A Quick Guide to Classic Who- Season 06

Hagan is doing a guide to Classic Doctor Who. The whole thing! This is Season 6.

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23 Comments

  1. The Invasion was my favorite episode from this season (probably my favorite Troughton episode of all).
    I had the VHS release, and it was hosted by Nicholas Courtney who told about his history with Doctor Who up to that point (The Dalek Master Plan and The Web of Fear), and gave plot summaries of the missing chapters. (sadly, no animation til the DVD.)

  2. I’m with you on The Mind Robber. That is Troughton at his absolute best. I do find it funny that the villain’s name in that story was the Master, even though he was not a timelord. ….or Roger Dilgado.

    As for the Brigadier, I’m don’t know why Davies never put him in New Who. I do know that Moffat tried to bring him back in the 6th season though. However, he was close to dying at the time, so that’s why they gave the 4th invitation letter to that one guy who I can’t remember his name to in The Impossible Astronaut.

    As for The War Games, I, like you, only recommend the last part of it. The rest was just unnecessarily long. It didn’t need to be a 10 parter.

    • I think “The War Games” would have been much better as a one part story. The second Doctor is put in front of a firing squad and shot. He then regenerates into Jon Pertwee and leaves in the Tardis. The End.

      Or maybe it should have been a no part story, with the second Doctor being gunned down by Milo Clancey at the end of episode two of “The Space Pirates,” and then continuing the rest of the adventure as Doctor Who number three. Yes, that’s a much better idea.

  3. The Mind Robber is a great example of how Doctor Who can do almost any genre and it speaks to the freedom of the premise.

    I heard a rumour that Nicholas Courtney would only return to Who if his character died. Which is something the show runners would be reluctant to do. Since he appeared in SJA though I’m not sure if its true.

    If you include multi-doctor stories and the Audio Dramas (which I do) The Brig has also met the 1st, 6th and 8th doctor and properly more in other works.

    I know what you mean about the Timelords In the War Games they are down right intimidating. I think it does the character of the Doctor harm to show his people as jokes. I’m looking at you Deadly Assassin and throwing something sharp at the Invasion of time.

    Essentially I prefer the doctor as an underdog or at least someone who isn’t the most powerful being ever.

    p.s The deadly assassin is a great story to be fair

    • I don’t think “The Deadly Assassin” shows the Time Lords as jokes, but rather as corrupt.

      In “The War Games” I think the portrayal the Time Lords is deeply suspect. The Doctor describes them as “an immensely civilized race,” but I don’t think torturing people to make them give evidence, or enforcing a death penalty is very civilized. Equally, how can they condemn the Doctor for his actions and then exile him to Earth to further interfere on their behalf? It’s completely hypocritical.

      I also get the distinct impression that the then production team didn’t see anything wrong with the way the Time Lords were behaving at all, and it’s rather telling that it took the programme 7 years to finally adress this problem.

      I do, however, agree that the Time Lords are a bit of a joke in “The Invasion of Time,” and every subsequent story they appeared in during the classic series. I’m sure Diamanda would disagree, but I think the Time Lords have come over a bit better in Nu Who (although I agree that “The End of Time” is otherwise pretty awful).

      • In The Deadly Assassin they are nearly destroyed by the master. It also shows that they use out of date technology.

        Timelord society had turned into thinly veiled parodies of political parties.

        The doctor was also able to out-smart most of them as if they were any alien race of the week..

        Instead of using their god-like powers they had guards and guns

        They were always corrupt and/or immoral, no argument here but that was the point when you took them a lot less seriously.

        I agree with you about nu who though, they have been improved.

      • The problem with “The War Games” is that the Time Lords are portrayed as godlike superbeings who can summon up force fields and switch on televisions with a single thought, however, neither the Doctor, the Monk, the War Chief (or later the Master, the Rani and Romana) can do any of this, so it must simply be down to advanced technology and a lot of showing off.

        Equally, if they torture and summarily execute prisoners of war, then these bastards aren’t the sort of people we should be asked to look up to. In fact, it strikes me as a huge mistake to have shown the Doctor’s home planet at all, as it reduces the Doctor from a mysterious traveller in time and space into someone who is basically either a buffoon, or even worse, a patsy/stooge for the Celestial Intervention Agency (CIA).

