A Quick Guide to Classic Who- Season 23

Hagan is doing a guide to Classic Doctor Who. The whole thing! This is Season 23.



  1. I have really enjoyed this series DH and i must ask is it worth continuing for the new series or is that superfluous?

    • I think it would be. The eps would be v long. Just explaining plots takes a bit and there’d be 9 or 10 stories a video. Plus Id spend a lot of time complaining. The eps would likely be about 30 mins long and v samey. And they’d destroy the need for more Twatty Who reviews. And of course there’s the main point of the Quick Guide- to give New Who fans info on the Classic Show so they can dip into stories that sound interesting.

      • Let’s not forget that most of the New Who fans have pretty much seen all of the episodes in New Who, making that idea redundant.

  2. This season is not my favorite. I did mange to watch it all the way through, but it was tough at the same time.

    The Mysterious Planet – funny story, my brother stepped to see some of this story, and when the Doctor said that he was 900 years old, and knowing how much you ranted about the Doctor’s age in the new show, he just said “maybe the Doctor is always 900 years old!” Outside of that, I can’t remember much.

    Mindwarp – Brian Blessed (sorry if I misspelled his name) was the best part about this story. The retcon was my absolute hated thing about it!

    Terror of the Vervoids – There’s no defending this one. It’s both boring and stupid. I personally don’t care how the Doctor met Mel. Now that I have yet to see Time and the Rani, I still can’t decide who I hate more, between her or Rose. They are both some of the worst in the show’s history.

    The Ultimate Foe – I remember the twist character that I can’t reveal, for the sake of what you want to keep hidden, who the Valeyard is, the Matrix, carrot juice, but that’s about it. It could have been a better story,and saying that the Valeyard is the Doctor in between his 12th and final incarnation just brings up nothing but problems within the fanbase. I like the idea that the Valeyard is his oldest incarnation, but I wish it wasn’t that close to being specific. I do like how the show is trying to bring the Valeyard back, and wish I could have seen what happened to the Valeyard right after the Ultimate Foe. If he was in the audio dramas, do tell. As a matter in fact, give me some recommendations please.

  3. I’m working my to the Wrong Doctors, to find out the Mel and doctor timeline works out.

    I also have to wonder if 6 and Mel did go onto the Terror of the Vervoids adventure and did it happen differently?. I like to think when he became 7 he fixed before it even started. It’s not really a story I care about but I do wonder.

    The original idea of the Valeyard is so much more interesting although with the War Doctor I feel it wouldn’t be necessary to do it now, or at least wait a couple of years.

    I don’t think they even address the paradox of him killing his predecessor, maybe he’s converted his Tardis into a paradox machine 😛

    The Whole Trial of a Timelord arc does feel very Moffaty in hindsight and not in a good way. You can come up with a clever idea for a companion but you’ve got to their character right otherwise we won’t care about them. Mel really should’ve been a warning.

    • >I also have to wonder if 6 and Mel did go onto the Terror of the Vervoids adventure and did it happen differently?<

      If they did, there would be no murder mystery, because the Doctor and Mel would already know that the murderer was Doland. As a result, at the beginning of the story, all the Sixth Doctor has to do is get a cloth, dip it in cyanide, clamp it over Doland's nose and mouth and kill him with it.

  4. I really enjoyed this instalment. Here are my comments:

    “There was an 18 month gap between seasons 22 and 23.”

    Actually it was 17 months and 7 days. I did point this out to Diamanda, but perhaps she prefers snappiness over pedantry.

    “The orignal season 23 was in pre-production”

    Very true. First draft scripts for “The Nightmare Fair,” “Mission to Magnus” and “The Ultimate Evil” had already been written (they were all shit, however, they were also all adapted later into Target novelisations by the original authors), various directors, writers, production team members (including JNT and Eric Saward) and actors (including Nabil Shaban, Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant) were paid off in full.

