Random Thoughts of The Mind Robber - 2003 - Sorted by Oldest First
23rd September 03 - Viewers miss Doctor Who the most
I cant think
of any TV-related news that could have made me happier today...!
"Doctor Who has been voted the show people would most like to see
back on TV in a Radio Times poll. The survey of 12,000 viewers found that
31% of them wanted to see the cult sci-fi BBC series revived."
n a future
Second Doctor DVD release."
25th September 03 - A Moment of Fury Rises from the Deep
You may or
may not have heard -
"Checking through some reels of old waste film at the BBC Archives
at Windmill Road recently, Andrew Martin discovered 3 mins 32 secs of
16mm negative from the weed creature attack scenes in episode six of Fury
from the Deep, shot at Ealing Studios. The film consists of several near-complete
scenes, although according to the Restoration Team's Steve Roberts, these
are trims - unused takes of the shots that were finally used in the programme.
Please note that the clip is silent, although the Restoration Team hope
to add appropriate audio for its inclusion on a future Second Doctor DVD
26th September 03 - BBC E-mail: Doctor Who returns to TV
I've been buzzing from it all day!
It surely had to be a direct response to that poll a couple of days ago!
Not mentioned on BBC online but apparently said on TV today, it might
well feature Paul McGann or Richard E Grand and be 6 episodes. I don't
know how true that is because it directly contradicts the press-release
that said no such decisions had been made.
I love the headline on the top of the Doctor Who homepage -
"Doctor Who - it's coming back. Oh my! Goodness me. What lovely news.
Oooh. Well. Simply marvellous. Wheeee"
Says it all!
28th September 03 - This rocked my (tiny geek) world.
About two weeks ago, I was talking to someone about a TV show from when
I was young.
This children's series I remembered appealed to me greatly because it
echoed Doctor Who in so many ways. There were many throwaway
references to the series which I appreciated. ("A ventillation shaft?!
Oh marvellous Im a cliche!"). All I remembered was that the "Doctor"
was a school girl called Marcy and her companions were a skateboarding
boy chum and another girl chum. Marcy I recall was generally quirky and
always carried a some kind of stick or bat. It might have been a hockey
I remembered there had been two sections, the first involved some bloke
in shades wanting to take over the school or the world or both. Not quite
sure how. The second part I remembered involved some kind of digging going
on at the school and some reference to a Behemoth being uncovered. The
only other thing I remembered was something rising up out of the school
stage at the end in lots of smoke and the baddie in shades from the first
series came back as a surprise twist. It was absolutely brilliant.
Then the fist of two amazing coincidences happened. The first was that
while randomly flicking through a Cult TV book I chanced up the title
of this series. It was called Dark Season. A
name I would never, ever had dredged up from the depths of my brain. I
ran a quick search in Google for some pictures from the series. I found
pictures. I found credits. I found out the name of the writer.
The writer of Dark Season was one Russel T Davies.
I am in awe of this discovery.
So, since hearing the glorious news that Doctor Who is returning,
my one burning question has been answered:
Can Russel T Davies write science fiction?
Answer: Yes, and it happened to be one of the best pieces of science fiction
I remember from my childhood.
It also turns out he has already written Doctor Who. A New Adventure
Novel called "Damaged Goods", now out of print.
But for now, my new ambition is to locate a copy of Dark Season
Revel in the two-year anticipation for the new Doctor Who!
6th October 2003 - Reaction to Full Fathom Five
I had my first taste of Doctor Who Unbound in the story "Full
Fathom Five." I certainly wont be listening to or buying any more
Unbound stories for fear of the state of mind they will leave
What exactly were they thinking with the creation of this story? I had
heard that the Unbound stories may not be to everyone's taste but I would
love to have a conversation with someone whose taste this met. I felt
it was a cruel, mean-spirited and downright unpleasant story. It felt
as if this story had been written by someone who secretly hated Doctor
Who and was working from within to destroy the fond memory and wholesome
entertainment of the character.
I appreciate that this story and this new 'Doctor' was probably designed
to shock and intrigue, however the basic premise of the Doctor murdering
in cold blood was not possible to get past. Considering the Doctor couldnt
bring himself to kill the amorphous blobs in Genesis of the Daleks,
even knowing they would become the Daleks, one can then never believe
that he could shoot a human.
If the murder had been the sole questionmark over this story, it might
have been a superb plot device. To leave the listener wondering what could
possibly have happened to the Doctor to make the character we know and
love capable of cold-blooded murder - twice - would be something indeed
to ponder! And the idea that he'd been stuck on Earth, not for a couple
of years as Jon Pertwee, but for decades, leaves one wondering what he
got up to. Raising such questions was clearly the intention and I appreciate
that pushing the envelope is part of what could make this series interesting.
