Saturday, December 08, 2012


Doctor Who 50 – Eleven More Great Scenes. And More

Fifty weeks from today will be Doctor Who’s fiftieth anniversary. Next week I’ll be starting my countdown of fifty great scenes spanning the TV series so far to illustrate why it’s the most marvellous show ever made. But I know what you’re thinking – how can I have chosen fifty scenes… How can I possibly cram so many times and places into such a minuscule number? That is, indeed, impossible. So today I’ll introduce what I’ll be doing every Saturday until November 23rd, 2013, and offer tantalising glimpses of still more wonder in some of the ones that got away…

My idea is to pick a brilliant scene each week and set out just why it’s so brilliant – with a bonus quotation from the series each time that’ll mostly speak for itself. Many of the scenes will be from crucial moments in their stories, so watch out for spoilers (and today’s selection is particularly spoiler-heavy). All the Doctors will be there – just not necessarily in the right order. I’ll be counting down these marvellous moments roughly in order of preference, though not entirely: some might be there to tie in to a particular date, or spread out a bit so that similar scenes don’t all turn up in a row. Some scenes or sequences lasted mere seconds on TV… The longest up to a quarter of an hour. Most tend to be a couple of minutes long if you watch them, though who knows how long my write-ups are going to be.

The Fifty spread over this year will include my few absolute favourites – though not necessarily a ‘top fifty’. Looking at my instinctive choices, certain Doctors, certain stories, certain styles (not least speeches – and scary bits) came up much more than others. So, because I love the whole of Doctor Who, I’ve striven for more balance. The Fifty will include at least one scene from every year in which the series has first aired, and at least one from each of its TV seasons. There will be no more than one scene from each story featured (with one exception) – though the quotes will be more random and less calculated, some reflecting that week’s scene, others ones that just popped into my head, even if I’ve striven not to make them all from The Talons of Weng-Chiang. And I’m afraid this Fifty will be drawn only from the TV series, though I showcased a wider range at the last big anniversary with forty-five stories illustrating Why Is Doctor Who Brilliant? It was hard enough trying to weigh every scene in over two hundred television adventures, and I simply couldn’t have done it with what must now be thousands of different stories in all the many formats. Hopefully, these choices will be variety enough.

Most of all, I’ve picked scenes that I enjoy, and I hope you will, too.

I thought of hundreds of scenes before whittling them down to the Fifty. I could have done the Five Hundred… Except I’d never have managed to get them into any sort of order, still less found time to write about them all. Last week, I whetted your appetite for the forthcoming Fifty with Eleven Great Cliffhangers – though not quite the greatest, which you’ll see across the year – and, this week, Eleven Runners-up of various other descriptions, some to cast a different light, others which so nearly made the Fifty but for other choices already from their year, or their story. Inevitably, there are speeches and scary bits – but also special effects, some things that make me laugh, sentiment, excitement and more. Read on…

The Deadly Assassin
“Through the millennia, the Time Lords of Gallifrey led a life of peace and ordered calm, protected from all threats from lesser civilisations by their great power.
“But this was to change. Suddenly and terribly, the Time Lords faced the most dangerous crisis in their long history…”

Doctor Who – Time Tunnel

First off: my favourite story of them all, beginning with the opening titles and a sombre introduction. This is less a scene than setting the scene, so it seems the perfect way to start. This arrangement of the fabulous Doctor Who Theme is still the best, ending in that marvellous stuttering echo as the titles fade, and the titles themselves the greatest titles ever made, a time tunnel swirling in different shapes and directions, carrying the TARDIS, the Doctor, the logo and credits through time and space and visibly inspiring the title sequence still used today. Then, for the first time, the story is introduced with a scrolling text read in the moody tones of the Doctor (Tom Baker). It promises something special. And it is.

The Doctor will crash into a premonition of death – and then, alone now, become a hunted fugitive in a city that was once his home… A film noir nightmare, political satire, dizzying virtual reality, reimagining the Master and the Time Lords, this will be the series’ most radical and creative story, both conceptually and visually (and upset Mary Whitehouse like no other). But it all starts with that unbeatable time tunnel. That’s Doctor Who.

