In the last few months, we’ve seen not just the new series of Who, but plenty of views expressed about the series. I talked about Stephen Fry’s comments in my last post, but there was also Sir Terry Pratchett, saying that the show wasn’t so much as science fiction, but fantasy. To be honest, I’m sort of with him there. Neil Gaiman, for what it’s worth, pointed out (quite rightly) that the show has never pretended to be hard sci-fi – and I’m rather proud that it’s not.
When other shows like Star Trek have a writing team dedicated to making up mumbo-jumbo fake science language, it’s nice to have a traditionally British kind of show. One that cannot be bothered to get up and switch the TV over, it’ll just wait on the sofa till someone else comes in.
But it’s not as if it matters a great deal – it’s still all wonderful escapism, right?
Or is it? I’m not sure there’s ever been a time when this “children’s show” has ever reflected society so astutely and with such brilliant timing. I mean, this year, we’ve had riffs on elections and decision-making the weekend before a general election. And spitfires – albeit in space – the same year as the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. And a football connection on the opening weekend of the world cup. A finale planned and shot using specific dates.
That’s pretty impressive planning on behalf of Mr Moffatt, I would say. It’s almost unbelievable to think that he’s been doing that while also teaching
Guy Ritchie how you update Sherlock Holmes without including Jude Law…
When RTD ran the show, I always got the feeling it just sort of, you know, rambled on – like it didn’t really belong in the same world. Nothing real was allowed in and nothing out. But I love the little connections.
I love watching things like Survival and remembering that Hale and Pace were once famous in this country. I love seeing Stephen and Jamie on the screen and remembering that one was a Blue Peter presenter, the other spent years as a farmer on Emmerdale Farm (because it was still a farm then. Oh how the reality hurts these days…).
But these days, we’re in the hands of someone taking us away from the soap opera in space style and back towards the show’s roots, finding writers who are able to grasp this, no matter how far removed they normally seem. If Richard Curtis’ episode proved anything, it’s that the unexpected source is often the richest. And if Chibnall’s proves anything, it’s that we should really try and avoid that again…
But I’m thrilled… THRILLED that filming on Neil Gaiman’s episode is starting filming next month. Gaiman’s writing has always been consistently great, he has an amazing ability to draw spectacle from something normal, unobtrusive as well as the unknown and fantastical (very Who), and I think he’s always been counted as the dream writer fans would like to see working on the series.
I was convinced it was a cruel joke when it was announced he’d be writing for the next series, but it’s real, and there was apparently a photo on his twitter feed last week showing him, the Moff and Richard Curtis at a read-through. I can’t find it on there, but then asking me to find something on Twitter is a bit like putting someone in a round room and telling them to stand in the corner…
(To one side, what was Curtis doing there? Is he writing more? I’ll be delighted if he is.)
But what excites me more than anything, is that Gaiman GETS Who. Properly. And this proves it beyond even the most unreasonable doubts:
“At best Doctor Who is a fairytale, with fairytale logic about this wonderful man in this big blue box who at the beginning of every story lands somewhere where there is a problem…”
Roll on next April!
Finally got around to editing together the music video for Laura’s song from our episode “Pond Life”. It’s the one set to the tune of Mark Ronson’s version of “Valerie”, retelling the events of “The Beast Below” from Amy’s point of view.
On top of Laura’s amazing vocals, with the visuals it actually makes a really good summary of the whole plot. Like a musical summation.
If you like these, leave a comment (and a suggestion of which of our songs you’d like to see tackled next) and we’ll get going on it.
Hello and welcome to our lovely new website.
Yes, due to Laura inadvertently crashing the old website into Earth during a problematic regeneration, we’ve decided to take the opportunity to redecorate. And with Series 2 of The Ood Cast just days away, we thought we’d spruce up the logo and make a few tweaks to the look and feel of the programme too.
Everyone’s doing it.
