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Sunday, November 23, 2008
As THE BEATLES almost said, "It was 45 years ago today..."

The GENESIS reunion proved to be problematic...

Long~time readers will know I'm a fan of the world's longest running sci~fi show, DOCTOR WHO (regardless of what the effin' Guinness Book Of Records may claim and I will point out that Trivial Pursuit only recently rectified a Who~related error in one of their questions so there is a precedent for globally huge reference, erm, things getting it wrong). If you haven't realised then I apologise for the assumption (as well as apologising for your complete lack of awareness). It was this day in 1963, a day after JFK bit the big one, that the first episode, An Unearthly Child, was broadcast.

"Is that Mathew Macfadyen coming to replace me?"

It's a cracking tale and a rarity in the Who~ouevre; being a good opening story for a 'new' Doctor. But I feel I should come clean, as it were, on my lurve for the show. I don't, in fact, lurve it all. So, for the first time, I will reveal my dislikes of the past 45 years - starting with: The PATRICK "Box Of Delights" TROUGHTON years. I just don't get it. I know a lot of people adore this period but, with exception of a couple of stories, it passes me by. What's next? Oh yeah, the JON "His Brother Is A Professor At Aberdeen University!" PERTWEE years. Like Troughton, I don't understand why some dig this period so much. The Dalek stories stink and UNIT bug me no end.

Davey T suddenly realises that no~one's gonna be interested in him anymore...

Then there's the COLIN "A Close~Up Does NOT Make A Good Cliffhanger" BAKER and the SYLVESTER "Mc"COY years. Evidence, if it were needed, that the BEEB were desperate to end the show by hiring actors who can barely act, let alone stop the public hating them immediately. Sure, they could roll their 'R's, but that's about as good as they get. Cobble these monsters with the monsters on screen (that's the stories and aliens) and you've got five years that would have been better spent touching yourself (and others) inappropriately. Which is precisely what I did.

My vision for The Eleventh Doctor and his companion...

So, there you go, my admission that almost half of the output of the show I so lurve, is risible. Some of you may be yelling, "Only half??" or "Traitor!" but my admiration for those periods I can (and do) watch far outweigh the negative times (which I try to forget, but Time & The Rani? Come on! That's stuck in my brain unfortunately). This revelation came to me in the Nineties when I collated all the stories possible on VHS (making my own covers for some - yes, I know, I'm a nerdoid) and then realised how many I would ever watch again. For those of you interested in Doctor Who's inception, go HERE where the BBC have stuck up some neat archive materials.

Macca & Bono unveil their newly designed Dalek.

Please forgive the rather self~indulgent and self~reflexive tone of this post, won't happen again (well, 'til next year or if the announcement of The Eleventh Doctor is pish and I decide to rant on it). I don't often (if ever) request you guys and gals to post comments, but I would very much appreciate your thoughts (however long or short) on DOCTOR WHO. Maybe you think it's plops, maybe you prefer the new series; maybe you don't; whatever they are, it would be nice to read what you think, 'cos next year's gonna be a long flippin' year without it...

The Moff welcomes his vision of No. 11

'Til the next time,

ETA. You can see a TOP 5 of possible choices for The Eleventh Doctor HERE.(just in case you thought my Paul Merton suggestion was serious - as some people have)

William "The Guv'nor" Hartnell

PS. See last year's birthday wishes HERE.

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posted by Cameron McEwan at 1:48 pm -
  • At 8:25 pm, Blogger Geek said…

    Great piece! Paul Merton is possibly too eccentric to play Doctor Who, though. [Full approval for the assistant]

  • At 8:33 pm, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…

    Thanks Geek.

    Yeah, the Paul Merton suggestion wasn't entirely serious, but a man can wish that Nigella is in with a shout!

  • At 8:55 pm, Blogger joy said…

    Thanks for coming clean about not loving *all* of the series, makes me feel safer in admitting that I'm just not a fan of the classic WHO. It must be because I didn't grow up with it. Indeed, I vaguely remember back in the 80s, where one of the cablenets actually aired the show regularly, and I remember the swirly, psychedelic police box...and quickly switching the channel. Don't hold it against me.

    But, [sv] this morning, I did a search on my own blog and found more than 20 mentions of DW,[/sv] so apparently, I'm a bit of a fan of the new incarnation without even realizing.

    That said, I'm thinking that my WHOfan defining moment will be whether I stay around after DT is gone. There's a part of me that thinks I will, because I was one of those that didn't initially think DT could top CE.

    You're right, too. It is going to be a long year, while we wait for the lame duck Doctor specials to go by to see who shows up in 2010.

    While watching the S4 Journey (So Far) featurette, I got to thinking that these specials might be less special, because I don't think they'll be able to have an overarching storyline without a steady companion. But, maybe I'm wrong.

    BTW, I loved going to the BBC Archives link you posted. It's fabulous that they kept all those old documents around, particularly as I distinctly remember someone at the BBC admitting that they were recording over some of their shows just to save tape. (Gasp!)

    Gravy, I did go on. Sorry about that.

  • At 9:02 pm, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…


    I think there's probably a few fans like me. Similarly with 007, even the most hardcore nut will admit to not being keen on all of it.

    The idea of WHO being on the US at all makes incredibly happy. It's weird to think that something so British connected back then.

    'After David Tennant' will now become known as ADT. That will be a moment to see how the 'fans' will react.

    Thanks for the comment, much appreciated as always.

  • At 6:47 pm, Blogger StormWolf said…

    Paul Merton! Oh dear, that would be amusing for about one episode. ;) The funny scenes would be a blast, though.

