A Quick Guide to Classic Who- Season 05

Hagan is doing a guide to Classic Doctor Who. The whole thing! This is Season 5.

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13 Comments

  1. I love your references to all those parodies, In fact its all I remember from the The Big Impression (if that’s the correct TV show title).

    Zoe was great, it’s unusual to have anyone who’s more intelligent than the doctor, even if it’s only in mathematical skill rather than cunning or wisdom.

  2. Re: “from Hartnell to McCoy, the lengths of the seasons tended to get shorter as the show got older.”

    This isn’t true. Hartnell Season 3 consisted of 10 stories (counting “Mission to the Unknown” as a single one episode adventure) and 45 episodes, making it the longest Doctor Who season ever. Troughton Season 6 may have only had 7 stories, but it came to a massive 44 episodes, making it the second longest Doctor Who season ever. In fact the shortest season in the 1960s was Series 2 with only 35, and it only has more stories then seasons 5 & 6 because the adventures were shorter. Equally, during the Pertwee/Tom Baker era, although average season length is 26 episodes, Seasons 12 and 17 are only twenty episodes long, whereas season 18 is the longest colour classic season with 28 episodes. Also, if we’re counting stories, then under Davison the story count went up to 7 per season, whereas Pertwee/Tom Baker only managed, on average, six per season.

    Re: “The Tomb of the Cybermen”. I never thought it was very good, even before it was returned to the archives. I don’t agree this story is either “good” or a “solid four episodes of 60s Cybermen.” I think the story is very poor, and makes no bloody sense at all. You can check out my review here: http://www.kaldorcity.com/features/articles/tomb.html

    Re: “The Ice Warriors were one of the races not named by themselves, but were named named by a guy who found one in the ice.” This is true, unfortunately the Ice Warriors start calling themselves by that name in “The Monster Of Peladon.” Here’s a collection of (hopefully) amusing facts about “The Ice Warriors.” http://www.kaldorcity.com/features/articles/icewarriors.html

    Re: “Plants and carbon dioxide”. Well spotted, and this would explain why author Brian Hayles decided to change the explanation in his novelisation.

    Re: “The Enemy of the World,” it has been reappraised, but I think that is because many Doctor Who fans ignored the story for many years because it didn’t have any monsters in, which is bit damning, isn’t it? I think it was fairly obvious from the soundtrack and Recon versions that this was a fairly decent story. Here’s a link to a review I did in 2002.
    http://www.kaldorcity.com/features/articles/enemy.html

    Re: “The Yeti and the Intelligence the next big thing.” They were the next big thing, what got in the way was a falling out between the scriptwriters Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln with story editor Derrick Sherwin over his treatment of their next story “The Dominators” and also over ownership of the Quarks, which Mervyn and Henry designed.

    Re: “Dead Ringers”. God that show was fucking crap, wasn’t it?

    Re: “Season 5 probably the best so far?” I’d say it was the most consistent so far, with only the real duff story being “The Tomb of the Cybermen.” However, there is only one real stand out classic (The Web of Fear). The rest of the season consists of a lot good four part stories, padded out to six, which really drags the pace down. So, I’d say it’s better than season 2 and season 4, but not a patch on season 1 and 3.

    • When it comes to the season lengths I was going on average. I knew it wasnt a constant thing.

      The Sea Devils also started calling themselves that in their later seasons. I think the humans were psychic. Or the writers didnt give a shit about continuity.

      Did not know that about the Great Intelligence. Im pretty sad about that, I have a real soft spot for the Yeti. One of my fave monsters. I’m sure I’ll talk about that when I get to the 5 Doctors.

      Dead Ringers was mostly crap but I tended to like their Who stuff.

      Im kinda appraising each season as I go. I don’t have time to do the show and rewatch all the stories specially for the show so I will make mistakes but Season 5 really strikes me as unusually strong. Just pretty samey. A bit like Season 7. I’m up to Season 10 in scripting.

      • Re: “the writers didn’t give a shit about continuity.” Back then continuity was what you remembered, so as the show went on and the production team changed over and over, there were obviously going to be errors that slipped in. Also Doctor Who was considered to be a finite programme, only ever to be shown once, so you’ll find that in some stories, various elements of the plot and character motivation don’t match up from one episode to the next.

