curating the series's past, but making it the [SPOILER!] isn't.


  3. Phil
    April 5, 2013 @ 4:14 am

    Did that format last the full 4 seasons of the Big Finish EDAs? I know they started out that way, but I was fairly sure they switched back again at some point. Or possibly adopted the two parts of 30 minutes format.


  4. Ross
    April 5, 2013 @ 4:17 am

    Instead here they are, cranking out 4×25 minute stories with the same pesky flaws they’ve always had. It’s almost romantic, in a way. Almost.

    This was always a big problem I had with Big Finish. Even at their best, there seemed to be a lot in their style which was there for no better reason than "Because that's how the classic series did it," aping a bunch of things that were originally done for often pragmatic reasons that no longer apply as if a 4×25 episode structure with forced cliffhangers was some kind of platonic ideal of how Doctor Who ought to be (I'm reminded of one of the rec.arts.drwho threads leading up to the new series that insisted that "No one has ever done good successful science fiction with single 45-minute episodes; the 25-minute weekly serial is the only structure that lends itself to a successful science fiction family adventure show!", which is wrong in possibly every way it is possible for a sentence to be wrong).


  5. Steven Clubb
    April 5, 2013 @ 4:50 am

    For better or worse, Big Finish is pitched to the Nostalgia Circuit. I remember getting a chuckle out of the editor's mission statement in the first New Adventure novel, because they really seemed to think these novels would appeal outside of the niche of Doctor Who fans. And I'm sure there's the random soul out there which came into Doctor Who through the novels, but I don't think anyone would suggest they're anything but the exception.

    Big Finish seemed to know which side the bread was buttered from the start. They know the vast majority of people who pick up their stuff are fairly hardcore fans and they make the product nicely friendly to them.

    I came in through the new series so I don't have any childhood memories four part serials, but even I can't help but feel the tempo of the new hour-long Fourth Doctor Adventures just seems off. When they started the Lost Stories line, even reverting to Colin Baker's two 45 minute episodes seemed a bit off. There's a cadence to the story telling that's no longer there. And if I feel it, then it would likely be even more glaring to most of their target audience.

    Plus, I think there's something to be said for giving a listener on the go a bite-size chapter. If I have a half-hour commute to work, that's time for an episode of Doctor Who and the next episode will quickly get me back up to speed on the way back home.


  6. elvwood
    April 5, 2013 @ 5:01 am

    They have experimented with other things, even in the 2-disk main range releases (and not counting the ones where the 25-minute 'ideal' has simply gone out of the window): there's 3×25 + 1×25, 6×24 (The Game), and the ones with four separate episodes. The fact that only the last still happens at all regularly (and only about once a year) suggests it's probably more to do with customer response or (less likely) production issues than unwillingness to change.


  7. Ross
    April 5, 2013 @ 5:23 am

    I've been a fan as long as I can remember, but I came to it from the American side, so my nostalgia is largely tied into content, not, for want of a better term, "structure". (for example, the Doctor WHo that lives in my memories isn't serialized. It's a collection of ~2 hour movies)

    I have no problem with Big Finish siding with nostalgia, but nostalgia doesn't have to mean "slavishly imitate the irrelevant details of the original, even when it's detrimental to presenting the best story you can."

    Because they're not trying to recreate Doctor-Who-As-It-Was — if our host has taught us nothing else, we should get by now that Doctor-Who-As-It-Was only makes sense in The-World-As-It-Was. Really what they are trying to create is "More of the imaginary Doctor Who our audience has in their minds that never quite existed." That's a Doctor Who where Colin Baker gets some decent material, where the visual effects budget wasn't paid in bottle caps, where Nyssa isn't contractually required to tear her skirt to help the ratings, and where the pacing is a deliberate decision rather than shameless padding to get a 3-episode plot to fill four episodes of screen time.

    In a lot of ways, they hit the mark on this, but you've still got these places where they think it's "about" ticking off checkboxes and making sure that what they produce will tabularize neatly into those interminable lists that fanboys like to make (Not long ago, I was cleaning up the den to make it a bit safer when my son follows me in there, and I found an ancient spiral-bound notebook wherein, at the age of seven or so, I had meticulously made a little spreadsheet of information about various Doctor Who serials, and then at the bottom were some notes for some Doctor Who fanfic, arranged in the same tabular format, very careful to make sure that the fanfic wouldn't leave out anything that the table required, nor include anything that would make it difficult to fit into the table.)


