Tag Archives: Frazer Hines

Deborah Watling and Frazer Hines to Appear at Missing Episodes Reveal

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Accordingly to Deborah Watling’s official website both she and Frazer Hines will be helping to launch the newly recovered Doctor Who episodes this Thursday between 3.30 and 7.00 p.m. No details have been provided of the location for the press conference/screening.  Watling’s intended appearance might suggest that the rumours concerning the return of The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear may indeed be true.

Watling played the Second Doctor’s companion Victoria Waterfield from the Season 4 finale, The Evil of the Daleks in May 1967 until the penultimate Season 5 story, Fury From the Deep,  in April 1968.

Hines was the Doctor’s companion Jamie, a Highland Scot from 1746 Culloden.  Hines appeared from Patrick Troughton’s second adventure, The Highlanders in December 1966 until his final story, The War Games, in June 1969. Hines reprised his role of Jamie in the 1983 special The Five Doctors and again in the Season 22 story The Two Doctors. Appearing in 116 episodes of Doctor Who, Hines holds the record for the companion with the most Doctor Who episode appearances.

Deborah Watling as Victoria and Frazer Hines as Jamie in The Abominable Snowmen

Deborah Watling as Victoria and Frazer Hines as Jamie in The Abominable Snowmen (1967)

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The Tomb of the Cybermen

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I first watched The Tomb of the Cybermen in the wake of Matt Smith’s much publicized disclosure that Tomb was his favourite Doctor Who serial. It’s often said that Smith is channelling Patrick Troughton.  I was somewhat bemused, therefore, when I walked away with a rather flat feeling at the serial’s end.  It was okay, I thought, but nothing spectacular.  My second view, for this marathon,  was somewhat more enjoyable, perhaps only because of the elation felt in watching the earliest and first complete Second Doctor serial in the BBC Archives. Nine incomplete serials in a row is a somewhat daunting undertaking so my relief is perhaps entirely understandable.

The men are amazed to see the Cybermen emerge from their frozen tombs

The men are amazed to see the Cybermen emerge from their frozen tombs

The second viewing, however, did nothing to soften my discontent with the unnecessary and detrimentally racist stereotypes.  For the second serial in a row there is a huge and mute black strongman.  In The Evil of the Daleks the character of Kemel was meant to be a Turkish Wrester.  The actor who played him, Sonny Caldinez, however was black.  In Tomb of the Cybermen we have an equally large black strongman, this time named Toberman, and the “manservant” to the equally mysterious, and racially ambiguous, Kaftan.  Early drafts of the script had Toberman (played by Roy Stewart) wearing a hearing aid, however this was written out of the final script.

Roy Stewart played the mute strongman and "man servant" of Kaftan, Toberman

Roy Stewart played the mute strongman and “man servant” of Kaftan, Toberman

Shirley Cooklin was the wife of Story Editor, Peter Bryant, and the role of Kaftan was written specifically for her.  In the Special Feature, The Lost Giants, which is included the Special Edition of The Tomb of the Cybermen DVD, Cooklin describes the difficulties she faced as an actress.  As someone who was not blond haired and blue eyed, she was constantly cast as characters such as French maids.  What Cooklin failed to mention in the video, however, was that she was made up to have much darker skin than she ordinarily had.  An unspecified accent was used throughout the serial and her very dark complexion was less than subtle in hinting that Kaftan was a mysterious  and potentially dangerous outsider.  So successful were the make-up artists in disguising Cooklin that Frazer Hines, a known ladies man, tried unsuccessfully to pick her up!

The "blacked up" Shirley Cooklin as Kaftan

The “blacked up” Shirley Cooklin as Kaftan

The third member of our trio of crooks was the increasingly manic Klieg, played by George Pastell. Pastell was a Greek Cypriot actor famous for playing swarthy villains.  The instigator of a totally crazy plan for world domination in which the Cybermen were to be conscripted as willing assistants, Klieg considered himself the most intelligent and logical person in the world. Clearly he was neither and his arrogance was his downfall.