However I must take issue with the ending. To have the Doctor murdered
so bleakly, unpleasantly and pointlessly achieved what? What was this
trying to prove? What exactly is the vendetta of this story and, indeed,
this series of Unbound adventures? What is this ending trying
to tell us? That even heroes have to die? Is it saying that a great man
can fight great battles against a million adversaries through time and
space unlimited and still die alone and hated in the cold depths of the
ocean with no redemption or love?
I dont know if Full Fathom Five is representative of the Unbound series
but Im amazed and disappointed that they have created a story and labelled
it Doctor Who and yet delivered something with absolutely nothing
positive about it. Doctor Who is about hope, heroism and the
sanctity of all life. This story deals in death, despondancy and hate,
and I feel it tarnishes the serial as a whole.
Where in the Doctor Who universe is this story supposed to fit?
Is it intended to be the final ever Doctor Who story? Is this
the 'Big Finish'? Is it a parallel universe? The only information I can
find as to the intent of the Unbound scenario is that its a "different
dimension", if I am to take their tagline literally.
If this story was intended only to spark debate and create controversy
then I'm sure its worked wonders. If it was supposed to be entertainment
then I feel it falls a long way short. There has never been anything clever
or exciting about killing key characters as a plot contrivance, otherwise
the Doctor would have died in the Cave of Skulls. You can be revolutionary
without being iconoclastic as many of your other stories have proved.
Full Fathom Five overstepped the mark Im afraid.
7th Oct 2003 - Rumours about the New Series
Not keen on Eddie Izzard as a potential Doctor. I love the bloke but not
in that role.
Again, its like Alan Davies. Wonderful people but just not meant to be
the Doctor. I think Izzard would probably be a better choice than Alan
Davies, I think he has some good qualities. I caught some of that thing
he was in recently trying to be serious and I didnt think he was that
good an actor.
The best choices of Doctor have always been strong actors, not particularly
well known. A touch arrogant but with some warm qualities. I thought Peter
Davison wasn't arrogant enough and Colin Baker wasn't warm enough. I'm
not even sure what Sylvester McCoy was. Anyway, I still think Paul McGann
should have another go. He's done some fabulous Big Finish stories.
II have just listened to Full Fathom Five in which the Doctor was played
by David Collings (Vorus in 'Revenge of the Cybermen', Mawdryn in 'Mawdryn
Unead' or Silver in 'Sapphire and Steel'). He played the role of the Doctor
really well although the way they took the story was not really my cup
of tea as you will have gathered.
In other Unbound stories they have had Michael Jayston back as the Valeyard,
Geoffrey Bayldon and also David Warner as the Doctor. He could be good.
Might buy that one. Oh and the latest one to play the Doctor is Arabella
12th Oct 2003 - More Actors
Bill Nighy and Sean Pertwee, both preferable to Alan, much as I love the
bloke. I wouldnt be happy about Iddie Izzard either. He's just not an
15th Oct 2003 - Spare Parts
I am currently in love with the Big Finish audio Spare Parts
and I've only heard one episode.
20th Oct 2003 - The Mutant Phase
Just listened The Mutant Phase.
liked it. I thought it had a lot of potential as an idea. I quite like
the idea of the Doctor turning up not only at important points in history
but now important points in his own history, as he's so deeply weaved
into the web of time. I thought there was loads that could be done with
a story set in parallel with - or just before - The Dalek Invasion
of Earth. But all that kind of went by the wayside an it turned into
another paradox script nightmare.
few times a paradox was used as a neat story contrivance to mess with
the views' heads I think it worked. A couple of Star Treks I
think are like that and Day of the Daleks is cool. And Back
to the Future is great because its such wolly science that it doesnt
spoil a good story and the paradox just becomes a narrative device. But
when the paradox becomes not just a twist but the whole basis of the story
and therefore then you have to accept that part or all of the resolution
of the story is just going to be a meaningless knot of ifs and buts, and
it just becomes tiresome!
not looking at the authors of these before I listen to them, so then I'm
always unbiased. But I've picked too out recently as having dull dialogue
and lifeless characters and they both turned out to be Nicholas Brigg's
stuff which I feel a bit guilty about coz I like him!
23rd Oct 2003 - Eggs
Been finding a lot of Easter Eggs on these Doctor Whos DVDs.
There's one on nearly all of them. My favourite was Tom Baker popping
up from the 1970s, telling me he was going to Blackpool and that I had
to brush my teeth.