  8. Steven Clubb
    April 5, 2013 @ 5:55 am

    "I have no problem with Big Finish siding with nostalgia, but nostalgia doesn't have to mean 'slavishly imitate the irrelevant details of the original, even when it's detrimental to presenting the best story you can.'"

    I think there's a "why rock the boat?" mentality in Big Finish's decision to work it this way. They do play around with it a bit, as there's some random 2×50 stories mixed in the monthly range and there's at least one which breaks it down into five episodes of shorter length.

    The earliest Big Finish stories were released on cassette, so there was once a good reason for the half-hour format being used. Beyond that, it's inertia. There's no particularly compelling reason to change it. Yeah, some writers would make better use of a 2×450 structure, but some writers make better use of a 4×25 structure.

    And as someone who listens to a lot of these plays on the go, I happen to like the half-hour breaks because it makes managing my listening easier. Like playing Angry Birds on our phones, this is something being done in the cracks of our lives.

    Which is me saying if I was in the room when they discussed changing it to a 2×45 format, I'd not care overly much one way or the other. I'd probably suggest they leave it up to the writers whether they want to do 2×50 or 4×25… then the writers will probably deliver a 4×25 story because that's the form they're most familiar with from the show.


  9. Abigail Brady
    April 5, 2013 @ 6:25 am

    Yeah, they switched to 2×30 for season 3 and 4 of the BFEDAs. (with the exception of Lucie Miller/To The Death which is then 2×60).


  10. Theonlyspiral
    April 5, 2013 @ 6:30 am

    Season Two and onward is hypothetically 2 30 Minute episodes…but often only with the most facile of cliffhangers. Often times it's just the sort of thing you'd see before a commercial break. I look at it as a concession to the people who need Who in 25 minute chunks because they can't deal with it otherwise.


  11. David Anderson
    April 5, 2013 @ 7:13 am

    Season Three was broadcast on Radio 7 as 2×30 mins IIRC; Season Four as 60 mins, for what it's worth.


  12. David Anderson
    April 5, 2013 @ 7:28 am

    They're selling at least some of their stories to the BBC for Radio 7; that must motivate having a standard format. (One of my friends, who is a new series fan, recently came across the McGann / Lucie Miller stories that way.)
    They're in the middle of the Elizabeth Klein trilogy at the moment. (The first episode is available on iplayer until late tonight.) That's not something they could do on television, really. A Thousand Tiny Wings is interesting: I think it falls on the side of critique and subversion of the Base Under Siege, as opposed to unconsciously racist endorsement of the British Empire.


  13. Matthew Celestis
    April 5, 2013 @ 7:54 am

    A Thousand Tiny Wings is one of the best stories Big Finish have done in my opinion, even if the political theme is a bit heavy-handed in places.

    It would be nice to see the adorable Klein on television though. Showing an attractive and elegant mature female character would make a refreshing change after Amy and Clara. River Song might have made up the deficiency if she had a bit of elegance and was a bit less flirty.


  14. Ununnilium
    April 5, 2013 @ 8:41 am

    A perfect essay to come after the last one – I was afraid that one was consigning BF to the "failed experiment" hole.


  15. Phil
    April 5, 2013 @ 11:00 am

    "I think it falls on the side of critique and subversion of the Base Under Siege, as opposed to unconsciously racist endorsement of the British Empire"

    It sort of manages that up until the last episode, but ultimately I couldn't get past the fact it was a story where a racist imperialist and an actual Nazi get far more time and development than the single native Kenyan character, who is revealed to be a villain and then dies off-stage.

    I wouldn't say it was bad; it was a pleasant enough distraction while I cooked. But I think it hits exactly the same problems as Lane's earlier work, where he's quick to condemn imperialism, but is way more interested in writing about the experiences of the oppressors than the oppressed.


  16. David Anderson
    April 5, 2013 @ 11:31 am

    I think the heavy-handed political bits are less there to hammer home a political message, and more to explore how does Klein think, and how does the Doctor react? I think the story assumes that the audience will agree that Nazis are wrong.

    If the single native Kenyan were revealed to be a 'good guy', that raise a whole host of other problems. You can't really call the character a villain when there are actual Nazis wandering around. I think the defence against the criticisms would be that you're supposed to notice them. And that an ironic expression of the oppressors' ideology may be more honest than a straight attempt to express the oppressed point of view when that point of view isn't yours.


