Sunday, 24 November 2013

Doctor Who Night 2013: The 50th Birthday

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth.

The theme for this year's Doctor Who Night was chosen to be the middle of Doctor Who's 50 years; seasons 24, 25 and 26; the Sylvester McCoy era.

Time and the Rani

Infamously voted the third-worst Doctor Who story of all time by the readers of Doctor Who Magazine in 2009 (although that was before certain other stories were made), the bubble reputation of Sylvester McCoy's first story precedes it.

This was the first time Duncan had watched Time and the Rani since it was first shown on TV in 1987 (the heart of the 1980s), so he was coming to it almost as fresh as I was. I thought I might need Scary Cat standing by to scare it away if it got too much for me, but it was actually not nearly so bad as it was supposed to be.

That doesn't mean that it was good: the Doctor's seventh character was not settled down and his saying the wrong sayings, which was meant to be funny, wasn't.

But it had redeeming features - I liked the fabulous colours of the setting, and the Tetraps were properly scary monsters (though not too scary; being little more than overgrown flying mouses they would be no match for cats), and the big brain reminded me of Ultraworld.

Remembrance of the Daleks

Now that is more like it. From the pre-titles sequence through to the epic climactic confrontation between the Doctor and Davros, this is a worthy successor to the great Terry Nation Dalek serials of the past. It also makes for a great 25th anniversary story, being set in the same year as the series began. And it's a fantastic story in its own right!

It has Michael Sheard and George Sewell in it as guest-stars, playing the henchmannys of the rival Dalek factions. Poor Michael Sheard dies again, and the Doctor doesn't even think about investigating why he has met him so many times. As for George Sewell, he dies as well, so I guess he will never get his revenge on Paul Foster for stealing all his lines in UFO.

The Curse of Fenric

Cthulhu likes this one (not as much as Love & Monsters), and I have to agree with him. It was very scary towards the end, with vampires and monsters and "love" being the code word to kill mannys and Dinsdale Landen giving an amazing performance as the Fenric-possessed Dr Judson. The cliffhanger to part three is one of my best scary cliffhangers in Doctor Who, and that comes from the way he says one line.

"We play the contest again, Time Lord."

Of course there was also some Doctor Who on the TV yesterday, which there isn't in most years, but by the time we had finished watching these three stories it was time for sleeps. With the power of the internets I watched them the next day...

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