SURVIVAL

Part One

For the last time – and for one episode only – we are joined by Nicol and Sue’s brother, Gary.

Sue: Survival. That’s a funny title considering it’s the last one.
Nicol: Did they know it was the last one when they were making it?
Me: They suspected as much. The programme was living on borrowed time.

Nicol has stopped listening. She’s too busy laughing at an animatronic cat. Gary sighs deeply as he folds his arms a little tighter.

SurvivalMe: I don’t know what you’re laughing at, Nicol. I remember when you were obsessed with Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and their fake cat wasn’t much better.
Nicol: You leave Salem out of this.
Sue: Ooh, a crane shot. I’m loving this already.
Nicol: This opening scene reminds me of the new series. That’s where the theme music should go – just after the man disappears.
Sue: The last few stories have reminded me of the new series a lot. Oh look, a Renault 5. I had one of those.

Later, in a park, some children are playing a game of football.

Sue: This has an eerie feel to it. It reminds me of one of those Public Safety films from the seventies.
Me: Never talk to strange cats. I remember it well.

Meanwhile, in a tent.

SurvivalNicol: Is it the Master?
Sue: Hey, that’s my line!
Me: Look at the eyes, Sue. The green eyes.
Sue: Is it the Great Intelligence?

Sorry, but I couldn’t resist leading her down the garden path one last time.

The Doctor has brought Ace to Perivale so she can catch up with her mates. Ace searches for them at the local youth club.

Me: Look, Sue. It’s boy band training.

Gary likes this scene. A lot.

Nicol: Did people really look like that in the eighties?
Me: Yes. I wouldn’t leave the house without my backwards-facing baseball cap on.
Nicol: I’m glad I was still a baby when fashion looked like that. I don’t remember it at all.

A self-defence instructor named Patterson tells Ace that a handful of teenagers have gone missing from Perivale, including her.

Sue: The Great Intelligence took them, just like he took Ace. It all makes sense.

Sadly, the suspense is shattered by the howls of derision directed at the fake cat.

So the Doctor goes shopping.

Sue: Ooh, it’s him. And him.
Gary: It’s them.
Sue: Yes, wait, don’t tell me… I know this… Penn and Teller.

SurvivalI’m laughing so hard, I have to pause the DVD.

Gary: It’s The Management.
Me: Hale and Pace. Hale and Pace!
Sue: Same thing.

Hale and Pace give the Doctor some advice on which cat food to buy.

Sue: Our cats would turn their noses up at those brands. Oh, I like the way the Doctor listened to that lump of cheese. That was a very Doctorish thing to do.

Gary sighs.

Sue: I really like the direction, too. It’s really good, this.

But she soon changes her mind when Hale (or is it Pace?) find a cat dead in their stockroom.

SurvivalSue and Nicol: Nooooooooo!
Sue: Turn it off! I don’t want to watch this. That was horrible!

Gary chuckles to himself. And then Ace meets an old friend who thought she was dead.

Ange: That’s what they said. Either you were dead, or you’d gone to Birmingham.

Even Nicol laughed at that line.

Sue: The Doctor reminds me of Sherlock Holmes. He’s listening and gathering clues. He knows exactly what’s going on.
Gary: I’m glad somebody does.
Sue: Is the music by Mark?
Me: No, it’s Dominic Glynn.
Sue: I love it. This is the best music we’ve had in ages. Sorry, Mark.

The Doctor can’t open his cat food.

Sue: He really needs the sonic back. He needs to buy himself a new one.
Gary: At least the weather is nice.
Sue: Yeah, you don’t get summers like this any more.

The Doctor feeds the local cat population.

Sue: This is me, every single night, feeding the ferals.

We have three feral cats who visit us every evening for food and cuddles. We call them Blake, Avon and Cally. There were five of them but Vila ran away and Servalan had to be put down.

Ace is chilling out in the local playground when she is suddenly confronted by a large cat on a horse.

SurvivalSue: I’ve heard of dogging in the park but this is ridiculous.
Nicol: Is that supposed to be a cheetah?
Me: Yes.
Nicol: Why does the fastest animal in the world need a horse?
Sue: Because it looks good. The direction really is excellent.
Nicol: That’s it – hide in the climbing frame. It can’t possibly get you there.
Me: It’s playing with its food, Nicol. It’s a cat.
Nicol: Okay, I’ll give you that.

Ace makes a run for it.

Sue: Look at this! This is amazing.

Ace is transported to an alien planet.

Sue: I did not expect that! And the music reminds me of Thelma and Louise. I love it.

Ace is pursued by the cat on the horse.

Sue: Ace is very fit.

I say nothing.

Nicol: Ace is just a typical victim.
Sue: You couldn’t be further from the truth, Nicol. Ace won’t scream. She’ll probably try to blow the cat up.

But it’s not all good news:

Sue: The cat person could be a lot scarier. It’s too fluffy. You want to give it a big cuddle.
Nicol: That’s what you say about real cheetahs, Mam.
Sue: True.

Ace meets up with her old friends.

SurvivalSue: It’s basically Lost with cats.
Nicol: It makes about as much sense as Lost. It reminds me of an amateur production of the musical Cats.
Me: Didn’t you see the poster advertising Cats in the youth club?
Nicol: Sorry, I was probably checking my phone. And was it really such a good idea to draw your attention to the musical? I keep expecting them to break out into song.

Sue has more important things to worry about:

Sue: Do you remember those patterned concrete blocks that you used to get in the eighties? They were very popular. I ****ing hated them.

The Doctor and Patterson are transported to the Planet of the Cheetahs.

Sue: There’s a wild west vibe to this. I really like it.

The Doctor is herded towards a tent. And seated inside this tent is…

SurvivalSue: I knew it!
Nicol: Mam! You liar!

Gary shakes his head.

Sue: So is the Master working for the Great Intelligence?

I ask the audience to sum up.

Sue: I loved it.
Nicol: I liked the cats. The real ones, that is.
Gary: The weather was very nice.
Me: Is that all you have to say, Gary?
Gary: What a rubbish way to end a series.
Me: That was just the first episode – there are two episodes left!
Gary: Right, I’m off, then.

