I love the Pertwee era

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Paul Cornell

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Jan 5, 2003, 10:03:40 AM1/5/03
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I do rather, these days. This is a result of my watch-through. What I love
about the Letts/Dicks period is the standard of script editing.
Everything's made to work as a logical, solid, story. Some of them may be
bad (like everything Robert Sloman ever did, with the strange exception of
The Green Death, which feels more like Malcolm Hulke), but they're all
*stories*. I got quite upset at how when Robert Holmes comes in as script
editor, all that logic and care got chucked and we get messes like Pyramids
of Mars, which ends like a car accident. Editing for meaning turns into
editing for spectacle, and story values go out of the window.

So yes, put me down for Pertwee as well as Sylvester, although I still think
the lead character's rudeness is pretty inexcusable, and some of the
supporting cast are terrible, and after the peak of Season Ten, Eleven goes
to pieces quite a lot. The Day of the Daleks has pretty much got a perfect
shape as far as I'm concerned: it moves like a movie.

Other stories from my watchthrough I think are just about perfect in all
respects:

The Myth Makers, The Massacre, Evil of the Daleks, The Mind Robber,
Mandragora, Pirate Planet, Androids of Tara, State of Decay (how do people
miss that?!), Kinda of course, and I've just got to episode one of
Enlightenment, which is hugely vastly wonderful so far.


Geoffrey D. Wessel

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Jan 5, 2003, 10:18:45 AM1/5/03
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On Sun, 5 Jan 2003 09:03:40 CST, "Paul Cornell"
<paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

>I do rather, these days. This is a result of my watch-through. What I love
>about the Letts/Dicks period is the standard of script editing.
>Everything's made to work as a logical, solid, story. Some of them may be
>bad (like everything Robert Sloman ever did, with the strange exception of
>The Green Death, which feels more like Malcolm Hulke), but they're all
>*stories*.

While that may be true, what kills the era for me, really, is the
Master. In damn near every story after "Terror of the Autons." I mean,
Spider-Man didn't fight Venom ALL the time (and when he started to, I
got tired of it. That and McFarlane quit drawing Spidey.).

> I got quite upset at how when Robert Holmes comes in as script
>editor, all that logic and care got chucked and we get messes like Pyramids
>of Mars, which ends like a car accident. Editing for meaning turns into
>editing for spectacle, and story values go out of the window.

See, I don't agree with that. What makes you think "Pyramids" ended
like a car accident? That's one of my favorite TV stories, that
one....

>So yes, put me down for Pertwee as well as Sylvester, although I still think
>the lead character's rudeness is pretty inexcusable, and some of the
>supporting cast are terrible, and after the peak of Season Ten, Eleven goes
>to pieces quite a lot. The Day of the Daleks has pretty much got a perfect
>shape as far as I'm concerned: it moves like a movie.

Yeah, I like "Day" too, even if the time-travel/paradox logic was a
bit iffy.

--- Geoff
- ATYPICAL HISTORY
- Charity Anthology benefitting Camp Awareness for Autism
- Due out November 2003
- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/atypical_history

Paul Cornell

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Jan 5, 2003, 10:26:42 AM1/5/03
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Geoffrey D. Wessel wrote in message ...

>On Sun, 5 Jan 2003 09:03:40 CST, "Paul Cornell"
><paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

>See, I don't agree with that. What makes you think "Pyramids" ended
>like a car accident? That's one of my favorite TV stories, that
>one....


It's the last episode. All those stupid puzzles, with lines like Sarah's
weird technobabble explanation. It all suddenly goes a bit Colin Baker.
And somewhere along the line someone's confused the transport tunnel from
Egypt with the 'missing minutes' between the Earth and Mars. Sutekh's in
Egypt. When the signal gets back to him, he could just have chosen to walk
out of his pyramid, and it's sheer good luck that he doesn't. Apart from
anything else, all the imagery built up in the proceeding episodes (which
are also rather a runaround after the first one) is junked, and we get an
illogical, unconnected ending that seems to have been written really
quickly.


