Underrated Opinions – Part 1

Hello again, everyone. It’s been a while since I last wrote an article and now I’ve got some genuine free time, I thought I’d write a new one. So, to business. The kind of fan I am is one that finds it hard to hate a story. Classic Doctor Who in particular just has such a nostalgic feel to it that the excitement it brings me overshadows almost all negative thoughts I may have about the story. However, this does not mean I cannot distinguish between a good and a bad story, and I understand some are quite poor no matter how much I enjoy them. Still, there are some stories that’s reputations I just don’t get; stories I believe are excellent that deserve to be much further up the pecking order in terms of polls and general opinions…

Galaxy 4

One of Doctor Who’s many ‘lost stories’ that was junked by the BBC, Galaxy 4’s reputation isn’t helped by the fact it can’t be watched in its entirety. Oddly however, despite the fact one of its episodes was returned fairly recently, it seems to have slumped even further down the rankings. Galaxy 4 certainly isn’t subtle in its messages of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ and ‘its what’s inside that accounts’, and its production values aren’t the greatest in the world either, but that doesn’t mean its a bad story. Galaxy 4 is a rather chilling tale with Maaga’s monologue and the cliffhanger of Steven running out of air just two of the prime examples when Galaxy 4 sends a shiver down your spine. If you haven’t read the Target novelisation, or watched the surviving episode and/or the reconstruction on The Aztecs special edition DVD, I recommend you do.

The Android Invasion

A chilling tale of eerie villages and scary people in pubs. I was really surprised at how much I loved The Android Invasion considering how much I’d heard people call it ‘the worst of Season 13, and by quite a bit too’. Personally, I loved it, and I found the whole thing creepy, mysterious, and criminally underrated. The Doctor and Sarah are their usual dynamic-duo-selves, the setting is genius, and Styggron’s final moments is one of my favourite Doctor Who deaths ever. A brilliant story unfortunately overlooked by the stories it’s surrounded by. Watch it outside of a marathon viewing, then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Image of the Fendhal

Image of the Fendhal is by no means considered a weak story by the Doctor Who fandom, however I believed it is still not considered highly enough. The swansong of Doctor Who’s gothic era, Image of the Fendhal is a scary story with some frightening monsters, a creepy plot, and the usual witty dialogue you’d expect from a 4th Doctor and Leela story. K9 is left behind in the TARDIS (thankfully) so as not to ruin the dark atmosphere surrounding the story, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s mum makes her second Doctor Who appearance. What more could you want?

One of my favourite Doctor Who stories of the Classic era, I cannot recommend this story enough. (Although there’s always one thing I always wished had happened, and that’s that I think the episode 3 cliffhanger should’ve included the Fendhal core rising from the ground – just to make everyone at home feel even more doomed!

The Mark of the Rani

I think the reason people don’t like the 6th Doctor stories is because they hold a grudge against Colin Baker because they believe it’s the rules that they have to. Utter. Rubbish. Unfortunately, because of this utter rubbish, the 6th Doctor stories often end up 1000x more criticised than any Doctor Who story should be. The Mark of the Rani is one I feel should be much more appreciated than it actually is. The addition of the Rani is genius, especially since the plain old Doctor vs The Master started to get a little tedious towards the end of the 5th Doctor’s era. She brought a new dimension to the classic Time Lord feuds, as well as a whole host of brand new, crazy, bonkers schemes. The soundtrack for The Mark of the Rani, composed by Jonathan Gibbs, is beautiful, and the story as a whole is not uncomfortable to watch whatsoever – neither is Colin Baker or Nicola Bryant. The 6th Doctor and Peri are on top form and the plot is pretty darn easy to accept, even if it is a bit mad. I don’t get the hate for this story, I have to say; and I’m sorry but Missy should definitely have been The Rani.

Underrated Opinions – Part 2, coming soon…

Doctor Who’s Funniest Moments

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Over the course of the past 50 years, Doctor Who has made us laugh on so many occasions. While most stories aim to make us scared, maybe sometimes cry, dotted around are moments of hilarity that will make you laugh out loud even if you’re by yourself. There are so many moments I could include on this list from both the classic and the revived series’, however I thought I’d share with you ten videos of moments that made me laugh the most. If I’ve missed out your favourite funny moment then please tell me in the comments below…

“What Do You Mean Maybe?”


