Six years of black and white television have resulted in the brand new season seven title sequence nearly burning out my retinas. It starts with the brighest of reds, followed by all the colours of the rainbow, and burning new logo and a general feeling of the 2001 stargate about it. The title caption also zooms at my face and I worry for my sanity.
The Earth, that's nice.
A spinny thing and a sweaty man.
Lots of very over-the-top music.
The music under-scores this whole opening, which is shot on film, to give everything a cinematic feel.
UNIT is mentioned!
The TARDIS, sounding very sick, materialises and someone unfamilar plops out.
A girl with some lounge jazz music is driven into an underground car park.
The brightness, directing, formality and echoey audio of this beginning feels very unfamiliar. However this is juxtaposed with the familar Brigadier. He seems very knowledable about aliens and explains to this skeptical new girl how much crazy shizzle goes down.
Another glimpse of the man who plopped from the Police Box.
The Brigadier says there are 500 nearby planets capable of supporting life, and there have been two invasions since UNIT was formed, however they had help from The Doctor. This opening sequence feels exactly like a film explaining the concept of the show to an ininitiated audience.
The medical doctor discovers theres a heart where there shouldn't be and that he has blood which is noticably not wil we finally get to see the man himself? Wiggling feet. Then he says 'shoes' and 'unhand me madam' - but that's is. Odd.
Weird, hand-held footage makes it look like a documentary. Fascinating and grown-up stuff.
The first real sight of the new Doctor comes when the Brigadier turns up. Oh, it's Jon Pertwee!
He asks to borrow a mirror. His reaction is touched with the comedy of the second Doctor and his gentle performance is quite warming.
Two shiny looking fellas with rigid hair come and steal him and with comedy music, he makes a comedy escape in a wheelchair before getting shot by a UNIT soldier who probably needs a bit more training.
'Who told you to fire, you stupid ****?' asks his mate.
End of episode one of the multicoloured new series. The music is a slightly curious edit, but remains a reassuring admid so many other changes.
Turns out he wasn't properly shot, the bullet just burned his scalp. It's amazing how often that happens in TV and film. It must be a million-to-one shot to graze someone's skin with a gun shot.
With a mention of the thieves' faces being 'odd' and a a cut to plastic dolls being made we are suddenly given a huge indication of what this story might be about!
Woah that's creepy. A mannequin standing in the undergrowth, looking around.
It's amazing just what difference it makes having the episode shot on film. The opporunity to shoot and edit it properly makes all the difference, as has been shown with all location footage from the past, for example the star of The Web of Fear.
A rather rotund gentleman comes to watch the Doctor having a shower. The first ever view of the Doctor nude leaves me feeling uncomfortable, however we do learn that he has some kind of tattoo on his right arm. Is this a Time Lord symbol, or did he get it on Earth?
He nicks the clothes of the fat man, which fit him perfectly.
Its unfulfilling that so many long periods featuring the new Doctor have no dialogue and are filled with slapstick, such as him trying to start the classic car.
There's a horrible car crash scene in which the smashed and bloodied windscreen thankfully obscures the face of the soldier which caused it. It is a far cry from the bloodless fights of The War Games in which punches were thrown which didn't even connect.
The new Doctor seems quite good humoured, smiles, and jokes with his old pal the Brigadier, whilst retaining an air of authority. No disrespect intended towards Patrick Troughton but this version of Time Lord seems to be a true gentleman and immediately begins to help, and meets his new companion withe a smile.
The alien invasion story seems almost secondary as we reach the end of episode two and a truely creepy moment where a dummy steps off its platform.
The company that has been taken over is called 'Auto Plastics' and the creepy baddie refers to their dummy creates as 'Autons'.
Sam's wife further confirms our fears about the earlier car crash. 'That poor boy's face was terrible to look at' ... I really wouldn't expect this show to be broadcast at Saturday teatime.
Oh look it's the laser thing from The Wheel in Space!
The TARDIS lock has a metabolism detector, we're told.
The Doctor takes the key and tries to leave. You have to wonder how far down the line the alien invasion would have to be to stop him leaving. If the TARDIS had successfully taken off, Earth would have been left helpless with the Autons attacking.
I'm trying to figure out what the thing is next to the TARDIS. If I didn't know better I'd say it was a Cyberman's ship from The Invasion.
That's an award-winning comb-over Sam Seeley has.
And he has a dog which sounds amazingly like a man impersonating a dog.
The scene where his wife goes into their cottage and finds the Auton is horrible. It has been extremely rare to see a monster in someone's home, let alone a defensely elderly woman and to see her lying on the ground whilst the Auton smashes her belongings gives you a true sense of menace and you wonder if she'll ever sleep again.
It is odd to see a monster jogging too.
When they all go to the factory, I like how the Doctor hangs back and almost hides behind a pillar during a meeting whilst Liz and the Brig chat.
