Jump to content
IGNORED

Doctor Who


FishyFish
 Share

Recommended Posts

Next up on Classic Who is 'The Gunfighters'.

This is basically Doctor Who Does A Western. They only stop off so that the Doctor can get a tooth extracted at the dentist, but a case of mistaken identity sees them all in trouble before long.

For the most part, Steven and Dodo enjoy their time in the wild west, occasionally pretending to be American, which is sadly how most of the period characters sound too. Some very dodgy accents going on here.

It wasn't terrible, but by the end of the fourth episode I was getting pretty bored with it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another four-part reconstruction is next. 'The Savages' is the first Doctor Who serial to not have individually named episodes.

It's a shame the footage was lost as it's one of the better stories. Again, a classic sci-fi trope, an advanced civilization that has come about by exploiting supposedly "lower" life forms. The savages outside in the wastelands, and the more "evolved" scholars and leaders in their vast and impressive city. They drain their life force to feed their intellect, but it turns out that the savages are no less evolved and have merely been exploited all these years, much to the ignorance of the general population.

The Doctor gets a bit of heavy discussion with the the city's ruler, who raises the interesting point that all advances in society must be built on exploitation one way or another. I would have liked to have seen his idea expanded on, but ultimately the story comes to end through the Doctor's apparently strong moral compass being passed into the leader through an energy transference, and changing his mind about the whole thing.

The equipment gets trashed and Steven stays behind to unite the two people as one. It's a fitting end to his story I suppose, leaving the Doctor and Dodo to travel onwards. I had grown to like Steven's character, so I hope there is a worthy replacement soon!

As an aside, Dodo's accent has become posher and posher. I'm chalking that up to the effect of the Tardis - it makes every living thing in the Universe a posh British person. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The War Machines is next. Wikipedia says this was the end of 'season 3'... whatever a season was back then. It's an appropriate enough ending, as the Doctor and Dodo return to late 60s London to discover a new advanced computer is trying to take over the world by brainwashing people and sending out robotic tanks across the country.

'Present day' Earth stories may become an easy way out, but they've been fairly infrequent in this series so far, and I rather like them. Not only do we get a look at 1960s culture and references, but the production can be comparitively lavish, with outdoor filming, a large human cast and no need for pokey little wooden sets. Even the army gets involved!

This four-part story also features the brand spanking new post office tower (BT tower), the top of which is the home of the computer-gone-evil WOTAN. Both the computer and the war machines are very dated now, with their whirring motorised parts, paper print-outs and typewriter noises, but since it's set in the 60s, they can rather get away with it. It's still kind of creepy, even now.

Dodo all but disappears after episode 2, and at the end relays only a message of thanks but she's staying behind. Having saved the country (and the world?) from the machines, the Doctor leaves, but not before his new companions (cockney sailor boy Ben, and rather dishy blonde Polly) enter the Tardis unaware of what it truly is.

I'm very much aware that I'm approaching the end of Hartnell's episodes now. Just two serials left to go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I absolutely love Troughton and can't really see why anyone wouldn't.

Absolutely no disrespect to Hartnell, but it's with Troughton where the show really started; at least in it's current sense. The show became less ham fisted and a little more self aware with it's humour. The 2nd Doctor was the first step in evolving the character of The Doctor, rather than just make it about aliens and ridiculous peril (which, of course, still persisted).

I know he bears similarities to the current Doctor, but Troughton took the ball running and that's why we are where we are now, with the show.

I don't dislike Hartnell though, it may just because I did one of those 'which Doctor are you?' multiple choice quizzes a while back and I came up as The First Doctor. I knew little about the show at the time and just really wanted to be someone different... :unsure:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Four-parters seem to be the in thing now, and the next one is 'The Smugglers'.

Despite this being the start of a new 'season' (buh?), nothing has changed, and this is unfortunately as frightfully dull as any other historical episode. Really, Doctor Who + Pirates can be interesting, if there's a sci-fi twist, but so many of these early stories are just about the characters getting into trouble in historical settings. It desperately needs some aliens or other time travellers or something. That's why I liked 'The Time Meddler' but not this.

