Category Archives: Vicki

Day 30 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – The Top 5 First Doctor Stories

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5. The Aztecs

A Special Edition of The Aztecs was released earlier this year which included an abridged reconstruction of Galaxy 4, together with episode three which was recovered in 2011. The Aztecs has long been held in high esteem by fandom and is a superb example of the historical dramas that the BBC has always brilliantly produced. Set in South America during the time prior to Spanish settlement, the serial tells the story of Barbara’s determination to change history. In a quest to satisfy her penchant for bracelets, Barbara donned a snake bangle discovered not long after the party disembarked from the TARDIS.  Mistaken by the locals as the reincarnation of the high priest Yetaxa, her extraordinary knowledge of history and modern sense of morality naturally saw her rile against human sacrifice. From the beginning the Doctor’s objective was to ensure that history was not rewritten.  This was the first serial in which the parameters of “fiddling” with time and space were examined.  Barbara’s refusal to conform to the Doctor’s direction that “time can’t be rewritten.  Not one line” very nearly had fatal consequences for the Crew. Henceforth there would be limits on the TARDIS Crew’s actions.

Ian was lucky to escape with his life in The Aztecs

Ian was lucky to escape with his life in The Aztecs

4. The Tenth Planet

The First Doctor’s final story, The Tenth Planet heralded a number of firsts – Doctor Who’s first regeneration, the introduction of the Cybermen and the prototype for the Second Doctor’s “base under siege” formula. Rumours abound that the missing fourth episode, which features William Hartnell’s regeneration, has been recovered.  The DVD of the story has recently been released featuring an animation of episode four.  I wonder if a Special Edition, with the (alleged) recovered episode four, should be expected soon?

The DVD cover art for The Tenth Planet

The DVD cover art for The Tenth Planet

3. The Massacre

The Massacre is completely missing from the BBC Archives, although some of the current missing episode rumours suggest that it has been recovered.  Set in 1572 France, the serial chronicles the Doctor and Steven’s adventures during the Massacre de la Saint-Barthélemy (the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre) in which thousands of protestant Huguenots were massacred in a religious war lead by Roman Catholics. William Hartnell plays two roles in The Massacre – both the Doctor and the Doctor’s evil doppelganger, the Abbot of Amboise. As this is a historical drama it can almost be assured that the set design and costuming was brilliant.  The story is the only example in monochrome Doctor Who of a single companion accompanying the Doctor.  It also introduces new companion, Dodo Chaplet, in the last 10 minutes of the final episode.

The Doctor and Steven in The Massacre

The Doctor and Steven in The Massacre

2. An Unearthly Child

The first Doctor Who serial, An Unearthly Child introduced the strange adventures of a belligerent old man, the Doctor, and his grand-daughter, Susan Foreman. Possessed of a time machine which externally resembled a Police Call Box, the Doctor’s Ship was larger on the inside and capable of both time and space travel.  Coal Hill school teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, barged their way into the TARDIS (an acronym for Time and Relative Dimension in Space) whilst looking for their student, Susan.  Fearful that the teachers would reveal his secret, the Doctor kidnapped the pair as the TARDIS was seen to dematerialize for the first time.

Episodes two, three and four of the serial are more properly known as The Cave of Skulls, The Forest of Fear and The Firemaker. The Doctor, Susan and their two unwilling companions find themselves in pre-historic times and at the mercy of a tribe of cavemen who have lost their knowledge of fire making.

The first TARDIS Crew in An Unearthly Child

The first TARDIS Crew in An Unearthly Child

1.  Marco Polo

I’m going out on a limb here nominating a completely lost seven part serial as the Top First Doctor story.  As outlined in our post Missing Episodes – Has Marco Polo Been Recovered?  last week, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this classic serial has been recovered and restored, and finds its way onto the iTunes playlists before Christmas.

The fourth Doctor Who story, Marco Polo was directed by Waris Hussein who was also responsible for the first serial, An Unearthly Child. As far as the BBC is presently letting on, all that remains of Marco Polo are some stunning colour photographs taken on set and the fan recorded soundtrack.  In the days prior to home video recording and commercial VHS releases, the only way that a fan could re-live a Doctor Who episode was to listen to the reel-to-reel audio recording which they’d made during the episode’s original transmission. Incredibly, around half a dozen fan recorded collections remained extant and were located during the 1980s and 1990s. It was during those decades that fans became cognisant of the BBC’s destruction of its television heritage and went searching for what remained.  Thanks to the endeavours of a small group of hard-core fans who religiously recorded Doctor Who each Saturday evening, aficionados of Who were now able to listen to long lost episodes.

Is Marco Polo really as good as fans who watched the original and only transmission remember?  Certainly the audio suggests something very special.  Hopefully we’ll all be able to soon judge for ourselves.

Marco Polo is the earliest missing Doctor Who serial

Marco Polo is the earliest missing Doctor Who serial

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

The Daleks’ Master Plan

Sara Kingdom in combat mode in The Daleks' Master Plan

Sara Kingdom in combat mode in The Daleks’ Master Plan

The Myth Makers

Vicki and Troilus in The Myth Makers

Vicki and Troilus in The Myth Makers

The image at the top of this post is a painting by Francois Dobois depicting the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. No copyright infringement is intended.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

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Day 31 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – It’s Wholloween (or The Chase, Episode 4)

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Day 32 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – Top 3 Male Companions of the Sixties

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Yesterday the Doctor Who Mind Robber listed our Top 3 Female Companions of the Sixties. Although fewer in number than their women counterparts, today we examine our Top 3 Male Companions of the Sixties.