        Later, the Time Lords come over as supercilious and bureaucratic (“Terror of the Autons”), with a fallible internal security system (“Colony in Space”), and then, in “The Three Doctors,” we find that they are ruled by a President, which in itself, suggests a political system no too dissimilar to our own. We also see Time Lords manually operating machinery, so clearly “The Deadly Assassin” is not, as some fans have suggested, a complete break with what had gone before, but more likely an exposure of the Time Lords as they really are, both corrupted and stagnated by their immense power and splendid isolation.

        The main trouble with the Time Lord stories that followed “The Deadly Assassin” (aside from the fact that they were made at all) is that more effort should have been put into depicting the kind of society that existed behind the theatrical show trials and general “pomp and circumstance.”

        However, by “The Arc of Infinity” Gallifrey has been shrunk down to a few white rooms and corridors resembling an overlit 1980s hair dressing salon, with various Time Lords poncing around in their ceremonial robs as if they were everyday workwear.

        Blowing up Gallifrey was probably the best thing RTD ever did, and although I think “The Day of the Doctor” was a great story, I hope Gallifrey remains lost forever.

      • The Timelords are assholes, no argument from me but just because their a powerful race doesn’t mean the audience is asked to look up to them.

        They do have presidents which do indicate a political system similar to ours, which is the problem, for the alien race who spawned the doctor they don’t seem that interesting, just like another alien race of the week. It’s not something that started with the deadly assassin but that that was the story which really showed too much.

        Yeah it does seem the Timelords express their power through technology behind our comprehension. How it’s expressed is arbitrary as long as their powerful. They don’t have to be exactly like Q from Star Trek.

        I do agree that showing the Doctors homeworld could be a mistake, unless you make it extremely unique.

        It could also be argued that to show a society with complete control over time would be unfilmable, like the Time War itself.
        At least with the “War Games” Timelords they are mysterious.

      • >The Timelords are assholes, no argument from me but just because their a powerful race doesn’t mean the audience is asked to look up to them.They do have presidents which do indicate a political system similar to ours, which is the problem, for the alien race who spawned the doctor they don’t seem that interesting, just like another alien race of the week. It’s not something that started with the deadly assassin but that was the story which really showed too much.I do agree that showing the Doctors homeworld could be a mistake, unless you make it extremely unique. It could also be argued that to show a society with complete control over time would be unfilmable, like the Time War itself.At least with the “War Games” Timelords they are mysterious.<

        But they aren’t particularly mysterious in that story. They’re just a bunch of space Nazis, pretending to be good. They are only mysterious and good in the minds of the writers.

      • Sorry Diamanda, the system has screwed up again. Please delete the above post.

      • Re: “The Timelords are assholes, no argument from me but just because their a powerful race doesn’t mean the audience is asked to look up to them.”

        I’d say they are presented as arseholes in “The Deadly Assassin” and arguably in “Terror of the Autons,” which was also scripted by Robert Holmes, but the impression I get from “The War Games” is that the audience are supposed to believe they are a mighty, but just people.

        Re: “They do have presidents which do indicate a political system similar to ours, which is the problem, for the alien race who spawned the doctor they don’t seem that interesting, just like another alien race of the week. It’s not something that started with the deadly assassin but that was the story which really showed too much.”

        The fact is that whenever the Time Lords appeared, we got to know a little bit more about them, and that eroded their mystery. All “The Deadly Assassin” did was bring things to their natural conclusion. If they wanted to preserve the mystery of the Doctor’s home planet, then they should never have gone there in the first place.

        Re: “I do agree that showing the Doctors homeworld could be a mistake, unless you make it extremely unique. It could also be argued that to show a society with complete control over time would be unfilmable, like the Time War itself.”

        All the Time Lords we have met prior to episode 10 of “The War Games” are basically human, therefore, to present the Doctor’s society as anything else would have run false. However, to present the Time Lords as human also diminishes them. Therefore, it was best to leave well alone.

        Re: “At least with the “War Games” Timelords they are mysterious.”

        But they aren’t particularly mysterious in that story. They’re just a bunch of space Nazis, pretending to be nice. It’s only the writers who appear to think they’ve realized a good yet mysterious alien race.

      • Well just watched “The Time of the Doctor” and it looks like my hope that “The Day of the Doctor” had finally brought to an end the curse that ensured every story to feature the Time Lords since “The Deadly Assassin” would be utter tripe, has proved false. Clearly “The Day of the Doctor” is the exception that proves the rule (whatever that means).

