DOWNTIME

Sue: So what are you putting me through tonight?
Me: I’m going to give you a taste of just how desperate Doctor Who fans were in 1995.
Sue: A desperate Doctor Who fan. Sounds wonderful.
Me: I’m going to show you a fan film.
Sue: Haven’t I suffered enough?
Me: The fans grew tired of waiting for the BBC to bring Doctor Who back, so they did it themselves. Fans are like that.
Sue: But how could they afford it? Kickstarter didn’t exist back then. They must have had more money than sense.

DowntimeDowntime’s pre-title sequence takes place in a monastery in Tibet, where Victoria Waterfield has apparently gone on holiday.

Sue: Is that really Victoria, or is it somebody who just looks like her? They couldn’t possibly afford her, could they?

Incredibly, Sue also recognises James Bree, who’s playing a Lama.

Sue: He was in All Creatures Great and Small last night. He was a very nice man who kept a stray dog. I like him already.

Sue and I are currently making our way through All Creatures… (Adventures with the Wife in Darrowby) in an attempt to cushion the comedown when this experiment finishes in a few weeks time. Although I am getting a little tired of her crying every time an animal injures itself, which is practically every five minutes.

Sue: It’s very nicely lit. There’s plenty of atmosphere, I’ll give it that.

A disembodied voice demands to be set free.

DowntimeSue: Is it the Master?
Me: No.
Sue: Is it the Doctor?
Me: Definitely not.
Sue: Is it the Great Intelligence?
Me: Might be.

And then Sue spots Ian Levine’s associate producer credit.

Sue: So that’s how they could afford to make this. Ian Levine. It all makes sense now. Good old Ian. At least he was trying, bless him.

Fifteen years later, on a houseboat…

Sue: Oh dear, this looks cheap. Is it shot on SVHS? It looks like we’re watching somebody’s home movie.

Kate Stewart is being hassled by Chillies.

Sue: What’s she got against them?
Me: They’re deranged students.
Sue: In that case I know how she feels.

And then…

DowntimeSue: Is that…? It can’t be… It’s the Brig!

The Brigadier is visiting a beach on the astral plane.

Sue: Is it supposed to look like that, or is this a really bad copy, Neil?

The Brigadier finds a footprint in the sand.

Sue: Ooh, it’s the Yeti again. Excellent.

Meanwhile, a DJ is spouting nonsense in East Anglia.

Me: I bet you can’t guess who that is.
Sue: Mark Ayres?
Me: No, it’s K9.
Sue: And how the hell was I supposed to know that? You idiot.

A student named Daniel Hinton logs onto the university server.

Sue: This is you in the university language labs in 1995, Neil. He’s probably on some Doctor Who forum complaining about there not being any new Doctor Who for him to complain about.

And then…

Sue: It’s Sarah Jane! Bloody hell, is everybody in this? Ian Levine must have been loaded. Oh no. Benton isn’t in this, is he?

DowntimeSarah Jane is met by the university’s Marketing Facilitator, Christopher Rice.

Sue: It’s Ian Levine! He’s cast himself in it!

Sue has some serious issues with Downtime’s sound.

Sue: They can afford all these guest stars, but they can’t afford a boom.

Victoria keeps a large silver sphere in a box on her desk.

Sue: Either that’s a really big worry ball, or it’s the Yeti. Their balls were well scary.

Daniel Hinton is browsing the university’s computer network when something rather strange happens.

Sue: One minute he’s on the internet, the next minute there’s white sticky stuff all over his fingers. This is definitely you in 1995, Neil.

Victoria tells Sarah that the university’s chancellor is currently off-site while he takes the path of truth.

Sue: Why can’t she just say he’s on sabbatical?

A Yeti sphere is sent after Daniel.

Sue: Balls that can move by themselves terrify me.
Me: Remind me never to show you Phantasm.

Sue begins to struggle with Marc Platt’s multi-layered script.

Sue: I haven’t got a clue what’s going on, but God bless them, they’re giving it a bloody good go.

The Brig is still teaching.

Sue: Did Doris chuck him out of his big house? Was he playing away from home again?
Me: That hasn’t happened yet.
Sue: Eh?

DowntimeThe Brig checks his answer phone messages. Trap Six wants Greyhound to call him.

Sue: Does Benton want a chat? Is he lonely?