The Dalek Invasion of Earth – Flashpoint
“One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs – and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.
“Goodbye, Susan. Goodbye, my dear…”

The Dalek Invasion of Earth – One Day, I Shall Come Back

The first time the Doctor (William Hartnell) ever said goodbye to a travelling companion was to his granddaughter, Susan. And it’s been painful for him ever since. She’s fallen in love but feels she can’t leave him – so he makes the decision for her at the close of this story. It’s the beginning of so many times that writers have had to find a reason for someone to want to stop travelling in space and time, and one of the more plausible but sexist ones, being married off (an idea intermittently challenged by the Ponds); here it’s done with a little more conviction and a little more sexism than most, though the Doctor does show his love and pride in her and give her credit for looking after him as much as he’d looked after her. It’s William Hartnell’s beautifully played address to his grandchild that makes this so special, her shut out of the TARDIS, him standing at the console, both still smudged with ash from exploding Dalek mines. His stirring benediction falters slightly at the end, and he has to leave before he changes his mind. Susan walks slowly away from the vanished TARDIS, leaving her key in the ruins. The selection of part of this scene to open The Five Doctors cemented fans’ love for it, and when – after a decade of making speeches – I at last used a Doctor Who quotation in a speech of my own, I closed with this one. My voice broke at the end, too.

The Brain of Morbius
“How far, Doctor? How long have you lived?”

The Brain of Morbius – The Fourth Doctor

The brain of Time Lord war criminal Morbius has been restored to physicality in a hideous body of bits (and in an inspired twist not just on Frankenstein but on one of the ’60s and ’70s most often-used great TV threats). As the Nuns of Doom march to his castle in the final episode, bearing the traditional torches, the Doctor (Tom Baker) challenges him to a mind-bending duel: pitting their mental powers against each other to see which can force the other back through their lives to nothingness. Tom Baker and Michael Spice (plus Stuart Fell within the body) are both outstanding in their electric confrontation, Morbius arrogantly proclaiming himself “a Time Lord of the first rank,” the Doctor scorning him as a failed dictator, all set to one of composer Dudley Simpson’s finest moments, deep, stately chords offset with a spine-tingling counter-melody.

Two more things stand out. One is that the Doctor is fighting a desperate rear-guard action against of the titans of his race – what’s special about our hero is his choices, not his intrinsic power, and he’s overwhelmed by Morbius’ mental power: all he does is hold out long enough for the energies to be too much for Morbius’ new brain-case to bear, not the brain itself, and even that nearly kills him. We see Morbius thrust the Doctor’s psyche back through Pertwee, Pat, Billy… And through many previous incarnations as he hurtles back to his beginning. Contradicted or supported elsewhere as these may be (and some fans jump through such hoops to deny their intention), for me they’re a sign that Doctor Who can always surprise us, an enthralling sight and concept, and all that could make them more so is if the pre-Doctors were not members of the production team but old actors’ faces. Just imagine, say, Alastair Sim appearing, firing your imagination to see his black and white Doctor Who movies from the ’40s.

Remembrance of the Daleks

Remembrance of the Daleks – The Special Weapons Dalek

Doctor Who always beat its budget to create memorable images that no-one else could show you, from the first sight of the TARDIS’ impossible interior and the first alien world, with its petrified forest and gleaming city, to monsters like suckered embryos with a ship that seems grown rather than made and a howlingly alive alien jungle, to eerily beautiful robots in an Art Deco vessel, or multiple Mona Lisas, or an Escher painting that encloses you, to crossing the striations of the timelines wearing a splash of red upon strangely monochrome stately gardens, right up to a would-be tyrant’s face disintegrating horribly or a dying world with a stormily alien sky. All that without yet breaking into the series’ Twenty-first Century stories – until my next choice down. Out of all of them, to champion Doctor Who’s most visually exciting moments I’ve picked two where the series makes an impact on London: one in 1963, when Doctor Who started; the next in the Twenty-first Century, when it continues. This is the one with streetfighting Daleks blasting the hell out of each other and the fuck-off bazooka Dalek.