I begin my list with this short scene from The Time Meddler. There were a few scenes I tried finding for this list including Barbara’s “No not that awful noise, the other one” when talking about the Doctor’s singing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find these clips by themselves without scanning the entire episodes on Dailymotion for them. Thankfully, I could find a space helmet for a cow; don’t you just love the 1st Doctor?  

Photograph Time


While the main funny bit of this clip is definitely the Doctor leaping and almost galloping away from the Cybermen, the thing I love most about this scene is how the UNIT soldiers are running towards the building to destroy the radio transmitter control while the Doctor just sits in the middle of them all… having his photo taken! 

2nd Doctor Compilation


A compilation of the 2nd Doctor’s (and the best Doctor’s) funniest moment. The first one with the Ice Warriors is a particular favourite of mine and the one where Jamie snatches the telescope is hilariously subtle. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the scene from The Mind Robber where the Doctor builds Jamie’s face wrong, so you’ll just have to buy it on DVD instead! 

The 3rd Doctor Meets the 2nd Doctor 


Do I need to explain how funny this one is? Patrick Troughton is my favourite Doctor and the bit where he asked how the song went… that was it! I just couldn’t hold back the laughter!

“I Like Your Handbag”


The Green Death is such a brilliant story in so many ways. Scary, funny, gripping, and one of the most devastating ever broadcast. This scene however comes out of nowhere and lands right in front of you amidst the seriousness and issues brought up in the story. Mike’s face when he exits the lift is rather amusing too.

“I Say, What a Wonderful Butler” (Skip to 1:42 – 5:11)


No one has ever made a funny moments of Doctor Who list without including City of Death. It is almost definitely the funniest story of all time. The 4th Doctor’s witty lines that almost don’t make sense run throughout the four episodes making for continuous laughter. If you haven’t seen City of Death; a. Why not?, and b. You should! It deserves its title as one of the best stories of all time and you’ll see why when you watch it. 

Outtakes


40 outtakes both classic and new, worth watching for Sylvester McCoy’s hilarity as well as his awesome friendship with Sophie Aldred offscreen. It seems there was quite a lot of mucking about on the sets of Survival

“Her Ankle’s Going”


Out of the three clips, the first one was more annoying than funny but the second is funny and the third laugh out loud hilarious. I love Jackie Tyler, come the end of Series 2 maybe more than Rose herself. Her interactions with both Doctors were brilliant and never fail to make me smile. 

The Doctor Meets Donna… Again


A lot of fans find this scene/story silly but this episode holds great memories for me, more than others just because it was a wonderful end to a wonderful day. It’s because of that that this scene has stuck with me ever since. We were all expecting the Doctor and Donna to find each other at some point in the episode, but I never dreamed of it being as funny as this!

Series 7 Compilation


I’m not the biggest fan of the 11th Doctor’s era but for me, while it seems I may be fairly alone in this opinion, Series 7 was my favourite of Smith’s series’. Sometimes the jokes from his time on the show could be a bit too childish/cringeworthy for me, however Series 7 was actually quite funny in places. I laughed out loud at the Cold War laugh imitation.

Why I Love Target Novels

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However you embrace Classic Who in this modern day and age is up to you. Whether it’s for free on Dailymotion, listening to soundtracks, or buying the DVDs; it doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy it. Me personally? I buy DVDs. Turning the light off, grabbing a pile of pillows and experiencing the stories in their full glory on the TV screen; nothing beats it. I’m very interested in a career in TV too, so the special features and interviews are right up my street. A new thing that’s taken me by storm however is Target Novels.

Born in 1998, I was the perfect age to experience the revived series when Doctor Who came back in 2005. The first four series of the new series’ were the best in my opinion so I’m glad to have watched it through the eyes of a youngster. However, being born so late in the Doctor Who timeline means I wouldn’t get to watch the Classic series through the eyes of a seven year old, or even worse, the missing stories in general. Missing greats such as The Power of the Daleks because I was born almost 40 years too late is devastating. But now, thanks to the wizardry of internet shopping, I can read them in Target Novel form.