Kate Stewart is the Brigadier’s daughter.

Sue: Haven’t we met his daughter before?
Me: Yes, quite recently, in fact. She’s played by Jemma Redgrave now, and she works for UNIT. She’s in the 50th anniversary special.
Sue: So does this count, then?
Me: It counts as much as you want it to, love.

When Victoria walks into the university’s computer lab, the students stand up and applaud.

Me: Is this what happens when you walk into your lectures, love?
Sue: (Ignoring me) I don’t like this Christopher person. He isn’t played by a great actor. He must have put loads of money into this. It’s the only explanation I can think of for him being in it.

Daniel befriends a tramp.

Me: (Pointing at Geoffrey Beevers) That’s the Master.
Sue: Is it?
Me: He played the Master when he was a decaying mess, and his TARDIS was a statue that could sit down and fire laser bolts from its eyes. Do you remember that?
Sue: Yes, I do, actually. So is he the Master?
Me: No.

DowntimeVictoria visits the Brigadier on the astral plane again.

Sue: Did Scottish Widows put some money into this? Is this early product placement?

And then the Brigadier shoots an imaginary Yeti in the face.

Sue: EH?

Back in East Anglia, the real Victoria is having to deal with Christopher.

Sue: You can’t have a villain in a ****ing jumper! If you’re going to take over the world, you can’t wear a crap jumper from Primark. Make an effort, man.

Professor Travers has returned from the dead.

Me: He was in The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear. Remember?
Sue: Not really. Oh, look – people queuing for a phone box. You never see that any more.

Sarah Jane doesn’t understand what the Yeti have to do with this.

Sue: Sarah Jane never met a Yeti, did she?
Me: Maybe the Doctor told her about them over tea and crumpets one night.
Sue: Or maybe the Brigadier kept banging on about them. I bet he did, you know.

The Brigadier is accosted by some Chillies, and when Geoffrey Beevers’ tramp comes to the rescue, there’s a case of mistaken identity.

DowntimeSue: Does he think that tramp is the Doctor?
Me: Yes.
Sue: Is he the Doctor?
Me: No.
Sue: So where is the Doctor?
Me: He’s not allowed to appear.
Sue: Have the Time Lords stopped him?
Me: No. BBC copyright stopped him.
Sue: I keep expecting Sylvester McCoy to turn up.

If I showed her the version of Downtime where Sylvester McCoy does turn up, she’d probably kill me. That’s if Ian Levine didn’t get to me first.

Sue: Kate’s houseboat is lovely – very cosy. Could you live on a boat like that, Neil?
Me: You’ve made me live in worse places.
Sue: Wrong answer.
Me: I’d live anywhere with you, love.
Sue: Better.

A Yeti appears on the boat and all hell breaks loose.

Sue: This must have been a nightmare to direct. The Brigadier’s head is practically touching the ceiling!

The Yeti leaves with the Locus.

Sue: Aww. He just wanted his toy back.

Kate tells the Brigadier that he’s a grandfather.

Sue: This is basically an episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show set on a barge.

DowntimeChristopher stamps on the Locus.

Sue: He’s not even wearing decent shoes, for ****’s sake. So is the Great Intelligence free now?
Me: I don’t know.
Sue: What do you mean, you don’t know?
Me: I’m completely lost. Sorry.
Sue: You will be.

Kate reluctantly picks up her father’s gun.

Sue: It’s odd that she seems to resent her dad for working for UNIT, and yet she ends up working for them herself. How does that happen? And does this mean she’ll end up doing to her son what he did to her?

The university’s computer lab is overrun with cobwebs and comatose students.

Sue: This is what it used to look like when you finished one of your lectures, love.

The Brigadier and Daniel reach the bowels of the university.

Sue: Why hasn’t the Brigadier said, “I wish the Doctor would pull his finger out and help us” yet?
Me: I don’t think they’re even allowed to say his name.
Sue: He could say, “I could do with a madman in a blue box right now”. You can’t copyright that, surely.

UNIT engage the Yeti on the university’s lawn.

DowntimeSue: Is that Benton?
Me: No.

A UNIT solider is killed.

Sue: I’m going to pretend it’s Benton.

The Brigadier is captured by the Great Intelligence, but he still manages to give Sarah the instructions she needs to save the day.

