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What was your first era, and how did it shape the kind of fan you are?

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Tanmann

Tanmann
Listening to the Blue Box podcast before, I heard one of the panel say that they grew up on the Bidmead era and stories like Logopolis, Castrovalva and Frontios, and as a result, their fascination has always been with the Tardis in the same way other fans were with the Daleks or Cybermen.

So how do your earliest memories of the show influence your preferences as a fan, and what you think the series should ideally be?

Bernard Marx


Well, quite plainly, my earliest memories of the series were the RTD era, and you know my thoughts on it now. Smile

My earliest memories of the Classic series were watching An Unearthly Child, The Daleks and The Invasion all at a similar time, and so I’ve always had a preference towards the more audacious era of 1960s Who. As a result, I’d prefer for the series to go all the way back to its roots and become genuinely mysterious, alien and otherworldly again- that was what seemed so captivating about the series at that age, and it’s something that has admittedly gradually been lost from the series (and can be found nowhere in New Who). There needs to be a sense of endearing mysteriouenss and uniqueness to the series again, and it’s an aspect of 60s Who I loved the most when I was much younger. I also found myself entranced by many of the more esoteric atmospheric music scores of the time period, especially that of the first Dalek story (composed by Tristram Cary), so I’d also prefer for the musical scores to re-gain the influence of the Radiophonic Workshop. Although I also grew up with the rest of Classic Who, and so I have my affections for every era of the original programme and can respect each one equally, even if I have my own personal preferences.

I first got into Who as a whole during series 5 of New Who, though (being what inspired me to watch the Classic series), and I still had vague affections for New Who for a time. It’s only over the last three or so years that I’ve looked back and realised how shit so much of it really is.



Last edited by Bernard Marx on Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:35 am; edited 2 times in total

iank

iank
That's a tricky one, as though the answer is technically the McCoy era, I got into the series "between" season 23 and 24 via the books, and after season 24 I made some sci-fi fan friends and was able to borrow lots of pirated old stories off them (in addition to getting the VHS releases for Xmases and birthdays). So in a way my "first era" was every era of classic Who, which for a long time I think helped make me a lot more open-minded than many fans, and gave me a nice, warm glow of smug self-satisfied superiority.
And then New Poo came along and fucked that up. Sad LOL

TiberiusDidNothingWrong

TiberiusDidNothingWrong
Dick Tater
Probably NuWho. I have a kind of Mandela effect feeling with memories of Classic. I think I just read a book about the episodes.

Tanmann

Tanmann
1993 was the year I became a fan, so my earliest impressions of the show were a mixture of eras. Chiefly from Pertwee and Tom Baker. I caught bits of The Sea Devils, The Daemons, Genesis of the Daleks, Revelation of the Daleks, Battlefield, and Planet of the Daleks on repeat.

Then it became trips to the library where I particularly enjoyed novelizations of The Abominable Snowmen and Destiny of the Daleks. And to WH Smith where I bought Day of the Daleks.

The computer game Dalek Attack also featured heavily in my formative period. As did video purchases I made of The Five Doctors, the Cushing movies, The Chase/Remembrance of the Daleks, Trial of a Time Lord.

So I think the impression I mostly got of the show was a harrowing one of shocking innocent collateral where death could strike anyone, and evil conquering universal forces that the Doctor had to be very careful, considered and strategic about defeating, and sometimes it was ambiguous whether he actually could or even had (Genesis of the Daleks, Day of the Daleks).

To me I suppose the show was always framed as being about the unresolved ongoing war between the Doctor and the Daleks. And I do remember distinctly watching the last two episodes of Trial of a Time Lord thinking I didn't want the show to descend into a comedy, or at least I didn't want that to be its only option if it ever came back (sadly that seemed to be what we got).

Also I don't think I ever got the idea that the Doctor was a pacifist or entirely lily white. Some of the most striking moments I remember involved reading the Doctor preparing to blow Davros up in Destiny, or setting Dalek factions against each other in Evil. And of course the First Doctor letting Borusa fall into Rassilon's trap. Which might be why Davison is one of my least favourite incarnations, and one of the only Doctors and companion teams I wasn't incentivised to check out more from after The Five Doctors.

I think because of this I was always slightly less interested in the Cybermen or the Master than other fans. Infact in places, RTD's first season almost felt like it was from a fan who was on the same page as me in terms of what mattered. But sadly that would quickly prove not to be the case. And if anything Moffat comes across to me like me and him were never on the same page and he saw a completely different show to me where the Daleks were rubbish, the Doctor always wins and everything's just a fairy tale.

