Dr Who 571

I just had to sit through a whole bloody tennis match to find out about the new Dr Who.

I remember watching the first transformation, from William Hartnell to Patrick Troughton, with my sister when I was 8. The transformation itself was the most technically amazing thing then seen on TV, and I remember distinctly our deciding we liked Troughton a lot more, with his cheery trews and little flute. People forget that Hartnell’s Dr Who was himself part of what was scarey about the original series, a rather more alien character than subsequent doctors.

Anyway there are probably few people alive who have watched more Dr Who than I have over 50 years. (There, that’s an unexpected confession about my private life). And I cannot see any problem at all with a female appearing doctor. It is an alien life form, for goodness sake. If it can travel through time, regenerate and always speak English despite being from Gallifrey, it can appear in different humanoid sexual roles.

What Dr Who requires is an excellent character actor, full stop. And the series has been astonishingly, if not uniformly, well served.

But there will only ever be one Tom Baker.

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571 thoughts on “Dr Who

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  • MJ

    I’ve still got a very long scarf that my sister knitted for me a la Tom Baker. I was always a bit scared to wear it in case I inadvertently did an Isadora Duncan.

    • Nosferatu

      You simply took two standard school scarves and sewed them together. I still have mine.

      A female DW should increase the viewing figures.

      Hartnell wasn’t scary ‘cos he had a cute granddaughter.

  • Keith

    Yes you’re right, I’ve seen them all and Hartnell was the most scary – as were the story lines. Suspected that it would be a woman for the next one long ago – about the time missy appeared. The great thing about DW is that it always was about change Yes there was only one TB’ it’s odd but in this last series, there were times when Capaldi spoke that if I closed my eyes, you could hear him. It seemed to me that when Capaldi had made the decision he relaxed more into it.

      • Arby

        I loved The Prisoner and was so pumped when they announced a mini series, with Ian McKellan starring, a little while back. Gosh was that awful!

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Many years ago, I used to enjoy thinking about who would make a great Dr Who. I would have loved to see John Barron (“C.J.” in The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin) or Paul Darrow (“Avon” in Blake’s Seven).

    My parents would never let me watch it as a young kid as they thought it was too scary. I switched it on once when they were out and saw Jon Pertwee in – I think – Planet Of The Spiders, and it scared the shit out of me. I really did hide behind the sofa.

    Yes, I agree that TB is and will always be Dr Who. I don’t know this new actor but I welcome her. J

  • George

    I suppose the first one you saw is always going to be THE ONE. For me that was Troughton. Ah – the flute and the silly hat. And – if memory serves correctly – always visiting other planets just as he should have been doing. Pertwee was good but the Beeb seemed to have run out of cash at that point since he was usually stranded on earth with that bloody army lot. Very establishment. But Patrick was a space hobo crazy rebel kinda guy.

    • Alistair Granham

      Jon Pertwee was the first Doctor Who I saw, but Tom Baker eclipsed him….. Then I saw Christopher Eccleston in the fantastic 2005 re-launch. No one since has matched him, in my opinion!

      • George

        Doc Who since the re-launch has had some great episodes – mind twisting clever stuff. But I often miss the old chase around the old quarry with the cardboard dinosaur.

          • George

            I thought “Blink” was the finest ever episode – and the Doc was hardly even in it. It was one of the few Moffat episodes that actually hung together – in this case seamlessly i.e. all the customary dazzling ideas actually merged together very well.

      • Arby

        I liked Eccleston and, for some reason feel he’s the one to compare with Tom Baker. So, Tom Baker wins. I found him warmer and I like warm.

  • George Campbell

    I hear what you’re saying but it just feels like yet another nail in the coffin of emasculation

  • Mark

    Jodie Whittaker is incredible. Anyone who is doubtful should go away now and watch Adult Life Skills and see those concerns disappear

  • Node

    She ISN’T the first female Dr Who. You haven’t seen the actual first one yet because she doesn’t visit Earth until 2267.

  • fwl

    Remember the yeti episodes with Patrick Troughton? The programme lost its way after Tom Baker. Siegfried’s brother was ok’ish, but he was better as a playboy vetinary student. If there is to be a female tennis playing Dr Who then I vote for Gabrina Muguruza to play her.

  • Monteverdi

    Oh my God, a woman as Doctor Who. That’s just soooo 20th Century. Why not a transexual for heavens sake. Go with the zeitgeist, this is the 21st Century.

  • Republicofscotland

    “But there will only ever be one Tom Baker.”

    Agreed, Tom was amazing as Dr Who, though, I did like John Pertwee as well. I also recall watching the Dr Who movie with Peter Cushing, and those wonderfully coloured Daleks…Exterminate!!!!!!! ?

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Surely the real triumph of that series is the theme tune – it’s just awesome, musical skeins of wailing etherial spookiness. It perfectly captures the spirit of the programme.

  • reel guid

    According to political con artist Ruth Davidson it’s only because of the union that Scots get to watch Doctor Who.

