...with a quick look at “The Happiness Patrol,” a three part McCoy era story initially transmitted November 1988.
BBC Home Entertainment, Aint It Cool News, and The Alamo Drafthouse Invite You To A Free Screening Of DOCTOR WHO: 'The Daemons' In Austin!!
Last month, BBC Home Entertainment, Aint It Cool News, and The Alamo Drafthouse bought you a special screening of the newly restored DOCTOR WHO classic "The Three Doctors." That event sold out the largest auditorium in the brand new Alamo Drafthouse in Southwest Austin, and everyone enjoyed the experience so much that we can't wait to show you another classic WHO story on the big screen. So...
On Saturday April 28 at 1pm at the Alamo Drafthouse on Slaughter Lane in Austin, we'll be screening "The Daemons" which arrived on DVD April 10 - a five part DOCTOR WHO tale from 1971 which BBC describes thusly:
In the peaceful village of Devil’s End something very strange is happening. A professor is preparing to open a nearby burial mound, and a local white witch foresees death and disaster. Meanwhile, the new vicar looks suspiciously like the Master, and he is using black magic to conjure up an ancient Dæmon. Can the third Doctor (Jon Pertwee), Jo (Katy Manning) and UNIT stop their old enemy before he succeeds?
The screening is free and is general admission (first come, first seated/served). However, admittance to the screening can be guaranteed by purchasing THIS MEAL VOUCHER in advance.
There was a great deal of interest in our last screening, so I strongly recommend moving quickly to make arrangements to attend. I'll be present for discussion and to introduce the episode, and we should have some cool goodies to offer a few lucky attendees as well.
BBC Home Entertainment, Aint It Cool News, and the Alamo Drafthouse are all very excited to bring you this opportunity, and we're looking forward to seeing you there!
BBC Home Entertainment and Aint It Cool News Would Like To Give You DVD Copies Of The DOCTOR WHO Classics "The Daemons" And "Carnival of Monsters"!!
To commemorate our super-cool screening of "The Daemons" next week, BBC Home Entertainment and Aint It Cool News are giving you a chance to snag two recent DVD releases, each featuring wonderfully restored versions of a compelling DOCTOR WHO adventure. Both sets are loaded with insightful and fun extras.
What's up for grabs?
In the peaceful village of Devil’s End something very strange is happening. A professor is preparing to open a nearby burial mound, and a local white witch foresees death and disaster. Meanwhile, the new vicar looks suspiciously like the Master, and he is using black magic to conjure up an ancient Dæmon. Can the third Doctor (Jon Pertwee), Jo (Katy Manning) and UNIT stop their old enemy before he succeeds?
Freed from his exile on Earth, the third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) takes Jo (Katy Manning) on a test flight in the TARDIS, landing aboard SS Bernice, a cargo ship that appears to be crossing the Indian Ocean in 1926. As events take a dangerous and unexpected twist, it seems that their fate lies in the hands of a traveling showman named Vorg and his assistant Shirna, who have just arrived on the distant planet of Inter Minor with an amazing intergalactic peepshow called the Miniscope.
What do you have to do to snag one of these? Between now and 12 (noon) CST USA on Monday April 23, I've pre-selected one (1) time of day on one (1) pre-selected date. Whoever e-mails me at, or closest to, my pre-selected time on my preselected date will win this prize pack.
Only THREE ENTRIES PER PERSON, PER DAY, will be allowed. Anyone deviating from this limitation will see all of their entries for that day summarily discarded.
BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR FULL ADDRESS IN YOUR SUBMISSION. This is to expedite shipping of your prize only - no Spam lists or mass mailings or anything like that. All entries will be summarily deleted once a recipient is chosen.
BE SURE TO SEND FROM A FREQUENTLY CHECKED E-MAIL ADDRESS!! If I need to contact you and can not do so, I'll quickly move on to the next closest entry.
IN THE SUBJECT LINE, include the phrase "The TARDIS Looks Kinda Cute Painted Pink!" If this is not in your subject line, your message won't be filtered correctly and I'll most likely not see it.
BE SURE YOU SEND E-MAIL TO THE ADDRESS LINKED BELOW!! You'd be surprised how many people send entries to the wrong place.
CONTEST OPEN TO NORTH AMERICAN READERS ONLY!!
Have fun, best of luck, and thanks so much for your time and support!
“Look me in the eye. Pull the trigger. End my life.” - the Doctor, “The Happiness Patrol” Episode 2
The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and companion Ace (Sophie Aldred) arrive on Terra Alpha - an Earth colony settled “several hundred years” in Ace’s future. From the moment they arrive, neither of them like the place very much...finding it too artificial and “happy.” Qualities made more troublesome by rumors recently gleaned by the Doctor: is “something evil” happening here?