SomeCallMeEnglishGiraffe

SomeCallMeEnglishGiraffe
I started watching Doctor Who during Series 3 of NewWho. I was definitely hooked on it, as 7 year old me was captivated with the likes of the Judoon, the location of the Shakespeare Code, and the atmosphere of Gridlock. But I felt that I was a bit too young to fully enjoy myself, because I was terrified by the Lazarus Monster (in fact, for two years I was terrified of the Lazarus monster much more than the Weeping Angels, and I had to sleep with the light on). So I was still a fan, but to be a complete fan, I needed something a bit more homely and more suited for someone like me.
And that's when The Sarah Jane Adventures came in. And this is how I became a fan of the Doctor Who franchise. I always remember me trying to immediately come back from school, so I could watch Arthur and The Sarah Jane Adventures, being so drawn in to characters like Sarah Jane and Clyde, and loving villains like The Trickster. To this day, I will always love and thank the Sarah Jane Adventures for getting me into Doctor Who.
During Series 6 of NewWho, I started to gain an interest into Classic Who stories. My dad, who grew up on Tom Baker, recorded some episodes from UK Gold and I distinctively remember my first stories of Classic Who being Logopolis and Earthshock, the latter I was much more interested in. And by Series 7A, the first Classic Who stories that I properly owned were the Daemons and The Five Doctors. And the rest is history.

Tanmann

Tanmann
Also, as an addendum I think the fact I grew up in a period where it was taken for granted the show had ended in 1989, meant that I could probably have lived with the show not returning (maybe Remembrance of the Daleks was a bit ambiguous about whether it was really the end of the Daleks or not, but I could trust it was a defeat and resolution enough), and certainly I was never as obsessed as the cultist lunatics on Planet Skaro or Gallifrey Base with it having to be a constantly cheerleaded as a pandering ratings success or nothing. I was never one for the idea that the show should continue just for the sake of existing.

Tanmann

Tanmann
@SomeCallMeEnglishGiraffe wrote:I always remember me trying to immediately come back from school, so I could watch Arthur and The Sarah Jane Adventures, being so drawn in to characters like Sarah Jane and Clyde, and loving villains like The Trickster.

If there's one thing I really regret about the series coming to its penultimate end for the tragic reasons it did, it's that we never got to see that bastard, the Trickster ever get his final comeuppance.

Ronnie

Ronnie
I first saw Dr Who in 1970.
Well, my Mum & Dad have said we watched it from day one, but since I was only about 8 months old in Nov '63, I have no solid memories of it, until Spearhead From Space was broadcast. I vaguely remember bits of the Cybermen in the Troughton era, but I couldn't in all honesty name any specific story, so I count it from the beginning of the Pertwee era onwards
I watched it religiously from the beginning of S7 through to the end of S15, by which time I was 14, and started to get interested in, shall we say... more adult things. Wink
I saw bits and pieces of S16, but I thought it was starting to get too silly, so it just faded away in my affections.
I tuned in again to see what Peter Davison was like, he just seemed like a 'boy' doctor compared to what I'd grown up with, and after that didn't see it again until purely by chance it came on when I was at a friends house, by which time McCoy was in the role and I was appalled at how bad it had got. I think it was S24, because I remember McCoy pratfalling and the whole thing seeming very Rentaghost. It was fucking embarrassing. At that moment, I would never have admitted to anyone that I'd been a Dr Who fan.
It must've been around that time that I spotted Day of the Daleks in my local video shop, and I remember buying it along with Death to the Daleks and Spearhead From Space around the same time. Must've been about 1987ish, I guess.
Anyway, that's how I got back into it, via the BBC vids. I can still remember the thrill of seeing my first Hartnell story when the Dead Planet double pack was released.
Over the years, I've seen (or heard) every episode of the Classic Series, and I've gone through phases of being more accepting towards 80s Who (which for me starts with S17) LOL But my true and completely biased affections lie with the 70s first, (well up to S16 anyway) and the 60s, second.

Tanmann

Tanmann
@Ronnie wrote:Over the years, I've seen (or heard) every episode of the Classic Series, and I've gone through phases of being more accepting towards 80s Who (which for me starts with S17) LOL But my true and completely biased affections lie with the 70s first, (well up to S16 anyway) and the 60s, second.

I don't know if I've become more accepting to the 80's, but I think I've become somewhat more open minded to what it was trying to do and how it potentially could've worked (whereas previously I just thought of the makers of that era as arrogant, blinkered, thoughtless vandals).

I watched Time-Flight the other day, which I'd very much always seen as the real "wheels falling off" point. But I think I began to see what it was potentially trying to get at. How at the time the Master would've been fresh in the mind as a deadly threat our new Doctor had to carefully pit his wits against, and here Davison's Doctor showing that he had his own alien code and unique way of ultimately banishing the Master where he could do no further harm.

It was executed lethargically, sloppily and uncertainly but I could kind of see it working, and the new era moving forward well from it, with Davison defined and established as being as formidable as his predecessors against a deadly universe, and a figure of hope.

The problem seems to be that the show afterwards keeps going back to the same continuity tricks and reuses of the Master, and Saward seems to think the way to prevent it seeming quite as pantomime as this is to go the nihilistic body-count way more often. But I can kind of see how the show got lost to that cycle with the same team always in charge, and from watching Time-Flight how easily it could've gone another, better way.

I do think by Remembrance, Cartmel was finally getting the show's hero back to that formidable chess-master hero, and for me Remembrance always feels the kind of great capstone to the show that briefly seems to justify all the rest the series had to go through to get there.

