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Teachers’ Farewell

Two teachers go home

Using Dalek time machine

It’s back to school time

The Daleks return for the second time and once again the story ends with a farewell. This time, Ian and Barbara return to earth, using the Daleks’ time machine, at the conclusion of The Chase, which seems to work more accurately than the TARDIS.

With the departure of Ian and Barbara, the viewers have lost the viewers entrance into the ongoing story and indeed three quarters of the original cast. Season two of Doctor Who was definitely one of change with only William Hartnell remaining from the original cast by season’s end.

But the departure of Ian and Barbara marks a big shift from the original premise of being “educational” and transforming into science fiction. An example of this is the very next story which is set in 1066. Barbara would be very familiar with this year and the most famous battle of this year is the battle of Hastings but this story does not focus on this but on a Viking invasion that happened before the battle. And just to remove this from the elements of a purely historical story, another time traveller is involved.

Doctor Who was evolving…

Barbara Wright: A school teacher who taught history, her cardigans were ruined in her last two stories but she had also been mistaken as an Aztec god and also managed to acquire a suntan while left on a space ship in The Sensorites.

Ian Chesterton: A science teacher who was the action man of the series (a role that future companions Steven Taylor, Ben Jackson, Jamie McCrimmon and Harry Sullivan would step into).

Although the characters never returned to Doctor Who, Jacqueline Hill would return to play Lexa in the fourth Doctor story, Meglos and Ian Chesterton was scheduled to make a return to Doctor Who in 1983. Unfortunately, William Russell wasn’t able to return so another character from the Doctor’s past [or his future from this point in time], Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (retired). This change in cast has led to real problems for any fans trying to make sense of the UNIT timeline but more of that later.

What are your favourite episodes featuring Barbara and Ian?


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8th Doctor Sale at Big Finish

Doctor for a night

His adventures continue

With Lucie Miller

Paul McGann was the Doctor for just one night on television but thanks to Big Finish, he has had a chance to be the Doctor and continue with new adventures.

Starting on Monday 20th February, Big Finish will have  the four series of Paul McGann Doctor Who stories with his companion Lucie Miller on sale over four days. Series one on Monday, series two on Tuesday etc. click here for more details.

These stories have a feel of the new series in style and format (the stories are approximately 60 minutes and Lucie Miller (played marvellously by Sheridan Smith) would feel right at home in the TARDIS with any of the new Doctors.

If you still aren’t convinced, then you can download part one of Blood of the Daleks to hear for yourself or get them as a treat for that special Doctor Who fan.

A podcast with more information can be found here.

If you are already a fan, I’d love to hear your views about these stories.

Building a TARDIS

Build your own TARDIS?

What a wonderful project

See how it is done

I am indebted to my twitter friend @ten_ten_ten who RTd* a tweet by @boingboing featuring someone who built their own TARDIS. Click here to watch it being built.

Have you built a TARDIS? If so, how did it turn out? Click here to read about other TARDIS builders.

*Note for none twitter readers, RT stands for ReTweet which is when you share a post from someone you follow with your followers. Twitter etiquette suggests that you credit the original source of the tweet.

Doctor Who Gifts (1: Books)

It’s that time of year when we think about what to get our loved ones. Here are just a few suggestions for that Doctor Who fan in your life. If you have found other Doctor Who related gifts, pleaser feel free to comment. Thank you.

This post , I shall be looking through a few books that I have that bought/received as gifts/on my wish list that have put a smile on my face.

Biographies

One of my favourite Doctor Whos is second Doctor, Patrick Troughton and there is a new biography about this very private man written by his son, Michael. Patrick Troughton’s importance to the world of Doctor Who cannot be over emphasized as it was a bold move to not only change the lead actor but to make it a deliberate change, no lookalike replacement here but a new man. Alas, many of his stories have been lost (more about that below) but I heartily recommend the stories that survive and the audio versions.

