Friday, 23 May 2014

The Sun Makers

"I started watching Doctor Who when ABC 1 in Australia were doing a massive rerun of all the surviving black and white Doctor Who episodes and all of the colour episodes."although I didn't know this at the time, I thought I was the seeing the show from square one at part 1 of The Face of Evil, oh how naive I was back then." I didn't know that when I began watching episode 1 of The Sun Makers, that I'd missed all four episode of Image of The Fendahl, I didn't find out about that fact until I found the BBC's classic Doctor Who website." When I first saw The Sun Makers, a lot of the jokes to do with banks and taxation went over my head, I can't remember if anyone had even told me what taxation was back then." looking at it from the perspective of a twenty year old, I get a lot of the jokes now and I share the writer of this story, the great Robert Holmes's frustration when it comes to taxes and raising prices."I can see why he would want to write a Doctor Who story which has a go at the banks."Henry Woolf's collector character was quite funny but quite a sinister kind of character as well, the kind of villain that would do anything to do get what he want's."I really enjoyed this story the first time round I saw it, I cant think why, back then I didn't get all of the jokes but looking at it now I can clearly see why, this is a fun, witty, nicely paced story, the kind of story you would expect from Robert Holmes." The characters are great, the villains memorable." I really like the bit were the rebels threw Gatherer Hade off of a sky scrapper and the rebels laugh like its a joke, only Robert Holmes could get away with a scene like that."This was the first Doctor Who story I saw more than once, literally the Saturday after I saw this story, while I was at my local library I (purely by chance) stumbled upon a VHS copy and got it out, this is a story that I have seen heaps of times and it continues to be one of my favourite Robert Holmes Doctor Who stories, a pleasure to watch time and time again.

The Invisible Enemy:

and the arrival of a certain tin dog

I think I can say that by the time I got up to The Invisible Enemy I was starting to get my head around the mad universe of Doctor Who, I had gotten an explanation from none other than The Doctor himself as to why the Tardis is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside (here's the clip It hadn't taken me long to realise that the Tardis was a time machine after having seen two stories set in the future and two in the past. So as far as the Tardis, I was starting to understand what it was, however, when it came to The Doctor I still wasn't aware of who he was, what he was or were he came from. The Invisible Enemy was the fifth Doctor Who story I'd seen and looking back at it I think it was the first average story that I saw. Tom Baker and Louise Jameson are as good as ever but the story feels like it's aimed more at younger viewers than the previous four stories that I'd seen. The first time around that I saw it I had nothing against it, I enjoyed it but looking at it ten years latter, I can't help but notice that this "was" the first average story that I saw. I've got nothing against the swarm, on paper the concept of this new Doctor Who monster must have sounded like a good idea but I think that it could have been realised better. Now, for K-9, I still think looking back at K-9 now that the designer Barry Newbery did a pretty good job with designing K-9 and that they couldn't have chosen better than John Leeson for the voice of K-9. As a ten year old I liked K-9 but as a twenty year old, I've sort of divided the Doctor Who stories that I've seen K-9 in into ones that he was written for well in and the ones were he wasn't but on the whole I think I've still got a soft spot for the character, definitely a memorable creation. I think in the end that I can say The Invisible Enemy wasn't an excellent Doctor Who story but it wasn't a bad one either.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Horror of Fang Rock: 

First encounters


Heavy fog, a creepy lighthouse combined with the first notes of incidental music from the sound track compliments of series regular composer Dudley Simpson, sets the scene for what is still one of the eeriest Doctor Who stories I think that I've seen. I still think that the set designer for this story, did a really good job with the lighthouse and with the attention to period detail. Another thing I liked about Horror of Fang Rock was the fact the story made the most of its limited number of characters and cut off location, far from help. This was the first Doctor Who story I saw that had a proper non human (or for another matter Robot) looking alien. The Rutans are a brilliant idea. I like the idea of the Sontarans's greatest enemies being a race of amorphous blobs that can shape-shift into any life form. It seems like the only thing that both have in common is that they are both highly arrogant. This is a Doctor Who story that entertains and scares not because it  has the best effects of all time but because of it's tight setting and limited cast, and if there's one story that you can shove in the faces of all those people that say Doctor Who has only been well made since it came back, it's this one.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

