Sue couldn’t wait to see this story. The combination of Graeme Harper and the Daleks was just too much for her to resist and she was dying for it. Unfortunately, we had to postpone the experiment for a couple of days because I had a temporary threshold shift. If you’ve never been unfortunate/stupid enough to experience this yourself, it’s basically a muffled, ringing sound in your ears which can last for days. I had it in my left ear for 48 hours and I was practically deaf – and extremely worried – for a while, and if I’d watched an episode of Doctor Who with Sue, I wouldn’t have heard a single word she said. But I decided to wait anyway.

And the reason for my temporary loss of hearing? Standing next to a speaker at an Orbital gig so I could film this on my phone (you should probably turn your volume down before you play it):

Sue: Serves you bloody right.
Me: Pardon?

But seriously, I have permanently damaged my hearing, so let this be a lesson to you, kids.


Part One

Revelation of the DaleksThe story begins on the snowy wastes of Necros.

Sue: Peri is wearing sensible clothes again. I bet a million dads all switched off at once.

Peri clambers over the frozen wasteland so she can reach a nearby pond.

Sue: What the **** is she doing? Are the toilets backed up on the TARDIS and she has to relieve herself outside? What’s going on?

When the Doctor joins his companion, he is wearing a bright blue cloak.

Sue: What the hell is that?
Me: I thought you’d like it. It hides his coat.
Sue: Yes, it’s not as loud, but it’s still talking to me. He looks like he’s going to a fancy dress party as a jester.

Peri complains that her blue coat is too tight for her.

Revelation of the DaleksThe Doctor: You eat too much.
Sue: Hark at chubby chops over there. What a cheek.

The Doctor and Peri have arrived on Necros to pay their respects to an old friend of the Doctor’s. Peri isn’t exactly thrilled.

Peri: I don’t even know this guy we’ve come to see.
The Doctor: Guy? Guy! You are talking about Professor Arthur Stengos.
Sue: Oh, I thought his name was Guy.

The action shifts to Tranquil Repose where a funeral is being arranged.

Sue: Nice set. Very Art Nouveau. Nice camera movement, too. And that guy in charge is very famous. I recognise his voice.
Me: That’s Clive Swift. He’s a lovely bloke and one of the show’s greatest ambassadors.

A young couple quietly make their way across the screen. They are Natasha and Grigory and they are seriously tooled up.

Sue: Their theme music is a bit weird. It’s a cross between The Professionals and The Teletubbies.

The Doctor and Peri are confronted by a snarling mutant on the surface of Necros.

Sue: The Doctor has taken his cloak off but he still hasn’t scared it off.

The Doctor tries to hypnotise the deformed mutant but he only succeeds in making it more angry.

Revelation of the DaleksMe: You won’t believe who they almost got to play this part.
Sue: Michael Caine?
Me: Bigger.
Sue: Brian Blessed?
Me: Bigger as in more famous.
Sue: Laurence Olivier?
Me: Yes!
Sue: **** off! I was only joking!

The mutant has grabbed the Doctor by his throat, so Peri whacks him over the head with a branch.

Sue: I can’t imagine Laurence Olivier appearing in a zombie film. This is very intense for the time it went out. It’s Tea-Time of the Dead.

And then…

Sue: What the ****?

Revelation of the DaleksYes, it’s Tranquil Repose’s resident DJ.

Me: Do you recognise him?
Sue: Yes, it’s Ozzy Osbourne.

A white Dalek glides through a corridor.

Sue: What a crap entrance. They wasted an opportunity, there. I like the new colour scheme, though. If Apple made Daleks, that’s what they’d look like.

Grigory and Natasha fight their way into the catacombs of Necros.

Sue: The camera movement is excellent. Shame about the crappy lasers, though. They should have stuck with the machine guns.

Peri tries to come to terms with the fact that she’s accidentally killed a man to death.

Sue: Don’t blame yourself, love. You only tapped him on the shoulder with a branch. He must have been suffering from a pre-existing condition to die from that.
Mutant: I think you’ve done me a favour. It’s not been much fun being like I am. You wouldn’t think I once looked like you.
Sue: It’s not exactly Hamlet, is it? Why didn’t Olivier do this again?

The Mutant says he acted in self-defence. If only the Doctor hadn’t attempted to hypnotise him!

Sue: WHAT? That was pathetic. Why didn’t you just say “Hello!” when you wandered into the scene? You can speak, can’t you?

Revelation of the DaleksDavros has definitely slimmed down since the last time Sue saw him.

Sue: I thought he was supposed to be dead? And what’s he going in that thing? Where’s the rest of him gone?

Sue is finding it hard to keep up with the revelations in Revelation of the Daleks.

Sue: I’m very confused. There’s a lot to take in. I’m a bit lost to be honest. How did Davros end up here?

Davros contacts a glamorous factory owner named Kara.

Sue: More new characters? Are they all on the same planet? Does this come together eventually?

Kara is assisted by her secretary, Vogel.

Vogel: I’m a past master at the double entry.
Sue: I bet you are.

Davros is only interested in one thing, and that thing is money.

Sue: So Davros wants cash? Is it because he’s running a funeral home now and he’s got bills to pay? I can’t imagine Davros hiring an accountant to make sure his payroll is up to date. It’s all a bit weird, this.

Davros isn’t very happy with his one-time employee of the month, Jobel.

Davros: I have offered you immortality, but you are content to play with the bodies of the dead, so you will MUAMAHIHUAHUBARWWROR.
Sue: What did he just say?
Me: Don’t ask me, I’m half-deaf.

Revelation of the DaleksThe Doctor and Peri continue their journey to Tranquil Repose.

Sue: The Doctor is hardly in this story. I’m not sure how I feel about that. William Hartnell did more than this when he was on holiday.

The Doctor and Peri clamber over a wall, but Peri accidentally steps on something precious in the process.

Peri: I wouldn’t have had it happen for the world.
The Doctor: Forget it. I rarely use it.
Peri: But I know how fond of it you were.
The Doctor: Just don’t go on about it. I shall learn to live without it.
Sue: Cock innuendoes? Really? At this time of night? Am I going mad?

The Doctor jumps off the wall and Peri is left to fend for herself.

Sue: The Doctor doesn’t give a shit about her. I bet a day doesn’t go by when she doesn’t wish that he was still Peter Davison.

The catacombs of Necros are filled with swirling fog.

Sue: Graeme Harper loves his dry ice. I bet he was down on the studio floor, waving it around like a demented lunatic as usual.

Revelation of the DaleksNatasha and Grigory find a Dalek made from glass.

Sue: So Davros is sticking all the frozen bodies into Daleks? That makes sense, I suppose. He’s really blinging up the Daleks as well. You can see your face in that one.

Sue finally recognises the actor playing the DJ.

Sue: What the hell is Alexis Sayle doing in this? I don’t get it.

The DJ provides a running commentary on the action taking place on screen. Now, if only Sue could understand a word he was saying.

Sue: Warriors, come out to play!
Me: You know, I’ve never picked up on that reference before now. Well done.
Sue: This is what would have happened to Chris Moyles if he’d stayed in hospital radio.

The head in the glass Dalek is none other than Natasha’s dad, Arthur Stengos. He begs his daughter to kill him before the Dalek side of his nature can take control.

Sue: Fantastic scene. Really, really grim, but very, very good.

Revelation of the DaleksKara has employed an assassin to take out Davros.

Sue: It’s Champions man!

It’s on her Christmas wish list. Oh joy.

Orcini is accompanied by his squire, Bostock.

Sue: Is that his Baldrick? Is he his sex slave? He’s wearing a dog collar.

The Doctor and Peri still haven’t reached Tranquil Repose yet.

Sue: He landed the TARDIS miles away. I know he wants to lose some weight but this is ridiculous. Get on with it!

Davros follows the Doctor’s progress on a monitor screen. He cackles uncontrollably at what he sees.

Sue: Is he laughing at the Doctor’s clothes?

Davros requests a meeting with Tasambeker, a put-upon employee of Tranquil Repose.

Sue: The giant W on her head isn’t a good look for her. Actually, I don’t know what a good look for her would be.
Me: A paper bag?

Revelation of the DaleksDavros decides to employ Tasambeker as his personal assistant.

Sue: He must be able to find a prettier PA than that.
Me: Good PAs are so hard to find.

The Doctor and Peri have finally reached the entrance to Tranquil Repose. Yay!

Sue: About bloody time. The episode will be over by the time they get involved.

A Dalek glides past them and Peri freaks out. If only she knew what it was.

Peri: I don’t know. Some sort of machinery.
Sue: I thought she knew what a Dalek was? She was a bloody expert on them last week.

Natasha and Grigory have been captured by two men named Lilt and Takis. But before they interrogate them, they decide to soften Grigory up by pouring the contents of his flask into his mouth.

Natasha: Stop! You’ll kill him!
Sue: Really? If I were him, I’d be saying, “Cheers, mate, I really needed that.”

The Doctor is horrified when he discovers a statue of himself in the Garden of Fond Memories.

The Doctor: This is dreadful.
Sue: Yeah, of all the Doctors to erect a statue to, they picked that one. Amazing.

The Doctor is convinced he’ll die in his current regeneration.

Sue: It might be a monument to how bloody wonderful you are. Don’t be so pessimistic.

The Doctor believes the gravestone is genuine.

The Doctor: Do you realise how much a thing like that would cost?
Sue: It can’t have cost that much. It’s rubbish. It’s got a bloody great crack in it for a start. Hang on, is it supposed to be moving like that?

Revelation of the DaleksThe episode concludes with the Doctor flattened by his own face.

Sue: It’s polystyrene! What a bloody awful cliffhanger.

The credits roll.

Sue: I’m not sure how I feel about this. The direction is very good and some of the acting is excellent, but the Doctor hasn’t done anything yet and I don’t have a bloody clue what’s going on. The music is too loud as well. I’m not enjoying this one as much as I thought I would.


Part Two

Revelation of the DaleksThe Doctor has been crushed to death, but Jobel is on hand to comfort Peri.

Sue: She’s so used to this by now. She’d be more freaked out if the first person she met didn’t come on to her.

The Doctor emerges from the , unharmed but still covered in blood.

The Doctor: It’s not mine. Like the statue and this grotesque, it’s all part of an elaborate theatrical effect.
Sue: If by elaborate you mean completely stupid, yes, I agree.

Jobel and the Doctor don’t hit it off.

Jobel: It would take a mountain to crush an ego like yours.
Sue: He’s known him for less than 10 seconds and he’s hurling insults at him. The PR in this place is atrocious.

The Doctor and Peri have finally arrived in Tranquil Repose’s reception area. It only took them 48 minutes.

Sue: So the last episode was a complete waste of time. Hang on a minute… They’re not wearing the colour blue any more. Where’s their so-called respect now?

Takis confers with a computer that has a ridiculously sexy voice.

Computer: And what is your pleasure?
Sue: You’d never get any work done if you had a computer like that, Neil.

Tasambeker gives the Doctor the hard sell.

Tasambeker: For a small extra cost, you may purchase our personalised communication service.

The DJ spouts out more incomprehensible nonsense.

Sue: I’d pay extra not to listen to that, thanks.

Orcini is heading for Davros’ lair.

Revelation of the DaleksSue: I love his performance. He has such a lovely voice. He’d have been a good Doctor, I think.
Me: To me, William Gaunt will always be a grumpy sitcom dad.
Sue: He’ll always be a champion to me.

Orcini obliterates a Dalek with his bastic bullets.

Sue: And he doesn’t **** about, either.

Peri gets to meet the DJ.

Sue: Why have they smeared the lens with vaseline? What’s that all about?
Peri: I’m Peri.
DJ: Is that your real accent?
Peri: Well, I hope so.
Sue: That was a bit awkward.

Down below, Davros seduces Tasambeker. No, not like that.

Revelation of the DaleksSue: She is a terrible actress. Absolutely appalling. Why didn’t they get Pauline Quirke instead?

The Daleks have come for the duplicitous Kara and Vogel, and they won’t take no for an answer as Vogel sadly discovers.

Sue: He made a right mountain out of that death scene. One minute this is gritty and realistic, the next minute it’s summer season at Great Yarmouth.

Davros offers to turn Tasambeker into a Dalek and she readily agrees.

Sue: Good. Her acting might improve.

Tasambeker tries to warn Jobel about Davros’ plans for him, but he spurns her advances once again.

Sue: It’s a good part ruined. Seriously, this could have been wonderful with a decent actress in the role. What a shame.

Tasambeker stabs Jobel in his heart. He keels over.

Revelation of the DaleksSue: Was his wig supposed to fall off like that? Or did they keep that in because it looked good?
Me: No, they did it on purpose.
Sue: It’s a nice touch. He was a vain tosser. There are moments of brilliance in this.

Orcini and Bostock make it to Davros’ lair. They pepper it with bastic bullets.

Sue: Davros is definitely dead. There’s no way back from that. His head is all scrunched up.

But no! The head was just a decoy!

Sue: Eh?

Orcini and Bostock fight on but Orcini loses his leg in the process.

Sue: Davros can fly. My, my, he has been busy, hasn’t he. Do you think he started to make a dummy of himself in this chair but he got bored when he finished the head?

