Should Doctor Who Return to Pure Historicals?

I’ve been wanting a return of a pure historical a season ever since Doctor Who came back. I decided to reblog this chaps piece because I think its a reasonable starting point to the concept, especially with the comments at the end.

Anyone who thinks ‘pure’ history is boring obviously had the wrong teachers…

Geekritique

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Adventure in Space and Time, and Day of the Doctor

After dreading The Day of the Doctor because of Steven Moffat’s highly variable writing, I have to say I was very happy with it.  It’s a solid 8 out of 10 from me, which means it’s good.  It was fun, and humourous, and not overwrought or full of false drama.

An Adventure In Space and Time is harder for me to rate.  I know the history of that period fairly well.  And I really know about how the role of the Doctor changed Hartnell, brought so much joy to him, and also how he struggled.  And all that is captured so beautifully by the writing of Mark Gatiss and the acting of David Bradley.

So it’s hard for me to rate because I had to, literally, stop the vid at least seven times as I bawled uncontrollably.  Seriously, I was a giant mess.  Most of that crying was at the sweetness and kindness shown to Hartnell, and a bit was at those heartbreaking moments when you knew an ill and insecure man was about to be hurt.

In all honesty, I have never had any film affect me as deeply as this one.  I typed the last paragraph and this one with tears in my eyes at the memory of it.

So, I think it may be a 9 or a 10 out of 10, but I’ll need to rewatch it first and I’m not sure I’m quite up to it again yet.

But I will rewatch both, because it’s become obvious I need to run through references and Easter Eggs for people.  Not sure when I’ll get them done, though I’ll try to get to them as soon as I can.

Here’s just a couple…

In The Day of the Doctor, when the character of the Doctor is getting described, there is at least one quote from the 1972 book, “The Making of Doctor Who” by Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke – “He is never cruel or cowardly.”

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Glass Daleks, everlasting matches, and a car crash on a dark night – this book has it all.

Also, the very start of An Adventure In Space and Time has Hartnell pulling up on Barnes Common on a dark and foggy night, and pausing to look at a real police box.  In the very first Doctor Who book, “Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks,” David Whitaker tells a different version of how Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright meet the Doctor and Susan. And it all happens on Barnes Common, on a dark and foggy night.

The opening location from Adventure in Space and Time is also replicated for The Day of the Doctor.  It’s not the same location (I thought it was but closer inspection showed houses in the background of the Hartnell scene), but they’ve gone for as close a match as possible.  It’s way too close to be a coincidence.

There were many other references, of course, so I’ll get on it.  But until I do, I’ll try to finish my edit of the Series Six Moffat’s Master Plan article within the next few days to hold you over.

The People the Doctor is Building…

So two years ago I wrote this piece about the overall impact Doctor Who has had on my life.

I said most of what I had to say back then, but being a couple of years later, life moves on and there’s some new thoughts to add on the subject.  The link to Doctor Who this time may not be as immediately obvious, but it’s just as strong.

Verity Lambert - all it took was a little faith and belief, and 50 years on we're still reaping the benefits of her vision.

Thank you Verity – the show you helped create has made countless lives better and richer.

The education in equality I got through my time in Doctor Who fandom has stayed strong. My daughter has certainly been given the same opportunities as her brother, while being allowed to grow and develop as her own person.

So before she was three years old, she’d helped me change the headlights on my car, helped me saw, nail, and screw wood together, and has been up in the roof with me.  She’s no good at any of it, but she enjoys herself nevertheless.

I’ll come back to that attitude later.

She’s even more unstoppable than my son. A month or two back, while climbing along the log-pile after being warned that she could get hurt, but being allowed to do it anyway because kids should be allowed to take risks, she took a truly epic fall. It involved an accidental somersault, a falling log, and a hefty bump on the noggin.

Naturally I went to her, held her, and explained again as I have a few times in the past that sometimes doing the good stuff means risking harm. One has to accept that some things have the potential to come with a price we’d rather not pay, but it’s hard to live the life one wants, or become the person one wishes to be, without accepting the risks and inevitable damage that may sometimes occur.

After a couple of minutes, still crying a little, she disengaged my arms and climbed back up onto the woodpile at the point where she had fallen. I asked her what she was doing.

“I want to see if I can finish.”

And she continued her climb all the way to the end. There’s a reason I call her GodZoe. Like Godzilla, she’s more a force of nature than anything else.

My 5yo son is growing and changing. He loves learning for the sake of it, and testing himself, though he’s a lot more likely to give up on things than his sister. We’re teaching him it’s okay to ask for help, but you should be willing to have a good try too.  He’s starting to be able to read, and the other day he counted to a thousand, because he’d never done it before. I had to keep reminding him what number he was up to, but he got there.

He still likes his hair long, and he wears dresses occasionally, which naturally leads to some confusion as people mistake him for a girl. When this happens he politely tells them he’s a boy. He’s had one or two people tell him boys don’t wear dresses, or have long hair. His reply is very matter of fact.

