A Quick Guide to Classic Who Season- 17

Hagan is doing a guide to Classic Doctor Who. The whole thing! This is Season 17.

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20 Comments

  1. Discodroids? Why have those never been brought back.
    Okay, I know exactly why. And that’s the exact reason why I want to see them brought back.

    Also, rarely have I heard a more genuine joy than that which you expressed at Tom Baker fellating that green alien.

  2. Destiny of the Daleks: Just saw this a couple of days ago. I enjoyed it just fine, and as a sequel to Genesis of the Daleks, it still worked.

    City of Death: I didn’t know that John Cleese was in this, nor did I know who he was until I saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Outside of that, I kind of liked this one.

    Shada: I also saw this recently too. I only saw a little bit of the animated one, and it just didn’t work for me. I prefer the VHS version where Tom Baker narrated most of the story. It does hold a lot of mystery from the book in this episode and I would love to see someone explore this a little bit further. But this episode did make me raise one big question, since you are a big defender of the looms. When the Doctor said that Skagra was in the prison ship before he was born, was it before or after the looms came to effect on the Doctor? Plus, what do you think about this article?

    http://www.doctorwhotv.co.uk/the-doctor-loomed-or-born-52422.htm

    From what I have read, the writer of this article does try to help both sides of the believers and non-believers of the looms.

    As for Romana’s regeneration, it does remind me of a question that I forgot to ask you for season 6. Russell T. Davies said that he casted Peter Capaldi in the Fires of Pompeii because he thinks that a Timelord can choose the appearance for his regeneration, according to the last part of the War Games. Moffat said that he’s going to use Davies theory in probably series 8.

  3. I’d be surprised if you didn’t know this, but you can find a lot of stuff from the plots of Shada and The City of Death in Douglas Adams’s Novel “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”.

    Also, apparently “Life, the Universe and Everything” was adapted from an unused outline for a Tom Baker Doctor Who six-parter “Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen.”

    Douglas Adams was good at recycling.

  4. Fyreeholdy

    It’s wise of you to not go into the theories on Romana’s many choice-regenerations – every bit media aside from the actual show itself seems to be offering some explenation or another, Big Finish alone having two (which aren’t entirely exclusive from one another), and some are quite a bit more ludicrous than others. You could have doubled the episode length by skimming over them and mentioning why they don’t fit with everything else.

    What are your thoughts on this incarnation of Romana as opposed to her previous one? Are you saving that discussion for the next video?

    Another solid video overall Diamanda, enough that I honestly don’t have much to add on top of what points you made. I should look into City of Death sometime in the future (I don’t remember if they mention that the actual Mona Lisa in real life is actually on wood and not canvas)…

    The Horns of Nimon: Honestly, this story is much more enjoyable for me than “The God Complex” (which I’ve mentioned before) simply because of how weird it is. However, your comparison between the two stories is rather apt: they both have characters that act out of character and or stupidly, the technology doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you really think on it, the minotaur-ish creature(s) kill a lot of innocent people, there’re spaceships involved, and they’re both rather pointless. The advantage “The Horns of Nimon” has over “The God Complex” is that at least the acting is sufficiently hammy to be entertaining, the main cast are in character and the situation with the Nimon are consistantly written – “The God Complex”, however, is not consistant in the slightest (and even derives from “The Curse of Fenric” in a lesser way).

    Shada: I was only aware of the VHS, Big Finish, and novel versions myself – I had no idea that Clair/Clara had been added into the novel, nor of the other versions you mentioned. It’s amazing at the lengths people go to complete this story, even when other venues of it already exist. A little uplifting, really – I’ll have to look into these.

    You also make a good point about Clara potentially overwriting various people from the universe after she entered the Doctor’s timestream (spoilers) – in a way her presence shifts time and space considerably, since, given how often the Doctor lands in various planets and times, there must be a few billion of her running around and dying. I suppose everyone just considers her to have “one of those common faces” at this rate.

    • Re: “It’s wise of you to not go into the theories on Romana’s many choice-regenerations – every bit media aside from the actual show itself seems to be offering some explenation or another”

      I think the current explanation is that within the first fifteen hours of a regeneration the Doctor can still alter his physical appearance, and this is supported by evidence from The Christmas Invasion, Journey’s End and The Time of the Doctor.

      Re: “What are your thoughts on this incarnation of Romana as opposed to her previous one?”