    Roll on the time Ruth has been chucked out of Scottish politics and eventually becomes Colonel Who.

    The Doctor used to play the flute? Murdo Fraser takes note.

  • Je

    Dr Who lost its way when he/she went from being a rare trusted-uncle character to the youngified sexualised like-every-other-character on every-other-show…

  • Hieroglyph

    I have no opinion on female Dr Who, coz I don’t watch it. I suppose a good actor should take the role, that’s what’s happened so far. The few episodes I’ve seen strike me as kinda kitsch sci fi; entertaining enough, but other sci fi is available …

    I do have an opinion on the BBC though. The Soviet’s had Soviet Realism, dissident writers in dictatorship have magical realism, and the BBC has Intersectional-Realism, or maybe Gender Fluid-Realism. Expect them to use their best known show to promote identity politics, with a Boss Level baddy with a passing resemblance to one Donald J. Trump. Bad hair day! Make Aliens Great Again hats! The laughs – they’ll never start.

    I draw the line at female Bond though. Bloke. Sexist. Borderline psychopath. That’s Bond, women need not apply.

  • glenn_uk

    “People forget that Hartnell’s Dr Who was himself part of what was scarey about the original series, a rather more alien character than subsequent doctors.

    Indeed… a lot of people probably don’t know the William Hartnell Doctor was more than a little ruthless, entirely prepared to kill an innocent human who happened to come across the Tardis, and inadvertently got in his way. He was dissuaded by his grand-daughter.

    • SF

      I was taken to my aunt’s house (we didn’t have a television) to watch the first ever episode. I was absolutely terrified; if she’d had a sofa I’d have been cowering behind it. Then we missed the next week and went back for part 3; that was even more scary because I couldn’t follow it, having not seen the intervening bit.

      I’ve never watched it since.

      • glenn_uk

        You have quite a bit of catching up to do, SF! 🙂

        It really has got better in recent years. The budget was so low during much of the 80s and 90s, the show nearly went under. Back in Jon Pertwee’s day they could afford helicopters for their action scenes. Now, of course, the budgets are huge given the global success of the last decade.

  • Peter wright

    So you are a who,ey are you , well that was not all that surprising you are British if the doctor is now bumpy i do hope she gets some revishing partners , i am exited to see if they find anything male the equivilent of billy piper! The old tardice was as a kid the coolest thing on the planned wasn’t it ? Yes Dr Who has accompanied me also all my life too. It is a crying shame that some idiot binned many episodes just because he or she did not have a brain , the BBC must harbour also it’s fair share of brainless individuals . Hearing this was for me like hearing again that some idiot shot John Lennon just worse you could not blame it on the yanks this time , it was a home grown headbanger!

  • giyane

    Craig, you lived at home and had a TV. I lived in an institution and the TV was only ever switched on for the Housemaster and his horrible cronies to watch Wimbledon. I hate tellies and I have never had one.

  • johnf

    Jodie Whitaker probably arrives with the new chief writer, Chris Chibnail. They worked together on “Broadchurch” – especially the superb first series. Writers often develop a sort of repertory company with actors they trust and who they feel understand and can best represent their work.

    Whereas the previous writers were all militant aetheists and got obsessed in “Who” and “Sherlock” with metropolitan super geniuses, I’d expect gentler, more Christian themes from Chibnail. Whether he’s a practicising Christian or not he certainly developed deep Christian themes in the first series of Broadchurch.

    • George

      I seem to recall a few nods to Christianity in the re-boot. There was an episode where everyone was constantly driving around in cars singing “The Old Rugged Cross”, another where the Doctor was portrayed as a messiah everyone was waiting for. And then there’s the one where he meets “the devil”.

    • johnf

      The change over from metrpolitan super-geniuses to more ordinary individuals trying to solve societies problems probably reflects our political switchover from upper class super geniuses like Blair, Cameron, Osbourne and May (not) to Jeremy Corbyn, Angela Rayner and Emily Thornberry. Emily Thornberry would make a great Dr Who.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Patrick Troughton, Tom Baker, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, David Tennant – the best ones.
    The three 1980s ones – Peter Davidson, Whathisname with the curly hair and Sylvester McCoy – and the scripts they had to serve – the least effective ones.
    Troughton and Tennant were the most significant in terms of establishing the character initially and then in the C21st medium.
    Female Dr Who – good idea, inevitable, trailed with Missie and the Master.
    I don’t like the need in the C21st versions for every episode to have catharsis exemplified a weepy scene – though. It’s become wearing, predictable and unnecessary. It’s a particular style of script writing ‘arc’ that now dominates all script-writing courses.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    By arties for arties; not sure why anyone else gives a flying one. One of the delights of television I happily abandoned with the television*, and I’d rather read The Doctor’s PhD thesis.** Even at age 16, when it was one of the programmes within the two-hour Sunday evening viewing allowance at school, it struck me as being negligible, clunky and self-referential. The theme music was ahead of its time. Then.