The core ideas driving “The Happiness Patrol” may all have seemed full of potential when considered on their own merits. But as realized by writer Graeme Curry and director Chris Clough, they amass in an imprecise vision which is never fully formed or roundly executed.
Sheila Hancock as Helen A, architect of 'happiness' but bringer of despair on Terra Aplha. Seen here with her smug Stigorax, Fifi - who sports a striking resemblance to its master.
It’s Willy Wonka meets BRAZIL - attempting an exploration of the human condition while also condemning fascism. These radically disparate notions are difficult to stitch together at best, and therein lies a lion’s share of this story’s failings. “The Happiness Patrol” represents a distracting and forceful collision of under-developed conceits and thematics rather than the creation of a naturalistic universe, resulting in a story which manages to merely skirt many intriguing notions without actually being about very much at all.
Thus, a story which (like STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER one year later) is about the essential human need to counterbalance joy with heartbreak emerges as aggravatingly remote and strangely aloof. Despite some ham-handed lip service intended to verbalize the point of this whole affair, there is simply no payoff here to justify the journey.
Matters are worsened when the Kandyman - a confection-themed AI/robot turned inquisitor, enforcer, and executioner - arrives.
While this opinion may not be popular amongst Docback regulars, I actually don’t have any issue with what The Powers That Be were attempting here: a visually odd, brightly colored, childish action figure whose megalomania and homicidal tendencies run wholly contrary to preconceptions suggested by his aesthetic. That could result in a fun, subversive, unexpected, and wicked character. Again, as with the story’s muddled thematics and ineffectual cross hatching of genres, the execution simply doesn’t match the concept’s innate potential.
As presented, Kandyman is a sluggish, dim-witted, grating, lard ass of a subservient who couldn’t possibly have earned the fearful reputation with which he is evidently regarded. In fact, he spends much of his appearance immobilized because his feet have been stuck to the floor. He’s a sissy...a zero...a little bitch...and any Terra Alphan incapable of summarily dispensing with him deserves whatever ludicrous fate the Kandyman may have waiting for them. He’s a story-sinking character of scant logic and zero credibility. (see the extras notes below for more on Kandyman’s conceptualization/evolution).
In the midst of so much bumbling and stumbling, “The Happiness Patrol” does occasionally shine - and when it does so, it shines very brightly. John Asbridge’s often rich and oversized production design strongly portends Alex Proyas’ DARK CITY ten years later...
The Happiness Patrol is on the move - here rolling up to harmonica playing Earl Sigma (Richard D. Sharp), whose blues aren't fully understood on Terra Aplha.
...and a surprisingly effective, harmonica-driven score by Dominic Glynn infuses much needed tonal and emotional connection.
Somewhat ironically (considering the overall state of the adventure), it is in “The Happiness Patrol” that Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor enjoys two of the most memorable sequences ever afforded any iteration of the Doctor. These scenes also reinforce my own assertion (not always shared by the DW fan community) that McCoy was, in actuality, an extremely capable Doctor who was merely saddled with frustratingly inadequate material.
In one early exchange, a thoroughly provoked Ace lashes towards the bad guys: “I want to nail those scumbags, I want to make them very, very unhappy.” “Don’t worry Ace...” reassures the Doctor with a nearly homicidal chill, “...we will.” A later story movement finds the Doctor face to face with armed snipers who level a gun at his face. In response, the Doctor menacingly...almost psychotically...challenges a guard to shoot him at point blank range.
These are among the finest “badass” Doctor moments I’ve yet encountered in my non-chronological journey through the show, and if the whole of “The Happiness Patrol” had risen to these equally lofty and carefully conceived plateaus, history would remember the Doctor’s adventure on Terra Alpha as something very, very special.
As is, however, “The Happiness Patrol” is a frustrated traveller. It sets out on a journey towards greatness, but falls far short of its destination due to numerous traffic jams (convoluted concepts) and mechanical issues (the failure of writer Curry and director Clough to merge said concepts into an effective whole). It’s an interesting and perhaps even noble undertaking, and one which sometimes hints at great vision.
But that vision is never fully focused or defined, and remains coyly elusive throughout.
“The Happiness Patrol” earns yummy rewards for at least attempting to think out of the box and create something unique and memorable, and is never as painfully bankrupt as say, “Time and the Rani” or “The Sensorites.” Nor does it come close standing amongst the giants. Which is a shame, because with more thought and less diffusion, it very well might have.
