Tag Archives: first doctor

Verity! Episode 28 – One-derful, Hmm?

VerityEpisode28-300This week we battled the evil monster known as SkypeLag to bring you a podcast full of squee and surprise. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Tansy as we get happy about Who-things, gush about McGann, and find representative aspects where we least expected them. We cover our reactions to “The Night of the Doctor” and our impressions of “Planet of Giants” as a representative story for the first Doctor. Perhaps not a common choice, but one that made for a rollicking discussion!


Also covered:
Erika watched (and LOVED) “The War Games”! Guested on The Incomparable! And wants to go see All the Whos in Whoville!
Kat enjoys the glut of new 8th Doctor gifs!
Tansy demonstrated excellent parenting by raising a child who loves “The Ice Warriors“! And plans to knit a Yeti!
Deb gives LI Who high marks! And did a squeeful interview for HeadOverFeels!

Bonus links:
“The Night of the Doctor”!
Tansy, Erika, & Lynne on Australian radio!
Tansy’s 8th Doctor recommendations for Big Finish newbies
Paul McGann on sale at Big Finish
BBC America’s wall-of-Doctor Who schedule

Download or listen now (runtime 1:31:52)

WHO-50: The 1960’s

It’s a rather neat and lovely detail of Doctor Who production that the last black and white episode screened in 1969, and the first colour episode in 1970, and that the Second Doctor regenerated into the Third (offscreen) at the same time. This means that “Sixties Who” has a really strong tonal separation from “Seventies Who.”

And yes I did deliberately time this anniversary blogging project so all my Sixties/Black and White posts would be published in 2012, and the colour posts in 2013. I like things to be tidy, okay?

Here’s my links to the WHO-50 posts so far – click the pics!

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Down With This Ship: Loving Ben & Polly [WHO-50—1966]

As a child I discovered Doctor Who in bits and pieces, fragments of borrowed VHS tapes, Target novels and TV repeats. While Tom Baker was most often on our screens, a great deal of my fascination of the show came from its complex history, and I fell hard for the early black and white stories despite (or because of) how much harder it was to access them.

A lot of my early relationships with the characters involved mad shipping, but the fandom I had access to didn’t seem to view it in those terms – or didn’t talk about it like that in front of me, as I was only a kid! I knew my Mum fancied Tom Baker, but that was about it. Immersed in modern fandom ideas as I now am, it becomes obvious that I have firm, unbending views on the relationships in the show, developed all in my own independent bubble.

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Missing: Presumed Trojan [WHO-50–1965]

There comes a time in every young Doctor Who fan’s life when they discover that it is utterly impossible to complete their experience. Not because of the lack of home video in the old days, or because the show is so popular that it is going to be around beyond all possible human lifespans, but because some of the episodes are lost forever.

Quite a few of them, actually.

The hows and whys of that are all quite complicated – and I refer anyone who has a keen interest in the story to Richard Molesworth’s excellent book Missing: Presumed Wiped, but suffice to say, many of our favourite old Doctor Who stories from the 1960’s are inaccessible.

But we can still try to recapture what they were.

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Daleks vs. Daughters – Chasing the Next Generation [WHO-50—1965]

I lost my daughters somewhere around the Marie Celeste. I put on The Chase quite rebelliously, not expecting them to pay much attention to it. Raeli, at nearly 8 years old, has been quite scathingly clear about what she thinks about black and white media.

But towards the end of the first episode it had caught their attention, with sandstorms and random tentacles and silvery aliens and Daleks bursting up out of the desert floor.

Barbara and Ian have always been good, but I enjoy them so much in these later stories where they have become such accomplished TARDIS travellers, taking their life with the Doctor for granted. Vicki is plucky as well – I love that her first response to the planet Aridius is to race across the sands to see what is over the ledge, and that Ian tromps gamely along with her.

By Episode 2 my girls were both actively watching the story with us, showing concern for Ian and his beautifully striped blazer as he was hurt in a rockfall, worrying about Barbara and Vicki, and rather delighted to discover that Daleks of the 1960’s are entertaining conversationalists. I was particularly pleased how well 3-year-old Jem was enjoying the story.

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Barbara Wright at the Brink [WHO-50 —1964]

This feels like a major confession, but I haven’t actually seen all of Doctor Who. I tend to forget this, because I have seen, heard or read MOST of the stories, and don’t always remember which ones I have properly watched, and which I have merely imagined thanks to the old Programme Guide I kept close to my heart in the 1980’s.

