I couldn’t resist sharing this Wales Online article which features the fantastic artwork of 35 year old American Christie Cox. Cox has reimaged all 13 incarnations of the Doctor as dogs. You can read the article and view all of the artwork here.
Last Weekend saw the annual Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles, California celebrate its 25th Anniversary. Amongst the many panels at the three day event was one entitled “Sherlock Morris & the Case of the Missing Episodes” on Saturday afternoon. The five member panel comprised of Steve Roberts, Damian Shanahan, Greg Bakun, Steven Schapansky and Jon Preddle.
Twitter, social media and Doctor Who forums were set alight following Doctor Who Restoration Team member Steve Robert’s theatrically dramatic on-stage destruction of an omnirumour list. Many assumed from this symbolic act of paper tearing that Roberts was debunking all rumours of the recovery of any of Doctor Who’s 97 currently missing episodes. Thankfully Roberts has clarified his theatrics in an audio interview released yesterday by Radio Free Skaro.
Radio Free Skaro claims to be the “most popular, most prolific and charmingly irreverent (but never irrelevant) Doctor Who Podcast around”. The three Canadians, Warren Frey, Steven Schapansky and Chris Burgess, have produced 408 podcasts since August 2006. Yesterday’s podcast is entitled “The Case of the Missing Episodes” and includes interviews with Steve Roberts, and missing episodes experts Damian Shanahan (Australia) and Jon Preddle (New Zealand).
The interview with Steve Roberts is enlightening and clarifies the circumstances surrounding the Gallifrey One panel incident. Roberts told Radio Free Skaro’s Chris Burgess and Steven Schapansky (with whom he shared the stage for the panel) the following,
(The omnirumour) is apparently now a list of the state of every apparently recovered missing episode and what stage of restoration they’re apparently at and when they will be released. It’s a very interesting document full of internal logic errors … I printed it out and went through some choice episodes … and ended up theatrically ripping the piece of paper and throwing it on the stage. It was literally to get a good audience response which it did.
Roberts went on to state,
I absolutely believe that Phil (Morris) has found more Doctor Who. And Phil is a very secretive guy and he won’t have told anyone what he’s got. He hasn’t told us what he’s got. He hasn’t told my team. He hasn’t told Paul Vanezis … So if we don’t know, how do all these other people suddenly know in such detail the apparent state of these things? It doesn’t make any sense to me.
Roberts further said that Marco Polo is the story most likely to be found because there were more copies sold than other serials. He then stated,
It’s my opinion that Phil definitely has found Marco Polo. I have no evidence whatsoever to back that up because I’ve not seen anything, He’s not told me that. He’s not told any of my friends or colleagues that but I just think that he will have …He hasn’t come out and said “I’ve definitely got more Doctor Who” but in the statements he’s made he says “It’s a great time for Doctor Who fans. Expect the unexpected”. He’s very positive … He’s definitely got more. He’s not leading anyone on because he’s not that sort of person. He will give things back, I’m sure, when it suits his business, the BBC, whatever when the time is right. I don’t know what his game plan is. I’m sure he has one.
©Vivien Fleming, 2014.
An informative 8 minute video from the BBC’s The One Show on the recovery and release of The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear in October 2013. The segment features the First Doctor’s companion Peter Purves and the hunt for missing episodes. Of particular interest is the interview with Graham Strong concerning his collection of audio tapes of missing episodes.
After a long 50th Anniversary induced break it’s back to the Doctor Who Mind Robber’s journey through all 800 episodes of Who. Today we farewell the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, as Season Six concludes and we inch towards Jon Pertwee’s debut as the Third Doctor. Please join us as we explore Season Seven of Doctor Who and meet the Silurians and Autons for the first time.