    Here is an interview with Nabil Shaban where he, among other things, discussed Vengence on Varos, Mindwarp, Mission to Magnus and how the BBC sent him money for nothing: http://www.kaldorcity.com/people/DWnsinterview.html

    “The Time Lords are putting the Doctor on trial for interfering with other life forms. Something that was done before and better with the 2nd Doctor.”

    Also the Time Lords sent the Doctor on a number of missions themselves, such as in The Curse of Peladon, Colony in Space, The Mutants, The Three Doctors, Genesis of the Daleks, The Brain of Morbius, and Attack of the Cybermen. I wonder why the Doctor never brought this up?

    “The Doctor’s Daughter ‘I never would’ clip!”

    It would have been funny if Diamanda had then put in this clip from The Mark of the Rani:

    GEORGE STEPHENSON: [INDICATING GUN] Tha’d best take this.

    SIXTH DOCTOR: Oh, no thanks. I’ve given them up. Guns can seriously damage your health, you know.


    “While JNT wanted a happier ending, Saward refused to allow the script he wrote to be used and so Pip and Jane Baker had to write a new one.”

    I’ve read Saward’s original version, and it has to be said, Pip and Jane Baker’s script is better. Saward’s is poorly constructed and contains some terrible dialogue. Also Saward’sl idea for the ending appears to have been ripped from the classic Star Trek episode The Alternative Factor.

    Anyway in conclusion here’s are 56 Stupid Things about The Trial of a Time Lord: http://www.kaldorcity.com/features/articles/trial.html

    • “The Doctor’s Daughter ‘I never would’ clip!”

      It would have been funny if Diamanda had then put in this clip from The Mark of the Rani:

      GEORGE STEPHENSON: [INDICATING GUN] Tha’d best take this.

      SIXTH DOCTOR: Oh, no thanks. I’ve given them up. Guns can seriously damage your health, you know.


      – I was thinking the same thing when I first saw that episode. I would love to see David Tennant and Hagan do a video that’s kind of like what NC and Mara Wilson did in the end of A Simple Wish, only this time he brings up some of the mistakes that Hagan said in the past.

      • …for Doctor Who, that is.

  5. they should have used the budget for the model shot to make the stories look better. Sure the model shot is amazing, but its a money gobbler too.

  6. What about Piscon Paradox endings shenanigans though?

    • Indeed. And what about the upcoming 6th Doctor and Peri Trilogy from Big Finish, where the Doctor goes back to find Peri?

      • Well its not out yet:p (and I’ll probably file it like the story where she and Ycarnos ended up living on Earth. With him being a wrestler un ‘not-in-personal-canon’).

        Peri’s my second fave companion but the ending that Mindwarp gave her was powerful and memorable. I just prefer it.

      • To be honest, if you are doing a Quick Guide to Classic Doctor Who, this should involve only the television series, and not various books, CDs or comic strips that may include the characters, but were not part of the original classic series narrative.

        I’ve also got a big problem with the idea that a “personal-canon” should be referred to here at all, as what you decide to include will ultimately come down to what you remember and like.

        In the case of Peri’s demise, the Doctor is told by the Inquisitor in episode 14 of A Trial of a Time Lord that “the young woman, Miss Perpugilliam Brown, is alive and well and living as a warrior queen with King Yrcanos.” However, if you decide that this was a lie, you then have to ignore, not just the above Big Finish CDs, but also the epilogue in Philip Martin’sTarget Books novelisation of Mindwarp, the Colin Baker scripted Marvel Comics graphic novel The Age of Chaos, and the Virgin New Adventures novel Bad Therapy by Matthew Jones, all of which agree that Peri married King Yrcanos.

        If, however, the guide only counted what was broadcast at the time, then Diamanda’s contention that Peri was actually killed, does have more weight, because it’s clear from the Inquisitor’s dialogue in episode eight that Peri’s death was planned and orchestrated by the Time Lord High Council and had nothing at all to do with the Valyard meddling with the Matrix. Hence the exchange:

        INQUISITOR: They’re caught in a time bubble. Everything must be perfect before they drive home their final attack.
        DOCTOR: You’re using Yrcanos as an assassin.
        INQUISITOR: It was judged by the High Council as the most acceptable way, and Yrcanos will never know that he was used.
        DOCTOR: And so they took it upon themselves to act like second-rate gods?