Ronnie

Ronnie
I never liked the Cartmel vision of the Doctor reinvented as this mysterious, almost super-hero like figure with the suggestion of all knowinngness.
Many of the mistakes of NuWho are rooted to a time at which the classic series had started to become too self-aware under JNT.
That said, I like Remembrance too, but perhaps not to the degree that you do. I think it's great drama, and it's probably that last mini-high that the classic series achieved before it was put down.

Tanmann

Tanmann
I certainly feel on the same page with Cartmel that the Doctor had degenerated into a depressingly ineffectual bystander under JNT and Saward, and that something needed to be done about that to make the Doctor compelling again.

Maybe his counter-approach did go into the realms of over-correction though (although generally I would ally more with the worst of Cartmel over the worst of Saward). I think it worked right in Remembrance, but it's possible some writers lost their heads to the approach fast (which of course continued into the NAs).

UncleDeadly

UncleDeadly
@Ronnie wrote:I never liked the Cartmel vision of the Doctor reinvented as this mysterious, almost super-hero like figure with the suggestion of all knowinngness.
Many of the mistakes of NuWho are rooted to a time at which the classic series had started to become too self-aware under JNT.
That said, I like Remembrance too, but perhaps not to the degree that you do. I think it's great drama, and it's probably that last mini-high that the classic series achieved before it was put down.

I don't believe that JNT is responsible for the shortcomings of the new series at all. The man has taken far too much flak for far too long for too little reason, all of which boils down to the fact that the more vociferous fans blame him for the cancellation. Woe betide anyone perceived to be responsible for taking Doctor Who away (just take a look at how may posters at GB refer to Doctor Who as "My" or "Our" show). Dumbing down Doctor Who is, however, seemingly fine so long as you don't put it under threat. Popularity is paramount.

The problems with the new series; namely self-parody, soap opera elements, intrusive pop culture references, insincere sentimentality, puerile dialogue, illogical story construction and, yes, a bizarre and contradictory idolisation of the title character, whilst showing zero respect for the programme's history and those responsible for it, all clearly stem from the insecure fan attitudes of those now in charge combined with the increasingly anti-intellectual climate now to be found at the BBC.

It bears pointing out, I think, that these elements are all things that JNT would have vetoed without a second thought. Indeed, I believe he was quite clear that he did not want Cartmel's vision of the Doctor reinvented as a god-like entity taken too far as he knew damn well that would break the format (witness the removal of the "I am so much more than just another Time-Lord" line).

Leave it, of course, to the fans to take the concept of the "Super-Being" Doctor and run with it as soon as they were given the chance in the NAs; that's where the new series Doctor really begins, fed by the writers' attitude that, against all evidence, they could write better and more mature Doctor Who than those who originally made it, coupled with their childish elevation of the central character. Honestly, the attitude of Davies, Cornell, Moffat and co. is truly bizarre. They're so desperate not to be seen as nerds and yet their writing betrays them as the worst kind of nerds; they eschew all science and logic as being for geeks and yet they actually hero-worship a fictional character.

Moffat, for all his protestations of not writing for fans, wrote for fans all the time, but in the opposite way. He wrote inappropriate, jarring elements into the programme to actually bait and annoy other fans. Stupid, unprofessional behaviour that reeks of "fan hierachy" and runs a big risk of messing up the internal consistency of the programme. If you are constantly writing merely for effect and to get a rise out of the fanbase, you are writing for the wrong reasons and the chances are your writing actually will be deeply inappropriate for the programme. It stands to reason. It is absolutely inconceivable that Turner, for all his fondness of the prestige of the producer position and the convention-circuit, would have allowed the fundamental workings of Doctor Who to come unstuck in such a completely self-indulgent manner.

Unlike Davies and Moffat, whose smug, irksome personalities are constantly present in their writing and allowed to impinge upon their characters and concepts, Turner never allowed his ego to overtake the integrity of the programme. He always put the programme first.

So, while the "Superman/Jesus" Doctor does, essentially, have its roots in the Cartmel period, Turner was at great pains to keep a lid on it as he knew it wouldn't work if taken too far. Davies and Moffat, on the other hand, let the genie right out of the bottle, which I think speaks volumes.

I recall a poster on GB once gushing that he wished John Nathan-Turner were still alive to see what Russell T. Davies had done with Doctor Who as he would have been "thrilled". I don't think he would have been thrilled at all, I think he would have been absolutely appalled.

Bernard Marx


@UncleDeadly wrote:
@Ronnie wrote:I never liked the Cartmel vision of the Doctor reinvented as this mysterious, almost super-hero like figure with the suggestion of all knowinngness.
Many of the mistakes of NuWho are rooted to a time at which the classic series had started to become too self-aware under JNT.
That said, I like Remembrance too, but perhaps not to the degree that you do. I think it's great drama, and it's probably that last mini-high that the classic series achieved before it was put down.