This time, the Doctor, Ben and Polly are in the 17th Century and get mixed up with some pirates smuggling some gold or something. The Doctor is captured, Ben and Polly are arrested, it all ends with a big old fight, before they get away again. I would have been bored pretty much throughout even if the video wasn't missing - as a reconstruction, it was just snoreworthy.

The only interesting thing about it was Ben and Polly trying to figure out where they were, being new to this time travel lark. Oh, and the pirates thinking Polly was a boy, and calling the Doctor "Sawbones". I liked that. Otherwise, snoooooze.

Next up, 'The Tenth Planet'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, finally, I reach the last William Hartnell story. I have now officially seen every single episode with him as the Doctor, including the reconstructions. I will give a general run-down of the series later, but first... 'The Tenth Planet'.

Not only is this the last Hartnell story, I didn't realise it's also the first Cybermen story. The place is a space probe monitoring station in the Antarctic; the time is twenty years in the future (1986!!!!), and the appearance of a strange new planet in the sky, an upside-down duplicate of Earth that has drifted back into the solar system after millions of years. Apparently, the Doctor explains, Earth originally had a twin, Mondas, and now it has returned.

The people of Mondas experimented with combining technology with biology, and purged emotion in an effort to improve their race. The result, cybernetic men (and women, presumably). Unlike the Daleks, whose design is basically identical fifty years later, the Cybermen look a lot different from how I know them. They're not exactly armour-plated - instead their costumes are mostly fabric, with big chunks of machinery attached to them, and their faces look like they're covered with a balaclava, only eye and mouth holes remaining. Combined with their disjointed monotone speech (in decidedly British accents, of course), it's somewhat freaky.

Totally impassionate, they attempt to destroy the Earth once they've 'recharged' Mondas with its 'energy'. The base's commanding officer gets a bit crazy and attempts to launch an atomic weapon at Mondas, which would not only destroy it, but probably irradiate the Earth too. As luck would have it, the Cybermen seem to miscalculate, and their world overloads with excess energy and melts away into space, safely. The Doctor, Ben and Polly's part in the whole thing is little more than stalling for time, but it seems to work.

Unfortunately, the whole ordeal is too much for the Doctor, whose body is growing weak and weary from age and exertion. In fact, in part 3 (of 4), he's almost completely absent, having collapsed. I suspect this was Hartnell's body double and Hartnell himself wasn't available for whatever reason. I admit, I'm not aware of the reason he left the show. He returns for his last performance in episode 4, which is a good reconstruction, and the final regeneration scene is intact.

Hartnell gives probably his best performance when minutes from death, his 'giggling old man' persona slips away, replaced with a more sober performance, a vague realisation of what is about to happen to him, accepting his fate and finishing what needs to be done. As the Tardis dematerialises from the South Pole, the Doctor collapses inside, and Ben and Polly observe a bright light covering his face, which begins to change... into that of another man.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, finally, I reach the last William Hartnell story. I have now officially seen every single episode with him as the Doctor, including the reconstructions. I will give a general run-down of the series later, but first... 'The Tenth Planet'.

Not only is this the last Hartnell story, I didn't realise it's also the first Cybermen story. The place is a space probe monitoring station in the Antarctic; the time is twenty years in the future (1986!!!!), and the appearance of a strange new planet in the sky, an upside-down duplicate of Earth that has drifted back into the solar system after millions of years. Apparently, the Doctor explains, Earth originally had a twin, Mondas, and now it has returned.

The people of Mondas experimented with combining technology with biology, and purged emotion in an effort to improve their race. The result, cybernetic men (and women, presumably). Unlike the Daleks, whose design is basically identical fifty years later, the Cybermen look a lot different from how I know them. They're not exactly armour-plated - instead their costumes are mostly fabric, with big chunks of machinery attached to them, and their faces look like they're covered with a balaclava, only eye and mouth holes remaining. Combined with their disjointed monotone speech (in decidedly British accents, of course), it's somewhat freaky.