These are exciting times. Series 2 of the podcast is going to be something really special. We’re upping our game in anticipation of Steven Moffat’s tenure at the Whoniverses controls. We’ve got loads of ideas for content including sketches, spoofs, games, reviews and even a season of audio adventures. We hope you’ll stick around to ring in a new era of Who with us and while we’re all waiting for Matt Smith to stumble out of those blue double doors for the first time, why not join our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter?
Everyone’s doing it.
Saturday was supposed to be a momentous day for Doctor Who – it was RTD’s big finale, in effect. An episode where he pulled together as many loose strings from the last four years as he could fit into an hour and tried to tie them all together once and for all.
We finally saw the door slammed on the ridiculous Doctor-and-Rose-sitting-in-a-tree… “tension”. Mickey finally moved on (to Torchwood?). Martha finally seems to have joined Torchwood permanently. Donna is back with her family – having got better and better as the series rolled on. And we got that answer to the regeneration question.
But did it all come off?
I think so, yes – but to be honest, I’m not all that sure.
It was fantastic to watch – a real visual feast. But it was a disappointing way to close off such a massive story… There was so much to go on, so much promise, and we got a bit of a cop-out and a lot of confusion…
Personally I didn’t mind the cheesy family-stuff with the Doctor and his “children of time” as Davros put it. Actually, the way he said it made it all pretty chilling. I loved the delightfully-mad Dalek Kaan, his false prophecies and ultimate betrayal – and that the Doctor even offered to save Davros’ life at the end.
But I didn’t really understand why all the companions were needed – excepting maybe as a distraction for the Doctor. A particular highlight for me was Davros. The scenes involving him were magnificent – and particularly when he thought he was in total control. Ahough they could have and should have done a lot more with him than they did.
The two-way meta-crisis: interesting idea, although its back to RTD’s “imaginative” science… I really enjoyed the consequences – the Doctor who talked like Donna, and finally an explanation to the Ood’s mysterious Doctordonna… But for me, it was more Star Trek than Doctor Who, and I have never been a huge fan of Star Trek…
I thought what they did with Donna’s “death” was excellent – and she was finally properly likeable – proper human emotions in trying to deal with a situation so far removed from being “just a temp. From Essex.” The extra Doctor was borderline for me. I sort of saw it coming, but hoped that it would be something else. I think it was handled well until the Bad Wolf Bay bit, and then it got nauseating, but at least it got the romance element out of everything (every cloud and all that).
The ending in particular, with Wilf, was lovely. Very sad, and I am particularly sad to see Bernard Cribbins’ place in the series go with Donna. But it was a good ending to a very good year in Doctor Who.
Three things though – C, G and I.
The Daleks, for me, had their appeal in being an endless force – no matter how many were destroyed or disabled, more and more came after it. Part of the secret was that you couldn’t see or know just how many there were. Genesis, Revelation or Planet of the Daleks wouldn’t have been as tense or dramatic or good if you could seen thousands of them flitting around on their way to battle stations, coffee breaks etc…
But when the Doctor walks out into a massive space, filled with flying Daleks, I lose interest. It looks like a hoard of fruit flies bustling around a discarded apple core. Its not threatening, or scary. It’s preposterous.
The other bit that bothered me was the whole “towing the earth back home” bit. As a concept and a plot point, its fine – it’s a very Doctor thing to do. But why oh why oh why did they have to show it? It looked cheap and silly. We didn’t need to see it.
I could see it working with say, Tom Baker – but it would certainly not be shown… It would have been one of those little asides… You know, like this:
Sarah: But Doctor, what about the Earth?
Doctor: What about it?
Sarah: For goodness sake, its still stranded miles from where it should be!
Doctor: Oh that. I towed it back into position using the TARDIS. (Teeth fill the screen) Come on, let’s go and find a cup of tea…
And that scene where they’re all flying the TARDIS… it was the first time in a long, long time that I’ve wanted to go and make a cup of tea in the middle of Doctor Who (for the record, the last time was while I was watching a video at uni… and my VCR was a fancy model with a pause button and everything…)
All in all, it was brilliant – if self-referential and a bit messy- a real climax to the first four seasons, and despite its flaws, I’m glad it was so big and bold. What a fantastic way of clearing the decks for the Vast Toffee* to step in.
