Hagan is doing a guide to Classic Doctor Who. The whole thing! This is Season 16.
April 7, 2014
Categories: AQG2CW (A Quick Guide to Classic Who), TV Reviews, Twatty Who Reviews . Tags:AQG2CW, AQG2CW (A Quick Guide to Classic Who), Doctor Who, season 16, TV . Author: Diamandahagan
Brian Blessed you say???!!!! Man, I would have killed for a Doctor Who/1980 Flash Gordon crossover
I preferred the Doctor as an underdog/rebel but I can’t deny his legend could’ve grown as he travelled. The higher beings going off somewhere because of the Time War (don’t ask me exactly how).
saying that, The doctor being “the man” could be an interesting aspect to explore, especially with a mature figure such as Capaldi. Have him struggle with the responsibility of his role, like the direction they went with the 7th doctor.
Holy Hell, I just watched The Armageddon Factor for the first time a few weeks ago, and every time they said the villain’s name, I did the echoes from The Gamers. I didn’t expect anybody else would’ve made that connection, and then you do it comedic triplet. X followed immediately thereafter by a D
Really nice gags in this one! And, be still my heart, Farscape mentioned before Lexx in a sentence? Glory days are here! (Small victories, I take them where I can.)
Kind of a pity that the BBC was so bureaucratic about the budget, this season obviously could have profited from a decent one.
Also, count me along the people who don’t like the “lonely god” stuff. I prefer the space columbo approach, where the villains typically don’t notice how dangerous (=clever/cunning) the Doctor is until it’s too late.
I really wish that the White Guardian would return, as well as some others from this season.
The Ribos Operation: I remember reading in the comment section of The Cartmel Masterplan that it would take centuries for someone to complete and pass from the timelord academy, but according to this episode, the Doctor had to pass with a 51% in a second attempt, which I have heard that he wasn’t even 300 years old yet when Hartnell was on. But I allow anyone to correct me on that. Other than that, I thought that this one was okay. You could of make a joke about the hole that Romana put in the TARDIS console.
The Pirate Planet: Douglass Adams wrote this episode?! Plus, I really like the plot twist of who the villain really was.
The Stones of Blood: I agree with you a 100%. The Ghast cast (don’t know how to spell it) are a pair of aliens I would love to see return in the show. Not only that, but I really do love the set designs in this one too, like the part where you see the Doctor walking into the ship in the last two parts.
The Androids of Tara: didn’t care for this one.
The Power of Kroll: easily forgettable
The Armageddon Factor: It’s been so long since I saw this one that I was stunned that Lella was in this show a season before she became Romana 2. And by the way, what are you references with “THE SHADOW?!?!?!?!?” scenes from?
Alan Stevens helped you out with this video? Nice!
Before I forget, what is your thoughts on Romana 1?
Thank you Diamanda for these videos. You make me want to watch more classic Who. Unfortunately, I’m stuck with what they have on Netflix.
I suggest looking on Dailymotion, that’s where I’ve found literally the whole series
An excellent site indeed! I couldn’t believe that I forgotten all about that website till now.
I’ve searched there. They have the videos for the First and Second Doctor stories. They also have “Doctor Who and the Silurians”. Nothing beyond that.
That’s not what I found going back just now. I suppose I just put in the name of the episode I wanted to see and I typically found it.
Are you saying that you could only find the stories from the first two Doctors and Doctor Who and the Silurians, but not the rest of Classic Who?
Actually, I found the whole thing, I just found it in several different places on Dailymotion.
My mistake. I didn’t look hard enough. *blushes* You may start your teasing and mockery. 😀
Oh it’s fine, I realize it’s a very peculiar setup, but it only worked for me because I started looking specifically for the episodes this show gave high recommendations for.
Same here. I’m excited to get into the classic series. Watching these, the classic series seems to have a large imagination despite the small budget. It seems the opposite is happening with the new series.
I am pleased to hear that at least the new Doctor they’ve picked seems to be more akin to the ones of the past
Yeah true, although I hope Moffat has more focus for his stories this time, or at least doesn’t treat the show as an excuse to make fanfic stories (well, MORE fanfic stories at least).
Yes, there are so many stories like that that in all honesty the “Twatty Who” show on this site could go on uninterrupted for years
That’s very true. Devolving into navelgazing does seem to be a problem with longstanding franchises (I’m looking at you Star Trek).
I really liked the pirate planet. It’s insane, but entertaining. I thought the rest of this season is rather dull.
I’ve only seen The Pirate Planet from this season myself, so I can’t really comment much on what you’ve already said. Still, very good details all around, and as usual an excellent selection of clips (and very funny lines too).