Edge of Destruction is one of these – a surreal two parter set entirely in the TARDIS, in which the crew and/or the ship slowly go nuts. I had heard all about this story, read about the narrative beats and notable features many times over, and it never occurred to me that it wasn’t one of the missing ones until it was released on DVD some years back, in a box set with An Unearthly Child and The Daleks.

I still didn’t watch it. I meant to, but never got around to getting that particular DVD. And while my library is awesome at Doctor Who DVDs, I never order them because if I watch it, surely I’ll never get around to buying it!

More recently I discovered a bunch of Hartnells available on BBC iPlayer, and since I was trying to justify my subscription anyway, woohoo! Time to inhale some grainy black and white goodness.

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The Mystery of the Unearthly Teenager [WHO-50—1963]

Yep, I’m blogging about something for every year of Doctor Who, once a week, as a countdown towards the 50th anniversary next year. Even those years when there’s no Doctor Who to speak of. I do like a challenge…

“An Unearthly Child,” the first episode of Doctor Who, screened on 23 November 1963 and has always been considered something of an odd duck. It’s not like any other story that would follow over the next couple of years, doesn’t quite fit with the other three episodes that are considered part of the same “story” (and not only because even the most committed fans are usually tempted to skip past the embarrassing cavemen of episodes 2, 3 & 4 and go straight to the Daleks).

On rewatching, this first episode is as strange and compelling as I remembered. The mist and fog gives the London streets a sinister atmosphere, and even the ordinary sets such as the classrooms take on a surreal and otherworldly aspect in the little vignette flashbacks that build up the Mystery of Susan Foreman.

It’s all so domestic, the tale of the two teachers investigating a problem student, and despite the Twilight Zoney mood of the piece, you can believe right up to the last ten minutes that it’s going to continue on as a TV show set purely in 1963 London.

But how much information do we actually get about the show’s mythology, the Doctor himself, and particularly the character of Susan, who remains partly shrouded in mystery even to this day?

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Kingdom and Katarina

"The whole plot? In that tiny box, Doctor?" "Mmm, yes, my boy..."

The Daleks’ Masterplan is one of the most sprawling, epic, flawed, fascinating and utterly space opera-y Doctor Who stories of all time. It was the fourth ever Dalek story, screening as part of the third season of the show in 1965-6, and it marks the end of Doctor Who being a safe kids show.

I had heard so much about it in my years as a Doctor Who fan – I knew that it was the first story that killed the companion (and it did it twice), that it was twelve (and an extra) episodes long, not only a record at the time but for many decades to follow, I knew about the weird Christmas episode, and Nicholas Courtney playing a character called Bret Vyon, and all manner of plot details.

If you feel knowing all the plot twists & who dies in The Daleks Masterplan would spoil enjoyment of the story (it doesn’t, honestly, it can only help) then please look away now.

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Remembering the Brigadier.

I heard today that Nicholas Courtney recently passed away peacefully. He was 81. My condolences to his family and friends – in the larger community of Doctor Who fandom, he was greatly loved and respected, which is really the best thing any of us can leave behind.

While he had a long and varied acting career, the role he will most be associated with is Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in Doctor Who. Courtney first stepped into the part in 1968 in The Web of Fear, and most recently in 2008 reprised the character in “Enemy of the Bane,” in an episode of spin off show The Sarah Jane Adventures. That’s forty years!

The Web of Fear and its sequel, The Invasion, both worked as a kind of audition for the UNIT concept, which was to be a central hub of the show in the 1970’s. As first Colonel and later Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Nicholas Courtney was the chap who had to deal with Yeti invading the underground, and then Cybermen taking over London. The Doctor was more of an annoyance than anything to him, though he became an ally pretty quickly, and performed what could have been a fairly uninteresting guest role with great charisma and warmth.

Like most people, I fell in love with the Brig during the Jon Pertwee Years. When Doctor Who was relaunched in 1970, in colour and with a new style and format, Pertwee’s Doctor was matched not only with a girl assistant, but with a family. UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) was based on the idea that, if the Earth gets invaded by aliens quite as often as Doctor Who tends to suggest, surely there should be some kind of military force set up to combat said threats. This organisation, Lethbridge Stewart himself and Sgt Benton had all been introduced during the Troughton Years, but became the centrepiece of the new look version of the show.

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