Meanwhile, Peri and the DJ prepare to make a stand against the Daleks.

Sue: This is the sort of shit you listen to, Neil. Is he going to bore them to death?

Revelation of the DaleksWhile that’s going on, Kara admits to Orcini that the beacon she gave him was actually a bomb. Orcini repays her with a BBQ skewer to the heart.

Sue: Good Lord. This is vicious stuff.

The DJ uses concentrated sound waves to defeat the Daleks.

Sue: That’s what happened to your ear drums the other night, Neil.

But the DJ celebrates his victory too soon and he is exterminated before he can take any further requests.

Sue: Eejit.

The Doctor is led to Davros’ lair.

Sue: I like the strategically placed ferns in the dungeon. They really liven the place up.

The Doctor and Davros meet again.

Sue: Davros is great. It’s a very good performance. But there’s one thing I don’t get.
Me: What’s that?
Sue: Why has Davros lured the Doctor here? Was he bored? Did he want someone to stop him? What?
Me: Erm.

Revelation of the DaleksAs luck would have it, Orcini’s squire isn’t as dead as we thought.

Sue: Come on, Baldrick, blow his head off.

Bostock blows Davros’ hand off instead.

Sue: Why didn’t he aim for the head? It’s bigger! That is frustrating. Oh my! Are those Davros’ fingers on the floor? It’s a bit full-on, this.

Takis tells Davros that he’s called for backup.

Sue: Even this bloke with the beard has done more to sort things out than the Doctor has. Why is the Doctor even in this story?

Davros is arrested by some old-skool Daleks.

Sue: It’s a great performance from the actor playing Davros. I really believe that he’s pissed off, here.

Davros is escorted away to stand trial for war crimes on Skaro. The Doctor grabs a machine gun and he blasts the eyestalk of a Dalek that has been left on guard.

Sue: Finally! The Doctor actually did something!

The Dalek’s vision is impaired and it cannot see.

Sue: And the Weeping Angel in the corner looks on in embarrassment.

Orcini decides to sacrifice himself. It’s the honourable thing to do.

Sue: Awwww. He’s going to die cuddling his best friend. Bless him. He’s going to die a real hero’s death.

But Davros gets away in the nick of time.

Sue: Oh, for ****’s sake! That was pointless!

Tranquil Repose is rocked by the resultant explosion.

Revelation of the DaleksSue: That looked pretty good. The script is a mess but this could have been a lot worse if Graeme Harper wasn’t involved.

When things have calmed down, Peri asks the Doctor do take her somewhere fun.

The Doctor: Alright, I’ll take you to B-
Sue: Barcelona!


The Score

Sue: That was a game of two halves. There were moments of excellence and moments of stupidity, but the thing that really annoyed me the most is the Doctor did bugger all. He was just a bystander. If he hadn’t turned up, that would have turned out exactly the same way. So what was the point? Champions man saved it for me. He was the real hero. And Davros was good, too. The direction was alright but the sound mix was so bad I couldn’t understand half of what was being said (and my hearing is fine, thanks) and the script was all over the place. I am very disappointed. I don’t know what that was, but it wasn’t Doctor Who.



HiatusLater that night, I subjected Sue to a compilation of news stories which covered the 1985 hiatus announcement.

Sue Lawley: The Doctor Who Appreciation Society is up in arms. They’ve called the decision “horrifying and staggering”.
Sue: Horrifying? That’s a bit extreme. No one died. I can’t believe this was on the main BBC news. It must have been a very slow news day.
Me: Do you think the BBC were right to rest the show?
Sue: Not really. If they weren’t happy, they should have got another producer in.

And then I tested our marriage – and the experiment – to the max. If there’s ever a good time to suffer a temporary threshold shift, this is it:

Sue: I listened to the radio a lot in 1985 – I spent half my time driving up and down the A1 – but I don’t remember ever hearing that.
Me: What did you think?
Sue: I’ll have to watch it again. There was too much naffness for me to take in. I thought it was a spoof at first.
Me: You actually want to watch it again?
Sue: Yes, let’s see who I can recognise this time.

Doctor in DistressHere are some time-coded comments from Sue:

Sue: (0:24) That’s Bobby G from Buck’s Fizz, after the accident, I think. He doesn’t look very well, bless him. Is Cheryl there? People used to say I looked like Cheryl.
Sue: (0:32) I have no idea who she is. Is it one of the Human League?
Me: It’s Hazell Dean.
Sue: Wasn’t she a has-been already by this point?
Sue: (0:39) That’s Justin Haywood. We’re going to see him tomorrow night.
Me: He’s not doing the War of the Worlds live tour any more.
Doctor in DistressSue: Oh yeah, it’s Gary Barlow now, isn’t it?
Me: He’s not doing it, either.
Sue: Who is doing it, then?
Me: Marti Pellow.
Sue: ****. You didn’t tell me that when you bought the ****ing tickets. Okay, press play again.
Sue: (0:48) No, sorry, I haven’t a clue.
Sue: (1:11) Pepsi from Pepsi and Shirley? I don’t ****ing know.
Sue: (1:16) That’s Colin Baker. Oh dear.
Doctor in DistressSue
: (1:25) I don’t know who that is but they can’t sing.
Sue: (1:35) Nik Kershaw?
Sue: (1:41) Is that Faith Brown?
Me: Yes. They couldn’t afford the real Tina Turner.
Sue: (1:49) The bloke from ABC?
Sue: (1:49) Sorry, I don’t know who that is.
Me: That’s Hazell Dean! I told you that less than two minutes ago!
Sue: Hazell Dean again? Have they run out of celebrities already?
Doctor in DistressSue: (1:56) A woman from Man About the House! Er… why?
Sue: (2:01) Is it the lead singer from Imagination?
Me: I think he’s a member of Tight Fit. Or Hot Gossip. I forget which.
Sue: And you call yourself a fan?
Sue: (2:33) That’s David Van Day from Dollar. He’s really going for it. Didn’t he try to take over Buck’s Fizz after this?
Sue: (2:41) I have no idea but I think somebody is holding a gun to her head.
Sue: (2:50) Is it the Master? Oh my God. What is he doing?
Sue: (3:02) The woman from Ace of Base? How am I supposed to know?
Sue: (3:17) The Brig isn’t singing, I notice. He’s no fool. Bobby G looks depressed. Is the man in the dark glasses a Bunnyman?
Sue: (3:29) I think Colin’s trying to hide his face. He’s probably ashamed. And who can blame him?

Doctor in DistressIt’s over. Finally.

Sue: So did that thing actually help?
Me: Not really. It still came back 18 months later.
Sue: So does this mean I’ll get some time off as well?
Me: Yes. About 18 hours, if you’re lucky.


Coming Soon




  1. Thomas Bush  December 10, 2012

    Revelation never really clicked with me. Sue’s comments were spot on. After this, it’s back to 25 minutes. I just hope Sue makes it through TToaTL unscathed! Wonder what she’ll make of M****.

    • Dave Sanders  December 10, 2012

      Don’t eat the oysters, Bob.

  2. P.Sanders  December 10, 2012

    Interesting response. I thought Sue would enjoy this one as it is one of the best Colin stories when you look back, but watching it story by story with no overall context for the era becomes less forgiving. I like Revelation – it’s trying to be clever, looks great and the daleks seem dangerous, but Saward by now is so uninterested in writing about the Doctor that he really does get short shrift here (plus a silly cliffhanger). It’s bizarre that in so many stories this season it takes the Doctor and Peri half an episode to join the action.

  3. Mister  December 10, 2012

    Sorry about your hearing, Neil. But at least you said, you’re not deaf so that’s something to be thankful for.

    Aw, I love Revelation. Oh well, what’s the world without opinions different than mine? Paradi- ahem, sorry. Boring…
    Yes, the Doctor did nothing but for some reason that never bothered me.

  4. Thomas Bush  December 10, 2012

    He’s trying to copy the late great RH. Can’t pull it off in a story where the characters aren’t so much immoral as amoral.

    • Dave Sanders  December 10, 2012

      To his credit, he *almost* manages it. Saward latches onto one particular thing that characterises several Holmes scripts, and that is that the world setting, its population and what drives it is at least as intruiging as how the Doctor eventually sorts it all out. But Holmes’ characters are interesting because their oddness and humour come from fitting naturally into this world setup. Most of Revelation’s cast, including the Doctor, however, are outsiders, and a lot of them don’t fit from having ever belonged there.

  5. encyclops  December 10, 2012

    Young teenage me agrees with Sue wholeheartedly. Orcini, Kara, and their seconds are fun and it’s interesting to see Davros being a character again rather than a ranting rubber head, but overall a mess. The relationship between Jobel and Tasambeker always made my skin crawl, and I never saw the point of having Alexei Sayle in it. I suspect that when I get around to seeing it again, I’ll still find it more interesting to think about than enjoyable to watch.

    “Vogel: I’m a past master at the double entry.

    Sue: I bet you are.”


  6. Jane  December 10, 2012

    Sue is feeling generous today. The only good thing about this episode is how thoroughly it reveals the philosophy of its author — people are horrible and should be left to their own devices to do themselves in. It’s so relentlessly cynical and misanthropic, no wonder there’s no place for the Doctor here.

  7. Wholahoop  December 10, 2012

    It is a bit of a mixed bag. The scene with Stengos’ head in the dalek was excellent but even 1985 me could not understand how Tasembeker could be played as woodenly as it was.

    I also think that the cliffhanger was trying to be a bit too clever by having obviously fake gravestone turn out to be a fake gravestone.

    Sawards seems to be keen to demonstrate that if you show violence you should show its consequences, which is fair enough, but he does seem to show an awful lot of “gritty violence”. Oh well, fair comments in the blog I reckon

  8. Chris  December 10, 2012

    I like this a fair bit more than Sue, but at the same time, I do agree that it’s very flawed, it has huge structural problems, and it really is inexcusable for Saward to sideline the Doctor and Peri so much. They might as well have not been in the first episode, as apart from the encounter with the mutant, all their scenes were stupifyingly dull, just marking time.

    Another thing I dislike about Saward’s writing is his fetishization of cruelty. There was no valid reason Takis and Lilt had to be portrayed as such sadistic characters. It’s not like Grigory and Natasha had any actual information to impart that contributes to the plot in any way: Saward just wants to show them get tortured because he loves torture porn (e.g. look at the gratuitous scene in The Visitation of the Terileptil being slowly burned alive and screaming in agony as his skin bubbles – why is that there? Simple: Saward is a torture fetishist. Why the drawn-out screams of Bates being electrocuted to death and Flast being slowly boiled to death in Attack of the Cybermen? Again, just because Saward gets off on that stuff.)

    Does Saward honestly expect us to warm to a guy who likes to slice up young women’s faces with his knife? A character who insists he must “mark” Natasha, then at the end Saward seems to expect us to treat these two repulsive creeps as jolly rogues and scamps like Garron and Unstoffe in Ribos. It’s a horrific ending that doesn’t even realize it’s a horrific ending: Tranquil Repose goes from being in the hands of a violent psychopath (Davros) to being in the hands of two violent psychopaths (Takis and Lilt). Great job, Doc.

    And there are some bizarre lapses here apart from the ones Sue pointed out. Like, why does no one ever call Grigory by name? The only reason we know he’s “Grigory” is by a process of elimination reading the credit list. And the names “Lilt” and “Vogel” are only mentioned once each in passing, so fast you could easily miss it. The name “Mr. Jobel” is mentioned dozens of times, yet the name “Grigory” is NEVER spoken at all! It’s bizarre.

    Also, the actor cast as Grigory (Stephen Flynn) is a Colin Baker look-alike (his bone structure, the shape and size of his nose, his thick mop of curly hair), he looks like a younger, slimmer, cuter version of Colin. And he keeps reminding us that “I’m a Doctor, not a magician,” and many similar references to his status as a DOCTOR. And his partner, Natasha, is played by a very pretty, attractive young actress. Isn’t all this a sign that subconsciously the whole production team of JNT, Harper, and Saward subliminally realized that it really should have been The Doctor and Peri doing all the stuff that Grigory and Natasha get to do? Everything they do is the stuff that the Doctor would normally be the one to do, and SHOULD have been doing here as well (breaking into the catacombs, finding the decoy body, coming face-to-face with the Dalekized Stengos, blowing up the incubation room etc. etc.) Saward’s decision to even include Grigory and Natasha at all is baffling in lieu of the fact that everything they do is the stuff that the Doctor and his companion would be doing in literally ANY other Who story ever written!

    • Nick Mays  December 10, 2012

      Bloody hell Chris – you’ve nailed it! I don’t think it WAS subliminal to have Grigory and Natasha as Doctor/Peri “stand ins” – I think Saward did it on purpose! The fact that JN-T didn’t notice or demand re-writes speaks volumes.

      I remember watching this at the time and thinking “When is the Doctor going to be involved?” and at the end thinking “Did the Doctor’s involvement, such as it was, change anything?”

      • Wholahoop  December 10, 2012

        If I recall correctly in the infamous Starburst interview Saward suggested that he did not believe C Baker was a good casting for the Doctor. I wonder if this writing of substitute Doctor and Companion is an indication of this?