I don't believe that JNT is responsible for the shortcomings of the new series at all. The man has taken far too much flak for far too long for too little reason, all of which boils down to the fact that the more vociferous fans blame him for the cancellation. Woe betide anyone perceived to be responsible for taking Doctor Who away (just take a look at how may posters at GB refer to Doctor Who as "My" or "Our" show). Dumbing down Doctor Who is, however, seemingly fine so long as you don't put it under threat. Popularity is paramount.

The problems with the new series; namely self-parody, soap opera elements, intrusive pop culture references, insincere sentimentality, puerile dialogue, illogical story construction and, yes, a bizarre and contradictory idolisation of the title character, whilst showing zero respect for the programme's history and those responsible for it, all clearly stem from the insecure fan attitudes of those now in charge combined with the increasingly anti-intellectual climate now to be found at the BBC.

It bears pointing out, I think, that these elements are all things that JNT would have vetoed without a second thought. Indeed, I believe he was quite clear that he did not want Cartmel's vision of the Doctor reinvented as a god-like entity taken too far as he knew damn well that would break the format (witness the removal of the "I am so much more than just another Time-Lord" line).

Leave it, of course, to the fans to take the concept of the "Super-Being" Doctor and run with it as soon as they were given the chance in the NAs; that's where the new series Doctor really begins, fed by the writers' attitude that, against all evidence, they could write better and more mature Doctor Who than those who originally made it, coupled with their childish elevation of the central character. Honestly, the attitude of Davies, Cornell, Moffat and co. is truly bizarre. They're so desperate not to be seen as nerds and yet their writing betrays them as the worst kind of nerds; they eschew all science and logic as being for geeks and yet they actually hero-worship a fictional character.

Moffat, for all his protestations of not writing for fans, wrote for fans all the time, but in the opposite way. He wrote inappropriate, jarring elements into the programme to actually bait and annoy other fans. Stupid, unprofessional behaviour that reeks of "fan hierachy" and runs a big risk of messing up the internal consistency of the programme. If you are constantly writing merely for effect and to get a rise out of the fanbase, you are writing for the wrong reasons and the chances are your writing actually will be deeply inappropriate for the programme. It stands to reason. It is absolutely inconceivable that Turner, for all his fondness of the prestige of the producer position and the convention-circuit, would have allowed the fundamental workings of Doctor Who to come unstuck in such a completely self-indulgent manner.

Unlike Davies and Moffat, whose smug, irksome personalities are constantly present in their writing and allowed to impinge upon their characters and concepts, Turner never allowed his ego to overtake the integrity of the programme. He always put the programme first.

So, while the "Superman/Jesus" Doctor does, essentially, have its roots in the Cartmel period, Turner was at great pains to keep a lid on it as he knew it wouldn't work if taken too far. Davies and Moffat, on the other hand, let the genie right out of the bottle, which I think speaks volumes.

I recall a poster on GB once gushing that he wished John Nathan-Turner were still alive to see what Russell T. Davies had done with Doctor Who as he would have been "thrilled". I don't think he would have been thrilled at all, I think he would have been absolutely appalled.
Agreed on all counts. JNT’s era retained the intellectual qualities of the Classic Series and never sought to deliberately undermine them- Davies, Moffat, Cornell, Chibnall etc have deprived the programme of its very core and stripped it down to the lowest common denominator.

JNT may have made mistakes, but he typically sought to find a way of modifying said mistakes, and didn’t flounce his arrogance consistently as the New Who production team have done. Regardless of where JNT’s era may have slipped (whether it be the Doctor’s characterisation in Warriors, or the convoluted nature of the Trial season), there was always the possibility of making amends further down the line as the core DNA of the series was still intact, and the programme’s central intellectual aspirations were still present in some form (whether it be through the more obscure stories such as Warriors’ Gate, Kinda, Snakedance, Enlightenment etc, through the literary qualities of Holmes’ dialogue, the acknowledgment of scientific laws and works of literature in season 18,  allusions to the scientifically and emotionally repressive nature of Victorian society in Ghost Light etc).

Since Davies and Moffat have ultimately distorted the public’s perception of what Doctor Who represents (at this stage, an emotionally contrived soap opera with inconsistent characterisation, moronic pop cultural references and pseudo-progressivism where intellectual influence is dismissed), it seems much more difficult to presume that the series can emerge again in its true form. And even considering that the Cartmel Masterplan inspired the ‘lonely God’ dynamic of New Who, the Doctor is mainly seen dabbling with sinister Godlike entities and outsmarting them for a greater aim and cause, and one which didn’t turn him into a lothario with self-pitying and sycophantic qualities. The self-worshipping piety was never really there during the Cartmel era, and only became ingrained into Who’s DNA via New Who (and possibly the New Adventures- I can’t really say due to my lack of experience with them). It was ultimately made this way by those who upheld the mantle of the programme further down the line. With mature, fresh and inquiring writers, there could have easily been another way...

iank

iank
Completely agree.
Also, all of the stuff about the 7th Doctor seems to come from people who didn't watch or don't understand what they did see - the "master planner" stuff really comes from pretty much just two stories - Remembrance and Fenric - and in both stories he fucks up spectacularly and has to improvise madly. The rest of the time he's pretty much like any other Doctor.