The restored “Happiness Patrol” is now available HERE in the U.S. and HERE in the U.K.
Happiness Will Prevail (23:46)
The folks who made this episode attempt to explain what they were thinking in a slightly-too-self congratulatory way.
-- Andrew Cartmel (Script Editor)
-- Graeme Curry (writer), who says that “Happiness Patrol” was developed, in part, to subvert the common DOCTOR WHO conceit that the Doctor lands on a planet where there’s a problem and leaves everyone happy in the end. "What you ended up with was the Doctor being able to go somewhere and leave people with the ability to be miserable if they wanted to”.
Curry also says the episode is skewering a “brash” American culture (“muzak, cheer leaders, shiny stuff”) - which “always kind of seemed a bit sinister to me, as if it wasn’t the truth..it was hiding something.”
Because, you know, there are no British propensities about which outsiders might level similar charges...
-- Chris Clough (director)
-- Sophie Aldred (companion Ace)
-- David John Pope (Kandyman)
** Cartmel calls Kandyman “a magnificent piece of design”
** Helen A = Margaret Thatcher
** Kandyman originally conceived to be something of a fringe (“more human”) scientist who killed for in order to fund his experiments. Would've loved this take...'tis what the story needed.
** Bassett's candies got upset that Kandyman bore a striking resemblance to their icon/logo.
(l - Bassett's Allsorts Man, r -DOCTOR WHO's Kandyman)
Bassett's complained to BBC, and as part of an agreement between BBC and Bassett’s, Kandyman could never be used in future DOCTOR WHO stories.
** Aldred mentions having head rumors that “Happiness Patrol” was to be shot noir-style / black & white.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (23:20)
23:20!?!?!? That's a lot of material...
When Worlds Collide (46:05)
Shaun Ley hosts an extended assessment of DOCTOR WHO’s political nature. How the show and characterizations were influenced by, and fit into, their worlds/times.
-- Andrew Cartmel (Script Editor 1986-89)
-- Barry Letts (Writer/Producer/Director 1967-75)
-- Terrance Dicks (writer/Script Editor 1968-83)
-- Gareth Roberts (writer 2006- )
-- Steve O’Brien (Cult Media Journalist)
-- Bob Baker (writer 1970-79)
Photo Gallery (5:48)
Much Fifi and Kandyman.
Radio Times Listings
Coming Soon (1:37)
A preview of the forthcoming DVD reissuance of “Death to the Daleks” (Pertwee, Story # 72)
1) a Docback should be about completely open and free discourse regarding all things WHO with, obviously, some variation on subject matter from time to time - the real world intervenes, discussions of other shows are inevitable, etc.)...
2) matters of SPOILAGE should be handled with thoughtful consideration and sensitivity. Posts containing SPOILERS should clearly state that a SPOILER exists in its topic/headline and should never state the spoiler itself . "** SPOILER ** Regarding Rory" is OK, for example. "** SPOILER ** Battle of Zarathustra" is fine as well. " **SPOILER** Why did everyone die?" Is NOT good.
And, above all...
3) converse, agree, disagree, and question as much as you want - but the freedom to do so is NOT a license to be rude, crass, disrespectful, or uncivilized in any way. Not remaining courteous and civil, as well as TROLLING or undertaking sensational efforts to ignite controversy, will result in banning. Lack of courtesy may receive one (1) warning before a ban is instigated. Obvious Trolling or Spamming will result in summary banning with no warning. One word posts intended to bump-up any Docback's figures on AICN's "Top Talkbacks" sidebar will be considered actionable Spam - they not only complicate efforts to access Docback from mobile devices, but impede readers' abilities to follow or engage in flowing conversation.
In short, it's easy. Be excellent to each other. Now party on...
Seems like McCoy gets lost in the shuffle between the end of classic era-Who and the revival beginning with Eccelston. I suppose Paul McGann is even more overlooked, but of actors who inhabited the TARDIS for more than a standalone outing, McCoy seems to get the least press.
At first I didn't care too much for it, but I recently began at the (new) beginning and am starting to come around.
I think what I needed was to understand what Doctor Who really *is* once more. I had the memory of it from my daily viewing in the classic era, but that was over 20 years ago. Once I watched a couple of classic episodes and then came back to the first Eccelston stories, I'm back on the show's wavelength to a greater degree and digging it.
I watched the first four episodes and while I didn't care much for Eccelston in my initial brief exposure to him, I'm finding him much more enjoyable now. I first found his Doctor dour and coarse but there's much more lightness in the interpretation than I realized.