2011 was a sad year for Doctor Who fans as we lost two actors who played two of the most loved characters in the Doctor Who universe, Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart) and Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith). Nicholas Courtney has written a few autobiographies, the best being Still Getting Away With It. Elisabeth Sladen has also written an autobiography which was originally scheduled to come out earlier this year (2011) but her sad death postponed the release. But the book is out now and will be a wonderful gift for those who fondly remember Sarah Jane Smith, the character that bridged “classic” Who and “new” Who.

Series Guides

If you are looking for an all in one series guide, it might be worth waiting a year or two until the 50th anniversary when, I’m sure, there will be several to choose from. In the meantime I shall suggest a few books that deal with classic Who.

There are a series of books called About Time that focus on certain eras of Doctor Who. There are 6 volumes altogether covering the original seven Doctors and the 8th from the TV movie. The authors go into detail about the episodes and also mention the context when the stories were first broadcast. With a lot of stories is an accompanying essay which can relate to the problems of dating the Dalek stories and what they would eat to what the BBC thought about the show. Volume 1 covers all but a few of the William Hartnell stories, volume 2 covers the final William Hartnell stories and all of the Patrick Troughton stories. Volume 3 covers the Jon Pertwee era. Volume 4 covers most of the Tom Baker years. Volume 5 starts from the “star field” opening sequence for Tom Baker and includes the Peter Davison era and volume 6 covers Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann.

Doctor Who Related

I recently treated myself to a book that has been on my wish list for sometime, Wiped by Richard Molesworth. This book looks at how the BBC worked in the ’60s and ’70s and its policy of wiping taped shows so that the (expensive) tape could be reused. Doctor Who was only one show whose past has been lost in this manner (other shows include Not only but also and Dad’s Army). Some stories have been found (usually copies that were made for overseas sale) and there is always hope that one of the 108 missing episodes may turn up.

My quest to watch Doctor Who in order was partly inspired by Running Through Corridors by Robert Shearman and Toby Hadoke. Both have pedigrees in Doctor Who, Rob Shearman has written Doctor Who stories for Big Finish, one of which he adapted for the new Who story Dalek which saw the return of the iconic exterminators. Toby Hadoke has starred in several Big Finish stories and is also well-known for his one man show, Moths ate my Doctor Who scarf.Both have made entertaining contributions to the DVD extras of a number of Doctor Who stories.

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Patrick Troughton by Michael Troughton

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Elisabeth Sladen's autobiography

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The story of the missing episodes

Anniversary shows

23rd November is a very special date for Doctor Who fans. It is the anniversary of the very first episode. Here I will look at the episodes that occurred on the anniversary or the stories either side of it.

It is interesting to note that only 3 other stories were broadcast on the 23rd November itself, none of the stories being the multi Doctor anniversary stories; The Three Doctors (10th Anniversary) and The Five Doctors (20th). The 25th anniversary story, Silver Nemesis, however WAS broadcast in 23rd, a year after the previous season’s Dragonfire was broadcast on the anniversary date. That’s 2 out of the 3 stories (the third being The Invasion which coincidentally is also a Cyberman tale as was Silver Nemesis).

But if Daleks are more your thing, then 8 stories featuring the fearsome pepper pots are on the list (with a further 2 stories featuring a brief appearance by the Daleks). In the early years, you were almost guaranteed a Dalek story on the anniversary with the Daleks starring in 3 anniversaries in a row.

But things changed in1969. The show went out in colour and the schedule was different. The 1969 anniversary had the finale of Patrick Troughton’s tenure as the Doctor finishing the season in June with Jon Pertwee’s debut going out at the start of 1970.

It would be 1975 before a story was transmitted during the anniversary week, in this case it was The Android Invasion written by none other than Dalek creator Terry Nation.

The rest of the 1970s found the anniversary falling between two stories but without the season gap of the early 1970s.

1980 saw The State Of Decay being transmitted around the anniversary date but the cycle of the early ’70s returned with the season gap occurring over the anniversary.

The 20th anniversary story, The Five Doctors, was a specially made feature-length story that was broadcast in the U.S. on the 23rd but wasn’t broadcast in the UK until 25th.