        Equally, at the end of episode 14, we see the Valeyard dressed as the Keeper of the Matrix and laughing as if he had won the day. Maybe, therefore, the Doctor never actually left the Matrix at all, and his conversation with the Inquisitor about Peri’s improbable marriage to King Yrcanos, also never really took place.

  7. I agree that, “story-telling-wise”, Peri’s death in Mindwarp is more compelling (especially if you take into consideration that her death is the responsibility of the Timelords) and more dramatic (because, well, that’s an awful way to die!). But still, because of the way they retconed it at the end, I’d prefer that Peri marrying Yrcanos is the way it happened after all.

    Mostly, it’s because that, if she did die in these circumstances, I’d hate that Peri’s death wouldn’t even be given an afterthought. I mean, Adric’s demise was talked about at least a bit by the Doctor, Nyssa and Teagan (and Adric was mention when the 5th Doctor regenerated)!

    A companion dying should be addressed, and does have a potential for good character evolution. I would really have loved a scene between Mel and the 6th Doctor, where she’s ask him if he wants to go back for Peri, and the Doctor refuses to go because he can’t bear the idea that she might not be alive. And not only because it would hurt him to know for sure he’s lost someone who he considered a friend, but also because knowing the Timelords lied to him, he’d feel that he’d have to deal with it, and he doesn’t want anything to do with the Timelords for a couple hundred years after that mockery of a trial? I’m sure there would be many other good scenes I haven’t think of, but like I said, I just wouldn’t want Peri’s death to have zero impact on the series.

    And lastly, I got to admit that I’d love to see Peri as a Warrior-Queen.

    I also think that there would be good stories to tell about this situation. I don’t know what Big Finish will do with it, but I’m sure it has potential. Maybe it would be even better if the Doctor arrived on Thoros Alpha not knowing where he is, and is confronted by a culture that despises Timelords because of the way one of them treated their Queen. Peri might still be alive and give him one hell of a ride, or she could be quite forgiving. She might also be dead, and may have hated him to the bitter end, or might have forgiven him (but maybe not Yrcanos?). Has Peri been happy where she is, or did she go through her life making the most of it but desperately longing to go home? There is lot of stories that can be told here.

    I doubt anything will ever happen in the show, because New Who seems allergic to addressing it’s past (there’s even almost no links between the New Who episodes themselves once the Doctor has regenerated), but a girl can dream, can’t she? 😉

    • Perhaps King Yrcanos and his Queen, Perpugilliam of the Brown, could turn up in Game of Thrones. Which one gets naked?

  8. With the ‘distillation of the Doctor’s Darker side from between his 12th and 13th regeneration’

    Well we now know the meta-crisis Doctor and the War Doctor were fully fledged regenerations. This means that the period between the 12th and 13th regeneration literally was David Tennant’s farewell parade of whinyness

    So you could easily make an argument that the Valeyard is the personification of the farewell parade of death, and the evil of the Valeyard is directly attributable to the 12th Doctor (the second Tennant incarnation).

    Considering how morally fucked the Tennant Doctor is (see The Doctor’s Daughter, The Last of the Time Lords and The End of Time for details) I could actually believe that.

    The Valeyard is a distillation of the cowardice of David Tennant’s Doctor and a side effect of his refusal to regenerate for so long.

    Imagine if it turned out there was a version of The Watcher during The End of Time, heck, maybe that’s even what that lady who was supposed to be the Doctor’s mother was, and since the 10th refused to regenerate and fought against it, it prevented the Watcher from melding with him and created the Valeyard

    Just a thought

    • As transmitted, the Master’s dialogue went “There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you. The Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation. And I may say, you do not improve with age.” Consequently, we don’t know when the Doctor’s final incarnation takes place.

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