        Perhaps also maybe Moffat was tempting fate by calling it “The Time of the Doctor,” as every Doctor Who story since “The Time Warrior” that has featured the word “time” in it’s title has been god awful.

        Just take a look at the list:

        “The Invasion of Time,” “Timeflight,” “Timelash,” “Trial of a Time Lord,” “Time and the Rani,” “Dimensions in Time,” “Last of the Time Lords.” “The End of Time,” “Space/Time,” “Closing Time,” and now this pile of steaming crap.

      • They were still mysterious in the War Games, they had technology beyond our comprehension but we still didn’t know anything about their society. At this point We had seen rogue Timelords that seem human but their society could’ve been something completely different.

        For example even though I’m not too keen on the doctor being “The Other” but I actually like the idea of the Looms, how Alien would it make the doctor seem if we knew he didn’t have the same kind of family we did. It would also still fit in with their human-like aspects.

        Calling them Space Nazis is an exaggeration however, they came across as neutral. They don’t hate anyone, they just don’t care until it effects them in some way.

        The Deadly Assassin could be seen as a natural conclusion but its a conclusion to a direction I’m not too keen on.

      • Re: “They were still mysterious in the War Games, they had technology beyond our comprehension”

        But it’s not really beyond our comprehension, is it? When the Doctor says “give me a thought channel,” we know exactly what he means. We also know what a force field is and the fact that the Time Lords can switch these objects on and off with a “thought” isn’t at all new to science fiction. We may not know how this technology works, but we can certainly comprehend it.

        Re: “but we still didn’t know anything about their society.”

        But we still, even now, don’t really know anything about their society. Whenever we seen them they are always facing some crisis or other. We have no real idea of how they lead their normal lives. The entire society is hollow.

        Re: “At this point We had seen rogue Timelords that seem human but their society could’ve been something completely different.”

        It’s possible, but it’s doubtful. There is no wide social, or behavioral disparity between the Doctor, Susan, the Monk and the War Chief, and as the Monk and War Chief didn’t know each other, and the Doctor didn’t know either before their first on screen meeting, then that would suggest they all come from a society similar to the one we have on Earth. Otherwise, prior to the appearance of the Monk, the Doctor and Susan’s behaviour could merely have been a produced of some form of alien acclimatisation, after all, we don’t know how long they had been away from their planet, or how often they had visited the Earth in the past.

        Re: “For example even though I’m not too keen on the doctor being “The Other” but I actually like the idea of the Looms, how Alien would it make the doctor seem if we knew he didn’t have the same kind of family we did. It would also still fit in with their human-like aspects.”

        Whether Time Lords come from Looms, or reproduce normally, the fact that Time Lords have families make them similar to us. Also Susan going off with David Campbell would suggest that she still has all the apparatus of a normal human woman, and therefore, can give birth. Physical ability shapes social interaction.

        Re: “Calling them Space Nazis is an exaggeration however, they came across as neutral.”

        They are not neutral at all. They state a position and then they contradict it twice. They torture people to make them give evidence in their own defense, they forcibly wipe people’s minds without their consent. They even execute prisoners of war. So they are duplicitous, murderous, aggressive, and believe they are answerable to no one. That shoe also fitted the Nazis, but if that terms to strong for you, how about American no-conservatives?

        Re: “They don’t hate anyone, they just don’t care until it effects them in some way.”

        Then that makes them a cold, arrogant, ruthless and possessive people who are only acting out of peak because an inferior version of Tardis technology has been given to another alien race.

        Re: “The Deadly Assassin could be seen as a natural conclusion but its a conclusion to a direction I’m not too keen on.”

        Well, it’s a direction they were heading in and is supported by all the evidence we had seen up to that point. The writers, from the beginning, could have gone another way, I suppose, and made their society totally alien and incomprehensible, however, the problem with that is if you’re going to spend any length of time with these people, then they have to be understandable to the audience on some level, otherwise the viewer will get bored and switch off.

        Again, I believe actually going to the Time Lord planet in “The War Games” was a huge mistake, as it killed dead any shred of mystery the Doctor may previously have had, turning him instead into a renegade from a very powerful, but ultimately “human” society.

      • This exchange is getting convoluted. We’ve even bought Nazis into his.