Mags L Halliday

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Jan 5, 2003, 10:37:01 AM1/5/03
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"Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:av9p2o$3tl$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk...

> Other stories from my watchthrough I think are just about perfect in all
> respects:
>

> I've just got to episode one of
> Enlightenment, which is hugely vastly wonderful so far.

The worst thing I would say about it was that it led to a sense of
disappointment when reading The Infinity Race because how could Messingham
top Linda Baron as a female pirate buccaneering through space?


--
Mags
--
"If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not
to put that thing in your mouth, particularly
if the thing is cats."
Lemony Snicket
A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Wide Window


Geoffrey D. Wessel

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Jan 5, 2003, 10:41:35 AM1/5/03
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On Sun, 5 Jan 2003 09:26:42 CST, "Paul Cornell"
<paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

>Geoffrey D. Wessel wrote in message ...
>>On Sun, 5 Jan 2003 09:03:40 CST, "Paul Cornell"
>><paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>
>>See, I don't agree with that. What makes you think "Pyramids" ended
>>like a car accident? That's one of my favorite TV stories, that
>>one....
>
>
>It's the last episode. All those stupid puzzles, with lines like Sarah's
>weird technobabble explanation.

I liked the puzzles, but yeah, come to think of it, Sarah spouting
technobabble is a bit iffy.

> It all suddenly goes a bit Colin Baker.

Hey now! :-P

>And somewhere along the line someone's confused the transport tunnel from
>Egypt with the 'missing minutes' between the Earth and Mars. Sutekh's in
>Egypt. When the signal gets back to him, he could just have chosen to walk
>out of his pyramid, and it's sheer good luck that he doesn't.

Hmm, perhaps so, but I don't think it's that big an annoyance,
personally.

>Apart from
>anything else, all the imagery built up in the proceeding episodes (which
>are also rather a runaround after the first one) is junked, and we get an
>illogical, unconnected ending that seems to have been written really
>quickly.

As I recall, it was written really quickly :-)

Well, everyone's going to like different things. Personally, I don't
find the majority of these to be that major of greivances, but...

Ah well. I still think the majority of Pertwee after Season 7 sucks
tho :-)

Paul Cornell

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Jan 5, 2003, 10:42:48 AM1/5/03
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Mags L Halliday wrote in message ...
>

how could Messingham
>top Linda Baron as a female pirate buccaneering through space?
>


I'd really like to see him try!


Wembley

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Jan 5, 2003, 10:48:08 AM1/5/03
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"Geoffrey D. Wessel" <gdwe...@hotmail.com> wrote in

> <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>>It's the last episode. All those stupid puzzles, with lines like
>>Sarah's weird technobabble explanation.
>
> I liked the puzzles, but yeah, come to think of it, Sarah spouting
> technobabble is a bit iffy.

The puzzles *might* have been tolerable, if it weren't for the fact that
they were just a repeat of the Exxilon city from Death to the Daleks -
and are even descibed by Sarah as such.

Oh, and just like in DttD and The Five Doctor's, they'd have trouble
thwarting the average 11 year old with them, let alone a so-called
scientist like the Doctor.

It really does get a bit crappy at the end...

Wemb
--
Progress. The powerful prince
Is honored with horses in large numbers.
In a single day he is granted audience three times.

.

Geoffrey D. Wessel

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Jan 5, 2003, 10:57:10 AM1/5/03
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On Sun, 5 Jan 2003 09:48:08 CST, Wembley <yel...@dsl.pipex.com>
wrote:

>
>"Geoffrey D. Wessel" <gdwe...@hotmail.com> wrote in
>
>> <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>>>It's the last episode. All those stupid puzzles, with lines like
>>>Sarah's weird technobabble explanation.
>>
>> I liked the puzzles, but yeah, come to think of it, Sarah spouting
>> technobabble is a bit iffy.
>
>The puzzles *might* have been tolerable, if it weren't for the fact that
>they were just a repeat of the Exxilon city from Death to the Daleks -
>and are even descibed by Sarah as such.