      My answer would be that Lalla Ward can act.

      Re: “You also make a good point about Clara potentially overwriting various people from the universe after she entered the Doctor’s timestream (spoilers) – in a way her presence shifts time and space considerably, since, given how often the Doctor lands in various planets and times, there must be a few billion of her running around and dying. I suppose everyone just considers her to have “one of those common faces” at this rate.”

      Actually, the events of The Time of the Doctor erased the events of The Name of the Doctor, because as he no longer died on Trenzalore, the Doctor’s “personal timeline” would not be there for the Great Intelligence and Clara to enter, making the ‘impossible girl’ into the ‘irrelevant girl.’

      • Re: Romana Regeneration Theories:
        I think that’s a good working theory to go on.

        Re: Clara’s Time-Wide Status:
        That’s a bit snarkier than needed, and besides, that makes no sense. By that theory, if Clara never goes into the time stream, then Oswin never wipes the Daleks’ minds of the Doctor, the Great Intelligence never tried to take over the snow and weather and the Doctor never found Oswald and thus never came out of his slump of losing the Ponds; he’d never have deliberately gone to find Clara and never have stopped the Great Intelligence from harvesting minds over the wifi (and if this event never takes place, there’s no reason for him to take her as a companion then, or for her to go with him). This would make all the further adventures with Clara and the Doctor never happen, and thus there would be nothing that would save the Doctor from dying on Trenzalore.

        In short, both the Doctor dying permanently and the Doctor living through Trenzalore need to happen for the events on the show to happen, as both have a profound effect on the timeline (ironically both allowing the Doctor to live on). The Name of the Doctor is still canon by virtue of the past events happening, which enable the Doctor to live on past this supposed end. It may not make a lot of sense if you think on it too hard, but hey, I read Homestuck, and this kind of thing is commonplace there – a doomed timeline is required for the primary timeline to continue by allowing a character/force/item/event to reach back into events they share, allowing for the difference that lets the primary timeline continue where the doomed one doesn’t.

        If you want another example of this paradox happening (if a less massive one), look to “The Pyramids of Mars” – there, the Doctor travels forwards in time to show Sarah Jane what would happen if Suhtek was allowed to roam free, a dead wasteland of a planet, which convinces her of the dangers they face (and logically should have meant Sarah Jane wouldn’t be able to be born). However, Suhtek is trapped in the end by the Doctor, meaning that this timeline shouldn’t have been able to happen and thus shouldn’t have been able to be visited.

      • Taiko said:

        “RE: Clara’s Time-Wide Status:

        That’s a bit snarkier than needed, and besides, that makes no sense.”

        I’m not being remotely snarky, and it makes perfect sense.

        “By that theory, if Clara never goes into the time stream, then Oswin never wipes the Daleks’ minds of the Doctor the Great Intelligence never tried to take over the snow and weather and the Doctor never found Oswald and thus never came out of his slump of losing the Ponds; he’d never have deliberately gone to find Clara and never have stopped the Great Intelligence from harvesting minds over the wifi (and if this event never takes place, there’s no reason for him to take her as a companion then, or for her to go with him). This would make all the further adventures with Clara and the Doctor never happen, and thus there would be nothing that would save the Doctor from dying on Trenzalore.”

        Correct.

        “In short, both the Doctor dying permanently and the Doctor living through Trenzalore need to happen for the events on the show to happen, as both have a profound effect on the timeline (ironically both allowing the Doctor to live on). The Name of the Doctor is still canon by virtue of the past events happening, which enable the Doctor to live on past this supposed end.”

        Clearly, if the Doctor didn’t die on Trenzalore then Clara and the Great Intelligence didn’t go down his timeline. There’s no arguing with that. Therefore, none of Clara’s adventures while in the Doctor’s timeline took place, and everything goes back to how it was. It’s like the season of Dallas that never happened. Suddenly Bobby Ewing is taking a shower and nothing you’ve seen up to that point actually took place.

        “It may not make a lot of sense if you think on it too hard, but hey, I read Homestuck, and this kind of thing is commonplace there – a doomed timeline is required for the primary timeline to continue by allowing a character/force/item/event to reach back into events they share, allowing for the difference that lets the primary timeline continue where the doomed one doesn’t.”

        I just said that. Clara now only travels with the Doctor via a paradox. It’s a bit like how Bonnie Langford teamed up with the six Doctor in Trial of a Time Lord.