It was only at the close of Doctor Who’s monochrome era in 1969 that the world’s longest running science fiction series gave itself a back-story. Already in its sixth season, and more than five years since An Unearthly Child was first broadcast, Doctor Who had hitherto avoided the continuity consciousness for which it is today so famous. The Second Doctor would never have alluded to his body “wearing a bit thin” as John Hurt’s Doctor did of the First Doctor’s final words in The Day of the Doctor. To be sure, Doctor Who had a history but it was one that was only fleetingly referred to and then to those stories of recent memory only. Hence the Second Doctor famously misheard the word “jetty” for “Yeti” in The Enemy of the World however this allusion was only to a serial broadcast two stories previously, The Abominable Snowmen.
The War Games changed Who’s consciousness of its past forever. Never before had a serial borrowed clips from previous serials save for the final episode of The Wheel in Space in which the Doctor projected his thought patterns onto a monitor and the reprise from episode two of The Evil of the Daleks was seen. On that occasion the clip had been shown as a lead-in for the first ever repeat of a serial, the aforementioned The Evil of the Daleks. In The War Games, however, stock footage was used as if it was new and previously unseen. Hence, in the Doctor and his companion’s escape from the Time Lords footage from Fury From the Deep was borrowed as the TARDIS spun to sea-level and from The Web of Fear when the ship was entangled in cobwebs. It was fortunate that the Fury clip was borrowed because all of its episodes are missing from the archives. The spinning TARDIS gives fans an all too brief glimpse at what the serial would have looked like.
Who stock footage was also utilized in episode 10 of The War Games when, akin to Wheel, the Doctor again reflected his thought patterns to a wall. In this instance it was the benefit of the Time Lords who were provided with details of the monsters the Doctor had recently fought, namely Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti, Ice Warriors and Quarks.
The show’s back-story, however, came with the arrival and naming of the Doctor’s race. Since Doctor Who’s beginnings the Doctor had never been able to control the TARDIS’s steering. It was for that reason that he was unable to return all of the kidnapped soldiers back to their own eras and had need to call in the Time Lords for assistance. Only once previously had the Doctor encountered one of his own and on that occasion his race was not named. Rather than being dour and judgemental as the Time Lords were, The Monk of Season Three was somewhat of a hapless, albeit amusing, renegade. It was in his renegade status that the Doctor had most in common with The Monk.
Jamie incorrectly assumed that the Doctor’s people would be both friendly and supportive of him. Alas, this was not to be as the Doctor was compelled to admit to his companions that he was on the run from the Time Lords. Being bored with the existence of a Time Lord on their unnamed planet he stole a TARDIS and embarked on a life of adventure and inter-planetary interference.
Prior to meeting the three Time Lords who were in judgement of him, the Doctor encountered the evil renegade, the War Chief who was in alliance with the War Lords, a humanoid race of beings intent on conquering the galaxy. It was with the War Chief’s expertise that the War Lords’ acquired the ability to time travel in the inferior technology crafts called SIDRATs (TARDIS backwards).
Although The War Games is best remembered for its back-story invention, more significantly it is story on the futility of war. The War Lords kill for killing’s sake in a quest to unearth the universe’s best fighting force of soldiers. It is with the best soldiers that the War Lords hope to conquer the galaxy. The wars in each of the zones are as pointless as they are artificial. Victory would be of no effect as the wars are illusory. There are no spoils for the victors to share but rather the (unknown) guarantee of further bloodshed when they are next compelled to battle for the War Lords. Transported from their own time zones to an unnamed world, the soldiers are lost to the society’s from which they came. This is sure to be an analogy for the millions lost to the bloodshed of history’s wars.
The War Games is also a tale on judicial injustice. The serial begins and ends with trials in which the rule of law is disregarded. The Kangaroo Court before which the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie appear in the 1917 war zone is bereft of any semblance of truth or integrity. The monocle wearing War Lord Smyth hypnotises all to accept his distorted version of the “truth”. Memories are lost and lies deposited in the minds of Smyth’s subordinates. The Doctor is sentenced to death without the benefit of any defence. His imminent dawn execution in episode one is perhaps one of the best cliff hangers in Who’s history.