George Pastell played the swarthy villain, Klieg

George Pastell played the swarthy villain, Klieg

In between my first and second viewings of The Tomb of the Cyberman I had the misfortune of watching the Series Seven episode, Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS. My choice of the word “misfortune” is quite deliberate because throughout that 2013 episode I experienced the same niggling concerns about racism as I had watching Tomb.  The Doctor and Clara find themselves, and the TARDIS, on board an intergalactic salvage ship. The ship is crewed by the brothers Gregor and Bram Van Baalen , together with a humanoid looking android, Tricky. If this was 1967 it would not have surprised me that the characters being “baddies” would also be “black”. This is 2013 however, and I just shook my head in disbelief as the first black characters in Doctor Who for a long time were also villains. Unfortunately most criticism directed to this episode related to allegedly poor acting on the part of Ashley Walters, Mark Oliver and Jahvel Hall. What is more important is that the actors were given little to work with and subjected to negatively stereotypical characterizations.

Incredibly, the only photos I could find online of the Van Baalen brothers, and Tricky were either from behind or as monsters. Racism was again evident in 2013's Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

Incredibly, the only photos I could find online of the Van Baalen brothers, and Tricky, were either from behind or as monsters. Racism was again evident in 2013’s Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

I am not alone in my concerns about racism and Doctor Who.  Philip Sandifer in his blog, and now books, Tardis Eruditorum, is unashamedly critical and has published an excellent essay in the second volume of Tardis Eruditorum, entitled “What do we Make of All These Black Mute Strongmen?”.  He describes the decision by writers Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis to characterize Toberman as a black mute strongman not as a conscious act of malice, but rather an example of  “unconscious failures to even notice that there’s a problem.  More often than not, discrimination is just a particular flavour of stupidity”. In other words, these racist stereotypes are so ingrained that the writers didn’t even realize that they were being inherently racist.  Such racism, I would posit, was inherent in the Stephen Thompson penned 2013 story, Journey.

Philip Sandifer is critical of racism in Doctor Who

Philip Sandifer is critical of racism in Doctor Who

Published in July 2013, the Lindy Orthia edited book, Doctor Who and Race, is a collection of 23 essays on the issue. In May this year there was widespread controversy when Orthia was reported as describing Doctor Who as “thunderingly racist”. The BBC issued a statement which stated as follows:-

Doctor Who has a strong track record of diverse casting among both regular and guest cast.  Freema  Agyeman became the first black companion and Noel Clarke starred in a major role for five years [Mickey Smith].  Reflecting the diversity of the UK is a duty of the BBC, and casting on Doctor Who, is colour-blind. It is always about the best actors for the roles”.

Doctor Who and Race, edited by Lindy Orthia, was released in July 2013

Doctor Who and Race, edited by Lindy Orthia, was released in July 2013

I’m still waiting for Doctor Who and Race to be released on Kindle.  Once it is I will undoubtedly post a review of it on this blog.

The Tomb of the Cybermen does, however, have its positives.  The emergence of the Cybermen from their frozen tombs in episode two is brilliantly done and undeniably iconic. You can even excuse them for using cling wrap as it was as “new” and “exciting” as bubble wrap was to the 1970s Doctor Who designers.

The Cybermen emerge from their icy tombs

The Cybermen emerge from their icy tombs

The Doctor’s discussion with the new companion, Victoria, in episode three is as close to tear-jerking as you’ll get. In discussing the death of Victoria’s father (in The Evil of the Daleks), the Doctor gently tells her of his own family recollections – “I have to really want to, to bring them back in front of my eyes.  The rest of the time they  … sleep in my mind and I forget. As so will you”. The Doctor also discloses for the first time his age and we learn that in earth terms he is roughly 450 years old.

The Doctor and Victoria’s episode three discussion.

Finally, the scene in which the Doctor and Jamie accidently hold hands as they enter the tomb is just fabulous.  Both intending to hold Victoria’s hand, they quickly disengage when the manliness of the other hand becomes apparent.  In the Special Features Frazer Hines describes how he and Patrick Troughton didn’t officially rehearse the scene.  Fearing that their unscripted gag would be cut out, they left its unveiling to the actual filming knowing that cuts were expensive and rarely made.

Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling discussing the making of The Tomb of the Cybermen. 

The Tomb of the Cyberman is unfortunately the only complete serial featuring Deborah Watling as Victoria. It’s back to reconstructions and only one complete episode, when I continue my marathon with The Abominable Snowmen.

The Tomb of the Cybermen was originally broadcast in the UK between 2 September and 23 September 1967

The Tomb of the Cybermen was originally broadcast in the UK between 2 September and 23 September 1967

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

REFERENCE:

Phil Sandifer, Tardis Eruditorum Volume 2: Patrick Troughton. Self published, 2012.

The Faceless Ones

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If you’d tuned into Doctor Who in March or April 1967 you’d be excused for thinking that the programme’s production team had a real issue with holidaying Brits.  Firstly The Macra Terror compared  Butlins style Holiday Camps to a colony governed by giant mind-controlling crabs. Then the next serial, The Faceless Ones, took a shot at the bourgeoning package holiday market and groups of 18 to 25 year-olds jetting off  from Gatwick Airport to European destinations such as Rome, Dubrovnik and Athens.   Participating in such tours could find you miniaturized, shot 150 miles into the air in a aeroplane which transforms into a spaceship, and finally stored away indefinitely in a drawer after an alien has replicated and taken on your form. It’s enough to turn anyone off taking that next holiday!

The Tardis lands on the runway of Gatwick Airport

The Tardis lands on the runway of Gatwick Airport

Mind control and losing one’s identity were issues of great concern to the writers of Doctor Who in the late 1960s. Together with The Macra Terror and The Faceless Ones, such themes were also addressed in a number of other stories.  In the Cybermen serials there was the ever present threat of being upgraded and becoming one of them.  In the Underwater Menace you were at risk of being turned into a Fish Person, and miniaturization and long time storage had been canvassed in The Ark.

The four members of the Tardis Crew before the scatter at Gatwick Airport

The four members of the Tardis Crew before they scatter at Gatwick Airport

The Faceless One marks the real beginning of the classic pairing of Jamie and the Second Doctor.  In his previous outings in the Tardis Jamie had been almost a tacked on afterthought.  Written hastily into the series after his first appearance in The Highlanders, Jamie paraded around in a black wet suit in The Underwater Menace, moaned in a half conscious state about the “Phantom Piper” in The Moonbase, and showed his resilience to mind washing in The Macra Terror.  Jamie’s amazement at the technology of the 20th Century is at last played upon in this serial.  Large passenger aircraft are “flying beasties”,  £28 is a fortune and Gatwick Airport is a world unlike any that he’s ever seen. The audience is left wondering if the Highlander from 1746 is literate as he hides behind The Times newspaper which he holds upside down. They must also wonder what sort of fools the people searching for Jamie are, that they don’t notice the hairy legs of a kilted lad beneath the paper.

Jamie is amazed by all the sights at Gatwick Airport

Jamie is amazed by all the sights at Gatwick Airport

Jamie gets a kiss from Samantha

Jamie gets a kiss from Samantha

It is not until this outing that Jamie is paired principally with the Doctor, although he does spend a fair amount of air time with the Liver Bird, Samantha Briggs. The Liverpudlian character, whose brother was lost on one of the Chameleon Tours, was played by Pauline Collins and would have become the new companion had Collins agreed to the offer. I have little doubt that there were no regrets as her career progressed to stellar heights. Collins was not to appear in Doctor Who again until the 2006 Series 2 story, Tooth and Claw, in which she played Queen Victoria.

