Tag Archives: Doctor Who

Doctor Who Serial 045 – The Mind Robber

Another day, another Doctor Who serial.

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Synopsis: In a quick getaway from the erupting volcano from the previous serial, the TARDIS finds itself outside normal space-time. The Doctor and crew are being pitted against fictitious characters, as the author of their doom tries to ensnare The Doctor to award himself freedom.

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The episode starts off with the TARDIS flying apart as Jamie and Zoe cling to the console for dear life. The episode also begins with Zoe’s bum.

They face Medusa, a unicorn, a minotaur, and even Karkus, a comic book character from the distant future, the year 2000. Zoe kicks his ass.

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One of the stranger aspects of this episode was, that to give Frazer Hines some time off, they made The Doctor solve a puzzle to help Jamie, but he mismatches Jamie’s face, and thus Hamish Wilson plays Jamie for two episodes of the five.

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This is actually a fun little story, but nothing spectacular. The Doctor almost takes a back seat to his companions, and that an interesting dynamic with Jamie and Zoe.

Doctor Who Serial 044 – The Dominators

Synopsis: The Doctor finds himself on a peaceful planet with Zoe and Jamie. They encounter a scientific expedition, and some aliens called The Dominators who want to enslave the local population while destroying the planet.

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In the previous story, The Doctor, in our future, encountered a nice young scientist named Zoe. He invited her to join him on his journey. This is the first surviving story with Zoe in it, and she joins Jamie to become the best companion pair (perhaps until Rory and Amy).

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The Dominators have a terrible fashion sense, but create adorable robots named Quarks. No relation to the bartender.

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The robots might be adorable, but they’re not intimidating, and they are a tad too ridiculous when they talk… as most Doctor Who baddies are.

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This story is the first surviving story to see the use of the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. A screwdriver that uses sound waves to turn a screw… which now has the ability to work as a torch, too. I wonder what other features it might gain in the future?

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The natives have terrible outfits, and Zoe has a camel toe.

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Doctor Who Serial 041 – The Web of Fear

Synopsis: A continuation of the missing serial 038, The Abominable Snowmen, the Yeti have returned. Robots disguised as Yeti under the control of the Great Intelligence had years earlier  terrorized a Buddhist monastery. Now, years later the Yeti are terrorizing the London Underground.

Marks the first appearance of Colonel Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. Lethbridge-Stewart would later be promoted to Brigadier General and be put in charge of UNIT. According to the TARDIS wikia…

In televised episodes, the Brigadier appeared and interacted with all of the first seven Doctors — though his encounter with the Sixth Doctor in Dimensions in Time is not counted as part of the Doctor Who universe.

The Brigadier would become such an important part of Doctor Who lore that after Nicholas Courtney’s death, the production team added this scene to “The Wedding of River Song.”

We meet this military commander who is intelligent and thoughtful in Lethbridge-Stewart and it’s set in the London underground. Those two points are the best part of this story. The Great Intelligence isn’t a great villain, and the Yeti are a bit boring as his henchmen.

The story dragged, and it didn’t help that one of the episodes is still missing, and was just a reconstruction with snaps.

Story 42, Fury from the Deep, is completely missing.
Story 43, The Wheel in Space, is missing four out of six episodes. It is also the fifth season finale.

See you next time with The Dominators.

Doctor Who Serial 040 – The Enemy of the World

Synopsis: The Doctor is mistaken for Salamander, a man who is trying to become dictator of the world. Salamander’s enemies try to convince The Doctor to impersonate the evil man and help take him out.

In the 1970s, the BBC was junking old TV shows in its archive. Back then, reruns didn’t exist, and the concept of home video and DVD would have been ridiculous. The shows were recorded onto video, and rather than buying new tapes, it was easier to blank the existing ones. They also had 16mm prints which were used to sell shows to foreign markets. Since film takes up a lot of space, those were destroyed to clear up space in the archive.

From time to time Doctor Who stories have found their way back from TV stations in foreign markets that still had prints lying around. Recently, at least two serials were recovered from Nigeria, The Enemy of the World (040) and The Web of Fear (041). 

Rumours are persisting that the BBC has recovered more than just those two, that perhaps they have recovered close to 90 missing episodes, leaving the number of lost episodes into the single-digits. For now, though, we’ll take what we can get.

The Enemy of the World is not great. The entire concept of a duplicate Doctor is kinda hokey, and Troughton’s accent when playing Salamander (or The Doctor pretending to be Salamander) is horrible.

The most interesting part of the story is The Doctor’s reluctance to trust Giles Kent, who is trying to overthrow Salamander.

Overall, its worth watching. I don’t think I’d have come back to this serial if not for my project of watching the whole series. Actually, this inspired the project.