3. STEVEN TAYLOR

Not unlike his fellow companion Vicki who was number 3 in our list of the Top 3 Female Companions  of the Sixties, Steven joined the Doctor in a traumatized state. Portrayed by Peter Purves, Steven was an astronaut which had been held captive by the Mechonoids for two years.  As the sole human on the planet Mechanus, his only companion was a stuffed Panda named Hi-Fi. In the Doctor Who Mind Robber’s review of Steven’s first complete serial, The Time Meddler, we described his introduction to the TARDIS Crew in the following way:

Steven, Vicki and Hi-Fi in The Time Meddler

Steven, Vicki and Hi-Fi in The Time Meddler

 

After assisting the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki to escape the Mechonoid City in The Chase, Steven had returned to the City to retrieve Hi Fi just as the Daleks destroyed it. It was great dismay, therefore, that the Doctor and Vicki were confronted by Steven as he stumbled into the TARDIS control room before collapsing to the floor. The TARDIS had just materialized in 11th Century England however Steven had stowed away in the ship, presumably whilst Vicki and the Doctor were saying their goodbyes to Ian and Barbara on Mechanus.  Suffering ill effects from the Dalek blast, Steven assumed that he must have been delirious when he chased after the crew and eventually found the ship.

Astronaut Steven Taylor as we first met him in The Chase

Astronaut Steven Taylor as we first met him in The Chase

The spaceship pilot who had spent two years as a prisoner of the Mechonoids was now the Doctor’s latest companion.  Notwithstanding his experience with space craft, Steven has clearly not seen a machine as magical as the TARDIS before.  He doesn’t believe it is a time-machine or that they’ve landed in the 11th Century.  The TARDIS’s inability to blend into its surroundings, as it was constructed to do, together with the discovery of a modern wrist watch, compounds Steven’s disbelief.  Prone to speak his mind, Steven is openly dismissive of Vicki’s assertions about the ship’s capabilities and earns a quick rebuke from the Doctor for calling him “Doc”.  Quickly recovering from  a state of deep sleep or unconsciousness, Steven shows no ill effects from his previous deprivations on the planet Mechanus.  It would not be unfair to assume that a person who had gone two years without human companionship, and has an overt attachment to a stuffed toy, may be suffering some form of psychological distress. Not unlike Vicki, who rapidly regained equilibrium following her trauma on the planet Dido, Steven is promptly able to put the past behind him, leave the panda on a chair, and embrace a new life of adventure with the Doctor.

Peter Purves first appeared in Doctor Who as Morton Dill, the dim witted hick from Alabama in The Chase.  Here Dill investigates a Dalek on the Empire State Building

Peter Purves first appeared in Doctor Who as Morton Dill, the dim witted hick from Alabama in The Chase. Here Dill investigates a Dalek on the Empire State Building

Steven accompanied the Doctor on his journeys from the final serial of Season 2 until the penultimate Season 3 story, The Savages. In the intervening period he assisted the Doctor battle the evil but beautiful Drahvins in Galaxy 4 and the Daleks in the 12 part The Daleks’ Master Plan.  Steven travelled to ancient Troy where he and the Doctor farewelled Vicki, and to 1572 France where he was the Doctor’s sole companion during the massacre of French protestants.  He and Dodo were compelled to play the Celestial Toymaker’s puerile games to retrieve the TARDIS in The Celestial Toymaker and were confronted by the Monoids in The Ark. Steven’s penultimate adventure was to the American Mid-West where he surprised all by being able to sing and barely escaped a lynching.  His departure in The Savages was less than adequate. Having negotiated peace between the Guardians and the Monoids , the Doctor, much to Steven’s dismay,  volunteered  him to remain on the planet and facilitate the transformation to a fair and just society. Although initially hesitant, Steven quickly accepted the challenge and the Doctor and Dodo departed in the TARDIS. So ended Steven’s 12 month tenure as a companion.

Steven with the body of the Abbot of Amboise in The Massacre

Steven with the body of the Abbot of Amboise in The Massacre

2. IAN CHESTERTON

Ian Chesterton was one half of the “Ian and Barbara” duo who introduced the world to Doctor Who. A science teacher at Coal Hill School, he shared a concern with history teacher Barbara Wright about their 15 year old student, Susan Foreman.

After being kidnapped by the Doctor when he and Barbara entered the TARDIS looking for Susan, Ian’s initial relationship with the Doctor was tense and combative. His relations with the self-centred Doctor remained strained  until the Fourth serial, Marco Polo. Included in Doctor Who as both a point of identification for the audience and as a “man of action” for the more elderly and sedate Doctor, Ian remained with the TARDIS crew until the penultimate serial of Season 2, The Chase. During his two year tenure showed himself to be both intelligent and compassionate.  He had  penchant for wearing cardigans and was knocked unconscious more times than any other companion in the history of Doctor Who. Ian was knighted as Sir Ian of Jaffa by King Richard 1 of England in The Crusade.

Sir Ian of Jaffa is knighted by Richard the Lionheart in The Crusade

Sir Ian of Jaffa is knighted by Richard the Lionheart in The Crusade

It is our intention to provide no more than a cursory examination of Ian in this piece.  A comprehensive analysis of William Russell and his contribution to the history of Doctor Who would require a wordy dissertation, many thousands of words in length.  Instead we will leave you with a photographic essay of Ian.  All images are courtesy of http://thechestertons.tumblr.com.

Ian Chesterton had a fond appreciation for cardigans

Ian Chesterton had a fond appreciation for cardigans

Ian was shrunk to the size of an ant and caught in a matchbox in Planet of Giants

Ian was shrunk to the size of an ant and caught in a matchbox in Planet of Giants

Ian comforts Barbara

Ian comforts Barbara

Ian endeavours to unravel Barbara's cardigan in The Space Museum

Ian endeavours to unravel Barbara’s cardigan in The Space Museum

Ian displays how to paralyse a man with finger pressure only in The Aztecs

Ian displays how to paralyse a man with finger pressure only in The Aztecs

Barbara attends to Ian's hair in The Romans

Barbara attends to Ian’s hair in The Romans

Ian parties

Ian parties

Ian and Barbara embrace on returning to 1965 London in The Chase

Ian and Barbara embrace on returning to 1965 London in The Chase

Ian and Barbara frolic in London during their farewell in The Chase

Ian and Barbara frolic in London during their farewell in The Chase

3. JAMIE McCRIMMON

Jamie was the last male companion to join the Doctor in the Sixties although he made up for his late arrival by holding the record as the longest standing companion in Doctor Who’s history. Appearing in 116 episodes in total, Jamie exceeded the next most proficient companion, Sarah Jane Smith, by 21 episodes. Suffering from chicken pox during episode two of The Mind Robber, Frazer Hines was replaced by Hamish Wilson for that episode and the beginning of the following one. As luck would have it The Mind Robber was set in the land of fiction and Jamie’s change of appearance was quickly scripted to arise from the Doctor incorrectly reconstructing his face after he’d been transformed into a cardboard cut-out. Wilson’s departure and Hines’ return was facilitated by the Doctor correctly reconstructing Jamie’s face, with Zoe’s assistance, after he was again transfigured into a cut-out.