Ronnie

Ronnie
Spot on about the NuWho producers, but let's not get into realms of defending against things that I didn't actually say. My point was not to make an equivilence with NuWho, which obviously has made any idea that it touched, a 100 times worse, but to simply point out where some of the ideas are rooted.
And whilst JNT may not have been personally responsible for Cartmel's (in this case) ideas, it happened on his watch.

iank

iank
And refreshed the show beautifully.

Tanmann

Tanmann
@Bernard Marx wrote:JNT may have made mistakes, but he typically sought to find a way of modifying said mistakes, and didn’t flounce his arrogance consistently as the New Who production team have done. Regardless of where JNT’s era may have slipped (whether it be the Doctor’s characterisation in Warriors, or the convoluted nature of the Trial season), there was always the possibility of making amends further down the line as the core DNA of the series was still intact, and the programme’s central intellectual aspirations were still present in some form (whether it be through the more obscure stories such as Warriors’ Gate, Kinda, Snakedance, Enlightenment etc, through the literary qualities of Holmes’ dialogue, the acknowledgment of scientific laws and works of literature in season 18,  allusions to the scientifically and emotionally repressive nature of Victorian society in Ghost Light etc).

I don't know if I really buy the impression of JNT as a defender of the show's intellectual vanguard. He wasn't particularly keen on having writers like Robert Holmes, Philip Martin, Douglas Adams or PJ Hammond onboard, and some truly moronic writing did get commissioned and broadcast. I would say the intellectually cut-above material we did get was down to having a script-editor willing to fight for it.

Well, apart from Enlightenment which strangely it turns out Saward wasn't keen on.

Since Davies and Moffat have ultimately distorted the public’s perception of what Doctor Who represents (at this stage, an emotionally contrived soap opera with inconsistent characterisation, moronic pop cultural references and pseudo-progressivism where intellectual influence is dismissed), it seems much more difficult to presume that the series can emerge again in its true form. And even considering that the Cartmel Masterplan inspired the ‘lonely God’ dynamic of New Who, the Doctor is mainly seen dabbling with sinister Godlike entities and outsmarting them for a greater aim and cause, and one which didn’t turn him into a lothario with self-pitying and sycophantic qualities. The self-worshipping piety was never really there during the Cartmel era, and only became ingrained into Who’s DNA via New Who (and possibly the New Adventures- I can’t really say due to my lack of experience with them). It was ultimately made this way by those who upheld the mantle of the programme further down the line. With mature, fresh and inquiring writers, there could have easily been another way...

That's the odd thing though.

How quickly under RTD the idea of the Doctor and the show's logic just accelerated out of control.

The episode Rose actually seemed plausible enough a picking up where the Classic Doctor left off. I could sign off on, and cheer that. Same with The Unquiet Dead. But it just seemed to mutate into something else very fast, with no real grounding or regard anymore. And it was hard not to sense that it was motivated by desperation and a willingness to tart the show up for the imagined mainstream who couldn't be trusted to have liked the show perfectly well the way it was.

Maybe if Russell had just written that pilot it could've been fine, but the more power and opportunities he had to write and decide the show's direction, the worse it got, and then the same thing started happening with Moffat.

Bernard Marx


@Tanmann wrote:
@Bernard Marx wrote:JNT may have made mistakes, but he typically sought to find a way of modifying said mistakes, and didn’t flounce his arrogance consistently as the New Who production team have done. Regardless of where JNT’s era may have slipped (whether it be the Doctor’s characterisation in Warriors, or the convoluted nature of the Trial season), there was always the possibility of making amends further down the line as the core DNA of the series was still intact, and the programme’s central intellectual aspirations were still present in some form (whether it be through the more obscure stories such as Warriors’ Gate, Kinda, Snakedance, Enlightenment etc, through the literary qualities of Holmes’ dialogue, the acknowledgment of scientific laws and works of literature in season 18,  allusions to the scientifically and emotionally repressive nature of Victorian society in Ghost Light etc).

I don't know if I really buy the impression of JNT as a defender of the show's intellectual vanguard. He wasn't particularly keen on having writers like Robert Holmes, Philip Martin, Douglas Adams or PJ Hammond onboard, and some truly moronic writing did get commissioned and broadcast. I would say the intellectually cut-above material we did get was down to having a script-editor willing to fight for it.

Well, apart from Enlightenment which strangely it turns out Saward wasn't keen on.

True enough- I won’t pretend that it was all JNT’s doing, and he certainly had his flaws. But in spite of whatever fuck ups took place during his era, the very DNA of the series still remained intact which enabled for possible future successes (as with Cartmel and Remembrance etc), and the popularist element to JNT’s character didn’t override the series to the extent where it was the only characteristic it had left, which seems to be the case with New Who, to the point where future writers will instead interpret Who as a vacuous soap opera pandering to the lowest common denominator, and with no intellectual influence on board whatsoever. At least in JNT’s case, the series would find a way of pulling back and delivering something brilliant further down the line (Caves, Revelation, Remembrance, Greatest Show, Fenric etc), which I don’t think is possible anymore under New Who for reasons I’ve already discussed.