 

Part Two

SurvivalSue: Not for cats!

She’s referring to the kittens feeding on a dead horse. Come on, we’ve all done it.

Sue: Why haven’t they eaten the Master yet? Is it because he’s supplying them with catnip?

Ace transforms her friends into a band of rebels.

Sue: You go, girl. You can tell that this story is written by a woman. The script is excellent.

The Doctor and Patterson escape from the Master on horseback.

Sue: The landscape looks great. They’ve tried this sort of thing before but this is very believable. They’ve finally cracked it. Bit late now, though.

SurvivalThe Doctor describes a cat sunning itself on the ground as:

The Doctor: A kitling. A feline vulture.
Sue: Awww, bless it.

The Master gives one of these kitlings a cuddle.

Sue: At least the Master is a cat person. He can’t be all bad, then.

Sue really likes the incidental music.

Sue: It’s Edge of Darkness meets Miami Vice. It really works.

The kitlings’ next victim is a milkman.

Sue: Cats love milk. They should transport his milk float to the planet while they’re at it.

SurvivalBut the cats don’t snatch the milk away – they’re not that evil.

The Cheetah People attack, and then all hell breaks loose.

Sue: This is a bit naff. I really hope it doesn’t go downhill.
Me: What? The horse?
Sue: No, the story! It was going so well, but now it’s silly.

The Cheetah People start fighting each other.

Sue: I get enough of this at home. Jack and Rose are always at each other’s throats. You just need to distract them with something shiny.

Ace’s friend, Midge, kills a Cheetah Person by plunging a sharp tusk into the poor thing’s stomach.

Sue: NOOOOOOOO! That was horrible!

The Master admits to the Doctor that he is trapped on this planet.

Sue: So he ****ed up again, has he? Why am I not surprised?

SurvivalThe Master’s feral grin emphasises the trouble he’s in.

Sue: That’s his best Ricky Gervais impersonation yet.

The Master howls at the moon.

The Master: A-rooooooooooooooh.
Sue: Oooooooooooh, what a gay day!

Ace decides to help a wounded Cheetah Person. She even lets the creature drink from her hands.

Sue: I can’t watch this scene without thinking of George Galloway and Rula Lenska.

Meanwhile, the Master is cutting up a dead horse.

Sue: Is he stocking up on tasty treats for the cats?

The episode ends with Ace on the turn.

Sue: A brilliant cliffhanger. It’s very good, this. It’s just a shame about the giant cats. Everything else is spot on.
Me: Do you want to watch the last episode?
Sue: I do and I don’t. Part of me doesn’t want this to end. I don’t mean this particular story – the whole thing. I feel a bit sad about it. Stop grinning.

 

ChampagneIt’s almost the end, but the moment has been prepared for – champagne has been chilling in the fridge all day.

The number of times that I’ve dreamt about this particular milestone: Survival Part Three… There were moments, usually in the middle of a Troughton recon or a Pertwee six-parter, where I would imagine what it would feel like to finally reach this point (assuming that we ever got here). And now that we are here, just like Sue, I have mixed feelings about it.

Despite this, I take the champagne out of the fridge and I pop the cork just as the title sequence explodes on the screen.

Sue: Are you sure? What if there’s a power cut in the middle of this?
Me: Then I’ll buy another bottle.
Sue: You don’t have to get me drunk, you know. I’m not backing out now.

 

Part Three

SurvivalSue: If Ace has to sacrifice herself at the end to save the Doctor’s life, I will cry.

Ace is bonding with a Cheetah.

Sue: Ooh, slow-mo in Doctor Who. You don’t get that very often. This feels so modern. You wouldn’t think this was 25 years old.

The Master has been transported back to Earth by Midge. The evil Time Lord struggles to control the beast within:

The Master: A stronger mind will hold on itself longer. A will as strong as mine.
Sue: Ace is totally ****ed, then. She is so dead. Or stuffed. One of the two.

Back on the Planet of the Cheetahs, Karra is drinking from a pool.

Ace: I thought cats hated water.
Sue: That’s complete bollocks. Our cats love water. Especially running water.
Karra: I’m not a cat. I’m Karra.
Sue: Why haven’t we got a cat called Karra? I’m disappointed in you, Neil.

The camera swoops over yet another decaying corpse.

Sue: It’s very graphic. The director loves to show a bit of meat in his shots.

The Master controls poor Midge.

SurvivalSue: He’s the Master’s bitch, especially with that collar on. The make-up is excellent, though. All of the cats should have looked like this. Still, you can’t have everything.

An infected Ace takes her friends back to Earth.

Sue: Right outside the TARDIS. That’s very interesting. Everything revolves around Ace, doesn’t it? She is definitely the first of the new companions.

Ace is happy to leave.

Sue: It can’t be over, can it? I haven’t finished my first glass yet.

Of course not, the Master is killing cats on a council estate and the Doctor has to stop him.

Sue: Oh look, somebody has dropped strawberry jam on a soft toy. Even I can’t get upset about that.

The dead cat belonged to a little girl.

Me: She’s famous – in the loosest sense of the word – but you’ll never recognise her.
Sue: I bet I will. Pause the DVD.

Sue mulls it over.

SurvivalSue: Yes, she was definitely in EastEnders.
Me: No she wasn’t.
Sue: Oh, that is disappointing. OK, is she a pop star? Is it Billie Piper?
Me: No. Look, you won’t get it. It’s Adele Silva.
Sue: Who’s Adele Silva when she’s at home?

I grab the laptop and perform a quick image search. What I end up with is a page of thumbnails with Adele Silva in nothing but lingerie.

Sue: Oh, so that’s how you know her.

I eventually find a picture of Adele from the reality show Hell’s Kitchen, and I manage to save both the experiment and my marriage. Phew.

Midge arrives at the youth club, looking for young men.

Sue: He wants to manage the band.

Midge turns the boy band against Patterson, who is still suffering from shock.

Sue: Did Midge hypnotise the boys, or do they just really fancy him?

The Master struggles to control of his baser instincts.

Sue: That special effect that makes his eyes go on and off is brilliant.