Hamish Wilson played the role of Jamie in episodes two and three of The Mind Robber

Hamish Wilson played the role of Jamie in episodes two and three of The Mind Robber

Jamie joined the Doctor, Ben and Polly in the second serial of the Second Doctor’s tenure, The Highlanders. The last historical in Classic Series Who until the 1982 Fifth Doctor’s adventure, Black Orchard, Frazer Hines’ contract as Jamie was originally to last for only the four weeks of the serial.  Hines’ rapport with the cast quickly saw him offered a full time position in the TARDIS Crew prior to the first episode of The Highlanders being broadcast.

Jamie confronts the Doctor, Ben and Polly in The Highlanders

Jamie confronts the Doctor, Ben and Polly in The Highlanders

James Robert McCrimmon met the Doctor and his companions, Polly and Ben, at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. A young and brave Highlander, the kilted Scot was ignorant of 20th Century technology which prompted an array of startled responses to everyday occurrences.  A plane in The Faceless Ones was a “flying beastie”.  In that serial he also had to ask the Doctor what a passport was, to which the Doctor responded, “Oh, some sort of official mumbo-jumbo”.

The Doctor and Jamie beside a "flying beastie" in The Faceless Ones

The Doctor and Jamie beside a “flying beastie” in The Faceless Ones

In The Evil of the Daleks Jamie was inquisitive about the sound of a train rumbling past.  He had no idea what the noise was and the Doctor described them to him in the simplest manner possible – “Well, it’s a train.  There are carriages and they go on wheels, on rails, and they’re drawn by a steam ..”.   He was unaware of what the Himalayas were in The Abominable Snowmen  and mistook the Doctor in his big fur coat as “a great sort of hairy beastie”.

Jamie mistook the Doctor in his fur jacket for a "hairy beastie" in The Abominable Snowmen

Jamie mistook the Doctor in his fur jacket for a “hairy beastie” in The Abominable Snowmen

In a state of delirium Jamie thought that a Cyberman in The Moonbase  was the Phantom Piper, the McCrimmon clan’s equivalent of the Grim Reaper. When Zoe first met Jamie in The Wheel in Space she was intrigued by his clothing.  She was unable to resist laughing and blurted out to Jamie, “You’re wearing female garments”. Needless to say, he was less than impressed and was quick to advise Zoe that his garb was that of a true Scotsman.  After initially mistaking him for a “kiltie” from Denmark or Scandinavia,  Zoe admitted that pre-century history was not her forte.  Jamie famously responded, “Aye, maybe not but just watch your lip or I’ll put you across my knee and larrup you”.

Polly tends to the ailing Jamie.  Whilst hallucinating  Jamie mistakes a Cyberman for the "Phantom Piper" in The Moonbase

Polly tends to the ailing Jamie. Whilst hallucinating Jamie mistakes a Cyberman for the “Phantom Piper” in The Moonbase

Jamie was also responsible for giving the Doctor his alias of John Smith.  In episode two of The Wheel in Space the Doctor was unconscious.  When asked what his name was by Gemma  Corwyn, Jamie glanced at piece medical apparatus with the words “John Smith & Associates” inscribed on it and replied, “John Smith”. That name has remained the Doctor’s preferred non de plume to this day.

The piece of medical equipment which inspired the now literate Jamie to give the Doctor the alias John Smith (The Wheel in Space)

The piece of medical equipment which inspired the now literate Jamie to give the Doctor the alias John Smith (The Wheel in Space)

Jamie’s naivety allowed him to seamlessly ask the “what’s this, Doctor” questions. One of his favourite phrases was “look at the size of that thing, Doctor”, to which the Doctor would invariably respond by saying, “Yes, Jamie, that is a big one.”Jamie was fiercely protective of the Doctor and the two men had a magnificent rapport.  Frazer Hines and Patrick Troughton were not averse to hamming it up occasionally and on two occasions held hands.  In The Tomb of the Cybermen the Doctor mistook Jamie’s hand for Victoria’s, and in The Dominators they jumped from a small landing hand-in-hand.

The Doctor and Jamie hold hands again in The Dominators

The Doctor and Jamie hold hands again in The Dominators

Jamie’s last fellow companion, Zoe Heriot, was named as our favourite female companion of the Sixties.  The pair’s departure from Doctor Who in the final episode of The War Games was both powerful and melancholy. With his memory wiped of all but his first adventure with the Doctor, Jamie returned to the battlefields of Culloden.  Momentarily dazed, Jamie picked himself off the ground, sword in hand, and with a scream of “Creag an tuire” resumed battle with the enemy.  Frazer Hines reprised his role as Jamie briefly in the 1983 20th Anniversary Special, The Five Doctors, and more substantially as a companion of both the Second and the Sixth Doctors in 1985’s The Two Doctors. 

Jamie with the Second and Sixth Doctors in The Two Doctors

Jamie with the Second and Sixth Doctors in The Two Doctors

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The illustration at the top of this post is by tygerbug and is courtesy of deviantART – http://tygerbug.deviantart.com/art/Doctor-Who-Ben-Polly-Jamie-184396442.  No copyright breach is intended.

Day 33 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – Top 3 Female Companions of the Sixties

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In the lead-up to Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary the Radio Times has been running an online poll on the Greatest Companion Ever.  Voting has now closed and the results will be announced on the anniversary date, 23 November 2013. Today and for the following two days the Doctor Who Mind Robber will be ruminating on our Top 3 Female and Male Companions of the Sixties, together with  the 3 companions who failed to live up to our expectations.  Your comments on our choices would be greatly appreciated.