The Time Lords’ trial of the Doctor at the serial’s conclusion is only slightly less abusive of the defendant’s inalienable right to a fair trial. In contrast to Smyth’s show trial, the Time Lord’s permit the Doctor to tender some evidence in support of his defence against breaching the most paramount of all his people’s laws – non- interference in dealings with the rest of the universe. Although the Doctor had indeed interfered in the affairs of the universe his defence was essentially one of mitigation. The ends, the Doctor indirectly argued, justified the means. There were evils in the universe that needed to be fought. As the Doctor stated:
I not only admit them. I am proud of them. While you have been content merely to observe the evil in the galaxy, I have been fighting against it … All these evils I have fought while you have done nothing but observe. True. I am guilty of interference, just as you are guilty of failing to use your great powers to help those in need!
Despite his spirited defence the Doctor was nonetheless convicted and his defence taken as a plea in mitigation. Whilst accepting that certain evil in the universe must be fought the Time Lords sentenced him to exile on Earth, a planet to which he had a particular interest. The secret of the TARDIS was to be taken from him and he was to have his appearance changed. The writers of Doctor Who had yet to invent the term “regeneration”. Although the opportunity was initially afforded to the Doctor to choose his appearance, the Time Lords quickly tired of his objections to each and every pencil sketched face offered to him. Seeing this as a refusal to make a decision the Time Lords without further notice made it for the Doctor and propelled him into a circling vortex. Interestingly, he was not charged and compelled to face court on a charge of stealing the TARDIS. Perhaps it was considered a minor offense that might warrant an on the spot fine?
That the head of the aliens is known as the “War Lord” exhibits that he and his race are authorities on war, whereas the “Time Lords” are specialists in the field of time. The use of the word “Lord” at the end of each title is suggestive of a royal or hereditary class structure. It was therefore surprising, and arguably anathema that John Hurt’s Doctor in the minisode The Night of the Doctor should be credited as the “War Doctor” in the closing titles. This was obviously an issue to which Steven Moffat gave great thought and was resolved in the 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor. In the January 2014 edition of the Doctor Who Magazine Moffat discussed this issue in depth
“The Time War became a piece of back story that inevitably forced its way to the front cos you really have to contemplate – and the more you think about this seriously – that this lovely man who you’re watching week after week has committed genocide!”
It was extraordinarily sad to farewell both Jamie and Zoe in this serial. Zoe quickly became my favourite female companion of the 1960s during my Second Doctor marathon. You can read our 50th Anniversary Countdown piece on Zoe here. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet the lovely Wendy Padbury in person during a cigarette break at the Brisbane Lords of Time 2 in December. She was every bit as charming and engaging as I’d imagined. In The War Games Zoe again endeared herself to me by knocking an officer unconscious with a vase and describing the horrendously sexist Mexican resistance leader as having “rather primitive ideas about women knowing their place”. In the end we learn that Donna Noble was not the first Who companion to have their memories of the Doctor wiped. Jamie’s exit was no less traumatic although it was with relief that his last words were his clan’s battle cry, “Creag an Tuire”! Jamie was again in battle mode as an armed redcoat fled.
So ends the Second Doctor’s era. Join the Doctor Who Mind Robber as we continue our journey with the Third Doctor!
©Vivien Fleming, 2014.
Following the stellar success of the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectaculars in Melbourne and Sydney in 2012 and 2013, Brisbane was blessed with its first performance of the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular (DWSS) on Saturday 8 February. These concerts have their genesis in the UK’s Doctor Who Prom. Proms have been held in 2008, 2010 and 2013 and this DWSS was modelled upon the third and most recent Prom.
The DWSS is not, however, a travelling roadshow from the UK. Although the Conductor, Ben Foster, is responsible for the orchestration of Murray Gold’s compositions and has conducted the UK Proms, the orchestras, choruses and soloists are home grown. This is Doctor Who with an Australian accent. Having each city’s own Symphonic Orchestra perform has been an inspired choice and has afforded audiences the opportunity to experience their own Symphony Orchestras, perhaps for the first time. Reviewers who have seen multiple DWSSs in different cities attest to the subtle differences in interpretation given to pieces by each respective orchestra. Moreover, the DWSS has introduced the symphonic musical genre to a multitude of concert goers and schooled four symphony orchestras so far (Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland and New Zealand) in the musical delights of Doctor Who.