        • Nick Mays  December 10, 2012

          There’s certainly some interesting pros and cons being put forward in these comments. It does kinda make me wonder though whether Saward was deliberately working against JN-T through scripts like this and not polishing some of the turds that were in other scripts, such as Twin Dilemma, Timelash, Mark of the Rani etc.

          Looking at the show coolly and with the knowledge we’ve gleaned over the years about what went on behind the scenes, it’s easy to see why Grade decided to “rest” the . I can clearly remember thinking at the time that the “brave new dawn” of the Baker/Davison handover had evaporated very quickly and that the show was losing its direction.

          It’s a great shame that after Season 24 that the show WAS getting better and had turned around (in fact the turnaround came at the end of Season 24), but by then the BBC Powers-That-Be had sidelined the show to a graveyard slot opposite Corrie, they gave it twee “this is for the kiddies” continuity announcements and basically made no secret of their embarassment at the whole thing.

          • John Miller  December 10, 2012

            Yes. Saward said outright that he thought Colin Baker was a natural supporting actor, definitely not a leading man.

            As far as the show “getting better” during Season 25/26, well all I can say for now is “Bertie”….

          • Nick Mays  December 10, 2012

            Psychotic confectionary aside, natch! 😉

        • Warren Andrews  December 10, 2012

          I don’t think that Saward liked the Doctor full stop – Davison is just as peripheral and useless in Resurrection of the Daleks – either wandering around a warehouse calling out or strapped to a bubble-wrap bed, gurning.

          Saward said to Colin that his Bayban the Terrible (or whatever his Blake’s 7 character was called) was totally how you shouldn’t play a mercenary. Saward loves Lytton and Orcini – that’s his true version of the Doctor.

          • John Miller  December 12, 2012

            Well, JNT’s main criticism of the era immediately before his was that the Tom Baker Doctor was too powerful. Everything is going wrong, the Doctor strolls in, cracks a few jokes, and saves the day without too much effort. Right down to where when his life is threatened, he didn’t even look slightly put-out. Doctor’s Five and Six are both still very “Doctor-y”, but neither is the unlikely superhero that Four was. They do get anxious, scared, worried in dire situations. And they can’t always be in the exact right place at the exact right time. It has also been repeatedly stated that it was a deliberate idea to have Six behave in a manner that seemed less-than-magnificent while events were unfolding, but hindsight showed to be the best course of action all along. Whether they pulled that off properly is another matter.

    • Warren Andrews  December 11, 2012

      Great point about Natasha and Gregory. Especially so as the Doctor and Peri go to Tranquil Repose for exactly the same reason as the “Grave robbers” – to find out what has happened to Arthur Stengos.

    • Tommy  December 12, 2012

      To be fair to Eric, it seemed to be JNT who wanted to sideline the Doctor more to the margins and make him less prominent and more marked by failings, and pretty much enforced this as early as Meglos, long before Eric was involved in the show. But with JNT’s dictates enforcing limitations on the characterisation of the Fifth Doctor (JNT openly said he wanted a Doctor who’d ‘get it wrong occasionally’, which means deliberately making a workable hero no longer work, as if no-one watched the show to see the Doctor succeed), and a repellent characterisation of the Sixth Doctor that prevented either of them working as heroes (although many fans somehow mistook the limited characterisation of the Fifth Doctor for ‘integrity’), it was probably inevitable that Eric would feel more freedom and affinity writing for side characters.

      The wanton cruelty, I think was down to several things. Mostly down to growing frustrations with his boss, both the poisonous work environment he was in, and his desire to go against the sanitised direction JNT wanted. The biggest issue I had was the way Eric frequently forced his own passive aggression onto the Doctor. I get the sense this was Eric feeling that much of Davison’s run had been rather insipid and lacking in incident and so he overcompensated by adding random moments of threat and violence. As a fan friend of mine pointed out, there’s a certain shift the show goes through in Season 21 where stories go from being underwritten to being overwritten, and Resurrection of the Daleks seems to be the pivot swinger.

      I say this because I can see an enthusiasm and spirit, and even optimism to his early submissions like The Visitation and Earthshock (the scene you highlighted with the burning Terileptils always came off to me as more a director’s decision than Eric’s own), that leaves me wondering how things turned so sour with his Season 21 and 22 scripts, and those he edited and amended with disastrous results, and I think it’s down to somewhere along the line he lost faith in the show, and in the job. But then when your boss is actively forbidding you from calling upon the better, older experienced writers you want and making your job impossible it must have felt like he couldn’t do right for being wrong, so he went wrong. And although fans try bringing up JNT’s other script editors, well Andrew Cartmel had a far easier job with only half as many story’s to assemble, and Bidmead actually did have enough after only one season.

      There was also something of a nasty 80’s zeitgeist that redefined the idea of being ‘a law unto yourself’ at a time when the riots had demonstrated that a chunk of the public were so disillusioned in the state and justice that they now felt it was their right to treat each other and their communities as horribly as they liked. This goes someways for me towards explaining the 80’s Doctor’s warped affinity for murderers and violent mobs such as Lytton, Takis and Lilt, and the Silurians, so much so that he effectively and spitefully does the dirty on everyone on the Sea Base in order to preserve their killers.

      Ultimately though I think a big part of it is how JNT’s demands of what should go into a given story, and how limiting his demands on how the Doctor should be characterised, led to a show that morally speaking, felt seriously out of balance. And this pretty much starts on Logopolis, which is the first real ‘slapped together’ story, with Nyssa, Tegan and the Master forced into it, and is full of wanton cruelty that is never curbed by a paralytic protagonist who seems to do little to prevent it. And this is before Eric got the job, and it becomes a trend from then on of sloppy writing and the most appalling characterisation.

      Most of the characterisation in Revelation of the Daleks is all over the place actually, and the scene inparticular of Takis and Lilt torturing the bodysnatchers does feel incongruous to almost any other scenes they’re in. And again it comes across like Eric had them break character to create tension and jeapordy. But there’s other odd examples, such as Natasha’s horror at Grigory’s torture, being contradicted by the scene where she pistol whips him when he refuses to go into the incubator room. And is Orcini really that noble? It seems the gun he passed onto them when releasing them from the cell had an empty power pack, so he effectively snidely sets them up for their deaths for no real reason.

      As for Natasha and Grigory’s presence in the story I don’t have a problem with it (and is the fact that we wouldn’t know Grigory’s name without the credits any worse than the fact that we didn’t know who Gerril was in Genesis of the Daleks?). It gives an emotional edge to what Davros is doing to these humans, so that Stengos isn’t just some faceless fodder, he’s actually somebody’s father. And the plot itself seems to be about various journeys into the labyrinth with pitfalls and perils, so it makes sense that they take a wrong turn and die, Orcini actually gets close to its centre and rtemoving its head, but he’s beaten, the Doctor also makes his way through and reaches the belly of the beast, but ultimately its the Daleks of all people who finally break in and triumph in overthrowing Davros.

      And the Doctor’s late arrival to events doesn’t bother me much either, because I think at last Eric shows signs of ‘getting’ what the Doctor is about, which is to say he’s a hero who prevails by doing ‘the right kind of a little’.

      There’s bits of Season 22 which feel like they’re so close to getting back to what Doctor Who is at its core about. Moments where it genuinely looks like it belongs on Saturday nights again for the first time since State of Decay. Likewise the Doctor’s violence shouldn’t really be a problem. As seen in the Hinchcliffe era, there’s a bit of Van Hellsing to the Doctor. A bit of that side of him that knows the darkness and knows that embracing a bit of that darkness is necessary in order to face and fight it (what always felt wrong about Davison’s Doctor is he seemed absurdly naive and clueless in that regard). And Season 22 did aspire back to that kind of horror direction, particularly here and in Attack of the Cybermen and The Two Doctors. The problem always was that, you need a writer with a consistent idea of where the line is. and Eric wasn’t thjat writer at all. But I always feel Revelation was closest to mastering that balance in its morally shady view of the universe in which perhaps more vigilante figures like Orcini are needed.

      • Leo  December 12, 2012

        I’m not sure if having a Doctor who would ‘get it wrong occasionally’ – note the ‘occasionally’ – amounts to making him unworkable in the heroic sense, as the character was never meant to be infallible or perfect. Hartnell and Troughton both make mistakes of various kinds, for example.

        I wouldn’t say it was an accurate reading of intent to think of the ‘more vulnerable’ stuff as an attempt at – for want of a better word – emasculating the character. The intention, which was expressed fairly clearly at the time, was to create some tension and uncertainty among the audience, in the sense that the business of how the character would handle what was happening, or overcome the immediate problem, would be less clear, in that there would appear to be more danger of his being defeated. Something that would make the audience more worried for the hero. Although, as mentioned by John Miller, whether that worked in practice is open to debate.

        • Tommy  December 12, 2012

          There is a fallibility to each Doctor, yes, but never before had it been done as such a tick-boxing exercise. There was a fallibility to his character but he wasn’t defined by it, and there’d never before been a conscious production decision to aggressively reinforce it, regardless of whether it was appropriate to the story at hand or not. By the late Tom Baker era the Doctor had grown as a character into a very quick witted hero, and the decision to do this basicall;y amounted to undoing all that growth and competence. To take the hero’s journey aspect of the show and force it into reverse, having the Doctor lose competence and wisdom as he went, rather than gain it. It’s not that his character made mistakes, but that he seemed incapable of learning from them. And given this kind of character bible, it seemed like the Doctor was required to occasionally be a compulsive loser for the hell of it. For all this talk of getting rid of the sonic screwdriver to make the Doctor rely on his wits more, it seemed like they’d gotten rid of his wits too.

          And the statement is talking about the Doctor here. They could have decided to actually make the threat and antagonists stronger, but it seems that would have taken too much effort and imagination, so they decided instead to make the protagonist weaker. The thinking seemed to be we’d had a superhero Doctor and now we needed to assert the difference and contrast by now having a pathetic one instead. And make no mistake they created an incarnation of the Doctor who the sonner he was gone to make way for a more competent model, the better.

          Making a hero fallible for the sake of boosting the drama is a delicate game. Sure the show can get complacent if the audience is no longer in doubt that the hero will win, but if they doubt the hero too much and they take it to the other extreme, then there seems no point having any faith in the character or rooting for him anymore. Especially if he’s defeated by circumstances that shouldn’t really be worthy of him. The audience still has to be able to care, and in my view that became impossible when your hero no longer seems to care enough to even try.

          There’s a balance to the Doctor’s given role in the show, and JNT and Eric went out of their way to upset it, as if their only idea was to shock and disillusion the audience (with a mainstay of the era being the kind of shock downbeat endings that felt like some sick practical joke on the viewer), no matter how much it made the show and its hero suffer. Frankly you don’t have a show then.

          • Leo  December 12, 2012

            I wouldn’t say that it was either “aggressively reinforced” or that it “defined” the character, at least certainly not at the start, or that anyone ever decided to make him less intelligent or competent. The intention was simply to have him radiating less of an “I am the Doctor, therefore I can do anything” kind of attitude. Less obvious confidence, rather than less of an ability. Also, if you look at comments made in interviews, features etc at the time, that was only one aspect mentioned. Others were, for example, innocence, recklessness, impulsiveness.

            It’s quite feasible to argue that Nathan-Turner wasn’t strong on character, and didn’t think sufficiently in terms of integrating individual characteristics into a strongly definable persona, that his grasp on concepts like character was superficial. Quite possibly so. That doesn’t mean that the aspects which some people might wish to argue about or discuss the most were necessarily the only or main ones which defined a character for him though.

            There is nothing to say that Nathan-Turner and Saward weren’t intending to have the menace represented by the enemies come across as more of a powerful danger than before, even if they did not succeed in creating that impression, and it’s possible that examples like Logopolis and Earthshock might even be an indication that they were wanting their villains or monsters to amount to a more potent threat.

            I would also say that in practice it doesn’t usually make much difference to the outcome because, in most of the fifth Doctor’s stories, he still generally wins the game at the end, whether through a combination of luck or superior strategy, but then that always was the case. That he sometimes suffers losses or setbacks doesn’t significantly alter that overall trend, which is in keeping with virtually all of the history of the series, it just means that he’s not perfect. But no-one is, and none of the Doctors ever have been. It doesn’t render his victories, which are still more frequent than his losses, any less significant.

            None of this is to deny that there are issues in some of the 1984 – 5 material in particular, stories like Warriors and Resurrection both have serious problems with the writing, for various reasons. Warriors fails from a writing point of view in that it tries to transplant a Doctor of the type written for in Malcolm Hulke’s stories about the Silurians and Sea Devils into a rather formulaic base-under-siege thing where the monsters are just treated as basically malevolent. Because these elements don’t fit, it’s – by accident rather than design – too reliant on fan knowledge of what the adversaries represent, without contextualising them properly into the narrative. Because of this, the concept of the Doctor’s feelings about them, and his idealism in wanting to prevent a war, and preserve the best of both species, doesn’t come over well enough, because it’s not sufficiently rooted in what’s depicted on screen. That’s a writing fault, primarily, a sign that approaches to reviving the past are becoming increasingly tied to a kind of template, based on the base under siege concept, along with a vague and not very well developed attempt at a Cold War allegory.

