A Quick Guide to Classic Who Season- 12

Hagan is doing a guide to Classic Doctor Who. The whole thing! This is Season 12.



  1. Wow, great episode to return on! Chock-full of interesting information and trivia and the opinion bits slot in very smoothly. And I love the “the two bests things about who fans” bit.

  2. Interesting guide entry Diamanda – informative as always, quick analysis, and a good selection of clips for the voiceover. However, I have a few questions regarding some of the points you made.

    Robot: You mention a number of times that Robot wasn’t a good episode. Is that because it was a Third Doctor story in the Fourth era? Was it questionable quality of the effects and story? Or was it for the odd manner of the Doctor coming out in various inaccurate costumes?

    The Ark in Space: Good points throughout, although it should be mentioned that the Wyrnn weren’t entirely evil, even if their actions were murderous. Their own race had been attacked and destroyed by human colonies that had been set up, and one of crew members who assists everyone else (a nurse) actually found the prospect wonderful (although she seemed to be more happy about the colonies surviving than the Wyrnn being killed in the process). It was an interesting bit of moral ambiguity there.

    Genesis of the Daleks: You make an excellent point about how the Kaled/Thal base being only so far apart and yet in a technological war. However, it makes some small sense when you consider the planet was so wasted by various factors, and how their respective supplies were running low (enough that they were setting dead bodies up as “sentries”); perhaps raids were simply too costly to do constantly. Also, do you consider the Doctor’s lack of regret on killing/destroying the robot in Robot to his still-settling mental state from his fresh regeneration, or something else entirely? It’s a very strange disconnect from the way he acts towards killing the Daleks.

    That aside, something that surprised me about Genesis was how Davros was voiced; before then, I was used to Big Finish’s voice for Davros, and his appearance in New Who, and his voice then was deep and imposing. It’s quite high in this first appearance, and only slowly deepens the further one goes along. It’s really kind of distracting. However, by the end of Genesis of the Daleks, I was convinced about Davros’ character, and how he was practically the same there as he was later. Good story.

    Thanks for making these Diamanda. I’ve been taking time to look at various Classic stories based on your appraisal of them. You’ve made a lot of great recommendations. 🙂

    • Hi Taiko and Diamanda,

      Hope you don’t mind me coming in here, but there’s some interesting points raised that I’d also like a go at answering.:)

      Re: Robot. There are some very bad effects in this story. Can anyone ever forget the Action Man tank? I had an Action Man tank at the time, and I really didn’t appreciate it turning up in Doctor Who. Anyway, here’s a review: http://www.kaldorcity.com/features/articles/robot.html

      Re: The Ark in Space: The Wirrn are based on the parasitic wasp, of which Darwin said “I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.” People often read this as Darwin questioning the existence of god, whereas in fact he is questioning God’s benevolence and omnipotence. Remove God from the equation, however, and you just have an insect following its natural life-cycle. If the Wirrn are evil, then the parasitic wasp is also evil, and that’s just plainly ridiculous.

      “The Ark in Space” posits the idea that good and evil are human inventions, and indeed, it’s only when the undiluted form of Noah is transformed into the swarm leader that the concepts of good and evil even begin to emerge.

      It’s significant that Noah comes from a highly stratified society and is himself murderously obsessed with genetic purity and the elimination of what he calls, “regressive factions.” When Noah gives the Wirrn a voice, he characterises their invasion of the Ark as an act of revenge for the humans destruction of their breeding colonies in Andromeda, but in reality, Noah can never speak for the Wirrn, because they have nothing to say. They are creatures of instinct, not intellect.

      Re: Genesis of the Daleks: I don’t see why Diamanda has a problem with the Thal and Kaled domes being so close to each other. The fact there are old pre-war tunnels connecting the two cities clearly means that the “Thals” and the “Kaleds” used to live together and are undoubtedly of the same race. In reality, this is a civil war, not a race war. Therefore, in the same why that the “Bunker” subdivided from the Kaled main dome, the Thals and the Kaleds subdivided from each other. I also don’t see what their advanced technology has to do with it? You can argue that Moscow and New York might as well be next door to one another for all the advantage distance would provide in a nuclear exchange. As it stands the Kaleds and Thals aren’t particularly advanced technologically. During the first century of their war they used chemical weapons, and it’s only at the very end of the conflict that the Thals are able to develop a fairly primitive and underpowered atomic bomb.

      Re: “Also, do you consider the Doctor’s lack of regret on killing/destroying the robot in Robot to his still-settling mental state from his fresh regeneration, or something else entirely? It’s a very strange disconnect from the way he acts towards killing the Daleks.”

      Not it is not. The K1 robot was a benign creature that was being forced to kill against it programming, whereas the Daleks represented the murderous Id of their megalomaniac creator, Davros. Here is a 50 things review: http://www.kaldorcity.com/features/articles/genesis.html

  3. Holy shit! It’s been so long since I’ve seen either Genesis of the Daleks *or* ‘Allo ‘Allo. I didn’t even recognize Guy Siner there! Thank you for pointing it out.

  4. Long awaited thank you
    You don’t happened to think of big finish audio guide next?

    • I’ll be doing 2 eps on Doctor Who after 1989 and one will discuss Big Finish, though not in huge detail (but I will be positive)

  5. Even though my brother doesn’t care to watch old who, he actually likes this one along with Remembrance of the Daleks. This one is my favorite Tom Baker story that I think stands out better than the Ark in Space, Pyramids of Mars, and The Deadly Assassin. Nothing against those three, they are really good. I just think that Genesis the superior story from his 7-year run.