On Horsenden Hill, Ace is confronted by Midge’s gang.

Sue: Death by Musical Theatre company. Nasty.

The Master looks on.

Sue: I have to say, this is one of his weirder plans. I haven’t got a clue what he’s trying to achieve.

The Doctor and Midge ride towards each other on a pair of motorcycles. When they collide, the explosion is impressive and improbable at the same time.

SurvivalSue: EH? No one could have survived THAT! Were the bikes carrying nuclear warheads? Hang on… He’s not going to regenerate, is he?

Karra confronts the Master but she gets a tusk in her stomach for her trouble. Her death squeak is very touching.

Sue: Boooooooo!
Me: Top up?
Sue: Yes, please.

Thankfully, the Doctor is still alive.

Sue: He should have landed behind that sofa. That would have been funnier.
Me: That implies that this scene is funny to begin with.
Sue: OK, it would have been funny. This is just… silly. And I ****ing hate fly-tippers.

The Master and the Doctor face each another in the street.

Sue: This actually feels like it’s meant to be the final episode. It feels epic.

SurvivalIt feels even more epic when they end up fighting in the middle of a fire pit. The Doctor raises a skull above his head and prepares to smash the Master’s face in.

Sue: No! Don’t do it! He’s not worth it!

The Doctor regains control.

The Doctor: If we fight like animals, we’ll die like animals!

The Doctor is transported back to Earth.

The Doctor: If we fight like animals, we’ll die like animals!
Me: What did you make of that?
Sue: The first time he said it, it was excellent. The second time he said it, he was asking for trouble.

A woman complains about the noise the cats have been making.

Sue: That could be Rose’s mum.

The Doctor returns for Ace. They walk off into the sunset together.

SurvivalSue: Oh, he almost slipped over.
The Doctor: Come on, Ace, we’ve got work to do!

Cue credits.

We clink our glasses together.

Sue: You owe me big time.

I punch the air.

Sue: I know you are going to kill me for saying this, but the speech at the end sounded like it was cobbled together at the last-minute. Sorry.
Me: I really like it. It’s optimistic.
Sue: I can see why you were upset about Doctor Who finishing at this point. Just when it was good again. It also explains why you were still banging on about it when I met you. I’ll never be a fan, but they shouldn’t have stopped it there.

 

The Score

Sue: That was almost perfect. Only the fake cats and the fluffy cheetahs let it down. Apart from that, it was a great way to finish. If we’d opened the champagne earlier, I might have given it a 10, but I’m only a bit tipsy, so:

9/10

Sue: Does this mean we can get divorced, now?
Me: Well, we still have a little way to go yet. We’ve got The TV Movie for a start, and before that I want to show you a couple of things that will give you a taste of the Interregnum.
Sue: I thought The TV Movie didn’t count.
Me: We’ve been through this before. Of course it counts.
Sue: But Russell T Davies said –
Me: Yes, there’s a character in Queer as Folk who believes that Paul McGann doesn’t count. That doesn’t make it a fact. He counts.
Sue: So why are we drinking Moรซt? If this isn’t the end, we should be drinking cheap cava!
Me: I’ll get some Dom Pรฉrignon for The TV Movie. I promise.
Sue: So how long until the end?
Me: A couple of weeks at most.
Sue: I’m not watching Shada. Just so you know.
Me: Four more updates and then The TV Movie. Some of these will be very short. It won’t take us long. Trust me.
Sue: Well, I’ve come this far.
Me: Come on, Sue, we’ve got work to do!

 

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Comments

  1. Dave Sanders  April 8, 2013

    Sur. Vivial
    Then
    Doctor Who, the
    Classic Series.
    It ends as
    It begins
    Approprately enough:
    Yes Sue,
    It is the
    Master.

    – EJ Thribb, regeneration 17 1/2

  2. Dave Sanders  April 8, 2013

    What do you mean, Neil? The strange cat MADE half those seventies PIFs.

    • Anonymous  April 9, 2013

      Apparently it was Kenny Everett doing the voice of Charlie the cat.

  3. Lewis Christian  April 8, 2013

    And so we end with a higher average score than Colin got!

    (Which isn’t great for poor Colin, but is good for Sylv, who is far too often underrated and hated on.)

    So glad Sue liked this! It really does feel like the end of an epic era, but it did finish too soon.

    Surprised you didn’t give Sue ‘Endgame’ to watch on the DVD – it’s really interesting!

    • Neil Perryman  April 8, 2013

      We will cover that in the McCoy retrospective.

      • Lewis Christian  April 8, 2013

        Ah okay! ๐Ÿ™‚

        I’m glad, it’s definitely worth watching!

    • Doug  April 8, 2013

      Indeed he does. Here are the final results:

      Pertwee: 6.71
      Troughton: 5.95
      T.Baker: 5.83
      Davison: 5.80
      McCoy: 5.25
      C. Baker: 5.18 (or 4.69 if Trial is counted as a single story)
      Hartnell: 5.03

      • Chicanery  April 8, 2013

        What’s it work out as if you discount first season McCoy, since it’s essentially a different Doctor?

        • Doug  April 8, 2013

          6.625 (Silver Nemesis and Battlefield are the only two dogs then.)

          • Doug  April 8, 2013

            First year McCoy, by itself, rates as a lowly 2.5. If all of those episodes were written with C. Baker in mind (I don’t know enough about the history of the show to be sure) and are added to his average, he would come down to 4.46 (or 3.96 if Trial is counted as a single story.)

          • Doug  April 8, 2013

            BTW, given her affection for Troughton, late-era McCoy and, to a lesser extent, Pertwee, I am guessing Sue must just about find Matt Smith to be her favourite of all the Doctors. Am I right?

          • Chicanery  April 9, 2013

            Thanks! I’ve never actually seen first season McCoy, due to its awful reputation, and there’s so much stuff I need to see first. (Only Hartnell I’ve seen is The Aztecs, I’ve only seen two Troughton, Three Pertwee, 12 T Baker, 2 Davison, never made it through a C. Baker, and 6 McCoy).