The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) is juggling two warring Dalek factions: the wily old gun-metal veterans; the glorious white and gold new Imperial stormtroopers. In Part Four, the veterans have captured a superweapon – but the Imperials don’t intend to let them get away and land an attack squad to take it. The first engagement sees an Imperial force retreat under a hail of fire from the more experienced warriors, one blown satisfyingly apart… Only for the Emperor to order the Special Weapons Dalek into position. Daleks have always been one-being tanks: this one, with its heavier, grimier armour and one huge gun, takes that to extremes. Simply obliterating every rival in its path, when it reaches the enemy base it blasts the gate apart in an enormous fireball, a blizzard of energy bolts slashing through the blaze before it settles. Some of the explosions staged here were so outrageous they caused an anti-terror alert (I love the BBC) – yet the battle’s still more exciting in the novel. Thrill to the Abomination!

Aliens of London

Aliens of London – Big Ben

I said before Doctor Who returned to our screens in 2005 that it would have to deliver not just impressive special effects – which everyone can do these days – but also memorable images with ideas behind them, and that year alone it delivered in spades, from looking at the Lady Cassandra’s beautiful flatness, to Daleks that were everything you ever darkly dreamed, to flying, shrieking time-eaters clawing at a church, to heads choking and splitting into gas masks, and since then keeping up the pace with a werewolf running amok in a stately home, the TARDIS bouncing along a motorway, a hospital on the Moon and right up to, yes, dinosaurs on a spaceship. But the most cheekily memorable image of that first new year? This is the one with the spaceship crashing into Big Ben.

The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) has accidentally brought Rose back home not a day but a year after taking her on a trip through time and space, which has not gone down well. Both are at their most unlikeable as they bicker on a rooftop, and no-one else on Earth is going to believe Rose if she tries to talk about aliens and spacecraft… Only for a spaceship to fly straight overhead, trailing smoke, weaving across London and eventually crash-diving along Whitehall, smack into the clock topping St Stephen’s Tower, before belly-flopping into the Thames. Thank goodness it came along to snap them out of it, though their initial reactions are mixed… It’s the first and still best moment of its kind, as Russell T Davies enters his vocation to destroy ever major landmark in London. When Doctor Who does a story called ‘Aliens’, it looks like a bumbling comedy where they can’t even fly their ship… But the ominous truth is that they’re as greedy as a Ridley Scott corporation, and can destroy a whole planet much more quickly than something with sinisterly sexual gnashers.

The Talons of Weng-Chiang
“It’s good.”
“Oh. I’m so glad.”

The Talons of Weng-Chiang – Polite Horror

With something to delight and something to offend everyone, The Talons of Weng-Chiang might just be the most enjoyable and quotable and thoroughly unsuitable for children Doctor Who story of them all. Obviously, I’ve loved it since I was five, and remember many years ago standing in a video shop with the latest VHS release and being unable not to overhear another small boy arguing with his mum about which Doctor Who video to buy. He wanted several; she would only pay for one. He was oscillating between two that I didn’t think were much cop, so I felt the urge to intervene, but made the most appalling error in being grown up: I asked her what sort of thing he liked. Of course, she didn’t know. So I knelt and asked which stories he had already and were his favourites. Having listened to the right person, I recommended Talons to him because it was scary and funny – and to her, on the basis that it was six episodes for the same price as four. I’ve often wondered if she left him alone with it, or came in, saw any of it and disapproved of the young man who’d suggested such appalling viewing.