Pauline Collins played a girl from Liverpool, Samantha Briggs, who is searching for her lost brother

Pauline Collins played a girl from Liverpool, Samantha Briggs, who was searching for her lost brother

Pauline Collin's next appearance in Doctor Who would be 39 years later as Queen Victoria in Tooth and Claw

Pauline Collins’ next appearance in Doctor Who would be 39 years later as Queen Victoria in Tooth and Claw

Jamie’s rapport with the Doctor is incredible but is only the beginning of a steadfast relationship which will mature during Seasons five and six.  This partnership, however, is at the expense of Ben and Polly who depart the Tardis Crew at the end of episode six.  Ben’s days were numbered from Jamie’s arrival in The Highlanders and it was unfortunate that the dynamic between the two modern day London companions was lost.  Anneke Wills chose to relinquish her role as Polly once Michael Craze’s departure became known.

Jamie's addition to the Tardis Crew eventually came at Ben's expense

Jamie’s addition to the Tardis Crew eventually came at Ben’s expense

Polly discovers a dead body in episode one of The Faceless Ones

Polly discovers a dead body in episode one of The Faceless Ones

Ben and Polly’s farewell was not much better than Dodo’s in The War Machines, which was incidentally Ben and Polly’s first adventure with the Doctor. Absent from episodes three, four and five, they only appeared in a pre-filmed segment at episode six’s close.  A ten month companionship spanning  two Doctors ended abruptly when the couple realized that it was 20 July 1966, the very day that they’d stumbled into the Tardis at the conclusion of The War Machines.  Although visibly upset, Polly was pleased to be able to get back to her own world.  The Doctor said how lucky they were because he never got to return to his.  Exhibiting a marked sexism the Doctor stated, “Now go on, Ben can catch his ship and become an Admiral, and you Polly, you can look after Ben”.  What a life.  You could tell it was 1967!  After Polly enquired as to whether the Doctor would be safe, Jamie assured her that “I’ll look after him”.

We bid Ben and Polly a sad farewell

We bid Ben and Polly a sad farewell

The Second Doctor’s first present day serial, The Faceless Ones,  is sure to have influenced Mark Gatiss when he wrote the Series 2 story The Idiot’s Lantern. In that 2006 Tenth Doctor story an evil entity, The Wire, existed only in the form of energy.  She transferred herself  between television sets and fed off humanity’s mental signals as people innocently watched the telly.  In stealing the humans’ energy The Wire hoped to one day  regain a corporeal form.  Her victims, however, were robbed of their faces and minds, although they still retained consciousness. Faceless the victims became, but nowhere near as grotesque as their predecessors in The Faceless Ones.

Rose Tyler becomes faceless in 2006's The Idiot's Lantern

Rose Tyler becomes faceless in 2006’s The Idiot’s Lantern

The Chameleon Faceless Ones of 1967 were altogether more frightening

The Chameleon Faceless Ones of 1967 were altogether more frightening

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Faceless Ones and am saddened that only two of the six episodes are held in the BBC Archives.  The Second Doctor serials are just such a delight and it’s appalling that there are only a handful of complete Troughton serials remaining.  As the Doctor and Jamie walked off at the story’s end, looking for the stolen Tardis, I contemplated how pleased I was that Doctor Who is a British and not an Australian programme.  Jamie would never have had his Scottish accent stolen, and replaced by a Received Pronunciation one in the Chameleon-Jamie, if the show was made in Australia.  Nor would the actor who played the Police Inspector Crossland experience such difficulties in gaining and retaining a Scots brogue. Most importantly, however, the humans who were replicated by the Chameleons would never have been left hidden in cars.  Residing in such a hot environment we’re all too schooled  in the “dogs die in hot cars” commercials to ever contemplate leaving a human in one!  Join me next time as Season four comes to an end with The Evil of the Daleks and Doctor Who gets its newest companion, Victoria.

Sam, Inspector Crossland and Jamie

Sam, Inspector Crossland and Jamie

The Doctor and Inspector Crossland

The Doctor and Inspector Crossland

The Faceless Ones was originally broadcast in the UK between 8 April and 13 May 1967.  Episodes 1 and 3 are available on the triple DVD set Lost in Time

The Faceless Ones was originally broadcast in the UK between 8 April and 13 May 1967. Episodes 1 and 3 are available on the triple DVD set Lost in Time

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.