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

The Man the Doctor Built…

You know, when I think about it, the effect Doctor Who has had on my life is pretty damned substantial.

It was the first SF TV show to really grab my attention because it was so different to everything else I saw. It wasn’t slick looking. It didn’t have amazing effects. The people didn’t have that vaguely-too-good-looking-to-be-real-people thing that American shows are full of.

What it had were stories with quirky and interesting characters. And unlike so much television, the quirks came across as a natural part of the characters, as opposed to something deliberately written into the script to be oh-so quirky and odd.

The Doctor and his companions were smart, but capable of making mistakes. Fearless but still able to be scared and vulnerable. They were ready to fight and kill, but it was never the preferred option. The way to beat the villains wasn’t to have better weapons, or to be more violent, but to outthink them.

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