3. Vicki

On 10 July we posted an article on Vicki, the First Doctor’s companion who was hastily shown the door at the conclusion of The Myth Makers. Here’s how we described her tenure:

I have to admit I really liked Vicki. Young, perhaps no more than 17, she had a vibrancy that had been missing in her predecessor, the Doctor’s grand-daughter, Susan.  As a former secondary school teacher I envied the way she was schooled. In The Web Planet Vicki incorrectly assumed that Barbara had taught at a nursery school because they “worked upwards from the three Rs.”  The curriculum of Coal Hill School in 1963 seemed like child’s play to her.  At the age of 10 she took a certificate of education in medicine,  physics and chemistry.  When asked by Barbara how long she spent in the classroom Vicki was totally perplexed.  She’d spent almost an hour a week with a machine.  Life in 2493 must have been a child’s dream existence!

Vicki, Steven and the Doctor in The Time Meddler

Vicki, Steven and the Doctor in The Time Meddler

Vicki was a member of the TARDIS Crew  in episodes which screened from 2 January 1965 until 6th November 1965.  In just under 12 months Vicki had gone from an orphaned girl stranded on the planet Dido to the love interest of Troilus, son of the King of Troy. During that time, however, there was little in the way of character development. Save for when we met Vicki in The Rescue and she was clearly suffering from the effects of Bennett/Koquillion’s abuse, she remains a vibrant and forthright young woman throughout. As I have previously lamented, it was a shame that the opportunity wasn’t taken to examine the long term effects of this abuse on Vicki, however my concern for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder plainly comes from a 21st century perspective.

Koquillion menaces Vicki in The Rescue

Koquillion menaces Vicki in The Rescue

This absence of character evolution says much about the 1960′s perception of women, particularly young ones.  In the 1960s the median age of first marriage for women was around 20 years of age.  Career opportunities  were limited and pay was not equal.  Although unable to locate figures for the United Kingdom, Australia as a Commonwealth country would have been reasonably similar. Until 1966 the Australian Public Service required single women  to resign from their positions on the eve of their marriage. Equal pay was not granted until 1972. Is it any surprise, therefore, that women were portrayed as either children or mothers?  With women having perhaps only five years between leaving school and marriage, this period between childhood and motherhood was marginalized and frequently forgotten.

Vicki - I hope that tasted nice!

Vicki – I hope that tasted nice!

When we first meet Vicki she is in a stereotypical role as carer for Bennett.  As Bennett is supposedly crippled and unable to work, Vicki is compelled to undertake all the chores including collecting water, cooking and cleaning.  She isn’t seen to complain about this notwithstanding the absence of any thanks from Bennett.   Once a member of the TARDIS Crew, Vicki  is somewhat of a companion for the Doctor – a faux grand-daughter, if you like.   The Doctor has someone to fuss around, care about and instruct.  She provides him with moral support  and most probably a sense of identity.  She is close by his side in The Romans and The Crusade and does not distance herself in any great manner until The Space Museum, where she becomes involved with the young Xeron rebels and seems to start a revolution for fun.  A potential love interest comes to nothing. Although coupled with Steven for much of The Time Meddler, Vicki is back at the Doctor’s side during Galaxy 4.  In her final serial, The Myth Makers, Vicki  is again separated from the Doctor but only because he’s compelled her to remain in the TARDIS because of a sprained ankle.  As was the case with both Susan and Barbara, female companions in Doctor Who are overly susceptible to wrenching their ankles.  They require time to recuperate from such injuries, unlike Ian who was frequently knocked unconscious and seemed able to get up, and shake it off, each time.

Vicki with the Doctor in The Crusade

Vicki with the Doctor in The Crusade

Quite phenomenally Vicki is capable of falling in love with Troilus in less than 24 hours, most of which time she was a prisoner in a dungeon.  This love affair was even quicker than Susan and David’s in The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Having pleaded with the Doctor in The Crusade not to leave her as the TARDIS was her only home, Vicki was extraordinarily quick to leave its confines in The Myth Makers. The television audience is not even privy to Vicki’s farewells to the Doctor as they take place out of camera shot inside the TARDIS. The Doctor, nonetheless, appears satisfied with her explanation which seems to have been that she didn’t want Troilus to think she had betrayed him.

Although spending one’s life travelling in a blue wooden box through time and space may appear somewhat aimless, it’s certainly more secure than with a bloke you’ve only known for a day; in a time several thousand years before your own; and in a land where your love’s home City has been destroyed.  Ever quick to point out logical flaws in a witty manner, Wood and Miles in About Time 1 couldn’t help but extrapolate on a grave problem that Vicki and Troilus would be confronted by.  As the TARDIS translates languages for the benefit of the Crew and persons they meet along the way, once it had left then the two lovers would be unable to communicate with each other.  Unless, of course, Vicki had learnt Ancient Greek, the language that Homer attributes to the Trojans in Iliad, in school!

Vicki and Troilus in The Myth Makers

Vicki and Troilus in The Myth Makers

Aside from the characterization failures in Doctor Who, the reality of Maureen O’Brien’s hasty exit from the role of Vicki appears to lay in programme’s change of producer.  According to Howe, Walker and Stammers in The Handbook, O’Brien had been cast by Verity Truman having been suggested by one of her former drama teachers who then was in the employ of the BBC. The new producer, John Wiles, replaced Truman beginning with the production of The Myth Makers, although he had shadowed Truman during the making of Galaxy 4. Wood and Miles argue that “Wiles had noticed her tendency to pick holes in the dialogue during rehearsals for Galaxy Four, and made arrangements to have her removed while the cast were on holiday”.  It was on her return from a week’s break given to the regular cast whilst Mission to the Unknown was filmed  that O’Brien heard of her dismissal. Although the new character of Katarina was going to replace Vicki it soon became evident to Wiles and story editor, Donald Tosh, that Katarina’s Trojan naivety would make her an unsuitable companion.  It’s for that reason that Katarina was just as hastily written out of Doctor Who in the fourth episode of The Daleks’ Master Plan.

So ends the less than a year long tenure of Maureen O’Brien as Vicki.  This was but the beginning of a revolving door of companions which would grace the screens of Doctor Who over the next several years.