“Are girls allowed to have short hair?”
“Yes.”
“Can girls wear pants?”
“Yes.”
“Then boys can wear dresses and have long hair.”

My post-stroke health continues to improve, mostly because I know my limitations.  What I mean by that is that I know there’s stuff I have trouble with, and shouldn’t do, and I regularly try to do those things anyway.

And I fail, a lot.

Knowing my limitations doesn’t means staying in my broken little box. It means that those times when I can’t function, or I try to push past the boundaries of the box and fail, that’s okay.  Most failure isn’t a bad thing unless you let it be, the rest of the time it’s simply another way of learning.

Knowing my limitations means I try to choose my battles carefully. I don’t mean I go for the battles I can win – where’s the fun in that?  I mean I choose the things worth fighting to achieve, no matter the odds, what value others assign to the goal, or how likely I am to fail.

It’s the trying that matters, not the success.

Accepting my failure to cope or succeed is only a problem if I let the lack of success define me and what I attempt to do.  As long as I keep trying to do the things that add to my life or the lives of others, that’s what’s important.  If I’m never be able to sing, or dance, or run, or write, or paint, or build, or do any one of a hundred other things as well as I’d like, so long as I want to do them, as long as I don’t hurt others, I should keep going.

Some folks find me confronting.   I’m not entirely safe.  I’ll get naked to dance in the outback or pose with a Dalek.  If I like people I don’t hold anything back in my love and enthusiasm for them, even if I’ve known them five minutes.  Male or female, I want to hug them, to let them see themselves through my eyes for a change so they can see how beautiful and amazing they can be.  I want to stretch them, show them the huge gulf between who they define themselves to be, and who they could be.  You don’t do that by being safe and comfortable. I want them to know their limitations so they can start kicking at them.

People are awesome.

Oh, there are always some individuals who aren’t, but the vast majority want to be better than they are.  They want to learn and grow.  Most only need someone to believe in them.  That can be me, you, or some random person they meet for two minutes at the bus stop.

We aren’t born afraid to try.  We don’t start out with a fear of failure.  As children we learn through success and failure.  And tears, and frustration, and joy, and because others encourage us.  We only learn to be afraid of what people think later, just as we learn to be afraid of how we perceive ourselves, or how others may perceive us.

Find the people who believe in you, and use that belief to fight for the things you want, for yourself and others.  Embrace the risks knowing full-well you are going to fail some of the time, but that that doesn’t matter because at least you’ll fail doing something that matters to you.

Life isn’t about reaching the destinations you’ve got your heart set on, it’s about how you live during the scary and fun-filled adventure on the way.  Embrace the fear, accept the detours, and just go with it.

We can all be somebody’s Doctor, just as we can all be somebody’s companion.  Both roles are equally important in finding out who we really are, and becoming who we have the potential to be.

Remember how to be that curious, delighted, and unafraid child once more.  Embrace it, start running, and don’t ever stop.

Cheers, my freaky darlings!

Mickey and Martha – a new angle that makes my skin crawl…

Talking with my lovely wife about some of the issues with New Who and the unlikely destinies of its companions, and Martha got brought up, along with the fact that she married Mickey.

Now it’s been well documented by many folks that it was an annoying thing to happen, partially because she already had the lovely Tom Milligan as her fiancé, but mostly because the only two black members of the cast got married off to one another.

However, talking about it just now Sharon mentioned an angle I hadn’t thought of and I haven’t seen mentioned before – Martha couldn’t get to be with the Doctor because, in her mind, he was still in love with Rose.

So then Martha went off and eventually got married to Rose’s cast-off.

You got rejected by Rose, I got rejected by the Doctor – Of Course we got married!

There is no way the internet can contain the level of ick I am currently feeling.

50th Anniversary Trailer Breakdown

Okay, seen a couple of lists about the trailer, some have drawn some pretty long bows, some have missed elements that I spotted.  So here’s my list. I’ve put up framegrabs, then highlighted and numbered most of the relevant bits.  If you click on an image it will jump to a full sized version.

I haven’t always gone for the clearest shot of an object, but this already runs to 19 images and 90 entries total, so I was trying to get the most bang for my buck. With the way I’ve presented it, you should be able to figure out where it is on screen and check for yourself.

But mostly I only cover the elements that I’m fairly certain of, there’s very little supposition in my list, and I debunk (possibly incorrectly) one or two other theories. I did skip one or two shots of Daleks where I found it impossible to narrow down the type or story.  I have no doubt I’ve missed a few things, but I think I’ve covered most of them fairly well.

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1. The policeman seen in the very first episode, An Unearthly Child. Fred Rawlings was the first actor seen in the show.

2. This bike is potentially one of the most anal retentive bits of continuity.  It appears clearly in some of the set photos for An Unearthly Child, but you can’t see it in the episode.  Or maybe it’s a nod to the bike Tom Baker rides in Shada.  What? You want a bike seen on screen in an episode that was broadcast? Okay, it belongs to Pigbin Josh from Claws of Axos.  Happy?