Sue: The Brig is basically playing the part of the Doctor in this. I can live with that. You know, I’m quite impressed with the direction. There are loads of extras, and these camera moves are very nice. It’s just a shame about the plot.

Kate shoots the Great Intelligence at point-blank range.

DowntimeSue: So this is where she gets her taste for guns. Okay.

Christopher is killed by a Yeti, who is actually Daniel. (Oh do keep up.)

Sue: Don’t wear a suit to his funeral. Go in a crap jumper.

The Great Intelligence has been defeated.

Sue: See you in 2013, you dick!

The Brigadier and Sarah are reunited.

Sue: Aww, how sweet.

And Victoria returns to her university.

Me: She’s got a Quality Assurance Exercise next week, poor cow.

DowntimeThe film ends with the Brigadier meeting his grandson, Gordon.

Sue: That kid is going to be ****ed up, you mark my words.

Downtime is dedicated to Douglas Camfield.

Sue: Poor Douglas. God knows what he would have made of that.

 

The Score

Sue: That wasn’t too bad. It was a good effort. If I was marking that as a student film, I’d probably give it a high 2:1. I’d have to knock some marks off for the bad sound, the terrible acting and the awful script, but it was a bloody good attempt. And it was lovely – if a bit sad – to see the Brig and Sarah Jane again.
Me: Are you going to give it a mark?
Sue: Does it count?
Me: Sort of.
Sue: In that case I’ll sort of give it:

6/10

 

Coming Soon

And speaking of unexpected treats…

 

65

Comments

  1. Lewis Christian  April 29, 2013

    Oh God, Daphne!

    A nice treat. Bring on the Movie!

    • Dave Sanders  April 29, 2013

      Danger-prone Daphne did it again…

    • Nick Mays  April 30, 2013

      Yay! Brilliant trailer! Nice one Daphne!

      I shudder to think what a John Levene one would have been like….

    • Cookey  April 30, 2013

      Very nice, i almost missed it.

  2. Dave Sanders  April 29, 2013

    What you had to, Neil.

    • Dave Sanders  April 29, 2013

      What Sue always does – turn duffers into a fighting chance to laugh.

  3. Marty  April 29, 2013

    So…no Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans? Arguably easier to follow with just as many recognisable actors. And written by Uncle Terry. It, unlike this story manages a sort of reference to the Doctor.

    Were you watching on an original VHS or a downloaded copy? Either way the picture and sound would be a bit ropey, I recently rewatched this (while making a digital copy for myself).
    It is hard to follow and fairly ambitious for an independent production (I prefer to think of it like that rather than “fan film”). But it managed some action sequences with guns and explosions.

    What did Sue think of the quite wooly Yeti costumes?

    It’s the astral plane part of this story that makes it really harder to understand.

    I cannot believe Levine would do a re-edit of this to include the Seventh Doctor. That said I saw his showreel video he put up on YouTube and there’s some pretty mad ideas in that.

  4. Smaller on the outside  April 29, 2013

    Sue: So what are you putting me through tonight?
    Sue: Haven’t I suffered enough?

    Priceless. Pity the experiment is gonna finish :'(

    • Lewis Christian  April 29, 2013

      I await Sue’s attempt to force Neil into doing the new series.

      • John Miller  April 30, 2013

        Is there just The TV Movie left? No ‘Paradise of Death’ or ‘Ghosts of N-Space’?

  5. Nick Mays  April 29, 2013

    “Sue: One minute he’s on the Internet and the next minute he’s got white sticky stuff all over his hands. I’m saying nothing. But this is definitely you in 1995.”

    The. Best.Comment. Ever! Classic! 🙂

  6. John Miller  April 29, 2013

    Another great review from Sue, especially the bits about the “white sticky stuff” and Benton. 6 does seem a bit on the high side though. And that screenshot of the Brigadier on the astral plane looks eerily like Peter Cook c1990.

  7. Jazza1971  April 29, 2013

    I’ve never watched any of these fan films/independent productions, so that puts Sue one up on me. I have seen the no long missing episode of “Galaxy 4″…so I win, it think!

    Love the latest trailer.