Vicki as we first meet her

Vicki as we first meet her

2. Barbara Wright

Barbara first met the Doctor when she and fellow Coal Hill School teacher, Ian Chesterton, went to 76 Totter’s Lane to check on the welfare of one of their students, 15 year old Susan Foreman.   Kidnapped by the Doctor after they entered the TARDIS, Barbara and Ian remained with the Doctor for two years until they took control of the Dalek time-machine at the end of The Chase. Their return to 1965 London was a joyous occasion as snapshots of them frolicking before prominent landmarks were flashed up on the screen.

The Doctor's grand-daughter Susan, with her History Teacher, Barbara Wright and Science Teacher, Ian Chesterton in An Unearthly Child

The Doctor’s grand-daughter Susan, with her History Teacher, Barbara Wright and Science Teacher, Ian Chesterton in An Unearthly Child

Barbara’s excellent knowledge of history was useful during the Doctor’s early journeys and undoubtedly assisted the programme’s mandate to both entertain and educate.  She was more accepting of the unknown than Ian and was quicker to acknowledge that the tales that the Doctor and Susan spun about the TARIS were indeed true. When the TARIS crew visited South America in The Aztecs she was able to draw upon her knowledge of Spanish settlement and traditional Aztec culture and religion.  That, unfortunately, led her to the false belief that by assuming the mantle of the reincarnated priest, Yataxa, that had been thrust upon her, that she could change the course of history and end human sacrifices. The Doctor was quick to point out to Barbara the folly of believing that history could be altered.  She was also able to utilize her knowledge of history in The Dalek Invasion of Earth when she bamboozled the Daleks with some historical falsities and in The Reign of Terror, when she was able to identify the period of French history in which they’d materialized.

Yetaxa in all her finery as Barbara masquerades in The Aztecs

Yetaxa in all her finery as Barbara masquerades in The Aztecs

Unusually for a woman in her mid thirties, Barbara wasn’t married.  Perhaps the negative stereotype of spinster school ma’ams had been adopted here. Barbara was not without romance, however. She came upon several suitors during the course of her companionship, although none matched the tenderness of her relationship with Ian.  Although never openly remarked upon, it was clear that Barbara and Ian had become more than just colleagues.  Their joyful banter whilst reclining in luxury during The Romans was indicative of a particularly strong personal relationship. The tenderness between Barbara and her fellow companion Ian was undoubtedly a silent nod to a love that couldn’t be broached on Saturday tea time family TV. One can only dream that they became a couple and lived in marital bliss upon their return to earth.

Barbara and Ian playfully relax in The Romans

Barbara and Ian playfully relax in The Romans

Barbara and Ian in one of their many embraces (The Dalek Invasion of Earth).  Gif courtesy of http://thechestertons.tumblr.com

Barbara and Ian in one of their many embraces (The Dalek Invasion of Earth). Gif courtesy of http://thechestertons.tumblr.com

1. Zoe Heriot

The character of Zoe was arguably the first companion in Doctor Who to reflect the changing views on women that arose with the second wave of feminism. A teenage genius, Zoe first met the Doctor and Jamie in final serial of Season 5, The Wheel in Space. She remained with the Doctor until the end of the monochrome era when all three stars left in the final episode of The War Games.  My review of The Wheel in Space included a detailed introduction to Zoe.  She was  an astrophysicist and astrometricist first class and employed as the Wheel’s parapsychology librarian. Her perfect recall of scientific facts and ability to undertake mental calculations faster than a hand-held calculator were the consequence of her being brainwashed by the City’s educational institution. She had total faith in the ability of pure logic to provide all the answers required.  Zoe’s future adventures would soon show this to be a folly and the Doctor quickly, but tactfully, advised her on the limitations of logic alone.  Perhaps the Second Doctor’s most famous quote was to Zoe in The Wheel in Space when he stated, “Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables one to be wrong with authority”.

Zoe and Jamie with the white robots in The Mind Robber

Zoe and Jamie with the white robots in The Mind Robber

Zoe was the first companion with an intellect to match the Doctor’s.  Zoe’s extraordinarily high intelligence was remarked upon several times in The Krotons.  She told Selris that the “Doctor’s almost as clever as I am” whilst earlier the Doctor had said to him, “Yes, well, Zoe is something of a genius. Of course it can be very irritating at times”.  In The Invasion she blew up the automated answering machine at International Electromatics by presenting it with a ALGOL problem that it was unable to answer.  She also assisted in the destruction of the entire fleet of Cybermen ships by mathematically calculating the correct alignment and course of projectile for the Russian missiles targeted at the ships. The Seeds of Death saw her piloting a space rocket.

The delightful Wendy Padbury as Zoe Heriot

The delightful Wendy Padbury as Zoe Heriot

The Doctor, however, was never seriously concerned by Zoe’s brilliance. There was no sense of threat and never a suggestion that her intellect was unbecoming of a young woman. That’s not to say that Zoe didn’t escape entirely from the scourge of sexism. In The Invasion the UNIT soldiers’ praise for Zoe masked an underlying sexism when she was described as “prettier than a computer”.

Jamie is initially reticent to accept Zoe as a member of the TARDIS Crew in The Wheel in Space

Jamie is initially reticent to accept Zoe as a member of the TARDIS Crew in The Wheel in Space

Zoe challenged assumptions on the role of women more by her deeds rather than by words. On at least one occasion, however, she verbalized the thoughts of women of that era. Undoubtedly buoyed by the support of Isobel Watkins in The Invasion, Zoe took offence at Jamie’s sexism when she stated “Just because you’re a man you think you’re superior, don’t you”.  Zoe’s relationship with Jamie, however, was otherwise positive.  Although less intellectually capable than his friend, Jamie is never mocked or derided by Zoe.

Zoe and Jamie cling to the TARDIS console after the Ship explodes in The Mind Robber

Zoe and Jamie cling to the TARDIS console after the Ship explodes in The Mind Robber

Both Zoe and Jamie were returned to their own time in episode 6 of The War Games, with their memories wiped of all but their first adventure with the Doctor. Donna Noble was not the first to suffer this fate. The Doctor’s companions’ departures were heartbreaking and perhaps the most poignant of Classic Series Doctor Who.