Episode three ends with a double of General Scobie coming to see General Scobie. A very creepy moment and a very unusual (as with the previous episode) because it did not involve any of the major cast coming under threat.
Episode four brings some iconic imagery. The Doctor in a wax works museum, and shop window dummies bursting into life.
Pertwee has stepped effortlessly into the role and in true Doctor fashion, he lashes up a piece of portable equipment to destroy the threat.
Just as in the Troughton UNIT stories, the story ends in a pitch battle. And, in fact it is exactly the same location as UNIT's battle with the Yeti - and the Autons even burst out of the same door! The story climaxes with a rather dodgy tentacled thing in a tank wobbling around whilst Jon Pertwee pulls comedy faces. It isn't exactly the horror show ending we might have hoped.
The story ends with the Doctor and the Brig making terms. He declines the offer of money so long as he can have a nice car and some clothes of his own.
This seems a likeable version of the Doctor and everything seems so refreshing. I look forward to more.
And so we begin the new Doctor's second adventure.
Immediately the difference is palpable. A cheap-looking polystyrene wall and harsh studio lighting are made to look even more stagey by being on video tape. Then the sight of a very rigid plastic dinosaur with a
The Doctor has a new car. A yellow car.
Liz tells the Doctot that the Brigadier has summoned them and, despite the fact that he's tinkering with the very car which he requested to secure his cooperation, he flat refuses to report as requested!
The Doctor has a very grumpy exchange with the Brigadier and is then very to-the-point with people. There's no real explanation as to why he's so abrupt. His jovial persona from the first story is missing. However he cuts right to the chase, and picks up elements of the mystery which remind me very much of a David Whitaker script.
After meeting a man doing bad drawings of dinosaurs the Doctor goes down into the caves himself where he meets a man in a dinosaur costume.
That bloke from Porridge is well dodgy.
I don't know if it's just the fact that it is studio-bound or the length of this story but it feels nothing like as tight as the previous one.
The Doctor makes reference to having seen dinosaurs himself. Another adventure we've never seen before.
Suddenly we're outside and on film once again we're reminded of how neat and creepy this show could be.
The Doctor supposes that there are two creatures in this situation. Big ones and little ones. Dr Quinn goes down into the caves and we hear a voice ask, 'Why have you come?' in a strange transatlantic accent.
For the second story in a row we have a rural couple confronted in their own homes by an alien menace.
Just to be daring, they stick Liz in the last known location of the monster, on her own. Which is quite handy bait really as she provides and eye-witness account of their foe.
The extensive use of helicopters, both to photograph and when flying over soldiers on the heath give the story an expensive feel. Anything out of the studio seems great. If only the budget would stretch to the whole thing being recorded on location.
As the Doctor forces his way into Quinn's house, there is an air of menace about him which we've never felt with Troughton's Doctor.
Liz picks up a globe with the landmasses together. The Doctor remarks that it's the Earth 'before the great continental drift' - 200,000,000 years ago - but then refers to the Silurian era. But the Silurian era was twice as long ago as that! Even the more recent date is only on the threshold of the evolution of the dinosaurs, and there's no chance that an intelligent bipedal civilization could have evolved at this point. Nevetherless, a big rubbery reptile is exactly what walks in on the Doctor!
He extends a hand an asks if he's a 'Silurian'! Even if that date was right, I find it unlikely they use the humans' term. The monster flees and growls like a bloke in a mask. It seems they forgot to the dub the voice.
Down the caves, the Silurians reveal some kind of shoe-cleaning weapon which makes people's boots all soapy before they die.
There doesn't seem to be a great deal of creativity in the set design for the Silurian base. You don't really get any sense of architecture.
I like the monsters though. They chat like two humans might - albeit over-acting - and have the kind of sensible conversations which make you believe they could have had something like a civilization more than, say the Dominators last year.
Ohh it's Geoffrey Palmer.
The story drags slowly through certain sections, and then suddenly leaps forward. After several scenes in which very little progress is made, there's a jump and in the blink of an eye the Doctor is a prisoner of the Silurians.
It's a fascinating idea that the Doctor suggests the Silurians can build cities in the desserts. What an amazing dual civilization that would be. But of course it would never happen. Man can't even live along side another man. How could he possibly living alongside a reptile monster?
Episode five ends rather disturbingly, not with the usual looming threat or 'You've killed him!' but a revelation which has far reaching and very real repercussions: That a man has died from the Silurians; infection. I've always felt that these plot twists of great enormity make for a far more effective cliff-hanger than someone pointing a gun at someone else.
It's interesting that the Doctor refers to the disease as 'alien'. I suppose this is true that foreigners can be referred to as 'aliens', however it's all the more interesting that the Silurians are as much Terrans as the Human race is.