          • John Miller  April 9, 2013

            ”First year McCoy, by itself, rates as a lowly 2.5. If all of those episodes were written with C. Baker in mind”

            Only Time and The Rani, but the Cartmel-edited version bears little resemblance to the original Colin script.

        • Lewis Christian  April 11, 2013

          Essentially a different Doctor? What?! Season 25 and 26 is just the evolution of the same Doctor.

          Tom’s Doctor, equally, went through at least 3 stages but he’s always the same Doc.

          • Lewis Christian  April 11, 2013

            Never mind – you haven’t even seen S24 so that’s an odd comment for you to make in the first place.

  4. Olvarivay G. Lee  April 8, 2013

    There was some meeting at school when Survival 3 was broadcast and we didn’t have a video recorder, so it was years before I actually saw it, which is a bit poignant. Sort of.

    If Ace is the first New Series companion, then this is the first New Series story – the only Original Series story, as far as I remember, to be set in an ordinary, contemporary residential location, the mainstay of the RTD era.

  5. rad  April 8, 2013

    I can’t believe you made it! Well, almost. Well done both and so pleased to see the McCoy era ending on a high. I was worried Sue might not enjoy it.

  6. Jimbotfu  April 8, 2013

    Intrigued by the four updates. Presuming… D********* in T***, The C**** of F**** D****, hmmm…S***** of the Sh****? And maybe M*** T*** 30 Y**** in the T*****?

    Surely The Stranger / BBV stuff won’t figure? If so, poor Sue.

    • Neil Perryman  April 9, 2013

      Just to narrow your guesses down, we won’t be doing anything post-1996.

  7. Lewis Christian  April 8, 2013

    Also, I can only hope that Neil and Sue will finish the experiment by getting extremely pissed and doing their own rendition of “500 Miles”, complete with their cats, Gary, Nicol and Glen ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Jason  April 8, 2013

    While “Survival” never did anything for me – I thought it was a bit of an exercise in sadism, killing off a bunch of 1D characters for cheap dramatic effect, but then again I’m old and cranky and I love “Frontier in Space” – I was a bit teary-eyed watching Sue finally reach the end! I found this site during the late Hartnell era and am not looking forward to running out of updates entirely… I wish Gary had been around for the moment where the Master collared Mitch, but… 9 out of 10 to everyone! And hopefully one of the interregnum updates has something to do with Lisa Bowerman’s extensive DW involvement post-Survival?

    • Anonymous  April 8, 2013

      I found out this website during Timelash, in the Colin Baker years. I came so late!

  9. Gordon Jones  April 8, 2013

    I just realised something. The first story was about fire and skulls and the Doctor turns that down at the end of this story, at the end of the televised run. Makes it peculiarly cyclical when you consider that the Doctor nearly bashed someone’s head in with a rock but was stopped by his new companion. Survival shows the Doctor’s character has developed and he considers this life his vocation now. What a beautiful way to provide closure on a character.

    • Nick Mays  April 8, 2013

      Probably sheer coincidence, but I’d never thought of that before! Rather fitting, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Doug  April 8, 2013

      Yes, and “The Daleks” contained anti-pacifist statements, whereas Survival is a triumph of pacifist ideology.

    • Chicanery  April 8, 2013

      Good ol’ Philip Sandifer has some good comments about the parallelism and inverting of the ideals of the series beginning over on the Tardis Eruditorum. He argues that it was intentional, I think it’s a happy coincidence.

      • Doug  April 8, 2013

        Sounds intriguing. I will definitely look him up. Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Anonymous  April 9, 2013

        Personally, I think it’s serendipity…

    • Cookey  April 9, 2013

      Interesting point, i had never noticed before!

  10. Antti Bjรถrklund  April 8, 2013

    If I remember correctly

    a) The Cheetah costumes weren’t like they wanted them to be (IIRC the original idea was more along the lines of some spots and a little fur).

    b) The ending soliloquy was “cobbled up” after it was realized this would be the last episode for some time at least.

  11. Jazza1971  April 8, 2013

    “But the cats donโ€™t snatch the milk away โ€“ theyโ€™re not that evil.” – oooh, topical!

    Anyway, Sue probably rated this higher than I would do but then wasn’t as impressed by the “Come on Ace” speech as I am. I love that bit.

    Now it’s almost at an end I think back at the times I have disagreed with Sue’s scores, and although it never actually bothered me when she marked a favourite low, I find myself able to forgive anything when I hear that she feeds the local feral cats! I can even forgive her mis-identifying Defenders!

    Well done you, both of you. Still a couple of updates to go, I know, but I’m going to miss this blog.

    Chin chin.

  12. Nick Mays  April 8, 2013

    <>

    Classic! One of the best lines ever – and it was from Neil! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Now… what do you think the author Rona Munro was trying to say? And does it count? Answers in 1300 words or less please…:D

  13. Mike Trytek  April 8, 2013

    Congratulations, guys! *jump in the air fist punch freeze frame*

    So glad Sue enjoyed these last few serials. Looking forward to the secret projects between now and the movie. I hope Sue will be happy to see Sylv back at the console.

    • Lewis Christian  April 8, 2013

      Sue’s new-found love for Sylv… plus that gorgeous console room, complete with wooden console! Oh, Sue will love it ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. Toby Brown  April 8, 2013

    My housemates didn’t realise how much of a fan of Doctor Who I was until just now when I mentioned I was feeling a tad down about the sort-of last episode… being covered by a blog that I’ve become emotionally invested in.

  15. Anonymous  April 8, 2013

    Wow. Hurrah. Well done!mi know you’ve still got the TV Movie to go, but… that doesn’t really count, does it?

    • Nick Mays  April 8, 2013

      By the same token, does Torchwood ‘Miracle Day’ count or not? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Polarity Reversed  April 10, 2013

        Oh please, for the love of…
        I won’t trample the affection some seem to have for Dr Gee-Some-Cute-Limey-Alien-in-a-Box – The Movie Misfire, but Invasion of the Subterranean Life-Inverting Vagina, please no.

