Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Doctor Who 45th Anniversary – Why Was 1973 Brilliant?

At last, the Doctor is free, so every story in 1973 is back to travels in time and space: alien worlds, medieval England and even the series’ own past as William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton return for The Three Doctors. Then UNIT goes somewhere excitingly new for The Green Death… Wales! At the very end of the year, The Time Warrior introduces Sarah Jane Smith and the Sontarans, but before then Doctor Who climbs inside the TV itself:

Carnival of Monsters
“One has no wish to be devoured by alien monstrosities, Kalik – even in the cause of political progress.”
An entertaining satire of television, with quite a bit of politics and characters including a dodgy Polari-speaking showman (I remember not understanding him; I can now) and grey-faced plotting Tories, the story keeps channel-hopping to 1926 British caricatures and huge, screaming dragons, the Drashigs. Bona!

One to buy on DVD, though it’s worth looking out for the excellent book and, for once, the VHS as well. The video has extended episodes with extra scenes cut in, which are presented separately on the DVD (it’s a shame the tape’s one of the few copy-protected ones, so I can’t back up our old copy of these edits). Terrance Dicks’ novelisation swaps scenes around too, and adds lots of little polishes; it’s clearer, if less vivid, and uses the word “liberal” to mean good and “authoritarian” bad, so it’s appealed to me from a very young age, along with the memorable tagline on the back:
“The Doctor and Jo land on a cargo ship crossing the Indian Ocean in the year 1926.
“Or so they think.”

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1973 was brilliant because it is when I first started watching the *Best TV Programme Of All Time.

My earliest memory of the programme is the daleks (probably Planet of The Daleks?) The Green Death.

The concept that I would be spending my Saturday evenings sitting on the sofa watching it with my own children 35 years later was probably beyond me at that age!

And just a couple of years before I start watching, too. Though you may be surprised by tomorrow's choice...
1973 was brilliant because I was born that year, making it the best year ever,
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