    * taking the back off and chucking a brick at the tube to make sure. Foom.
    ** especially as if the doctor’s forced to change his shape every time an actor’s contract ends, no doubt his/her/its thesis does too…

  • BrianPowell

    However, will she now go back/forward in time to destroy the Daleks which he twice deliberately decided not to do, thus releasing Ohmygodon, whole races and civilisations have been destroyed, across the Universe?

  • nevermind

    Nothing to see here, don’t ask about wreckxit or the poor international relations, Grenfell? such old news, do not disturb our summer with anything important please, were British…
    Wimbledon, Formula 1’s possible exit from Silverstone, Latitude, personal tragedy’s such as Charlie Gard, celebrity backlash over child photo’s, Dr. Who, what a great way to lead us away from the facts of reality.

    The cabinet is hopelessly split, there is infighting, leaks and open warfare over the positioning powers after Wrecksit, everyone want their ideological wish list implemented, and the Government is about to implode. The chancellor has turned himself into a target, and the opposition is gloating from the sideline, hoping that their undemocratic eyewash of ‘reform’ will work out and that TB will get the chickenpox.

    wishing you all a glorious summer with a new fictional Ueberlord finally breaking the BBC agenda. The new timelord comes in a little cheaper, she will not need a bodyguard like lying Laura kuensberg.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Fact, Nevermind. But also bear in mind that it is much easier to produce ‘news’ from press releases given to your editor by the BBC than to cover anything of importance. And there was plenty on Brexit on Saturday: The Tony Blair Institute For Tony Blair’s press release led every single BBC R4 bulletin, even though it was demonstrable bollocks from a proven serial liar. Who, the last time he talked about EU reform, handed over £7bn annually in perpetuity in the belief he would get it. Did he get reform? Did he fuck.

      • nevermind

        Agreed Ba’al, reform of the EU was on the agenda from its inception, nobody felt comfy with appointed commissioners and unaudited books, its was a recipe to give TNC’s a green light on a plate, on followed the Uruguay rounds of ‘trade liberation’ and the Doha round. Everyone thought that globalisation would be great for us all. Now we know it was just to placate consumers and free the road for companies to do as they like.

        That the free movement of workers was only for the ‘western born’, not for those in Africa or Asia at large, was never mentioned.

        • Sharp Ears

          Do you remember when he wanted the EU presidency?

          I did not know Broon scuppered it. I thought it was the strength of public opinion against Blair. There were large petitions if I remember correctly.

          Instead we got Druncker.

          Secret deal between EU-3 blocks Blair as EU president
          April 2008

  • Sharp Ears

    Are the Scottish Nationalists on here ‘outraged’ by this?

    Tunnock’s Scottish cake turns British to woo Japan
    July 17 2017 Times
    Critics of the company’s campaign on the London Underground said it did not feature the Lion Rampant

    Scotland’s famous confectionery company has rebranded itself as quintessentially British in an attempt to break into the Japanese market.

    Tunnock’s has added the Union Jack to new packaging, but its decision to play down its Caledonian roots is almost certain to outrage some Scottish nationalists.

    Last year the company triggered a political furore by launching an advertising campaign on the London Underground featuring a foil-wrapped treat on a silver cake stand, with the slogan: “The Great British Tea Cake.” Critics noted that it did not feature the Lion Rampant, the company’s symbol since it was founded in 1890.

    Protesters picketed the factory after activists launched a social media campaign calling for consumers to shun snowballs, tea cakes and caramel wafers, while an online video showed…

    Times paywall.

    PS It’s a bit early for the silly season isn’t it?

    • fred

      Tunnock’s found that the publicity from the Nationalist boycott caused their sales to increase considerably.

      Barrhead, the travel agents which has been boycotted by the Nationalists for two years is having to recruit 120 more staff it’s been so good for trade.


      Any businesses in Scotland which are flagging I can strongly recommend a Nationalist boycott, if you can get the Scottish Liberation Army picketing your works the television cameras will be right behind them.

      • Republicofscotland

        Don’t forget Baxters soup, Irn Bru, and Highland Spring. But the biggest recipent of any independence supporters complaints must got to the Scottish Office.

        After a FOI was obtained it has been revealed that a whopping £4.6 milion quid, has been pumped into it, to keep a plethora spin doctors working furiously on the their anti-Scottish propaganda.

        Oh and to give secure employment to Tories who were comprehensively rejected by the electorate, such as Ian Duncan.

        Britain a democracy, you must be joking.

      • JOML

        Fred, the positive boost to these businesses suggests that there has been no boycott, other than in the heads of those who make up stories to fill the pages of the daily papers. You appear to believe these stories when you talk about “the Nationalists”, along with other unionists who perhaps started buying from the supposed boycotted companies. So, you are right when you say that it makes good business to be against these nasty nationalists, because you’ll then attract the business from ‘the unionists’, nasty or otherwise.
        As for Tunnock Teacakes, I have one once a month when I’m donating platelets – but their caramel logs are better. ?

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