        “If you want another example of this paradox happening (if a less massive one), look to “The Pyramids of Mars” – there, the Doctor travels forwards in time to show Sarah Jane what would happen if Suhtek was allowed to roam free, a dead wasteland of a planet, which convinces her of the dangers they face (and logically should have meant Sarah Jane wouldn’t be able to be born). However, Suhtek is trapped in the end by the Doctor, meaning that this timeline shouldn’t have been able to happen and thus shouldn’t have been able to be visited.”

        Of course they were able to visit it, because at the point the Doctor and Sarah left, 1911 Sutekh was still undefeated. The future only changed back once the Doctor and Sarah returned to 1911 and kicked Sutekh’s arse.

  5. After Name of The Doctor, I thought about starting a Tumblr that photoshopped Clara into some of the zanier scenes from classic who. I plastered her face onto one of the moth costumes in The Web Planet before i gave up.

  6. Excellent edition of the Guide to Classic Doctor Who. Re Destiny of the Daleks, here’s the Kaldor City review of this story:

    http://www.kaldorcity.com/features/articles/destiny.html

    Re City of Death, here’s the Kaldor City review:

    http://www.kaldorcity.com/features/articles/city.html

    Glad you liked Julian Glover. I had the pleasure of directing him a few years back for The True History of Faction Paradox CD series, here’s a link to an interview done at the time:

    http://www.kaldorcity.com/people/jginterview.html

  7. glad I’m not the only one who noticed Romana’s Pink outfit, period coat with a white scarf, like a fem version of 4.

    The plot of city of Death reminds me of something from Futurama, or vice versa to be exact. I never thought of DW as a straight up comedy until I caught up with the 4th doctor era and it works surprisingly well. In fact you can get away with some real hyper-concept ideas with a comedic tone, like the inquisitor from Red Dwarf.

  8. You made me realize, how much I love the Hinchcliffe seasons and how much I dislike the Williams seasons. Pirate Planete and City of Death are the only stories, that I really like, the rest is average at best.

    • I can see where you’re coming from, and I do like those stories too, but I also like Shada probably as my favorite story from season 17.

  9. In the description: “This is season 16”

    You lie! YOU LIE!

    Really appreciate you doing these. I have some interest in Old Who but don’t have the time to dig up information on the many, many lost episodes. These distill the seasons into need-to-know information and point out those that I actually need to watch.

  10. Actually, you would be suprised to find out that Mel Bush is actually less popular than Adric, but then again, Mel was kind of redeemed in the books and by Big Finish.

  11. Alan:
    Not to drag an argument out of our discussion, but are you honestly claiming that the writers for Doctor Who have gone back and undone one and a half seasons, off screen, without any kind of acknowledgement? Even for Doctor Who, that’s a bit much. Yes, Amy and Rory’s stories were technically wiped from the past at the end of The Big Bang (if by virtue of there never being the cracks in the universe (until there was again)), but that was acknowledged in-story, and was a major plotpoint when Amy brought him back. By contrast, Clara’s supposed revocation of status as “the impossible girl” has not been even hinted onscreen, and is arguably an even longer overarching plotline.

    I don’t deny that there is as little evidence in-story to deny your claim as there is to support it. I acknowledge that stories in Steven Moffat’s era have a large tendency of looping back to previous ones, altering what known facts there were and setting up points the audience didn’t know. I know that events have been retconned out via various events. However, there is something I know the BBC wouldn’t risk doing with such a flagship series, especially in the modern era directly after an event that got thousands of people into theatres to pay to watch an episode made into a movie: making the last several stories entirely irrelevant.

    If audiences do not find this development confusing, they will find the negative change to Clara’s character to be upsetting. Clara was special because of her unusual status, and entirely negating that mystery about her is, bar none, a BAD move to make with an audience that enjoy and invest in her character. To do this off-screen, without any acknowledgement in any of the episodes of the changes it would make to the timeline, the events in the Doctor’s past, or the Doctor and Clara’s relationship, is simply suicide for any writer to try and make. This theory you have is not something that makes sense business or story-wise.

    …anyways. Rant over, this is not a forum for flames. You have your headcanon, I have mine. We’ll see in the future whether or not Clara’s still “impossible” or now “irrelevant” and leave it as a wasted opportunity if we don’t like the status.