The Queensland Symphonic Orchestra performed in the Brisbane Spectacular. The QSO is Queensland’s only professional symphony orchestra and employs 88 full-time musicians. Performing over 100 live performances per year, the QSO is seen by around 100,000 people annually. Given the 8,500 in attendance at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, that’s almost 10% of the Orchestra’s yearly audience in one night! The QSO announced on its Facebook page that the Brisbane Spectacular was performed before the largest audience yet for a DWSS.
Brisbane Chorale provided the vocals and is an independent incorporated association which was originally formed under the auspices of the Queensland Conservatorium in February 1983. Comprising of over 100 voices, this choral music ensemble regularly performs with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
Peter Davison hosted the Spectacular and his entrance onto the stage was met with rapturous applause. Introducing himself as the Fifth Doctor, Davison advised the audience that they could just call him “005”. Lamenting the English cricket team’s demise in the recent Ashes series, he hoped the audience would be kind enough for him to cancel his taxi booking for a quick exit to the airport. The Fifth Doctor, who alas was not dressed in his Doctor Who garb, joked about mobile phone messages and texts between himself and former companion, Janet Fielding, who was born in Brisbane. Later Davison did his best to plug the meteoric Five(ish) Doctors Reboot without seeming to do so. The 30 minute faux reality piece featuring the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors is still available to view on the BBC website.
As an “Old School” Doctor Who fan one of the highlights was the Classic Doctor Who Melody. Clocking in at an all too short 8 minutes, it featured musical interpretations from The Daleks, The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Sea Devils, City of Death, Logopolis, The Five Doctors, The Ultimate Foe and The Curse of Fenric. Commencing with the TARDIS’s idiosyncratic materialization sound and a quick photo of Delia Derbyshire, the genius who realized the theme, the First Doctor and Susan are then seen to be accosted by a Dalek. Having been greeted upon entering the Brisbane Entertainment Centre precinct with Martin Slavin’s sublimely eloquent Space Adventure it was with immeasurable pleasure that I became immersed in the short extract presented here. Space Adventure was the Cybermen’s theme in the Second Doctor adventures The Moonbase and The Tomb of the Cybermen. The piece received its final Who outing as the Yeti’s accompaniment in the recently recovered six part serial The Web of Fear. Visually this musical masterpiece was accompanied by the chilling emergence of the Cybermen from their icy graves in The Tomb of the Cybermen – an iconic moment in Doctor Who’s history, if ever there was one. Listen to the original Space Adventure in full in the link below.
The Second Doctor’s encounter concludes with a second generation Cyberman delivering their 1960’s catch phrase – “You will be like us”. A short visual interlude ensued of the Third Doctor and the Sea Devils (now that’s a monster that needs reviving!), followed by an extended exploration of Paris with the Fourth Doctor and Romana II. The Fourth Doctor regenerates to the Fifth surrounded by images of companions, (then) present and past, followed by extracts from The Five Doctors. It was also a delight to see the Sixth Doctor’s response to Peri, “Change my dear. And it seems not a moment too soon”. The Seventh Doctor and Ace concluded this sentimental journey.
Tom Baker’s inclusion in two pre-taped video presentations was a delightful bonus. Described by the host Peter Davison as balmy as ever, Baker regaled the audience with the tale of his pre-dawn stealth drive from Suffolk to Cardiff for four hours of filming with Matt Smith for the 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor. The full two and a half minutes of Baker’s cameo as the Curator accompanied the music from the serial and met its conclusion with rapturous applause.
Nods to Classic Series Who were also evident in visual accompaniment to The Name of the Doctor. Undoubtedly my favourite aspect of Series 7 was Clara’s dream like encounters with all of the Eleventh Doctor’s predecessors in the season finale. It was such a delight to see that segment cast upon the big screen.