The first problem with McCoy's era was the overall quality of the production. The Davison and Colin Baker eras began to appear dated because they looked too similar to the Tom Baker years. With McCoy's era, however, the production began to look cheap and second-rate. The easiest way to see this is to watch the last two parts of The Trial of a Time Lord (The Ultimate Foe) and then immediately put on Time and the Rani. Huge difference.
Another problem with McCoy's era was Mel. She just never really came together as a companion that people could really like. She was probably the weakest companion in the program's history outside of Dodo.
The final problem with McCoy's era was the material itself. All of his first year stories were among the weakest and/or most ridiculously conceived stories ever. His second year picked up slightly, but there are parts of this story, Silver Nemesis and The Greatest Show in the Galaxy that are overly camp. His last year was pretty solid, featuring the return of the Brigadier and the Master, and the stories overall were pretty compelling. Unfortunately the axe was already about to fall.
I actually quite like The Happiness Patrol. I think there was a very solid concept here that just didn't gel. The Kandyman had a lot to do with that, because such a character/concept is the very definition of camp. But there is one other scene that I think hammers home the point of this serial. (SPOILERS TO FOLLOW) Helen A has just found out that her husband has left her (with another man!) and she realizes the jig is up. She tries to make her own escape but is confronted by the Doctor who explains everything to her. She still refuses to believe, but then sees her beloved Fifi's corpse and then completely breaks down in tears. In a way, this was the perfect ending because it allowed the Doctor's idea to triumph and he was able to take the superior position. Helen A would now have to live with the thoughts she tried to eradicate, which was more fitting than having her die. You can almost feel a bit sorry for her, too. So I think the ending was pretty effective for this story. (END SPOILERS)
This certainly isn't the best story, nor the best McCoy story. It is one of the oddest/most interesting, and is deserving of being watched.
I did quite like the idea of the Doctor overthrowing a government in one night (getting his practice in now so that later he can bring down a Prime Minister in 6 words), and that he's actually freeing people so that they can be miserable.
I think Merick identified the problem with Kandyman. It's not that he looks like Bertie Bassett, it's that the way he moves and acts doesn't jive with being told he's a premiere assassin. If they had gone with the original concept for Kandyman (looking more like Doctor Bunsen Honeydow from the Muppets, with glasses made from licorice) it might have been easier to reconcile the character with the background.
From earlier interviews, I recall that Helen A wasn't supposed to be played to be so obviously Margaret Thatcher, but the actress decided to go for it and the directors said what the hell.
I enjoyed the story overall despite its faults, but this was definitely one story that divided the fans - not unlike Love and Monsters causing that kind of division a couple of decades later.
We've seen the "unarmed man stare down the man with a gun" scene done in many ways over the years, but this example has its own particular mix to it - it's part assertion of sheer force of presence, part teacher exploring his student's thoughts and perhaps, just perhaps, a hint of suicidal acceptance if he turns out to be wrong about the man behind the gun.
McCoy's doctor always fascinated me. Both he and the show's themes would swing wildly between sad clown and ominous manipulator. He's a being haunted by the manic madness of his last incarnation, a being accepting that he is a powerful force in the universe and yet a being who seems aloof, drifting away, slightly unsure if he's really a positive influence on the universe in the end.
The first 20 minutes of the Doctor Who tv movie was really a spectacular sendoff to McCoy's incarnation. I know that as an introduction to a new audience, it was too much complexity too soon (something the revival did a much better job with), but as a longtime fan of the show, I was so happy to get to see that little mini-story and what he could do with it.
Merrick, I think you are 100% correct in stating Sylvester McCoy was a very capable Doctor. If the writing and production values had been up to standard, I think he would rival Tom Baker as my overall favorite.
I started watching Doctor Who in 1982 when I discovered the 4th Doctor’s adventure on my local PBS station. Looking back, I’d have to say the final Baker season was the point where the show hit its peak before the inevitable decline. I blame the producers and the BBC for this. Actually, I think all of the actors who portrayed the eponymous role after Baker were highly capable, had a firm grasp on their concept of the character, and could have been better than they were if the rest of the production had been up to par.
pdepew2181, I agree with you about Mel! I couldn’t stand her!
I remember thinking this was a particularly bad story when it first aired, which was saying a lot back then because I thought most of Sylvester McCoy's stories were awful. Remembrance of the Daleks was the only story I ever really fully enjoyed back then.