Tanmann

Tanmann
@Bernard Marx wrote:
@Tanmann wrote:
@Bernard Marx wrote:JNT may have made mistakes, but he typically sought to find a way of modifying said mistakes, and didn’t flounce his arrogance consistently as the New Who production team have done. Regardless of where JNT’s era may have slipped (whether it be the Doctor’s characterisation in Warriors, or the convoluted nature of the Trial season), there was always the possibility of making amends further down the line as the core DNA of the series was still intact, and the programme’s central intellectual aspirations were still present in some form (whether it be through the more obscure stories such as Warriors’ Gate, Kinda, Snakedance, Enlightenment etc, through the literary qualities of Holmes’ dialogue, the acknowledgment of scientific laws and works of literature in season 18,  allusions to the scientifically and emotionally repressive nature of Victorian society in Ghost Light etc).

I don't know if I really buy the impression of JNT as a defender of the show's intellectual vanguard. He wasn't particularly keen on having writers like Robert Holmes, Philip Martin, Douglas Adams or PJ Hammond onboard, and some truly moronic writing did get commissioned and broadcast. I would say the intellectually cut-above material we did get was down to having a script-editor willing to fight for it.

Well, apart from Enlightenment which strangely it turns out Saward wasn't keen on.

True enough- I won’t pretend that it was all JNT’s doing, and he certainly had his flaws. But in spite of whatever fuck ups took place during his era, the very DNA of the series still remained intact 

I can't entirely agree. I think if that DNA were intact, those kind of fuck-ups would not have happened in the first place. A show where common sense and rationale rules should've ruled them out of consideration. I would say we got instead a televised fanfiction tribute to the show which looked like the same thing, but where that common sense took a backseat to other hollower priorities, regressive navelgazing and soulless routines of imitation.

Which I would say *was* pandering to the lowest common denominator, *not* of the mainstream, but strictly within that fanbase bubble, the fans were seen as wanting little more than just rehashed monster parades. And I think this did needlessly hamstring and complicate notions of what was the key to bringing the show back.

The intellectual element to the show and its hero may have been intact at the beginning and at the end of the 80's, but I don't think it was intact during. It seemed to undergo a lot of mutations and degenerations inbetween in which I don't think the idea of the Doctor as an intellectual figure was preserved. Infact I don't think he was even preserved as a common sense figure.

which enabled for possible future successes (as with Cartmel and Remembrance etc), and the popularist element to JNT’s character didn’t override the series to the extent where it was the only characteristic it had left, which seems to be the case with New Who, to the point where future writers will instead interpret Who as a vacuous soap opera pandering to the lowest common denominator, and with no intellectual influence on board whatsoever

I see what you're saying, but for me there's always that sense that the show was never more intact and its future possibilities never more rich and bountiful than back in 1977. It was a meaner beast then worthy of far more admiration, and if Talons, or Invasion of Time, or for that matter City of Death was where classic Who left off, who knows what could've blossomed from it by now? Certainly I think a lot less stupidity would've.

Bernard Marx


@Tanmann wrote:
@Bernard Marx wrote:
@Tanmann wrote:
@Bernard Marx wrote:JNT may have made mistakes, but he typically sought to find a way of modifying said mistakes, and didn’t flounce his arrogance consistently as the New Who production team have done. Regardless of where JNT’s era may have slipped (whether it be the Doctor’s characterisation in Warriors, or the convoluted nature of the Trial season), there was always the possibility of making amends further down the line as the core DNA of the series was still intact, and the programme’s central intellectual aspirations were still present in some form (whether it be through the more obscure stories such as Warriors’ Gate, Kinda, Snakedance, Enlightenment etc, through the literary qualities of Holmes’ dialogue, the acknowledgment of scientific laws and works of literature in season 18,  allusions to the scientifically and emotionally repressive nature of Victorian society in Ghost Light etc).

I don't know if I really buy the impression of JNT as a defender of the show's intellectual vanguard. He wasn't particularly keen on having writers like Robert Holmes, Philip Martin, Douglas Adams or PJ Hammond onboard, and some truly moronic writing did get commissioned and broadcast. I would say the intellectually cut-above material we did get was down to having a script-editor willing to fight for it.

Well, apart from Enlightenment which strangely it turns out Saward wasn't keen on.

True enough- I won’t pretend that it was all JNT’s doing, and he certainly had his flaws. But in spite of whatever fuck ups took place during his era, the very DNA of the series still remained intact 

I can't entirely agree. I think if that DNA were intact, those kind of fuck-ups would not have happened in the first place. A show where common sense and rationale rules should've ruled them out of consideration. I would say we got instead a televised fanfiction tribute to the show which looked like the same thing, but where that common sense took a backseat to other hollower priorities, regressive navelgazing and soulless routines of imitation.