I saw "Pyramids" long before "Death to the Daleks" :-)

>Oh, and just like in DttD and The Five Doctor's, they'd have trouble
>thwarting the average 11 year old with them, let alone a so-called
>scientist like the Doctor.

Hmm, as I recall I was 6 when I saw it the first time. Maybe a lot of
it is nostalgia.

BUT I STILL LIKE IT! IT'S ONLY ROCK'N'ROLL, BAYBEE~!

Timeranger7

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Jan 5, 2003, 11:57:47 AM1/5/03
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Even though I basicly started watching the second to last series of the Pertwee
era I have to admit its pretty cool. Now amazon.com can send me the first tape
i ordered.

Tan Coul

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Jan 5, 2003, 1:53:42 PM1/5/03
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On Sun, 5 Jan 2003 09:03:40 CST, "Paul Cornell"
<paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

>Other stories from my watchthrough I think are just about perfect in all
>respects:
>
>The Myth Makers, The Massacre, Evil of the Daleks, The Mind Robber,
>Mandragora, Pirate Planet, Androids of Tara, State of Decay (how do people
>miss that?!), Kinda of course, and I've just got to episode one of
>Enlightenment, which is hugely vastly wonderful so far.

Love every other one on the list to pieces (well, maybe not
Enlightenment, but it's pretty enough) but I've never been able to sit
through an entire episode of Mandragora - everything seems so right
about it, but I just find it somehow dull. Maybe it's about time for
another go...
--
Colin B.
I touch the fire, and it freezes me...

Charles Martin

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Jan 5, 2003, 2:03:42 PM1/5/03
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In article <av9p2o$3tl$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>,
"Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

> I do rather, these days. This is a result of my watch-through.

Hang on, aren't you famous for saying the Pertwee era is a completely
different show than the rest of DW? :)

> Other stories from my watchthrough I think are just about perfect in all
> respects:
>
> The Myth Makers, The Massacre, Evil of the Daleks, The Mind Robber,
> Mandragora, Pirate Planet, Androids of Tara, State of Decay (how do people
> miss that?!), Kinda of course, and I've just got to episode one of
> Enlightenment, which is hugely vastly wonderful so far.

Of the ones I've seen (Evil of the Daleks on, I don't have any
reconstructs of MM or TM) I'd have to agree these are great stories and
great Doctor Who.
--
Cheers,
_Chas_
http://www.apple.com/switch
non-spammers can write to chasm at mac (dot com)

Charles Martin

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Jan 5, 2003, 2:06:13 PM1/5/03
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In article <av9qe4$4v1$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>,
"Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

> It's the last episode. All those stupid puzzles, with lines like Sarah's
> weird technobabble explanation. It all suddenly goes a bit Colin Baker.

This is the most amusing euphemism for "pear-shaped" I've ever heard.


> And somewhere along the line someone's confused the transport tunnel from
> Egypt with the 'missing minutes' between the Earth and Mars. Sutekh's in
> Egypt. When the signal gets back to him, he could just have chosen to walk
> out of his pyramid, and it's sheer good luck that he doesn't. Apart from
> anything else, all the imagery built up in the proceeding episodes (which
> are also rather a runaround after the first one) is junked, and we get an
> illogical, unconnected ending that seems to have been written really
> quickly.

I agree with you both. The ending of PoM *is* a car wreck, but it's also
nonetheless one of my favourites. It's like a perfect, beautiful
red-headed child with bright blue eyes, rosy freckled cheeks and ...
oops ... two left feet. How'd that happen? :)

Zygon Curry

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Jan 5, 2003, 2:12:46 PM1/5/03
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On Sun, 5 Jan 2003 13:03:42 CST, Charles Martin <rub...@bollocks.org>
wrote:

>In article <av9p2o$3tl$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>,
> "Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> I do rather, these days. This is a result of my watch-through.
>
>Hang on, aren't you famous for saying the Pertwee era is a completely
>different show than the rest of DW? :)

I think he said the Third Doctor became a T**y :)


.