            And Resurrection fails in the respect that it can’t seem to work out what the Doctor’s strategy really should be in this story – what is it he wants, and how should he go about it? Will he achieve his goals by killing Davros, and if so, how should it be done? Is there a way of doing it which is more morally justified than any other? It’s arguable that they would have been better off approaching it by having the Doctor either attempt it in ways he had done before – eg by trying to turn off Davros’s life support system, or by just taking the TARDIS to the self-destruct chamber and allowing Stein to get on with blowing the ship up – which, if nothing else, would have at least allowed Stein and Mercer to escape the story alive by getting a ride on the TARDIS. Either of those rather than just walking up to the laboratory with a gun which the writer is obviously reluctant for him to use on this occasion. The intention was probably a moral debate akin to the “Do I have the right?” scene with the wires in Genesis, but it’s not really well enough written to work in that sense. Better dialogue might have helped.

            Either way, the ideal would have been either for the Doctor to actually attempt to kill Davros, whatever the means but fail – simply due to the fact that Terry Nation wouldn’t allow it – rather than decide he couldn’t go through it, or to have him work against Davros’s plans in a similar way that he would with enemies in most stories. That this doesn’t happen might be – although this is only a speculative opinion and I can’t claim to prove I’m right – because Saward couldn’t really work out what his ideals for heroism were in the series, or more precisely, couldn’t quite fit what he believed in with what he thought the programme was supposed to aspire to. Hence it could be said to fall between two stools and not come off, whatever the intent.

            But this are all, ultimately, partial details in terms of the overall era, and however much we might talk about any one of these aspects, they’re only part of the picture. They illustrate possible and significant talking points and issues, but can’t amount to a final verdict in themselves, only contribute to it.

          • Tommy  December 12, 2012

            The problem is, what was set up by JNT as a key component of what Davison’s Doctor has to be is that he has to be ‘not Tom Baker’. In this set-up, when the character is defined by what he’s not, more than by what he is, that means writers can’t fall back on the familiar traits of the recent Doctor’s character (even Davison’s requests to bring more humour to the character were refused by JNT), and as a result the character bible that JNT wrote on how this doctor needs to be more fallible and prone to getting it wrong *does* become more what writers define him by. Especially since these are writers who’ve never written for the show before and don’t understand the character as intimately as those older writers that JNT felt the need to shun. JNT’s lack of understanding of the character isn’t necessarily a problem. His blacklisting of the writers who did, is.

            Re: the intent of Logopolis/Earthshock. I can kind of believe that with Earthshock, but once it became adopted as a formula in Warriors and Resurrection it was the road to ruin. The Cybermen became the new superbad because they left the Doctor defeated and a wake of dead bodies. Then the Silurians and Daleks did the same thing and suddenly the Doctor looks like an easy pushover who’ll do the same thing in this situation over and over again- fail to save anyone, and the Daleks and Cybermen don’t seem so special.

            As for Logopolis, I doubt much thought went into it. It was a slapped together rush replacement for a failed story, and it shows. But it quickly becomes apparent that the Master was brought back to be a pantomime foil, and little more.

            The aspects that made the Doctor inspiring or stand for something were gone with Davison. It was in the historical roots of the show that there was a belief that a single decision or personal determination can make a difference. Davison’s Doctor just seemed to exist in a state of freefall. On a *good day* he was just a reactive character. His victories seemed more often to be ones of a lucky fluke and blind chance, such as the two Brigadiers meeting (after the Doctor had pretty much surrendered), or the solution falling into his lap, in abundant cannisters of deadly gas, or the Master stepping into that blue flame for him (funny how fans claim it was necessary to get rid of the sonic screwdriver as a plot device and yet overlook how it became replaced by far worse ones). The character’s focus and defiance became lost in the shuffle. He was more likely to go compliantly into the cell on numerous occasion (and in Warriors of the Deep, reprimanded anyone who wouldn’t surrender).

            I’d say the show’s credibility suffers here because crucially the audience has to believe this is a character who might not be infallible, but who at least has something about them that has kept them alive for 900 years in a mean universe. Davison didn’t have it, and sometimes made you wonder how he could have survived a day.

            Even in his first season, questions abound about why at the end of Time-Flight, he didn’t follow the Master’s Tardis to Xeraphus just to make sure the Master was stranded and couldn’t escape, and that the Xeraphim did.

            Most of the time I do think Warriors of the Deep is the fly in the ointment, same way that Twin Dilemma is for Colin, but either way it does upset the apple cart badly. It was the culmination of everything poorly set up about the era. Firstly JNT had decided from the start that there be no stories longer than a traditional four parter. This becomes particularly a problem with The Leisure Hive, Logopolis, Kinda, Earthshock and Resurrection of the Daleks where many promising themes and avenues are left undeveloped or quickly dismissed, and it ending unsatisfactorily, or in the case of Earthshock and Logopolis, having a cliffhanger where an ending should be. Infact there’s plenty of stories where the ending resolution ammounts to the Doctor describing what’s just happened or is happening elsewhere, via exposition or hearsay.

            Warriors of the Deep came in overrunning, then Eric Saward had to trim it down to half its length, then it ended up underrunning, and Eric was made to comply with Ian Levine’s tiresome continuity corrections. Then he filled it with more pious overstatement contrary to what’s on screen, and more deaths (it’s possible the Doctor setting off the base reactor was Eric’s idea of a corner cutting moment whereby he could turn it into a cliffhanger). The result is the most myopic and moronic portrayal of the Doctor, and scenes of moral indecision allowing for more out of hand killings of characters, to the point where both the tropes of theatrical tragedy and mindless action fodder end up tarnishing and disgracing each other- a bit like if halfway through the ‘do I have the righ’t scene, it was decided to have Nyder shoot Sarah in the back.

            It makes the Doctor a complete liability, and makes him outright scorn and do the dirty on everyone who ends up dying, because for some reason he was more driven to place the lives of the Silurians over the lives of everyone they were massacring. We’ve never seen the Doctor presented in that way before, and the only explanation is a self-justifying argument that somehow to the Doctor the preservation of life took precedent over…. the preservation of life. In absence of a sensible motivation, it seems like the Doctor didn’t save the humans just to spite them. And I find that unforgivable, as it essentially defines the Doctor by spite, by an impotence he seemed determined to hold onto like a grudge, and as such the story is dependent on the Doctor being reinterpreted into a protagonist that could never work. This is what I mean about changing what the Doctor stands for, for the worse.

            In Eric’s frustrations and lack of faith in the script, he turned it into a spiteful story that seems to have no good will whatsoever toward the viewer.

            Was revisiting the Silurians at all always a mistake? Probably. It did the series no favours as far as I’m concerned. But Eric’s influence seemed to make it worse, because it effectively skewed the already questionable affinity the Doctor has for the often genocidal Silurians (except now there was no way of arguing that the Doctor was trying to preserve the good Silurians, despite a few bad apples, because in this story that’s all they are). And worse, made the Doctor’s perspective horribly inconsistent, and prone to going back and forth in his stance whilst everyone else paid the price with their lives, and ultimately, unforgivably it’s even questionable whether the Doctor would have acted if Tegan hadn’t given him a needed kick up the arse. Whereas in the older Silurian stories, the worser actions and motivations of other charactersshowed up the Doctor as comparatively the voice of reason, in this story only the Doctor’s actions make things worse, and there’s nothing reasonable or honourable about anything he does. The most frustrating thing is you might suspect that the story is trying to reckon with what Eric sees as a moral malaise in the Doctor’s character, but all it does is bloat and exaggerate it. By all accounts in the original Johnny Byrne script, the Doctor acted soon enough to save Preston and Vorshak at least, which is something, and means that the story doesn’t emerge as a whiolly death-affirming, death-trivialising story.

            I’d say the best way to make the story work would be to take out the Hexacromite solution, replace it with a gas that will retrigger the Silurians’ hibernation, and have it be that the Doctor thinks he’s saved the day, only to learn that the nukes’ launch can’t be stopped, unless someone stays behind to ensure the nukes detonate in their silos, taking the base with them. Vorshak volunteers, and the Doctor gets the others to safety. He can’t stop for the paralysed Silurians so he leaves them. That way there’s a chance lost, there’s a message of nuclear folly and mutually assured destruction, and the ending isn’t signposted to death.

            As for Resurrection of the Daleks, the funny thing is, unlike Warriors of the Deep, it’s actually possible for the audience to be still on the same page as the Doctor. And it’s not unthinkable that the audience would do the same thing in the Doctor’s shoes, both the decision to kill Davros, and the realisation that they couldn’t go through with it. But still the character is swamped by the mess on screen. It’s badly overwritten, and tellingly when Attack of the Cybermen gets the story’s leftovers, it’s still a mess of ideas and terrible characterisation. And in light of Warriors of the Deep, it’s almost too late.

            Eric’s problem has long been that when it comes to writing morality, it always comes off as horribly confiused and like he just doesn’t have a consistent idea of where the line is, and with him it’s either a severe character.drama handicap, or just completely absent.

          • Thomas  December 13, 2012

            Just commenting- there’s a lot of thought put into Logopolis, and I don’t think it’s nearly as ‘slapped-together’ as you imply (given that it does wrap up the season’s underlying themes).

            And as far as Saward goes, I think most of the problem lies in that he was hired for script editor after two credits on the show and with minimal experience before that. Anyone hired with that little experience is likely going to have some problems with the job.

          • Leo  December 13, 2012

            Davison was cast partly as a contrast with Tom Baker, but I wouldn’t say that means he was defined simply as not being him – that was just part of the package. I agree that Earthshock had an unfortunate effect in that they tried to repeat the formula a couple of times – but that’s still only three stories out of twenty, and is probably indicative of a view, which took some time to fade, of how old monsters were supposed to be treated in a story sense. The Doctor has a similar problem in Horror of Fang Rock, whereby he blames himself at the end of the third episode for trapping them all in the lighthouse with the monster, and the story ends up with all the characters bar himself and Leela dead. Only one story of course, and while it’s valid to say this concept was overused a few years later, and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree either, I don’t think it follows that this means the character was simply ineffectual at that time, just that he was tested more in that sense. It’s the repetition, rather than the principle, which is the issue there.

            Luck has always been part of how some of the stories have been resolved. It’s not as though Hartnell’s Doctor had much to do with how his team managed to escape from the cave of skulls in the first story, or the villagers arriving at the monastery to drive out the monk in The Time Meddler, or in The War Games, Troughton has little to do other than alert others to the situation and try to escape himself. Davison’s Doctors sometimes wins by luck, as in Mawdryn Undead, or by actions or deductions of his own, as in Snakedance. There are plenty of examples from before his time of the Doctor being locked up in cells and only managing to escape via other agencies – Mind of Evil, Frontier in Space and Genesis of the Daleks would all qualify.

            Incidentally, the Master doesn’t simply step into the blue flame by chance in Planet of Fire. His miniaturised laboratory was placed there to restore him to strength, so the Doctor’s plan is based on the fact that he has a reason to be in the right place.

            I would disagree with the view that in Warriors of the Deep, for all its undoubted faults, the Doctor comes across as deliberately letting the humans die and caring more for the Silurians. He doesn’t even come into contact with any of the latter until the last episode, and prior to that, he does what most of the Doctors would generally do in the same situation, to wit, helping to set up resistance to the Myrka, via that machine they use. He wants them revived at the end in the hope of reasoning with them, because he still believes that is possible. This is possibly inspired by the ending of the original Silurian story when, despite all that they’ve gone through, the Doctor explains his intention to the Brigadier of reviving them one by one to try to arrange a peaceful solution. This comes just after they’ve tried to kill off the human race. I don’t believe there is any difference in motivation in these two sequences, and in neither stories is it supposed to be taken as implying that he doesn’t acre about the humans there, or that he wants them killed. Especially as he then sets himself the task and succeeds, at considerable risk to himself, to avert an atomic war. Warriors of the Deep – a story in which the Doctor saves the lives of millions of human beings.

            As noted, I’ve already indicated what I believe the writing problems with Warriors of the Deep are, so there’s no need to repeat them, but I do not accept that it results in a Doctor who comes off as either any more callous, or incompetent, than on various other occasions in the series, or that it features a Doctor who behaves any differently from how he does in some other stories. It’s not even as if it’s the only story where he expresses irritation with humans as a species in some of the quoted dialogue.

            I’ve said all I want to say on this subject – internet arguments which go on forever are as tedious as they are depressing, so I won’t be wasting any more time on this discussion. Anything further you write in reply to me will go unread, as I won’t be visiting the comments for these pages any further. I say this, not out of any hostility or unfriendliness, but simply because I wouldn’t want you to waste lost of your time and energy writing something addressed to me which I will never read. I’ve finished with this discussion now.

          • Tommy  December 13, 2012

            My final thought in regards to Leo’s concluding post is that is that such comparisons to earlier stories, and the argument that the Doctor of Warriors acts little differently to previous examples does more than a bit of a disservice to those past examples, and to the show’s past writers. Horror of Fang Rock did not involve the Doctor discovering abundant Rutan-killing gas in episode one and refusing to use it whilst people died. If it did then it would be a fly in the ointment. And whilst the argument persists that he couldn’t do it, that’s pretty much contradicted by the events of The Seeds of Death and Terror of the Zygons and what he’s capable of there.

