Saturday, November 23, 2013

Doctor Who - 50th Anniversary.

I could not let the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who go by without writing a blog post about the greatest science fiction show of all time. I grew up watching the original series and I remember watching Partrick Troughton, who was the second doctor. I had nightmares about an episode where that Doctor was investigating a dark room full of giant toadstools. My mother must have forced me to eat mushrooms that day.

I watched the original series right to its end. When I was staying in a residential college (Menzies College) at Latrobe University a group of us used to gather together to watch it.

My favourite episodes usually involved the Daleks. Two of the more memorable stories were Death to the Daleks, where Jon Pertwee had to navigate a deadly maze to destroy an energy sapping beacon, and Genesis of the Daleks, where Tom Baker battled Davros, the evil creator of the Daleks.

My enthusiasm for the show survived the wishy-washy Peter Davison years. I even watched the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy years, enjoying the weirdness of episodes like The Happiness Patrol, set on a planet where unhappiness was very much frowned upon. Anyone listening to jazz risked being execution in a tube flooded with marshmallow.

When Doctor Who returned I tuned in out of a sense of duty. And I was blown away. I loved the way the show had grown up, and took itself more seriously. There was less whimsy, more suspenseful drama. The plots were more complex and so was the doctor. The special effects had become really special and the Daleks could go up stairs.

My Doctor Who Favourites.   

Favourite companions – You can’t go past the curious Sarah Jane Smith in the old series. Even though she had a nasty habit of tripping over at the wrong time, she was so cute that any 15 year-old male would dream of saving her. In the new series, Rose beats all those who followed. Intelligent with an emotional strength, Rose supported the doctor, unlike later companions who tried to take over the storyline.

Favourite villians – The Daleks. Those soulless cyborgs never failed to exterminate any of my other thoughts as I became engrossed in their efforts to take over the universe. The Dalek episodes have always been special, right up to last season’s best episode, Asylum of the Daleks.

Creepiest episodesThe Satan Pit, where David Tennant and Rose are trapped in a spacecraft above a planet containing the grave of Satan. And The Empty Child, where a soulless child with a gas mask moulded into his face searches for his mother.

Favourite doctor – Tom Baker, with Jon Pertwee a close second, in the original shows. Baker’s fun was the perfect counter to Pertwee’s seriousness. Christopher Eccleston for the new series: if he said run, I would be sprinting. He played it straight and added a gravity to the doctor that turned the show into something that adults could watch without thinking they should be watching a show for adults.

I am looking forward to watching Doctor Who for many more years, especially now Matt Smith is being retired. I hope a new doctor will prompt a return to the more suspenseful writing of the first four years of the rebooted show.


Anthony J. Langford said...

Great post Graham (though a few typos and I know you hate those).

I missed the sixties unfort but loved Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker and Peter Davidson. After that I tuned out, Colin Baker killed it for me.

Here's something you might not know. I was Dr Who obsessed and writing so I wrote a long short story and sent it to the BBC in 1984. Amazingly I got a personal reply, from John Nathan Turner no less. (RIP).
I hope I've still got it. I haven't seen it for years. Must chase that up. I was also a member of the Dr. Who fan club of Victoria in the 80's. (Met a guy who played a Dalek in the 60's).

I loved Jo Grant the most and Harry too. Wasnt a big Sarah Jane fan, nor Romana's. I quite liked some of the Peter Davidson companions. And of course Peri had delightful breasts. lol

Personally I thought Chris Eccleston was miscast and was right to take himself out of the role. David Tennant was fantastic and up there with the best. (Baker and Pertwee). My only criticism of the new series is making the Dr fall in love with each of his companions (or near enough). Recent companions have been good though (though I confess to not liking Rose, as always remember her as the teenager who dated Chris Evans).

I'm off to see the Anniversary movie at the cinema on Tuesday, can't wait. (and I like the actor who has been chosen for the new Dr.)

Graham Clements said...

Hi Anthony,

Seems I had a case of were/where dsylexia, all fixed, I hope.

You have to post your Doctor Who story on your blog for the anniversary.

Have to disagree on Eccleston, thought he was the coolest doctor so far.

I recorded the anniversary show this morning, so I will probably watch it tonight.

Anthony J. Langford said...

Hi Graham,
I dont wish to seem nitpicky because I often make mistakes-but I know you dont like them... so here's a few I picked out..

Partrick Thoughton
Joh Pertwee


Saw the movie at the cinema tonight - not sure if you have so won't say much - other than you should go if you can. Seeing Dr Who at the cinema alone is a big enough buzz-let alone in 3D. Though Billie Piper's face was enough to give me nightmares.. lol

I'm just glad its around - and young people love it - it's a beautiful thing.

Graham Clements said...

Hey you missed one, I had Davidison instead of Davison. :) I think that is because deep down you know he was not a very good doctor. And to think I was supposedly copying their names out of an article in the Age when I wrote it. Oh well, tired eyes and a tired mind that is in a rush...Note to self - check spelling of names. Murphy's law states that when you have a good idea for a blog post and a few people read it, it is going to be full of typos.

Satima Flavell said...

With you on all counts, Graham! We must have similar taste in doctors, although I quite liked Peter Davison - possibly because I loved him so much as Tristan in 'All Creatures Great and Small'! I remember LMAO when he came out of the bandages, shouting 'It's Tristan' between fits of hysterical giggles.

Graham Clements said...

Lol Satima, great minds think alike.