Which I would say *was* pandering to the lowest common denominator, *not* of the mainstream, but strictly within that fanbase bubble, the fans were seen as wanting little more than just rehashed monster parades. And I think this did needlessly hamstring and complicate notions of what was the key to bringing the show back.

The intellectual element to the show and its hero may have been intact at the beginning and at the end of the 80's, but I don't think it was intact during. It seemed to undergo a lot of mutations and degenerations inbetween in which I don't think the idea of the Doctor as an intellectual figure was preserved. Infact I don't think he was even preserved as a common sense figure.

which enabled for possible future successes (as with Cartmel and Remembrance etc), and the popularist element to JNT’s character didn’t override the series to the extent where it was the only characteristic it had left, which seems to be the case with New Who, to the point where future writers will instead interpret Who as a vacuous soap opera pandering to the lowest common denominator, and with no intellectual influence on board whatsoever
I see what you're saying, but for me there's always that sense that the show was never more intact and its future possibilities never more rich and bountiful than back in 1977. It was a meaner beast then worthy of far more admiration, and if Talons, or Invasion of Time, or for that matter City of Death was where classic Who left off, who knows what could've blossomed from it by now? Certainly I think a lot less stupidity would've.
Yeah- I see where you’re coming from there at least. I don’t plan on defending Warriors of the Deep or Resurrection of the Daleks anytime soon, and I’d argue that they were indeed rather vacuous and probably a by-product of a rather soulless mindset. I think the reason I can’t quite regard these as badly as you do is due to the fact that they weren’t bound by story arcs which used these stories’ failings as a benchmark for future events, whereas in New Who’s case, the shit stories are so integral to the programme that they can’t be casually ignored. One could skip Warriors and pretend it never existed within the canon of the original series as it isn’t integral to future stories, whereas stories like Death In Heaven and The Magician’s Apprentice certainly are, making them more intrinsic and therefore detrimental to the overarching story of the programme. Besides, I’d say the DNA of the series was still intact with stories like Enlightenment, Caves etc, so I’d say that the moments where 80s Who truly stumbles and panders to the lowest common denominator are very specific and rooted to a particular selection of stories, whereas New Who’s arc-heavy narrative structure and constant pandering to the lower depths of the mainstream ensures that its central issues are interweaved throughout the programme, and so will be all the more acknowledged by future writers due to the attention given to them, and possibly for the worst (though I guess Warriors was infamous anyway- which also begs the question of why the New Who production team have taken the characterisation in that story and effectively used it as part of its template as you say).

I suppose you’re right about 1977 being the creative, intellectual and mainstream peak for the programme (although I still prefer 60s Who for very specific and likely subjective reasons). I’ve often stated that season 14 was Who’s literary peak (enhanced by the rather prominent presence of Holmes also at his peak), and I stand by that. It’s an interesting argument you’ve proposed about 80s Who indirectly contributing to the moronic output of today’s Who, and I will consider it further, but I guess I just have my personal affections for the era’s shining spots, of which there are actually quite a few as far as I’m concerned. There’s also an argument to be had that the New Who production team should have learnt from JNT’s mistakes as opposed to further pronouncing them, which can only be their fault and no one else’s, I’d say.

burrunjor

burrunjor
I never grew up with one era. Like Tanman I grew up in the 90s. (I was born in 1991.) So I was introduced to it on video. I agree with Tanman that I never needed it to come back. I wouldn't have minded a proper sequel, but IMO all of classic who held up brilliantly apart from a few seasons, namely 23 and 24. Ironically I want a proper sequel now more than ever to erase New Who. from the classic series legacy

I HATED New Who when it first came on. I couldn't understand how fans were praising it when it was such a betrayal of the original. I warmed to Tennant eventually (mostly because he is a super nice guy in real life and I liked him in other things.) Matt meanwhile won me over and I was actually thrilled with New Who in 2013. Yes the Eccelston era might have been a misfire, and there were still things I was unhappy about, but with Matt being closer to the others and Capaldi an older guy being cast it seemed like they were going to go back the way, but then the ultimate abomination happened and well you know the rest.

Whilst I never had an era of my own, I'd say that Pertwee was my favourite and helped to shape my understanding of the show.

However overall I'd say Tom Baker's early era probably represents the objective best for me in that it combines the best of the previous three eras, whilst doing something new with it. Its the DCAU of DW.

Tom has a lot of humour like Patrick Troughton. Sometimes he can appear goofy and stupid to throw his enemies off, or even just annoy them, but at the same time Tom is a very physical Doctor like Jon.

Overall Tom probably does as many action scenes in those early stories as Jon.

At the same time however Tom was a little bit more wild and dangerous than Jon or Pat. He was more like Hartnell in that respect of being quite unpredictable and violent.

The stories also don't strand the character too much on earth like Jon, yet unlike Pat or Hartnell the Doctor still has a base and a family on earth, with UNIT being there throughout almost the entire Hinchcliff era.