  12. Taiko said:

    “are you honestly claiming that the writers for Doctor Who have gone back and undone one and a half seasons, off screen, without any kind of acknowledgement?”

    No, I’m not “claiming” it, I am stating it as a fact.

    > Even for Doctor Who, that’s a bit much.Yes, Amy and Rory’s stories were technically wiped from the past at the end of The Big Bang (if by virtue of there never being the cracks in the universe (until there was again)), but that was acknowledged in-story, and was a major plotpoint when Amy brought him back. By contrast, Clara’s supposed revocation of status as “the impossible girl” has not been even hinted onscreen, and is arguably an even longer overarching plotline.I don’t deny that there is as little evidence in-story to deny your claim as there is to support it.I acknowledge that stories in Steven Moffat’s era have a large tendency of looping back to previous ones, altering what known facts there were and setting up points the audience didn’t know. I know that events have been retconned out via various events. However, there is something I know the BBC wouldn’t risk doing with such a flagship series, especially in the modern era directly after an event that got thousands of people into theatres to pay to watch an episode made into a movie: making the last several stories entirely irrelevant.If audiences do not find this development confusing, they will find the negative change to Clara’s character to be upsetting.Clara was special because of her unusual status, and entirely negating that mystery about her is, bar none,a BAD move to make with an audience that enjoy and invest in her character.To do this off-screen, without any acknowledgement in any of the episodes of the changes it would make to the timeline, the events in the Doctor’s past, or the Doctor and Clara’s relationship, is simply suicide for any writer to try and make.This theory you have is not something that makes sense business or story-wise.…anyways. Rant over, this is not a forum for flames. You have your headcanon, I have mine.We’ll see in the future whether or not Clara’s still “impossible” or now “irrelevant” and leave it as a wasted opportunity if we don’t like the status.<

    A wasted opportunity for what? In what way did the paper-thin characterisation of Clara change between The Name of the Doctor and The Day of the Doctor? Doctor Who is a melodrama. Even at its best it's still irrelevant. Nothing in the series ever has any lasting material relevance beyond localised plot dynamics and format considerations. So, the Doctor dies on Trenzalore, and oh look, he doesn't after all. So the Doctor reaches his regeneration limit, and oh look, he's given another set. Or to go back into the classic series. So, the Master has fallen into a bottomless pit. Oh look, he's back again. The Master had just been burn to a crisp, oh look, he's back again. And way? "Ha, ha, ha. I'm indestructible. The whole universe knows that!"

  13. Hi Taiko

    Please ignore above. Woodpress screw-up again. The following is my proper post.

    Taiko said:

    “are you honestly claiming that the writers for Doctor Who have gone back and undone one and a half seasons, off screen, without any kind of acknowledgement?”

    No, I’m not “claiming” it, I am stating it as a fact.

    “Even for Doctor Who, that’s a bit much.”

    Not really. Doctor Who history is constantly being rewritten. After all Amy’s crack deleted large parts of the Tennant era.

    “Yes, Amy and Rory’s stories were technically wiped from the past at the end of The Big Bang (if by virtue of there never being the cracks in the universe (until there was again)), but that was acknowledged in-story, and was a major plotpoint when Amy brought him back. By contrast, Clara’s supposed revocation of status as “the impossible girl” has not been even hinted onscreen, and is arguably an even longer overarching plotline.”

    The wiping of history at the end of the Big Bang is basically the same as the wiping of history at the end of the Clara plotline. The only difference is one was a stated plot point, while the other is not, but so what? According to Victory of the Daleks the events of Parting of the Ways were also radically different from what we saw on screen, and Stolen Earth/Journey’s End, togther with The Waters of Mars were deleted entirely. But they didn’t spell that one out either, did they?

    “I don’t deny that there is as little evidence in-story to deny your claim as there is to support it.”

    There is plenty of evidence to support it. Not only is it a stunt Moffat has done over and over again, but also the Doctor didn’t die on Trenzalore. What more evidence do you want?

    “I acknowledge that stories in Steven Moffat’s era have a large tendency of looping back to previous ones, altering what known facts there were and setting up points the audience didn’t know. I know that events have been retconned out via various events. However, there is something I know the BBC wouldn’t risk doing with such a flagship series, especially in the modern era directly after an event that got thousands of people into theatres to pay to watch an episode made into a movie: making the last several stories entirely irrelevant.”

