back to article The new touchy-feely Doctor Who trend: Worrying

For a certain type of alphabetised-DVD-collection Doctor Who fan, there’s a crafty mental reset button that can be pressed when encountering deeply uncomfortable concepts. Concepts such as when the Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, casually let it slip that he was actually half-human, or upon hearing the Doctor In Distress charity …

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  1. 1Rafayal
    Thumb Up

    Here Here.

    I am a little too young to remember the earlier Doctor Who stories, but I remember being terrified on a consistent basis by "The Curse of Fenric". I mean, zombies and vampires in the same story. I still get nightmares to this day.

    Something you just dont get these days.

    1. Richard Scratcher
      Headmaster

      "Where? Where?"

      (From "Doctor Who and The Homophones")

  2. Buzzword

    Same with Star Trek

    Compare tough man Captain Kirk with soppy Jonathan Archer. Or consider Jean-Luc Picard & crew who spent too much time chatting about touchy-feely issues to counsellor Deanna Troi. Kirk would never have stood for it.

    1. Silverburn
      Happy

      Kirk would have...

      ...slept with the councillor for a start, then critised her for not wearing a skirt short enough, or having eyelashes not long enough.

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Never fear

      The movies did away with contemplative Picard and turned him into a badass.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
        Devil

        Exactly

        Watch "First Contact". Contemplative my a***

        While does not reach the level of Warf's most famous quote from the same movie ("Perhaps it is a good day to die. Prepare for ramming speed") he is definitely not far off. In fact compared to "First Contact"'s Picard, Kirk is soft and contemplative.

  3. s. pam
    Alert

    Where can I buy my...

    Amy Pond Bondage Handcuffs, complete with matching redheaded temptress?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There are a few NSFW website that can help you out there, my friend.

  4. Eddie Edwards
    Gimp

    The Dalek Masterplan

    "Today, anybody under the age of about 51 can only experience the ‘65/’66 12-parter The Dalek Masterplan via narrated audio"

    There is also a 2-part Target adaptation (which I have).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Answers

    Yes, it is true that the eighth doctor claimed to be half human. I will remind you that the same post-regeneration psychosis prompted the sixth doctor to accuse his companion of being a fairy. Don't trust anything a timelord says within 48 hours of regeneration.

    Time was only able to move when River Song and the doctor were in physical contact, because it was an intervention in their interactions in the real universe that broke time in the first place. He snogged her because that was the only way he knew she couldn't resist being in physical contact with her which could also be shown on the BBC in that time slot.

    Sherlock, because he is a time lord.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Yeah, but no, but yeah...

      She actually snogged the Teselecta Robot disguised as the Doctor, with a miniature Doctor inside. To which you could reply

      it didn't have to be physical contact, just close enough...

      So time could continue because every witness had seen what they were supposed to see at that fixed point in time and could carry on the way they were supposed to. Only in fact the suit was under remote control from the Silence because River herself in the suit didn't want to kill the Doctor either. And the bits with River chasing the Doctor around trying to kill him earlier in her timeline were pointless because she could only kill him at that fixed point in time.

      While it was unfolding it had the possibility to be rather clever but when you put everything in order it at the end it's on the wrong side of the 'a little bit too silly' line. But still better than Tennant blubbing and RTD's scripts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes, it was the tesselecta

        The anomaly was between River and the thing we'd always assumed to be the Doctor. The fact that it was secretly the Doctor in a Doctor suit is detail.

      2. Keith Langmead

        don't think that's quite right

        Close but no. Time broke because she failed to kill the Teselecta with the Doctor inside, she just didn't know that it wasn’t the Doctor standing in front of her. That was the true fixed point in time, not the actual Doctors death, but obviously no one else knew that. Therefore her kissing the Teselecta at the end restored time to normal. I agree with the rest of it being a bit muddled though. I have to assume Ian Harrison didn't bother actually watching (or paying attention to) the end of the episode.

        1. Annihilator
          Headmaster

          Pedant..

          She didn't kiss the Teselecta as far as I could tell, she kissed the doctor. The doc wasn't necessarily inside the Teselecta while in the broken universe, he just told her to look in his eyes when she returned to the beach.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            @Annihilator

            Nope, sorry, she definitely looked into the Teselecta's eyes in the broken universe and saw the miniature Doctor, it was why she finally decided to snog him (it) then let the suit kill him (it).

            I would post my 20 page essay on Donny Darko but it would be off-topic.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Who is Donnie Darko? Some American fast food outlet?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Um ...

          "That was the true fixed point in time ..."

          That's fairly non-canonical as far as nature is concerned.

      3. Grease Monkey

        "She actually snogged the Teselecta Robot disguised as the Doctor, with a miniature Doctor inside. To which you could reply

        it didn't have to be physical contact, just close enough..."

        Ah no. The fixed point was that River would kill a robot that everybody thought was the Doctor. So she had to come into contact with the robot.

        The Doctor figured that out. He knew the fixed point had to be River killing something or somebody who looked just like the Doctor, because he'd seen it. It din't have to be the Doctor himself. Most Whovians had figured that out, but the most common prediction was that the Doctor on the beach would be a flesh avatar.

        "While it was unfolding it had the possibility to be rather clever but when you put everything in order it at the end it's on the wrong side of the 'a little bit too silly' line."

        You've got an alien who looks completelt human and can regenerate when the plot, the actors career or the BBC's internal politics require it. He can travel in time and space in a little blue box which is an awful lot bigger on the inside. He can fix almost anything in the world (except wood) with his sonic screwdriver, but can't fix the chameleon circuit of his TARDIS. Time can be rewritten. He can't travel back into his own personal timeline, except when he does. Etc. Etc. Etc.

        I'm sorry but I think you'll find that almost any Doctor Who plot is well over that line. But there's nothing wrong with silly.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          @Grease Monkey

          I was attacking it from the 'it was really him the first time round but he changed things so it was the Teselecta the second time round' point of view. Things did happen slightly differently at the lake scene in the last episode than the way we saw them in the first episode and the last, plus all this ado about 'Time can be re-written'.

          But yes, it could have always been the Teselecta too. What wasn't playing playing fair that the Teselecta was lurching round like a Thunderbird except when it was disguised as the Doctor.

          Nothing silly about a blue box being a time machine. What was really silly was RTD's last Christmas Special.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Sherlock

      And I thought it was due to the writers of the TV series

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ahhhh ... BUT

      "Don't trust anything a timelord says within 48 hours of regeneration."

      I would agree with you there BUT the Master also discovered the Doctor had a Human retina ... remember when he's fiddling with the Eye of Harmony?

      He, too, was astounded as we were by this revelation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What the Master found was that the TARDIS had been programmed to expect a human retina. Which is a totally reasonable thing for a barking mad timelord to do. He then made the mistake of assuming that the Doctor had a good reason to do it that didn't rely on being barking mad.

        Once you acknowledge that the entire film is the eighth doctor's equivalent of the Fish Custard scene it makes perfect sense.

    4. Some Beggar
      Unhappy

      Sheesh.

      I bet you chaps have some thrilling theories about Donnie Darko too.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not necessarily fatal

    Pertwee spent something like five years diluting the brand into formulaic 25-minute car chase sequences with tedious kung fu for exposition and it bounced back from that.

  7. dogged

    "If that happens, imagine Sarah Jane’s stiff-upper-lip departure in 1976 adventure The Hand Of Fear, newly soundtracked by Coldplay, forever."

    Okay, I'll be 42 ne3xt month but the thought of a Dr Who Coldplay Moment makes ME want to hide behind the sofa. And not in a good way.

  8. EddieD

    Simples...

    The current Dr Whos are written for the touchy-feely US market.

    Enough said.

    1. Doug Glass
      Go

      Oh I Don't Know

      Seems to me in "A Good Man Goes To War" River Song characterized The Doctor's viciousness pretty well.

      But then the 11th Doctor is no Doc Martin so you may be right.

      Then there was the Americanization of "Torchwood" which totally frakked it up. Oh well, there's always "The Big Bang Theory" and "Friends" reruns. And "Top Gear" and, of course, Stephen Fry.

      So many choices; so little time.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        I thought the obvious one here was the line; "I'm the Doctor. We're in the biggest library in the universe, look me up.", stopping a planet-buggering swarm of invisible unstoppable miniature airborne piranha thingies dead in their tracks.