        However, the reason why Azaxyr starts referring to his species as “Ice Warriors” in “The Monster of Peldon” would seem curious, as this story was written by their creator Brian Hayles, However, his draft scripts were extensively rewritten by script editor Terrance Dicks, and so it’s possible that this is when the error slipped in. Especially as, earlier in the same story, Alpha Centauri says “your friend, the Doctor, calls them Ice Warriors” which would again suggest that this isn’t their proper name.

        As for the Sea Devil and Silurian screw up in “Warriors of the Deep,” I don’t know what was going on there, in that producer John Nathan-Turner brings back two monsters from the past that only fans would remember, and then irritates that hell out of those fans by getting their names wrong. Having said that, although the Doctor provides an alternative name in “The Sea Devils,” when he say that the term Silurian was “a complete misnomer,” and they should have been called “Eocenes,” this is also completely wrong, as they have a pet Tyrannosaurus Rex.

        Re: “Season 10”. Not keen on that one. Basically all the six parters should have been four parters, also the Barry Letts era was clearly starting to flag with the show seeming more and more like undemanding children’s entertainment. Probably the best story is “Carnival of Monsters,” although it does appear that writer Robert Holmes was taking the piss out of the series somewhat, with the name “Drashig” an anagram of “dish rag,” and a story about a wandering showman and his ditz of an assistant, entertaining the proletariat with a magic box that seems bigger on the inside.

      • In a previous post I said, ” Having said that, although the Doctor provides an alternative name in “The Sea Devils,” when he says that the term Silurian was “a complete misnomer,” and they should have been called “Eocenes,” this is also completely wrong, as they have a pet Tyrannosaurus Rex.”

        However, I’d now like to point out that the identity of the giant reptile encountered in the caves is only identified as a Tyrannosaurus Rex in Malcolm Hulke’s novelisation of the script. On screen the third Doctor states that although “it was certainly some kind of dinosaur,” it was also “nothing that I’ve ever seen before”. The story is still wrong, however, as the Eocene period took place 10 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs.

  3. I really love this show. I’m finding out so much about Who. I was almost shocked to realize that the sonic screwdriver wasn’t there right from the start.

    • Instead of a “sonic screwdriver,” Hartnell’s get-out-of-jail-free card was a magic ring with a blue stone.

  4. I’m with you I would sell my left nut for a chance to see Fury from the Deep returned. I just watched it the other day and I have to say it was brilliant!

    • Having “just watched it the other day”, does this mean you now only have one nut?

  5. I’m with you on Tomb of the Cybermen. It’s important to where the Cybermen originated from, and that’s about it. I was bummed out that BBC’s The Doctors Revisited played Tomb of the Cybermen when the special was talking about Troughton’s era and his Doctor. I just wished that they played The Mind Robber instead.

    As for Enemy of the World, I really want to watch that story so much, thanks to your thoughts, as well as SF Debris who reviewed it a couple of weeks ago.

    • Re:”It’s important to where the Cybermen originated from”

      No it isn’t. The Cybermen come from Mondas, not Telos, and this was stated in their very first story “The Tenth Planet.”

      Re: “I was bummed out that BBC’s The Doctors Revisited played Tomb of the Cybermen”

      I agree, and it didn’t make much sense as they were already showing a classic Cyberman adventure with “Earthshock”. Worse still they showed the terrible “Battlefield” from the McCoy era instead of the much superior “The Curse of Fenric”.

      • They didn’t air “Battlefield” on The Doctors Revisited. They aired “Remembrance of the Daleks,” which is my favorite classic Who story of all time! Sure, you, as well as many others say Fenric is superior, and I do like that episode too. However, I will always lean towards Remembrance as my favorite.

        As for Tomb, I really thought I heard the Doctor say that’s where the Cybermen were created. Sorry about that.

      • “They didn’t air “Battlefield” on The Doctors Revisited. They aired “Remembrance of the Daleks,”

        Not where I live, they showed “Battlefield.” The list was:

        The Aztecs
        The Tomb of the Cybermen
        Spearhead from Space
        Pyramids of Mars
        Earthshock
        Vengence on Varos
        Battlefield
        The TV Movie
        Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways
        Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
        The Rebel Flesh / The Almost People


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