Sunday, November 23, 2008


Doctor Who 45th Anniversary – Why Was 1964 Brilliant?

In 1964, and not for the last time, Doctor Who becomes a massive ratings hit. There’s psychodrama inside the TARDIS on The Edge of Destruction; the Doctor’s adventure with Marco Polo hits the Radio Times front cover; his arch-enemies return after their total destruction (imagine that happening today!) for The Dalek Invasion of Earth; and the show’s terrific first novelisation is, naturally, Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks. So, what’s my pick for the year of Dalekmania?

The Aztecs
“But you can’t rewrite history – not one line! …I know. Believe me. I know.”
“Not Barbara. Yetaxa.”
The most fabulous companion ever, schoolteacher Barbara Wright, is made a goddess and determines to save the Aztec people from destruction. The greatest of tragic historicals, with stunning concepts and dialogue. Plus, the Doctor gets engaged, which means lovely characterisation, cocoa, and absolutely no tongues.

You might be able to find second-hand copies of the VHS, or of the novelisation (an enthralling recreation of a then unimaginably ancient story for me in 1984), but really, I urge you to buy the marvellously cleaned up and extras-filled DVD. It’s by far the best way to enjoy the story, and even boasts an educational piece by Valerie Singleton and a South Park-style cartoon of the late, great John Ringham as the villainous high priest Tlotoxl, telling us how to make proper Aztec cocoa.

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