  17. Matthew Blanchette
    April 5, 2013 @ 11:36 am

    I was about to say the same thing; is it possible Phil wrote this before the episode aired?


  18. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 5, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

    No, but wireless transmissions weren't previously a part of his repertoire, and at this point he's a callback to The Snowmen more than anything.


  19. Adam Riggio
    April 5, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

    See, that's what I like about what Moffat's done with this villain: It'd be equivalent to the Vardans if he'd brought back the Yeti. Instead, he's updating and doing something new and interesting with this particular classic villain. I think the modern version of the GI works better than it ever did in the 60s. He's more flexible, discreet, manipulative, and creepy. Especially in Bells of St John, he doesn't rely on traditional monsters, just weird robot signal towers. As well, you see the psychological effects of what the GI does in a very disturbing fashion.


  20. goatie
    April 5, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

    Ah, I stand corrected – thanks, everyone. I haven't listened to all of them yet, but I have them, and I checked the last two of the fourth season as confirmation that the format we kept throughout. Haha.

    I only have a few of the second season, but they are all single episodes. So maybe that season was a mix and match, and season three started the 2×30 in earnest?

    But putting my blunder aside, the heart of the comment still holds, in that Big Finish changed up the format under the 8th Doctor. Perhaps they felt they could with him, since the only precedent was a 90-minute movie.


  21. David Ainsworth
    April 5, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

    It's actually a brilliant idea. The Vardans become a reflection of the Sontaran opinion of human beings, their feebleness a mask for what they actually are. Now we just need to find out the GI is related to the Land of Fiction and call it good!


  22. jane
    April 5, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

    @Adam: The monsters are "mirror-monsters" — they reflect the subconscious mind. Which is very much a Jungian perspective. But in Bells they're more than that: they demonstrate a kind of "fusion," especially in the shot where SpoonDoctor has Clara on the brain, yet is a manifestation of her. Kind of like the OldLady/YoungLady picture that can be seen in two different ways, a matter of perspective.

    @David: The e-book "Summer Falls" by "Amelia Williams" — featured in hardcopy in the episode — suggests but doesn't flat out say that the GI comes from the Land of Art.


  23. Josiah Rowe
    April 5, 2013 @ 5:53 pm

    "And it’s worth stresing that this is actually the first time Big Finish ever did a companion departure." I know that C'rizz is eminently forgettable, and perhaps best forgotten, but surely Big Finish's first companion departure was C'rizz's death in "Absolution", released two months before this story?


  24. Galadriel
    April 5, 2013 @ 6:05 pm

    I finished A Thousand Tiny Wings today and am waiting for the final segment of "Survival of the Fittest" to be uploaded. Maybe it's just a matter of how I listen to them–either on BBC Radio online or via livestreams–but I find it easier to follow shorter, multi-part serials than lengthy dramas. 1 hour is fine–anything longer than that works better when divided into chunks, especially for keeping track of where you are.


  25. Steven Clubb
    April 5, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

    I was going to mention him, but then I realized I couldn't be bothered to count him as a proper companion 🙂

    And it beat the exit of Erimem by a single month.


  26. jane
    April 5, 2013 @ 7:01 pm

    Didn't he leave with some carnival freak show or something? I'm sure that's the last I heard of him…


  27. Jonathan Craig
    April 5, 2013 @ 7:52 pm

    I think, as Phil rightly pointed out, BF know, and play to their audience. And that's ok. But what hasn't yet been discussed is its potential to fulfil a second task, which is perhaps equally important to that target audience. Which is, I believe, to do Doctor Who with a complexity which would be excessive and irrelevant in the new series. That is, to produce something like Jubilee instead of Dalek, or Sppare Parts instead of Rise of the Cybermen. In each of those cases, both stories are good enough to exist, because one provides a conceptual depth which the other doesn't. That doesn't make one better than the other, but it is that choice, to present, or at least attempt, that conceptual depth, which adult fans such as myself might consider a reward for my fandom. This relies ot on my desire for nostalgia, but on my adulthood, and my adult desire for DW to deal with more obscure ideas and tropes, which are not exclusive to Doctor Who fandom, but are maybe too exclusive for the new series. Take, for example, The Kingmaker, and the Shakespeare Code. Two very different approaches to DW, but I would argue that The Kingmaker engages in Shakespearian and real history in a way that The Shakespeare Code just shouldn't do, Some of the best things BF have done since the new series came along are not aping it but responding to it. This is where I disagree with you on "The Girl Who Never Was". I think Charley's departure is a subversion of new series tropes, rather than an error. The question then becomes, is that subversion a productive contribution to what is a small but on-going philosophical debate, or just distructive trolling of DW, in the way that Interfeerance was. But that's a question for another entry.