Totally impassionate, they attempt to destroy the Earth once they've 'recharged' Mondas with its 'energy'. The base's commanding officer gets a bit crazy and attempts to launch an atomic weapon at Mondas, which would not only destroy it, but probably irradiate the Earth too. As luck would have it, the Cybermen seem to miscalculate, and their world overloads with excess energy and melts away into space, safely. The Doctor, Ben and Polly's part in the whole thing is little more than stalling for time, but it seems to work.

Unfortunately, the whole ordeal is too much for the Doctor, whose body is growing weak and weary from age and exertion. In fact, in part 3 (of 4), he's almost completely absent, having collapsed. I suspect this was Hartnell's body double and Hartnell himself wasn't available for whatever reason. I admit, I'm not aware of the reason he left the show. He returns for his last performance in episode 4, which is a good reconstruction, and the final regeneration scene is intact.

Hartnell gives probably his best performance when minutes from death, his 'giggling old man' persona slips away, replaced with a more sober performance, a vague realisation of what is about to happen to him, accepting his fate and finishing what needs to be done. As the Tardis dematerialises from the South Pole, the Doctor collapses inside, and Ben and Polly observe a bright light covering his face, which begins to change... into that of another man.

Think I read that Hartnell was away for one episode and was ill on another so there was a double used. Not as bad as the double in the Web Planet from what I remember.

The Tenth Planet is probably my fave Hartnell story, even with the last episode missing loads. The regeneration is quite effective. Probably helped by the bits missing and the bad quality of what has been recovered.

And the cybermen look great and as you say, freaky.

Enjoying your write ups Sprite :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

however, I can't possibly stop now on such a cliffhanger, and I really want to see how his first appearance plays out, so I'll keep going...

What better way to ease in an unfamiliar Doctor than with a familiar enemy? The Daleks return in a six-part serial 'The Power of the Daleks'. Unfortunately, every episode was lost, so the whole thing is reconstructed. There are varying quality of reconstructions, but I ended up watching fan-made audio-narrated ones on YouTube.

It's a particular shame that these episodes were lost. Firstly, because it's one of the best Dalek stories yet, reminding me of 'Dalek' (2005) and a little of 'Asylum of the Daleks' (2012), in which they are actually a threatening presence that should not be awakened, rather than a powerful army already in full force.

On a remote planet Vulcan (no pointy ears here), a crashed Dalek ship, several hundred years old, is recovered. Scientists are unaware of the dangers within,* and the Doctor finds the inhabitants dormant. But things are not as they seem, and as the scientists reactivate the Daleks and attempt to turn them into slaves, a rebel group seizes control and uses them to take-over. Of course, the Daleks are simply playing along, secretly building more of themselves and attempting to regain full power again.

We briefly saw what a Dalek looks like on the inside during their first encounter in 'The Daleks', but it was very vague and hidden away. This time, from the available photos, we see them in full, being grown in vats, injected with machinery and inserted into their armour shells, as the construction line churns out more and more of them. It's marvelous.

The other reason it's such a shame these episodes are lost is because it is of course Patrick Troughton (Trout-On! Thanks Exidor!) in his first appearance, and actually seeing a new incarnation of the Doctor finding his feet, feeling his face, and discovering just who exactly he is, is one of the very rare pleasures of the Doctor Who franchise.

Even so, from what I've seen, I am already a big fan of Troughton's Doctor. He has a, frankly, AWESOME voice, and he plays a bloody recorder!

Yes, he's eccentric, as Hartnell's version was, but instead of a crazy old man, he's sharper, seemingly more on-the-ball, intelligent, witty, and gets more involved in the action.

A simple change of lead actor has transformed this whole show into something ten times as watchable. I'm looking forward to more adventures.

