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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. Sheโ€™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. nimonus
    July 15, 2011 @ 3:52 am

    That was a beautiful and fitting tribute.


  2. AD169
    July 15, 2011 @ 6:18 am

    I've noticed that your rotating list of reference books from Amazon is missing and that you're no longer linking to DVDs of the story you're covering. I don't think I have an adblocker installed on this computer, and the "Fast and Furious" ad is certainly present. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 15, 2011 @ 6:37 am

    My state passed a new tax code that basically would require Amazon to record tax information on money I make via Affiliates links. Because Amazon is a bunch of psychotic babies when it comes to taxes, they handle this by just disabling all Affiliate accounts in my state. It's dumb.


  4. Sean Daugherty
    July 15, 2011 @ 7:23 am

    I've been avidly following your blog for a while now (the start of your season 5 coverage), and it's easily the best scholarly work on Doctor Who I've ever read. Your thoughts converge closely to my own (so far, at least), but you've been able to explain the reasons far better than I ever could. The two most notable examples of that are your criticisms of the Troughton era's "base under siege" format and your deep respect for the work of David Whitaker (I'd given up ever finding anyone else who appreciated "Enemy of the World"!)

    This might be my favorite article of yours to date. A beautiful tribute to Mr. Whitaker, and an excellent summary of the end of an era. I eagerly look forward to your coverage of "Inferno"… albeit not without some trepidation, given that it's my favorite story of season 7 (which, despite not being much of a fan of Pertwee's tenure, I think is quite strong). In any case, keep up the good work!


  5. wwhyte
    July 15, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    Love this tribute to David Whitaker too. I presume the other two greatest Doctor Who writers are (a) Bob Baker and (b) Dave Martin?

    One thing I regret, apart from his own early death, is the recent deaths of people like Verity Lambert and Barry Letts who worked with him closely and might have some light to shine on how much of Doctor Who was his and how much was someone else's. Have you considered contacting Terrance Dicks directly and asking to interview him just about his memories of David Whitaker? I'd love for you to do that.


  6. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 15, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    The other two are the predictable choices – Holmes and Adams.

    I don't know how I'd go about contacting Dicks, though I'd certainly like to do that, so if you know how to go about it, please do let me know.


  7. wwhyte
    July 15, 2011 @ 9:19 am

    I've been thinking about the ethos of the show and how much it can be attributed to David Whitaker versus how much it grows from what the show is. To an extent, the cosmopolitan outlook where the ugly side isn't necessarily wrong and the pretty side isn't necessarily right is clearly a theme throughout all his writing. But on the other hand, in the early days of Doctor Who were the model is capture/escape rather than find problem/fix problem, of course the more cosmopolitan side is going to be the ones portrayed as the good guys, because they are the ones who are less likely to try and kill the TARDIS crew. So you have the Aztecs, where Tlotoxl is the bad guy and Autloc the good guy, even though Tlotoxl is basically right and Autloc wrong about Barbara. And it's immediately followed by The Sensorites, where the good and wise Sensorites are the outward-looking and tolerant ones, and the bad Sensorites are the insular ones, even though the Sensorites are actually under attack by forces outside their society. Same for Marco Polo, the Web Planet, and to a lesser extent The Reign of Terror: the supporting characters we align ourselves with, because they try to help our friends, are the ones with the broader worldview.

    This attitude is there even into the Spooner era, with its most plonking manifestation obviously being in Galaxy Four. The fact that it makes it through despite Spooner being very different from Whitaker, more populist, mischievous, and counter-counter-cultural (think South Park), somewhat suggests that this is the way the program "wants" to be. But at the same time, as you've noted, both the Wiles and Lloyd eras are in their own ways much more insular. So how much was Whitaker, and how much was just baked in to the format?


  8. wwhyte
    July 15, 2011 @ 9:26 am

    BTW, don't know if you know, but Doctor Who Magazine issue 200 was dedicated to David Whitaker. I've just got a copy on eBay — very excited to read it.

    I also left a long comment on your Evil of the Daleks review a few days ago, don't know if you've seen it, about Whitaker, alchemy and stories. I'd be interested in your thoughts.


  9. landru
    July 15, 2011 @ 11:26 am

    What a lovely tribute to David Whitaker. I've always liked this story. Excellent breakdown. Never thought about the obvious Moffat influence, but I'm still on the War Games. ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. Adeodatus
    July 17, 2011 @ 12:07 am

    Great piece of writing about Whitaker. I've always thought his contribution to Doctor Who was generally underestimated. But then, maybe I'm biased – his novelisation of The Daleks was one of my favourite books when I was a kid. (Still is, actually.)

    Terrance Dicks, by the way, is on Facebook – you could try saying hi to him there.


  11. 7a1abfde-af0e-11e0-b72c-000bcdcb5194
    July 17, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

    One of my favourite scenes in "Ambassadors of Death" is the interrogation scene; it's a delightful contrast between the military mindset and the Doctor's, and it makes a nice pairing with the similar interrogation scene in "The Hungry Earth."


  12. Don Zachary
    July 22, 2011 @ 4:50 am

    Beautiful piece. Dead right on the moral torch-passing. Though think you're wrong on the end of The Silurians.

    Apologies in advance for another correction.

    "Ian Paisley wins a by-election to the House of Commons"


    Well, technically he did, but not until 1986, and that was defending his own seat (won later in 1970) which he'd resigned when all the unionists threw their toys out of the pram for the Anglo-Irish Agreement (Mrs Thatcher not right-wing or (UK) nationalist enough for them).

    Paisley won his 1970 by-election to the Stormont Parliament, which was Northern Ireland-only. Not to be confused with today's Northern Ireland Assembly, Stormont, which is the same but different!


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