        And as for Dimensions in Gitaahamypubyouslaaags… Anyone who genuinely feels the need to try to knit Ian Beale, Pat Butcher et al into their own little scheme of things has my profoundest sympathy.

        • Nick Mays  April 10, 2013

          That particular plot was a right c***!

          As for the second fiasco you mentioned… I’m glad it can’t be shown again. Ever.

          Nick

          • Frankymole  April 11, 2013

            Hopefully Sue has her 3D Pulfrich effect glasses ready. And a glass of something fortifying!

    • Philippa Sidle  April 12, 2013

      Oops. That anon was me, forgot to fill in my name. I don’t know how to create a permanent identity for commenting on this blog. Fail…

      I was joking about the TVM. Joking! I don’t rate it highly, but I thoroughly respect its canonicity. ALL of it, if you get my meaning.

      • Polarity Reversed  April 13, 2013

        Pippa:
        I hope I can speak for Nick and Franky when I say we were all responding in the spirit of a light-hearted bantering whinge, not a battle to the death over postmodern metanarrative ontologies or the canonicity of the rediscovered comic-strip story that explains why Tom temporarily lost his perm.
        Most round here do have a sense of humour!
        Pass, friend.

        • Nick Mays  April 13, 2013

          Agreed Pippa – what Polarity said.

          Actually, ABOUT Toms perm…

  16. Chicanery  April 8, 2013

    Oh, I adore Survival, but 10/10 would be a stretch. Especially for the cringe-y repeat of “if we fight like animals”. Love how they managed to make the BBC quarry actually look like an alien world for once. Nice colouration and effects for the end.
    The ending speech is pretty much perfect as well, telling us the Doctor will live on despite it being the last episode.

  17. Damon  April 8, 2013

    I know *I* would enjoy if one of the four inter-regnum updates is the Dr. Forever installment regarding the novels ranges. But it’s probably not. No biggie.

  18. CJJC  April 8, 2013

    If this update had arrived a little earlier, or I’d taken a different bus home from where I was, I could have read it while travelling through Perivale. Very near Horsenden Hill in fact, but it wasn’t to be.

    I love Survival but thus is a higher score than even I would have given it. Nice to end the original run on a high note, though.

  19. Pete Galey  April 8, 2013

    Nine?! Crikey! To quote JN-T, “I’m surprised and delighted!”

    Survival is a funny one for me. I think episode two is near faultless, but I find part one slow and a bit tonally off, and three has some great moments but is overall a bit of a mess. It’s weird, then, that I’m so pleased Sue liked it – possibly because in these days of everything-and-the-kitchen-sink finales, I find its rather low-key, quietly political drama endearing.

  20. Anonymous  April 8, 2013

    “Gary: What a rubbish way to end a series.”

    Gary has pithily summed up the whole McCoy era – and indeed the whole JNT era.

    Thanks for the blog. It’s been fun to read. 6/10.

  21. Chris Allen  April 8, 2013

    “but Vila ran away and Servalan had to be put down.”

    Surely that’s how Blake’s 7 should have really ended?

    • Doug  April 8, 2013

      Best comment on this entire blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Jason  April 8, 2013

    Congrats on finishing, Neil and Sue! I found the blog right before you started on Pertwee and have been reading since. Can’t wait for the last few updates and the book!

  23. Wholahoop  April 8, 2013

    A generous 9/10 IMHO. And another significant death on the day of posting given the number of postings on the interweb over the years commenting on the review of Thatcherism this story was meant to be?

  24. encyclops  April 8, 2013

    “Sue: The first time he said it, it was excellent. The second time he said it, he was asking for trouble.”

    See, it’s perfectly apt assessments like this that I’m going to miss so much. What’s been so terrific about this blog isn’t just that Sue is funny, though she is, and it’s not just that she sees the show from such a fresh perspective, though she does; it’s because she’s also so spot-on with her takes on what works and what doesn’t. I’m not sure this would have worked with anybody else, and I’ll miss it enormously.

    I always thought Survival seemed a little rough around the edges, with rather a glib resolution, but also a surprisingly perfect end to the series. I doubt I would have gone higher than 8/10 but I’m quite pleased she liked it so much.

    As for the cat makeup: it’s supposed to resemble Cocteau’s La Belle et La Bรชte, right? Probably one of those references that doesn’t really work if you don’t already know it (and hence doesn’t really work, full stop), but kind of cool nonetheless.

    Congratulations, you two! I’ll say it again after McGann, but still, as far as I’m concerned, you’ve won. And so have we.

    • Chicanery  April 8, 2013

      If you’re referring to the Cheetahmen/Manimals/80s Reference, I think they were originally designed as just contact lenses and teeth, but JNT decided that there needs to be a conventional monster.

      • encyclops  April 8, 2013

        I hate to say it, but I might have to agree with JNT on this one. Lenses and teeth might have been easier to pull off visually, but I don’t think it would have been nearly as memorable or worthwhile.

        Side note: I’ve just finished reading _The Year of Intelligent Tigers_. It’s got a lot in common with this story when you get right down to it.

        • Chicanery  April 9, 2013

          Apparently the Manimal actors were really annoyed as they were shoved in suits at the last moment and had been practicing lots of facial acting. However, I do think that by stripping them of identifiable features it does dehumanise them, and that’s definitely a strength.

          So JNT was right for once. It was bound to happen eventually.

          • Coleberg  April 10, 2013

            I think JNT had some great ideas (he was a fan, after all), but he never had the skillset (or for a long time the crew) to get it right. If you look at almost everything memorable about the Colin Baker (the trying-to-kill-his-companion, the glaring suit, the season long trial exploring both the Doctor and the nature of the Time Lords, the general darker tone, and so on), they are all brilliant… in theory. He knew what he’d like to see, what would be incredibly exciting as a viewer. And that’s likely why he was kept on as exec for so long: his passion. Unfortunately he just wasn’t up to the task, and the BBC at the time didn’t care enough to swap him out for someone better suited to the role.

    • Frankymole  April 11, 2013

      I feel that the Tharils’ makeup was more effective, especially at recalling Cocteau.

      • encyclops  April 11, 2013

        For sure, if only because the Tharil actors got to use their actual faces.