That said, as I've revisited McCoy's stories on DVD I've found none of them to be as awful as I remembered, so maybe the Doctor's adventures with Bertie Bassett won't be as bad as I remembered either!
As a child the story's allusions to Maggie Thatcher would have gone right over my head, so it will be interesting to see if Cartmel's Socialist Agenda is more obvious to me now. ;)
but change how he looks so he won't look like Bertie Bassett. If we get past Doctors showing up for the 50th anniversary (even if it's just in shorts like the Night and the Doctor stories or the ones that have appeared on the charity telethons) I'd like to see Tom Baker menaced by a Kandyman who looks like giant jelly baby. Or even that Kandyman trying to menace Matt Smith, who can then make a quip about how he used to enjoy jelly babies.
I haven't seen this story, but, as a viewer with a forgiving attitude towards interesting failures, I look forward to giving it a shot.
From one I have seen of the McCoy years (a little over 2/3 of his total output), I think he had a lot of potential in the role, and that his seasons showed a steady improvement - of course, after his first season, therer was really nowhere to go but up. It's a shame that he only got a dozen stories, because another couple of seasons at the quality of his last would probably have left fandom with a much more favorable overall impression of the 7th Doctor.
He was my first Doctor and whilst others have since surpassed him for me, I still believe his Doctor was one of the best portrayals of the character. In a better world he would have been given better material to work with, along with a higher budget, and would be considered one of the greats of Classic Who. Elements of his Doctor have certainly lived on - I see them especially in the current incarnation (his treatment of Amy after learning that she was one of the Flesh, and the way he concealed it from both her and Rory, was VERY Seventh Doctor).
I also have to admit that I'm a big Ace fan!
This is one of those stories where I love the story, hate the execution, but love the look (not the movement) of the main villain.
I first read the book before I saw it. This helped a bit, I think. I got to grasp the story for what it was.
The Kandyman, I loved as a foe. A great idea. The look is good, even. The problem is -- as pointed out in the article -- how he moves, what he does just doesn't go to the potential. Oh well.
I think the worst thing about this is the studio-sets and the lack of budget. If it had been done under RTD, this would have been loved. Better than farts!
I wouldn't have the Daleks involved at all with bringing him back, despite the Doctor momentarily fooling one with them. I'd look for something more offbeat - maybe having been rebuilt by Drax at one point as a rush job for a client (didn't have time to wait for the allsorts to show up, had to make do with the materials at hand), or having been rebuilt by Krotons so that they can see if that would be a better body form to use.
I agree that Sylvester McCoy never really got to shine as much as he could have had the material been better. Even the episodes that are supposedly good...Curse of Fenric...really aren't. And it didn't help that the show somehow managed to look cheaper as the years went by. I like McCoy's Doctor and I like Ace. But I think the last three years of the old series were pretty much unwatchable...and this comes from a fan of over 35 years who found stuff to like in "Timelash."
I jumped off the train early in the Colin Baker era and actually wasn't aware the McCoy era existed until watching the telemovie.
Teen angst perhaps - the blowhard in me disliking reflections in CB. But for me the thing became just a kid's show, something to flick past rather than fixate on.
McGann didn't really change that perception - but had enough of interest to engage me again so that when Ecclestone finally turned up I was able to re-enter the Doctor's universe of interest.
Every time I see McCoy, however, I am reminded again that I tuned out for a good reason. To me CB and SM aren't actually DW at all - just drivel with the Doctor's phonebox in the background.
So I refuse to rewatch any of them. Not because they don't have some episode that I might enjoy. But because their poor episodes tear down the entire character for me. Like watching Gummo and Zeppo Marx - they're just *WRONG*.
That Sylv could have been a great Doctor, I think his mannerisms and behavioural parts of the 7th Doctor are exemplary at times and in light of contemporary Who him and even to a degree Colin's Doctor have flashes of greatness...
But alas the execution - awful scripts, cheap production, and a tired and dated feel... I can recall very little of CB's tenure that really sticks in the mind - maybe a bald Peri, Remembrance and for some reason the quicksand bit of ToaTL...
McCoy has quite a few most memorably Levitating Daleks, Kandyman (not a +ve) Curse Of Fenric, and Cat Master... (and Hale & Pace)
I'm just glad that there are still a few Pertwee & Tom Baker gems I haven't yet watched !
As the one who engineered Syl's absolutely brilliant cold read of the Pandorica Speech - it was a cold read. He saw it for all of 20 seconds right before we went on, when I proposed the bit of fun to him. And that reading came at the very end of an hour long Chat I had with him (You can Hear it Here: http://www.asitecalledfred.com/2011/09/09/a-bit-of-a-chat-with-ken-plume-sylvester-mccoy/)
Syl is a brilliant, engaging performer and a very lovely man who was definitely undercut in his time as the Doctor by the creative and financial decisions during his era.
