Monday, December 22, 2008


Doctor Who 45th Anniversary – Why Was 1980 Brilliant?

A new regime begins with massive changes to the series’ visual and musical style and script editor Christopher H Bidmead’s vision of scientific fairy tales. The Leisure Hive’s stunning look and score introduces it with a boom, while the more sombre feel finds an echo in sting-in-the-tail comic strips like The Star Beast or Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s Business As Usual. But for sheer passion…

Full Circle
“Why can’t people be nice to one other? Just for a change? I mean, I’m an alien and you don’t want to drag me into a swamp, do you? [Pause] You do.”
A fiercely intelligent evolutionary fable where elders decide everything by revealed truth, only for the Doctor to ask all the awkward questions and take a moral stand. Great filming, design and monsters (some looking like us), an intriguing mystery – and swimmers in skimpy trunks! Ahem.

This story is the first in The E-Space Trilogy, and that’s due out in a DVD box set in the New Year; as the music is rather wonderful, I’m particularly looking forward to the isolated scores. In the meantime, you may be able to find second hand copies of the VHS or of the novel. Or even the View-Master slides.

Today, incidentally, is the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the BBC’s greatest ever evolutionary fable, one which terrified a generation, inspired more science fiction than you can name and is still, today, one of the most astonishingly brilliant pieces of television ever made. Happy birthday, Quatermass and the Pit, and if you haven’t seen it, go out and buy The Quatermass Collection on DVD right this instant.

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ZOMG Quatermass *flail* Nigel Kneale is a GOD!
GRIN Indeed! And you can pick up the DVDs quite cheaply right now…

As far as the comic strips I also mention above go, incidentally, I re-read The Star Beast just the other day, for the first time in ages (along with The Iron Legion and City of the Damned), and was reminded that the early Doctor Who Weekly strips were written as potential Doctor Who television adventures.

It’s a shame they never made it to the screen; who can imagine a TV story these days in which the Doctor meets his ‘first’ black companion while she’s looking after an apparently unwell, harmless, eccentric character? An apparently harmless character being chased by big, ugly, ruthless monsters who shoot first and ask questions later, though it’s later revealed that the ‘harmless’ character is really a sadistic, murdering space criminal and the trigger-happy brutes are in reality galactic police who have their own translator machines to talk to the humans? I know, it’s as far-fetched as imagining that such a story might feature a chunk of a British city being lifted up into space, taking its foundations with it ;-)
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