29/10/2017

Fan Scene- CT 1981 Part 2



April
Positive Feedback is the main title as the letters page moves to the front in a clearly light news month. However most of the letters are not that positive. “I dislike CT’s new title and logo”, “There is little to be pleased with about the new bulletin”, “don’t bring up the topic of DWApathy again”, “What is wrong with our dear BBC.” Oh dear the members are not happy though you have to admire Gordon B printing so much stuff that criticises what he’s doing even if you sense he likes a good argument. Also there seems to be a missing issue of the DWAS fanzine `Tardis`. “the parcels bringing it from Edinburgh to London for distribution having gone astray.” There’s a story here that would never be followed up possibly involving a fiendish alien plan!

25/10/2017

Paradise Towers Episode 4



Season24@30. Anyone flicking channels back in 1987 and catching sight of a silver sprayed Richard Briers doing his best zombie voice might have had their idea of what Doctor Who was like reinforced. What could have been quite a strong scene is completely undermined both by the performance and the design decisions. Its representative of  a story where the great and the ridiculous share the screen in equal measure. In this final episode however much writer Stephen Wyatt tries to draw together the story strands the results cannot escape the feeling that things are coming to a conclusion because it’s the last episode rather than organically and shows how all that running about back in part 2 could have been better utilised. 
The Anvil Cap was all the rage in 1987!

22/10/2017

Fan Scene - CT 1981 Part 1



The Doctor Who Appreciation Society’s monthly newsletter Celestial Toyroom – or CT as everyone called it- was the Whofan’s main news source in the pre Internet days and we can see how the news broke and what else was going on. So lets’ travel back to 1981 to the world of Doctor Who and its fandom…

January

The front page reports the wedding of Tom Baker and Lalla Ward which had taken place on 13 December 1980 and says, slightly surprisingly, that “the couple are still intent on remaining in acting profession.” The DWAS sent a telegram of congratulation to the couple. CT also reported their interest in working on a project together…

Meanwhile “some good news and some bad news”. John Nathan –Turner will be staying on as producer (I think this is the good news) however the 19th season (yes, they were called Seasons and not Series in those days) will return to just 26 episodes, the previous one having had an extra 2 episodes. Actual news for the then current season told us that `The Keeper of Traken` includes one Anthony Ainley playing Tremas. Did anyone spot the anagram? Probably not.

18/10/2017

Paradise Towers Episode 3



Season24@30. It is in this brisk episode that the viewer might start to question some of the design choices. With the narrative simmering nicely part 3 is home to some crucial story points not least the reveal of exactly what is lurking in the basement.  Yet what would sound great in a script is somehow undermined by the silly look the designer has given it. Like the rogue cleaners it is too pristine when all around is grime and concrete. In this case resembles something from Top of the Pops, a look reinforced by the ceaseless sub Pet Shop Boys incidental music that has been deployed to accompany every movement. Then there’s Richard Briers’ costume. I only noticed this week that it had CC on the eppulatte of what is more of a quasi military uniform rather than some sort of maintenance gear. It’s as if some of the people working on the story had totally different ideas to others as to how to realise the script. I suppose they just didn’t do tone meetings back then.
Richard Briers found time to promote his latest single on Top of the Pops

11/10/2017

Paradise Towers Episode 2



Season24@30. In an episode where little actually happens the Doctor and Mel seem to end up where they started. Mel is back at Tabby and Tilda’s, the Doctor is roaming the carrydors before ending up again in the hands of the rather flip floppy Red Kangs. One minute they don’t like him then all it takes is a few cans of Fizzaid and they love him only for the arrival of a caretaker search party to turn them against him again. Its fair to say that this episode makes very little difference to the overall narrative.

06/10/2017

The Invisible Enemy



Season15@40. Or `Invisibull Nme` if you’re reading this in the far future. This story has a poor reputation derived largely from the appearance of antagonist the Nucleus of the Swarm which is basically a giant prawn made out of coloured plastic that needs to be pushed along the floor to move. However dodgy looking monsters came with the territory in the 1970s and if they were a problem then an average of almost eight million people would not have been watching. This is a Bob and Dave extravaganza and for two blokes with such normal names they certainly knew how to throw all kinds of colourful things at Doctor Who viewers over the years. Against a track record that included the Axons, the Gellguards and Eldrad’s blobby domain, the Nucleus seems positively tame by comparison! Besides there are other faults in a story whose relentless enthusiasm often gets the better of its logic. One thing’s for certain - `The Invisible Enemy` is never dull!

04/10/2017

Paradise Towers Episode 1



Season24@30. A quantum leap from the shenanigans on Lakertya this episode is the moment where Doctor Who emerged from its post `Caves of Androzani` downturn and started to get good again. Stephen Wyatt and the production team create an intriguing environment in which to place the Doctor and Mel. It’s an environment the duo explore just like the old days but this is a strange place that is as much 1987 as anything. Colour coded girl gangs, rule touting officials, eccentric old ladies and corridors that are actually long enough to allow the participants to run properly- this is great stuff. It’s a pleasure to watch.