    I'm old enough to remember Classic Who (though I'm an American so I got it in bits and pieces on PBS), I'm still not as fond of it as I am of the new incarnation. Many of the Classic Doctors were great (and I don't think I truly dislike any of them except Colin Baker's Doctor), and I don't even mind the "wobbly sets", (which don't even seem all that wobbly for the era and their budget) but the writing was just horrendous in places. It would take wild swings between mind-numbing boredom (I can only stand so many scenes of a handful of people just sitting in a room talking) and completely pointless gimmickry.

    There are points where the writing was brilliant, like Genesis of the Daleks and Caves of Adrozani where the writing was good enough that you didn't really mind scenes where characters just sat around, but many times it just seemed like they put a bunch of filler in to make the storyline last for as many episodes as possible. I'm really, really thankful that RTD shares my opinion and didn't opt to stick with the format of completely killing the plot's momentum dead in the middle of a story.

  • At 8:03 pm, Blogger seoulless said…

    I was so excited when I finally realized that the anniversary of Doctor Who fell on my own birthday that ended up making a cake in the shape of a tardis this year. It seems to me from your rant that we dislike the same bits of docot who... hah. I made my own long scarf and regularly walk around in a trenchcoat and red chuck taylor shoes. Sure I feel a little dorky but overall it's a nice feeling. I'll miss tennant and all but change is what makes this show great - can't wait for what the future holds for who.

  • At 10:30 pm, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…


    Just to reiterate, my suggestion that Paul Merton should be the next Doctor was not entirely serious. (The captions that accompany pictures in my posts never are.)

    Nobody seems to object to Nigella though!

    Caves Of Androzani is also one of my faves. Very tight and a great story (despite the Magma 'Monster'). There is an amazing about a faffing about in 'classic' who and even in the best there's too much of it.

    When you watch a story, four episode, together you realise just how much the 'cliffhangers' get in the way. they sap up 5-10 minutes just to put our heroes in peril. Sometimes it works but mostly not.

    Like you, I'm very glad that RTD got his vision on the screen

  • At 10:31 pm, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…


    That's great that you share the birthday - top times!

    It will be very interesting to see who they get and how the country (not to mention the world) take to the new guy (and it will be a guy!)

  • At 6:57 pm, Blogger Noblelox said…

    I'd go a bit further than you Cameron, While I respect Hartnell, it did turn out to be mildly educational, with him popping up in historically significant places. BBC!! NO!! Stop trying to educate me through back handed tactics!!!!


    Pertwee...restricted to earth because of Time Lords my arse...because of BBC budgets more like!

    Davison, so dull they had to fill the Tardis with 25 assistants, lets not confuse liking Peri's tits with liking the 5th Doctor!

    Baker (Pt II), yes, we'd all want to see an arrogant arsehole as the main protagonist, wouldn't we...

    McCoy..anyone seen the Hudsucker Proxy? I think the BBC wanted Doctor Who dead.

    So really, all I like was "my" doctor Tom Baker and the new series, not that Eccleston was there long enough to leave any impression.

    I think historically people have always loved their doctor, but I really do feel I got the best as mine in Tom Baker.

  • At 7:05 pm, Blogger Noblelox said…

    Can I just comment on StormWolf's comment about the multipart story format. I think it has been used very well when used with certain 2 parters in the modern show. The Empty Child/Doctor Dances joint was great, but Stevie boy did screw it right up with the Silence in the Audience, I mean Library, snoozefest.. Other times it's just served as a "I wonder what happens next" cliffhanger rather than truly deserving the theme music "scream" to punctuate it, but I think that the Empty child is the ultimate example of how it can work ruddy well!

  • At 11:46 pm, Blogger Claire said…

    I'm sorry, are you nominating that woman as a companion, or just the dress she's holding up?

    Although I will admit that I don't like everything on the show (Hate to say it, but the first appearance of the Daleks bored the pants off of me. They defeated it with lint? WTF?), I don't like it when people dis entire eras. Even in the dark days of the mid 80s, you can always find something that's ok.

    Totally with you on Time and the Rani though. My father was shocked to learn that The Mark of the Rani is the "good" Rani story. Which is a shame because I lurv her! They wasted a great character! *rant*

    Quick rundown:
    First new who I saw-New Earth
    First new who I loved-The Impossible Planet
    First classic who I saw-The Daleks
    First classic who I loved-The Ribos Operation

    And if you say you don't like Ace I'm going to... sit here and fume impotently.

  • At 12:14 pm, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…


    Wow, you did go further! But just goes to show that the fans of the show are as divided as could be humanely possible on its oeuvre.

    Silence In The Audience?

    I agree with you there. The cliffhanger, when it happens, is usually a bit special.

  • At 12:24 pm, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…


    I'm not suggesting anything, I just like posting pics of Nigella, *coughs* regardless of what she is wearing...

    I don't normally 'dis' the show and this post was to even out my usual (and very positive) gushings on the world's greatest television series. In fact, this was probably the only time I've ever been negative about DOCTOR WHO.

    That's a very interesting choice for the first slice of "Classic" Who you lurved. The Ribos Operation is a cracker with a great 'baddie' (won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it). And, what's more, it's by Douglas "The Guv'nor" Adams! I find the second half of The Key To Time 'season' a bit dull but the first half is full of top moments.

    Plus, Romana makes my trousers do funny things.

    Like you, I'm a big fan of The Impossible Planet. I prefer the stories where The Doctor isn't trying to save the world, but save himself and his companion - The Caves Of Androzani is another example of this. And The Ood are one of the greatest aliens in Who ever.

    And as for Ace? Well, to coin a phrase, she was wicked.

    Thanks for all the comments guys and gals!

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