            In The Silurians, the Doctor was hoping to revive Silurian civilians or underlings who would not be influenced by the genocidal Silurian leader. Whereas in Warriors, the Doctor seems to leave all of them to die except the genocidal leader who he seemed determined to revive alone, (well him and his two aides). Furthermore he was reviving them from hibernation, not from having gassed them with something painfully corrosive which wiped out the rest of them. The idea that having done that to them, he could begin negotiating peace on those grounds is laughable (and I suspect that stupidity was added in by Eric and wasn’t in the original script). And the Third Doctor planned to revive them after the lair was safeguarded and studied, not revive them seconds later in the same room where they had tried to set off the nukes and had been holding someone hostage, whilst the crisis still wasn’t over and said hostage wasn’t yet safeguarded.

            And if the Doctor’s that determined to save lives of all creeds, how come didn’t he save a blinded Nilsen from a volley of Sea Devli fire he’d walked blindly into, or warn the first guy who gets electrocuted not to touch the Myrka?

            Nowhere have I known the Doctor to express that level of irritation at the humans just for asking him to save their lives by the only means available, to the point of him telling them that their murderers are ‘better’ than them. In conclusion I don’t see any of those past stories as valid precedents. I hold that it’s an abberation through and through.

          • Tommy  December 13, 2012


            “Just commenting- there’s a lot of thought put into Logopolis, and I don’t think it’s nearly as ‘slapped-together’ as you imply (given that it does wrap up the season’s underlying themes).”

            Okay I think when I said ‘no thought went into it’ what I meant was I don’t think any thought through long term ambitions were in mind. Yes this is the setup for the Davison era, but the thinking seems to be ‘add this character, that character, that villain and hopefully it’ll make things more interesting’. I don’t think the long term idea was to ever address the enormity of the Master’s actions on either a cosmic or personal level, and infact that seemed to be quickly forgotten about.

            There are plenty of intelligent ideas in Logopolis, so yes, thought and imagination has gone into it. But it still comes off to me as half-baked, and probably the worst way to see out Tom Baker. This is a regeneration story, and yet it’s also having to contrive ways to be Tegan’s introduction story, and to plant Nyssa on the Doctor too, and establish a new incarnation of the Master. It should really have concentrated on one of these, rather than juggling all three, leaving the story off-balance, and leaving a sense that ‘all this new stuff’s here, now we can kick Tom Baker out’.

            And that’s the other thing. When Patrick Troughton’s Doctor regenerated in The War Games, it was because he made a moral choice to call upon the Time Lords to save the humans from the games and get them home. And before he was forced to regenerate he made a defining speech about all the evils he has fought. Jon Pertwee’s Doctor likewise decided he had to face his fear, which is why he went back to the Spider Queen’s lair and met his end. There’s a defining and clear philosophy behind their very decision that brings about that incarnation’s demise.

            With Tom Baker, his decisions seem to shift on a dime and make little sense. He realises the Master is aboard and decides against going to Logopolis until the villain is ‘flushed out’ (let’s not even go there), then when that fails and Tegan ends up aboard, he decides to go to Logopolis anyway, despite previously worrying about the kind of havoc the Master would cause there. Apparently this is to do with what the Watcher told him, but bearing in mind the above examples of regeneration stories, this is really not the time to leave character motives this ambiguous and hidden. So as a result, the Doctor is partly responsible for Logopolis’ decay, and has to sacrifice himself to correct that mistake, but it makes no sense why he’d make such a mistake in the first place beyond the story needing him to. If anything this goes against what defines the Fourth Doctor, and sees him die for a completely incomprehensible and out of character decision. For that matter why did the Doctor take the long perilous route round to the cable, rather than go after the now disarmed Master. It might have made more sense if the Master had sealed the door on him, but as it is it comes off as sloppy, and it doesn’t help that unlike Pertwee and Delgado who looked evenly matched, it looks like Tom Baker could easily tackle Anthony Ainley at any point, and as such raises questions about why he doesn’t (bearing in mind we’ve seen this Doctor get physical when the situation’s less urgent than this, in say The Seeds of Doom and The Deadly Assassin).

            Inevitably, yes, a lot of the themes that Bidmead had been bringing to the series are going to be in his own eventual script, but I’d say in the end it actually leaves more loose ends than it resolves, and which the series never gets round to wrapping up. Well it kind of does in Castrovalva, but then that gets undone. Really I think Logopolis is in the end, less the cap off to a golden age, and more the real beginning of the next several years of bad writing.

          • Chris  December 14, 2012

            RESURRECTION fails to exploit the most obvious way to bring the Doctor into the main drama effectively – the fact that Davros only knows him in his Tom Baker incarnation, and has never seen his Peter Davison incarnation before (and might not even know about regeneration at all).

            There was a golden opportunity to have the Doctor worm his way into Davros’ confidences without Davros being aware who the Doctor even is! The opportunity was there to take the Doctor/Davros relationship into uncharted territory, potentially more complex and fascinating than the Tom Baker/Davros purely antagonistic relationship, and ratchet up the suspense (when exactly is Davros going to realize that his “friend” is actually his arch-enemy the Doctor in a new body?) instead of the rather pointless, time-wasting scenes we actually got of the Doctor wandering around a warehouse and strapped to a table, while Davros simply used a mind-control device to build an army of loyal slaves (a mind-control device he couldn’t actually possess, since he didn’t have it in the previous stories, and he’s been frozen in a block of ice ever since!).

            Saward then bungles it again in Attack – when the Doctor meets Lytton again. But why should Lytton know who he is? He’s never met him in this particular form, and he never met Peri at all. There were all sorts of interesting ways the Doctor could’ve been involved in the main action, DUE TO THE VERY FACT THAT HE’D REGENERATED, yet Saward dropped every ball there was.

      • Chris  December 14, 2012

        “As for Natasha and Grigory’s presence in the story I don’t have a problem with it… It gives an emotional edge to what Davros is doing to these humans, so that Stengos isn’t just some faceless fodder, he’s actually somebody’s father.”

        Fine, but you could still do that without sidelining the Doctor. Just change the premise so that the Doctor’s initial plan is to meet up with Natasha (the daughter of his “old friend Stengos”) to find out what’s going on. They could meet up within the first few minutes of the episode, and break into the catacombs while Peri is busy distracting Tasambeker while Tasambeker gives her the whole same spiel about the cryogenic facilities. You’d only have to change around a couple scenes and the rest of the story could stay as is. But the Doctor wouldn’t be neglected. And you could even have Peri and the D.J. helping the Doctor and Natasha break into the catacombs by watching the monitors and actively warning them, by helping them dodge security, avoid bumping into Daleks etc. You could even still include Grigory if you wanted, the only difference would be the Doctor is present as well as they’re working their way deeper into the catacombs. It would literally only involve switching the order of a couple scenes (and eliminating some of the pointless scenes of the Doctor and Peri walking and walking to Tranquil Repose), and the rest could be pretty much the same. You’d still have the scene of a daughter forced to kill her own father. And you could also have the Doctor be the one to call in the Daleks, not Takis and Lilt.

        • Tommy  December 14, 2012

          I must say I am fond of the way Revelation of the Daleks is set up as a cat and mouse between the Doctor and Davros, with the Doctor being unknowingly lured toward a trap whilst everything else is going on, and being ruthlessly reactive once he’s there. And the fact that we have three separate pairs of people venturing into the labyrinth, taking separate routes and meeting separate fates, and I feel this would be somewhat lost if they’d met up sooner. Having said all that, it’s depressingly typical of Saward to not follow through with the idea that individually and spearately these people are vulnerable, but when they meet up and are united they triumph, rather than separating again. The ‘we are all in the same tribe’ ethos of Season 19 (which was even present in Earthshock) seems to have quickly vanished since under Saward.

          But yes having the Doctor team up with Natasha would work. Infact Colin is the one Doctor you could plausibly imagine indulging in a bit of bodysnatching (as in the audio Medicinal Purposes). And I have to say it would have made it far more lucid that the head in the glass Dalek actually *was* Arthur Stengos, which it actually took me years to realise. And you could even have had this be the means to establishing the Doctor’s paternal protective instincts towards Natasha, after the horror she’s been through .

          Damnit, even in the original script this could have been got across, if when the Doctor shares a cell with them, Natasha recognises him and/or he recofgnises her as Stengos’ daughter. And it would have been a chance to see a softer, more caring side to his Doctor. Yes he is outraged when he hears from Davros that she’s been exterminated, but surely he could have done more to look like he was looking after the two of them, rather than leaving them at the incubator room.

          I’ve come to realise actually that the Sixth Doctor could have worked as a dark shaman, returning the character to his Van Hellsing inspiration, after getting it so wrong with the passive, naive Fifth Doctor. And as such he would have benefitted from being a companionless wanderer. Certainly Peri being there did him no favours.
          So the idea of Natasha being his temporary companion for that story could have worked.

          The one part of your idea I’m a bit sceptical of though is of the Doctor calling on the Daleks. I can’t quite see the Doctor doing that, and it was established that he thought it was a bad move made by Takis, who didn’t know what he was letting himself in for (it’s a shame they cut out that scene of the grey Daleks gunning down three guards, and Takis reacting furiously because he was promised by them that there’d be no killing- but again that shows it as a course of action the Doctor wouldn’t take). Bearing in mind also that previously the Doctor has twice considered killing Davros precisely to prevent the Daleks making use of him, both in Destiny of the Daleks and Resurrection.

  9. Thomas  December 10, 2012

    Jack Graham’s analysis of the story is absolutely brilliant- really adds a lot of layers to the story you might not’ve noticed before.

    I’ve always been fond of this one- yeah, the script’s a mess, but I think that’s part of the appeal- seeing all these Holmesian double-acts interact in a thought-out world and society (and with decent direction to boot). So I tend not to notice the Doctor isn’t in it much because all the other strands are so interesting- that goes for the DJ as well, who is such a twisted and fascinating character. He probably would’ve worked better had they gotten David Bowie to do the part (I read somewhere that he was the original choice, though I can’t seem to verify that now), but as is I think the over-the-top and slightly grating nature works in the character’s favor (he’s as annoying to most of the people on the planet as he is to the audience). It’s also a more surreal aspect to the narrative that Who doesn’t normally engage in.

    Really, the only bit that falls flat for me is the Tasembeker/Jobel subplot, and even there it’s only because of the weak actress. The rest of it I find supremely interesting and incredibly ambitious.

    • Leo  December 10, 2012

      There were quite a lot of people considered as possibilities for the DJ. Jasper Carrott and Rik Mayall were two of them, but there were several others too.

  10. Jazza1971  December 10, 2012

    “Me: That’s Clive Swift. He’s a lovely bloke and one of the show’s greatest ambassadors.”


    • Jock De Stewler  December 10, 2012

      Sarcasm, huh?

    • nkx9  December 10, 2012

      Ah, yes… I remember his lovely interview with DWM a few years ago. I looked forward to it, as I’d been a fan of his from the BBC Christmas Ghost Stories. Then he opens his mouth and reveals he’s a total c***. I felt so let down, and upset for the poor interviewer. I also recall DWM trying to pass it all off as tongue-in-cheek an issue or so later, no doubt in response to a barrage of mail. However, I think their decision to print it in the first place was the best form of revenge, publicly showing him up for his behaviour.

      • Jazza1971  December 10, 2012

        Yeah, he really came across as a rather unpleasant man.

        • Nick Mays  December 10, 2012

          I seem to recall he was rather condescending, as was Thomas Sangster after “Human Nature/Family of Blood”). And Stephen Yardley after ‘Vengeance on Varos’. (“Well, it’s just a kid’s show”).

          Anyone got a transcript of Swift’s interview?

          • Nick Mays  December 10, 2012

            Ah, I found it. What a c***!

