So You Want To Watch Classic Who?

You’re locked down, quarantined, and self isolating. You like Doctor Who, but have yet to dip your toe in the vast ocean of the classic series. But there’s so much! Where to start?

Well, My housemate recently asked me to introduce them to the good old stuff, so I put together a little set of blocks to help ease them in. Rather than going from beginning to end, Unearthly Child to Survival, I decided to break it down into more manageable chunks.

I began by working backwards, starting with the TV Movie, and then the Seventh Doctor, Sixth, Fifth, and so on. This eases you through the change of pace, tone, and general direction. Series 26 has a lot that New Who would later go on to use and Ace is fantastic. But the TV movie is just fun and silliness and has excellent music.

 

Doctors bannerDoctors Intro:

The Doctors Introduction is a short and sweet introduction to each classic Doctor via a decent story.

– TV Movie 
– The Curse of Fenric
– Attack of the Cybermen
– The King’s Demons
– City of Death
– The Time Warrior
– The Mind Robber
– The War Machines

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The Master Intro

And after the Doctor, who better to follow up with than The Master? I tried to give a decent spread showcasing each incarnation in their best light.

– Terror of the Autons
– The Dæmons
– The Deadly Assassin
– Keeper of Traken
– Planet of Fire
– Mark of the Rani
– Survival

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Daleks 101

After The Master, who else but the Daleks? Again, a balance between eras while maintaining a sort of narrative.

– The Daleks
– The Dalek Invasion of Earth
– The Power of the Daleks
– Genesis of the Daleks
– Resurrection of the Daleks
– Revelation of the Daleks
– Remembrance of the Daleks

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Cybermen 101

Moving on to the Cybermen. Again, showing them in their best light while weaving a narrative.

– The Tenth Planet
– The Moonbase
– The Tomb of the Cybermen
– Revenge of the Cybermen
– Earthshock
– Silver Nemesis

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Multi-Doctor Stories

Just for fun, some Multi-Doctor stories, because they’re all classics.

– The Three Doctors
– The Five Doctors
– The Two Doctors

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Regeneration Stories

It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for… Allowing them to see how each Doctor ends, and begins. (Minus Tenth Planet as already covered under Cybermen, and Trial of a Time Lord as I’d rather that be viewed as it’s own thing)

– The War Games
– Spearhead from Space
– Planet of the Spiders
– Robot
– Logopolis
– Castrovalva
– Caves of Androzani
– The Twin Dilema
– Time and the Rani
– Night of the Doctor (IT COUNTS!)

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The Brigadir / UNIT

Now to introduce them properly to one of the Doctor’s best and oldest pals!

– Web of Fear
– The Invasion
– Inferno
– Claws of Axos
– Terror of the Zygons
– Battlefield

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Time Lord / Gallifrey Lore

For the Lore!! Get into that Gallifreyan History 101!

– The Time Meddler
– Invasion of Time
– The Brain of Morbius
– Shada (but which version?)
– State of Decay
– Arc of Infinity

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Story Arcs

The epic serials! Classic Who’s attempt at story arcs. I have such a soft spot for these.

– The Key to Time
– The Trial of a Time Lord

Historicals

Historical

And to round it out, the Historical stories. Not many of them as the show goes on, but certainly a bit of Who legacy to delve into.

– The Aztecs
– The Romans
– Black Orchid
– The Visitation
– Mark of the Rani

And after that, you can just dip in here there and everywhere with random favourites. There’s so much good stuff in the mix and far more stories than are listed here. But this is, I feel, a nice and exhaustive introduction to how Doctor Who be!

Nice

How Whittaker’s First Scene Mirrors Her Announcement

Jodie Banner

How Whittaker’s First Scene Mirrors Her Announcement

Like pretty much every other fan on the planet, I spent much of Christmas day eagerly awaiting the 13th Doctor’s first scene. When Whittaker appeared, it was a moment of joy for new things, and sadness at the passing of Capaldi. But also a chance to get a glimpse of what we might expect from Chris Chibnall’s vision of the series.

But what was most immediately interesting to me was the way in which Whittaker’s first scene mirrored her infamous ‘Meet the 13th Doctor‘ announcement video. Directed by Jamie Childs, the scene that told the world who the new Doctor would be came on just after the Wimbledon Men’s final in 2017.

For the purposes of clarity, I will be referring to the ‘Meet the Thirteenth Doctor‘ video as ‘The Introduction‘ and the regeneration scene from Twice Upon a Time as ‘The Episode‘.

 

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Twice Upon A Time – Doctor Who Review

Not a Moment

Twice Upon A Time – Doctor Who Review

Steven Moffat has a long history of subverting expectations when it comes to Doctor Who. If there is any hallmark of his tenure as showrunner, I think that might be it. His greatest achievements as well as his greatest missteps have often come as a result of this, in my opinion. Twice Upon a Time is no exception.

For a regeneration story, many in the audience will be expecting grand excitement on an epic scale. Instead, Moffat delivers a somewhat subdued and introspective script. Performed brilliantly by Capaldi, Bradley and Mackie, no question. But how will it hold up in the legend of the show?

Spoilers to follow, obviously…

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“I haven’t seen it yet. Not with these eyes” – A New Doctor, A New Show.

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The Thirteenth Doctor has arrived. Change, my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon. Jodie Whittaker is the Doctor, whether you like it or not.

Regeneration isn’t just about the Doctor extending their life. It’s about getting to experience everything afresh, with new eyes, and a new perspective. The Doctor has spent 12 (or 13, depending on how you count it) lifetimes in the body of a man. Now the Doctor will be a woman, giving them a new perspective, a fresh pair of eyes with which to consider the universe.

“It’s all waiting out there, and it’s brand new to me. All those planets, and creatures and horizons. I haven’t seem them yet! Not with these eyes. And it is going to be fantastic.”