Once Doctor Who returned after an 18 month hiatus in 1986, it was on air during the anniversary and depending on how you view the season, is it during the Trial of A Time Lord or between Terror of the Vervoids and The Ultimate Foe?

Then the two Sylvester McCoy stories followed that were broadcast on the day itself (the aforementioned Dragonfire and Silver Nemesis).

The final story of the classic series was a 3 part story called Survival. All three parts make it onto the anniversary list because the anniversary for 1989 was between parts 1 and 2 and as the third part was the final story for many years, it was the anniversary story by default.

Then came the tv movie, broadcast in May 1996 and the default anniversary tale until the show’s return with Rose.

Which brings us to the new series of Doctor Who. Again the schedule saw the series aired in the first half of the year meaning that the stories either side of the anniversary were the season finale (and a return of the Daleks) and the Christmas special. Usually the gap would be about 6 months, until…

…This year saw the series being shown in two separate blocks which meant that the season finale was shown in the beginning of October.

It sounds as if next year, the season will start later making me think that by the time of the 50th anniversary in 2013, the show will again air an episode on (or near) the 23rd November.

What will YOU be doing to celebrate the Doctor’s anniversary?

Doctor Who Anniversary Stories (UK air dates)

1963 – An Unearthly Child **

1964 – The Dalek Invasion Of Earth (1- 21/11, 2-28/11)

1965 – The Daleks’ Master Plan (2-20/11, 3-27/11)

1966 – The Power Of The Daleks (3-19/11, 4-26/11)

1967 – The Ice Warriors (2-18/11, 3-25/11)

1968 – The Invasion (4-23/11) **

1969 – The War Games (10-21/6/69) change of schedule

1970 – Spearhead From Space (1-3/1/70)

1970 – Inferno (7-20/6)

1971 – Terror Of The Autons (1-2/1)

1971 – The Daemons (5-19/6)

1972 – Day of the Daleks (1-1/1/72)

1972 – The Time Monster (6-24/6)

1972 – The Three Doctors (1-30/12)

1973 – The Green Death (6-23/6)

1973 – The Time Warrior (1-15/12)

1974 – Planet Of The Spiders (6-8/6)

1974 – Robot (1-28/12)

1975 – The Android Invasion ( 1-22/11, 2-29/11)

1976 – The Deadly Assassin (4-20/11)

1977 – The Face Of Evil (1-1/1)

1977 – Image of the Fendahl (4-19/11)

1977 – The Sun Makers (1-26/11)

1978 – The Stones Of Blood (4-18/11)

1978 – The Androids Of Tara (1-25/11)

1979 – The Creature From The Pit (4-17/11)

1979 – Nightmare Of Eden (1-24/11)

1980 – State Of Decay (1-22/11, 2-29/11)

1981 – Logopolis (4-21/3)

1982 – Castrovalva (1-4/1)

1982 – Time-Flight (4-30/3)

1983 – Arc Of Infinity (1-3/1)

1983 – The King’s Demons (2-16/3)

1983 – The Five Doctors (25/11)

1984 – The Twin Dilema (4-30/3)

1985 – Attack Of The Cybermen (5/1)

1985 – Revelation Of The Daleks (2-30/3)

1986 – The Mysterious Planet 1 (6/9)

1986 – Terror Of The Vervoids (4-22/11)

1986 – The Ultimate Foe (1-29/11)

1987 – Dragonfire (1-23/11) **

1988 – Silver Nemesis (1-23/11) **

1989 – Survival (1-22/11, 2-29/11)

1989 – Survival (3-6/12) (1990-1995)

1996 – TV Movie (27/5) 1996-2004)

2005 – Rose (26/3)

2005 – The Parting Of The Ways (18/6)

2005 – The Christmas Invasion (25/12)

2006 – Doomsday (8/7)

2006 – The Runaway Bride (25/12)

2007 – Last of the Time Lords (30/6)