  8. Jennie  April 29, 2013

    Ah, those were the days. I’ve also been involved in a Dr Who fan film. I’ve witnessed know how difficult it is to:

    1, Write a script that must have no mention of the Doctor, the TARDIS, companions ect… for fear of the wrath of the BBC.
    2, Film it on absolutely no budget at all.
    3, Try and get people to watch it.

    Downtime may not have been the most brilliant Dr Who related film, but hats off to those involved. Am glad Sue gave it a six. I love it when the Chillies turn into Yetis and Nick Courtney is wonderful. Nice to see Miles and Beverly as well. (I went on their Dr Who acting holiday shortly after they filmed Downtime. Twas brilliant)

  9. Warren Andrews  April 29, 2013

    Sue: I really don’t like this Christopher person. He’s not a great actor. He obviously put loads of money into this. It’s the only explanation I can think of for him being in it.

    LOL – It was his jumper that was my abiding memory of this:D

  10. Anonymous  April 29, 2013

    Surely Sue has done her Who time now.

    It’s traditional that prisoners only serve a third of their sentence – you should really have released her after “War Games”…

    Forcing her to suffer through the entirety of cl*ass*ic Who is understandable in purely commercial terms (the soon-to-be-released book would absolutely require it). And yes, it was funny, force-feeding her the doggy-doo of “Dimensions in Cockney Time”, if a little cruel, but to expect her to have to sit through the “spin offs”, or “fan toss offs” as they should be called, goes beyond psychopathy and stomps into the realms of abuse.

    Put the TVM on and let her go.

  11. Gavin Noble  April 29, 2013

    Is Sue ever going to forgive John Levene?

    • Neil Perryman  April 29, 2013

      She’s not being entirely serious. I think.

      • Nick Mays  April 30, 2013

        He WAS a right nob though!

        “Look at me! I’m such an IMPORTANT ac-TOR! I’m so wonderful! I was last seen in Dr Who in 1976, but haven’t I had a great ac-TORIAL CV? And now you’ve knocked a drink over me! How DARE you even LOOK at me!”

        John who?

        • Frankymole  April 30, 2013

          John Who indeed – the campaign for John Levene as Doctor Twelve starts here! Or Ian Levine. Either.

  12. Eric  April 29, 2013

    Does this mean no Airzone Solution? I think it polled second. It would be worth it for casting whiplash.

  13. Natalie H  April 29, 2013

    Adventures with the Wife in Darrowby is what I want to see… no more of this Doctor Who nonsense!

  14. Glen Allen (@GlenAllenTV)  April 29, 2013

    Seeing that DOWNTIME had just been posted, I popped it on.
    At this point….

    Lama: You have travelled a long dark journey.

    Sue: How long?

    I said exactly the same thing. God Im channelling the blog!

    “Christopher Rice” was my first major stumbling block. The guy can’t act. He’s trying to do the subtle menace thing but its quite obvious he doesnt talk like that and so its an unnatural performance.

    Still, its not quite as bad as I remember it being..despite Sarah seemingly spending most of the time getting to the Uni. I’d almost forgotten she was in it at one point.

  15. Ben Herman  April 29, 2013

    I’ve never, ever seen this. But I did read the novel in the mid-1990s. I liked the book quite a bit. But at the same time I was left with the (probably accurate) impression that if I ever did see the actual filmed version that I’d probably end up quite disappointed, if only because it seemed like half the stuff that Marc Platt included in his book would be missing due to the miniscule budget. And, for Sue’s comments here, I imagine I’d also have been quite underwhelmed by the quality of acting.

    Oh, yes, when Kate Stewart did show up in “The Power of Three” it caused me to momentarily wonder if that meant “Downtime” was now in contnuity. But then my head started to hurt, so I quickly decided that it just wasn’t worth worrying about.

    • Nick Mays  April 30, 2013

      It does kinda make you wonder where The Moff gets some of his ideas from…

      Just like RTD used to get most of his from Dr Who Magazine!

      (Look out for Olla the Heat Vampire in the 50th anniversary special!)

  16. Polarity Reversed  April 30, 2013

    Never seen this, never wanted to, but thanks for the rundown. It sounds like a load of old Sontaran’s knickers to me.

    Reminds me of an Allen Carr quote re giving up smoking. Something along the lines of: a smoker who can’t get their preferred brand will smoke any brand – in fact, they’ll smoke rope if they have to.