  25. Glen Allen (@GlenAllenTV)  April 8, 2013

    Do you know what it’s like being a wanderer in the wife in space?

    Bloody brilliant!
    I was thrilled when Neil asked me to start doing those trailers, and whilst (as Neil will admit with the blog) some were hard going- and those stories I particularly liked were very difficult to try to be “amusing” with, it’s been a great ride. I’m quite aware not everyone enjoyed them and I don’t care one jot. I liked doing them.
    I’m rather glad my time on it has come to an end but it’s an end that’s definitely been prepared for… ๐Ÿ™‚

    To those of you who enjoyed them I thank you, to those of you who never clicked that button I don’t care ๐Ÿ™‚
    To those who tried to hijack the blog with spurious morality, I hope never to hear your tedious and annoying thoughts ever again. “It’s just a TV show” ๐Ÿ™‚

    Neil, your “milk snatcher” line made me laugh out loud…and actually caused my brother, who had popped by, to ask if I was alright. I’m not sure if I am, to be frank.
    Sue, you’ve made my day for the last year or so and Im humbled I can call you a friend. I get the room again at your next party yes? ๐Ÿ™‚
    As for this “500 miles” routine, c’mon we’ve got to do it ๐Ÿ™‚ x

    • Olvarivay G. Lee  April 8, 2013

      Your trailers were always very welcome, and most enjoyable. The Ghost Light one was top of the pile for me.

    • Jazza1971  April 8, 2013

      Glen (resisting the urge to do my usual joke here), are you not doing the TV Movie “Next Time”?

      And yeah, there has to be a “500 Miles”!

    • encyclops  April 8, 2013

      I loved them.

      Your trailers, I mean…not the hijackers. The latter is the only part of this I’m glad we’re almost done with (and having fed the trolls a time or two, I blame myself as much as anyone).

    • Jez Noir  April 9, 2013

      Glen, you’re an absolute legend, you’re trailers have been an indispensable part of this blog.

      • Nick Mays  April 9, 2013

        Glen, I LOVED your trailers! Have to agree that the ‘Rentaghost’ take off for ‘Ghost Light’ was the one that made me Laugh Out Loud, but the others always made me smile or chuckle. Well done Sir, well done and thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. James P. Quick  April 8, 2013

    So that’s it. The Classic Series proper is finito, done and dusted, put away and never to grace Sue’s eyes again most likely… You lot better get a movie deal or something. ๐Ÿ˜›

  27. Lewis Christian  April 8, 2013

    Obligatory Marco Polo mention.

    • Doug  April 8, 2013

      Obligatory “do the new series” mention. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. Glen Allen (@GlenAllenTV)  April 8, 2013

    Doug Who?
    Arent you famous? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Chicanery  April 9, 2013

      Hey, Doctor, it’s your cousin, Doug. Doug Who! You know that new sound you’ve been looking for, listen to this!

      • CJJC  April 9, 2013

        So Marty McFly invented the quadracycle?

  29. Jez Noir  April 9, 2013

    Well done! Just….. well bloody done!

  30. Rob White  April 9, 2013

    Well done on making it to the finishing line! (McGann being a mini lap of honour). I’m surprised (and delighted, obviously) to see Survival get such a strong score – I like it a lot, but I’d always rank Ghost Light and Fenric as the real stunners of the season (hell, the whole series).

    Thank god this season pulled up the McCoy average up a bit, as it was all getting a bit bleak with the s24 average dragging everything down, and the usual suspects circling like vultures in the comments section… I do find it quite ironic that Pertwee gets tne top score, when Sue so often – and so accurately – remarked on what a **** he is! ๐Ÿ˜‰ That said, if the TVM finds her in a good mood, McGann could quite easily sweep the board!

    As for thr remaining entries, I’m guessing the newly discoved episodes might get an airing, since Neil did say they’d be covered if they were released before the experiment ended. That only sorts Airlock of course, though the powers that be might donate UM to the cause for the sake of completeness.

  31. G  April 9, 2013

    Sue: Iโ€™ll never be a fan, but they shouldnโ€™t have stopped it there.

    So she’s sat through 695 episodes (including reconstructions of the missing episodes) and she still refuses to call herself a fan??? In any case she deserves a medal for making it through all this.

  32. Dave Stevens  April 9, 2013

    I feel a little sad now – like the end of another era!

    It was at primary school (in New Zealand) back in the 80s when I first became a fan. We were only up to the Davison era at the time, so I used to go to the library and read the clippings in the overseas newspapers to find out the tantalising plot details of the upcoming stories (sad, I know, but that’s what we did for fun here). One of my classmates told me that Doctor Who had been cancelled – I refused to believe it until I saw it with my own eyes! It was a dark time…

    I have followed your blog from “The Daleks” all of the way through. I look forward to seeing what you do next…?

  33. John Miller  April 9, 2013

    Congratulations on reaching Survival without quitting along the way!

    Oh, and yes, the TV Movie does count, and I am very very interested to read Sue’s reaction to it, and her feelings of both the strengths and weaknesses.

    I also think, to stretch this out, Sue should maybe dip her toes in other media, maybe read one book, listen to one BFA, read one DWM comic story, just to get a taste.

    • Nick Mays  April 9, 2013

      And if they get blogged, then some of us can all argue the toss on whether or not they’e canon.

      Neil: Don’t be so cruel! Sue’s sereved her time, she’s earned her parole! |She sat through The Sensorites and The Dead Planet and Timelash for flip’s sake! Don’t do it!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Nick Mays  April 9, 2013

        Now how’s THAT for a Freudian slip? I meant The WEB Planet. Sorry – it wasn’t Terry ****ing Nation’s fault this time! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Olvarivay G. Lee  April 9, 2013

        I’m a Doctor Who fan, and even I’ve never read any of the non-TV books or heard a BFA!

        • Polarity Reversed  April 9, 2013

          I’m almost the same as Olvariwhateverheisthisweek. Had an annual once (’74 I think), and read a couple of comics around the same time. Can’t remember a thing about them. Dipped into the odd Big Bilge on R4+ and it just made me cringe (btw I love radio drama). In contrast, like many of a certain age I collected the Target books (think I gave up around State of Decay) – they were my equivalent of a DVD collection.