        I got the message that the Vashta Nerada looked him up and collectively crapped themselves on the spot. So that makes him scarier than them then, which is pretty bloody scary in anyone's book.

        1. APA

          One of my favourite lines of the series was actually one of Rory's:

          Rory: I have a message and a question. A message from the Doctor and a question from me. Where is my wife? Oh don't give me those blank looks. The twelfth Cyber Legion monitors this entire quadrant. You hear everything. So you tell me what I need to know. You tell me now and I'll be on my way.

          Cyberman: What is the Doctor's message? {the fleet explodes behind Rory}

          Rory: Would you like me to repeat the question?

          1. Oliver Mayes

            There's a reason that the fans are calling Rory "Time's New Roman"

    2. APA
      FAIL

      Here here! The spin offs aren't fairing much better either. The original Torchwood series provided a nice "adult" angle on the DW world, but the writers seriously messed with the character dynamics, Jack in particular, with Miracle Day presumably pandering to their America paymasters. Was is it just me but was Jack TRYING to be a shallow stereotype?

      1. IsJustabloke
        Trollface

        Was is it just me but was Jack TRYING to be a shallow stereotype?

        Not that he needed to try too hard...

        1. APA

          He just seemed to be, well "gayer" than usual. In the Angelo retrospective episode I thought he was going to break out into a West Side Story, number.

          The series as a whole had good ideas and obviously had the money, yet still somehow managed to cock it up.

          1. Grease Monkey

            "I thought he was going to break out into a West Side Story, number."

            When directing JB the trick is in preventing him breaking out into a west side story number.

    3. Tom 13

      Hey! It's not our fault the touchie-feelie weenies

      on YOUR side of the pond like the even more touchie-feelie-where's-my-mommie weenies on OUR side of the pond that they've permanently fracked over the show. I always LIKED the fact that Dr. Who was different and that he was working with the Brigadier instead of a US general and had a somewhat different outlook on life in general. It made it, well real, even with the extra-cheesy special effects.

  9. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    Canon cobblers

    In any long running series, there are always going to be inconsistencies.

    Just enjoy each episode for what it is. Just imagine dismissing The Wrath of Khan as "not canon" because Khan recognised Chekov.

  10. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Stop

    Take Issue with

    Doctors Daughter - this is about canon as it can get. Since its been a given since the first original series that he had a Granddaughter - therefore he's allowed at least one Daughter, and if linearity is any guide (and its not) at least 2.

    You may quibble with the method - but I for one though it was one of the better episodes.

    The wizened hobbit doctor was a bit of a stretch though..... (imho) - although I suspect that was just so the Master could keep him in a birdcage - which I thought was delightfully Masterly and cruel.

    1. Grease Monkey

      "its been a given since the first original series that he had a Granddaughter "

      In your head mainly. They called each other grandfather and grandaughter, but I always made the assumption that she was sort of adopted although they never explained how or why. Perhaps he rescued her from somewhere.

      As for the Doctor's Daughter. She wasn't really his Daughter was she? Just grown from his DNA (taken from his severed hand IIRC). The writers were just playing with people with that title, especially given who the actress actually was.

      1. Tom 13

        The first doctor clearly and repeatedly

        called her his granddaughter throughout the series and vice versa, and there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate it was just a pet name.

        It is plainly obvious that they hadn't thought of regenerations until the need arose, and I'll cut them the same slack I cut Star Trek II.

        As for the DNA clone, she clearly is his daughter - the cloned cells are daughter cells, so it just happens to be a different literal.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bring back the Ice Warriors

    I have a very cloudy recollection of my first Doctor Who (lateish 60's, I think I must've been 3 or 4 years old) in an episode that involved giant wasps being shot at with what I recall as field guns. I have no memory of why they were either giant or being shot at, but I'd assume even a sonic screwdriver morphed newspaper wouldn't have been up to the job - I've always found 'Raid' works well on anything with more than four legs, and has the double advantage of costing less than howitzer rounds and annoying any acquaintances with covert tree-hugging tendencies.

    1. Roger Varley

      Giant Wasps

      You're probably thinking of the Zarbi, around 1965

      1. Thecowking
        Thumb Up

        The Zarbi!

        Dr Who and the Zarbi was my very first Dr Who paperback. PIcked it up for five pee in a charity store.

        I should read that again.

    2. Richard Wharram

      Bring back the Wirrn

      A bloke gimped-up in bubble-wrap is scary on every conceivable level.

  12. Smallbrainfield
    Paris Hilton

    There have been some genuinely good moments though,

    the kid in a gasmask was proper scary and so was the Blink episode. Them things in suits were horrible as well, but I have to agree that the end of season episodes tend to be rather touchy feely soft. A proper visceral episode would be good, something horrible with Baker era too-wide smiles and weirdness. I reckon Matt Smith could do this and Moffat could write it if he can shake off some of the RTD-isms.

    Also, Rory is ace.

    1. Jedit
      Facepalm

      Moffat could write Blink and "the kid in the gasmask" ep if he shook off RTD, huh?

      Moffat *did* write those episodes, you blithering cretin. It was Davies who wrote anti-classics like The Parliament of Farting Aliens and Doctor Dobby The Christ-In-A-Birdcage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Pint

        I for one...

        ... read the post first time as meaning that Moffat should write a series end episode, in the same way as Blink and the gas mask one was written, rather than in the touchy feelibn way that RTD would write it.

        Beer because I think you need one.

      2. Smallbrainfield
        Meh

        I do know he wrote those episodes. Credit me with some intelligence.

        He is responsible for the series as a whole now. I think there's still a bit too much legacy of RTD in there. So ner, fartface.

    2. PatientOne

      @Smallbrainfield

      'Also, Rory is ace.'

      Erm, no... Ace was a girl for starters and tended to carry around explosives.

      Rory is a guy. Unless he's taking after Spot from ST:NG and changing sex as required by plot, which would make his relationship with Amy something of a conundrum...

      Anyhow: Ace is. Rory is merely okay.

      1. T J
        FAIL

        Ace sucked

        And not in any useful way. She was cute, as was Peri - and they were both godawful and in a godawful pantomime version of the series. I was very glad that when RTD rebooted the series everything from Colin Baker onwards was consigned to a Dynasty Dream Didnt Happen status, good riddance.

        1. Tom 13

          Actually I liked all the Doctors up to the reboot.

          Sometimes I didn't like the stories, and especially toward the end I HATED the production quality, but those things were clearly not the fault of the actors.

          Although I do see they are walking quickly toward a brick wall that can't be avoided - too many regenerations were burned up before the reboot, and that's discounting the movies. The 13th Doctor is supposed to be evil and vicious, so they're almost out of regens.

          1. Grease Monkey

            Whenever people talk about the limit to the number of generations I wonder how much attention they've paid to the canon over the years.

            Think about the Master. He actually used up all his regenerations once and was granted another cycle by the high council. So was the limit of 13 a limit imposed by the high council? If so then the limit would presumably disappeared along with the high council.

            Also SJA is considered part of the canon in which the Doctor says he can regenerate 507 times. Is he lying?

            Then there's the fact that River used her regenerations to save the Doctor when his regenerative ability was suspended. Does that mean that the Doctor now has River's remaining ten incarnations? If he does is that 10 added to the 13, the 507 or the 11 he's already had.

            I don't think the writers will have a problem in finding a reason to give the doctor more generations.

    3. Dave Bell

      Moffat has managed to make all the awkward details that RTD used into irrelevances. The Time War, the Master ruling Earth, all the twists and turns between Nine admitting he's the last Time Lord and the whole damn lot of them coming back to bring about the end of time.

      Oh, some of the tricks were quite logical, but I doubt RTD could cope with the lack of a definite ending in the DW format.

      Is Moffat better? He's picking up stuff from all over written SF. He's not afraid to write for an audience that actually thinks about what's happening. DW has picked up some of the same appeal as a really good detective mystery.

      There has been a change. I've been watching this show all my life, and I can understand why the discomfort about the shifts. But looking back at how I was trying to figure an answer to the problem that was set up back in April, I really want to know what this guy does next. Because He's set it up so the Doctor has to be discreet, has to be more subtle, has to save the day without making a big splash.

      I think it is going to be interesting.

  13. Peter Galbavy
    Unhappy

    Blink... and you missed the only good bit

    The Neo-Who stuff just seems to be "playground acting" to me. A bunch of actors running around making things up on the fly with zero structure and lots of pretend machine guns, cars and spaceships (etc.). Only decent episode, IMHO, was Blink.