  28. Alan
    April 5, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

    "Suddenly treating the series as a museum piece stopped being a bad thing and started being the one thing that Doctor Who as something that was alive in the present couldn’t do."

    I find this statement hilarious in light of the fact that they've brought back the Great Intelligence and, if the trailer is accurate, are about to bring back the Ice Warriors, to say nothing of the wacky recurring "Odd Couple" remake featuring a sexy Silurian and a dim-witted Sontaran. Moffatt and Gattiss (among others in the current production crew) seem to be big fans of museum piece Doctor Who.


  29. Alan
    April 5, 2013 @ 10:24 pm

    "No one has ever done good successful science fiction with single 45-minute episodes; the 25-minute weekly serial is the only structure that lends itself to a successful science fiction family adventure show!"

    That comment left me utterly speechless. I can only assume that whoever said that has never seen a science fiction show that he considers "successful" other than DW. And possibly "Quark." I literally cannot think of another science fiction show (not counting Twilight Zone, which was an anthology) that wasn't done in single 45-minute episodes. Star Trek (every iteration), Six Million Dollar Man, Buck Rogers, BSG (both versions), B5, Firefly, Buffy, etc to infinity.


  30. elvwood
    April 6, 2013 @ 12:06 am

    I'm not particularly keen on The Girl Who Never Was, but I agree that Charley's departure is a subversion. Philip mentions cop-outs here, and one of the complaints about RTD's finales is that they were almost all cop-outs in one sense or other, cheating just as much as TGWNW does, and in ways that feel similar. It also tackles an aspect of the new series that hadn't happened at time of production – the companion who won't stay gone.

    Because the twist isn't that this is a Cyberman story (as Philip says, that's emblazoned on the cover in true museum fashion). It's that this isn't a departure story.

    One of the things BF can do that the TV series can't is to tell stories out of order from the Doctor's perspective (well, at least not across different incarnations, The X Doctors notwithstanding). And the Charley/Sixie run is designed to be heard after Charley with eighth. It's another reason they are not just museum pieces, along with the things Jonathan mentions – and there are others. Slow, character-driven pure historicals(e.g., Son of the Dragon) which take a different approach to a long-dead subgenre. Or wacky stories that rely on too much knowledge of the past (Brotherhood of the Daleks). Both have that whiff of dusty display cases, but present them in a new way.

    I'm likely to be away from the Internet until the 15th – have fun, all!


  31. Matthew Blanchette
    April 6, 2013 @ 2:27 am

    They are, indeed, bringing back the Ice Warriors.

    They are also bringing back




    the Zygons.


  32. Lee Mansfield
    April 6, 2013 @ 3:16 am

    'I think the story assumes that the audience will agree that Nazis are wrong.'

    Wen I was writing 'Klein's Story' I certainly assumed that the audience would in general agree that the Nazi's were wrong.


  33. Scott
    April 6, 2013 @ 3:55 am

    On the flip-side of the 'oh, the irony' coin, though, it should be remembered that, well, this is the fiftieth anniversary year we're dealing with here. I don't think the fact that the show is looking back over it's history in the year that it turns fifty a bit more than usual should necessarily be taken as an explicit rejection of Phil's overall point, as it's kind of an exceptional case.


  34. jane
    April 6, 2013 @ 4:25 am

    @Alan: Bringing back a "classic" monster does not, in of itself, automatically put the show in the position of museum curator. Vastra and Strax are perfect examples: they are not beholden to the classic conceptions of these monsters; they don't exist to feed our nostalgia. If anything, they are rebukes.

    But it goes well beyond monsters, and even beyond running length. What kinds of stories are they telling? I think the difference between Charley and Lucie is quite telling. Lucie's stories are truly character-driven, in ways that Charley's are not (though at times they strive to be) and that's what the Revival brought to the table.

    What's neat and unique about BF is that it's a long-running stable entity in its own right. To get to that position they have to be adaptable, they have to change with the times, and it's practically alchemical that they can do this while curating the past at the same time.


  35. Ross
    April 6, 2013 @ 4:36 am

    @Alan: I think a big part of their argument was based on the assumption that they could just wave their hand and dismiss every single american science fiction show as worthless rubbish.