One especially entertaining sequence comes half-way through Part Two. We’re on the dark streets of late Victorian London. The Doctor (Tom Baker) has been auditioning for (he can play the Trumpet Voluntary in a bowl of live goldfish) and sleuthing with theatrical impresario Henry Gordon Jago, not quite the bravest man in the Empire; his warrior tribe companion Leela has remained with premier pathologist Professor Litefoot, a crustily congenial old cove. Someone should pair these two guest artistes. And the villains have been crawling the kerbs in their carriage in search of the plot (spot the Porsche!). That plot revolves around monstrous appetites, so even the comedy scenes that pepper it have disturbing overtones – and this one enriches the main themes even as Litefoot finds the usual late-night cold collation laid out by his housekeeper and innocently offers Leela dinner.

The Talons of Weng-Chiang – Quiet Despair

You think writing about special effects is doomed? What about describing comedy? I’d urge you to buy this on DVD and watch it, because the comedy of manners between Leela – raised in an alien jungle – and a perfect Victorian gentleman never fails to crack me up. Expecting a lady, Litefoot’s face as she picks up a joint and just tears into it is priceless. He quails (there’s one of those on the table too). But politeness demands he can’t criticise or embarrass a guest, still less a lady, and when Leela’s own understanding of hospitality makes her express her satisfaction with the food, all he can do is weakly pretend pleasure. Faintly proffering a knife or fork, he sees her seize a carving knife, the better to hack the beef apart, and is left with no option as a good host but to put down the plate he would usually stack with a dainty selection of slices and, instead, grab a whole leg of lamb in both hands and bite. The culture clash in their next scene, when Leela drinks from the trifle bowl while Litefoot looks on queasily, has been known to make me cry with laughter. His last gasp of Victorian propriety comes in trying to save the tablecloth from Leela so as not to mortify the housekeeper come the morning – but before the night is out, it’s doomed to the Doctor. And by the end of Part Three, Leela’s enthusiasm for chomping on a leg has its own darker payoff…

Revelation of the Daleks
“It is our duty to eradicate all those who wish to pollute the purity of the Dalek race… If you ever loved me, Natasha, kill me! Kill me! …It is vital that the Daleks are supreme in all things!”

Revelation of the Daleks – Stengos Revealed

The Doctor (Colin Baker) isn’t the only one who wants to know what’s happened to his old friend Arthur Stengos; by half-way into Part One, Stengos’ daughter Natasha has broken into the galaxy’s biggest funeral home to find his ‘sleeping’ body missing and Daleks on guard. Overseeing all is Davros, remaking himself as the galaxy’s greatest doctor and promising eternal life – but of the kind that’s red-lit, tortured and underground. And the greatest horror for her is finding what’s left of her father growing into a Dalek, caught between his own self and one of Davros’ new breed of fascists. In a story of black comedy and dreamlike horror, this is the most nightmarish moment, a dramatic and visual triumph as Stengos is revealed in close-ups of eye and mouth, as if dismembered, and struggles to remember his love for his daughter when in his ranting New Order instead “The seed of the Daleks must be supreme.”

Stengos’ fate draws from perhaps the most memorable scenes in two of the greatest Doctor Who novelisations – a glass Dalek, a human slowly transforming into something ‘other’ and begging for death – each of which were too challenging (perhaps too expensive, certainly then too horrific) to portray in the original TV versions of The Daleks and The Ark In Space. And if you’re going to write as the David Whitaker or Bob Holmes tribute band, you’ve certainly got great tunes to play. As, if you didn’t think Natasha’s terrible choice was weird enough, does the resident DJ…

The Curse of Fenric
“Objects can’t harm us – it’s human belief. And you stopped believing when the bombs started falling.”
“I’m not frightened of German bombs.”
“Not German bombs… British.”
“On German cities. British bombs killing German children.”