            Clive Swift Talks to Dr Who Magazine about Mr Copper in Voyage of the Damned:

            Hello, Clive. I’m recording this interview on tape, if that’s okay.
            “Don’t you know shorthand?”
            It’s a dying art, isn’t it? I find that Dictaphones are more reliable in interview situations. I want to quote what you say accurately.
            “A lot of actors won’t do interviews on tape.”
            I’ve never noticed that, in almost a decade of doing this job.
            “I’m an actor. As soon as you switched that thing on, I’m performing. I think you’ll find that proper journalists know shorthand.”
            I think you’ll find that I’m not a proper journalist, in that case.
            “Don’t be silly, I’m quite aggrieved. Why should I do this? I’m not getting paid, am I?”
            [Awkward silence]
            Right. Could you tell me a bit more about your character in Voyage of the Damned?
            “You don’t need me to tell you that. Have you read the script? That’s what I perform. You can tell me about my character. What a silly question.”
            To be honest, I just open interviews like that to make the person feel comfortable, as it’s not too difficult to answer. It’s not working, is it?
            “I don’t have anything to say.”
            I’ll try another. What was your initial reaction to the script?
            What qualities do you think make a script terrific?
            “What would you say? I’m sure we can agree. What ingredients do you admire?”
            Fast, colourful scripts, but with proper emotion…
            “On Doctor Who, this is? Well, I wouldn’t know, cos I don’t know any other Doctor Who scripts. But this chap Russell T Davies seems to be a phenomenon. He not only invents all these strange and wonderful creatures from God knows where, but he manages to get in a lot of humour. Unfortunately, it’s the Doctor who has most of the humour. Being a comic actor, I’ve missed not making a few jokes. However, one does one’s job,”
            Mr Copper’s shaky grasp of Earth culture should get some laughs.
            “Well, I’ve become a bit of an old fuddy-duddy, as it wasn’t until we’d been filming for two weeks that I realised Mr Copper is an alien! It’s clever how they’ve got all the trappings of the 1920s or whenever the Titanic was…”
            It was in 1912.
            “Fine, even earlier. I thought, if I’m an alien, should I have played the part in a different way? Nobody said that. It dawned rather slowly. It’s quite sweet. Mr Copper is a very appealling character. He’s much older than the rest of the gang, but he’s brave, he’s useful in the fight against our enemies…um, and he’s rewarded in the end, so the writer likes him, and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t. When I did this 25 years ago*, it was a very different kettle of fish, although Jobel was a lovely part also. I had a very nice death, which I remember with pleasure.” * Resurrection if the Daleks, 1985
            Have you always wanted to act?
            “I’ve always wanted to perform, which is slightly different. Having reached this enormously old age, and having done a great deal professionally, I now feel able to be myself. I’m happy talking as myself. I’ve got my own little cabaret show. Well, I say little, but I can do a whole evening. I do it with a young girl. I tell stories about my career.[Chats at length about his show] I call it Richard Bucket Overflows, because I’m rather fed up with people just thinking of me as Richard from Keeping Up Appearances, which they often do.”
            Do people shout “Richard” at you in the street?
            “Sometimes. I tell them to **** off.”
            Right. One final question…
            “I think that’s more than enough, isn’t it? How many pages are you doing on Mr Copper?”
            Well, I was just going to ask…
            “There’s no reason why I should talk to you at all, so you shouldn’t push it. I’m sure you’ll write something very nice.
            [Stony silence]
            I know that you all think that this is a big world, this Who business. But it isn’t. There are much bigger things than this.”
            Maybe, but it means a lot to a great many of us…
            “Yeah, yeah. Goodbye.”

          • Jazza1971  December 10, 2012

            It’s interesting that the transcript went out in full. If you wanted to make the actor look good you could write a sizeable piece based around his comments that presented him in a better light, something starting like:-

            “What was your initial reaction to the script?

            Terrific. Russell T Davies [showrunner] seems to be a phenomenon. He not only invents all these strange and wonderful creatures from God knows where, but he’s managed to get in a lot of humour…

            UP TO

            I call it Richard Bucket Overflows, because I’m rather fed up with people just thinking of me as Richard from [1990s BBC sitcom] Keeping Up Appearances, which they quite often do.”

            The fact that Benjamin Cook and the editor decided to present the interview in full suggests that this was indeed a rather unusually rude and awkward interview, one that obviously pissed them off and so they decided to deal with it by telling the truth, the whole truth!

          • Nick Mays  December 10, 2012

            As a sometime hack myself, that’s what I’d be inclined to do if someone was that rude and obnoxious and up his own arse.

          • Jazza1971  December 10, 2012

            It’s a great way to deal with it as they can’t have any come back. Heh heh. 😀

          • Nick Mays  December 10, 2012

            And it’s ON TAPE! Mwuh-huh-huh-haaaaaah!

          • Rob Shearman  December 10, 2012

            I worked with Clive Swift for a while, and I can confirm that he’s every inch the lovely bloke that Neil indicates, and would be a wonderful ambassador for everything he might turn his affable generous hand to.

          • Jock De Stewler  December 10, 2012

            What an amazing interview! That’s almost exhilaratingly rude, I love it.

          • Gavin Noble  December 10, 2012

            If you read that with Tom Baker’s voice in your head it becomes acceptable as an interview! I wonder if he’s as bonkers as Tom is when it comes to doing interviews?

          • Frankymole  December 13, 2012

            I notice again the “Well, I say little, but I can do a whole evening. I do it with a young girl.” Strange. Hasn’t she got a name? And what does he do, exactly?

  11. Jock De Stewler  December 10, 2012

    This my favourite of all the Colin serials, but mainly because it’s so nutty. It’s not great Doctor Who and it’s not great Daleks, but it’s very interesting *something*. I love all the ideas buzzing about, even if not all of them make sense (I still don’t know why the statue fell on the Doctor). I like it more now than I did at the time, though I enjoyed the grimness of exterminating the comic relief character.

    I gave myself permanent tinnitis at a Small Faces covers show back in 1998 – it was extremely upsetting at the time, but I’ve got used to it now and can’t even remember what it was like before.

    • encyclops  December 10, 2012

      It’s definitely my third favorite televised Colin Baker story. I might even say it’s the second best of the season. I just find it exactly as ugly and unpleasant as everyone else says The Two Doctors is. 🙂

    • Frankymole  December 13, 2012

      That’s ironic, considering Steve Marriott got so frustrated at being drowned about by the screaming audience to the extent he couldn’t even hear himself sing – “bleedin’ girls!” – presumably the SF covers band(s) were seeking revenge!

  12. Dave Sanders  December 10, 2012

    F**k me, that WAS Justin Haywood. The biggest Moodys fan here and I never noticed, probably because he had the least-worst line to sing. This is the song I bet he wanted to sing afterwards instead:

    So how did they get him then? Why did he agree to do this? It certainly wasn’t for the money. Was he smoking red weed? Did Ian Levine threaten to eat Ray Thomas? WHAT?

    The ‘B’ at the end of Revelation stands for ‘bleeding eardrums’, by the way.

    • John G  December 10, 2012

      I think I might be your rival for title of biggest Moodies fan on this board Dave! I remember being flabbergasted when I saw the video for the first time and saw Justin Hayward, one of the finest singers and songwriters this country has produced (whatever Chris Boucher may think of the Star Cops theme) keeping this kind of company. I’m guessing he must have known Levine, either that or Levine zeroed in on him because of his War of the Worlds connections and perhaps drugged and kidnapped him, or herded him into the studio at gunpoint. The chances of a serious rock star appearing on Doctor in Distress were a million to one, they said…

      • Dave Sanders  December 10, 2012

        Couldn’t he have kidnapped Patrick Moraz instead?

        • Dave Sanders  December 10, 2012

          Now I can’t get Gary Owens out of my head, shouting SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE PLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODS.

        • John G  December 10, 2012

          “Couldn’t he have kidnapped Patrick Moraz instead?”

          The other Moodies would have been happy if he had, methinks!

          • Dave Sanders  December 10, 2012

            Didn’t say we had to get Moraz back.

      • Jock De Stewler  December 10, 2012

        I don’t know, I’m a pretty big Moodies fan – or at least, the Moodies 67-74. I know my Ray Thomas from my Mike Pinder.

        • Dave Sanders  December 11, 2012

          Why isn’t there a Mellotron version of the Who theme? Did nobody at the Workshop think of trying it in 1970 with a real tape-loop keyboard device? It couldn’t possibly have turned out any worse than the Delaware version.

          • Jock De Stewler  December 11, 2012

            There definitely should have been a Mike Pinder arrangement! You never know, he’d probably still be up for it if they asked nicely.

  13. Gavin Noble  December 10, 2012

    I like the idea of an iDalek – not only can it conquer the universe (unless the Doctor happens to be nearby) but you can download all your movies and music onto it. I bet the apps are good as well!

    • Wholahoop  December 10, 2012

      I wonder how many pins are connecting the i-Stick to the i-Dalek?

      • DPC  December 10, 2012

        Don’t forget the iBalls… 😀

        • Gavin Noble  December 10, 2012

          Or the iPlunger or the iWill-exterminate-you-ray-of-death…

          • Frankymole  December 13, 2012

            Apps and indeed ZAPS!

  14. Noodles  December 10, 2012

    It’s a refreshing change to hear people say that this isn’t the best Colin story ever. It’s almost invariably picked as peoples’ favourite, and I’ve never understood why. It’s got a couple of moments but, for the most part, it’s dreadful.

    As for “Doctor In Distress”, the person I feel most sorry for is Nichola. You can just *taste* the cringe emanating from every pore of her body when she sings her lines.

  15. chris-too-old-to-watch  December 10, 2012

    Dead right Sue: some brilliant ideas (and some scenes) but I always felt that there was too much there. Plus Alexi Sayle. For no reason. At all. Part of JNT’s celebrity build up?

    • Nick Mays  December 10, 2012

      I have to say that sometimes I just couldn’t get JN-T’s celebrity guest stars. I think he used to use as a starting point something along the lines of “Ken Dodd! Alexi Sayle! Hale & Pace!” and then order them to be shoehorned into the script, irrespective of whether or not they fitted or could act the part .

      • DPC  December 10, 2012

        Well, compared to stunt casting brought about by more recent producers…

        As an American, not knowing who most of the celebs were in the 1980s, that didn’t faze me.

        I know Kylie Monologue was a singer of some sort, but anyone could have been Astrid, and a computer jumbling verbs and nouns together could have put out a better story as well… another guest actor always played naval types and was stereotypes in playing… a naval type… wasn’t he a naval commander in a Bond film circa 1977 or something? Oh well… it’s better to stereotype than to risk taking a genre actor and giving them a chance to spread their wings I suppose…

  16. Nick Mays  December 10, 2012

    The ‘Next Time’ jingle pretty much sums the next story/season up for me but…

    …”The SODDING Wife In Space”? Some interesting new direction for the blog, perchance? ;o)

  17. Sean Alexander  December 10, 2012

    The last hurrah of the Colin Baker ‘era’. Great script and unparallelled direction from Graeme Harper (why didn’t they make him Director-in-situ for the following Season?)

    After the ‘hiatus’ they should have sacked JN-T and kept Eric Saward. He was the only one holding the show together: he brought in ‘some’ talented writers (Anthony Steven, Pip & Jane Baker, Glen McCoy bow your heads in shame). Kept Robert Holmes, Philip Martin (which he did) and brought back older writers again. Christopher H Bidmead would have made the show ‘cerebral’ again.

    I pray for Sue for Season 23. The godawful Dominic Glynn theme, followed by THAT model shot had me weep with tears of pain and joy within three minutes. And then it all went horribly wrong…

    • Dave Sanders  December 10, 2012

      It wasn’t long enough to be an ‘era’, more like an ‘er’.

      ‘Error’ is a longer word, so that joke doesn’t work.

    • DPC  December 10, 2012

      I’d have said to sack Saward – as a writer he’s fantastic, but as a script editor, his direction was more violent. It looked as if season 22 wanted to make a string of “Androzanis” in terms of grit, epic, and gore, but the fact only one story manages to redo the lightning (“Revelation”) proves it’s more than just what’s on paper. Not everybody had the same vision, and – TBH – the same trope repeated 6 times would have been ludicrous.

      Both JNT and Saward had strengths and weaknesses, but noting the styles of the other script editors (Bidmead, Root, Cartmel) and then comparing, Saward’s era is the most inconsistent and lacking vision. I doubt JNT was trying to derail Saward from the moment he was hired as script editor.

      Bidmead made for an awesome script editor; season 18 is one I’ll always hold in high regards, and “Castrovalva” is a fantastic story that only WHO could do as well (not because of regeneration as such, but the space folding it in on itself trap. )

      Glynn’s theme I liked, even if the synth sax dragged it down – Glynn’s idea was good but a real sax may have done it more justice.

      Everyone loves the f/x.

      A couple nitpicks aside, P&J Bakers’ style is hardly heckle-worthy… IMHO, YMMV…

      Harper’s work on the classic era is unparalleled.

      • Jane  December 11, 2012

        Saward’s scripts are anti-Who, all brute force and cynicism. He would have been great on Blake’s 7, but Who was the worst place he could end up, simply because of the philosophical conflict.

    • Thomas  December 11, 2012

      Am I alone in thinking that it was his time on the program that led to that sort of cynicism in his writing? I mean, Earthshock isn’t all flowers and sunshine, but there’s a marked step towards the ugly between that and his next batch of stories- and the first couple Davison years come off far less cynical than Season 21 and the Colin Baker years.

      We know for the most part he wasn’t happy during his time on the program- isn’t it possible that that unhappiness led to a downward spiral of cynicism and almost hatred for the very program he was working on?

  18. Paul Greaves  December 10, 2012

    Sorry Sue, I disagree with you. I love this story. Davros’ plan to secretly turn cryogenically frozen people into food for starving planets, while picking off the best subjects to be genetically mutated into new Daleks, is spectacular villainy of the highest order. Terry Molloy shines in a story that is about Davros and not the Daleks. It’s telling that the Daleks he has created on Necros are drones, utterly subservient to his will, satisfying his need for control but inferring that ultimately he doesn’t want his creations to be as independent as he claimed in Genesis. His boiling fury when the Supreme Dalek’s troops turn up to arrest him and couldn’t give two hoots whether he created them or not is pitch perfect.