Again, being born late means I missed the printing of the Target Novel series. Thankfully, you can still buy them. Some sites, like Whoone, sell them as brand new books. I don’t know where they get them but it doesn’t matter when I get them for good prices and good quality. Other sites, such as eBay, allows sellers to pass on books, read or unread, to the highest bidder; and you can win with fairly low bids too! I usually have a quick surf on the internet first to make sure what I’m about to buy is a good price, for there are some greedy buggers that’ll rip you off completely, but usually, someone somewhere will be selling the desired Target Novels for a fairly good price (depending on rarity).

A lot of people don’t bother with Target Novels, you can watch every existing story for free on Dailymotion, you can even watch the reconstructions on there too; but that’s not what I like to do. I love having Doctor Who memorabilia being posted through the letterbox, the wait is just as exciting. It makes me feel like a kid from the 70s or 80s who grew up with it because I often wish I did. For me, having everything readily available for free is nowhere near as fun as having it in physical form because there is no greater feeling in the world than putting a Doctor Who disc into a DVD player. Opening a Target Novel gives off the same feeling. The smell of the pages, understanding a missing story; I love all of it!

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be wonderers in the 4th dimension? (Sorry if my quote is slightly wrong). Well Mr. H, with a Target Novel, you get to experience the 4th dimension of Doctor Who: thoughts and feelings. You also get more of a chance to explore a planet or time, admiring great structures that are built with the precisest of detail in your mind’s eye. There’s also no way to complain about bad effects or production. Maybe fans of the revived series who refuse to go back because of “wobbly sets” and “bad effects” should have a read of the Target Novels to appreciate how good Classic stories were – and still are – despite the lower budgets and undeveloped technology. That would give us Classic fans a break from the same old excuses. (I’d like to point out that’s aimed at stubborn fans of the new series and not all as I for one am also a fan of both!)

I’ve briefly touched upon it already, but the main reason I got into Target Novels was because reading them gave me a chance to experience the missing stories, and wow some of the good. Marco Polo, The Massacre, The Power of the Daleks; I’d recommend them all. Just because you can’t watch it, definitely does not make it any less exciting. It’s for this reason that I carried on buying past the missing stories and into the novels of the 70s and 80s eras too. The Target Novels give me such an amazing feeling just looking at them on my bookshelf, and I think if you’ve never read one before, you should go on to eBay or Whoone, find your favourite story, buy it, and tell me if you enjoyed it. I can guarantee that you will. I also think that it’d be cool to see the new series’ get novelised so I can compare and contrast the stories for what they are and not just for the effects. If you agree that the old Targets should be reprinted and sold in shops; and that the new series should receive novelisation, then the protest starts here. Maybe I’ll rewrite them…

Review #11 – The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

the-greatest-show-in-the-galaxy28Creepy, mysterious, beautifully haunting; The Greatest Show in the Galaxy is a Doctor Who masterpiece, certainly one of the 7th Doctor’s best. The clowns were an ingenious idea for a Doctor Who villain and I’m surprised it took them 25 years to play with such a common fear. Nonetheless, the end result is superb with one of the best scores ever for a Doctor Who story and some of the most stunning and realistic Classic sets designed. There’s a cool song at the start too…

One of the things I love most about the 7th Doctor and Ace’s relationship is that both of them are rather hopeless. The TARDIS scenes in Episode One are rather hilarious, especially when Ace comes crawling around the corner with Tom Baker’s scarf on! They’re a rather quirky pairing but they need each other to keep the other one out of trouble, and that’s wonderful.

The Episode One cliffhanger was one of the least gripping I have ever seen (“Well are we going in or aren’t we?”) but at least it made sense; Dragonfire I’m looking at you. That aside, the episode itself left us with some mysterious clues to keep us intrigued to watch the next episode so all is still on track. 

The range of characters on offer is one of my favourites for any Doctor Who story. The stall lady, Whizz Kid, Captain Cook, Mags, the Ringmaster, Nord, Morgana, Deadbeat, Bellboy, Flowerchild; such a variety of characters, each bringing something different to the story as they juxtapose one another. My particular favourites of the group are Captain Cook and Mags. Captain Cook is so oddly laidback about everything that you’re not quite sure what to make of him. Eventually, he shows his true colours in the ring when he leaves the Doctor to die so he can escape. Mags however is my favourite favourite character as she switches between good guy and unintentional bad guy. I won’t spoil what happens but the cliffhanger to Episode Three is one of the scariest ever.