    Still, stuff all else on worth watching, so it gets watched by default.

  14. Pet Peeve
    FAIL

    This crap again

    I picture the author standing in a window, waving his fist, and yelling "GET OFF MY LAWN". The series has never been more popular, and that's because it's finally not embarassing to watch a good deal of the time.

    This old-fartedness is not unheard-of in SF fandom. Science fiction should be about ideas they say, how DARE writers spend more than 5 minutes fleshing out the characters? Get over it!

    1. IsJustabloke
      Stop

      wow... calm down dear.

      Popular <> good in every case or even in everybodies taste

      I've *always* watched Dr Who in all its forms (well OK not sylvester McCoy that would have been stupid) I've watched every "new" Dr Who and have found myself disapointed by pretty much every episode (apart from the odd one or two and I did enjoy the Ecclestone series)

      The reality is, I don't find the new stuff, apart from the odd episode to be very, well, "Dr Who" , It's sci-fi yes, Dr Who No, (for me) there is too much "timey-whymy" stuff.. there is definately too much sentimentality in it but for the most unforgiveable thing is the "genral purpose, get out of everything" object that the Sonic Screwdriver has become.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I've *always* watched Dr Who in all its forms (well OK not Sylvester McCoy that would have been stupid)"

        Imagine if you are my age... People always remember their doctor, the one they grew up with. Sylvester McCoy is my doctor, and Ace the companion :)

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        @ IsJustabloke

        Well, that's exactly the problem I have with Torchwood. Torchwood had, you know, a team and a dynamic, plus some decent sci-fi ideas buried under everybody making out with everybody else.

        These new mini-series - "Children of Earth" and "Good-God-They're-In-America" are not bad for modern British sci-fi [*] and in some parts got deliciously ugly... but... it's just not Torchwood. Please please please can we have a new series that brings back the team and retcons the last two series as "Gwen on some weird alien drug, hallucinated it all"?

        * - as in, we're a long way from Day Of The Triffids and Quatermass. And by that I'm talking about the ones made before I was born. In some cases, before they even had <gasp>colours</gasp>!

    2. Stuart Elliott
      Flame

      @PetPeeve

      "The series has never been more popular"

      X-DrugUser-Factor is popular, I'm a B-List Celebrity Get me On TV is popular, BigWan^H^H^HBrother is popular, does that make them good gods no, they're bloody awful television.

      Death to so-called "reality TV" !!!

      1. Pet Peeve
        FAIL

        Do you have any pabst?

        Cripes, can we dispense with the "it's popular, therefore it must be crap" nonsense?

        1. A7thStone
          Trollface

          I could go for a PBR but...

          can we dispense with the "it's popular, therefore it must be awesome" nonsense?

          1. Grease Monkey

            It's TV, its popularity is important and you can't get away from that.

            It costs a lot to make, but it's popular so the cost is justified. Indeed it is one of the few programmes that the BBC make which costs the licence payer nothing because of the licensing and merchandising revenue.

            Were it not so popular it wouldn't get made as the BBC would not be able to justify the expense. 45 minutes of Who will cost an awful lot more to make than 45 minutes of Eastenders. Do you really believe that even 8 million viewers is enough to justify Who's existence. The BBC can sell Who to other countries and licence loads of merchandising and DVDs and that is why it's made.

            However I do think the proposed new Hollywood film may be a step too far. As soon as they started talking about it being a completely new re-imagining of the story and saying it would not be part of the canon I switched off. Remember the bloody awful Cushing films? The ones where the Doctor was actually a Doctor who's surname was Who and he had invented the TARDIS more or less in his lockup. That will happen again if some Hollywood committee is allowed to re-imagine the story. But then so many such projects die before they get into production simply because the various parties can't agree, so I don't think there's too much to worry about.

  15. MJI Silver badge

    I remember seeing an interview

    Involved RTD and the presenters favourite episodes.

    Gas Mask child pair, and Girl in the Fireplace.

    RTD was very embarrassed as he didn't write them.

  16. Paul Naylor
    Coat

    Meh

    I'm not a fan. I kinda stopped watching after the excellent Blink and Empty Child episodes. I found the Rose Tyler / Dave Tennant running around the universe giggling like a couple of ADHD kids on a Red Bull trip annoying after a while. Unfortunately though, I'm vilified by my fellow geeks for not watching it, as not liking it makes me 'un-British'. Even more so for not considering the "edgier" spin-off Torchwood, the biggest pile of unwatchable shite I've ever witnessed. Yes John, we get it, you're gay.

    So I ditched Dr Who for the far more interesting American sci-fi: Battlestar Galactica, V, and Flash Forward. Better production, better acted. We Brits can do ace drama; I just don't think think we're that brilliant at sci-fi. Dr Who started off so well with Chris Eccleston (though I generally watch anything he's in) but then just descended into kitsch.

    1. Roger Varley

      Dr Who started off so well with Chris Eccleston ....

      No it fscking didn't. It started off brilliantly with William Hartnell.

      Yoof of today <humph>

      1. Asgard
        Happy

        @William Hartnell.

        I was with the article right up till it said ... "Even more unedifying and illogical than the Doctor having a daughter" ... then I hit the "that is canon button" (a different but similar sounding button). Remember that the first doctor, William Hartnell had a granddaughter, Susan Foreman, therefore by inference, the doctor also had at some point been a father.

        I was a fan of doctor, even back when I was a kid. They say you can tell someones age from which doctor they knew. For me it was the end of Jon Pertwee run during the time of the now very sadly late Elisabeth Sladen who was my first idea of the doctor's companion, Sarah Jane Smith.

        Even though the special effects back then were nothing compared to modern effects, there was still some very good scary characters from years ago, such as the Giant Maggots and the Giant Spiders. I also still remember the Brain of Morbius as an evil powerful time lord with his brain in a transparent bowl and a crab claw. :)

        Ahh good memories. :)

      2. T J
        Thumb Up

        Chris did rock though

        Chris did rock though. I wish it had just gone straight from him to Matt and skipped that irritating little mumbling scots git in the middle, couldnt stand him!

    2. Richard Wharram

      John Barrowman is gay ?

      They kept that quiet.

    3. Belgarion

      Generally agree with you comments about Tyler/Tennant, but at least it was watchable and enjoyable. Completely agree with Torchwood comments. I just suffered through Battlestar Galactica. Religion and children - the whole thing sucked to high heaven.

    4. T J
      FAIL

      Torchspew

      Yes Torchwood really was appallingly, appallingly bad wasn't it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It got worse (Torchwoody)

        What amazed me was that it got WORSE. Wouldnt have thought it was possible, but here we are.

        First series had about 4 episodes in it that were quite Ok:

        First episode (its needed of course)

        Ghost Machine

        Countrycide

        They Keep Killing Susie (brilllliant! I would go as far as to say)

        ...and the rest were pretty forgettable. No, _utterly_ forgettable.

        Next season - no good eps.

        Next season - no good eps.

        Children Of Earth - I want the several hours of my life back where I was sucked in in the mistaken belief that it would have an ending. Oh, and just to bury it forever:

        THE ALIENS ARE STEALING OUR CHILDREN TO MAKE DRUGS!!

        .....yeah thought so, there IS no way to say that without it sounding like a TShirt.

        Ie. Its funny, which I dont think was the authors' intention.

        (Incidental Question: What WERE the authors' intentions with CoE ??? Or as Rick James said it is just a case of "Cocaine.....its a hell of a drug."?)

    5. Paul Naylor
      Thumb Up

      @Belgarion

      Actually, you're right; I meant Eccleston in the "reimagining". As for the old school, I'm a little bit too young for Hartnell. I vaguely remember Jon Pertwee but Tom Baker was my Dr of choice, with some genuinely scary episodes. Was it "The Ark" where victims got absorbed by some weird alien blob (presumably the picture in the main article)? Scared the crap out of me did that...

      1. Grease Monkey

        "Remember that the first doctor, William Hartnell had a granddaughter, Susan Foreman, therefore by inference, the doctor also had at some point been a father."

        Except that Susan wasn't his real granddaughter, being human and all that.