30th Oct 2003 - BBC Online
I have been trawling through the BBC website's Doctor Who section.
Did you know you can view PDF documents of production paperwork from every
Doctor Who story? Its absolutely astonishing!
my exploration I came across another marvel!
amazing the BBC website, although it does cost £70 million a year
to run, so you'd kind of expect it to be.
I have just
ordered The Dalek's Master Plan on CD along with The Two
Doctors and Curse of Fenric on DVD. I've also pre-ordered
The Three Doctors. I might have to go and buy some more Big Finish
now. Ohh my money! Shopping on the internet is too easy!
5th Nov 2003 - 18 Questions about The Curse of Fenric
I received Curse of Fenric and tonight I watched the Special
Edition. Hmmm. When I was young, I just sort of accepted it all and I
thought it was quite good. Now I'm a little older I'm not sure it makes
any sense. It's nice to have some explanation as to what the Ancient One
is all about at least but I'm unlear on most of the rest.
I have a few questions:
1) Why did the Viking inscription read the same as the Russians' orders?
2) Why were the Russians returning to Norway according to their papers?
3) What were those blue crap things found on the beach?
4) Why did the viking computer program letters when fed into the ultima
machine set events in motion for the Chains of Fenric to shatter?
5) What magic power did the Ultima machine have?
6) How does going in the water turn some people in to Vampyres?
7) How did the group of radio girls turn into Vampyres?
8) When attacked by the Haemovores, why did some people die by being drained
of blood while others turned into Vampires?
9) Why did the two Vampyre girls at the end start to turn in Haemavores
just before they died?
10) If the Haemovores were from the future why did they have period costumes
11) Do we assume they were from an alternate future that has now been
12) Who created the Time Storm?
13) If Fenric can time travel and brought the Haemovores back in time,
why doesnt it go back and destroy the Doctor before the chess puzzle was
14) Why did Millington destroy all the chess sets if Fenric needed one
in order to win?
15) Why did Millington order the radios destroyed?
16) Why did the Doctor retreive the only chess set which then allowed
Fenric to play the game again and nearly win everything?
17) Why did winning or losing the chess puzzle make any difference to
18) Why didnt the chess puzzle at least make sense?
22nd Nov 2003 - Gripes
Having bought the first Radio Times with Doctor Who cover the
other day I discovered there were three more! I picked up the remaining
three yesterday in a two different places so as not to look like a loser.
Its a bit of a cheek really to make four covers to boost their sales with
collectors, but I suppose we shouldn't critise anything that generates
such interest in Doctor Who, and at least they haven't made one
of them impossible to find.
I set a timer going to record UK Gold +1 from 9am. I found out after a
couple of hours that the video was recording the wrong channel, so I didnt
get any of the first morning of the Doctor Who @ 40 weekend.
What's more annoying is there is no way to override the timer on this
video once its started! I even tried unplugging it from the wall but incredibly
when I plugged it back in, it picked up the timer program and started
30th Nov 2003 - Zagreus: First Attempt
Started listening to Zagreus.
It did not bode well from the moment it said "Previously on Doctor
I listened to some of the reprise and their babble about anti-time and
the Eye of Harmony and switched it off.
So I'm assuming I need to have heard Neverland too before it
will make any sense whatsoever? Great.
I was reading reviews saying how the script editors of these Big Finishes
were adding "much needed continuity" by sticking in various
references to other BF stories. This is daft because these are not like
broadcast stories where you have no choice what order you see them, these
stories are just a pick 'n' mix of various Doctors, baddies and writers.
Continuity should not be a word in their vocabulary!
All the best Big Finish stories are just fantastic adventures. The TARDIS
is just a narrative device to kick off the story and the faster the "who
are you? Where did you come from?" stuff is dealt with, the better
the story. It can't have escaped everyone's notice that Doctor Who
ran for six brilliant years before anyone even knew who the Doctor was
and where the TARDIS came from! Its just not important. My personal picks
might be Robots of Death, Talons of Weng Chiang, Spearhead
from Space or Seeds of Death. The latter was even a sequel
that required no knowledge of the original to enjoy.
It's a shame that this tradition has emerged of marking anniversaries
or landmarks with Time Lord specials. The information in The War Games
and The Three Doctors is interesting and The Deadly Assassin
at least is a good mystery and the setting is peripheral.
The interesting thing is that The Five Doctors was one of the
first Doctor Whos I ever saw and it was still really enjoyable.
Although the companions and the monsters are all brought back for the
hell of it, they're not actually important to the story. The story is
just an odyssey to the Dark Tower with various problems and monsters along
the way. The dark tower is just a McGuffin. I really enjoyed The Five
Doctors it and it made me hungry for more Doctor Who.