Doctor Who Serial 037 – The Tomb of the Cybermen

Synopsis: After 500 years without Cybermen, an Earth expedition of archeologists finds their homeworld to find the Cybermen sleeping in wait.

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Hello, and welcome to The Patrick Troughton Years.

The Patrick Troughton years of Doctor Who are arguably the best. Troughton brought something very unique to the role, he brought comedy and clowning. Perhaps the greatest asset Troughton had in his time on Doctor Who was Frazer Hines. Hines played Scottish highlander Jamie McCrimmon for twenty stories, to give you some perspective, Patrick Troughton played The Doctor in twenty-one stories1. I cannot think of any companion who lasted as long as Jamie did, three years. 

The Doctor liked to hide how clever he was, and Jamie, a man from the 18th century was always out of his comfort zone, so Jamie believed The Doctor to be a bit dumb. Jamie thought The Doctor dumb, but trusted him implicitly.

That leaves the third companion; in this case Victoria. Victoria’s job was to remind them that at times the boys have to be serious. Oh, and to scream, she is a woman, after all.

The physical interactions between Jamie and The Doctor are gold, and they are what I feel properly defines The Doctor’s character and who he is, not just for his second incarnation, but for the remainder of the series. Pertwee, Baker, Tennant, and Smith all owe a great amount to Troughton. More so than Hartnell, I’d dare say.

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The Tomb of the Cybermen is a bit slow, and feels a bit padded. The archeologists of course are financed by someone who is opportunistic, he wants to use the Cybermen to gain control of Earth, he thinks that if he frees them from stasis, they will be grateful and help him. He’s wrong of course. The episode is too long, there are racist undertones2, the Cyberman voice is horrible, but overall, it’s a ridiculously enjoyable episode. The Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria all make for a great romp.

The Tomb of the Cybermen was believed lost until 1991 when it was returned to the BBC from Hong Kong.

  1. No, I’m not including The Three DoctorsThe Five Doctors, or The Two Doctors []
  2. Toberman being the big strong black man who can kick Cyberass []

Doctor Who Serial 029 – The Tenth Planet

So it turns out that serial 028, The Smugglers, is a missing story. Not a single episode exists. I had downloaded a reconstruction. Since that doesn’t interest me in the least, the fourth season premiere story will be skipped, and we’ll go on to The Tenth Planet.

Episodes 1-3 of The Tenth Planet exist, while episode 4 is lost in the ether. The BBC has animated it for DVD release, and that is what I shall be watching. This serial is rather special, as it is William Hartnell’s final story. This is the first time we see regeneration. Doctor Who will soon enter a new era as Patrick Troughton takes on the titular role and we will learn more about The Doctor’s mysteries. I have never seen this story…

This old body of mine is wearing a bit thin.” – The Doctor

Synopsis: Earth space command discovers a planet that is the opposite of Earth (well, it’s just upside down). Space Command doesn’t believe that The Doctor knows what it is, but he warns of some deadly visitors… The Cybermen.

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It’s the FUTURE! December 1986. OOO EEE OOO!

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In the future of the 1980s, the Cybermen invade. They’re very similar to the Borg, a species which takes living creatures and mechanizes them. Removing all emotions. However, in the first appearance of the Cybermen, this episode, they all sound like a robotisized Michael Palin. It’s mildly disconcerting.  The Cyberman have no interest in killing the humans, as long as they submit to assimilation.

Is it an odd aside that I really like the typeface used during the closing credits?

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During episode three, The Doctor collapses… EEE!

They’re launching a rocket with a Z-Bomb towards Mondas, and The Doctor is unconscious… dum dum dum.

EPISODE 4!!!

Ugh! The animation sucks again. They’re covered in Vaseline.

Ben and Polly all greased up
YES! A Cyberman finally said, “Resistance is useless!”

And thus, the Cybermen collapse, the menace is over, Ben frees Polly and The Doctor, and The Doctor stumbles towards the TARDIS where he collapses, and is PATRICK TROUGHTON!

That was actually a really great episode, the resolution needs a lot of work, but overall pretty damn enjoyable.

Serial 030 – The Power of The Daleks: All six episodes missing.

Serial 031 – The Highlanders: All four episodes missing. Introduces Jamie McCrimmon, the best companion, ever.

Serial 032 – The Underwater Menace: Two of four episodes missing. Will be animated and released on DVD in 2014. I will go back to this one.

Serial 033 – The Moonbase: Two of four episodes missing. Was animated and released on DVD a few days ago in the UK… has yet to be released on North America. I will go back to this one in the future.

Serial 034 – The Macra Terror: Completely missing.

Serial 035 – The Faceless Ones: Four of six episodes still missing. Ben and Polly leave.

Serial 036 – The Evil of the Daleks: Six of seven episodes missing. Victoria joins the cast.

And that ends season four. Yes no story from season four exists completely. Season five began with the classic Tomb of the Cybermen. See you soon.