And then there was the trailer (or should I say “spoiler”) for the Christmas special. What was it again?
Oh yes:”Coming this Christmas… The return of the Cybermen.”
That’s the surprise taken out of that one then. Where are your spoilers now, River Song?!
Still, I suppose that stopped The Sun leaking it later on.
*Vast Toffee MN (Master of Nightmares) – Steven Moffat – brilliant anagram courtesy of Staggering Stories…
I’d like to be ten again. I think it was when I watched Dalek in the first series that I first thought that. Watching that final scene where the mutant inside the machine realises the bigness of life and that it would have to stop being a Dalek to cope with it. But it realised that this conflicted with its prime motive in life: to be a soldier to advance the Dalek race. Big stuff done big.
In my first post on this blog I looked back at what Doctor Who had meant for me as a kid. So what’s it mean to me now? What makes it stand out as must see telly?
Its uniqueness is always going to be its biggest selling point. A quirky, unpredictable traveller in a time-space machine that looks like a phone box who never carries weapons and has an unshakable moral backbone faces a limitless diversity of situations and sets out to right wrongs. You can’t beat that for an idea. It’s incongruous, enchanting. It makes you think and it’s entertaining. Gotta love it.
I like my telly to be challenging. You can be challenged by all sorts of telly but Doctor Who does it in a way that embraces and salutes life. It doesn’t dwell on negatives. It takes the challenges of life and reflects them in ways that bring them to the fore in fresh and sparkling ways. The Lazarus Experiment’s discussion of immortality, The Last of the Time Lords on political power and the untapped power of the masses, Girl in the Fireplace, Human Nature and The Family of Blood on unrequited love and self sacrifice. Gridlock as brilliant satire and an exploration of community and, oh all sorts of things (I could watch it over and over), Utopia on the potential of the very wicked (Derek Jacobi’s take on the dim awareness that Yana was more than he thought was amazing), Fathers Day on self sacrifice and parenthood. Ha! Take that Eastenders! Ya boo!
It’s thanks to Russell T Davies, the head honcho of the series, that it’s been so good, been written and made in such a full blown gutsy, hard hitting, clever, provoking and rigorous way. And the production team. What a team. RTD’s bold and un-dentable enthusiasm and self assurance in what he wants to achieve is a huge inspiration. He just knows what he wants to achieve and does it. Each episode of the series shines with this commitment and assurance and it’s a rare thing. Fourteen episodes a year of rigorously written creative television that is really, really different each week is not a mean feat. It’s always fascinating and challenging, whether it’s the Doctor’s insistence on giving any villain a chance to change their ways or the uncomfortable way that he has sometimes dealt with them – it has created splendid debate in my office and, I hope, in the playground too. The depth of life experience too. The horror of and the choices in war, the reality of relying on people, the Doctor and Rose’s friendship – the most platonic relationship ever portrayed. The madness of the Master. Donna’s desire for betterment. The acceptance of the diversity of life. What a smorgasbord.
My personal favourites are each of the stories written by soon-to-be head writer Steven Moffatt. He hits a deeper resonance than RTD, who I think underwrites. (I thought RTD’s Midnight didn’t quite make it as a truly extraordinary exploration of human fear but was close). With the Moff you get the full whack every time, his plots are so intricate and his themes so solid. And his dialogue must make actors melt with delight. Who can forget the exploration of the Doctor’s relationship with Rose in the exchange, Rose: ‘Don’t tell me the Universe implodes or something if the Doctor dances. Go on then, show us show us your moves.’ The Doctor: (flustered) ‘Rose…. I’m trying to resonate concrete.’ And in Blink, the extraordinary reflection on Sally and Billy’s relationship that never was summed up when Old Billy shows up in the present: Billy: ‘It was raining when we met’ Sally: ‘It’s the same rain’. And Miss Evangelista’s final words: ‘I… I …. Ice Cream’. Or was it ‘I scream’? Goodness. Brrr. I wonder how the Moff gets away with such unveiled full-on drama in a family show. Whether referring to sex as dancing or the Doctor’s yearning for a normal, mortal life in the Girl in the Fireplace he breaks all sorts of assumed Who rules and no one complains. The mark of a great writer. Obviously the deeper and more adult stuff goes right over the kids heads and that’s fine. I hope he has the same overall creative vision as RTD cos if so we are in for a few more years yet of this remarkable show reaching the heights that I have almost started to take for granted.