          Well done guys, and glad the family and menagerie survived the experience! Now then, the cake… I’m thinking a tiered wedding-style job featuring the Docs borrowed from Neil’s toy shelf in ascending order of wifely approval…

          • Neil Perryman  April 9, 2013

            Nicol is planning a cake for The TV Movie. She won’t tell me what it will look like yet.

  34. Steve White  April 9, 2013

    Totally agree with the score, and Sue’s comments that it should never have ended there, just when Doctor Who was getting great again..

    The end of an era. Congrats on making this far, years back I tried this with my Girlfriend (at her request!) and we got as far as Edge of Destruction before she lost interest, so this has been no mean feat…

    Thanks for making it so entertaining along the way.

  35. Statto  April 9, 2013

    Many congratulations to Neil and Sue on reaching the end of the experiment, and many thanks for providing so much entertainment along the way.

    Iโ€™ve re-crunched the numbers so you donโ€™t have to :

    The Doctors rank in the following order based on average story score : Pertwee 6.71, Troughton 5.95, Tom Baker 5.83, Davison 5.7, McCoy 5.25, Colin Baker 5.18, Hartnell 5.03.

    Overall story average was 5.81.

    Iโ€™ve also ranked the seasons. Top five are
    (1) Pertwee#1 (Spearhead-Inferno) at 8.3
    (2) McCoy#3 (Battlefield-Survival) at 7.25
    (3) Tom Baker #5 (Key to Time) at 7.2
    (4) equal, Pertwee #3 (Day of the Daleks โ€“ Time Monster) and Tom Baker#2 (Zygons-Seeds of Doom), both at 7.

    The bottom five are
    (22) Hartnell#3(Galaxy 4-War Machines) at 4.9
    (23) Hartnell#1 (Unearthly Child-Reign of Terror) at 4.6
    (24) Davison#1(Castrovalva-Time Flight) at 4.4
    (25) Tom Baker#4(Fang Rock-Invasion of Time) at 3.7
    (26) McCoy#1 (Time & Rani-Dragonfire) at 2.5

    Interpret all this how you will !

    • wee pert one  April 9, 2013

      aha glorious victory for the sarnie snaffler ๐Ÿ˜€ well, at least until the movie gets a 7 or something, i shall now bask in the velvety glow of win ๐Ÿ˜€

      • John G  April 9, 2013

        I’m delighted that Season 7 finished on top – it thoroughly deserves to. I’m a lot less enamoured of the fact that 1 and 3 rated so low (though I still cling to the view that Sue wasn’t fully into her Doctor Who stride at that early stage of the experiment). I’m also a bit surprised at how low Season 19 rated overall, but I guess Time-Flight played a big role in dragging that score down…

  36. DamonD  April 9, 2013

    Wow, nice, Sue enjoyed Survival even more than I could’ve expected.

    I remember The Master actually scared my young self at the time, for the first time ever really. He only ever does that trademark chuckle once, and that’s after he’s just stabbed Karra to death. Has a lot more sadistic impact than his usual chortling.

    Glad there are a few updates still to come, thankfully, but that’s it for the classic series and congratulations for completing it. It’s been a consistently brilliant read.

    Neil, does this mean you’ve now seen every Doctor Who twice, or were there some stories that were fresh to you as well?

  37. Chris  April 9, 2013

    Been following this blog since the late Hartnell era – have never followed and loved a fan site so much. Bravo to you both for sticking this out!

    Am also glad Sue felt the Classic series went out on a high. It’s been said already but Survival really does paint a picture of where Doctor Who would go in the 21st Century. It’s very sad the show was cancelled at this point, but its a testament to the good work done in series 25 & 26 that they point to way forward and prove that Doctor Who can work as a modern drama series.

    Looking forward to the ‘inbetween’ years posts and then to the TVM.

  38. Colin McDonough  April 9, 2013

    Thanks to Neil,Sue,Nicol,Gary and Glen for all the laughs,insights and for letting us all share this crazy journey with them.Splendid chaps, all of them!

  39. Cookey  April 9, 2013

    I totally agree with the score, this is my second favourite Mccoy story and yet another i didn’t see on the day of broadcast, but glad i managed to later on.

    In my opinion, Ainley’s Master seemed to be at his best in this. I heard tell that he was finally allowed to do it how he wanted to, unlike earlier stories where he was told to, effectively, produce a really hammy Delgado copy. It’s a pity Neil didn’t show Sue some of the ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ fmv’s in the special features as he supposedly really enjoyed making them. Anyone else ever play the game?

    I’m looking forward to the next four updates and the TV Movie entry. The latter immensely. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ed Jolley  April 14, 2013

      Itโ€™s a pity Neil didnโ€™t show Sue some of the โ€˜Destiny of the Doctorโ€™ fmvโ€™s in the special features as he supposedly really enjoyed making them. Anyone else ever play the game?

      Oh yes. It has its flaws, but the parts that work well are fun, there’s some nice humour in there, and Anthony Ainley does a great job – genuinely menacing in places, and very amusing in his more comical moments.

  40. Nick Mays  April 9, 2013

    A HUGE well done to Sue for sticking this out and reaching the end of the Classic Series. And well done to Neil for posting up this blog regularly and being so patient (mostly) when the discussions get a bit off track. I only discovered this little gem of a blog in the middle of last year, but I quickly caught up with it, which was like consuming a banquet almost at one go, then I eargerly awaited each new instalment with almost as much excitement – and sometimes more – as I greeted each episode of Dr Who back in the day.

    And then there little bonuses like the podcasts and Sue attending a convention and accidentally spilling beer over a very pompous John Levene. “You’ve ****ing killed it now!” Never met your heroes face to face, eh?

    It’s very fitting that it should reach its conclusion when the 50th anniversary season of Dr Who is being screened (well almost).

    Now, I really MUST drop a heavy hint to my kids to get me one of those excellent mugs for Father’s Day! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Once again Sue, Neil – and Glen, of course – Many Thanks. It certainly has a been a case of Happy Times and Places!