Doctor Who Serial 027 – The War Machines

Synopsis: A COMPUTER GOES CRAZY!

First things first. Stephen left during episode four of The Savages. We didn’t see it. It’s just The Doctor and Dodo, I hope he ditches her sometime soon1. They keep on trying to experiment. In The Chase was had ridiculous piano music. In The Gunfighters we had that terrible song. In this episode, The War Machines, we have a rather insane opening for each episode. I love-hate it so much, I had to upload it to YouTube.

The Doctor gets a strange feeling when looking at a building. He makes his way into a secret laboratory where the scientists have created a computer well ahead of its time, WOTAN. Dodo challenges WOTAN to tell her what TARDIS stands for, and *gasp* it’s able to. Dodo than chats with the scientist’s secretary, Polly. Polly invites Dodo out to a London night club where they meet a navy boy named Ben.

At the club, Dodo gets a phone call from WOTAN, as the supercomputer gathers its human pawns to prepare for battle. WOTAN’s plan is to create portable computers to help it conquer the world.

Powerbook_100_pose

Wait, no… I think he meant these…

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This feels like a prototype for what would eventually become the Jon Pertwee standard. It seems like the idea of an alien attack (in this case technology) leading to the military involvement was not something Doctor Who ever did before. It actually works quite well here. The Doctor holds back and only engages once the pawns have been destroyed and a victory can come about with words. This episode was completely original for Doctor Who and creates a very enjoyable episode.

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Dodo left the story during episode two as she went to the country to recover. At the end of episode four, Ben and Polly relay to the Doctor that Dodo wishes to remain in London. Ben and Polly then remember to return the TARDIS key to The Doctor, the get in the TARDIS just as it is about to dematerialize.

Thus ends season 3. Next time… The Smugglers.

  1. Not much longer. []

Doctor Who Serial 023 – The Ark

Synopsis: The Doctor, Dodo, and Steven arrive on an ark which is taking the human population from a doomed Earth to a new planet. The guardians who are awake for this journey catch a cold from Dodo, and thus put The Doctor and his companions on trial.

After less than a minute, we learn that our monster of the week is Brian Jones!

Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones

Turns out they’re the Monoids, and they’re essentially slaves for the human population, but they imply that the Monoids are slaves voluntarily. Yeah, uh ha.

The legal minds who wrote this script must have a great experience in the court room. No evidence, no anything except conjecture.

Eventually The Doctor cures the illness and they respect them finally. They leave in the TARDIS only to return hundreds of years later. In this future, the Monoids are the masters, and the humans the slaves. The Monoids grow tired of The Doctor and orders “Take them away to the security kitchen!” I wonder what a security kitchen is. Turns out it’s just a kitchen where the slaves cook for the Monoids.

I remembered this story being better. The dramatic suspense is horrible, the story is not all that interesting. They have a great opportunity to discuss a subjugated peoples gaining power and systematically oppressing their former oppressors, but they don’t.

Serial 024, The Celestial Toymaker, is missing.

Doctor Who Serial 017 – The Time Meddler

Synopsis: The year is 1066, Harold II is king of England, Vikings are on their way to attack England, the Normans are preparing to invade. In a small English village, the TARDIS lands. The Doctor, Vicki, and Steven begin exploring. The Doctor follows the sound of monks chanting to find a victrola.

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My lord, this is so much better than The Chase. This story is written by Dennis Spooner who wrote the excellent The Romans and The Reign of Terror. We meet a new character, The Meddling Monk, who is a member of Doctor’s race, the Time Lords. They don’t explicitly say this, as we still don’t know that The Doctor is a Time Lord, but it can be inferred.

The Monk wants to change Earth’s history for his own gain, and has setup modern weaponry on the shores of England to protect against the incoming Vikings. His plan would stop Harold’s fleets from going to war with the Vikings and thus leaving the Saxon’s able to hold back the Norman invasion.

It’s another episode which is great for questioning interference with the past.

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So here’s the fun part. This was serial 017 and the second season finale.

Season three begins with serial 018 called Galaxy 4. A four-parter with three missing episodes.

Then we have a missing one parter called Mission To The Unknown. I doesn’t have any of the regular cast and is a prequel to The Daleks’ Master Plan.

Serial 20 is The Myth Makers. In it, Vicki leaves the series, and Katarina joins the cast. No episodes are known to exist.

Serial 21 is a 12-parter called The Daleks’ Master Plan. Nine episodes are missing. This is the first episode to feature Nicholas Courtney, though he isn’t playing the role of the Brigadier. This is the final story with Katarina as a companion, and the only with Sara as a companion.

Serial 22 is The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve, and no episodes of this story exist. It introduces us to the Doctor’s latest companion, Dodo.

Serial 23 is The Ark, and it EXISTS! Next time, on Never Had To Fight.