* Point of contention, Earth was invaded by Daleks in 2150-ish. I didn't catch a date for this story, but either it's set earlier than 2150, or set so far away from Earth that the inhabitants are blissfully unaware of what a Dalek is. Shrug.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sprite, I'm really loving reading your impressions of these early stories. I think that, sadly, you're spot on about Hartnell but I'm ecstatic that you like Troughton, even after just the one, reconstructed story. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of Tomb of The Cybermen.

Hartnell, weirdly, was rather known for playing gruff army types before he played the doctor. I think he was in the first Carry On film actually, Carry On Sergeant.

Troughton of course has a tremendous turn in The Omen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After the enjoyable Dalek story, things have settled back into old habits with another tedious historical story, 'The Highlanders'. The Doctor, Ben and Polly are caught up in the middle of a battle between the English Redcoats and the Scottish Highlander clans, predictably enough leading to someone being captured and having to be rescued (why do these stories always go the same way?). Ben gets caught up in an illegal slave-trading operation and nearly shipped off to sea. Polly has to work with one of the clan women to capture a soldier and meet up with the Doctor. The only interesting thing about this four-parter is that the Doctor pretends to be a German doctor, then later dresses up as an old woman. He does the voices well, and uses enjoyably silly tricks to fool the soldiers. (I simply can't see the same thing working with Hartnell's doctor.)

Anyway, big battle aboard the ship ensues at the climax, and the Doctor and co escape back to the Tardis. They take one of the highlanders with them, Jamie, who decided not to accompany his clan on the boat to France.

I've yet to actually see Troughton's performance as the doctor in anything other than stills, as so far only reconstructions and audio exist. On the face of it, this particular story doesn't seem like much of a loss. I'm hoping things pick up again, and it looks like some completed episodes exist for some of the next stories.

Incidentally, I'm off on holiday now, so this is my last write-up for a while. If I watch any more episodes while I'm away, I'll do a round-up when I get back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's funny, most fans would love to see stuff like the Highlanders back in the archives more than anything else, but I can't say it's ever appealed to me that much.

I think the first complete Troughton story is Tomb of the Cybermen, but there are some existing episodes before that story so you'll see him in action soon enough.

You'll enjoy the reconstruction of The Invasion as well I think. I have it on DVD if you'd like to borrow it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh happy days. Mad Norwegian Press have started releasing the Faction Paradox books on the Kindle. They've started with the utterly fucking amazing This Town Will Never Let Us Go by Lawrence Miles.

http://www.amazon.co...51629721&sr=8-1

Erasing Sherlock is up there too for peanuts

http://www.amazon.co...32&sr=1-1-spell

Need a searchable Book of the War next :) Don't know what Faction Paradox is? It started in the 8th Doctor novel series while the show was off the air and eventually became a rather fucking good unlicensed spinoff

http://factionparado...Faction_Paradox

http://factionparadox.wikia.com/wiki/This_Town_Will_Never_Let_Us_Go

http://factionparadox.wikia.com/wiki/Erasing_Sherlock

http://factionparadox.wikia.com/wiki/The_Book_of_the_War

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Oh happy days. Mad Norwegian Press have started releasing the Faction Paradox books on the Kindle. They've started with the utterly fucking amazing This Town Will Never Let Us Go by Lawrence Miles.

http://www.amazon.co...51629721&sr=8-1

Erasing Sherlock is up there too for peanuts

http://www.amazon.co...32&sr=1-1-spell

Need a searchable Book of the War next :) Don't know what Faction Paradox is? It started in the 8th Doctor novel series while the show was off the air and eventually became a rather fucking good unlicensed spinoff

http://factionparado...Faction_Paradox

http://factionparadox.wikia.com/wiki/This_Town_Will_Never_Let_Us_Go

http://factionparadox.wikia.com/wiki/Erasing_Sherlock

http://factionparadox.wikia.com/wiki/The_Book_of_the_War

Fucking amazing, thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.