The Classic Doctor Who Thread (1963 to 1989/1996)

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    By Jove its holmes

    Fact of the Day: Tom Baker was the first DW series lead who wasn’t a veteran of the Second World War. He had the mercy of a late birth.


    Ben Saunders

    For those of you who are supremely, hopelessly nerdy (ie all of us), this site: covers the Hootsuite of the Dalek props built and used for each and every one of their appearances in Classic Who. What you quickly realise is that the BBC really are cheapskates. They continue wheeling out Dalek props from the 60s well into the 80s, when they were already showing their age by the early 70s. They really do look shite by the time of Planet of the Daleks (1973), and they just look more and more tired and battered with each new appearance. If you like articles about sets and stuff on here you’ll probably like this.


    Ben Saunders


    I meant history*


    Pete Part Three

    William Hartnell ducked out of the Greco-Persian Wars by being neither Greek or Persian. Also he had the mercy of a late birth.




    The Special Weapons Dalek sets up a cracking owl sanctuary.



    I’ve been watching Doctor Who from 2005 (currently up to Listen) with Ian’s excellent Curiosity In A Junkyard blog. I am ever so slightly fascinated with Colin Baker’s last series although every time I attempt to watch it I lose interest.


    By Jove its holmes

    “the mercy of a late birth” is from a speech by Helmut Kohl. You try to be intellectual and sophisticated and they turn it into a joke. Jee Whiz, Radioactive Man!


    Pete Part Three

    I know these threads have a tendency go off-topic, but this is the first time it’s happened with the opening post.


    International Debris

    I spent a couple of years going through all the Targets, MAs and PDAs, but started to go insane and went back to other books for a while. I’ve got The Curse of Fenric up next, and will probably return soon. Some of those books I’d love to see on screen. Others, less so.

    I should really watch my season 12 and 19 BluRays soon.

    That’s about it for the minute, thanks for reading. xxx


    Plastic Percy

    I never had too much fun with the novel ranges. I respected their notion of telling stories “too broad and too deep” for TV but found the ones I read to take them very far away from what I like about the show. There was a period where they even made life after the Doctor a bit of a doom fest – Jo Grant a divorced single mother, the Brigadier a bitter widower, Dodo a victimised psychiatric patient etc.

    At times I half expected the Doctor turn up as a heroin addicted Jazz critic who wasn’t an alien.


    International Debris

    I’ve not moved on to the Virgin New Adventures yet, and I know they go very ‘dark’, but a lot of the PDAs/MAs are fun and frequently totally bonkers. The likes of Managra – in which Sarah and 4 land on a version of Earth where Europe is dominated by romantic literature, and are joined in their mission (which takes in a trip into a vampire-infested Transylvania) by someone pretending to be Byron – are utterly tremendous. Most of the Third Doctor ones are really in keeping with the era and are highly recommended, there are some wonderful pure historicals for Troughton and Hartnell in The Roundheads and The Plotters. There are some great timey-wimey ones (Festival of Death, The Time Travellers), and some mind bending parallel universe ones (Spiral Scratch is a brilliant head-fuck).

    There’s are also plenty of middling bollocks (anything by Christopher Bulis, for a start) – and a hilariously appalling Terrance Dicks story in which a shaven-headed Five goes to war with Morbius with a galactic battle fleet of Sontarans, Cybermen and Ogrons – but generally I’ve enjoyed it. I’m not sure quite how much I’m looking forward to the more serious, dark approach I know it’ll be going in once I hit Timewyrm, but I am looking forward to it being a wholly ‘new’ era of the classic show, so that’s something.


    By Jove its holmes

    I still have a soft spot for Timewyrm: Exodus.


    International Debris

    I have a lot of novels to go – the “season 23b” Mike Tucker novels, the VNAs, and EDAs, then all the new series books, plus the various Decalogs and Short Trips collections, the three Companion Chronicles, odds and ends like the Missy book and, possibly, the Bernice Summerfield, Torchwood and, at a push, Class novels – and after that I’m onto Big Finish. I’m still not sure what to do about that. I know some of the stories are sequels to others which will make picking and choosing annoying if I happen upon one, but even if I get naughty downloads of them all, I doubt I’ll have enough time in my life to actually listen to them all.



    I’ve thought about cracking open one of the Wilderness book ranges before, but there are just too many and I’m not interested enough to commit the time, same reason I never read a Star Wars novel. I prefer lower-effort expanded universes like Red Dwarf and the 11 Indiana Jones books.


    Ben Saunders

    I haven’t listened to that many Big Finish productions, but the big famous ones such as Jubilee and Spare Parts are absolutely worth checking out, as is Psychodrome in my opinion, and (and I mean this) Doctor Who and the Pirates is incredible. Legend of the Cybermen is great too – it finished off a trilogy, but I listened to it as a standalone and thought it was excellent.

    This dude: reviews a lot of the audios and his scores are a fairly good indication of quality, with a few extremely questionable ratings scattered throughout.



    I made a decision to not get into Big Finish stuff, because I didn’t want to *really* skint myself. Plus I have a bit of a short attention span when it comes to audio. I can lose concentration, and end up doodling and missing important plot points. But I have bought a few, and they’re worth buying. (Although I’d prefer to be able to buy individual stories of some ranges rather than the full series).
    The new Tenth Doctor stuff’s great, too.