Can't wait to see how the equally lovely Moff utilizes him during the 50th anniversary... For it would be a damn shame if he didn't.
When I was young, in the late 80s and early 90s, he was my favorite Doctor. I had seen all the Doctors up to his time, and most of the existing stories -- but I liked him as the Doctor. I was frustrated with the production values of the show, but not with Sly.
Big Finish has done a great service for us fans of the 6th and 7th Doctor. I think Colin's Doctor has got the better of the BF scripts, but there are certainly McCoy gems.
Oh, if only McCoy had been given a SM script, where McCoy got to take the full ramifications of being the most twisted, manipulative Doctor of all. That would have been fun.
Personally, I think Sylvester McCoy was, (and always will be), a grand addition to the ever-changing face of time.
His Doctor is still one of the darkest incarnations of the Last Son of Gallifrey - a true master of manipulation, and someone who knew how to play the long game.
And if you include his adventures on paper, (where he forced regeneration on the 6th Doctor, believing himself to be a better candidate for what lay ahead), you can add to that a markedly more egotistical streak of ruthlessness than in earlier/later iterations.
If the 50th Anniversary does intend to feature more than one Doctor, they'd be fools not to consider him.
I've been building up my classic era dvd collection pretty steadily for the past 2 years, had never seen any classic Who until then (aside from catching Frontios part 4 as a 5 year old on TV and having nightmares for years afterwards)
I'm not sure I need to get the entire 26 years collected (and know that isn't possible anyways)
I do have however everything that is available for Pertwee/tom baker/Davison, and the last few Pertwee & Baker's are due out over the next year or so.
I have Ghost Light and Remembrance of the Daleks from the McCoy era, which I both really liked, and was planning to collect all the McCoy's from Dragonfire thru Survival so I currently have Dragonfire & Happiness patrol on pre-order, but a lot of the negative word of mouth for Happiness Patrol in this docback is making me consider cancelling those and saving a bit of money.
Should I bother with these 2?
also, I have a handfull of Hartnells, but only have Mind Robber of the Troughton era, not too keen on most of his stuff.
Also skipping the Colin Baker stuff for the forseeable future with the except of The 2 Doctors which I picked up cheap.
Eventually many of us become completists with Doctor Who. I am one, so I get them all. However, some are much better than others.
Dragonfire is the intro to Ace. It was ok, nothing great, and I really didn't like Ace in it when I first saw it.
Happiness Patrol is a thing of its own. The story is good. The execution is some of the worst in DW history. It is something either one likes or hates. I like it, but it is not the best representation of the Doctor. For McCoy the best ones to get:
Curse of Fenric
I put Silver Nemesis in () because it is probably the next on the list to get, it connects with Curse, it's a Cyberman story, etc. The problem is the extended edition is not available on DVD.
Paradise Towers is a favorite of mine, but it is what it is, and either loved or hated. New Who has done it twice: Gridlock and Night Terrors, though in different ways. I think Paradise is the better story of the three, but the budget... sucked again.
Very, very mild spoilers. If you don't even know where they've been filming, then this contains spoilers. If you do know, there are none.
This was so wonderfully put together, I had to share.
Battlefield's an interesting piece from the McCoy tenure, especially if you like King Arthur stuff - There's a good return appearance by Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, and Jean Marsh does a great Morgaine (Morgana); she and her son Mordered refer to the Doctor as 'Merlin' - fun!
I wouldn't avoid Colin Baker altogether - You should try 'Attack of the Cybermen'. Think it's my fave of Colin's Doc:
It also ties into the stories The 10th Planet & Tomb of the Cybermen...
Definitely go for The Curse of Fenric. Survival's also good because you can see the seeds of new Doctor Who in that story.
Silver Nemesis has some good and bad parts, but so does Battlefield. Minor spoilers - Silver Nemesis escalates Cybermen's problem with gold to the point that it's like hitting a vampire through the heart with a wooden stake if any gold gets lodged in them anywhere at all. Also, it suffers a little deja vu if you have Remembrance of the Daleks. Battlefield had some structural problems - it was originally going to be a 3 parter, got expanded to a 4 parter and wasn't totally successful in rejigging the structure. Still, it has 2 UNIT Brigadiers in it (Lethbridge Stewart and a new one), and lays some more groundwork for the New Adventures series. Also, this is the story that ultimately led to the comments about not being ginger in the new series.