Doctor Who Serial 016 – The Chase

Farewell Barbara and Ian, hello Steven.

Synopsis: The Daleks chase The Doctor through time and space.

After a repeat of the finale of the previous story, we get a piano introduction that feels like it came out of Mr. Dressup.

The episode opens with The Doctor tinkering with a “Time-Space Visualizer,” trying to get it to work. Essentially it’s a TV that shows images from any time and space. Ian suggests they watch Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, while Barbara wants to watch Elizabeth I and Shakespeare who The Doctor will eventually meet again… and marry one of them, too.

Elizabeth I and Shakespeare

Whereas Vicki wants to listen to some classical music, and thus we have the only surviving footage of The Beatles on Top of the Pops. “Of course I know about them, I’ve been to their memorial theatre in Liverpool.”

The Beatles

With the exception of a few seconds of “Ticket To Ride,” it’s 11 minutes of useless garbage at the beginning of the a six-part story.

The TARDIS lands on a planet in a binary star system and The Doctor gives Ian a magnetic compass1 while Barbara and The Doctor suntan. Eventually Barbara finds the visualizer to be showing The Daleks. The Daleks are discussing that their time machine now works, and that they’ve found the TARDIS. They’re going to chase The Doctor and his companions. *GASP!*

God, let’s just listen to more Beatles. Damn, I love Ringo’s drumming on this song.

While that was good music, whoever scored this episode should be shot.

While Barbara and The Doctor are looking for Ian and Vicki to warn them, Ian and Vicki find an opening with a ladder, they head down, and having never learned from their mistakes in the past, make their presence known. After a sandstorm, The Doctor and Barbara are lost from the TARDIS, and a Dalek rises from the sand… ooo eee ooo.

Dalek rises from the sand.

Whoever on the production team okayed Daleks in sand was an idiot. If the monsters can’t move effectively, they become a joke.

So this planet was a lush ocean planet, and only two species survived, one humanoid species with gills and the squid like creatures. The humanoids are going to kill the squids.

Oh my god! This soundtrack is TERRIBLE.

So according to this episode, The Doctor built the TARDIS… I think he’s a liar.

Again, they’re doing that horrible thing where Daleks talk amongst themselves. It doesn’t work!

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They’re going to New York… I was just there. This guy’s New York accent is terrible.

The obnoxious Alabaminain (is that what they’re called) is apparently Peter Purves who will be a new companion as Steven Taylor in episode six.

Yes! The Daleks are invading a clipper ship. I only know that term because of Guinan.

Jeez, if the Daleks invade your boat, you don’t jump into the ocean, you push the Daleks into the ocean.

Apparently the ship is the Mary Celeste, whose wikipedia page has this to offer…

The Doctor Who serial The Chase (1965) suggested that the arrival of time-travelling Daleks caused the terrified crew of the ship to jump overboard.

Thank you, internet.

It’s been a week, now onto part 4. Will I ever finish this serial? I want cereal.

Oh, that’s a place to fight Daleks, in a Scooby Doo house.

They find Frankenstein’s monster, yet behind Ian is a Dalek. They never mention it… what’s going on?!?!

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Oh, this time the Dalek moves, and apparently Frankenstein’s Monster is immune to Dalek weaponry. Oh, and so is Dracula.

Uh oh! The TARDIS left Vicki in the Scooby Doo house, but she’s hitching a ride with the Dalek TARDIS which is running away from Frankenstein who took out one Dalek. It turns out it’s just a haunted house.

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God, more Daleks talking amongst themselves. They’re going to clone The Doctor.

HAHAHA! The Doctor clone is amazing! He’s so laissez-faire towards his Dalek masters. “Yes, yes, I know, infiltrate and kill.”

If Vicki was smart, she would’ve smashed the robot Doctor. AND OMG he’s not even played by William Hartnell.

Watch out Barbara! He’s a robit!

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They wake up. They’re surrounded. The Doctor pretends to be the robot, the Daleks see through his ruse, he runs away. They’re cornered. A door opens and the aliens say something robot-like and indecipherable. The Doctor and his companions go with the aliens.

Have you noticed that we haven’t seen any life other than the robots… as if on queue out comes Steven Taylor, new companion.

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The Doctor now has four companions. That’s a busy TARDIS.

They decide to break out of the zoo they’re captured in by lowering themselves down thousands of feet from the roof.

The Mechanoid vs. Dalek battle scene is horrible.

Stay awake, Adam. Only five more minutes.

They’ve found the empty Dalek TARDIS, and Barbara quickly realizes that they can go home. The Doctor helps them go to London in 1965, and Barbara and Ian have the cheesiest montage, ever.

The Doctor is not so happy they made it safely back, because he “shall miss them.” What a selfish jackass.

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  1. Facepalm []