        We can debate when it started, going over characters and the intention of stories but essentially the Timelords are Corrupt, immoral and are very human with a few extra elements here and there. It’s happened

        Their gone and I know you’re glad their not back and I’m not too bothered either.

      • Re: “This exchange is getting convoluted.”

        It’s actually a quite straightforward debate. You say the Time Lords started to go awry with “The Deadly Assassin,” I bring evidence to support my position that the problem arose when the writers took us to the Time Lord planet in “The War Games.”
        See? Not convoluted at all.

        Re: “They’re gone and I know you’re glad their not back and I’m not too bothered either.”

        Unfortunately, they came back last night and buggered up “The Time of the Doctor.” The entire concept of the Time Lords seems cursed.:)

      • “It’s actually a quite straightforward debate. You say the Time Lords started to go awry with “The Deadly Assassin,” I bring evidence to support my position that the problem arose when the writers took us to the Time Lord planet in “The War Games.”
        See? Not convoluted at all.”

        oh, when you clarify it’s complicated at all. I think the conversation was drifting onto how alien they were to how powerful they were.

        You’ve made some clear points explaining how human-like the Timelords were implied to be in this era. Then and before the War Games appearance.

        As for how powerful they were,like I said in my first comment they were first very intimidating. they were another force the Doctor has to deal with, another antagonist, a significant force for the Doctor to face. It was the deadly assassin which bought them down to the alien of the week level. I’m aware that they seemed less powerful with each appearance, for example the in “the three Doctors” they were desperate and only could rely on the doctor for help but that was a special circumstance and it didn’t start with the deadly assassin but that was the nail in the coffin for their status as a force taken seriously.

      • Re: ” I think the conversation was drifting onto how alien they were to how powerful they were.”

        I think these elements are related. Human being are incapable of realising an alien culture, so the closest we get is to present something that is “mysterious.” If a race is mysterious then by definition, its powerfulness can only be demonstrated by what’s shown to us. The more we got to know the Time Lords the less powerful they seemed, because they become less mysterious. That’s why from “The Three Doctors” onwards, Time Lord “mysteriousness” is provided by reference to their past, and the time of Rassilon.

        Re: “As for how powerful they were,like I said in my first comment they were first very intimidating. they were another force the Doctor has to deal with, another antagonist, a significant force for the Doctor to face. It was the deadly assassin which bought them down to the alien of the week level.”

        Actually, I think it was the introduction of the Master that made them “alien of the week,” as, for a time, he did actually appear every bloody week. If the Doctor and the Master are two members of the same race who, after a time, we get to know very well, then by extension, the audience will also feel that they are familiar with the society they come from, and we were certainly no disabused of this idea whenever the Time Lords subsequently appeared.

        Re” “in “the three Doctors” they were desperate and only could rely on the doctor for help but that was a special circumstance and it didn’t start with the deadly assassin but that was the nail in the coffin for their status as a force taken seriously.”

        I would certainly agree that it set a trend in that every Time Lord story from then on featured a crisis of some sort which only the Doctor could help them out of.

  4. Excellent work once again!

    On a rather minor note, I feel that the Master’s facial hair – Glorious as it may have been at times – never quite reached the levels of silly perfection that the War Chief sported…

  5. Re: “Later episodes looking worse then the earlier ones”. You are quite correct in pointing out that black and white does cover a multitude of sins, however, I think one of the major reasons why a lot of the colour episodes look crap is the overreliance on CSO, whereas the 1960s show used back projection. CSO in the 1970s wasvbasically very primative, but that didn’t stop the Doctor Who producers (especially Letts and Williams) using it over and over again to create unconvincing kitchens, tunnels and brain interiors.

    Re: “Season 6 is 42 episodes.” Actually it’s 44 episodes. Good job you didn’t make a Hitchhikers joke then.

    Re: “The Dominators”. This story features a planet full of impotent old men wearing skirts, who are surrounded by loads of young women wearing bikinis with short diaphanous skirts. Then the Dominators arrive and start drilling holes. What could it all mean?