I’d like to be ten again so I could be inspired by all this great telly at the right age. Doctor Who was doing all this in the 1980s but today it’s just better. Telly is produced better these days. There are less restrictions. Doctor Who is so richly written and made with such assurance and shining team work. It speaks of the reality of life in a way that is always realistic, inclusive and optimistic and mostly outstandingly moral. What’s not to like? Darn, the series will be over soon!
Oh so often in television, cliffhangers are abused. Cruelly used to drag viewers back against their better instincts to watch the next installment of whatever it is they’re watching. And often, this is a complete let-down. Imagine sitting back to watch the new episode of Eastenders because the end of last night’s has intrigued you – only to find out that its still a soap opera of negligable merit about depressing people and their petty little existences. Nothing is ever discussed – always dismissed as either “it’s family” or in fisticuffs. Or a bottling. It is London, after all.
Where are the Krays when you need them, eh?
Well, I’m always worried that a cliffhanger in Doctor Who was just such a hook to drag you into a mediocre fishing net, filled with slippery little bores that rumble on endlessly about continuity, mythology and characters. Incidentally, I’d like to set up a forum for people to discuss and enjoy the good doctor’s universe – but it would have a strict policy – the rules of Just A Minute would apply. Say continuity twice and you’re out of here!
But why was I worried at the end of the Silence In The Library? Why did I even entertain the idea that the next part would be anything other than magnificent? I’m not sure. But I’m glad I was worried, if only that it meant I enjoyed The Forest of the Dead even more.
I think I’m pretty clear that this was “nu-who” all the way. It was involved, and emotional to levels that really didn’t even register as an option in the 80s. I particularly liked the dream-time sequences – and Catherine Tate is starting to become impressive, even… Who’d have thought after Partners In Crime that we’d see this sort of performance from her. Stunning. And considering my views at the start of the series, I don’t use the word lightly.
There were moments that brought a lump to my throat (but no, I didn’t cry, in case you’re wondering). And I sat grinning like the sad little fool that I am for the last ten minutes. You know the feeling when you see David Tennant sprint with such purpose, vault over things to get to what he needs to do, and slowly spread his Tom-Baker-esque grin out for all to admire, that something brilliant is happening. And in this case, I don’t see how people couldn’t have enjoyed this – it was a very Doctor Who ending – he couldn’t let everyone die. No matter what happened, everyone still had to be saved.
I LOVED the double bluff in the mystery of what CAL was. Everyone I talked to and listened to in the intervening week assumed that the girl being CAL would be too obvious – after all, this was Steven Moffatt – it had to be more complicated, and more chilling than that. But it wasn’t. And that was brilliant, somehow. It does prove that the writing doesn’t have to be complex to work.
The completely bloodless confrontation with the Vashta Nerada is fabulous – a real harkening back to the old-school… Threatening an alien predator with an entry in a book could only be done by the Doctor, couldn’t it?!
But I do have questions about the end… For one thing – they said that the planet was cracking apart – and yet he “saved” them in the Library’s core. They’re not safe for very long then…?
Also, he brought the others back from the hard-drive, so why not them?
But oh, this was great. Anyone else? We seem to have gone oddly quiet…
I’m still shaking. No really, I am. It’s about 45 mins since Silence in the Library finished and I can’t decide if I need a cup of tea or a whisky. Actually I might plump for both. I’m leaving the lights on that’s for sure. And did anyone else get a slight fear of ice cream?