        1. DayDragon

          Susan may or may not have been his real granddaughter but she was certainly Gallifreyan.

          http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Susan_Foreman

  17. Alex Walsh

    I remember

    Reading contemporary interviews about the perceived rivalry between star trek and dr who, the phrase that stuck in my mind was something along the lines of "they had the budget but by god we had the talented script writers". That's all gone now of course. There are no proper 4 parters, and the whole thing is being "Holbyised" (the process of spinning out another show from a drama like Casualty into a relationship based pseudo soap opera like Holby). Matt Smith is the first bearable Dr since Peter Davidson (although Peri did make some of the Colin Bakers bearable).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Davison

      Just saying.

      1. Alex Walsh

        Absolutely, my misspelling of Davison renders everything I said invalid. Cheers for that.

        *stomps off to play with his Danbury Mint Doctor Who chess set whilst reading Targets Travels Beyond the Tardis*

        1. Grease Monkey

          "There are no proper four parters"

          You are aware aren't you that once you remove the titles and the overlaps the episodes you talk about were often below 20 minutes of actual content an episode?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So long, Dr Who...

    ...welcome to Social Workers In Space...

    Rantzen and Kilroy-Silk boldly go...

  19. Jim 59
    Thumb Up

    Great article

    1. John Pertwee

    2. Tom Baker

    3. Everybody else

    1. admiraljkb
      Thumb Up

      @ Jim 59

      Thumbs up sir.

      Pertwee seems to be the favorite of many long term Dr Who fans, including mine. Technically Tom Baker was my first Doctor, but I still prefer the Pertwee years overall. After that, I have a hard time sorting out my favorites, and my preferences change depending on mood. So 2-5 on my list are fluid.

      1) Pertwee

      2) Eccleston

      3) Tom Baker

      4) Davison (several quotes that I still use 20 years later)

      5) Tennant

      6) Michael Jayston (look it up yoofs) :)

      etc etc etc...

      22) Matt Smith (the first completely unbelievable Dr Who in *my* book. Backtracking through the stories though and a lack of Dr Who universe consistency, I think you'll find they're still in the Library, which is why the last several years do not make sense... Tennant is still the Dr, and all events after the Library have only occurred inside CAL's AI)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @admiraljkb

        22??

        I find Smith to be closer to the old-style doctors than the newer ones, at least he started that way. I had assumed that was why he was initially unpopular.

        1. admiraljkb

          @AC @2011-11-14 22:59GMT

          Actually, Smith's Dr very much resembled Troughton's Dr to *me*, at least initially which intrigued me a bit, but he lost the beat somewhere. I do give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it's the stories and scripts rather than his acting. The last two series I've watched, cause it's Dr Who and my compulsion won't allow me to do anything but, but I'm not fond of the Matt Smith years to date.

      2. Jim 59

        The problem with Eccleston...

        ...is that the Doctor is supposed to be an eccentric, not a hipster. An odd Doctor is more satisfying and believable than one who dresses, talks and behaves fashionably. Eccleston should have been a little less Die Hard and a bit more Ford Prefect.

        Pertwee had the intelligence/authority thing off to a tee, and was a little bit frightening himself perhaps, at least to children. Baker, he had that voice.

      3. Grease Monkey

        "6) Michael Jayston (look it up yoofs) :)"

        Sorry but the Valeyard was no more the Doctor than the Dreamlord was the Doctor. Yes an alter ego or an incarnation of his evil side if you like, but he wasn't actually the doctor per se. A sort of biproduct of the regeneration of the 12th Doctor.

        Curiously people have said that the Valeyard is the 13th Doctor, but he isn't. He is described in the series as an aspect of the Doctor that was produced by the regeneration of the 12th Doctor into the 13th Doctor. Just an aspect of the Doctor, not the Doctor himself. In fact it could be suggested that if the Doctor did manage to divest himself of his evil side then the 13th Doctor would be a right goody goody.

        Be careful when analysing the canon. Try hard enough and you can find references which suggest that the Doctor and the Master are actually the same person. Which is obviously utter shite, but there are people who have picked up on it in the past.

  20. fLaMePrOoF
    FAIL

    What complete and utter bollocks!

    "Once upon a time, a non-hysterical make-do attitude prevailed in Doctor Who, and was reflected in stolid, often-recurring supporting actors sufficiently trained to take anything seriously, and the proper British rubbish churned out in the special effects department."

    Which is exactly why Dr Who died on it's arse, seemingly never to return.

    Dr Who in the 'old tradition' wouldn't last one episode today, so either be thankful that the BBC have brought it up-to-date and successfully resurrected it, or shut the fuck up, stop watching it and go back to your sad collection of 'classic' episodes on Betamax.

    1. admiraljkb
      FAIL

      Well, Dr Who "classic" was great for its era and budget. I watch them with that in mind, and the "reality distortion field" holds up most of the time. The stories were good, the acting *most* of the time was ok, the writing wasn't always great though, and effects were indeed rubbish (which requires some imagination to ignore sometimes). It wouldn't last a second on TV today. The other problem is the 30 minute format ended up causing the stories to get elongated on occasion. It wasn't as noticeable watching them on TV, but on DVD it gets annoying as hell having the last 3-4 minutes duplicated in the first 3-4 minutes on each episode in a series...

      The current Dr Who after an awesome start though has been recently relying on pseudo plots and stretching what should take 2 hours across many more, which mirrors what happened to poor Torchwood. I gave up on Series 4 after sitting through half the season and nothing actually happened. It was worse than a US soap where you can go an entire year and the story not have advanced at all , in spite of a lot of busy activity. I really wish they'd stop writing for the US and just write it for Brits like normal. The US fans (like me) like it better that way, that's why we were watching to begin with. :) If I wanted dumbed down US TV, I'd watch US TV. I don't need it coming from across the pond...

      1. Sooty

        "The US fans (like me) like it better that way, that's why we were watching to begin with. :) If I wanted dumbed down US TV, I'd watch US TV. I don't need it coming from across the pond..."

        You sir, need a job as a tv executive this instant!

        Pretty much all the British series' that are remade for the US bomb, badly... so why try to speed up the process by taking it in that direction from the start.

      2. Tom 13

        Here, here!

        From another American fan who would prefer the show remains British.

        As for the 3-4 minute overlaps on the DVDs, that's just more bad editing/production work from the Beeb. If they took the minimal amount of time it would require to remaster them properly, it wouldn't be a problem.

  21. DJ 2
    Facepalm

    I've just finished watching the first 4 doctors on Iplayer, I much prefer the latest batch of doctors. The story arcs are a lot more complicated as well.

    1. Grease Monkey

      Since when was classic who available on iPlayer? Indeed an awful lot of the first two doctors is not available in any format.

  22. Mike Brown

    i seem to be in the minority

    i dont like matt smith. from my point of view, he seems to be just doing a pretty piss poor attempt at a Tennant impression. Plus the recent series plot (?) arc is so daft and stupid it makes me shout at the telly. It seems that moffat is just making it up on the fly, and throwing anythign that seems cool at it: river song being amy ponds daughter, is particualrly annoying, as its pointless and just.......daft.

    I have no empathy for Rory, and apart from gloriuos pins, amy pond could die for all i care.

    I was really disapointed by this new direction from moffat, i had high hopes. But its just a mess of poor writing, silly story arcs, and totally forgettable actors.

    oh and why does noone mention "midnight"? One of the greatest bits of acting Dr Who has ever produsced.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Midnight

      Yes, what's wrong with that?

      The only two episodes, of the post-2005 bunch, that I'd suggest that a non-Whovian watch would be Midnight and Blink.

    2. admiraljkb

      See my previous theory. Tennant's Doc, Donna and River are still in the Library, and none of the crazy plots have actually occurred since. In fact, most of the Who storyline post Library only makes sense if they are stuck in the Library and don't realize it. I can't be the only one thinking this.

      Amy may have been the most seductive companion ever. Then poor Rory. My wife and I started trying to figure out how he was going to get killed and resurrected each week. But like you, I don't care about them like I did several of the previous companions through the years.

      It is true that Midnight was good for acting, but the damn thing creeped me out to a degree that after a couple of viewings, I never want to see it ever, ever again. It also didn't really advance the Dr Who universe, and was a "throwaway" episode long term, so it isn't crucial to remember it for any reason. Truthfully I kinda just block that episode out, and I suspect others do as well.

      1. Belgarion
        Thumb Up

        @admiraljkb

        "It is true that Midnight was good for acting, but the damn thing creeped me out to a degree that after a couple of viewings, I never want to see it ever, ever again."