2007 – Voyage of the damned (25/12)

2008 – Journey’s End (5/7)

2008 – The Next Doctor (25/12)

2009 – The Waters of Mars (15/11)

2009 – The End of Time (1-25/12)

2010 – The Big Bang (26/6)

2010 – A Christmas Carol (25/12)

2011 – The Wedding of River Song (1/10)

**aired on 23rd November

Remembering Susan

First companion,

And one of the family

Doctor’s Granddaughter

In a previous post (Dalek Invasion of Earth), the series did something for the very first time. A main character left. In this case it was Susan who became the first of a long line of ex-companions and so I thought I’d do the first of what will be a series of posts about the Doctor’s companions ~ those regular (and irregular) folk who accompany the Doctor and are often the viewer’s access point to the series. They ask the questions that we would ask and get captured/injured on a regular basis.

Lets have a look back at these companions and I hope that YOU will contribute to this post by sharing your memories and opinions about YOUR favourite companions (or feel free to have a rant about your least favourite companions). I will post after I reach a story

Susan Foreman: The Doctor’s grand daughter and only known (or mentioned) relative in the clasic series. She has been travelling with the Doctor before the series started but it hasn’t been revealed (on tv) how she came to be travelling with the Doctor. She is teeneage in appearance (which is not a clear indicator as to her true age as the Doctor’s various regenerations have shown) but it is believed that she is a teenager. She leaves the Doctor when the Doctor locks her out of the TARDIS after she is struggling to decide whether to stay with David or continue her travels.

The character of Susan was, at times, inconsistent. She is enigmatic and wise at times (especially in her debut story, An Unearthly Child) but at other times she is a screaming one dimensional character in need of rescuing. This can be a common problem for companions. They need to be interesting characters but they can’t develop too much or they may out evolve their usefulness to ask questions.

Carole Ann Ford reprised the role of Susan for the 20th anniversary story, The Five Doctors. A story that saw her character trip and fall, injuring her ankle. This kind of harked back to her farewell story when she fell and injured her ankle. She has also contributed to some Big Finish audio stories. The Companion Chronicles, a Doctor Who special (given away if you subscribe in the month of December) called “An Earthly Child” a sequel of sorts featuring Doctor 8 (Paul McGann) and the Earthly Child of the title is Susan’s son played by Paul’s real life son, Jake. Susan has also appeared in the Lost Stories which were stories written for tv but were never made, the stories featuring Doctors no longer with us are performed in a similar way to the Companion Chronicles (in this case with Carole Ann Ford and William Russell on narration duty).

What are your thoughts? What is your favourite Susan story?


The Post where YOU get involved…

Ok, I hope you’ve visited before. If not, please feel free to have a look around. Ah, you’re back, thank you, but now I would like YOU to get involved.

What would I like you to do?

I’m glad you asked. Simply add a comment about a Doctor Who memory (just to make it a bit more challenging…no Daleks or Cybermen).

I will give you a moment from when I first remember a Doctor Who monster giving me nightmares. The story was City of Death and the monster was Scaroth, last of the Jagaroth. Every time I watch this story, I can recall the feeling of horror I felt upon seeing the one-eyed green spaghetti headed monster, especially the cliffhanger at the end of part one when the human form that strongly resembled Julian Glover removes his face to reveal a one-eyed monster.

The story involved fractures in time and if you are familiar with Douglas Adams’ novel “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” you may see some similarities in the conclusion of the story. And if you know your unmade Doctor Who, you will see a strong influence in the Dirk Gently story from”Shada” but I digress.

The story itself is wonderful with location filming done in Paris and a great cast on top form. If you are wondering why I have made so many references to Douglas Adams here, he happened to have been the script editor for this story (and also, with producer Graham Williams, the writer of the story too). They were working quickly and tirelessly on a script by David Fisher that didn’t meet with their approval.

Now, let me read your story (even if you only have vague memories, please feel free to contribute, if you can’t remember the story myself or other readers may be able to fill in the blanks but don’t worry about that).