Jamie and Zoe’s Goodbye.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The top image is courtesy of www.deviantart.com.  Artwork by Shawn Van Briesen.  No copyright infringement is intended.

Day 42 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – The 10 Best First Doctor Quotes and Monologues

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10. The Keys of Marinus

[In reference to the Conscience of Marinus]: I don’t believe that man was made to be controlled by machines. Machines can make laws, but they cannot preserve justice. Only human beings can do that.

The Conscience of Marinus -  a machine with the power to not only judge good and evil, but also to permeate the minds of citizens, eradicating all evil thoughts and intentions, and replacing them instead with only good and honourable deeds.

The Conscience of Marinus – a machine with the power to not only judge good and evil, but also to permeate the minds of citizens, eradicating all evil thoughts and intentions, and replacing them instead with only good and honourable deeds.

9. The Romans

[After escaping an Assassin]: Alright? Of course I’m alright, my child. You know, I am so constantly outwitting the opposition. I tend to forget the delights and satisfaction of the gentle art of fisticuffs.

The Doctor displays his finely tuned fighting skills whilst in battle with a would-be assassin in The Romans

The Doctor displays his finely tuned fighting skills whilst in battle with a would-be assassin in The Romans

8. The Aztecs

[Speaking to Barbara, who is masquerading as the Yetaxa]: You can’t rewrite history. Not one line!

The Doctor with Barbara, who is masquerading as the reincarnated priest, Yetaxa in The Aztecs

The Doctor with Barbara, who is masquerading as the reincarnated priest, Yetaxa in The Aztecs

7. The Sensorites

[Referring to his adventures with Ian and Barbara]: It all started out as a mild curiosity in the junkyard, and now it’s turned out to be quite a great spirit of adventure.

The Doctor and Ian in The Sensorites

The Doctor and Ian in The Sensorites

6. The Reign of Terror

Our lives are important — at least to us — and as we see, so we learn… Our destiny is in the stars, so let’s go and search for it.

The Doctor masquerades as a district official in The Reign of Terror

The Doctor masquerades as a district official in The Reign of Terror

5. The Savages

Jano: Do you not realize that all progress is based on exploitation?

The Doctor: That, sir, is protracted murder!

The Doctor and Jago, the Elder's leader in The Savages

The Doctor and Jago, the Elders’ leader in The Savages

4. An Unearthly Child

[To Ian and Barbara]: Have you ever thought what it’s like to be wanderers in the Fourth Dimension? Have you? To be exiles? Susan and I are cut off from our own planet – without friends or protection. But one day we shall get back. Yes, one day….

The Doctor and Susan with the unwilling companions, Barbara and Ian

The Doctor and Susan with the unwilling companions, Barbara and Ian in An Unearthly Child

3. The Chase

 [Ian and Barbara’s farewell as they prepare to leave in the Daleks’ time machine]

Barbara: We’re not idiots! We want to go home!

Ian: Yes! Home! I want to sit in a pub and drink a pint of beer again! I want to walk in a park, and watch a cricket match. And above all, I want to belong somewhere, and do something! Instead of this aimless drifting around in space!

The Doctor: AIMLESS?! I tried for two years to get you both home!

Ian: Well you haven’t been successful, have you?

The Doctor: How dare you, young man! HOW DARE YOU, SIR! I didn’t invite you into the ship in the first place! You both thrust yourselves upon me!

Barbara: OH, DOCTOR! STOP IT!

The Doctor: Oh, for heaven’s sake! I’ve never heard such nonsense!

Barbara: Look. I know we’ve thrust ourselves upon you! But we’ve been through a great deal since then! And all we’ve been through will remain with us always! It could be the most exciting part of my life. Look, Doctor, we’re different people. And now we have a chance to go home. We want to take that chance. Will you help us work that machine?

The Doctor: …No. No! I will not aid and abet suicide!

Ian: Oh, he’s as stubborn as ever!

Vicki: Doctor.

The Doctor: . Hmm?

Vicki: Doctor, you’ve got let them go if they want too. They want to be back in their own time.

The Doctor: Don’t you want to go with them, child? Hmm?

Vicki: What for? Why would I want to be back in their time for? I want to be with you! Doctor… You’ve got to help them.

The Doctor: Don’t you realise, child, of the enormous risks?

Vicki: But it’s up to them!

The Doctor and his companions outside of the Dalek time machine in The Chase

The Doctor and his companions outside of the Dalek time machine in The Chase

 2. The Dalek Invasion of Earth

 [As he prepares to leave Susan on Earth]: During all the years I’ve been taking care of you, you in return have been taking care of me. You are still my grandchild and always will be. But now, you’re a woman too. I want you to belong somewhere, to have roots of your own. With David you will be able to find those roots and live normally like any woman should do. Believe me, my dear, your future lies with David and not with a silly old buffer like me. One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye, Susan. Goodbye, my dear.

The Doctor speaks to Susan from inside the TARDIS just prior to it dematerializing in The Dalek Invasion of Earth

The Doctor speaks to Susan from inside the TARDIS just prior to it dematerializing in The Dalek Invasion of Earth

1.The Massacre

My dear Steven, history sometimes gives us a terrible shock, and that is because we don’t quite fully understand. Why should we? After all, we’re too small to realise its final pattern. Therefore don’t try and judge it from where you stand. I was right to do as I did. Yes, that I firmly believe. [Steven leaves the TARDIS] Steven… Even after all this time, he cannot understand. I dare not change the course of history. Well, at least I taught him to take some precautions; he did remember to look at the scanner before he opened the doors. And now, they’re all gone. All gone. None of them could understand. Not even my little Susan. Or Vicki. And as for Barbara and Chatterton — Chesterton — they were all too impatient to get back to their own time. And now, Steven. Perhaps I should go home. Back to my own planet. But I can’t… I can’t…

The Doctor and Steven enjoy a quiet ale in the lost serial The Massacre

The Doctor and Steven enjoy a quiet ale in the lost serial The Massacre

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

Day 45 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – The 5 Least Wanted Missing Episodes

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On Day 50 of The Doctor Who Mind Robber’s Countdown to Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary we published our list of the Ten Most Wanted Missing Episodes. Not all episodes are as highly sought after as others and unfortunately there are a limited number that many fans have little or no desire to see returned. Our list of those sad and sorry stories that pine for some respect is provided in broadcast order only.