Steven Moffat. What a genius. Ever since ‘Are you my mummy?’ became a national phrase meaning, ‘You are about to get brown trousers’ this genius, this extraordinary talent has been giving us an annual dose of the most clever telly ever seen. Plot lines that are tightly woven, with characters perfectly drawn and all crafted with an understanding of exactly what the most basic scares are for people aged three to 103 and beyond. This is telly that scares the whole family in equal measure. It’s amazing and terrifying and hugely enjoyable.
I remember the wide-eyed fear and not a little bit of boyish anticipation which accompanied the possibility that any character, might at any time, turn into a zombie with a gas mask fused to what was left of their head. Then there’s the chilling riposte to Madame de Pompadour, ‘We do not require your feet’. I have a friend who still freaks out if you put your hands in front of your face and tell her not to blink.
The Moff’s understanding of what scares us witless is not all though. He really gets character and dialogue. And his plots: he makes ‘What on earth is going on? How is that possible?’ into a finely crafted art form. Gotta love the way the final reel explains everything, turning the impossible into a beautiful logical gem. And all the while giving the regulars a lease of life and an extra dimension that just sings.
I wish I had discovered his series Press Gang. My wide-eyed colleauge tells me that one episode was set inside a freezer chest. That’s genius. I loved his series Coupling; better than Friends, and somehow more real. He gets people and character and his plots are perfect, see. Ooooo, and he’s written the script for the upcoming Tintin film.
This is going to be a long week. But I’m going to have some fun thinking about what was going on in Silence in the Library. The concluding episode is called Forest of the Dead. It used to be called Rivers Run. What does that tell us? I don’t know. I’m gonna try and work it out, but you know what; I’m not going to be able to. Forest of the Dead will no doubt be wonderfully scary and thrilling, full of character, wit, extraordinary revelations about the Doctor and River Song and a denouement eliciting a national, ‘Oh! That’s brilliant. Just brilliant’.
He’s going to be head writer of Doctor Who after next year. That’s brilliant news. I say an enormously grateful thank you to Russell T Davies. He has created something awesome in the last few years and done what we all knew could and very blimming should be done by turning Who into the wonderful thing it is after a stupidly long time off our screens. But I’m also very excited about whatever Steven Moffat is going to do with this most special of telly formats.
PS I loved The Unicorn and the Wasp.
I had three beginnings.
Of course I didn’t but wouldn’t it have been ever so elegant if I had? In actual fact I had five beginnings, one after the other in the space of an hour. Yes, my first experience of Dr Who was Terrence Dick’s “The Five Doctors” which is by any measure a crazy ass episode for anyone to enter the Whoniverse.
For one thing it follows none of the rules of the series as a whole, imagine watching that thing if you had no idea about the history of the show. Right, so this guy’s the Doctor and he travels to different planets in a blue box. Wait a minute, that guy’s also a Doctor, I wonder what his deal is? Oh, it’s exactly the same as the first guy’s, they haven’t even bothered to invent another back story. More questions followed: Why do those two seem to be acting in an entirely different show? Why does she keep spraining her ankle? Couldn’t she have just walked up that slope?
And yet … and yet … I was enthralled. Which meant that when in 1989 Dr Who burst (then limped) back into regular programming, I was beside myself. No behind the sofa for me, I had my face pressed up against the screen. It was ‘Ace give me one of those Nitro-9s you’re not carrying’ BOOM! and I was in love.
Will always be Sylvester McCoy. Not because he was all I knew, not because I didn’t know any better. He was just MY Doctor – dark, strange, clownish and complex. His Doctor was like nothing else on TV, not just the good guy but multi-faceted, a master-manipulator, so alien, so other when he wanted to be. I think I just instinctively knew that I wasn’t being pandered to with this one – 9 years old and something was speaking to me in all the glorious greys and half-tones of the real world. So yes, I firmly believe Dr Who had it’s own little renaissance at the fag-end of the century with stories like Remembrance, Ghostlight, and Fenric earning their place as really top-flight Who. Then came the New Adventures which went that one step further into territory I’d certainly never been before. I still remember the gist of the blurb on the back cover of one of the first novels (Timewyrm? Cat’s Cradle?) ‘Only the Doctor can save them. But the Doctor was destroyed years ago. Before time began …’ I couldn’t keep it in my head, couldn’t contain the worlds conjured up to dance before me, the ideas, the scale, the complexity of the continuum and through it all the rich seam of the McCoy Doctor – impish and strange, clever and comical – the grinning, winking tip of a cold, alien intelligence that spread out like a glacier beneath the surface.