        Nice to know I'm not alone. Having said that, isn't that what DW is all about?

        1. T J
          Thumb Down

          Sorry, no, it was crap

          Midnight was an abomination of writing so bad it nearly made me stop watching the series, as though '42' wasnt bad enough. Oh god you just made me remember the atrociously bad 'The Family Of Blood' now I just want everyone involved SHOT!!

          1. Grease Monkey

            No Midnight was actually pretty good sci-fi. Proper sci-fi not crappy US TV sci-fi. However it was also very derivative.

    3. T J
      Megaphone

      No, no no no no no

      Smith is channeling a mixture of Troughton and Baker and doing it VERY WELL. He is easily my favourite doc since Baker (the real one, not the one in the clown suit).

  23. Graham Marsden
    Boffin

    Keep Calm...

    .... And Don't Blink!

    I have to wonder whether the author of this article also bitches that nobody's writing stories like those from the Golden Age of SF between the 1930s and the 1950s any more.

    Well, oddly, Doctor Who, like all other Sci-Fi, grows and changes according to the times it's in. So much SF is a reflection of the social conditions in which it is written (compare the Cyberpunk of the 1980s with Banks' Culture stories for example)

    Each Doctor is different, to expect them to all be the same would be to put the series into a strait-jacket churning out the same old stuff over and over again which would be tedious beyond belief.

    Instead we have developing characters and story arcs (including the wonderful "backwards arc" of River Song) and still the Silence one continues. If that's not your thing, please feel free to go back to the three R's of Rockets, Rayguns and Robots, but let those of us who appreciate a bit more subtlety on their SF enjoy what is a great series *now*.

    1. Mike Brown

      But its not subtle. Its tacked on and quite frankly, rubbishly written. Its clear that at some point in a meeting somebody said "lets make Amy Pond have a baby who is river song!" and they all went along with it. These people should not be allowed to make TV proggrames ever, ever again.

      On the surface it looks like clever and almost high brow sci fi , but it really isnt. Its just badly written, confuloted, and silly ideas thrown into a pot, and called time travel.

      Plus the characters arnt developing at all. Why isnt Rory barking mad? He spend at least a century on his own, dressed like a roman, looking after a stone cube. And every bloody week they kill him, and bring him back. He should be bat shit insane by now. Not still gurning like a goon, following amy like puppy.

      gah!

      1. Graham Marsden
        FAIL

        @Mike Brown

        Fine, if you can do better, write a script and send it in to the BBC.

        (Better put it through a spell checker first, though...)

        1. Mike Brown

          eh?

          @Graham Marsden Are you really saying that i have to write a script for Dr Who before i can have an opinion on it? How odd.

          1. Graham Marsden

            @Mike Brown

            No, I'm saying if you think you can do better, why don't you.

          2. Grease Monkey

            I've never agreed with the "you can't complain unless you can do better yourself" argument. So I think Graham's point was a bit silly. However to all the Whovians who want the series to be stuck in a timewarp of whatever period in their youth they discovered the doctor I do have an answer.

            DON'T WATCH IT.

            I first discovered the Doctor when Pertwee played the part, and really got into it when Tom Baker took over. I think my interest probably peaked during the Douglas Adams period (even though I had no clue who he was at the time), but I still enjoyed the Davison and Colin Baker doctors. When McCoy took over the role however the show, in my opinion took a dive, so I stopped watching. I didn't complain and expect them to rewrite the show to suit me.

            1. Graham Marsden

              @Grease Monkey

              Sigh, I didn't say "you can't complain unless you can do better yourself". Read Mike JVX's post, he got the point I was making.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        @Mike Brown - Blah Blah Blah, Too american, not British enough, effects look too real, wheres the bubble wrap <insert other BS spouted regularly>

        Personally watched 2005 S1, some of S2, none of S3 and S4, watched S5 and S6 whe Moffat took over as RTD constant "oooooh lets make this character gay/bi" started to really really grate.

        I LIKED the river song / Amy Pond Arc, clever writing with some hidden twists.

        Only part I didn't like was the James Cordon episode, liked the episode generally and one of the few, which has made me jump in a long time, but given 3 or so eps back the Doctor has just taken out a cyberfleet, how does he get captured by 4 poor assembled malfunctioning cybermen? (not paying due to impending death perhaps with a lack of interest in living mixed in)

        end of S4 was meant to show a change of tone and a different take on regeneration, where the Dr is fighting it and ergo things bottle up and get out of control and result in him being a tad odder than ever e.g. fish fingers and custard.

        Though the simple answer is if you dislike it that much, "Don't watch it" watch X factor or similar rubbish.

  24. Mike Richards

    In its defence

    The old show never gave us those twin wonders of Space and Time - Amy Pond and River Song.

    1. Tom 13

      Didn't need them.

      The old show had Leela, who was far better with a Janis thorn than River has ever been with a gun, and Romana (Mary Tamm, not the mousy Lalla Ward) who at least until the writers dumbed her down way too much, could hold her own or best The Doctor.

      Not that I'm objecting to Amy or River mind you.

      1. Grease Monkey

        Leela was the most wooden and badly acted assistant the Doctor ever had.

  25. Sam Haine
    FAIL

    The ship has crashed. The crew are dead. A title is required.

    I thought El Reg only used to run stuff like this on Fridays?

  26. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    Irony, weird coincidence, or what?

    That the bit about "the Master’s evil mobile phone network" was right next to a picture of Steve Jobs.

  27. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Devil

    It could be worse, one of our American networks could pick up the series!!

    This week, on a very special "Doctor".....

    (I don't even like Dr. Who, and that into makes me cringe)

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Decline and fall

    Outstanding article.

    It illustrates part of the dumbed-down touchy-feely decadence that will bring the end for this country (and a few others). I blame things like moulded plugs, Java, twit-face social networking, MBAs and PPE graduates, and the demise of decent O and A levels in maths and science.

    Big hugs, group-think etc., won't fix it either - so go on, wetheads, vote me down!

  29. Neil Hawkins
    Thumb Up

    Ahh... Sara Kingdom. I can still see her demise. One of those things that sticks in the mind's eye after all these years. I can remember being behind the sofa to!

  30. Petrea Mitchell
    Stop

    La la la I can't hear you

    When I read some of the interviews with cast and writers that preceded the debut of the revival, I came to the conclusion that whatever it was they'd liked about the old series (and they never did articulate what they'd liked, all they ever talked about was stuff they wanted to change), and proceded to ignore it as a completely different show which just happened to have the same name as one that I like. Every time I read something about major plot developments in the new Who, even articles that approve of them, I cringe and become even gladder that I made that decision.

    It's not as though this locks me into an endless cycle of nothing new; I've never seen most of the Hartnell and Troughton stories and missed a couple seasons near the end, so as the DVDs get released, I'm still getting to see adventures that are new to me.

    (Does anyone really put their collection in alphabetical order? Seriously? I mean, the only *proper* obsessive way to do it is in story order!)

  31. Dick Emery

    Childhood nightmares

    I don't know the episodes but there was one with a small golem in it that killed people. Another with some experiment in a large container that broke out and attacked Pertwee. Another with large bugs and slithering pupae on a spacheship that had Tom Baker in it and the dinosaur one with Pertwee. They proper scared the crap out of me as a child.

    I wonder if kids get scared of Doctor Who anymore what with all the video games monsters and various movies doing the rounds.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Probably Talons of Weng Chiang, Spearhead from Space, Arc in Space and The Dinosaur Invasion.

  32. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    Target audience

    The beeb had to choose who their target audience was for the Dr Who revamp: Impossible-to-please middle aged men with fond memories of what they thought was the good old days of British sci-fi, or a new generation of children who neither know or care about the older series.

    Due to the unique way the BBC is funded, there's no justification in pandering to the former - even though they would enthusiastically buy DVD sets and action figures, it's a limited audience that is only destined to shrink smaller.

    A modern sci-fi / kiddie series is obviously the only way they could have gone. It's perfectly successful, but will inevitably disappoint.

    If you took your 'But it's not CANON' whining to a meeting of license fee budgeteers, tasked with deciding how much should be invested in the writing of Dr Who, I doubt you'd get far.

    1. Petrea Mitchell
      WTF?

      So why bother?