    • Nick Mays  April 9, 2013

      Oh Blimey – how could I forget Nicol, Gary and the cats?
      Well done all of you!

  41. Anonymous  April 9, 2013

    Phew…! It’s over. Hehehe. It’s over…

    Well. A friend of mine bought this one for me on… wait for it… VHS way back when. She even watched it with me, despite not really liking the show. She was Scottish and said she would suffer it this once because it had a Scottish Doctor in it. It’s a good ‘un – I’d not seen it since it was on the tellybox and had forgotten how good it was.

    And the Master. Why didn’t they put him this costume earlier. It actually works and doesn’t make him look like a Black Ops Velvet Penguin.

    The effects, the music, Hale & Pace – everything about this works and does everything the way Dr Who should be done. Superb story, superb finish for the series.

    And then it came back…

  42. Paul Mc Elvaney  April 9, 2013

    I’ve been unwell the past couple of days but this has given me a warm happy glow inside, well done to you all! This blog has been an absolute joy from start to finish and filled a hole in my life I never knew existed! ๐Ÿ˜€ And I never dreamed I would hear another original horsemeat joke again but you’ve proved me wrong! What will life be like without this blog?? Feels different this time…

  43. Brian  April 9, 2013

    You not going to do dimensions in time?

    • Polarity Reversed  April 13, 2013

      If you’re the same Brian:
      Who said Americans have no sense of irony!
      And I’ve a feeling we could do with some of NYPD’s finest in London on Saturday..

  44. JonH  April 9, 2013

    Found the blog back in the Hartnell era and have been, let’s be honest, more or less addicted to reading it in my lunchtimes at work. Bravo to Sue and Neil and, well, thanks for being very entertaining indeed. Few blogs, forums or websites have been such essential reading, yours gushingly, Jon.
    PS f*ck knows what I’ll be reading now.

  45. John G  April 9, 2013

    It was good to see Sue enjoy Survival, which is a story I rate quite highly myself. It does lose me a bit in the final episode, but I like the offbeat atmosphere and the depiction of council estate life somehow feels more real than anything we got in the RTD era. It also features what is easily Ainley’s best performance as the Master. If he had been allowed to play it like this earlier, I think his reputation would be a lot higher now – it’s somwehat ironic that his best performances in Who came in his first and last stories. I do find the closing speech a little twee, but credit to JNT and Cartmel for trying to draw an appropriate line under the series, and though I am no great fan of the McCoy era at least this story and Fenric do end the old show on a fairly high note.

    I can only add my congratulations on both of you finally reaching the end of the old series – that champagne was well deserved! After more than 2 years, it’s going to feel very strange not coming to this blog anymore to check for updates, so I’m going to make the most of the remaining few posts!

  46. Gavin Noble  April 9, 2013

    Can anyone explain the ending of this story to me please? I’ve always been confused by the fact that one moment the Doctor is fighting the Master and the next he’s back on Earth. More confusing to me than Ghost Light.

    Don’t really rate this story highly myself, though I have to say this is one of Ainley’s best performances as The Master.

    Shame all good things have to come to an end, unless Neil are Sue are simply going on hiatus for 16 years before covering modern Who!

    Been good reading but after the next few updates and the TV Movie the journey ends for me with the blog. Thanks for the fun.

    • Pete Galey  April 9, 2013

      Iโ€™ve always been confused by the fact that one moment the Doctor is fighting the Master and the next heโ€™s back on Earth.

      Since the Doctor’s starting to turn Cheetah, I think he just returns home (to the TARDIS) as it’s established Cheetahs can do

  47. Jennie  April 9, 2013

    Congratulations on making it to the end. *Sigh* Am going to miss reading this blog. Its been great revisting the classic stories and seeing them through Sue’s eyes. It always cheers me up as well.

    Agree that this is Anthony Ainley’s best Master performance. (I actually think his best performance is as Tremas.) The more understated his performance, the more scary he is, especially with those green eyes.

  48. Richard Lyth  April 9, 2013

    Well done on making it to the end! I’ve been following this blog from the start, and I’ll definitely miss it, it’s been hugely entertaining from start to finish, as well as prompting me to buy stacks of Doctor Who DVDs to fill the holes in my collection. Looking forward to seeing what Sue makes of Dimensions In Time and the TV movie, even though they’re both absolutely terrible and don’t really count.

  49. Jamie  April 9, 2013

    In this piece’s accompanying picture, Sylvester McCoy’s irises appear to be white, which is exactly how David Banner’s eyes looked as he transformed into the Incredible Hulk in the TV series from 1978-1982, which I think would be a good idea for a follow-up series to review.
    Only 82-odd episodes: you can spend each one looking for Lou Ferrigno’s slippers and identify much-recycled stock-footage; speculate as to how Banner manages to get all those jobs without any references/valid paperwork etc.

  50. DPC  April 10, 2013

    If the TV version isn’t for kids, try the novelization – it’s even more violent, but the read is far more gripping as well… ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. Simon Harries  April 10, 2013

    Warmest congratulations on making it to the end of the ‘classic series’ part of the blog – and what a great score to end on! I look forward to the last few instalments ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. chris-too-old-to-watch  April 11, 2013

    Congrats on getting to here Sue: only a few more to go.
    I was always disappointed with Survival: didn’t lioke the story acting or direction. I guess I’m not a cat person……

    • John Miller  April 11, 2013

      I am a cat person, and I don’t really like Survival. It looks like ‘Neighbours’, has a nonexistent plot, and features the least funny so_called “comedy” duo of all time. Most of all, except for Ainley(and The Master is very poorly written here) you never feel like you’re watching Doctor Who. More like some amateur college piece.

      • John Reid  April 13, 2013

        Prefect analysis

  53. Fanny Loveless  April 12, 2013

    The perfect time for Dimensions in Time!

    TWO THASAAAND AND THIRTEEEEEEN!

  54. Ian Radford  April 15, 2013

    Well done Neil and Sue! You have provided me and my (also ‘not-we’) girlfriend with a great deal of amusement over the last two years.