The Curse of Fenric – Bad Day For The Parson

In World War II, the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) contests an ancient force of evil on the North-East coast. By the end of Part Two / half-way through the Special Edition of this most complex and layered story, the lively two young women Eastenders are made vampires, draining their self-righteous landlady then stalking through the graveyard mist to the local vicar. He tries to understand them… But they understand him much better. Reverend Wainwright flourishes his Bible, but they know it’s only faith that keeps them at bay – something with a stunning payoff later in the story – and that his is crumbling not under the horrors of the undead, but the horrors of war. Only the Doctor’s ferocity as he hurls himself in front of Wainwright makes them recoil, but they’ll return for him… Will he be able to find it in himself to triumph then? The Doctor and the bloodsuckers are almost forces of nature in this spellbinding scene that turns the traditional vampire story inside-out.

Love & Monsters
“You should take your jacket off.”
“No, I’m fine, I’ll just –”
“No, look, you must be boiling. Oh, look at your shirt. Sorry.”
“I – I – I’m fine. It’s all right.”
“I’ve ruined it.”
“No, honestly, i-i-i-it’s – it’s fine.”
“Take it off. I’ll put it in the wash.”
“Oh, come on! It’s only a little drop.”
“Oop! There now. Ruined.”

Love and Monsters – Jackie and Elton

Elton Pope’s been fascinated with the Doctor ever since he was a boy, and never been happier than with a little group of friends with the same interests. By half-way into the story, though, someone’s rather taken over, organised them, given them ways to track the Doctor (David Tennant) and his friends, but things are less fun. And some of Elton’s group have vanished. Be careful what you wish for… And Elton wishes he could find Rose, so he tracks down her mum Jackie. Turns out he’s not quite as in control of his infiltration plan as he thinks he is. She keeps inviting him round to fix all the things that keep going wrong about the flat, and it’s got nothing to do with the way Elton’s shirt keeps accidentally riding up to show his stomach as he changes a bulb or his jeans showing off his arse as he looks at the washing machine. It’s a complete coincidence that her tops are getting tighter and skirts shorter, too. But just as she flings herself – or at least her wine, twice – at him, a call from Rose spoils the mood. She feels ashamed of her ulterior motives, and shows it; so does he, but doesn’t. He goes off for pizza to make it up to her, but it’s too late – she discovers what he’s after and she’ll protect them until the day she dies…

Camille Coduri’s Jackie has long been a brilliant comedy creation by now, shot through with tragedy; this is her finest moment, never funnier and never more moving as the cracks show of how much she misses her daughter and even Mickey. “Put the telly on if you want – can’t bear it silent.” The way Elton’s unreliable narration within his unreliable narration collides with her at her most turbo-charged is hilarious, then she and the script turn in an instant and break your heart. It’s inspired how ELO’s Turn To Stone gives way to Jackie’s choice of romantic music as she takes control of the scene from the man who’s been narrating it; her joyous sexuality is brilliant; then she lets her defences down only to find herself betrayed, anger punching through her loneliness to show how selfless and ferocious her heart is. Rose never sees it.

Genesis of the Daleks
“Today, the Kaled race is ended, consumed in a fire of war – but from its ashes will rise a new race: the supreme creature; the ultimate conqueror of the Universe; the Dalek!”

Genesis of the Daleks – The First Extermination

The climax to Part Three of this story, one of Doctor Who’s best, is an odd beast. On screen, the cliffhanger is a slightly underwhelming threat to the Doctor (Tom Baker). On the truncated LP (and now CD) release, the half-way cliffhanger comes a couple of minutes later, with the annihilation in fire of the Daleks’ parent species, the Kaleds, by their ancient enemies, the Thals (a model city with a sense of scale as, for once, the explosions take an age to die away). But it’s Davros, the half-Dalek creator of and would-be Führer of the new race, who actually betrayed the secret of their defences – to stop their leaders bringing the Dalek project to a halt. And in the originally scripted climax to the overrunning Part Three, moved back to begin Part Four, Davros uses the moment of shock for his scientific Elite (now the only survivors save for their mutated, battle-tanked progeny) to destroy his only outspoken internal critic. Ronson has asked awkward questions about the future of the Daleks and aided the Doctor’s escape; biding his time to respond, Davros now denounces Ronson as traitor and spy, ordering in his new Daleks to carry out their first ever extermination and promising vengeance on the Thals, too, then the absolute power and glory to which he aspires.