1.  Galaxy 4 – Season 3

The first broadcast of our least wanted missing stories is the Season 3 opener, Galaxy 4. Until November 2011 none of the story’s four episodes were held in the BBC Archives.  Upon episode three’s discovery, a reconstruction of the serial was produced and included as an extra in The Aztecs Special Edition.  The recovered episode was included in the reconstruction.

The villains of Galaxy 4 were the Drahvins

The villains of Galaxy 4 were the Drahvins

Although the resident monsters of the serial, the Rill and the Chumblies, are generally well regarded the story is nonetheless frequently discounted by fans. In The Discontinuity Guide (1995) Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping’s “Bottom Line” was that “Galaxy 4 presents an interesting if flawed twist on the traditional bug-eyed monster tale”.  

A Chumbley with four Rills in the background

A Chumbly with four Rills in the background

Arguably it is most probably the presence of the chief villains, the Drahvins, which is the cause of most distain for Galaxy 4. Personally I found the concept of a female dominated, anti-male race of aliens absolutely enthralling. It’s for that reason that I rated the serial so highly in my own marathon watch.  Below is an example of one of the recent anti-Galaxy 4 tweets. The diversity of Doctor Who fandom is one of its greatest strengths.

2.  The Celestial Toymaker – Season 3

Prior to the recovery and release of episode four The Celestial Toymaker was held in reasonably high regard.  In Peter Haining’s 1983 coffee table book, Doctor Who A Celebration, Jeremy Bentham waxed lyrical about it.

The success of this story lies in the way if visualises a child’s nightmare – the secret world of toys from the nursery coming to life, harmless games that insidiously graduate into something far more sinister, smiling, happy faces concealing deadly menace.  In short it was a perfect fairy-tale of the kind told by the brothers Grimm – a multi-level fantasy appealing to young and old alike, but strangely being more disturbing to adults than to children.

Peter Haining, Doctor Who A Celebration Two Decades Through Time and Space (W. H Allen, London, 1983)

Peter Haining, Doctor Who A Celebration Two Decades Through Time and Space (W. H Allen, London, 1983)

The widespread availability of episode 4, firstly on the 1991 VHS release and then on 2004’s DVD, Lost in Time, quickly lead to the story’s reputation diminishing.  In Mark Campell’s widely read basic guide, Doctor Who The Complete Series Guide, he gives the serial only 4 out of 10.  His verdict is as follows:

A weird, and at times plodding, excursion into pure fantasy (some might say whimsy).  Not as interesting as its reputation might suggest.

Mark Campbell's Doctor Who The Complete Series Guide (Constable & Robertson Ltd, London, 2010)

Mark Campbell’s Doctor Who The Complete Series Guide (Constable & Robertson Ltd, London, 2010)

 My own marathon review of The Celestial Toymaker was rather more positive.  In introducing the story I stated:

I found the story engaging and fascinating.  The concept of a world of make believe in which the characters are compelled to participate in childish games in order to retrieve the TARDIS is both sinister and surreal. That I’m a great fan of the Second Doctor’s The Mind Robber probably evidences my idiosyncratic tendencies.  Both serials have a similar edge about them.

Dodo, Steven and Cyril the nasty "schoolboy" in The Celestial Toymaker

Dodo, Steven and Cyril the nasty “schoolboy” in The Celestial Toymaker

3.  The Underwater Menace – Season 4

Another poor and lowly regarded story is The Underwater Menace. Episode 3 is included on Lost in Time, and although episode 2 was recovered in November 2011 it has yet to be released on DVD. You have to wonder what that omission says about both the popularity and the quality of the serial. The Discontinuity Guide displayed its distain for the serial in its bottom line summary:

‘I could feed you to my pet octopus – yes? … I, too, have a sense of humour!’ At least Joe Orton got a kick out of watching Frazer Hines in episode four of this story.  

Paul Cornell, Martin Day & Keith Toppiing, The Discontinuity Guide (Doctor Who Books, London, 1995)

Paul Cornell, Martin Day & Keith Toppiing, The Discontinuity Guide (Doctor Who Books, London, 1995)

To find out more about the Joe Orton/Doctor Who connection I suggest you read this blog post.

In my marathon review of The Underwater Menace I successfully found some merit in the story and ended my article by stating, “ The Underwater Menace is a fun romp and nowhere near as bad as its reputation.  Watch it with an eye for the ridiculous and you won’t be disappointed”.

A rare colour photo of the Fish People of The Underwater Menace

A rare colour photo of the Fish People of The Underwater Menace

4.  The Wheel in Space – Season 5

As the lovely Wendy Padbury’s debut story, one would have thought that The Wheel in Space would be a fine contender in the list of the most sought after missing episodes. Moreover, the story features the Cybermen and is the last of a long and continuous run of missing Series 5 stories. That’s enough to make anyone celebrate.  Not so for the authors of The Discontinuity Guide who again panned the story:

Dull, lifeless and so derivative of other base-under-siege stories that it isn’t really a story in its own right.  Despite the detailed Wheel setting, the galloping lack of scientific credibility is annoying, and the Cybermen are so bland and ordinary that they could have been any other monster.  Generic speed-written tosh.

As a great fan of the companion Zoe I nonetheless enjoyed The Wheel in Space. There can never be too much Zoe.

Jamie is initially reticent to accept Zoe as a member of the TARDIS Crew in The Wheel in Space

Jamie is initially reticent to accept Zoe as a member of the TARDIS Crew in The Wheel in Space

5.  The Space Pirates – Season 6

Coming in at 195 in the 2009 Doctor Who Magazine Mighty 200, The Space Pirates has the unfortunate reputation as the least popular Patrick Troughton era Doctor Who serial. It is also the last story that is missing from the BBC Archives.  Being totally bereft of any telesnaps, and having a muddy and almost inaudible fan saved soundtrack, Loose Cannon’s reconstruction of The Space Pirates does not make for very engaging viewing.  So bad was it that I had great difficulty reviewing the story.  I was, however, impressed by Madelaine Issigri’s fabulous metal hair and Zoe’s hotpants!  The only episode held in the BBC Archives has been released on the Lost in Time DVD.