I like McCoy so far so I will probably keep the pre-order for those 2 since I can get them a bit cheaper this way.
I probably will go completist eventually, but my priority is Doctors 3-5 (I have all of 5, and everything available for 4, 3 I am pretty close)
But once I have all that stuff, 7 is the next priority, at least his latter season.
But down the road, as prices drop I'll eventually get all the hartnell, troughton and C.Baker stuff too I imagine.
how he went out with such a whimper. With cable-access-TV quality. That final episode had moments that were just awful. But that wasn't Mr McCoy's fault. His portrayal still stands (with me at least) as one of the most compelling of the entire run.
Oh and... here's Sylvester McCoy's favorite scene in The Hobbit:
An interesting novel. It was Paul Cornell's second novel, and the first novel with Bernice Summerfield in it. It also took a stray line from a Robert Holmes story for the villains in it.
Big Finish is actually going to put out an audio of this in October, celebrating 20 years of Bernice Summerfield.
they did an audio, The Shadow of the Scourge (also by Paul Cornell). I've always enjoyed that one. Benny's also popped up in a couple of other Doctor Who related discs (not counting her own series), another adventure with the 7th Doctor (The Dark Flame - also had Ace - but this story wasn't near as fun as Shadow of the Scourge), one of the 8th Doctor stories on the disc where he had 4 adventures (also had Fitz from the BBC novels, Izzy from the comics and Mary Shelley on the other adventures on that release), and one of the Companion Chronicles.
First off, I loved the McCoy doctor. Mostly it has to be said, because of the New Adventures series of books. The BBC really did screw the show up, and I've written in a previous talkback how I felt the Kandyman was the final nail in the coffin, from there on out the show was doomed.
I also never took to Mel, and found Ace annoying. But like most things in Who which annoyed me in some way, there was always wonderful counterpoints. Mels farewell scene is still touching, to me, and something I watch on Youtube from time to time.
It would be wonderful to see McCoys doctor utilised in the 50th anniversary. He was a great manipulator.
@gotilk, if you're going to read Head Games or The Also People, (I've read that one very recently as it happens) there may be some things that are confusing if you haven't read previous books in the series.
@DoctorTom - I heard Shadow the Scourge, and liked it. But I'm really looking forward to the Love and War audio now.
That and Timelash are the two absolute worst Doctor Who stories that exist. The poll that Doctor Who Magazine did on this bear that out, with those two being the two lowest in the polls.
Happiness Patrol came in at 170, so it's not making a good show of itself, but it isn't the absolute nadir of Who. Heck, it beat out The Gunfighters (at 175), and falls between Terminus (at 169) and Colony in Space (at 171). That's not that bad a place to be - all of these had redeeming features. Twin Dilemma was a hemorrhoid of a show.
interestingly, I heard somewhere that BF might do an audio for Happy Endings also (the one where Benny gets married, and there's guest stars a plenty). I don't know if they are still planning on doing it. It would be a bit difficult to get Nick Courtney involved, unfortunately - I don't know if we just wouldn't hear the Brig at all in the audio or if there's be something else.
I'd still like for it to happen, just so we get an audio with one of the Doctors and Irving Braxiatel in it together.
and even Sylvester McCoy has done well.
After BF there are a lot more people willing to say that he's a good Doctor hindered with inappropriate material and a bad costume (not having to look at the clown suit while listening to an audio helps)
(Oh, brief note: Colin Baker gets to play other parts in BF audios also. He's gotten to play Commander Maxil at least once -i n one of the Gallifrey audios - and in one of the audios in the Gallifrey IV set he got to play an alternate 6th Doctor.
I'd heartily recommend Holy Terror, The One Doctor, and the Marian Conspiracy (the first one to introduce Evelyn Smythe as a companion, and I wish we could have had a tv season with her as a companion - it would have been a big change from having a young girl running around with the Doctor) for starting with the Sixth Doctor audios. For the 7th I'd go with Shadow of the Scourge, Colditz or The Harvest for the 7th Doctor. Of course, there's also the Lost Stories for those Doctors also.
seriously, these might be some spoilers.
The book we saw in earlier photos is back, this time with Amy reading it, and it's a book by Melody Malone, one of River's aliases. (That's not the spoiler part - where the cast is being photographed may be the spoiler.)
in the audios, and the novelisations have done a fantastic job with the seventh incarnation too.
I think as a result of that, Colin and Sly are amongst my favourites.