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Classic Who – Less is More

No, I really do enjoy watching Classic Who this way.

No, I really do enjoy watching Classic Who this way.

So, it’s been less than two days since Enemy of the World and Web of Fear were released to iTunes, and I’m already seeing people posting about how they’ve watched both stories already. And unsurprisingly, some of these folks are saying, “Well, they’re good, but not that good.”

Now everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that opinion has to be fairly arrived at.  And I maintain my stance that especially on a first watch, spreading out Classic Who episodes, rather than watching them together in clumps, is the way to do it. Continue reading

Classic Who – Enemy of the World & Web of Fear!

I wrote the previous time some episodes were found about my feelings on the discovery of any episode, no matter how good or bad.  I also included in that piece advice for those wishing to experience the complete series even though so much is still missing.

This time I want say a brief word about the stories, and simply enthuse about things I’m looking forward to seeing.

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Enemy of the World – Troughton gets to show off his acting chops in this story, as he plays the Doctor and the villainous Salamander. It’s a 60’s spy thriller Doctor Who story, with a strange sf twist towards the end. It also handles things differently, by having most of the cliffhangers be about moments of surprise and emotion, rather than actual danger.

Looking forward to – I think if I were to pick only one, I’d most want to see the part six Salamander/Doctor face-off in the TARDIS. From the telesnaps it looks like they used rear projection to have Troughton facing himself, and I sort of want to see that in action.

Other than that, episodes one and five have a fair bit of action going on, so that’d be nice to actually see.  But the real strength of this story is as a character piece, and I’m so looking forward to seeing the actors in action, rather than just hearing them.

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Web of Fear – It’s the weaker of the two Great Intelligence stories, but that doesn’t make it bad. This is one that I think is likely to be majorly helped by getting returned, given its real strength seemed to lay in its visuals and atmosphere.

Looking forward to – Oh if only part 3 were moving footage so we could have Colonel Lethbridge Stewart’s first appearance, but can’t complain. Well I can, but given I never expected to see any more of this story, that seems churlish.  Besides will hopefully be able to see that next year.

On audio the last 10-15 minutes of part 4 is utterly brutal, and while it may be that the realisation on screen will be less intense than it was on audio, the surviving clips from that episode are pretty scary and left me literally open-mouthed in shock.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how it is shot.

And needless to say, while I’ve waited my whole Doctor Who fan-life to see these, I’m only going to watch them one episode a night – the way they’re meant to be seen 🙂

Dalekboy’s Linky Goodness

So, haven’t been posting here a lot because that thing called life keeps getting in the way.  You remember life.  Look away from the screen.  There it is.  Now quick, hide back here with me again.

I’ve got several pieces started here that I need to finish, but some were begun last year and I’m just not quite getting time to work on them.  Or when I have time, I’m a bit too tired.  But anyway, I have been doing some writing here and there, and I thought I might link to that, and to one or two other bits and pieces I like.

 

Get Off My Lawn, you damned nuWho kids!

Get Off My Lawn, you damned nuWho kids!

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Classic Who – The Valeyard and Regenerations

There are two things you need to know before we can talk about the Valeyard as being or idea. The first is that the concept for the character builds on, and is inspired by, the handling of regeneration from as far back as the second Doctor.  The second and more important, is that the character came up at a time when the script editor and producer were at odds with one another – drastically affecting the quality of the whole season in which the Valeyard was featured, and the way he was eventually handled.

I’m going to try to minimise spoilers, so if I’m oddly vague about something that you think is common knowledge, be aware I’m trying to let people less well versed in the show’s history still have some of these surprises.  Personally, if I know I’m going to read a specific book, or watch a specific film, I will usually avoid reading anything about it just so I can experience it as freshly as possible.  That said, some spoilers are going to be unavoidable, especially when I talk about the Trial of a Time Lord season, and the Valeyard.  There will almost certainly be spoilers in any comments.

One of the genius ideas with regards to Doctor Who was the whole concept of the lead character being able to change appearance, allowing the show a longevity far beyond what most actors would be able to achieve. Continue reading

Classic Who – The Martian Legacy

(A delayed post – I started writing this last year, then suddenly it’s the day before a new Ice Warrior story.  So here it is with a quick final edit, for those of you who want a taster for what went before.)

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Given they only ever had four televised stories (until tomorrow), it says a lot about the Ice Warriors that 38 years after their last televised adventure, they are still a popular alien race. They’ve been given a lot of life beyond those original TV tales with numerous appearances in comics, novels, and audio plays.  Here I’ll just concentrate, in as non-spoilery a way as possible, on their televised appearances.

I think the key to the Ice Warriors’ popularity is that they are a rare race within the Doctor Who universe in that their plans and motivations are different in each of the stories in which they featured.  While Daleks and Cybermen have more appearances, their stories are substantially less varied – those creations stopped being a race of aliens and became monsters – whereas the Ice Warriors changed organically over the course of their stories. Continue reading