Amongst the works of composer Murray Gold performed where I am the Doctor which visually incorporated the Doctor’s speech from The Pandorica Opens and The Companions, a medley of themes for companions Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Donna Noble and Amy Pond. Interestingly, it was Donna’s theme that received the greatest applause from this Brisbane audience. Clara Oswald’s theme was celebrated in The Impossible Girl. Cyber Shard included music from The Bells of Saint John and Nightmare in Silver, whilst The Rings of Akhaten featured the vocals of soloists Lauren Elvery and Iain Henderson. The Daleks, who did not appear in person until after the intermission, denounced conductor Ben Foster’s over-acting prior to the orchestra launching into First There were Daleks, a suite of music from various Dalek serials. Song for Fifty, sung by the Soprano, Antoinette Halloran, celebrated Who’s 50th Anniversary. Antoinette had earlier provided a soaring rendition of Abigail’s Song (Silence is all you Know) from the 2010 Christmas Special, A Christmas Carol. Referring again to the Classic Series, Vale Decem featured clips from the Doctor’s regenerations. The Doctor Who production office’s Golden Anniversary output permitted the audience to at last see snippets from the regeneration of the Eighth Doctor to the War Doctor (John Hurt) thanks to the minisode The Night of the Doctor, and the War Doctor to the Ninth in The Day of the Doctor. In an economically packaged masterstroke Steven Moffat has rendered complete the transition from classic to current era Who. Just when the audience thought that they’d leave the Spectacular without a rendition of the Doctor Who Theme, the orchestra and choir concluded the programme with a very short one and a half minute rendition.
Compared to the televised symphonic presentations of Doctor Who, the monsters’ presence in the Brisbane DWSS was a little light on. Gracing the auditorium were Daleks, Judoons, an Ice Warrior, the Silence, Cybermen, Ood, Whispermen, Vampire Girls, Silurians and a Weeping Angel. Needless to say none of them reached my seat in the far outreaches high above the stalls, however those fortunate enough to be accosted by the monsters appeared well pleased by the experience.
The audiences response to the Spectacular was overwhelmingly positive. A new generation was introduced to symphonic orchestras and all were left hoping for the return of the DWSS to Brisbane in the near future.
As previously indicated, some of the musical selections played in breaks before and after the show were quite a delight. Together with the aforementioned Space Adventure fans of the monochrome era of Who would have recognized Colonial Dance from The Macra Terror and The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon from The Gunfighters. I was left wondering how many others amongst the eight and a half thousand in the audience knew these hidden gems.
Tickets for the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular in Wellington at the TSB Bank Arena on Friday 21 February and Saturday 22 February are available from Ticketek NZ – http://premier.ticketek.co.nz/shows/show.aspx?sh=DRWHO14
©Vivien Fleming, 2014.
Brisbane Chorale website – www.brisbanedchorale.org.au
Queensland Symphony Orchestra website – http://www.qso.com.au
Queensland Symphony Orchestra Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/queenslandsymphonyorchestra
With the hysteria of Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary behind us, and Peter Capaldi’s debut series as the Doctor at least six months away, it’s time to recommence the Doctor Who Mind Robber’s ultimate marathon. Before the unrelenting barrage of Golden Anniversary publicity and hype derailed the writer’s quest to view and review all 800 episodes of Doctor Who, this humble blog had chronicled the Doctor’s adventures from William Hartnell’s debut serial, An Unearthly Child, to Patrick Troughton’s penultimate outing, The Space Pirates. Although the final serial of the monochrome era, The War Games, had been viewed several times, the review has yet to grace the pages of this blog. It’s almost as if I couldn’t bare to make the final break with my favourite doctor, Troughton. Alas, it’s time to move on. Peter Capalid’s channelling of Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor in his costume publicity photos has reignited my passion to explore the tenure of our first full colour Doctor. Please join me for the journey!
©Vivien Fleming, 2014.