JerryD

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Jan 5, 2003, 2:54:59 PM1/5/03
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I got quite upset at how when Robert Holmes comes in as script
> editor, all that logic and care got chucked and we get messes like Pyramids
> of Mars, which ends like a car accident. Editing for meaning turns into
> editing for spectacle, and story values go out of the window.

*ACK!*
-The sound of JerryD slumping to the floor while clutching his chest at
the above comments..

Andrew McCaffrey

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Jan 5, 2003, 3:13:21 PM1/5/03
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Charles Martin <rub...@bollocks.org> wrote:
> In article <av9p2o$3tl$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>,
> "Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>> I do rather, these days. This is a result of my watch-through.
> Hang on, aren't you famous for saying the Pertwee era is a completely
> different show than the rest of DW? :)

Isn't that true of every era? ;>

--
Andrew McCaffrey
North American fans of the Doctor Who books, please visit
http://www.qis.net/~fenric/who.html for information on the distribution
problems.

The Doctor

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Jan 5, 2003, 3:32:55 PM1/5/03
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And ONLY one story is it purley defining moment: Inferno.
--
Member - Liberal International On 11 Sept 2001 the WORLD was violated.
This is doc...@nl2k.ab.ca Ici doc...@nl2k.ab.ca
Society MUST be saved! Extremists must dissolve.
Birthdate: 29 Jan 1969 - Redhill, Surrey, England

David A McIntee

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Jan 5, 2003, 5:53:59 PM1/5/03
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"Charles Martin" <rub...@bollocks.org> wrote

> Hang on, aren't you famous for saying the Pertwee era is a completely
> different show than the rest of DW? :)

I always find the Hartnell era is the one that's completely different. Yet
it improves with age (whether mine or the episodes' I'm not sure)

--
--
"Oh go away, repress someone else."

http://www.btinternet.com/~david.mcintee

Redemption 03- Blake's 7/Babylon 5 convention. 21-23 February 2003
http://www.conventions.org.uk/redemption

Vote Baal in 03, and let every serpent have a paradise.

Currently reading: LA Requiem (Robert Crais)

M A P P Y

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Jan 5, 2003, 9:26:58 PM1/5/03
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On Sun, 5 Jan 2003 13:06:13 CST, Charles Martin <rub...@bollocks.org>
wrote:

>> It's the last episode. All those stupid puzzles, with lines like Sarah's
>> weird technobabble explanation. It all suddenly goes a bit Colin Baker.
>
>This is the most amusing euphemism for "pear-shaped" I've ever heard.

*Holds up slightly soiled Timelash video. Cackles evilly*


MAPPY
"His brain sometimes stops working" - Chiyo, Azumanga Daioh

William December Starr

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Jan 6, 2003, 12:50:08 AM1/6/03
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In article <av9r1d$5ft$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>,

>> I've just got to episode one of Enlightenment, which is hugely
>> vastly wonderful so far.
>
> The worst thing I would say about it was that it led to a sense
> of disappointment when reading The Infinity Race because how
> could Messingham top Linda Baron as a female pirate buccaneering
> through space?

By not allowing Lynda Baron within five thousand miles of the
production?

(It's been years since I last watched "Enlightenment" so the
details are all faded, but I do remember absolutely hating her
performance.)

-- William December Starr <wds...@panix.com>

kor...@zipworld.com.au

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Jan 6, 2003, 1:24:02 AM1/6/03
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In article <avbd11$98r$1...@panix1.panix.com>,

William December Starr <wds...@panix.com> wrote:

>By not allowing Lynda Baron within five thousand miles of the
>production?
>
>(It's been years since I last watched "Enlightenment" so the
>details are all faded, but I do remember absolutely hating her
>performance.)

*looks shy* I kind of want to grow up to be her. :-)

Kate Orman <kor...@zip.com.au> http://www.zip.com.au/~korman/
"I have no idea what that meant." - Dot Warner

Cameron Mason

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Jan 6, 2003, 4:29:43 AM1/6/03
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<kor...@zipworld.com.au> wrote in message
news:avbf0c$iut$1...@zipperii.zip.com.au...