Genesis of the Daleks is packed with great moments, and another will make my Fifty. It’s the finest example in Doctor Who of actors and writers coming together to forge proper speeches, rather than just assuming ‘speaking at length’ makes great rhetoric. Others might choose the Doctor’s key moral dilemma – asking “Do I have the right?” – but this scene captivated me growing up and listening to it again and again on scratchy vinyl. The sheer power of Michael Wisher’s performance as Davros; the sheer ruthless chutzpah of the character; the sheer horror of Ronson screaming in denial. On screen, it’s the negative blaze around him and the sight of his colleagues backing quickly away, shielding their eyes, that stays with you; on LP and CD, the raw immediacy of the sound design, Davros’ harshly escalating triumph, the crashing march as the Daleks enter and their gun-sticks seethe. Gripping.

An Unearthly Child: The Firemaker
“This knife has no blood on it.”

An Unearthly Child – The Doctor Holds Court

Of all the Doctor Who stories criminally underrated by fans, for me this is the most unfairly overlooked – or, at least, 75% of it is. The first ever Doctor Who story, nearly everyone (rightly) looks on the first episode as one of the greatest pieces of television ever made, but nearly everyone else then goes on to do down the following three episodes, in which the Doctor (William Hartnell) and his as-yet unwilling companions plunge into prehistory and are caught up in the power struggles of a Stone Age tribe. Yet I’ve argued that these episodes are not only brilliant, but crucial to the show’s story. One outstanding scene comes at the beginning of the fourth episode, by which time the TARDIS crew have escaped the tribe with the aid of an old woman, only to be pursued by Za, one of the two rivals to be chief. Meanwhile, the cleverer but nastier rival, Kal, murders the old woman on finding them gone – and pins the blame on Za. With Za and our heroes captured together, things look bleak. But the Doctor brilliantly invents a genre tens of thousands of years early to beat Kal…

Kal’s great strength has been as a demagogue – Za learns how to adapt over the course of the story, but he’s comparatively slow. Yet as Kal waves Za’s stone knife before the tribe, weaving his story before them, the apparently frail old Doctor shows he can not only defeat a physically much stronger opponent with superior brainpower, but beat him at his own simple declamatory style and even muster the physical force to drive him out. It starts with the Doctor’s simple observation that Za’s knife has no blood on it, and from that point Kal unravels: he calls it a bad knife for not showing what it has done; the Doctor needles his vanity, saying it’s much better than his; Kal falls for it, proudly pulling out his bloody weapon; and the Doctor parades it around the tribe like a prize lawyer. Rousing the whole tribe against the strong fighter, he throws a stone at him and gets everyone else to do the same, making him retreat under a barrage of rocks.

This is simply a terrific scene. William Hartnell is outstanding, slipping effortlessly between quiet, naturalistic instructions and a theatrical display of Stone Age rabble-rousing, but it’s a brilliant idea, too: years before Columbo ever aired, Doctor Who invents the format. We’ve already seen the murderer, and the Doctor exposes him through a combination of psychology and forensic evidence. And while he’s settling the rivalry between Kal and Za, at the same time he’s settling with argumentative teacher Ian Chesterton just exactly who is the leader of the TARDIS crew, and the star of the show (he still is). Just as with the Twentieth-Century humans, the Doctor can speak their language and then get into their mindset and manipulate it, which makes you wonder just how much he’s talking down to our level, too. And I still love the idea of taking a standard of crime drama and reinventing it in an utterly different setting: within a few stories after this, the Doctor will triumph in another courtroom drama, this time on an alien world, and go on in another story to solve both a locked room mystery and a whodunit…

The TARDIS Can Go Anywhere – Super, Super Fun!