    C’mon folks, Dr Who without the Doctor is like having a wank and faking it…

  17. Chris Reynolds  April 30, 2013

    I just went and watched “Downtime”. You and Sue have helped motivate me to watch my first Doctor Who fan video. I don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to watch any more, but it certainly had a lot of interesting points, let down by how amateurish the whole thing was. Most of the supporting actors are dreadful, and looking on IMDb, I’m astonished to find that the guy who played Christopher Rice not only has a relatively long CV of films, but is still working today!
    It’s strange how much this ties into the latest season of Doctor Who: we have Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, the return of the Great Intelligence, and the idea of the Intelligence being inside the internet.
    Lastly, I also was irked when Sarah said she wasn’t any good with guns. Given how obsessed with continuity Doctor Who fans are, and given that the people working on this must be hard-core fans even by Doctor Who fan standards, how did that get by all of them?

    • Frankymole  April 30, 2013

      Perhaps Sarah is practised with rifle shooting but terrible at aiming handguns.

    • encyclops  May 2, 2013

      Rule #1: Sarah Jane lies!

      • Polarity Reversed  May 2, 2013

        “I hit it! I KNOW I hit it!”
        “You did” etc

        I loved Lis to bits, and will for evermore, but god love her, she didn’t make a terribly convincing sniper…

  18. Dave Sanders  April 30, 2013

    Coming up soon on the blog: the Action-Figure Adventures.

    • Dave Sanders  April 30, 2013

      Christ, imagine what it would have been like if Youtube had existed back in 1995, when we where that desperate for new content.

    • Nick Mays  April 30, 2013

      Bloody hell! I was doing them back in the early 70s with my toy Daleks! Setting them up to do battle with my rubber monsters (remember how popular they were in the early 70s?) and then photographing them. I had one Dalek whose central colums that the “shoulder” section and head went onto had broken, so the Dalek was held together with plastecine. I then fixed a lot of bits of wire, little springs etc into the shoulder section and then pivoted the sections so it looked as though said Dalek was exploding and all the interior workings were bursting free. (Green plastecine also makes a darned good Dalek mutation).

      I never got as far as making stop-motion “movies” but had some interesting photographs,. God klnows what the staff at the developers made of them! Dalek snuff pics indeed!

      (Sigh) Was I a sad kid or are these just happy memories? 😉

  19. Nick Mays  April 30, 2013

    I remember getting a copy of Downtime and giving up on it after 10 minutes. Think I may have thrown it away some years later…

    BUT…

    I think we have to be a bit kind to fan productions like this, because they DID keep the show alive for fans (even those who didn’t want to watch them!). It’s very often said with warmth and affection that Star Trek fans kept the show alive between 1969 and 1978-ish when the movie series was commissioned, with novelisations, fan fiction, fanzines etc., so maybe we should pay due tribute to all those Who fans who did the same.

    I didn’t like all of the Virgin New Adventures – in fact gave up pretty much after the second trilogy – but they kept the legend going. I never saw Bill Baggs’ “Stranger” series, but it kept some fans going. And okay, we may not all like ‘The Ghosts of N-Space’ but it was ‘proper’ Who then in ’99 you got officially licensed audio Who adventures from Big Finish with real actors from the series and everything. Don’t forget DWM and all the fanzines. Ultimately, our beloved series came back, but it hadn’t really gone away – it;s just that the then BBC bosses didn’t want it.

    And you know what? With the benefit of hindsight, maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing.

    Let’s not forget that Dr Who MIGHT have finished with The War Games, or even after Season 7 if the viewing figures hadn’t gone up. Would it be as fondly remembered today? Would any of the episodes even exist? Or would the fans of nostalgia kept it going? Who knows?

    So I say, I may not have liked everything that came out under the Dr Who banner back in the 90s, but Well Done The Fans!

    • Derek Handley  April 30, 2013

      Well said!

    • John Miller  April 30, 2013

      My problem is that many of the fans who kept it going thought they owned it, rather than they were just keeping it alive. And a LOT of the stuff between “Survival” and “Rose” is just some saddo pushing his pet ‘theories’. Certain products(and we all know which ones they are) are not stories or character pieces. They’re just a series of continuity references which attempt to make it impossible for any other interpretation of certain controversial points to work properly. I think lumping everything together is a mistake. There were things that were genuinely done by people who love Doctor Who and wanted to continue the magnificent legacy. Some of these were poorly executed, but the fans were at least trying. But there were other things that were nothing more than mean-spirited pricks trying to stamp “their” ownership on it, like a dog pissing on a tree.