  36. Dad Jeans
    April 6, 2013 @ 6:04 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  37. Dad Jeans
    April 6, 2013 @ 6:12 am

    I'm sorry that my first comment on this blog has to be a bit negative – but I'm surprised that nobody has responded to the assertion that audios are de facto a better medium than novels:

    "On the most basic level, they had the better medium."

    This seems a little contentious to me. I know a lot of people like audiobooks, but print books are still pretty popular, and I'm pretty sure the various Doctor Who book lines sold a lot more than the Big Finish audios. My enthusiasm for Doctor Who in the 90s was revived by the discovery that some of the Virgin books were proper novels. If they had just been typical spin-off merchandise (which is how I perceive Big Finish productions in general) I would never have taken an interest.

    Whereas I've never been able to listen to an entire episode of a Doctor Who audio. My attention almost immediately starts to wander, and the artificiality of audio-only productions (not to mention the general shittiness of the writers in the majority of cases) makes it impossible for me to get involved in the story. The idea of getting to hear a new Colin Baker or Tom Baker story seems appealing in the abstract, but I find I just can't concentrate. I've never had this problem with the books, even the many terrible ones, and I would rather read just about any Doctor Who novel, however mediocre, than sit through a Big Finish audio (ideally, of course, one would do neither). This goes for a Gary Russell audio or a Faction Paradox audio – quality is not really the issue.

    Now that's just me, and maybe I'm weird. But I assumed that some other commenter would have the same reaction as me and make more or less the point I wanted to make (which is why I almost never bother to post anything anywhere), and that hasn't happened this time. So I'm curious to know what others make of it. Obviously mine is an extremely book-oriented bias, and I haven't made much of an argument other than "well, my experience is different" – but uncharacteristically, Phil hasn't really dug into it very deeply either. It seems to me there's a lot more to the subject.


  38. Ununnilium
    April 6, 2013 @ 7:25 am

    […]to say nothing of the wacky recurring "Odd Couple" remake featuring a sexy Silurian and a dim-witted Sontaran.

    The words "Silurian" and "Sontaran" are the only things that link this to the museum piece approach.


  39. Ununnilium
    April 6, 2013 @ 7:29 am

    While I prefer novels to audios as a medium, I can understand why Doctor Who works better in audios. I didn't really understand what an actor-based series was until I started seriously engaging with Who.


  40. Daibhid C
    April 6, 2013 @ 10:25 am

    No, but wireless transmissions weren't previously a part of his repertoire, and at this point he's a callback to The Snowmen more than anything.

    Fair point. (Actually, if I was doing a museum curator approach to "Mysterious intelligence connected to the information network, based in the New And Exciting London Skyscraper, I'd probably make it WOTAN.)

    But then, having him in The Snowmen, with references not just to the Yeti as "Snowmen", but an interest in the Underground…

    (Someone who's seen or read Downtime will have to decide if "Great Intelligence controlling people over the internet" might be a callback to that. Going by the online synopses, it does seem similar.)


  41. Ross
    April 6, 2013 @ 10:56 am

    The Intelligence in these past two stories seems less like the return of an enemy from the 60s, and more like "Attempt at bringing back an enemy from the 60s, as interpreted by a person whose only knowledge of the original character is some snippets of conversation he overheard in a noisy bar." As if the character brief was "Something something snowmen, something something web something UNIT, meow meow Great Intelligence robble robble "Minimize". Pika."

    Come to think of it, it'd be pretty cool if it turned out to not be the return of the original Intelligence, but a manifestation of some force or other that is dredging stuff up from little fragments of knowledge about the Doctor's adventures. Might explain why we're getting something as seemingly random as the Zygons for the Big Anniversary Event. (And now that I've thought of that, it would be AMAZING if they brought the Quarks back for just that reason.)


  42. jane
    April 6, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

    The other thing the audios have that novels just don't is a collaborative process. The writers get together, they chart a course for a "season" and along with the performers (and the emotional resonance they provide, which is very difficult for good writers to achieve, let alone novelists getting their first breaks) you get a consistency throughout the line that just didn't happen with the book lines.

    Now, maybe if the Editor on the EDAs was able to corral that bunch of cats, a more cohesive vision for the series could have emerged. Maybe. I dunno, what with the great differences in prose style, and the huge chasms in philosophy towards Doctor Who. BF, by virtue of having a stable production team that could call the shots how they wanted, was able to sidestep such problems.

