Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Doctor Who 45th Anniversary – Why Was 1981 Brilliant?

The ultimate in Who ‘concept albums’ reaches its climax in themes of decay and change; K9 leaves for the show’s first spin-off; BBC2 showcases The Five Faces of Doctor Who; and the comic strip brings urban decay without happy endings in End of the Line. On screen we see the extraordinary vistas of Warriors’ Gate, and Tom Baker handing over to Peter Davison in three stories across two years that all form one three-act tragedy, inexplicably not titled The Master’s Doctor Plan:

The Keeper of Traken / Logopolis / Castrovalva
“It’s the end. But the moment has been prepared for.”
An old and a new Doctor and an old and a new Master clash across time and space in a continuing story that’s first beautiful, then doom-laden, then intricate and personal. The threat telescopes in from the Universe itself to the Doctor’s most hearts-rending regeneration.

The three stories / one big story have been released as an excellent DVD box set, still inexplicably not titled The Master’s Doctor Plan; you should look for New Beginnings instead, packed with extras such as bitchy commentaries, enlightening documentaries and, my particular favourite, some lovely music that you can play on its own track. Alternatively, in the usual second-hand way, they were released separately on VHS and as three separate novels (of which Christopher H Bidmead’s Logopolis and Castrovalva are particularly worth seeking out), while Castrovalva alone had a set of thrilling View-Master slides.

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I remember excitedly watching the Five Faces - at that point repeats of classic stories were rare, and videos and DVDs non-existent (in our house anyway!).

I also vividly remember the change from Tom Baker to Peter Davidson and all the publicity around it. (I must have seen the Pertwee-Baker change but would have been quite young then)

You wil be peased to know that Emma celebrated her seventh birthday yesterday (she is actually seven on Thursday) with a Doctor Who cake served on a table laid with a Doctor Who table cloth!
No, the same with us - I only started audio-taping Doctor Who with the Five Faces repeat of Logopolis, and getting a video was still a couple of years off.

Up until then, the Target novels were the only way to experience old stories. I think that was the first time they'd ever shown ones that were more than a year or two old.

And yay for Emma! I have a feeling my seventh birthday was quite similar :D
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