  6. Yaaay! I have been waiting with baited breath for another one of these awesome videos. Especially since it’s the first Tom Baker video, who is vying for the position of my favorite classic series Doctors.=]

    Firstly, I’ve watched this entire season aside for Robot and The Sontarian Experiment (which I really need to watch) and it’s by far the season I’ve seen the most of in any of the Classic Series. Though I am working my way through Trial of a Time Lord. =] I am just memorized by Tom Baker’s performance. I adore his Doctor! He is just so wonderfully strange. =]

    Secondly, I didn’t think Revenge of the Cybermen was all that bad. It was just mostly okay. It had a few fun moments and dialog.

  7. Re: King Kong. Robot is the third story to reference this film. The first two were “Invasion of the Dinosaurs” and “Death to the Daleks.”

    Re: “Hinchcliffe doesn’t get to flex his muscles until later on.” I couldn’t agree less. The Ark in Space creates the template for the whole of the Hinchcliffe era. There is no way this story could be remotely described as a poduct of the Letts era. On every level it takes the Letts era and repeatedly punches it in the face. The Hinchcliffe/Holmes era starts with The Ark in Space. Period.

    Re: Barry Letts, “the first man to cast more than one Doctor.” Well, he did recast two Doctors, Hartnell and Troughton, for The Three Doctors, but he didn’t originally cast Jon Pertwee, that was done by Doctor Who producer Derrick Sherwin.

    Re: Harry Sullivan “lasted until Terror of the Zygons in season 13.” Actually, his final story was “The Android Invasion.”

    Re: Kaleds dressed as Nazis. They aren’t. Their uniforms resemble those worn by The British Union of Fascists, an organisation founded in 1932 by Oswald Mosley and which drew its inspiration not from Hitler, but from the Italian fascist Benito Mussolini. Even the lighting flash and circle on the Kaled armbands are similar to the ones worn by The British Union of Fascists.

    Re: “Michael Wisher had earlier been one of the Dalek voice actors in the three Pertwee stories.” Nope. Wisher did not provide any Dalek voices for “Day of the Daleks.”

    Re: “Wisher based his performance on the philosopher Bertrand Russell.” It would be more accurate to say that Wisher based Davros’ voice on Bertrand Russell because the guy had a rather creepy voice, not because Russell shared any personality traits with Davros.

    Re: Nyder. Glad you liked him. Here’s a link to an interview I did with actor Peter Miles for Doctor Who Magazine: http://www.kaldorcity.com/people/pminterview.html

    Re: “Nerva is orbiting the planet Voga in the last days of the Cyberwar.” Nope, according to the story, the Cyberwar had ended years previously.

    Re: “It makes no fucking sense that the space station would exist and be idential thousands of years in the future.” Not true. It would only be a problem if the solar flare event that caused the humans to leave the Earth took place thousands of years after Revenge of the Cybermen. However, clearly this is not the case as… see below.

    Re: “Whenever this story is set.” Well, it’s got to have taken place sometime before, or during, the late twenty-ninth/early thirtieth century as in The Ark in Space the Doctor identifies the “macro-slave drive” and the “modified version of the Bennett oscillator” as coming from that time period. Anyway, here’s a hopefully amusing 50 things review: http://www.kaldorcity.com/features/articles/revenge.html

    Re: The Seal of Rassilon. In The Deadly Assassin it’s known as the Prydonian Seal. It’s first called the Seal of Rassilon in The Five Doctors. Clearly this is due to the same sort of design department cock-up that confused the Vogan and Time Lord symbol in the first place.

  8. Well, if nothing else, this episode reminded me I need to go re-watch Allo Allo again. Damn was that a fun series! Also, Lieutenant Gruber was one of my all time favorites from that show, with just how absurdly camp he was at times.

  9. he’s often sighted as the best doctor and although I would welcome anyone who has their unique favourites. I can definitely see see why, he has this wonderful alien quality, few Doctors actually have.

    • My favourite Doctor was William Hartnell, however, it’s difficult to fault the casting of the first four Doctors. To my mind, Tom Baker gives three different performances as the Doctor. His “alien” Doctor starts with Robot and ends with The Invasion of Time. His “comedy” Doctor begins with The Ribos Operation and ends with Shada, and his “gloomy” Doctor starts with The Leisure Hive and ends with Logopolis.

      I think the “alien” version was the best. The “comedy” version, although it had its moments, could also on occasion undermine scenes and dispel any sense of dramatic tension or threat. The “gloomy” version was basically a product of Tom not getting on with the new production team.

      Something else Tom had which made him distinct from the other Doctors was that he never allowed a poor script to get the better of him. When Pertwee found a scene uninteresting, he would look bored and start rubbing the back of his neck, and when Troughton or Hartnell were given poor scripts they would actively underperform. Baker, however, would always try to impove a below par script, and would actively work to make a dull scene more interesting. He was not always successful, and sometimes he made a bad scene worse, but whatever the outcome, you always got the impression that Tom was striving for improvement. That he really cared about the audience and wanted them to be entertained.

  10. Thanks to PBS I have been watching Dr.Who longer then I can remember, so thank you for the nostalgia trip. I have fond memories of scary green painted bubble wrap and Hammer inspired gothic Who. Now only 6 more episodes until we can kinda have a good old fashioned snake dance with my favourite doctor.

    • Six episodes on from Revenge of the Cybermen brings us to episode 2 of Planet of Evil. When does the snake appear in that story?

      • Mixing up episodes/ stories? Even I do that sometimes.

      • Maybe they meant episodes of the Quick Guide til Davison.

      • Six stories take us to “The Seeds of Doom,” whereas six more seasons takes us to season 18. Still no snake!

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