20 June 2018


People were a bit surprised when they first saw Tom Baker as the Doctor. They had grown used to the velvet jacketed flamboyance of Jon Pertwee so this new fellow took a bit of getting used to as the Brigadier might put it. Unlike `Spearhead from Space` or `Castrovalva`, Tom’s debut is no real indication of what’s to come either. Caught in the crossover of production teams it seems a modest introduction to a new era. Yet it does –appropriately for the 2018 re-release as part of a blu ray boxset- contain a female antagonist. Plus if the Giant Robot that gave the Target novelisation its name is a bit of a disappointment the normal sized version is impressive enough.. Best of all over the course of four episodes Tom Baker eases gently up through the gears so that by the end he has become the Doctor. 

13 June 2018

How 2018 is refreshing the watching of Doctor Who

The kids are getting into old Doctor Who courtesy of Twitch, the live platform best known for gaming. Scheduled streaming of the original series is available over a seven week period many stories of which will not have been seen by younger people unlikely to have bought the DVDs. This may seem an odd audience for such slow moving material but apparently it is going down a storm or at least keeping them amused. As someone said to me it is presenting the programme to them on their own terms. Twitch shows real time comments made as people watch creating the most interactive viewing experience and meaning that people can rave about Yartek (leader of the alien Voord) and that the Sensorites have become more popular now than they were in 1964!

11 June 2018

Fan Scene- Tardis77 Issues 2 & 3

Issue 2 is fronted by artwork depicting a Voord and a triple chinned Doctor and suddenly I’m thinking- hang on a mo- it was published in late February 1977 with the now acclaimed 1976-77 season in full flow. And they chose to illustrate the official fanzine with something from an old story again for the second issue running? If anything shows the agenda of the people running the DWAS at that time it is this. Editor Gordon is asking members to vote in the season poll for stories they found enjoyable. I wonder if the editorial team would even be able to do that?  News-wise what’s happening in the world of Doctor Who right now is that the documentary producers have apparently found a lot of material related to the show some of which will be included. Transmission date is said to be April 1977. 

4 June 2018

The Time When Doctor Who Came Back!

On 25 September 2003 it was finally confirmed officially that Doctor Who was back! After nearly 14 years out of regular production with just the 1996 TV Movie in terms of new material the series was returning though we wouldn’t actually see it until Spring 2005. This 18 months was probably not too long to wait after such a gap. It had seemed a tad unusual for the BBC to make such a big noise about a project that was so far away from transmission but as a publicity gambit it proved a triumph. 

25 May 2018

The Sarah Jane Adventures - Invasion of the Bane

2006 was a good time for the unexpected return of one of the Doctor’s most popular companions. Doctor Who had become more popular than at any time (yes, any time) in its history. Besides this there was always a timeless quality about Sarah Jane Smith that made her more easily transferable to 2000S tv in a way that most classic companions would not be. Lis Sladen’s natural acting style was part of that reason and you feel that if TV had been made thirty years earlier as it is now Sarah would have enjoyed as satisfying a storyline as Rose Tyler. There’d even have been a big snog with the Doctor before he gets the call from the Time Lords, can’t take her with him and dumps her in East Croydon with only a teddy bear and Murray Gold’s orchestra for teary company! 

14 May 2018

Fan Scene - Tardis 77 Issue 1

Note:`Tardis` started out as an independent Doctor Who fanzine but in 1976 was absorbed into the fledgling Doctor Who Appreciation Society (aka DWAS). This series of posts looks at the zine’s 1977 issues which went out under the appropriately correct title `Tardis ‘77`.
If you saw the posts last year about the first volume of Tardis you’ll recall the rather tatty covers but 1977 gets under way with a much improved front design featuring the second Doctor and a Kroton. The latter are one of those monsters which always look better as artwork than if you see the real thing. Its there to illustrate a series called The Doctor Who Compendium written by Richard Landen which summarises the Krotons, Gonds and HADS. It worth remembering that back in the day such information was not as widely known and there would be many readers who were too young to have seen the story. 

11 May 2018

Hugh Grant, Scheduling and the teenage Time Team!

So we finally solved the mystery of the apparent attempt to cast Hugh Grant as the ninth Doctor. It’s often been suggested that he was the first choice to front the series when it returned in 2005 but the actor himself has never really seemed sure about it. Turns out, according to Russell T Davies, the offer was made but never got past the actor’s agent. This does sound like he might have needed a better agent but it also offers a tantalising glimpse of what might have been. Imagine what the new Doctor Who would have been like had he accepted the offer. 
Hugh Grant as the Doctor (sort of)