      • John Williams  April 30, 2013

        “…just some saddo pushing his pet ‘theories’”

        I think you’re being unduly harsh on yourself there John.

        • Nick Mays  April 30, 2013

          Damn! You beat me to it!

        • John Miller  April 30, 2013

          Haha. Well I never wrote crud like certain VNA authors, and I don’t run a tedious website about Classic TV.

          • John Miller  April 30, 2013

            Sorry, but here’s another one of my “tedious theories”. And it relates directly to the wilderness years. Actually it’s more of an observation.

            Just as the fans thought they “owned” Who when the BBC showed little interest in it, something really strange has happened, and we can see it still manifests itself today in the form of certain posters on this blog. Though Neil and Sue seem unaffected by it. However others here are deeply infected, and may be incurable. It’s this:

            Because the “fans” “owned” Doctor Who for 15+ years, the line between fact and fan theory seems to have been lost, or at the very least seriously misunderstood. Because, prior to 1990 it was simple: If the people who actually made Doctor Who explicitly said something, both in-narrative and in interviews/promos etc. it was a hard, unambiguous fact. If some lunatic put 2 and 2 together to get 25, it was a fan theory, and not to be taken as truth.

            But the wilderness years blurred, even removed, that line for some. So now, as far as many people are concerned, if Steven Moffat explicitly states something in an official interview, and then the Eleventh Doctor states the exact same thing in a BBC episode….it is no better or worse than if some nutter posts some idea on a fansite that he got as a result of completely missing the point of an old strip from TV Comic.

            Tedious and appalling theory over.

          • Nick Mays  April 30, 2013

            Hey John, here’s your cut and keep post from me…

            Actually, I agree with you!

            My favourite “Fan Theory/Fact: I remember one sad sack writing somewhere that anything that happened after Season 23 was all in the Doctor’s head as he was still trapped in the Matrix – fact! And whilst that may be an attractive theory to explain away Time and the Rani and most of Season 24, it’s a bit harsh on everything since. 😉

          • John Williams  April 30, 2013

            Who runs a tedious website about classic television? I’m always keen to find new sites about television.

          • John Miller  April 30, 2013

            What a wonderful world it would be if certain people were able to distinguish between a post that is meant to be serious and one that is meant to be having a laugh.

          • John Williams  April 30, 2013

            Well humour me – I don’t get the bit about running a website about Classic TV.

      • charles yoakum  April 30, 2013

        while that is certainly a terribly negative view point of the wilderness years, there are many times that it is justified. To put a more charitable spin on it, i certainly spent many years wishing that i could go and produce a Doctor Who that would be worth watching, and it wouldn’t look like Time and the Rani. It wasn’t so much about ownership of any one theory, but me wanting to say, “Screw it BBC, you have the best concept in the universe and the best you can give us is Pip and Jane Baker?” Had i the video technology, I would have been making fan films simply to continue a show that i so deeply loved that it almost hurt how badly it had devolved. Agenda? it would ahve been: make something entertaining and kick ass like Genesis or Robots of Death, not to try and dig deeper into any one version of the Time Lord society or CVE. Please. Just give me a really good story and lets go.

        Also, given how Colin Baker was treated, and the writing he received, it would have been something akin to what Big Finish did: give Colin’s Doctor a chance to grow and mature. Just the chance to prove that he was a good choice would have been a good challenge.

    • Cookey  April 30, 2013

      Too right. I’ve only read about 8 Virgin novels, but i can see the love that went into them. In truth, i’m more attracted to the Big Finish audio range if anything.

      I do admire anyone who kept the show alive during the wilderness, and given that Sue gave this one a 6 (never seen it myself, though i’d give it a whirl) i should think they deserve some acknowledgement for their efforts.

      • Nick Mays  April 30, 2013

        As to canonicity and ‘fact’ about anything between Survival and Rose, all we know for sure is that Ace left the Doctor at some point after Survival – maybe she even stayed in Perivale of 1989 and made it up with her mum – and the Doctor reconfigured the Tardis console room and smartened himself up a bit before the events of the TV movie when he regenerated.