Tanmann

Tanmann
@Bernard Marx wrote:I think the reason I can’t quite regard these as badly as you do is due to the fact that they weren’t bound by story arcs which used these stories’ failings as a benchmark for future events, whereas in New Who’s case, the shit stories are so integral to the programme that they can’t be casually ignored. 

Depends how you look at it I suppose. In a way I think the likes of Warriors were actually retroactively turning what was never meant to be an ongoing story arc concerning the Pertwee Silurian stories and the Doctor's dilemma there, into one (even though it was originally all resolved long ago). And a doomed one at that.


New Who’s arc-heavy narrative structure and constant pandering to the lower depths of the mainstream ensures that its central issues are interweaved throughout the programme, and so will be all the more acknowledged by future writers due to the attention given to them, and possibly for the worst

Yes I see what you mean there, although I still kind of see the roots of that approach and problem originating in the 80's. Season 18 and the Davison Master stories do quickly begin to feel like they're a string of stories that are less about telling a new adventure story, and more about having to inherit the weight of each other's unresolved loose threads.

And I think in both cases the repetition seemed to instill a kind of dull acceptance of increasingly simplistic and moronic interpretations of what was being homaged and why there was no change of state.



though I guess Warriors was infamous anyway- which also begs the question of why the New Who production team have taken the characterisation in that story and effectively used it as part of its template as you say

Well it was infamously *badly made*, whereas it is rarely acknowledged as badly written. On the contrary, there seems to be a fannish denial about its apocryphal writing.

I guess fans want to believe in the Doctor's supposed tragic idealism there (and in a way the story was shaped by that kind of fannish messianic distortion of the character in the first place), and the New Who writers who are the biggest fans, especially so.

I suppose you’re right about 1977 being the creative, intellectual and mainstream peak for the programme (although I still prefer 60s Who for very specific and likely subjective reasons). I’ve often stated that season 14 was Who’s literary peak (enhanced by the rather prominent presence of Holmes also at his peak), and I stand by that. 

I find myself quite often these days thinking that was probably the perfect point for Doctor Who to make the transition from TV show to a movie series. One which could've given us big cinematic Dalek wars, and more movies in the gothic horror vein. Dicks' State of Decay would've probably made a fantastic Who movie.

It’s an interesting argument you’ve proposed about 80s Who indirectly contributing to the moronic output of today’s Who, and I will consider it further

Well, I think it was where some already existing moronic, or condescending ideas about the show and its hero by both the BBC and fandom kind of first manifest in the series itself, and there wasn't the common sense of a Terrance Dicks or Robert Holmes to temper it anymore. 

New Who is just that process continued. Maybe it would've always happened like that regardless. I mean those are the lily-white, moronic, hypocritical traits to the Doctor that perhaps only really manifest when the Silurians or Master are brought back into the picture, and maybe an 80's producer who decided to never bring back either might've resulted in a New Who less incentivized to do the same like it's tradition. But of course New Who would probably still be painfully moronic in every other way if RTD and Moffat still got their hands on it.

Indrid Mercury

Indrid Mercury
My first era was the Tom Baker/Phillip Hinchcliffe era back in the 70s. What I liked best about the show then was the fact that unlike its 21st century fanfiction spinoff continuation, it didn't patronize its audience and wasn't afraid to be dark, scary and at times thought provoking.

I may be partly blinded by nostalgia for it but the Hinchcliffe era is the reason I love Doctor Who, it was avant-garde and intelligent and that is the main reason that NuWho always left me feeling hollow.

burrunjor

burrunjor
Uncle Deadly wrote:The problems with the new series; namely self-parody, soap opera elements, intrusive pop culture references, insincere sentimentality, puerile dialogue, illogical story construction and, yes, a bizarre and contradictory idolisation of the title character, whilst showing zero respect for the programme's history and those responsible for it, all clearly stem from the insecure fan attitudes of those now in charge combined with the increasingly anti-intellectual climate now to be found at the BBC.

Spot on, but I think a lot of these super fans on places like GB are also a bit more cynical in that Doctor Who is a source of income for them. They write for the magazine, or run some stupid little fanclub or something and don't want it to end, so they silence all criticism, thinking if no one points out how shit the show is, no one will notice.

It worked at first when Tennant was riding high on nostalgia, but now? Its far too obvious how shit it is to everyone. Still they don't get it and think their usual bullying tactics will work.

Peter D Nolan is one such example. He is a total cunt who was insanely vicious to me on GB for daring to have an opinion. I used to just think he was a self loathing male, but a recent look at the link he puts in every post he makes shows that he runs some stupid cosplaying contest.

DW is a social thing for him in other words and a way for him to make some extra cash. With this in mind is it any wonder he's such a shill?

You don't just have to work on it or even for the BBC to be a shill. Running a youtube page where you get access to clips (as Mr Tardis openly admitted he does.) Or just running a stupid little fanclub can mean that you become dependent on the show.

Really the worst thing that ever happened were professional fans, and I'm not even talking about the Fitzroy crowd.

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