While I adore this story and, even though it’s well respected in the Doctor Who fandom, feel it’s underrated; some of the events in Episode Four confused me a little. It was mainly the medallion really. I just didn’t really understand why it made Kingpin lose his mind. However, I plan to read the Target novel soon to gain a better understanding as it may just me being a little slow. 

The scene where the Doctor calmly walks away from the exploding circus is pure class. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so impressed by the Doctor in such a way before, it made me smirk with amazement, disbelief, and wonder; it was so cool that the 7th Doctor rose in my estimations higher than I thought possible. I also like that Deadbeat and Mags are out there somewhere running The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. I liked these two characters quite a lot and they deserved a happy ending after the turmoil they went through on Segonax.

Showcasing the Soundtracks of Doctor Who

Delia DerbyshireThis week is perhaps less of an article and more of an interactive list, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. Rather than babbling on about why each soundtrack is amazing and making up some rubbish on how different instruments are used for different effects, I thought you’d prefer to let the music do the talking.

I have attempted to put the soundtrack pieces in some sort of order, however there are so many I have left out that I really wanted to put on the list. Whether or not the lists are my actual top 15s doesn’t really matter though, what does matter is the fact that the 30 tracks below showcase just how good (and important) the music of Doctor Who really is. Enjoy!


Classic

15. Mawdryn Undead Suite (Skip to 10:20)
Paddy Kingsland, Mawdryn Undead


14. Here’s to the Future (Skip to 4:18)
Keff McCulloch, Delta and the Bannermen

13. The Caves of Androzani (Alternative Suite) (Skip to 29:04)
Roger Limb, The Caves of Androzani 

12. The Ambush (Skip to 9:24)
Tristram Cary, The Daleks

11. Warriors of the Deep Suite (Skip to 20:08)
Jonathan Gibbs, Warriors of the Deep

10. Remembrance of the Daleks Suite (Skip to 9:17)
Keff McCulloch, Remembrance of the Daleks

9. Survival Suite (Skip to 29:30)
Dominic Glynn, Survival

8. The Seeds of Death Titles (Skip to 23:32)
Dudley Simpson, The Seeds of Death

7. The Five Doctors Suite (Skip to 14:38)
Peter Howell, The Five Doctors

6. Space Adventure Pt. 2 (Skip to 24:42)
Martin Slavin, The Tenth Planet

5. Three Guitars Mood 2 (Skip to 2:21)
Derek Nelson, An Unearthly Child

4. The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (Skip to 14:50)
Mark Ayres, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy 

3. The Curse of Fenric Suite (Skip to 22:56)
Mark Ayres, The Curse of Fenric

2. March of the Cybermen (Skip to 5:06)
Malcolm Clarke, Earthshock

1. Resurrection of the Daleks Suite (Skip to 24:02)
Malcolm Clarke, Resurrection of the Daleks 


New

15. Onwards
Murray Gold, The Big Bang


14. The Master Vainglorious
Murray Gold, The Sound of Drums

13. The Carrionites Swarm
Murray Gold, The Shakespeare Code

12. The Stowaway
Murray Gold, Voyage of the Damned

11. Rose’s Theme
Murray Gold, The End of the World

10. The Daleks
Murray Gold, The Parting of the Ways

9. The Master Suite
Murray Gold, The End of Time

8. Love Don’t Roam
Neil Hannon, The Runaway Bride

7. Song for Ten
Neil Hannon, The Christmas Invasion

6. Father’s Day
Murray Gold, Father’s Day

5. The Cybermen
Murray Gold, The Age of Steel

4. Tooth and Claw
Murray Gold, Tooth and Claw

3. Midnight
Murray Gold, Midnight

2. The Time of Angels
Murray Gold, The Time of Angels

1. All the Strange Strange Creatures
Murray Gold, Gridlock

Next: Vote for your favourite stories of Season 5 and Series 3 

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My Favourite TARDIS Teams, Continued

The other day, I posted an article of my fav2nd Doctor, Jamie, Ben and Pollyourite TARDIS teams. For my number one spot, I chickened out as I couldn’t decide my favourite Patrick Troughton team; so, I put them all at the top spot labelled “The 2nd Doctor and Jamie (plus other Companions)”. However, after some deliberation, I’ve decided my favourite TARDIS team is in fact The 2nd Doctor, Jamie, Ben and Polly (so sad there isn’t a story in its entirety for them!)