        After this, the Eight Doctor’s movements are unclear but we do know that he took part in the Time War and brought about the destruction of Gallifrey and the Dalek fleet, before regenerating into the Ninth Doctor, at which point, shortly afterwards, we get to Rose.

        And talking of “canon” and what gets said on TV being a fact, remember all the howls of outrage about the Doctor being half human and the Eye of Harmony being IN the Tardis as stated in the TV Movie? Well, how about the Chameleon Arch (Human Nature/Family of Blood) and as also used by the Master at some point during the Time War? Also we have the Eye of Harmony Tardis power unit as seen in Journey To The Centre Of The Tardis just a few days ago?

        Dr Who is an organic thing – it grows, it evolves. It’s fine if fans want to fill in the bits in between – after all, the Big Finish audios are officially licensed by the BBC, so are they canon? Particularly so with the Eighth Doctor’s adventures?

        But please let’s not get started on Season 6B, although there IS some evidence that the Second Doctor’s adventures continued “somehow” after the War Games. 😉

        • John Miller  April 30, 2013

          a)that was a long post 🙂

          b)I don’t think it’s a good idea to give away plot points from The TV Movie since Sue hasn’t watched it yet, and this is her blog(oh, and Neil’s too 🙂 )

          c)just one point of many(but nobody wants them all), we do not know that Eight fought in the Time War, and regenerated into Nine as the Time War ended. In fact, it was RTD’s specific aim to keep that stuff mysterious, so we don’t get exact boring stuff like pythian curses, or how often the Doctor moves his bowels. In fact, the closest anything came to regeneration was the DWM Comic where Eight would have regenerated into Nine BEFORE the Time War even started, and the Nine we see from “Rose” onwards is merely the end of Nine’s incarnation, not all of it.

          • Nick Mays  April 30, 2013

            Ah, but in Rose, Nine is examining his reflection and pondering his new looks.

            (That said, he has of course been photographed and sketched throughout history according to the Doctor-spotter’s website, so… yeah…)

          • John Miller  April 30, 2013

            Sorry, but neither I or(I am assuming) anyone else wants a discussion about how long The Doctor has looked like Christopher Eccleston as of his meeting Rose Tyler. And the fact it COULD be interpreted by either his looking in the mirror OR all the photos on Clive’s website was part of the point of it.

          • Gareth Lee-Thomas  April 30, 2013

            I’ve never seen Downtime and don’t expect I will in any great hurry. Indeed, I find it a challenging thought that anyone would rate such a thing higher than Robots of Death or Snakedance. I expect Sue is wrong, but only from my point of view, and that brings me to the Fandom debate.

            I must concede that Mister Miller must’ve mellowed. I find myself agreeing on certain points. Fan speculation is just that and when it comes to writing I would be much happier to see story and character development and drama than constant hat-tipping and self indulgence. That much said, it’s not helpful to be too precious.

            It doesn’t matter really and is just an observation rather than criticism, John, but you lost me on the Remembrance posts. I did follow the link you posted and read the full contents, and your posts and the opinions all round. Didn’t agree though. I know you probably know far more about it – I don’t really worry about which truth trumps all others. I think some exploration of the moral dilemas for the Doctor and how that affected him would have helped, as I was left feeling, “Oh – blew up a planet, never mind then.” On the other hand, you can’t really say that behaviour is all that unusual for the Doctor. Why get involved at all?

            I don’t think I’m qualified to comment at all on reflection…..I liked Attack of the Cybermen too.

            Anyhoo, well done Sue and Neil on getting through all that, and shame on Neil for institutionalising Sue. Blake’s 7. I’ll just leave that hanging there. Look forward to the book!

    • John G  April 30, 2013

      Mind you, if the show had finished after Season 7, what a way to go out that would have been! I’m glad though that it didn’t finish then, naturally.

      • Nick Mays  May 2, 2013

        Now THERE’S a challenge! How about writing a hypothetical/alternate universe “nostalgia TV” piece about that old Sci-Fi show for kids called Dr Who that ran for 7 years between 1963 and 1970 and from which only a very few episodes remain?