Something interesting is that the Key to Time actually reappeared in Big Finish in a few stories (a trilogy in the main line involving Doctor Five, and one in the Companion Chronicles with Ace – annoyingly they went with the overarching title “Key 2 Time”). The story there, rather than retreading this season, is that Season 16 ends has a major effect on the universe at large thanks to the Fourth Doctor’s actions in the twist ending, and this brings up a few interesting twists.
Among them was the idea that the White and Black guardians weren’t Good and Evil personified, as their onscreen performances tended to portray them as. Rather, that they were both necessary aspects of reality that needed one another to balance each other out, even though they each wanted dominance: the White Guardian represented Order, giving structure to the universe, but the Black Guardian’s Chaos gave random chance, “a bit of color” to the universe. Handing the completed Key to Time to either of these forces would have been a bad thing indeed to happen: either total order without any chance of deviation, or total chaos without any structure at all.
You bring up an excellent point about the Doctor being the highest authority in the new show, which is odd because of how many higher beings the show itself and the extended universe bring up. The lack of these beings is mostly explained off the show itself, which is a bit lacking if you think about it – the Eternals were beings who were above the Time Lords in terms of power (to the point that the extended universe had Eternals who were poised as gods of Gallifrey) and yet the time war sent them fleeing. Considering all the extended universe aspects that did make it into the show proper, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Re: “They’re sent on their quest by the white Guardian, one of the Guardians of time. A group of transcendental semi-gods.”
Okay, I think this needs some explanation. The first time the idea came about that there were more than two Guardians was in the 2001 Doctor Who novel The Quantum Archangel. Here we discover that there are supposed to be six Guardians. The White Guardian of Light and Order, the Black Guardian of Darkness and Chaos, The Crystal Guardian of Dream and Fantasy (this is also meant to be the Celestial Toymaker), the Azure Guardian of Equilibrium and Balance and the Gold Guardian of Life and Death. This idea, of course, was devised 23 years after the Black and White Guardians first appeared in 1978, and clearly was not part of the thinking that went into the creation of the Guardians back then. I’d even argue that it is contrary to what was intended, which was clearly the representation of a manichean universe consisting of polar opposites, although intriguingly the Ribos Operation puts forward the idea that the Black and White Guardians are the same person.
I think The Ribos Operation is a pretty good story. I especially like the stuff about Binro the Heretic who was tortured and made an outcast because he had the temerity to question religious doctrine that the stars were ice crystals. This is then contrasted with the Seeker, who believes in the gods of ice and whose predictions are shown to be pin-point accurate. It’s an intriguing dichotomy.
However, the story does have one fatal flaw. If Jethrik is the rarest and most valuable element in the galaxy, and Unstoffe and Garron own a piece, then why are they making a living as con-artists? They are effectively millionaires several times over.
Re: The Pirate Planet. “It materialises around other planets, sucks all of the useful material from them and moves on. Leaving their compressed husks in the planets trophy room.Why are they doing this? Its the usual search for immortality.”
Not quite, it’s also an attempt by the Pirate Captain to use the compressed gravity of the crushed planets to destabilise Xanxia’s Time Dams and so kill her.
“Anyway.. they plan on destroying the earth.. because loud aliens in ridiculous plots need no reasons to destroy the earth in Douglas Adams scripts. Then they start with the poetry.”
The Pirate captain does intend to destroy the Earth, but only as part of his ongoing quest for more energy to power the time dams and keep Xanxia alive/destabilise the time dams and kill Xanxia off. Also, I think the plot is very well worked out.
Re: The Androids of Tara: “give this one a miss.”
No, don’t give this one a miss. I watched it a couple of days ago and really enjoyed it. Tom Baker is on form, the dialogue sparkles, the plot is involving and the guest cast are nothing less than excellent, with special mention going to Peter Jefferies as Count Grendel. The only fly in the ointment is the appearance of the Tarren Wood Beast, as it seems to have a face made out of paper mâché. It only appears briefly in episode one, but it does spoil an otherwise excellent set of episodes. Perhaps if the director had added a line to suggest that it was just a man in a silly mask, then it might have still worked:
Romana: What was that?
Count Grendel: Oh… er… that was Tarquine. He’s always arsing about.
Re: The Power of Kroll. “It’s an ok story”
This is another I’ve watched recently. Again, the script and performances are excellent, and it is only the production values that let it all down. The script also contains a lot of dark humour:-
ROHM-DUTT: You know, there’s a thing called a drill fly in these swamps. Lays its eggs in your feet. A week later, you get holes in your head.
“The Power Kroll isnt really a god, but rather a really big and angry octopus.”
This is true, in that it does look like a giant octopus, but the script keeps referring to it as a squid. Clearly the visual effects people didn’t bother to research what a squid actually looks like. Another interesting thing about this story is that during its production Graham Williams went on a drinking binge with Tom Baker and ended up in hospital for a few weeks with Alcoholic hepatitis. During this time script editor Anthony Read, production unit manager John Nathan-Turner and Blake’s 7 producer David Maloney, took over many of Williams’ duties until he returned.