 

Why You NEED to Give Old Sixie a Chance

I’ll tell you now; I am sick and tired of reading hate for Colin Baker and the 6th Doctor. Despite how unfairly treated he was during his time on Doctor Who, he has stayed extremely loyal to the show and it’s fans; yet lots of us still insist on expressing such a dislike for him. The 6th wasn’t a terrible Doctor and Colin Baker does nothing but attend convention after convention for the fans, so why do some insist on insulting him over and over again? I am desperate to address these fans so I hope this gets across to lots of people because it’s getting disgusting…

Before I watched any Classic Doctor Who, I got a book for my birthday called ‘The Legend Continues’ which is basically a massive guide to all of Doctor Who. This was the only knowledge I had of Classic Doctor Who, yet somehow it was put in my head beforehand that I wouldn’t like Colin Baker, so I stayed away. The only way I could’ve thought this was because it was common for other Doctor Who fans to say they thought he was a terrible Doctor. It’s almost like Doctor Who fans don’t even want to give him a chance. They want to fit in with other fans and so they arrogantly say they don’t like him. What I’m trying to get across here is that because a new fan to Doctor Who reads or hears that they shouldn’t like the 6th Doctor, they probably won’t; and this has gone on so long that people have convinced themselves they don’t like him and continue to voice their spiteful opinions to please the people around them.

What’s even more extraordinary about newer fans not liking Six’s era is that Season 22 has the same structure as the new series. 13 episodes, 45 minutes in length, and loads of classic villains; the Cybermen, Sil, The Rani, The Master, Sontarans, The Daleks, Davros. Surely this is a possible gateway into Classic Doctor Who, not ‘the season you should skip’?


Using the scene where the Doctor strangles Peri in The Twin Dilemma is not a valid reason as to why you do not like Colin Baker’s Doctor. This is one scene from one story where he is in an unbalanced post-regenerative state; this does not make him heartless and horrible. The reason this is not a valid excuse is because there are far more moments from Old Sixie’s era where his kindness and empathy counteract this one scene of unintention. Oh, and the coat is not a valid reason either.

While Doctor Number 6 was arrogant and sometimes overbearing, as I mentioned above he was also very kind and possibly the most empathetic Doctor of the lot. In Vengeance on Varos, when Peri was nearly transformed into a bird, she managed to survive thanks to the love and care that he showed her. In The Mark of the Rani, when the Doctor was about to be killed by the Luddites, rather than escape, the first thing he did was warn Peri to stay back because he’d rather have her safe than for her to risk her life trying to save him.

Colin Baker’s plans for the 6th Doctor were to start him off as someone less easy to get used before mellowing into a Doctor we’d know and love. For the second half of The Trial of a Timelord, the Doctor was joined by Mel and, love her or loathe her, she began to mellow him and we starting to see a new side to the 6th Doctor of less arrogance and more compassion. Colin Baker’s plans were starting to unfold nicely. However, his time was cut short for what seems to be personal reasons behind the scenes. For this reason, we never got to see the direction Colin Baker was heading in and so the fans were left with a slightly less likeable side to the 6th Doctor, hence the unjustified hate he gets today.

Now, this is where I really want to encourage anyone who still refuses to like the 6th Doctor to give him a chance. If you really believe you cannot stand him on television, then please please please try out his Big Finish audios. Colin Baker finally got a chance to take Old Sixie where he planned to in the first place and his Doctor is most definitely more bearable on audio. If you will stop being so arrogant and give some of his TV adventures a first/another try, then rather than watch them in order, perhaps watch Revelation of the Daleks and The Two Doctors. Revelation is a fantastic story and so by the end, because the story was good, you might begin to subconsciously like him (plus this story is actually his best performance in my opinion). The Two Doctors on the other hand is where we see him fighting Sontarans with the 2nd Doctor and Jamie. Familiar enemies and familiar faces that you love already may detract from your dislike of Colin’s Doctor and, like Revelation, by the end you might think to yourself “actually, that wasn’t so bad after all”.

I hope I haven’t come across as too unpleasant and angry and, like Old Sixie, I’ve mellowed throughout the article. It’s just it makes me so livid when I read the same generic comments about the 6th Doctor that have clearly been written because the writer has been too sheep-like to form their own opinion. Colin Baker plays the Doctor just as well as the others, but only if you’re willing to give him a chance…

Next: Vote for your favourite stories in Season 4 and Series 2