My favourite Doctor Who story: The Talons of Weng-Chiang

The Talons of Weng-Chiang wasn't just my third Doctor Who story but the first period Doctor Who story that I saw, the first two (The Face of Evil and The Robots of Death) where both set in the future. The reason that The Talons of Weng-Chiang is my favourite Doctor Who story isn't just because it's written by one of the series's best writers and script editors Robert Holmes or that it was made by one of the shows best Directors David Maloney but that it has some of the best performances in the whole of the three years that Philip Hinchcliffe produced Doctor Who. The whole of the Victorian, Sherlock Homes, Phantom of the Operaness ( of this story is what makes this story so good, add the supporting cast playing the period characters and you have a classic of a Victorian yarn." I think Michael Spice who plays the story's Villain Weng-Chiang is excellent, you never doubt his performance for a second that he is on screen."This story manages to be terrifying, horrific,sinister and laugh- out-loud funny all at the same time." I could talk about what I love about this particular Doctor Who story for hours and if anyone asked me which Doctor Who story made me a fan for life it would be this one.(
feel free to tell me in the comments which Doctor Who story was the one that made you a fan

The awesomeness of Tom Baker and a look at The Robots of Death

"One thing I want to state in this post is just how little about The Doctor's background I knew when I started watching the show, (the show was really mysterious for me at this point ) I got my first titbit in part one of The Robots of Death where (this was the first time I saw inside the Tardis) The Doctor (Tom Baker) explains to Leela why the Tardis is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside (here's the clip" I think it was really over the course of watching my first four Doctor Who stories (The Face of Evil, The Robots of Death, The Talons of Weng-chiang and Horror of Fang Rock) that I became addicted to watching the show every (almost every) afternoon after school and it was all because of Tom Baker and how good he was as The Doctor. When I first started watching the show I didn't know about William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton or Jon Pertwee because I didn't know at this point that The Doctor was a Time Lord and I definitely Didn't know about regeneration at this point, for me Tom Baker "was" The Doctor." I honestly think it was because of his ability to be funny and serious at the same time and his ability to mock his enemies but not make it obvious to his enemy's that he was mocking them, I think it was those two qualities amongst all the other things about The Fourth Doctor that made me warm to the character ( Now back to The Robots of Death, this is one of my favourite Doctor Who stories, it manages to do horror, whodunit/murder mystery and Sci-Fi all at the same time and the robots in this story are one of my favourite Doctor Who monsters. This story keeps you guessing who the man or woman behind the robot murders are for a good portion of the story (unless you looked up the plot on Wikipedia of course) and when you find out who it is you wonder how you didn't realise it in the first place, (well I did anyway). As for the sand miner robots their art deco look makes them creepy even in the scene's when their not trying to and because of the design that the production crew of this story went with it means they don't look out of date even now. The Robots of Death is top-notch Doctor Who.

Friday, 16 May 2014

"A Decade of watching Doctor Who"

first post by Anthony Iuculano

"I can't believe it! even just saying it feels funny. When you reach the point where you've been watching your favourite show for 10 years you get to the point where you can't imagine a time when you didn't watch it but it's true, anyone who's watched the show can probably still remember that first time, that first time they caught their very first ever episode of Doctor Who. For me it was part one of a Tom Baker (4th Doctor) story called The Face of Evil. For my 10 year old self it really did seem like another world, Tom Baker's fourth Doctor striding across an alien land scape, savages worshipping an imaginary God and an imaginary God which turns out to be a megalomaniac/ psychotic computer called Xoanon. I won't go in to the plot of the story in case there are Doctor Who fans who haven't seen The Face of Evil but I will tell you that my favourite cliff hanger from that story is this scene where The Doctor is trying to convince Xoanon that he isn't a figment of Xoanon's imagination, that he's real and Xoanon just looses it and nearly kills him.
here's a link to that scene on YouTube:

 In my next post I'll talk a bit more about what it was initially about Tom Baker's Doctor that got me hooked on the character and the next Doctor Who story I saw after The Face of Evil, which was The Robots of Death.