Sadly the TV Movie was symptomatic of people missing the entire point
of Doctor Who. Its not about the Doctor. That baggage has to
be shaken off and - thank God - Russel T. Davies sounds like he's going
to get it right. What he wrote in the Anniversary Radio Times is really
I am concerned that Zagreus is just going to be a feature-length
Dimensions in Time. Anyway, I've just ordered Neverland
and Embrace the Darkness and I'm considering writing to complain
to Big Finish suggesting they at least put a footnote with the Zagreus
to the effect that this CD needs to be heard in sequence.
1st Dec 2003 - Big Finish Update
Just listened to Winter for the Adept. Boooooooooooooring. What a pointless
waste of time that was!
Started listenind to Eye of the Scorpion. The Jury is still out after
2nd Dec 2003 - Scream of the Shalka
Well, I thought episode one was very promising. The dialogue is a bit
stilted and the characters are a bit smart-arsed but it had something.
Not sure about Richard E Grant as the Doctor, he seems to be fairly directionless.
So episode two suddenly got very confusing with the Doctor's "new
companion" very randomly shown, and then got even more confusing
when the end credits said that the companion was actually ... the Master.
If you haven't seen it, I'm not spoiling anything, because its not a dramatic
reveal of any kind.
Then I watched episode three. The main alien-invasion plot seems pretty
run-of-the-mill and I can cope with that. But the story seems so disjointed.
I dont know if its symptomatic of bad writing or bad direction but it
just doesnt feel right. That sudden random scene in the TARDIS with the
Master's face... what was all that about? Are we supposed to be intreagued
rather than baffled?
It's left me with a horrible suspicion that the whole thing is a sequel
to a New Adventures book which I have never read.
If this had been a feature-length 90 minute animation then maybe it would
be okay because any explainations would come faster but, as it is, I'm
left utterly confused and disappointed and less inclined to watch the
next one. I will of course.
3rd Dec 2003 - What does RTD Have in Mind?
Russell T Davies is keeping us guessing saying: "There are copyright
issues, but it'd be nice to bring in one or two moments of old archenemies,
just because there's a great audience of dads and mums at home going,
'I remember that monster!'"
I can't wait to find out what he comes up with! I dont mind this fighting
female as long as she's nice with it. I can't be doing with another stroppy
Ace or hardened synic like this girl in Shalka.
7th December 2003 - More Big Finish
I've listened to Neverland and thought it was okayish. It was a remake
of The Three Doctors really, wasn't it? But taking itself far,
far too seriously. It would have done as the anniversary special, what
with having Time Lords and a bit of retrospective stuff but they felt
the urge to make it a run-in to Zagreus why?
Also, it annoyed me that at the end of Neverland they changed
the explanation without warning - one minute Rassillon hadn't really been
there and it was all a trick, and the next moment Rassillon is really
there and chatting to people in a pseudo messianic moment. One thing I
did enjoy was finding out who the Doctor was telling the story of Seasons
of Fear to.
I listened to almost all of the first CD of Zagreus but I got
interrupted and not found the inclination to go back yet. It's just so
utterly pointless. There was a New Adventures book just like it which
was equally daft, I can't think which one. Might have been the last TimeWyrm
one? Had to have been early coz I didnt read many. Anyway, that too was
just a self-indulgant trip through dreamworld nonsense. At least The
Deadly Assassin had structure, but so far Zagreus is just
The final annoyance is that they've got all these guest stars and they're
not playing the right characters. I could understand that in some way
on the telly becuase they'd look older and whatever and it would be fun,
but its actually not all that easy to know if you're listening to someone
who you're supposed to recognise.
As for Scream of the Shalka, I haven't even got round to watching
episode 4 yet, that's how my interest has waned.
8th Dec 2003 - Lucky Number - Thirteen?
"Thirteen possible storylines to make up the new series?" says
Executive Producer Mal Young. BBC Publicity confirmed Russell T
Davies has developed thirteen possible storylines.
It does worry
me though that they keep saying "x number of episodes" when
I hope they mean "x number of stories compisting y
number of episodes."
10th Dec 2003 - Continuing Zagreus
You know in cheesy old sci-fi stories they show a fantastic adventure
and then at the end the person wakes up and goes "Oh wow, it was
all a dream!" and you kind of feel cheated out that period of your
life in which you invested emotional time caring about characters and
events which you then find never took place...?
Well, Zagreus is like that except you get told that none of
it happens at the start!
