To all of you however you are spending your Christmas – have a wonderful day!
Before story-arcs became the norm when Doctor Who returned in 2005, they were something of a rarity in the classic series. One such example was the so-called ‘E-Space’ trilogy of Season 18 – where the Doctor and Romana find themselves sucked out of the normal universe (N-Space) and into Exo-Space (E-Space) – a smaller pocket universe. Full Circle is the first in the loose trilogy, explaining how the TARDIS crew pass through a gateway to E-Space while meaning to get to Gallifrey.
Tis the season to be jolly! So I am bringing some artwork to brighten up the blog in this festive season! The drawing below was part of a series of 12 I did for a Christmas calendar for my sister. We have been known to do a series of comics based on comedian Bill Bailey portraying the Doctor, so I amused myself by portraying that most important of scenes – choosing the Doctor’s outfit …
I cannot tell whether this post will please or sadden fans of the Second Doctor – undoubtedly they will be pleased that until this point I have not had a bad word to say about any of his stories, but I have noticed that Troughton fans in particular have a reverence for his era that makes all other eras pale in comparison – so I may well bring down their judgement upon myself by daring to imply some of the blessed Pat’s stories were less than good!
I am a huge fan of black and white footage and firmly believe it should be used more as a medium in its own right. I’m also persuaded that certain stories would lose certain of their potency and fear factor if they were in colour – Tomb of the Cybermen being the first example that springs to mind. So to date I have not been persuaded that reproducing any of the first six seasons of Doctor Who in colour would be a good idea.
Today however I came across this archive photograph on Twitter and was astounded. My initial reaction was that it didn’t quite scan to see that generation of Cybermen in colour – but the more I looked at the picture, the more I nodded in approval. It looked good – it looked like what I imagined a Pertwee era serial to feature the Cybermen would have looked like.
And that got me thinking – why not colourise The Invasion? Although the U.N.I.T. era has its root in much earlier stories – The War Machines, The Faceless Ones and The Web of Fear being the obvious instances – there is no doubt that The Invasion was the building block for Season 7 and the creation of the U.N.I.T. family, and has a better claim than any other story from the first six seasons for continuity with the Pertwee era. While the Black & White version must of course remain to be enjoyed ‘as is’, I realised to my surprise that I actually wanted to watch The Invasion in colour – I have joined the lunatic ranks of Doctor Who fans begging the BBC to take my money! But I think that this story has the potential to be awesome in colour, and act as a wonderful bridge between Seasons 6 and 7. Of course, if they wanted to do the same for the other three serials I have mentioned, I would have no objections either!
There are of course two important caveats to this request:
1. It has to be done well to be worth the investment. Otherwise you end up resenting a poorly executed product and contrasting it unfavourably to the original, rather than appreciating a new expression of a classic story. In practice, that probably means improving the colourisation standards on stories such as The Ambassadors of Death or The Mind of Evil first before taking on a story that was never even filmed in colour to begin with.
2. The BBC need to find or animate the currently missing episodes first. I think I speak for all fans when we say that we want to be able to watch all of the classic episodes in some format before they go changing the ones we’ve already got!
Let’s begin by acknowledging the elephant in the room – when you hear the character of Soldeed calling out “Lord Niiiiiiiiiiiiimon!” you do have to resist the urge to join in the pantomime and yell at your television “He’s behind you!” There is something rather comic about this serial, reflecting perhaps the hand of the Script Editor, some chap called Douglas Adams …
After the hiatus of 1985, Doctor Who arrived back in 1986 with the distinct threat of doom hanging over the show – so it is appropriate that The Mysterious Planet, the first story within The Trial of a Timelord begins with a bell tolling ominously and little indication as to why the Doctor has arrived without his companion Peri. Whatever misgivings Script Editor Eric Saward may have had about using the trial analogy to compare the idea of Doctor Who being on trial in real life, I thought the concept overall worked rather well.