Madelaine Issigri had the most fabulous metal wig in The Space Pirates

Madelaine Issigri had the most fabulous metal wig in The Space Pirates

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

Day 47 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – The 10 Greatest Billy Fluffs

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William Hartnell - In Colour

The first actor to play the Doctor, William Hartnell, was renowned for his many and varied “Billy Fluffs”.  A “Billy Fluff” was an error in delivering dialogue or the complete failure to say a line.  Prior to the 1970s the studio recording of Doctor Who was almost live.  Whilst there were certainly some pre-filmed segments, ordinarily those involving special effects or location work, the vast majority of recording was undertaken in the studio on a Friday or Saturday evening.  Preceding the recording where four days of preliminary rehearsals, although the actual recording of each 25 minute episode was allocated only one and a half hours.  Video tape was prohibitively expensive so the re-shooting of scenes was kept to a minimum of three per episode. It’s for this reason that unless the mistakes in dialogue were extraordinary the actors just carried on.

William Hartnell Dalek gif

Hartnell was suffering from undiagnosed arteriosclerosis during his tenure as the First Doctor. Short term memory loss and lapses in concentration can be symptoms of arteriosclerosis.  His declining health undoubtedly contributed to his occasional bout of Hartnellisms. In providing this list of 10 Greatest Billy Fluffs we are not mocking William Hartnell but rather celebrating the eccentricities that made the First Doctor so endearing. Given the multiple takes of modern film production, it is highly doubtful that contemporary actors would come close to displaying the professionalism of the Sixties era Doctor Who stars.

Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks discuss William Hartnell’s perseverance during the filming of The Three Doctors (1973).

10. Episode six of The Web Planet sees a communication device descend upon the Doctor’s head.  When asked by Animus, off camera, if he’d attempted to escape the Doctor responds, “We have been on a slight exploitation.”

A communications device is lowered onto the Doctor's head

A communications device is lowered onto the Doctor’s head in The Web Planet

9.  Whilst introducing the new companion Steven to the TARDIS in episode one of The Time Meddler, the Doctor gives an exceptional run-down of the Ship’s superior features.  At the end of the clip he is scripted as saying “Now please stop bothering me”.  After listening to it multiple times I’m absolutely convinced that Hartnell says “Now please stop buggering me”.

The Time Meddler, Episode 1

8. In episode one of The Web Planet Hartnell appears to forget his lines during a discussion with William Russell (Ian).  Exhibiting extraordinary patience and a determination not to spoil the scene, Russell prompts Hartnell.  Russell’s facial expressions are absolutely classic and brilliantly disguise an otherwise awkward situation.

IAN: Well, come on then, Doctor. Ah.  How do we open the doors?  We have no power.

DOCTOR: Ah, dear, dear, dear, dear, dear. Hmm. It’s one thing after another.

IAN: Hmm?

DOCTOR: Yes, well, I, er, I, er, I didn’t want to, er.

IAN: Hey?

(The Doctor takes his signet ring off).

DOCTOR: This is not merely a decorative object.  Come along, come along.

The Doctor and Ian in The Web Planet

The Doctor and Ian in The Web Planet

7. In episode one of The Smugglers the Doctor discusses with his new companions, Ben and Polly, the difficulties he experiences landing the TARDIS.  After advising his friends that he can neither determine where or in which period he lands, the Doctor then points to the scanner and says, “Oh, now, you see that scanner? That is what I call a scanner up there”.

Ben and Polly arrive take their first trip in the Tardis in The Smugglers

Ben and Polly take their first trip in the Tardis in The Smugglers

6. In The Sensorites, rather than a problem being solved the Doctor accidently states that a solution had been settled – “Yes, well, I rather fancy that’s settled that little bit of a solution”.

Special Feature – Forgetting the Lines – The Sensorites

5. The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan land on a strange beach in The Keys of Marinus.  Having removed her shoes, Susan goes back to the TARDIS to collect another pair.  The Doctor admonishes Ian by saying, “And if you had your shoes on, my boy, you could have lent her hers”

The TARDIS crew land on a mysterious island in The Keys of Marinus

The TARDIS crew land on a mysterious island in The Keys of Marinus

4. Having landed on a beach in The Time Meddler the Doctor and his companions are confronted by a steep cliff face. Although the Doctor suggests to Steven and Vicki that they walk along the beach until they find a cliff face running down to sea level, Steven is convinced that it would be quicker just to climb the cliff.  In response the Doctors says, “But I’m not a mountain goat and I prefer walking to it any day, and I hate climbing”.

The TARDIS Crew land on a beach with a steep cliff face

The TARDIS Crew land on a beach with a steep cliff face in The Time Meddler

3. The Doctor, Steven and Vicki land on a seemingly deserted planet in Galaxy 4. Keen to explore, the Doctor agrees and says that “I think that we shall get some well deserved, undeserved peace for once”.

The Doctor and his companions don't receive the rest they anticipate in Galaxy 4

The Doctor and his companions don’t receive the rest they anticipate in Galaxy 4

2.  Landing in 20th Century London, the Doctor and Dodo see the newly completed Post Office Tower. In perhaps one of the best lines in The War Machines the Doctor states, “You know there’s something alien about that tower.  I can scent it.”

The Doctor can sense and alien force in the newly opened Post Office Tower in The War Machines

The Doctor can sense an alien force in the newly opened Post Office Tower in The War Machines

1.   In discussing whether Ian and Barbara can return to Earth in the Daleks’ time machine the Doctor tells the teachers in The Chase that “You’ll end up as a couple of burnt cinders flying around in Spain … space.”

First Doctor Billy Fluffs

TOMORROW – DAY 46 – The 10 Best William Hartnell Moments

YESTERDAY – DAY 48  – The Top 10 Cliff Hangers of the Sixties

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.