Of course, all that said, David Tennant is beyond fantastic and the only other Doctor that convinces me the guy is operating on a completely different level to everyone else. The Doctor is not human, lest me forget, he’s not just really, really ridiculously clever – he perceives things differently to us, he can see time in the same way we can see length, width, height, volume – all that possibility, all those choices slowly solidifying around him, fixing future history in place just by his presence (and brilliantly realised and articulated in ‘Fires of Pompeii’ might I say [YES - first mention of Series 4 - and all because my colleagues have been gracious enough to wait for me to catch up, what a rotter!]). Tennant sells the hell out of the character and it is his obvious, joyous, infectious love for the role that ultimately lifts the current iteration of the show to a level that precious few programmes can match.
The last word should be left to Sylvester though in probably my favourite Dr Who quote of all time – ‘I can’t stand burnt toast. I loathe bus stations – terrible places, full of lost luggage and lost souls. And then there’s unrequited love, and tyranny, and cruelty. We all have a world of our own terrors to face.’
I have loads. Apart from the McCoy classics mentioned above I would also like to give massive shout outs to City of Death, The Time Meddler, Caves of Androzani, The Green Death, Genesis of the Daleks, The Empty Child, Girl in the Fireplace and most of the latter half of Season 3. It really is a stellar time to be a Dr Who fan, isn’t it?
Oh and Dimensions in Time.
Not to be the contrarian of the group (which I am unfortunately) but I love the Daleks. They work and it’s crazy because it’s like Terry Nation just threw a load of concepts at a wall (like they were spaghetti that he wasn’t sure was quite done) and the bits that stuck he went with. The stupid wheeled design, the one eye, the plunger, the spots, the car grill, the weedy laser, the voice – it’s like the worse designed monster ever both in practicality and menace and yet when you put it together it’s a dalek and it’s ultimately cool. I was bouncing off the walls in the Ecelston episode – when the eyes flashed in the darkness. Awesome.
Also the Raston Assassin Robot thing. Take that you rubbish Cybermen idiots. You don’t like that cold steel up you, do you? Thought you were only vulnerable to gold? Well prepare to be retconned you motherf***ers coz it looks like you’ll also go down like a bitch when faced with the might of normal metal arrows. Hahahahahaha!
Which companion did you either want to be or fancy:
Peri … in the regeneration scene. No one was looking at you, Peter.
What are you looking forward to?:
I’m going to be honest here – absolutely everything. I can’t wait. But especially Moffet shenanigans.
Catherine Tate. She’s alright but I’m not a fan and she doesn’t make my heart go pitter patter like Rose did.
I should now go on and talk about episode 1 and 2 but I think I’ll leave the honour of commencing the geekathon to one of my esteemed colleagues that deserve it oh so very much more than me.
Go for your life, guys.
I had two beginnings. One false start that sent me scurrying for cover, and then the reunion…
My first happened when I was plainly not ready to see Dr Who. It’s actually one of my first memories (other than falling asleep in front of Live Aid and waking up to see that now-famous video to the Cars song…)
I clearly remember seeing a scene from Earthshock – where Cybermen march up a metal staircase. It genuinely frightened me, and I then remember running and wrapping myself in nearby full-length curtain to hide… 15 or so years later, watching it back again while at university, the same feelings flooded back and I felt a chill down my spine.
The second beginning was a trip to a video shop with my dad. I’d begun watching the TV series properly by then (starting with Sylvester McCoy), and I was playing all the requisite playground versions – everyone wanted to be Ace. Boy or girl, it didn’t matter. Ace was clearly cooler. And so I, being smaller than most of my peers, became the Doctor. On the upside, quite clearly, I was better – after all, I had my own Tardis. And everyone else was a girl. Technically. But anyway, I’d become obsessed with the Doctor, and I wanted more.
