Welcome to the Doctor Who Mind Robber. My challenge, should you care to join me, is to watch all the 800 televised episodes of Doctor Who, from 1963 to 2013, in chronological order and in 50 weeks. That’s right, 50 years of Who in 50 weeks, or an average of roughly 2.3 episodes per day. If that isn’t enough, I’ll then blog about it! This blog is named for my favourite Who serial, The Mind Robber. Will this marathon so rob my mind? Only time will tell!
My principal interest in this blog will not be reviewing the episodes, per se, but rather examining the issues of politics, gender, religion and popular culture that arise from them. Special attention will be paid to character development, particularly in respect of the Doctor’s companions. There are a plethora of blogs and review sites that provide excellent standard reviews of Who and I hope not to repeat their content here. It’s my desire that that this blog, in focusing on social and cultural issues, will be a welcome addition to Whovian fandom.
A quick note on missing episodes and photos before we embark on our quest. At the time of writing there are 106 episodes missing from 1960’s Doctor Who. This is as a consequence of the BBC’s policy of junking or recycling tapes to save money and valuable storage space. Thanks to the efforts of around half a dozen original fans, the BBC now has the audio of all missing episodes. In the days prior to VCRs and the occasional repeat, the only way to experience Who after its initial airing was to read a novelization of the story, or if you were lucky, listen to the illegal tape that you made on your reel to reel tape recorder. It is from these fan made audio recordings that the BBC has retrieved the valuable audio component of these missing episodes.
Eager to experience these lost episodes, fans have made reconstructions of the episodes utilizing the BBC retrieved and remastered audio together with telesnaps and other photographs from the productions. Others have created complete animations of parts, or the whole, of missing episodes. The ingenuity of dedicated fans defies description. Many of these can be found on the internet and the BBC appears to have turned a blind eye to the obvious copyright infringements. After all, it was the BBC that lost the episodes to start with and have the fans to thank for saving the audio!
With the exception of the two serials that the BBC has made its own reconstructions of, Marco Polo and Galaxy 4, it’s my intention to complete my marathon by watching these fan made clips. I will also use the BBC produced Shada DVD to watch that never completed or broadcast Tom Baker serial. All Doctor Who serials will be viewed from BBC produced and distributed DVDs and Blu Rays and are contained in my private collection. Rather than resorting to illegal downloading I encourage all fans to watch the splendor of Who legally.
In respect of photographs on this blogs most, if not all, would be the copyright of the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended and the photographs are displayed purely for illustrative purposes.
I hope you enjoy the journey and would appreciate your feedback.
Anyone interested in the history of John Cura’s telesnaps are advised to visit Mark Lewisohn’s well researched article at http://www.the-mausoleum-club.org.uk/Cura/Cura.htm
©Vivien Fleming, 2013.