    Re: The Brigadier. He also appeared on screen with the 6th Doctor in “Dimensions in Time.” Here’s an interview with Nick Courtney: http://www.kaldorcity.com/people/ncinterview.html

    Re: “The Krotons.” I think “The Krotons” is a good story. So the Krotons themselves are utterly ridiculous looking, but if we’re going to tear a story down because it has a duff effect, then that’s “The Deadly Assassin” taken out at a stroke. I also would dispute that the Krotons are another set of “evil aliens”. Basically, they want to get home, and they have educated up indigenous animal life so they can achieve that aim. They may be dismissive towards the Gonds as a species, but then look how we on Earth treat other nonhuman species. Does that make us evil? Ummm. Tricky.

    Re: “Chris Chibnall might become good someday.” According to the popular press this has already happened with Broadchurch.

    Re: “it’s about these massive crystal aliens who are in suspended animation.” Actually it’s about incest. See: http://www.kaldorcity.com/features/articles/krotons.html

    Re: Dead ringers. Christ, that programme was fucking shit, wasn’t it?

    Re: “The Seeds of Death”. A bunch of old men, who appear to be wearing nappies, and are presided over by a black rubber/leather clad dominatrix, can no longer get their rockets up, and so get attacked by a more potent force who cover planet Earth with seedpods and suspicious looking foam. Eventually everything is sorted out with a cold shower. I think I’m sensing a theme. Here’s an interview with Wendy Padbury:
    http://www.kaldorcity.com/people/DWwpinterview.html

    Re: Sexism. In season 6, women who wear trousers are seen as powerful, whereas women with short skirts are seen as promiscuous. Therefore, in “The Dominators,” once Zoe dresses as a Dulcian female, she is enslaved by the invaders. In “The Mind Robber” she wears trousers, so is very much in command, beating the Karkus in a fight, after which he becomes her servant. In “The Invasion” Zoe is asked to change into a skirt and then photographed by the more dominant Isobel Watkins (she wears shorts). Shorts don’t outclass trousers, however, as both are later gangbanged by Packer’s guards, and then taken up the sewer by Corporal Benton. Later Zoe is back in the catsuit for her triumph over the Cyberfleet. In “The Krotons” her miniskirt makes her a victim of the Dynatrope, and later in “The Seeds of Death” she enthuses, with Jamie (a skirt wearing male) and the Doctor over the size of Eldred’s rocket collection:

    JAMIE: Hey, look at the size of this one, Doc.

    DOCTOR: Yes. My word, Jamie, look at that.
    ZOE: Oh Doctor, look!

    DOCTOR: Very large.

    Zoe, is back in trousers for her trip to the moon, shorts in “The Space Pirates” (with connotations of Roger the Cabin Boy) and trousers again for her forthright role in “The War Games”.

    Re: “First script from Terrance Dicks.” Actually Dicks was only responsible for redrafting the final four episodes of “The Seeds of Death”. If you still consider this means it’s a script by Dicks, then this would make “The Dominators” his first as he did extensive redrafts of episodes 4 & 5.

    Re: “Troughton’s Daleks’ Master Plan”. This is wrongly applied to “The War Games.” It should be applied to “The Invasion”, as they were both directed by Douglas Camfield and involve an ambitious villain (played by Kevin Stoney) doing a deal with a cyborg race which he mistakenly believes he can outmanoeuver. Ranged against him is a secret paramilitary organization (headed by none other than Nicholas Courtney) which answers to the United Nations, and is dedicated to combating various alien invasions. The most impressive aspect of this adventure is that, as with “Master Plan”, there is another story underneath it. In this case it’s Tobias Vaughn’s original plan of how to defeat the Cybermen. Believing the hundreds of Cybermen on Earth have been conditioned only to obey him, Vaughn sets about developing the Cerebration Mentor (that induces intense and destructive emotional responses), which he can then mass produce and use as a weapon to annihilate the invading Cyberforces on landing. The Cybermen, however, are several steps ahead of him, as the ones on Earth aren’t really under Vaughn’s control at all. Review: http://www.kaldorcity.com/features/articles/invasion.html

  6. Sadly i was not very familiar with classic Who until you started these reviews,so thank you for that.That being said i just my first Matt Smith Dr episode and for some reason i just find him very annoying and think he is the worst doctor.

    • That’s funny. I thought exactly that when I first saw David Tennant, and I still feel the same way.

  7. […] set-up to this serial will be rehashed many times through the Second Doctor era (enough that, as Diamanda Hagan helpfully points out,  ”An isolated base under siege” is to the Second Doctor what “The Doctor […]


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