    Revelation also has a great collection of supporting characters regardless whether of them are actually nice or not. Natasha and Grigory (the scene with the Natasha’s half-mutated father inside the glass Dalek is one of the series most chilling moments); Jobel and Tasambeker; Orcini and Bostock; Takis and Lilt; Kara and Vogel… Jenny Tomasin is always slated for her portrayal of Tasambeker but I think the alleged clumsiness of her performance only adds to her characters tale of woe. Jobel’s utter contempt for her is painful to watch and her descent from the desperately lonely, puppy-eyed victim of unrequited love, to bitter, frustrated, angry and humiliated murderess is pure tragedy. And there, alone in the darkness, giggling quietly to himself is Davros, having manipulated the entire situation. He could have simply ordered Daleks to kill Jobel but that would be too easy.

    One of Sue’s complaints about Revelation is that it takes a whole episode for the Doctor and Peri to get involved in the main action. That’s true, of course, but for once I think this works. It reminds us that not everything revolves around the Doctor. Life in the universe goes on wherever he might happen to be and people aren’t just waiting for him to turn up before they get started. Yes, it’s bleak and gruesome but as long as it doesn’t happen every week, why shouldn’t it be? The beauty of Doctor Who is that it can tell whatever story it wants. For me, Revelation is an under-rated gem and will always be my favourite Sixth Doctor story.

  19. chris-too-old-to-watch  December 10, 2012

    Bye-the-bye Doctor in Distress (Bogarde) has much fewer laughs in it than the music video…..

  20. Matthew Marcus  December 10, 2012

    I agree totally that this is good, or at the very least interesting, in many places, but it’s not really Doctor Who (and Saward should really have got a slap on the wrist, or better yet a kick in the b****** for keeping on neglecting the show he was meant to be writing for, in order to write the one he was interested in).

    On the other hand, Blink isn’t really Doctor Who either, and apparently that’s the best episode of all time, so maybe this kind of thing represents a worthwhile change of pace, and we should see more experiments like it? I’d certainly rather see more not-really-Doctor-Who instead of Who-for-Who’s-sake, if that makes sense.

  21. Rob  December 10, 2012

    Tasembeker is a startling character. Awful acting but somehow I do believe in this mousey, obsessed frumpy woman. Maybe the bad acting helps in a strange way.

    • Nick Mays  December 10, 2012

      Maybe she was acting it that way deliberately? The clumsy manner and speech, frumpiness, lack of social skills and obsessive infatuation that were all part of the character? “Mr Jo-BELL” etc.

      • Warren Andrews  December 10, 2012

        Jenny Tomasin was just as awkward and oddball in real life, certainly from the interviews I saw with her before she died. She may lack a certain technical acting skill but I totally believe her as Tasembeker.

        • Nick Mays  December 10, 2012

          Yes, of course – she was Ruby in Upstairs, Downstairs and her character was “awkward”. Maybe she’s being done a grave disservice here.

          • Rob  December 10, 2012

            It does work, you’re right. I think perhaps another actress would play it differently and it wouldn’t work.

          • Robert Dick  December 13, 2012

            Of the Revelation actors I’ve seen at conventions, over half of them have said Jenny was hard to act opposite. One described it as ‘playing tennis against rice pudding, nothing you did ever bounced back to you’

          • Nick Mays  December 13, 2012

            Funny how she seemed to act well enough with the Upstairs Downstairs team for many years. Maybe the Who actors weren’t that good? ;o)

          • robert dick  December 13, 2012

            Reply to below…

            >Funny how she seemed to act well enough with the Upstairs Downstairs team for many years. Maybe the Who actors weren’t that good? ;o)<

            To be fair, she was *better* in Updown but I wouldn't go so far as to say she was "good". And I speak as a big Updown fan. She was *easily* the weakest regular performance IMO.

          • Nick Mays  December 13, 2012

            Could’ve been worse I guess – she might’ve been a Silurian that needed reviving rather than saving the humans, causing the Doctor a sort of Twin Dilemma…

            [Begin Debate here]

          • robert dick  December 13, 2012

            I think Tasambeker was also the Monk, and obviously therefore The Master.

          • Nick Mays  December 13, 2012

            Stands to reason! :o)

  22. Ian Dack  December 10, 2012

    How can I have never heard of Doctor in Distress before?
    Having now seen it, I’m sort of wishing my internet had gone down today.

    • John Miller  December 10, 2012

      Doctor in Distress is truly awful. But at least nobody did something really stupid like kick in their television, and then call the press around to take photos, and write stories about how angry they were.

      • DPC  December 10, 2012

        But times have change. We’ve evolved since the 1980s.

        /sarcasm 🙂

  23. John  December 10, 2012

    Hi Neil

    Will you and Sue be covering each segment of ‘The Trail of a Timelord’ individually or all together?


    • Neil Perryman  December 10, 2012

      Separately. I don’t think anyone could bear a 12,000 word update, least of all me.

      • Thomas  December 10, 2012

        Tell that to Sandifer. 😉

        • Thomas  December 12, 2012

          (I should note that his entries on Deadly Assassin and Logopolis are among my favorites on the blog, so the above comment is firmly tongue-in-cheek)

  24. Richard Lyth  December 10, 2012

    This is probably my favourite Sixth Doctor story on balance, but I can understand how it might be a bit much to take on first viewing. The Doctor’s lack of involvement is a definite plus point in my view, especially when it’s this Doctor – the less screen time he gets the better. It’s Eric Saward’s best script by far, clearly he’s been learning from Robert Holmes but nothing wrong with that, and Graeme Harper’s direction is excellent as always.

    It’s a shame they couldn’t get Laurence Olivier to do it, though they might have had better luck if they’d offered him the part of Orcini – an aging knight on one final mission, surely he would have been perfect? William Gaunt was really good though, so it all worked out fine in the end.

    • Chris  December 10, 2012

      Could it be that that rumour about Olivier has gotten mixed up over the years in the re-telling?

      I had a thought: maybe it WASN’T the nameless mutant who fights the Doctor JNT offered him – maybe it was the OTHER mutant featured: the mutating Dalek head of Arthur Stengos. Knowing JNT’s blase attitude to reading the scripts, maybe he contacted the agent and was like, “Um, yeah, we want him to play a mutant….” but was actually thinking of the Stengos character, whose name escaped him when he was on the phone (“The memory cheats!”). And then over the years the true story has gotten mixed up by others telling it at conventions (since JNT isn’t around anymore to correct the record).

      Surely it was the part of “the finest agronomist in the galaxy” they offered to “the finest actor of his generation”? If JNT really offered Olivier (given his age and poor health at the time) the part of the mutant who climbs out of a freezing lake and rolls around in the snow in a violent fight with Colin Baker before being beaten with a heavy tree branch by Nicola, that’s, well… that’s utterly INSANE! JNT would be remembered today as the man who drove Laurence Olivier to his death if he’d accepted!

      But Arthur Stengos is a different story. (All the actor has to do is stand in one spot and deliver a series of monologues.) I could totally see JNT reading the script and coming to that scene and desperately wanting Laurence Olivier to play that. It would still be a cameo, but one that would be infinitely more satisfying to see a world-class elderly actor play than the nameless mutant who shrieks and screams a lot before getting the shit kicked out of him by Colin and Nicola!

      Here’s the Stengos sequence someone uploaded to Youtube. Now THAT I could see JNT reading in the script and thinking he should try to get an Olivier-caliber actor for. The other part, the mutant, just doesn’t make sense:

      • Warren Andrews  December 10, 2012

        No, it was definitely the Mutant who attacks the Doctor. JNT reasoned that Olivier wouldn’t want a large part and would like to do something that could be shot in a day, on film, on location – the only character that fitted that was the Mutant.

        Olivier politely declined.:)

  25. Matt Sharp  December 10, 2012

    Me: Bigger.

    Sue: Brian Blessed?

    Here’s a shocking thing – Brian Blessed is 5’9″, the same height as Patrick Troughton…

    • Ben Goudie  December 10, 2012

      He may be the same height, but he has a greater volume.

      • Anonymous  December 10, 2012

        In all senes of the word!!!!

      • Wholahoop  December 10, 2012

        In all senses of the word

      • Ratbag  December 11, 2012

        In both senses of the word.

        • Ratbag  December 11, 2012

          Damnation, three people said the same thing at the same time. And I was last, Hate it when that happens.

          • wholahoop  December 12, 2012

            It’s OK, I was two of them

          • Nick Mays  December 12, 2012

            He’s also the Racnoss king!

  26. John Callaghan  December 10, 2012

    Sorry about your ears, Neil.

    I’ve tried to avoid adding my voice to the increasing chorus of “this is where *I* left the show”, but Jobel’s death was the moment where I really felt it wasn’t for me any more (although I kept watching). Many people seem to want Dr. Who to be serious, gritty, proper drama – but there are plenty of other shows for that. I want it to be Doctor Who. In retrospect I can see how it’s a clever grand guinol scene. It’s just the rest of the violence which isn’t for me.

    Re: Tasembeker. I wouldn’t want you to change for anything, and absolutely respect your right to speak your mind on your own blog – but I must speak up in defence of the ‘paper bag’ brigade. (I would claim I’m no oil painting myself, apart from the fact my day job is as a painters’ model, so I literally *am* an oil painting.) One of the things I like about British TV is that they have normal-looking actors, rather than the generic shop dummies that US TV seems to favour. It comes across as perhaps a tiny bit unfair to mock someone for not conforming closely to the cultural beauty standard. Her acting, yes – knock yourself out!

    Any chance of The Wife In Champions next?

    • DPC  December 10, 2012

      “proper Doctor Who” could be anything, or it could be defined solely by the one who made it nigh on 50 years ago.

      Too serious and it risks credibility (e.g. the tree in “The Mark of the Rani”).

      Too campy and it’s trash (most of season 17, most of season 24, and a lot of the 2005->current series can be just as bad if not worse than those classic-era seasons.)

      Season 1 (1963/64) was serious, but it works perfectly.

      Season 2 had “The Chase” (comic fail) and “The Time Meddler” (comic win)… comedy is not an easy thing to put in without reducing credibility as a result…

      And while the UK media has become Americanized (glossy mannequin young 20-somethings, especially in RTD’s era)… but what is “culture”, a reflection of shared values or a reflection of desired ideals? With ‘desired’ being a key word since it reflects the reality of the impossibility.

      • John Callaghan  December 10, 2012

        The fact that the definition of ‘proper Doctor Who’ is so nebulous and personal is why we’re still (wonderfully) discussing it all these years later, and why it’s still being made. Like everyone, I have my own personal definition… and I knew at the time that Revelation wasn’t for me.

        The one thing perhaps more fans agree on that not is that Who should be, at the very least… good!

    • Frankymole  December 11, 2012

      “The Champions” is 50% off in the Network sale (goes on to Dec 16th). Featuring Roger Delgado as Colonel Tuat (!). Rather tempted by “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)” myself, but must resist. But won’t.

      • solar penguin  December 11, 2012

        The best thing about The Champions is spotting That Street With The Sloping Side Alley. No matter which country they’re supposed to be in this week, it’s nearly always That Street With The Sloping Side Alley!

        • Frankymole  December 12, 2012

          Pops up occasionally in The Saint as well, though not as often as That Street With The Asymmetrical Archway Over It!

      • nkx9  December 11, 2012

        I caught that episode by chane on a satellite channel some months ago, and my recollection is that Delgado’s character’s rank was Major… which makes it all the funnier when you consider the word not as a rank but as an adjective!

    • Jock De Stewler  December 12, 2012

      I agree about Jenny Tomasin – she’s not a classical beauty, but she’s certainly interesting, and I’d rather see someone on screen like Jenny than wall to wall glamour. Her delivery is weird, but she plays middle management perfectly – fawning to the people above her, and horrible to the people below.

      • Nick Mays  December 12, 2012

        And loathed by both!

        You see, I think she’s very well cast and plays the character’s part perfectly and in context.

        • Jock De Stewler  December 12, 2012

          Yes – I think her acting style would actually seem pretty real in a real situation, or even a low-key modern drama. It’s just that we’re used to classical theatre acting in original series Doctor Who, all projecting and proper enunciation, so mumblers will always feel awkward and out of context.

  27. Alex Wilcock  December 10, 2012

    Ouch. Hope the permanent bit of the damage is less serious than the temporary loss was…

    Well, that was a difficult one. I love this story to bits, but can’t disagree with much of Sue’s critique – I think, underneath all her one-liners, she must love Colin at least a little bit, as she’s happier when he gets more to do. So do I, and yet this really gets it for me… I’m surprised no-one seems to have mentioned that it’s a black comedy – I find a lot of it screamingly funny. It’s easily the best script Terry Molloy’s given: while last time he was only asked to do warmed-over Wisher, here he has a fabulous time reinventing Davros as knowing satire (and, being the commentator on the action as well, even gets to exterminate the rival ‘channel’).

    All right, so there’s a lot of serious horror there too – working my way through writing in praise of many of Doctor Who’s greatest scenes, I’ve just picked out the one you’d expect and that Sue seizes on too as a triumph, but why not? It looks fantastic, the immediate horror of the choice hits you, and the revelation that Davros’ immortality is Hell is stunning. And, as I wrote just the other day, it’s also finally bringing to the screen two of the greatest scenes from the novels. If Saward wants to be the Bob Holmes tribute band, at least it’s a great tune to play. The whole script brings together all the season’s issues of greed and other appetites, mad science and transformation, as well (not nice, but at least thematically coherent).