      So if you want to create essentially a brand-new series, why not just create a completely *new* series rather than annoying the allegedly useless nostalgic middle-aged fans? What's the point in dragging a pre-existing series in if all that does is pick up a contingent of haters?

      1. Belgarion
        Meh

        Haters can be ignored...

        As a concept, DW is still one of the best out there. It's BRITISH. More than that - it's ENGLISH. The BBC owns it. And because of those "nostalgic middle-aged fans", it automatically had a viewing base. I got my kids hooked because I made them sit with me and watch the first episode of the reboot. Nostalgia for us old farts, young, handsome and hot (Martha, damn!) for the younger generation. Even the haters still watch (for the most part).

        Genius marketing.

      2. T J
        Megaphone

        Is it really that simple?

        Rhetorical question. No its not that simple. The writing. The writing is paramount. The writing has been, for the most part, very very BAD in the new series. This is a problem.

  33. Snark
    Alien

    This is...

    Pretty awesome. Not the article, but the dual aspects of a) the number of upvotes on the "Amy Pond Bondage Handcuffs, complete with matching redheaded temptress?" comment and b) that I think this is the longest run of comments on an IT thread that doesn't have a "Where the IT? angle" icon on it. That kind of says something about the place (love it or hate it) Dr Who has in the hearts of Brit (and other) geeks.

  34. Saucerhead Tharpe
    Coat

    Maybe I missed what I was being told

    But I got the feelign that the end of the last series had the Doc (i.e. Steven Moffat) promising a return to low key adventures rather than giant Galaxy condensing musical number arcs

    If so I look forward to it

    Though I liked Alex Kingston. Once again I could fancy a woman in Dr Who and not think "She's young enough to be my daughter"

    Problem with Rose's mum (Camille Coduri) was remembering her as the Cute Young Thing in Nuns on the Run

    Sorry, where were we?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you my mummy?

    I think the article can be distilled down to: the early series were "boy's own" adventures: small boys wanted to be the Doctor who saved the world and defeated enemies mostly by being clever. All you needed was to understand science and you could defeat anything. Companions were there to wonder at the Doctor's genius and occasionally need rescuing. If you ever went to the park to play at Dr. Who then you'd fight over who would be the Doctor and who would be the daleks/cybermen/master and the little sister that your parents made you take with you got to be the companion (as long as she didn't get in the way).

    Now the Doctor defeats his enemies by being touchy-feely. What small boy wants to save the world by getting his sister to press her hand on the side of a captured Dalek and watch it fly off to Dalek heaven?

  36. Stephen Hill
    Thumb Down

    It's not "sap": it's drama! Sorry, but despite being a fan of the older episodes, I think the new series are vastly superior. They're funnier, cleverer, and even sexier. If you want to watch the classic shows, get them on DVD.

  37. Snark

    It works

    It works. Don't ask me why it works as some of the RTD writing leaves me cold, but it works. Why do i say that? Because the kids will go to school the Monday after to talk about. They'll make sure they've seen it so they can go talk about it. American friends who could never get into the often padded (but I still love) 'classic' Dr Who and who could never get it have commented that their kids will watch it. I grew up sitting watching it with my family as a "must not miss" sit down all together event. It's that again, and in era where it's an effort to drag the kids away from the lastest Xbox masterpiece it's a pleasure to have something fun, sometimes smart and thought provoking, exciting and above all, not full of sex and swearing or reality tv dross that they want to sit and watch with you. We've had some great conversations after it stretching from science, to history to morality. There aren't that many shows that can provoke that nowadays and long may it carry on. I can't watch it the way I did as a child, because I'm much much older now. I love that my kids can though.

  38. colind1961

    Tears, Sarah Jane?

    That line was at the end of Planet of The Spiders, the third Doctor was dying and Sarah Jane was kneeling over him. Pertwee's exit speech, not Sarah Jane's!

  39. David Haig
    Happy

    Ok ...

    Couple of things ....

    Was once in the Coach & Horses (if you don't know where this is ...) with Dr Who (Tom Baker) when Romana (Lalla Ward) phoned Norman (Landlord) to send him home for tea ...

    And the second thing, RTD and SM have tried to put an 'overarching' story (very American series) into Dr Who - nothing wrong with that - and upped the production values to those of the new US series. But 'The Twilight Zone' (original) had the same tacky sets and puns as the first Dr. Whos so they learnt from us, and later, we them. I enjoyed the early 70's Dr Who / Blake's Seven / etc as it and I were of that time, and I like the new ones since Ecclestone as they are 'of this time', as is the new Gallactica and the revamped Star Treks.

    But the spinoffs - That prequel to Gallactica, and Torchwood on this side of the Pond, don't really measure up - liked the idea of Miracle Day but there really was only 5 episodes of material there.

    Sorry, where were we .....?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The first example of time travel?

      "But 'The Twilight Zone' (original) had the same tacky sets and puns as the first Dr. Whos so they learnt from us, and later, we them."

      The Twilight Zone first aired in 1959, Doctor Who in 1963. Spooky....

      1. Grease Monkey

        I think you're somewhat deluded if you think that RTD was the first to put an overarching story into Who. There were complete series with an overarching story going back to at least the seventies. The whole key to time thing was one, then there was the trial of a timelord and I'm sure there were others.

      2. T J
        Childcatcher

        Time Tunnel

        Made 1966

  40. Nugry Horace
    Alien

    "You wouldn’t have had the First Doctor doing this stuff, or letting the companions – or even the viewers – sort it out."

    Yes you would. In the first few serials, the Doctor was a bumbling old coot who got everyone into trouble, and Ian was the hero who saved the day. Look at which one of them takes down the final villain in 'The Keys of Marinus', for example.

  41. Andrew Punch
    Pint

    The great thing about the old Dr Who was the writing. In particular the doctor would usually solve everything without blowing anything up or shoving his sonic screwdriver up their nose.

    The doctor would usually go between the two sides and convince both sides that the other side were awfully nice chaps. Then they everyone would sit down for tea and cucumber sandwiches at the end. Huzzah.

    Fortunately things have picked up with Moffat doing the writing. There is only one canonical episode as far as I am concerned - the episode where Rowan Atkinson is the doctor (Dr Who and the Curse of the Fatal Death) which was also written by Moffat.

    -Andrew

  42. Long John Brass Silver badge
    Alien

    Five Rounds Rapid

    Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Jenkins?

    Jenkins: Sir!

    Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Chap with wings, there. Five rounds rapid.

    —Doctor Who, "The Daemons"

    *sigh*

    The good old days

    1. Wombling_Free
      Thumb Up

      Good old days indeed...

      IRRC the Brigadier also called for 'five rounds rapid' from a tank at the Robot in 'Robot'. Though seeing as it was TV history's most unconvincing model tank ever, it probably wouldn't have worked.

      1. Tom 13

        ah Robot!

        I think that was the very first Dr. Who episode I saw. PBS bought them and stripped them in block on Saturday afternoons so I always got to watch the whole story in one sitting. After that episode I was hooked.

    2. Grease Monkey

      "In particular the doctor would usually solve everything without blowing anything up or shoving his sonic screwdriver up their nose."

      Hardly. Not only was the "classic" Doctor a lot more violent than people seem to remember he often got out of things more by luck than judgement. I seem to recall Douglas Adams once describing the typical doctor who plot as being the Doctor and Sarah Jane running around, getting captured, learning and important bit of plot, escaping, running round, repeat until close. It often came with something of a deus ex machina ending too. As for the Doctor solving everything, it was often down to his companions or a third party to actually come up with the final solution. Sometimes it even happened by mistake.

      "The doctor would usually go between the two sides and convince both sides that the other side were awfully nice chaps. Then they everyone would sit down for tea and cucumber sandwiches at the end. Huzzah"

      Actually the plot was more often than not the doctor trying to mediate, failing and having to resort to something different. Usually resulting in death and destruction, sometimes by accident. Often served up with a large helping of the Doctor agonizing about being a man of peace. Pretty much like the tenth Doctor story with the Daleks and the Empire State building.

      I'm not a fan of Davies mainly because he introduced too much of the soap opera to the show, Moffat has of course managed to turn that on it's head and into a joke on several occasions. But you do have to remember he remains a lifelong fan of the show and did manage to bring it back with a lot of the elements that made the original great, but squeezed into a more modern format. Where a lot of people make their mistakes in criticizing him is in assuming that he wrote all the stories. Far from it. He was "lead writer" which put him pretty much in the role of the old script editors.