        You remember the one – this strange possibly alien bloke called Dr Who started out as an old geezer then changed twice into younger bodies. Travelled with human companions in a time/space machine that looked like an old police telephone box. What was it called? Tarnis of something? Went into the past and the future. And some of those alien creatures were pretty good – remember those Dalek things? They were really popular once, had their own books and comic strip in TV21! God! I used to have Dalek toys! And remember those Cyber things? Spooky they were!

        Didn’t he end up stuck on Earth or something working for the army? Then the BBC cancelled it because it had lost too many viewers.

        They ought to re-boot that you know! Of course the Tarnis would have to be a Portaloo or a Photo-Booth or something…

  20. Polarity Reversed  April 30, 2013

    I’m rather sceptical of the “we have the fans to thank for keeping Who alive” notion – it’s possibly as much a self-important myth as a lot of the fanfic seems to be. Sure, it gave a lot of people something to do during the hiatus. Harmless fun of course, but given that we live in the age of the nostalgic remake/reboot/revival, the show was bound to return. Regardless of the popularity of books and audio (“official” and “unofficial”), and eager youngsters with access to a video camera and a shed painted blue.

    I gather mod is coming round again and the latest incarnation seems to think it’s all about early Britpop. Bizarre… Interesting that one of the prime movers of the fan era made his name unearthing obscure 20-year-old soul records.

    The show always inspired a sort of “I own it, I’m the one who really knows” attitude, even when it was still alive and well. I recall visiting a certain pub back in the early ’80s with a school chum (one Alec Charles) and being rather bemused at the spectacle of all these gentle souls selling their ‘zines with all the earnestness of fourth-century scholars peddling undiscovered gospels. Ah, Letraset and carbon paper! It was my one and only brush with hardcore fandom, and I’ve never met a 17-year-old cyberman from Dudley since. Let the fans have fun by all means, but it’s not for me.

    Interesting also to consider the direction fan “ownership” has taken. Maybe I’m not typical but back in the day I didn’t know who Letts, Holmes, Williams were*, it was all just Dr Who. Nowadays, virtual armies take to the field and dissect the relative creative visions of RTD and Moffat, various writers and directors.

    * Well, okay I knew the names from their Target contributions.

    • Nick Mays  May 2, 2013

      This pub wasn’t called ‘The Tun’ was it? I read a load of waffle about ‘Tun meetings’ in a DWAS fanzine that I bought at the 20th anniversary Longleat celebration and thought to myself how much it was a load in in-joke, in-fighting, narcissisitic stuff… and not for me!

      However, little did I know that 30 years later… 😉

      • Polarity Reversed  May 2, 2013

        D’you know, it might possibly have been The Tun. I can’t be sure. It was a different me.

        I do recall it rather putting me off fandom in general though. Maybe that was the nuttier, clubbier end of fandom. Dunno.
        I’ve had some good fun round here though.

        • John Williams  May 3, 2013

          If it was the early 1980s then it probably was The One Tun which was the gathering point for Who fans before the location shifted to the Fitzroy Tavern.

  21. John G  April 30, 2013

    A friend lent me the video of Downtime a few years ago, but I gave up after 15 minutes, so credit to Sue for sitting through the whole thing, and finding some merit in it! I think Christopher Barry was responsible for the direction, so that might explain why she liked it. I wonder how much they had to shell out to get all these Who personnel together – or maybe they were just glad of the work?

    Out of the many quality lines here, I think “that reminds me, I must get my pension sorted,” was the pick!

    • Eric  April 30, 2013

      Just think, 15 minutes into Airzone Solution you would have run up against the sex scene…

      • John G  May 1, 2013

        Ooh, I might have to investigate that one…

        • Wholahoop  May 1, 2013

          When that image is seared onto your retina, your eyes may never forgive you

          • Nick Mays  May 2, 2013

            Just purely out of idle curiosity… who is involved in said scene?

            And is it canon? 😉

  22. Chris Allen  May 2, 2013

    Saw this on Google News today:
    “Mysterious metal spheres excavated beneath Mexican pyramid”.
    Hmmmm….

  23. Anonymous  May 3, 2013

    K-9’s in the book if i remember from reading, Sarah jane rings him on her mobile and they used that idea in SJA in season 3 : D

  24. Alexandra  May 5, 2013

    Please, please watch The Airzone Solution. I will pay you money to read Sue’s comments on that one. I’m giggling just thinking about it.