– 10th Doctor, The Christmas Invasion

de3w6gowaaa00vyDoctor Who always changes. That’s how it stays around, and stays interesting. It changes its main character, changes its supporting characters, and changes its production team. Every new set of people brings a new approach, a new perspective, and a new focus. It has its peaks and troughs, good times and bad. At its base, it’s a fun, sci-fi/fantasy adventure for family audiences. But there are lots of ways it can and has been interpreted.

For example, in the early days it was envisioned as an educational show to teach children about history and science. Then, it became more about speculative fiction, high concept sci-fi. Then, more of a swashbuckling adventure. Then gothic horror inspired. Later it became more drama oriented. And so on.

Doctor Who changes its format. That’s how it survives.

The Doctor is a catalyst for much of this change, and is a window for the audience. Each new Doctor comes at it from different angle, spreading light in new and interesting angles, even on a familiar scene.

So, what can we expect from Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor? Having watched the teaser clip a few times now, there is one thing I’ve zeroed in on as a sign of hope. As the TARDIS materialises and we see her face for the first time, the Thirteenth Doctor gets a look of wonder on her face. It is a brief smile that says a lot. She looks hopeful, she looks almost in mild awed anticipation of what’s to come.

Wonder

That sense of wonder has been lacking in Doctor Who of late. If it had been a constant presence I’m sure we’d all be bored of it by now, but I’ve missed it. Bringing back the heartache and the promise of adventure might be the shot in the arm the series needs.

Jodie Whittaker has a wonderful adventure ahead of her. Let’s join her, shall we?

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The Lie of the Land – Doctor Who Review

I want to start by saying I enjoyed this episode a lot. It was very well written, the dialogue, for the most part, was snappy, natural, and drew me in. The cinematography and direction really brought out the best in Capaldi and Mackie as they delivered some of the most emotional scenes this series.

Having said that, there is something that worries me tremendously. It’s a concern I had right from the moment I saw the trailer and read the synopsis.

It Never Happened

Cast your minds back to 2007 and the series 3 finale, Last of the Time Lords. The Master took over the world and the Doctor was locked in a cage for a year while Martha Jones walked the earth. But then, at the end, it was all erased. It never happened. Nobody but the Doctor and his friends could remember the events of the whole episode. And people got angry.

When you erase an entire episode’s meaning and importance for the world its set in, it feels a bit like a cheat. You set up high stakes and your characters must face the challenges not only of ending the horrors, but dealing with the aftermath. To take that away can often feel like a let down.

I was somewhat miffed at Last of the Time Lords, but it had a few saving graces. Firstly, I thought it was a very good episode on its own. But more than that, the lasting effects on a personal level for the Doctor, Martha and Martha’s family were felt long after the episode ended. The events may have been forgotten for most, but they stayed with the main characters. I was eventually okay with that

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Thin Ice – Doctor Who Review

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Thin Ice – Doctor Who Review

There’s a monster living under the Thames, and it’s eating people.

An ice covered river, street urchins, and the Doctor in a top hat – this episode has it all.

A definite improvement on last week, resolution-wise, but somewhat lacking in a grand climax. There are some wonderful moments, and once again the spark between the Doctor and Bill is the star of the show.

“Slavery is still a thing”

The episode opens with Bill addressing something that people have been talking about especially since The Shakespeare Code. The fact that the history of Britain is less than kind to non-white people. The Doctor takes a moment to acknowledge the horrors of slavery, a haunted look passing over his face, before moving on. It wasn’t much, but somewhat better than the 10th Doctors ‘Just walk like you own the place’ attitude.

A little later, Bill comments on the fact that Regency England is a lot more black than they show in the films. The Doctor’s “So was Jesus” response was pretty much perfect. The episode then introduces us to a group of street urchins of various skintones and despite some initial setbacks – namely the death of one of them – the Doctor and Bill soon forge a friendship with them.

When, somewhere towards the third act, the Doctor and Bill confront a racist aristocrat, it should come as no surprise that it does not end well. This is a good bit of build up and pay off from writer Sarah Dollard – having established more of a healthy relationship between the Doctor and diversity, when he is faced with a truly awful man, he reacts accordingly.

Punching racists is nothing new for the Doctor. Fans of the Third Doctor – Jon Pertwee – may remember his fondness for Venusian Akido. Though he would often seek a diplomatic solution, he wasn’t beyond dealing out the occasional chop to the neck.

In this instance, with the Doctor very much choosing to side with the marginalised against the upper crust, it is very much a case of the Doctor’s true qualities coming through. As the Seventh Doctor once said, ‘You can judge a man by the quality of his enemies’.

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Return of the 10th Planet

The original Mondasian Cybermen return to Doctor Who as filming begins on the final block of the forthcoming series

Return of the 10th Planet

tenth-planet-cybermen-245x300The BBC announced this week that the series 10 finale will feature not just Cybermen, but the original incarnations of the Cybermen. Other photos from the filming on location revealed other incarnations in the mix, too. My initial excitement was incredible to say the least. I have long been a fan of the original 10th Planet Cybermen and to see their return is something I’ve long hoped for. Their pale, fabric faces, their fleshy hands, and their haunting voices are all pure nightmare fuel.

However, my enjoyment and excitement soon gave way to trepidation and worry. I was reminded of a similar feeling from just a few years ago.

Do you remember Asylum of the Daleks?

Back in 2012, series 7 of Doctor Who opened with an episode bringing back the Daleks. All of them. The episode promised the return of all the old favourites, including my personal love and joy – the special weapons Dalek – which I love for its over the top ridiculousness. I even went to a special big screen showing in Manchester to watch, and sure enough, tucked away in a corer, was the special weapons dalek.

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