      Don't get me wrong I enjoy the classic Doctor Who as much as the next man. I have nearly all the surviving recordings in one format or another. And that, I think, qualifies me to comment. I find that a lot of people seem to have faulty memories when it comes to Doctor who, in particular the idea that he was a man of peace and managed to solve everything amicably.

      Oh and I'm sure you didn't mean that there is only one canonical episode? What did you mean to say there?

  43. bags1
    Coat

    it sticks to tradition!!

    the newer Dr Who episodes do stick to tradition:

    Hot Red-Head companion like Romana II or Leela? Check

    the rest doesn't matter :-)

    mines the coat with the 'Amy in Policewoman's Uniform Action Figure' in the top pocket peeking out to say hi

  44. T J
    Childcatcher

    Yes its a mess

    Yes its a mess and it needs fixing.

    RTD handing over to Moffat was a good start but then Moffat came up with that xmas special that was so bad it made me want to ram unborn dolphins up his ass repeatedly.

    For me, Who ended with The Talons Of Weng Chiang. That was the last consistently good Doctor story before JNT utterly destroyed the series.

    Since then, its been episodic, literally. Little high points here and there with sea of rubbish in between.

    The series is very confused right now, it doesnt know where it wants to be. But it has an excellent cast and excellent directors and designers. But these are NOT ENOUGH.

    It needs story - it has to start with the stories.

    In the old days we really didnt care about the special effects (and guys, they weren't that bad - its become trendy to bash them but .... its actually factually incorrect, go take a proper look with your actual eyes). We didnt care about them because they were facilitating the telling of the story, not trying to cover it up.

    Blink (and I have to say Time Of The Angels even with its space opera bits, but I did like the Bishop!) came damn close. Pity it was that little scotts git and not Chris or Matt, but still, damn fine stuff.

    Will we ever see another story of the grandiose magnitude of Genesis of the Daleks? Spearhead From Space? Death To The Daleks? The Talons Of Weng Chiang?

    I'm beginning to think No, we wont. It'll happen on youtube before it happens on the beeb.

  45. Wombling_Free
    Thumb Up

    You always remember your first Doctor...

    ...mine played the recorder - still my instrument of choice!

    I think the current series is brilliant. Ecclestone-Tennant-Smith have played the Doctor brilliantly - Smith in particular is heading towards bestest evar! The companions are also brilliant - Rory is great, Amy is ok, but my goodness River! Oh yes baby, you can kiss me anytime! Plus she's good with a Nerf gun (why yes, I am converting a Nerf pistol to River's gun for my wife, why do you ask?).

    Our Local cable network has been replaying the Tom Baker seasons - most of which I haven't seen for more than 25 years, and it's funny how all the brilliant episodes I remember... weren't. Let's see:

    1. "the Horror of X" "The X of Evil!" "The X of Death!" um, maybe some originality might have been good.

    2. Sarah Jane - run run run trip scream! walk around corner SCREAM! SCREAM SCREAM! No. just... no. She was crap.

    3. Leela - unfairly maligned. Claims of being there only for eye-candy are just silly - she was smart, alert, didn't scream, could punch a bloke, (TBH wasn't much eye candy anyway) and was acted very well by Louise Jameson.

    4. Tom Baker - far more violent than I remembered! Well described as cat-like though, for large hairy manic values of cat.

    5. Cybermen - the modern ones kick arse. The old ones... didn't.

    6. Amazing to see how much a certain famous author ripped off from other writers - even verbatim!

    7. The Wirrn - would love to see them return, they were pretty creepy.

    8. Were the Robots of DEATH! the same mob who crewed the Titanic II? Very similar. (Also the adventure that links to B7 with mention of Kaldor City!)

    9. Four (or six!) parters - Genesis of the Daleks - Brilliant. Talons of Weng Chaing - I fell asleep. Yes, asleep. During Dr.Who. Asleep. Also the Horror of Fang Rock - the horror was it was so bad, and seemed to have been scripted by a 10-yr old. Yes, RTD did go the gay angle, but at least he can write!

    I'm hoping the network shows the Peter Davison series, in fact I'd love to see the others too. Especially Peri!

    Thumbs up, because ANY Dr.Who, even 8, is infinitely better than NO Dr.Who!

  46. Wombling_Free
    Thumb Up

    And just noticing somebody mentioned The Culture....

    ...and as I have just finished Iain M. Banks brilliant books, it seems that whoever wrote River had a bit of the Culture's impishness in mind when they wrote her. She's an SC operative if ever I saw one!

    1. Grease Monkey

      I wouldn't describe Romana II as a redhead and you're pushing a point to call Leela a ginge as well.

    2. Grease Monkey

      Which famous author and where?

      1. bags1
        Flame

        there is different levels of red... Romana II is/was enough to have given me a redhead fetish for my whole life... though i do admit to pushing it a lil with Leela :-)

        flame = firebush :-)

    3. T J
      Devil

      Yup, agree

      Yup, don't agree with all your points but by and large - you've nailed it.

      My gods, you fell asleep during Talons Of Weng Chiang?? Whats WRONG WITH YOU?? That was the last good Who, EVER! (Yeah yeah until The Empty Child and all the other Moffat stories.....oh and Dalek which wasn't Moffat but was poignantly beautiful. RTD should have let that be the last Dalek story ever rather than bringing the goddamn things back again and again and again).

      Btw FYI - the Peter Davison series was NOT good, it was BAD. Just thought I'd clarify that for ye!

  47. AndrewG

    What about last years Christmas Special?

    Awfulllest writing for the Doctor ever. Basically it had the premise that if he meets someone he disagrees with, he'll just go back in time and make sure their personalities changed to whatever suits him.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    Sorry to say

    I stopped watching wiith this new doctor bloke. To show how bad i feel he is, even Billy Piper didnt annoy me enough to stop watching. But this new doctor....

    He's just a bit, well, limp....He has no "Garrammba" (Nausican).

    Bring back Eccleston (after Baker).

    1. Grease Monkey

      Yet another berk with no idea of who the doctor is suppoed to be. Ecclestone was easilly the worst portrayal of the doctor that has occurred in the canon. Although the doctor regenerates he still needs to have certain character traits to make him the same person. Ecclestone didn't even try, partly I suspect because he didn't try, partly because his acting is somewhat limited* and partly because he knew almost from day one that he was a stop gap for Tennant. Worse still I'm still amazed that the BBC ever comissioned another series because most of the stories for that series were crap.

      There was some talk that the BBC wanted to use Richard E Grant who had done some voice parts as the doctor for the BBC. There are various versions of the story, but the Beeb didn't get their own way because either Grant was not available or Davies only wanted an actor for a single series because he had Tennant lined up for the role when he became available. Either way Grant would have made a much better Doctor than Ecclestone.

      * He's good at what he does, but don't ask him to do anything too different.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More selotape less kissing please.

    They need to take the sex out of Doctor Who.

    That's not what it's about and it's starting to feel like "Time Lord Factor" as it blends seamlessly into all the other trash the BBC currently churn out out to sedate the spice girls generation..

    I kind of get the River line, Susan came from somewhere but I was never desperate to find out, "spoilers" focusing on unecesarry back story and spoiling the story.

    perhaps what's really up is the new writers need a night out and....?

    1. Grease Monkey

      Take the sex out of Doctor Who? I think you need to go back and watch all the seventies stuff. You're never more than a few minutes from an apalling double entendre. In those days they were never going to put blatant sex into a teatime TV show, but a bit of good old fashioned British double entendre was not only acceptable. Indeed it was almost compulsory.

  50. TchmilFan

    I'm sorry but

    ...mention of Pond, Song, Leela and no-one mentions Peri? Now, maybe Peri in Amy's policewoman outfit? Oh crikey.

    -----------

    I'm by no means a Whovian and, being of the late Pertwee/Baker vintage, I quite like the Smith instar BUT the nouveau humans-are-great and awfully clumsy look-gay-people! schtick is what annoys me (Some of my best friends are gay/black/French/real).

    While it's laudable that they're trying to influence people into being more accepting, it's the crappy way that it's shoe-horned into the plot with feeble excuses like there's no reason why he should be of any particular persuasion: indeed not, but do you have to do it in such inept way? It's like deciding that they're going to make vegetarianism more acceptable and then in every fourth episode show someone slaughtering a cow and the Doctor says NO I QUITE FANCY A LETTUCE , ACTUALLY (Lettuce's are cool). Okay, this is pretty much a whinge against the stylings of the now absent RTD but the humans are the bestest ooh they're marvellous stench still hangs around.