Somewhere in the middle of CD 2 now... Should I be caring?
30th Dec 2003 - End of Year Roundup
I still haven't bothered to watch the end Scream of the Shalka.
Don't hold your breath. Not a very promising sign, is it? It must surely
be bad writing which isnt engaging me. I just dont give two hoots whats
going on. Perhaps animation isnt the best media for Doctor Who,
I dont know.
just thought I'd give my brief reviews of the Doctor Whos I've
listened to recently.
of the Scorpion
I thought it was a likeable return to a historical-style story, albeit
with now obligatory alien anachronism thrown in. The pace was a bit slow
at first but not really unpleasantly so because I was just enjoying the
characters. I thought Peter Davison was great and I've always liked Nicola
Bryant. I think Davison is so much better than when he was on telly. That
bit of age has mellowed his voice and just given him so much more strength.
Interesting. A return to Traken has not exactly been on my long-awaited
list, so this setting made a quite a surprising choice. It wasnt wasted
though, but developed I thought in unexpected directions. Space ports
and intergalactic commerce dont really fit very snugly with the idyllic
garden paradise depicted in Keeper of Traken. Maybe I'm nit-picking.
Early on I thought there were some good perspectives on the Doctor and
how he might be perceived as bad considering what he puts other through
but this wasn't really important in the end. Ultimately it could have
been set on any planet about some mad bloke coming back to the world he
created but I suppose it was alright.
The "big" celebration ....
Storyline: Mysterious wotsits coming through a hole in space, everyone
piles in to the hole to go and investigate only to find the dirty laundry
of the Time Lord civilization. And their history has a grudge against
them and wants to come back through the hole and bugger around in our
Forgive me but surely this was just a remake of The Three Doctors
in its entirity? And sadly just injected with some 21st century-style
nonsense. Despite this I thought it was okay in places, some interesting
ideas about the CIA and some nice fantasy backdrops. Although, is it just
me or is everything that's supposed to be "wacky" or "a
totally different universe" or whatever, just still a glorified gravel
pit even on audio? Okay so this place had some mad spikey bits in the
gravel pit but part of my brain just wants to achieve the imagery via
crap CSO to complete the homage to The Three Doctors.
Ultimately, I thought it was diverting but amounted to an extra footnote
in a meaningless Time Lord history. A history which is, after all, cobbled
together from a dozen different throwaway lines by a dozen writers over
two-dozen years. It still amazes me that they still try to rope a sensible
Time Lord history together out of it.
My main issue is that Neverland should have been the 40th anniversary
Doctor Who on its own. With a quick re-write you could have thrown in
a few old Doctors and hey presto: some short, meaningless and nostalgic
drivel about Time Lords that left everyone happy. But no...
(or Neverland part 2 ... and 3 ... and 4)
D'you realise that considering this is a continuation of the Neverland
storyline, it brings this total adventure's length to 16 normal 25 minute
episodes? A fact cleverly disguised by having three long CD's, each only
'one part'. SIXTEEN episodes! It makes The War Games feel short.
I thought it was self-indulgant and meaningless. The first CD drags, the
second CD picked up a bit with some interesting conjecture about Rassillon
but the end ...
hated the TARDIS being personified as the Brigadier and bitching about
being betrayed. Just horrible nonsense. I hate all that metaphysical stuff
with the Cheshire Cat and the TARDIS's mental projections. And I just
hated the fact they tried to do something clever by having the past Doctor
actors not playing the Doctor. A waste! Just get Terrance Dicks in and
we can have a good old 'romp' that no-one will rave about, but certainly
no-one will hate it as much as I hate Zegreus.
So on a final
point: What is happening with Paul McGann stories from now on? Will his
next set of adventures be set in the Anti-Matter universe? I had a look
at Scherzo and the cast list only has McGann and Fisher in! The
Edge of Destruction in four parts? No thanks.
31st Dec 2003 - End of the Year
The little celebration documentary was nice. Lots of the same old clips
but some less over-used ones thrown in too.
conspicuous by his absense. Is this the first hint that the new Doctor
Who series will follow on from Survival and ignore the Amerian
TV movie? Could that leave us with a situation where we have two divergent
universes of Doctor Who? The offical BBC one and the Big Finish
one? You never know.
It was a Beeb documentary and I suppose it makes sense what with them
trotting out all the favourite Beeb interviewees like Dicks they wouldn't
turn to anything too new which they don't have all the rights too. Having
said that, I'm surprised there wasn't even a footnote. But it was essentially
a documentary about a Great British Tradition so you can't end it with
a load of American stuff with Eric Roberts as the closing interview.
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