    Now, of course, if you prefer novels to audios, or audios to videos, what have you, well, that's individual preference. But for a larger audience with all kinds of options to choose from, I can see why the Big Finish model continues to flourish.


  43. jane
    April 6, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

    Zygons provide great opportunities for mirroring.


  44. Steven Clubb
    April 6, 2013 @ 7:10 pm

    The audios have a few advantages, such as an actor saving a dodgy scene either through performance or getting a quick re-write. Same with sound design. There's plenty of okayish stories in the Big Finish canon which are made quite entertaining through the production process.

    It's also much closer in structure to the TV show, so it keys into the comfort food portion of the brain on a fairly primal level.

    A novel has a harder time getting away with being okayish. If it's not on the page, nothing else can save it. Paul McGann isn't going to elevate your mess of a novel into something marginally entertaining.


  45. Mark Patterson
    April 7, 2013 @ 8:28 am

    @Matthew – "It would be nice to see the adorable Klein on television though. Showing an attractive and elegant mature female character would make a refreshing change after Amy and Clara."
    Am I missing some vital piece of context that would make sense of this comment? Klein is a very interesting character, and I'd absolutely enjoy it were the TV series to attempt something similar, although I understand and largely agree with the reasons it probably shouldn't. But "adorable"? What makes Klein interesting is that she's monstrous. Superficially charming in the way that monsters sometimes can be, and a fascinating, well-developed character, but not, to put it mildly, an exemplar of mature femininity at its finest….

    There are many reasons one might be interested in exploring the concept of the Doctor being forced by circumstance to travel with an avowed Nazi. Said Nazi's adorability doesn't rank high among them, to my mind.


  46. Aaron
    April 7, 2013 @ 8:57 am

    I liked C'rizz. Why does everyone always have to be so down on him? If nothing else, Conrad Westermaas did a great job acting him, even if he was often not given great material to work with. I'm just saying, there is no reason to make C'rizz Big Finish's Adric.

    That title obviously goes to Brewster.


  47. Ross
    April 8, 2013 @ 7:36 am

    Incidentally, over in rec.arts.drwho, at least two different people have claimed that the weaknesses of this past week's story stem primarily from "the inherent weakness of the 45-minute stand-alone


  48. Daru
    April 17, 2013 @ 1:52 am

    Good essay – thanks Philip. Just spotted your 'Kickstarter' page and will be supporting you as much as I can – great venture and good to be travelling with you.

    Yes – appreciate the point where you help us see the current place and position that BF holds. Currently I am really enjoying with internal glee the mining of the 'Space Museum' of the shows past, the place where Doctor's 9 and 11 visit and 'keep count' of their conquests. Not in obvious, but is subtle and also subversive ways. David Warner's slightly bumbling Hartnell-like performance and his being called 'Professor' too! And I adore the Great Inlelligence now being played by a previous online Doctor – appropriate for an entity who via compute networks and 'Servers' tried to capture our minds, but did not quite succeed…

    Oh and there is so much more sprinkled through the recent – quite a lovely game finding them all. Alchemy indeed.


  49. Daru
    April 17, 2013 @ 2:23 am

    Oh – Meant to add one more thought based on:

    Jane: "@David: The e-book "Summer Falls" by "Amelia Williams" — featured in hardcopy in the episode — suggests but doesn't flat out say that the GI comes from the Land of Art."

    David Ainsworth: "Now we just need to find out the GI is related to the Land of Fiction and call it good!"

    Been thinking about this for quite a while – I think since around Series 5 with the whole cracks in time and the 'Time Can Be Rewritten' tagline, plots woven around storytelling, the creating of stories (memory, etc) and the idea of Fiction affecting reality (River's diary even appearing with Tennant), we have had in a way the Land of Fiction affecting many of our current Doctor Who tales.

    As above I suggest that the show's history is being rewritten by the current series (see 'Warriors of the Deep' redone in a way in 'Cold War – set in 1983) – well, Moffat has been treading this ground for some time sine he rewrote much of RTD's excesses and even cheekily chucked the Cyber King into a crack in time.

    So I think in some way all of the tales for some time have been alchemically reworking Doctor Who and using the Land of Fiction as a conceptual landscape. Not in the sense of the actual setting from the 'Mind Robber' but as an Otherworld such as the Celtic Land of Faerie, which has its own laws of operating and offers a route-map to Initiation – this perhaps being the 'fall' at the 50th Anniversary?


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