    The lack of a scientific perspective is sad but that's symptomatic of most TV output nowadays. It's all bums-on-seats dahling. If it's too difficult they won't understand it. At least that's the view of the Execs and the directors and writers that have grown up with that culture.

    Don't get me started on the Torchwood labia of the world thing.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Oh dear, now you've gone and done it. I've just thought of Jo Grant in Amy's policewoman outfit and......

      NURSE! THE SCREENS!!!!!!!

    2. Grease Monkey

      Peri? Sorry but I could never get past that irritating whiney voice of hers.

  51. Grease Monkey

    Rule One

    Is that canon? No, it's rule one. Davies used the parallel universe thing far too often. Especially when he wrote himself into a corner, such as that nonsense where Rose was sealed into a parallel universe and could never come back and then kept on coming back with different teeth. Moffat has tried to avoid that sort of thing relying on the much more subtle rule one (no, not No Pooftas). And he doesn't even bother explaining it most of the time, he credits the viewer with some sort of intelligence and expects them to work it out.

    @Paul Naylor Ecclestone was probably the least Doctor Who-ish of all the doctors with the exception of his predecessor. But then McGann was never given a chance to develop his character. Remember Ecclestone was on record as saying he was not a fan of the show and wanted to do something new with it. TBH I suspect that given that he knew he was only contracted for one series and that he was effectively a bed warmer for Tennant that he was never going to try too hard. Tennant was of course much nearer to a proper Doctor Who character, there always has to be the absent minded professor type overlaid with a huge dose of arrogance with a side order of big personality. Ecclestone had only the arrogance.

    And as for your comments about Davies, he hasn't had anything to do with the show since the nonsense that was the 2009 christmas special. He was replaced by Moffat, the author of the Blink episode you were so keen on. If you're going to spout your opinions, do try to make sure they're up to date.

    Oh and as for US sci-fi crediting the viewer with any intelligence is not something you find often in that genre. Everything has to be painted with a very broad brush and then explained twice in case you didn't get it. Or is that just filler?

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The new-who is definitely superior to much of classic who, and for my money, Smith is the best Doctor of the new series, but it certainly has some massive flaws. Chief amongst those is the god-awful touchy-feely-huggy claptrap which invades it from time to time, particularly recently. This was mentioned by the author, who then sadly ignored the worst example of this in favour of one that wasn't a touchy-feely thing at all (the doctor getting out of dying was a massive copout, but did at least make a reasonable amount of sense). The penultimate episode of the most recent series was apalling all the way through, but the end, where James Cordon's character defeats the Cybermen because they can't cope with his deep love for his baby son...I wanted to throw up. And the cuckoo episode just before was almost as bad. If they got rid of that sort of thing, and everyone wanting to shag the Doctor every 30 seconds, the series would be much, much better.

    I'm looking forward to the next series with some trepidation. The last few series have had a nasty habit of the Doctor fixing things by basically cowing the bad guys by telling them who he is, and basically him and the companions poncing about telling people how awesome he is (RTD was terrible for this, you got the feeling the companions of that era kept wanting to jump into bed with the Doctor because that's what RTD wanted to do). One of the better things about this most recent series has been that coming back to bite him, and him deciding to be a bit more discreet in future. Hopefully that means that they'll also be dialing back on the "saving the whole universe and time itself" plotlines as well, which were getting a bit "what, again?". So that's all very promising. But there's a danger that without the big, impressive, world ending, aren't I great, storylines they might fall back on doing yet more touchy-feely crap. Gah.

    Doctor Who is supposed to be about fixing things with science and cleverness and negociation (and running away), not with sentiment and schmaltz and wishing really hard.

    1. T J
      FAIL

      THE ENDDDDINGSZZZZ

      I'm just really sick of the intolerably dumb, stupid endings where everything is solved by a loud interdiction from the Wankton Orchestra and .... nothing much actually happens yet somehow the foe is vanquished.

      HIRE A WRITER NEXT TIME.

    2. Grease Monkey

      "the doctor getting out of dying was a massive copout, but did at least make a reasonable amount of sense"

      The Doctor who endings have always had something of the deus ex machina about them. BITD of the old 25 minute episode with the weekly cliff hanger some of the copouts were frankly terrible, but we loved Who for it. I can remember playground discussions of how the doctor was going to get out of this week's predicament and we were nearly always wrong. Likewise all those people who predicted that the Doctor who was murdered by River would be a flesh avatar.

      The trouble with a lot of the dweebs discussing who is that they want it to be an adult show, but you have to remember it is traditionally a family show. It has to be clever for the adults, but it can't be so clever the kids won't get it. But the main thing that kids loved about it when I was young and love even more about the new show is the whole big boys own adventure comic book feel. It's always been space opera. It is not supposed to be believable and never has been. There was never anything believable about a relative continuum stabiliser.

      As for the Doctor on the beech being a teselecta. There are those who ask why that doctor didn't move like a clunky robot. Remember the teselecta in lets kill hitler, it was faulty. It had dodgy knees. When the Doctor met the teselecta that he used in the final episode there was nothing about it that suggested it was a robot. The Doctor only knew it to be so because he knew that person was already dead.

  53. Hilibnist

    The memory cheats

    Others have said it before, the memory cheats, there's just no way of "de-classifying" a classic lost story from the old series when the DVD comes out and everybody realises it was actually a bit pants. (Discontinuity Guide, IIRC?). I grew up watching Tom Baker's stories, but I don't remember watching wobbly Daleks, hunchbacked Cybermen or most of the backgounds in "Underworld" being CSO'd at the time.*

    Davison's Doctor had to tolerate petulant companions and their emotional outbursts, and although they never tried to snog him, it was just as mawkish as some of the recent schmaltz.

    I've still enjoyed all of that on DVD recently, but for a long time, lack of exposure meant I could only remember the best bits. If I'd been able to watch the old series as often as the new episodes have been repeated on BBC1, BBC3 and other channels, I reckon I'd have ripped them apart and tired of them a long time ago.

    BTW, Does anybody else think it's ironic that the awful phrase "timey-wimey" originated in "Blink", one of the best regarded of the new stories?

    *everyone thought the Myrka was crap. First time, every time.

    1. Grease Monkey

      Timey Wimey

      Crappy special effects are not relevant. You have to view the old whos as being products of their time. The special effects in everything on TV were crap back then. And it wasn't just the special effects, remember how many shows had wobbly sets and the like? It was just part of TV. And you have to view the old whos in that context. I've recently watched some of the episodes from 2005 and 2006 and TBH some of the effects are a bit crap by today's standards, but I don't remember thinking they were crap back then. Indeed the more believable the effects get the quicker they seem to age.

      Likewise some of the stories seem a bit dodgy, but again they have to be viewed in context. I know a lot of people laugh at the computers and other supposedly futuristic technology in the old shows, but you have to consider what was known back then. There's an awful lot of past sci-fi that is laughable when viewed today.

      Either way you have to consider that with all sci-fi and fantasy the audience must, to some extent, suspend their disbelief.

      Watching old who the one thing that I think my memory has failed me on is the standard of a lot of the acting, not so much the lead actors but those in supporting roles. Some of it was terrible, but I don't remember it being so. Again I think that is down to the passage of time. Generally speaking TV acting is better now than it was say 40 years ago. Yes there have always been brilliant performances, but the bit parts in TV BITD were often of am dram standard and a lot of that was probably down to budgetary constraints.

      When Moffat wrote Blink he was probably the first Who author to really play with how the whole time travel thing could work within a story. In particular he messed with the idea of a temporal paradox, of which there were more than one in the story. I suspect that the whole speech about the big ball of timey-wimey stuff was thrown in as a joke at the expense of the people involved who couldn't get their heads around anything other than a simple linear narritive. Or perhaps more accurately those patronising gits at the BBC who thought that the audience couldn't get their heads round anything other than a linear narritive.

      Before that there had been rules such as the doctor being able to travel back within his own personal time line (which got broken whenever the scriptwriters felt like it) seemingly so the authors didn't have to come up with such complex plots. I once read that the rule was introduced when one of the writers wrote a script where Hartnell's doctor ended up working with himself in a partneship and the producers realised it would be too difficult to shoot.

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