    Neil wins the Wife lines with Clive Swift, obviously, but Sue’s “Laurence Olivier?” is worth any number of “Is it the Masters,” isn’t it?

    Sue: Cock innuendoes? Really? At this time of night? Am I going mad?
    What, after what you said three stories ago (or Neil’s sexy computer)? Anyway, you get much worse these days. She could have kicked him in the Chibnalls.

    Among a particularly fine set of comments this time, I think Paul Greaves’ defence is excellent, as is Matthew Marcus’ comparison to Blink (and I’d rather watch this than that any day, but each to their own preferences). Dave Sanders’ “Was he smoking red weed?” made me snigger. And I always knew that Saward was indulging his unprofessional hatred of Colin here with the sidelining and Orcini, but Chris’ idea about Grigory and Natasha made me sit up. Now, that is a revelation.

    Not doing Slipback, then? I suppose at least Doctor In Distress is shorter…

  28. DPC  December 10, 2012

    Definitely sorrow over reading the near-permanent fate of your ears. As a sufferer of hearing loss (due to many factors, including noise damage (against my will)), I know how you feel.

    Sue was right; the BBC should have replaced the producer, if the BBC was serious about keeping the show going…

    The story gets too violent (even for me) at times, but it manages to juggle so much so well.

    The original music between the Peri and DJ was the best; it’s a shame Sue had to deal with the edited DVD edition…

    • Steve White  December 10, 2012

      I’ve always said that I thought JNT should have moved on after the Twin Dilemma. It just feels to me that he lost his way after season 21.

      Just my opinion, but one thing Big Finish demonstrates is how good Colin Baker actually is in the role with a decent team behind him, bristling with ideas…

  29. Steve White  December 10, 2012

    Have to agree with Sue’s score on this one… I’ve never been a fan of Revelation of the Daleks. I’ve always found it far too unpleasant and grotesque, and it never once felt fun…

    But then I’ve always felt season 22 was like that all the way through…

  30. Antti Björklund  December 10, 2012

    Is it bad that I actually LIKE “Doctor in Distress”?

  31. John G  December 10, 2012

    I’m a bit disappointed by the number of negative comments about this one, both from Sue and others. Revelation for me is comfortably the best Colin story, and arguably the last true classic produced by the old series (though Remembrance is also a contender). If all Saward is doing here is ripping off Bob Holmes, he still comes up with a much better story than Holmes himself did earlier in the season. As Alex Wilcock mentions above, this is first and foremost a jet-black comedy, and some of Davros’ lines in particular are very funny indeed. Molloy’s performance is probably the best outside of Wisher’s in the Davros pantheon, and the whole thing looks great thanks to Harper’s direction. I really don’t have a problem with the Doctor being sidelined – it has happened before and since, and I don’t think it hurts once in a while, allowing us to view the story from a refreshingly different angle. The violence in this one doesn’t bother me either, as it is counterbalanced by the wry humour and doesn’t feel gratuitous. The only irritating element is Tasembeker, but even she can’t spoil a thoroughly entertaining story too much.

    So, we have finally reached the hiatus, which means the end of the experiment is very much in sight. I eagerly await Sue’s views on the classic show’s twilight years, though I fear she may end up enduring rather than enjoying many of the remaining stories! Let’s hope Season 23 doesn’t prove too much of a trial…

    By the way Neil, I hope your hearing is fully restored soon!

  32. jsd  December 10, 2012

    10/10 from me, but I saw it for the first time in exceptional circumstances, and it holds a special place in my heart. I was a teenage Doctor Who fan who finally found a cadre of like-minded enthusiasts. There was a convention happening in Connecticut, so we made a road trip. Colin Baker was the guest of honor, and he was a delight. Bear in mind that the USA had barely seen any of his episodes by then, and the ones we had were generally multi-generation copies from poor-quality standards conversions. Anyway, he introduced his latest offering “Revelation Of The Daleks” and they projected it from a first-gen PAL tape on a big screen with a great sound system. It was amazing. The glass dalek death scene sent chills down my spine, I can still remember it to this day.

    I’ve rewatched it dozens of times since then and it always sends me back to being a giddy 15 year old outsider, who finally found “his people”, enjoying a great day of fun and nerdery.

  33. P.Sanders  December 11, 2012

    Folk say JNT should have been fired, and yes he had clearly lost his way (as had Saward) but don’t forget that he was basically forced to stay after this or Who would have been permanently axed as nobody else would take it on. I know some folk would rather that had happened, but I think once Cartmel took over properly in Season 25 there was a new vitality to the show. Some of the best, most emotional moments from the classic series came from those last 2 years.I probably helped that I was 13 in 1989 so the show was still very present for me. But the docs in many of those lesser loved stories (TOATL & TATR esp) provide a fascinating snapshot of what was happening behind the scenes…

    • DPC  December 12, 2012

      I thought some of the best intellectual stuff came in the final two years. There was some emotional stuff as well, but WHO always had more to do with ideas and concepts than just emotion.

      I was in my late-teens during that era, and the novelizations were absolutely fantastic. “Silver Nemesis” was one of the best novels, since it could do on paper what could not be done on screen.

      • Frankymole  December 14, 2012

        Manage to have a coherent plot???

    • chris-too-old-to-watch  December 12, 2012

      “Who would have been permanently axed as nobody else would take it on. ”
      I’ve heard this before, and have always found it hard to believe there was this version of management.
      I can see the scene now: Director-General sat around a big table with all his Producers/Directors…..
      “OK Chaps, so thats Johnny looking after Crackerjack….Now Dixon of Dock Green….OK Binky, you can take that one on. Doctor Who now……..Freddie? No? How about you Willie? No? Benjie? No? Nobody? No-one interested? OK then, we’ll have to axe it. Now the, onto the E’s….”

      • John Miller  December 12, 2012

        Doctor Who fans(if that’s even an accurate way to describe them) have crafted a fictional, self-aggrandising version of Doctor Who history, both within the show’s storylines, and behind-the-scenes. These versions of events can be machine-gunned out of their mouths, without a moment’s thought, and at the merest hint of an idea to the contrary.

        Sadly, that’s all it is. Their version of events. I always find it depressing when someone immediately repeats these statements, often almost word-for-word the way many others do.

        It is a myth that the BBC “had it in for Doctor Who”. Just like a hundred other myths that people can repeat verbatim, often without even thinking about what they are saying.

        • John Williams  December 12, 2012

          That’s a bit rich coming from you. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone…” and all that.

          • John Miller  December 12, 2012

            Sorry? I was specifically referring to the idea that people have in their minds that the BBC somehow hated Doctor Who. There are other things as well, but I deliberately chose NOT to make things personal. Unlike you, Edward Ndingombaba-Hitler.

          • Thomas  December 12, 2012

            But he has a point- a lot of the fan reasons for the show’s decline are mostly just myths, usually trying to blame the failure on a specific contributor (usually John Nathan-Turner) or an external force (usually Michael Grade).

            One of the more baffling conversations I had with someone resulted in them claiming Michael Grade was entirely to blame for Warriors of the Deep because he didn’t give the show the proper budget it needed– despite the fact Grade wasn’t appointed to the BBC until well after the serial’s transmission.

          • John Miller  December 12, 2012

            Or that Michael Grade was the one who cancelled the show in 1989. Odd, since he wasn’t even working for the BBC then.

          • Thomas  December 12, 2012

            Mmhm. I mean, he does deserve some blame (giving very vague directives on improving the program and then scheduling it against Coronation Street certainly didn’t do it any favors), but the way some people try to push everything off on him is just silly.

          • Tommy  December 12, 2012

            “One of the more baffling conversations I had with someone resulted in them claiming Michael Grade was entirely to blame for Warriors of the Deep because he didn’t give the show the proper budget it needed– despite the fact Grade wasn’t appointed to the BBC until well after the serial’s transmission.”

            Not to mention Grade had nothing to do with commissioning its godawful script.

  34. BWT  December 11, 2012

    “If Apple made Daleks, that’s what they’d look like.” Quote of the story.

    “Peri tries to come to terms with the fact that she’s accidentally killed a man to death…” What? As opposed to killing him to life…?

    No, I think Sue’s right. It’s not that great. And, yes, the Doctor does bugger all. Show me “Timelash” again…?

  35. Frankymole  December 11, 2012

    The Orbital rendition made me cry tears of joy. (Neil probably had tears of pain.) Loved the time-warping clocks. It’s like William Hartnell never went away.

  36. DamonD  December 11, 2012

    It’s my favourite Six (televised at least), but it does have its issues and I couldn’t disagree much with what Sue said.

    Orcini stabbing Kara barely ever gets talked about in terms of violence in the Sixth Doctor’s era, but it’s really quite nasty. Might not be ‘big’ or elaborate, and a variation of the old knife pushes back into the handle stage trick, but it’s an unpleasant shock particularly with that sharp stinger on the soundtrack.

    Chris, that’s a great theory on Grigory and Natasha as Doctor and Peri substitutes. That really works.

  37. Sean Alexander  December 12, 2012

    Hi Neil, Sue & Nicol

    Merry Christmas etc… Did you get my card?

    Was wondering when The Trial of a Time Lord was starting? No rush, please enjoy the festivities.

    Sean x

  38. Paul Mudie  December 12, 2012

    Again, this one feels like the perfect encapsulation of Colin Baker’s tenure – it has some really good elements, and some really bad ones, and it’s all a bit of a muddle. Alas, for me, this is the final high-point for classic Who. After this I found it increasingly hard to watch, and I jumped ship when…well, I’ll wait till we get to that bit!

  39. Merast  December 12, 2012

    The first story i ever owned on VHS, and i suppose i have a soft spot for it. That’s all really..

  40. Doug  December 13, 2012

    Very slow day at work as we wind down for Christmas, so I just quickly averaged Sue’s ratings for each Doctor. Here are the results:

    Hartnell 5.03333
    Troughton 5.95
    Pertwee 6.7
    T. Baker 5.829
    Davison 5.7
    C. Baker (so far) 4.4

    • Colin John Francis  December 13, 2012

      “Hartnell 5.03333
      Troughton 5.95
      Pertwee 6.7
      T. Baker 5.829
      Davison 5.7
      C. Baker (so far) 4.4” – Interesting results, considering Sue’s comments regarding the Third Doctor (pompous, rude, etc.). Although, the Third Doctor did have a lot of very good stories 🙂

      • Thomas  December 13, 2012

        I think it’s more that Third Doctor had very few outright awful stories. Other eras had more classics and higher scores, but also had their fair share of turkeys to bring them down in the averages (especially if you take Tom Baker on as one era, when it really should be three separate eras).

        • Nick Mays  December 13, 2012

          “…especially if you take Tom Baker on as one era, when it really should be three separate eras”.

          Sorry? Why?

          • John Miller  December 13, 2012

            Hinchcliffe/Williams/JNT. But then how many eras is Hartnell? Or by that reckoning, everything from Season 18-26 is one era. The Badabacoy Era.

          • Thomas  December 15, 2012

            What John said. The Graham Williams era is so different from the Hinchcliffe era, and the Bidmead era from that. They really can’t be meaningfully called ‘one era’.

            I also agree with Hartnell, since that had (I believe) three distinct turnovers in its production team, but I would say that the JNT years are still three separate eras- Bidmead, Saward, and Cartmel, to be exact.

          • Nick Mays  December 16, 2012

            I guess you can break the eras of the Doctors from 4th onwards down into Producers/Scrip Editors and the resultant tone of each. Whilst Hartnell had 3 different Producers, the tone didn’t vary greatly, apart from the Doctor becoming a “nicer” character.

            The trouble is though, from JN-T onwards we’ve got used to the “cult of the Producer” and that’s a slippery slope, because the programme is about the Doctor, not the Producer. Whilst I’d never compare RTD to JN-T, as talent-wise RTD is light years ahead of anywhere JN-T could ever have aspired to (especially being a writer himself), there was a touch of the RTD “cult” creeping into the modern show’s tone, probably from about 2008 onwards, which led to the “any old shit will do” season of “Specials” in 2009, culminating the biggest waste of time ever “The End of Time”, a story which could have been told in 50 minutes maximum, but was egotistically stretched out to 2 parts over 2 hours, with a walk on by RTD himself.

            I think Steven Moffat has got his level of involvement and influence on the show just about right, but of course that’s just my opinion; it doesn’t make it right or wrong, the same as any other opinions expressed on the subject.

  41. charles yoakum  December 13, 2012

    i used to think that this one was my favorite colin baker… until i tried to go through it again six months ago and realzied just how bad the script was in actually having this be two episodes of “Doctor Who”. I agree that Saward shouldn’t have been sidling Colin and Nicola. If he wanted to do Robert Holmes channeling Evelyn Waugh, then go for it (because that description is something that i love the idea of watching), just make sure it works. And boy doesn’t it.

    the substitute Doctor/Peri theory is very interesting. makes me look at the story in a completely different angle. had it been written that way i think we would have had far better story on the air than we saw.

    and i personally hate the Davros mask in this story. Its the worst of all the different Davroses taht we’ve seen televised. hate that the experiment is nearning its end, but it has been a great ride. And there are still more than a few stories that i’m really intesting to see what sue thinks…..