    If you haven’t tried Big Finish, and you’re not sure if you fancy buying any, you can check—for-free where you can get free stories – sometimes the first part of a particular story, or one-off episodes. A lot of my account purchases are made up of these, it has to be said.



    I’ve always found audiobooks/radio shows/podcasts a good incentive to go walkabout or take random day trips to get your listening done, rather than sitting down and playing games or something in the background. Although that can graft mental images of places and other associations onto stories when you think back that don’t exactly match what’s happening. The Eighth Doctor spent a lot of time looking out of bus and train windows, if I recall.


    By Jove its holmes

    The UNIT Family set-up is really, well, not Dad’s Army but Brig’s Army. You have a Brigadier, a Captain and a Sergeant. That’s a very small group to be fighting off alien monsters.


    International Debris

    UNIT doesn’t hold up very well to close inspection. Their duty – to fend off ‘unknown’ menaces – doesn’t stop them constantly facing scepticism, even from within their own ranks. And it also doesn’t explain why they seem to spend most of their time providing security for peace conferences or trafficking missiles around. Or why they’re so consistently, spectacularly bad at their jobs.

    My Season 18 BluRay came this morning. Going to be indulging in some special features later I think.


    Ben Saunders

    UNIT deal with all the weird shit but also matters of national security, like important peace conferences and nuclear missile convoys. Funding an entire arm of the government permanently JUST to deal with aliens would be bonkers, since (at least until the Third Doctor was exiled to Earth), alien invasions were relatively rare.


    Ben Saunders

    >Or why they’re so consistently, spectacularly bad at their jobs.
    “You know, just once I’d like to meet an alien menace that wasn’t immune to bullets.”



    International Debris

    Imagine them doing security for a peace conference when an alien invasion happens. That would be embarrassing. They also manage to fuck up at the peace conference and lose the missile. Useless fucks.



    Got my Season 18 box, too. But as my big WhoWatch has only just reached season 14, a few extras aside, it’ll have to wait a couple of months before I watch it properly. It was the same with the Season 12 set.


    By Jove its holmes

    Some fans seem to prefer the serious, gritty UNIT of Season 7 to the cozy Saturday teatime-friendly UNIT Family.


    Flap Jack

    I’m still amazed at how poorly the BBC handled that Season 12 blu ray release. People are selling them on ebay for £350. Nobody should ever pay that much to watch Revenge of the Cybermen.

    The Australian release wasn’t much better either. I ordered the set from an AU DVD website and they decided to jerk me around for 6 months instead of just admitting that they didn’t have it.

    At least the Season 19 release showed improvement, but they really should have just gone with simpler packaging for all these blu rays, so that they could be kept in print.


    International Debris

    Given the ridiculous prices for the 12 box, you’d at least think they’d do another run of them. Not many people were expecting it to sell out so quickly, and so lots of people thinking they could get it a few months down the line were screwed over. I have the US ‘Tom Baker Season One’ release in place of it, which will suffice, but will look daft on my shelf in the long run.



    What I take exception to is the wording. They described it (and continue with later releases) as “Limited Edition Packaging”. This indicates that the release will later get a non-limited simple release later on but they have confirmed that they have no plans to rerelease Season 12. If they changed the wording for al future releases to “Limited Edition” then it’d be fine but they don’t seem arsed.

    For what it is worth they did appear to be taken aback by the demand for Season 12. Russel Minton (head of Who on DVD/BR now) said he had to fight for this release and used the strong DVD sales as an indicator but the higher-ups still didn’t have high expectations.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the plan is to wait until they are all out and then rerelease them in complete Doctor box sets (perhaps splitting Tom Baker’s era into two sets).


    International Debris

    Yeah, the wording is pretty poor, a lot of people were caught out expecting a standard packaging later. The fact that they’re doing them as limited editions in the first place is ludicrous anyway. If there’s demand, keep them in print, surely? I can’t fathom why not.


    Flap Jack

    What makes it worse is that the Season 12 set infamously has errors on 2 of the discs, so there are literally no UK copies of it that aren’t dodgy. You’d think that might be extra motivation for them to re-print it, to recoup some of the losses from having to send out so many replacement discs, and YET.

    I have the US ‘Tom Baker Season One’ release in place of it, which will suffice, but will look daft on my shelf in the long run.

    I’ve just ordered that too. :-) I’m sure Ben Paddon would be disappointed in us, but fancier packaging and one extra featurette (which you can just get in SD off Amazon Video) are clearly not worth £300.

    Is the 1fps slowdown noticeable outside of direct comparisons?


    International Debris

    From what I read, it’s a very good conversion apparently. I certainly didn’t notice it being any different to normal.


    Flap Jack

    Very reassuring to hear, thanks!


    Flap Jack

    My American Season 12 set arrived today. I did a quick comparison between the Blu-ray and DVD versions of Robot episode 1, and I was surprised to see they had exactly the same running time.

    So, I guess now we know that I don’t actually understand how frame rate conversions work!

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