Once upon a time, wasn't there talk of reviewing the non-canonical stuff on Co-Axial? The novels / audios? Maybe in a few years, when Merrick has finally watched all the classic series.
Would you start with the BBC/AudioGo releases, or the Big Finish releases? For the former, do you just go with new audio adventures (9th-11th Doctor) or cover the audiobooks as well? If you do the audiobooks, do you do both the Target and the BBC book adaptations?
If you do the Big Finish audios, do you start with the main Doctor Who line and stay exclusive to that, or start with the Lost Stories? Do you do them in release order or try taking them by Doctor (or at least what might be a season's worth of each Doctor)? Do you include the Companion Chronicles? The UNIT spinoffs? the Daleks and the Cybermen series? Bernice Summerfield? Iris Wildthyme? I'd actually like to see the latter two brought up sometime, but really it might be better to deal with the Doctor Who novels with those characters first. Or maybe, as a special test, maybe when the audio for Love and War comes out, it could be slipped in as a test.
If we do the novels, which ones - start with the New Adventures and go in order? Start with current BBC releases and work backwards? Just start with the large hardbacks (like the Moorcock novel, the Abnett Ice Warriors book and Shada) and concentrate on those? We'll have to recognize that there'd be more of a time commitment for reading these than there would be for watching a TV episode.
Of course, it's not like we won't have to worry about it for a few years - we're still in Hartnell with trips to the new releases. We'll probably be double dipping on the new releases in a year or so when their time comes up in the rotation for discussion, and maybe there will be new things to say about them. Heck, by the time we get to The Underwater Menace maybe episode 2 will have been released commercially.
I'm looking forward to next week's discussion, this one will probably have some split opinions like this week did.
I think, because there's so many, don't do them in order. Like Merricks reviews of the classic series, do them in whatever order occurs. Perhaps take polls from the readers, to recommend a particular book/audio to review.
I mean, the New Adventures were good and all, but they did have some fucking clunkers in there. (I'm looking at you, The Pit )
that one was definitely a clunker.
Skipping around, possibly with some themes, would work. What might be interesting would be have one of the early book reviews be of Human Nature, to compare the 7th Doctor New Adventure to what ended up broadcast as a 10th Doctor story.
usually Wednesdays and Thursdays get slow.
So, I saw the article saying John Simm tweeted that he won't be back in Doctor Who, contrary to what IMDB claimed. It wasn't clear if he was saying he'd never come back, but it was clear that he hadn't been asked yet.
Getting Sylvester to read that dialogue at such short notice was nothing short of genius. If I was wearing a hat, I'd tip it in your general direction.
And speaking of 'The Moff', I think he'd be a wee bit foolish not to utilise all of the remaining Docs in some way next year (at least those who *want* to take part).
I'd bet you a penny to a pound that we'll be seeing John back on Doctor Who as the Master someday. In a major role? Who knows, but he's already promised The Moff that he'll come back to film a regeneration scene when needed.
And remember, just because John said he has no plans to return, that doesn't mean he won't. Actors don't make plans for roles they haven't been booked to play, but when he *is* booked, that will change very quickly.
I figured he was only trying to clear up that he hasn't been booked yet. It wouldn't surprise me to see him back, even if there's a regeneration at the end of Simm's performance. (Right now I just got a feeling that we'll see the Master at the fields of Trenzalore, and not necessarily as an opponent for the Doctor. I think it would be funny to get a scene somewhere between the Master and River Song, with River telling the Master that he's got things backwards by using a tool that makes things smaller...)
That death scene w/ Tennant holding him & begging him to regenerate got knee-capped by the fact that he returned. Would've been a great end-note. (Though I must admit, I did like 'The end of Time' - more for the return of Rassilon / The Timelords than The Master)
is it just me, or is Timothy Dalton much more fun to watch in shows he's doing now than back when he was James Bond? Hot Fuzz, then The End of Time, it seems like he's decided to just have fun and enjoy himself now while he's acting.
The Gauntlet that Rassilon had must have been a toy that was made during the Time War, since it seems like something that Time Lords would have been wanting to have if it had been around during the classic series.
It's more of a look for a British officer in the Boer War, not the head of the Time Lords.
Maybe we'll see a regenerated Rassilon show up again (and, hopefully, they dip back into some fandom theories and have Omega show up to smack Rassilon around for leaving him stuck in the black hole).
Tonight, in a Steel Cage Match - Rassilon vs. Omega! Winner to be determined by submission, pinfall, or elimination of opponent from the timestream. Special guest referee and enforcer for the event: the Doctor. Order now on pay-per-view.