Doctor Who – The TARDIS

Even with these Runners-up I could easily have chosen many more – or even many more fifties. Do you remember the Doctor looking entirely at home in a steaming Victorian laboratory until the devils the owners made a pact with appear in the mirrors? Or the Doctor explaining the TARDIS at its most Victorian with the aid of boxes and points of view, and getting it absolutely right (nine times out of ten)? The Doctor and Amy lying in a field with Vincent van Gogh and seeing the swirling stars he sees; the Doctor echoing, “Do we have a deal?” on a diamond planet; the Doctor dining with a monster, consumed with comedy and tragedy; the Doctor’s shoes and mind clicking into place at exactly the same moment; the Doctor roaring defiance at a murderous, self-perpetuating oligarchy only for them meekly to admit they, too, can’t make the decisions? The Doctor fading but determined as he goes to find his other selves; another self the Doctor would rather not find deriding his tawdry quirks; a man who isn’t the Doctor dreaming of a life with the woman he loves; the Doctor’s people dispassionately putting him on trial for caring too much and ripping away his own self and those who care about him…?

What about Daleks rolling off the production line and shrieking their crusade to conquer and destroy – or as masters of a ruined London – or whimsically playing trains, suddenly made childlike; the Master wielding the devilish charisma of a revivalist preacher to demand his enemies be burned – or telling his allies what fun it is to watch the Clangers, or the Teletubbies; Cybermen bursting free from their tombs to plunging, echoing music and owning those who’ve come to free them – or being mass-manufactured from other victims whose screams are drowned by tacky pop? A masked sordid sex murderer’s monstrous disfigurement revealed; a treacherous monk’s inner fire revealed; a police officer’s two-facedness revealed; a monstrous violation of the dead revealed as the lost leader himself undermining his people? Rose’s father sacrificing himself in the hope that grace may yet save the world; King Richard’s sister defying him with the Pope; an ancient monk unleashing a terrible substance from another dimension to overwhelm the Earth; a carefree couple woken by sacred stones out for blood…?

Think of a suave businessman in a beautiful suit jeering at a tortured Cyberman driven mad, or sneering at a mild-mannered scientist to shoot him – then only laughing as holes appear in his shirt front; a deranged schoolboy taunting his headmaster with deadly science projects; a woman’s mind and then body destroyed by a greedy alien and a bombastic warlord; an interplanetary agent with a licence to kill finding, like each of those others, exactly what happens when the Doctor isn’t there? A deposed princeling surrounded by his dead warriors hearing nothing but the clamour of old battles as he charges to his own death; plague-ridden commuters collapsing at a busy London station while a Cabinet Minister staggers through the streets, spreading the infection; the US President’s appeal to our shared humanity echoing to the stars as a huge spacecraft looms over Earth; the Master becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain and smiling a public smile at a secret joke; the head of a secret UN space defence force curtly telling an impromptu press conference he knows nothing about a man from space…?

I could go on. I will go on! But while I didn’t have room to more than hint at some of those marvellous moments above, the Fifty that do make it are on their way… Every one, you may be relieved to read, much shorter than this week’s post. And each week, you can try and guess which one’s coming next! I even have a special prize ready for the person who guesses the most of them over the next year, should more than one of you try in the comments each week.


Next Time… Two words. The basics.

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Thank you for putting Stengos in for me and Morbius for Holly. *snuggle*
(Snuggles back) My pleasure! I do have a very soft spot for Morbius, going way back to my beginnings (speaking of which, the double-meaning caption is for Andrew. Hello, if you're reading!). And there will be more Colin (containing actual Colin).

I'm relieved to have written it today, and without even your prodding. Solid for ten and a half hours, plus screenshots (I took so many for Talons that I had to use two. Poor George).

Do keep prodding me to keep at this, though, and make guesses for the "Next Times" - if you can.

Because I couldn't keep even to fifty plus eleven, obviously, if you look carefully you'll spot references to another fifty-five scenes from nearly that many stories (without explicitly naming them). Richard's just been through and spotted them all, from the bleedin' obvious to the wilfully obscure. Have fun working them out, but the prize is only for Next Time...!

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