“Maybe I didn’t give this season quite as much credit as I should have. It’s nowhere near as good as the early Tom Baker seasons but its not all bad.”
I would say that although season 16 doesn’t have the highpoints of season 15 (Horror of Fang Rock and The Image of the Fendahl), it’s more consistent, and doesn’t feature anything as appalling as Underworld or The Invasion of Time. Also, I’d say the production standards are, over all, better than season 15, although clearly not half as good as seasons 13 and 14.
Anyway, here’s a link to an interview with Philip Madoc, who played the War Lord in “The War Games,” Solon in “The Brain of Morbius” and Fenner in “The Power of Kroll”: –
The Pirate Planet: From what I remember of the episode, the Pirate Planet indeed materialized around other planets, crushed them, and used their respective materials to keep the Queen’s time damns active. The Doctor points out that this plan is just stupid because the dams will demand an ever increasing amount of power, to the point that draining entire suns wouldn’t sustain her. I don’t remember anything about the pirate captain attempting to kill her – in fact I was under the impression Xanxia controlled the pirate captain.
I also remember that there was an element that the crew needed to get in order to fix their dematerialization circuit-thingy (which was damaged by the TARDIS materializing on the titular Pirate Planet), and Earth was the closest place with it they could safely make one final jump…and the energy, of course.
Of course, what I’m confused about is why nobody is talking about the race of psychic people with grey skin…and how Tom Baker was bit in the face by a dog before the filming of the episode and they covered it up by having the Doctor hit his head on the console. Granted, that second detail isn’t terribly important, but it is interesting.
“I don’t remember anything about the pirate captain attempting to kill her – in fact I was under the impression Xanxia controlled the pirate captain.”
ROMANA: The only way the Captain could destroy Xanxia without blowing himself and this whole mountain to atoms would be to get inside the perimeter of the time dams without disturbing it, right?
ROMANA: Which would require astronomic energy sources.
DOCTOR: [INDICATING THE MUMIFIED PLANETS] Here they are, all perfectly balanced out.
ROMANA: So when he has enough of them, all he has to do is alter the balance slightly and create a standing vortex in the middle of the time field, so time starts up at the normal speed and the Queen dies.
As Romana states later So all that shouting and blustering was just an act to lull Xanxia into a false sense of security while he built this.”
“I also remember that there was an element that the crew needed to get in order to fix their dematerialization circuit-thingy (which was damaged by the TARDIS materializing on the titular Pirate Planet), and Earth was the closest place with it they could safely make one final jump…and the energy, of course.”
Yes, that’s correct. The Captain required the mineral PJX one eight, otherwise known as quartz.
“Of course, what I’m confused about is why nobody is talking about the race of psychic people with grey skin…”
Okay, let’s talk about them. Funny lot weren’t they?
“and how Tom Baker was bit in the face by a dog before the filming of the episode and they covered it up by having the Doctor hit his head on the console. Granted, that second detail isn’t terribly important, but it is interesting.”
Tom Baker was bit on the lip by a Jack Russell Terrier owned by Paul Seed, the actor who played the Graff Vynda-K in The Ribos Operation. The name Vynda-K is derived from “Vendici”, the name of the anti-hero from Thomas Middleton’s Jacobean play the Revenger’s Tragedy. “Vendici” is in turn derived from the Italian word “vendicare” means “revenge”. So maybe Paul Seed’s dog knew this, and that’s why he bit Tom Baker, as revenge for him killing his master?
Okay, let’s talk about them. Funny lot, weren’t they?
Tom Baker was bitten on the lip by a Jack Russell Terrier belonging to Paul Seed, the actor who played the Graff Vynda-K in The Ribos Operation. It is a little known fact that “Vynda-K” is derived from “Vendici,” the name of the anti-hero from Thomas Middleton’s Jacobean play The Revenger’s Tragedy, and that “Vendici” in turn is derived from “vendicare,” the Italian word for “revenge.” So maybe Paul Seed’s dog knew this, and that’s why it bit Tom Baker on the last day of filming, as a means of revenge for blowing up the Graff Vynda-K.
WordPress is such a crap programme.
Tom Baker was bitten on the lip by a Jack Russell Terrier belonging to Paul Seed, the actor who played the Graff Vynda-K in The Ribos Operation. It is a little known fact that “Vynda-K” is derived from “Vendici,” the name of the anti-hero from Thomas Middleton’s Jacobean play The Revenger’s Tragedy, and that “Vendici,” in turn, is derived from “vendicare,” the Italian word for “revenge.” So maybe Paul Seed’s dog knew this, and that’s why it bit Tom Baker on the last day of filming, as a means of revenge for blowing up the Graff Vynda-K.
HOLY SHIT SOMEONE MADE A GAMERS JOKE! I can die happy! 😀
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