    Sorry, but I don’t follow your logic. It’s like saying, “I can’t believe they’ve released Day of the Daleks on DVD as much of what we see was deleted from the time line”. Or, “How can they possible show any Sixties Dalek stories. Surely the events of Genesis of the Daleks changed/deleted much of what we had previously seen.” Or maybe, “how dare they try and sell us the first four series of Buffy the Vampire without first digitially inserting Dawn Summers.” How about, “how dare they not burn the negatives of The Web of Fear. If Clara doesn’t appear playing major role, then it’s a crime against continuity.”

    “If audiences do not find this development confusing, they will find the negative change to Clara’s character to be upsetting.”

    What character? Clara hasn’t got a character. She’s a blow-up doll.

    “Clara was special because of her unusual status, and entirely negating that mystery about her is, bar none,”

    It stopped being a mystery in The Name of the Doctor, when we found out what was going on. A revelation I consider to be totally daft.

    “a BAD move to make with an audience that enjoy and invest in her character.”

    As most of them haven’t noticed, I wouldn’t bother. Anyway, this isn’t the first time Nu Who has shortchanged its audience. Remember the “substitute Tennant” Rose was lumbered with in Journey’s End? The Squeers are still foaming at the mouth about that one to this day.

    “To do this off-screen, without any acknowledgement in any of the episodes of the changes it would make to the timeline, the events in the Doctor’s past, or the Doctor and Clara’s relationship, is simply suicide for any writer to try and make.”

    It wasn’t off screen, it was on screen. How can Clara go down the Doctor’s timeline on Trenzalore if the Doctor doesn’t die on Trenzalore? She can’t. That’s on screen.

    “This theory you have is not something that makes sense business or story-wise.”

    It’s not a theory, it’s what happened. However, as a consequence I don’t hear that Gallifrey Base has closed down in protest. After all, if Dallas can do it, why not Doctor Who?

    “…anyways. Rant over, this is not a forum for flames. You have your headcanon, I have mine.”

    There is no such thing as “headcanon”. Canon is meant to represent something that is accepted by the majority. If it only exists in your head, then that cannot be, can it?

    “We’ll see in the future whether or not Clara’s still “impossible” or now “irrelevant” and leave it as a wasted opportunity if we don’t like the status.”

    A wasted opportunity for what? In what way did the paper-thin characterisation of Clara change between The Name of the Doctor and The Day of the Doctor? Doctor Who is a melodrama. Even at its best it’s still irrelevant. Nothing in the series ever has any lasting material relevance beyond localised plot dynamics and format considerations. So, the Doctor dies on Trenzalore, and oh look, he doesn’t after all. So the Doctor reaches his regeneration limit, and oh look, he’s given another set. Or to go back into the classic series. So, the Master has fallen into a bottomless pit. Oh look, he’s back again. The Master had just been burn to a crisp, oh look, he’s back again. And why? ‘Ha, ha, ha. I’m indestructible. The whole universe knows that!’

    • Rather than blow this argument up further, let’s just agree to disagree here. We’re clearly of two minds about this, and I get the feeling we’re not going to reconcile the differences.

      • The idea that events can take place within the show and then be wiped from the timeline or the memories of the people involved, isn’t something new to the series. I think your problem with the current scenario is that you think there was no worthwhile pay-off. Well that’s true.

        Indeed, Clara’s adventures in the Doctor’s timeline lead to the John Hurt Doctor being revealed, which in its turn lead to the revelation that the Time Lords weren’t destroyed after all, and Gallfrey was just lost, which itself is a rewriting of the Doctor Who mythos that exculpates the Doctor and makes all the guilt, sadness and anxiety he’s been feeling over the last seven seasons, totally pointless.

        However, in a universe where time can be changed, nothing has any lasting consequence anyway. To quote the sixth Doctor; “Change. What change? There is no change. No rhyme, no time. No place for space. Nothing. Nothing but the grinding engines of the universe, the crushing boredom of eternity.”

  14. My personal headcanon: after seeing Servalan on Blake’s 7 wearing the same coat Romana I wore in The Ribos Operation, I’ve decided that Romana didn’t choose to regenerate: Servalan killed her and stole her wardrobe in an offscreen crossover. The Creature From the Pit dress was a little too ABBA for her though, and that Astra dress wasn’t her colour anyways.


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