Somehow (memory is hazy on the exact details of how I managed it), I got my dad to buy me Spearhead From Space. I took it home and devoured it. Again and again. This was a Doctor I didn’t know, I had never seen before, and was totally different to the one I’d met. But this one was dashing, erudite, and was basically a scientist dressed like Adam Adamant. But I took that in my stride. And their special effects were better than the ones on telly (because they didn’t have to go over the top). I loved the story, and was very wary of shop window mannequins for a VERY long time afterwards.
There was something different about all this, though. I immersed myself, but all the while I was picking up the rudimentaries of right and wrong, of the value of life. Of love for others. And after all, while my friends were totally obsessed with football, I couldn’t help feeling a bit sorry for them. They watched 22 men in shorts kick a ball around while I loved cricket and watched an eccentric, clever and funny man help up scantily-clad women while he was saving the earth. Sigh.
Patrick Troughton. While my first was both McCoy and Pertwee, I suppose, and I always thought Paul McGann was brilliant but never got a fair go… my second (dad-bought) video was The Seeds of Death. And I’ve always had a sweet spot for the “Cosmic Hobo”, so I’ll go with him. Maybe it’s the daft trousers and the blatant darts at comedy. Maybe it was because he died of a heart attack after (allegedly) attempting to seduce another actor’s wife at a Sci-Fi convention. I don’t know. But the Seeds of Death is one of the finest things I’d ever seen, and I’ve always loved the way his doctor dealt with some terrifying monsters (Cybermen, Yeti, Daleks, the Ice Warriors, the Great Intelligence) with fantastic grace and panache (for the time) and still found time to get everyone else’s back up by practicing the Recorder…
This is tough! There are a few that really and truly drew me in until I was completely hooked. The Ambassadors of Death, Robots of Death, The Pyramids of Mars, Talons of Weng Chiang, Ghostlight, The Android Invasion, The Daemons.
I’ll plump for The Web of Fear though. Pulsating thriller set in the tunnels of the London Underground, with Yeti stalking, looking for prey. Oh, and green stuff on walls. Always good. Really threatening, close thriller which is captivating just from the soundtrack (only episode 1 still exists on film).
This used to be the easiest answer for me. It was always the Cybermen. Daleks, like Andrew, I thought were dull. Really, really not scary and not too hard to run away from. Cybermen were virtually unbeatable (except of course if you happened to have a wrinkly old woman from the Sixteenth Century who came with her own gold arrows… ahem), and they were determined. And Colin Baker’s brush with them (The Attack of The Cybermen), is an overlooked gem.
But for me, it’s the Master.
There’s a series of encounters with Pertwee’s doctor that are absolutely riveting – The Mind of Evil and the Claws of Axos in particular are brilliantly simple but complex thrillers… but the master always has the advantage over the Doctor that gives way to a fascinating story while the Doctor fights to reel him in. And his return last year with Derek Jacobi and John Simm was just, well, perfect. It was classic Master and bang up to date all at once.
Which companion did you either want to be or fancy:
The years watching old videos made a huge impression on me… Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen)…
I always wanted to be in UNIT. I suppose they count as companions…
What are you looking forward to:
The return of the Sontarans – OK, they look a bit like rubber-moulded humpy-dumpty models in shiny suits, but they’re another one of the old-school monsters who were genuinely interesting to watch. Oh, and UNIT returns in the same episode too!
I’m also looking forward to stories by two particular writers – Gareth Roberts and Stephen Moffat…
I am thoroughly dreading what they’re going to do with the return of Rose…
I’m really beginning to hate the whole romance element of the series. Rose was far enough for me. But then Martha, and now Donna too – falling in love with him. Maybe its naiive to expect that love could be kept out of this, but its making David Tennant’s doctor look like a ladies’ man, when traditionally, I suppose, he’s always been a bit above that.