> In article <avbd11$98r$1...@panix1.panix.com>,
> William December Starr <wds...@panix.com> wrote:
>
> >By not allowing Lynda Baron within five thousand miles of the
> >production?
> >
> >(It's been years since I last watched "Enlightenment" so the
> >details are all faded, but I do remember absolutely hating her
> >performance.)
>
> *looks shy* I kind of want to grow up to be her. :-)

I bet you sing a mean version of "The Last Chance Salloon"...:)

Cameron
--
Dimensions in Crime

http://members.fortunecity.com/masomika/

http://members.fortunecity.com/jpcovers/


Bryan

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Jan 6, 2003, 8:54:45 AM1/6/03
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"Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message news:<av9p2o$3tl$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>...
> Other stories from my watchthrough I think are just about perfect in all
> respects:
>
> The Myth Makers, The Massacre, Evil of the Daleks, The Mind Robber,
> Mandragora, Pirate Planet, Androids of Tara, State of Decay (how do people
> miss that?!), Kinda of course, and I've just got to episode one of
> Enlightenment, which is hugely vastly wonderful so far.

I'm not familiar enough with the black and white ones to agree or
disagree, though I've got the audios of the Myth Makers and the
Massacre. I mostly agree with the colour ones, though I'd sub Fang
Rock for Mandragora. I still think Genesis is pretty hard to fault as
well. Can't agree with the Pirate Planet though, messy scriptwise and
ugly visually, and I don't actually think full-on Adams works in
Doctor Who.

I agree about Enlightenment, and would include the Visitation, though
by now 'perfect' is beyond hyperbole (ultrabole?). Nothing even 'very
very good' until Delta and the Bannermen (I'm serious, btw), then a
glut with Happiness Patrol, Remembrance and Fenric, in whichever order
they came. Mind you, I'd give an honourable mention to the Android
Invasion, so what do I know. From Pertwee I'd only really go for the
Time Warrior and Carnival of Monsters, though the Time Monster has it
all as well (again, I am serious).

I watched the colour stories in order a year to two back, on UK Gold,
and found no great variation in quality until season 22. There are
trends, and different elements coming through more strongly in
different eras, but the whole series stands up remarkably well. Then I
suppose that's why we're here.

Wembley

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Jan 6, 2003, 12:01:06 PM1/6/03
to

WDC:

>
>>By not allowing Lynda Baron within five thousand miles of the
>>production?
>
Kate:
> *looks shy* I kind of want to grow up to be her. :-)
>
> Kate Orman <kor...@zip.com.au> http://www.zip.com.au/~korman/

As someone who grew up knowing Linda Baron mostly from her performance
as Gladys Emmanuel from 'Open All Hours', I must say I have a deeply
odd mental image concerning flat caps, David Jason and a nurses uniform
now. Thanks Kate.

Wemb
--
If you take pleasure in criticism, it's time to hold your tongue.

.

Pete Galey

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Jan 6, 2003, 1:12:05 PM1/6/03
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Wembley <yel...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote in message news:<Xns92FAB6AFBCA48y...@195.8.68.207>...

> The puzzles *might* have been tolerable, if it weren't for the fact that
> they were just a repeat of the Exxilon city from Death to the Daleks -
> and are even descibed by Sarah as such.
>
> Oh, and just like in DttD and The Five Doctor's, they'd have trouble
> thwarting the average 11 year old with them, let alone a so-called
> scientist like the Doctor.
>
> It really does get a bit crappy at the end...
>
> Wemb

The "prisoner's dilemma" puzzle annoyed me, partly because it's so
independently famous that even if an eleven year old *couldn't* work
it out, they'd probably already know the answer... it's just padding.
Also ISTR from the camera angle the mummie's gesture is ambiguous, but
that could be my memory cheating.

I'm gratified, though faintly astonished, to find I'm not the only
person who thinks the ending is iffy... might I stick my neck out and
say that endings are often the Hinchcliffe story's weak points? Deadly
Assassin, for example, goes rather pear-shaped towards the last ten
minutes...

Hmm, I seem to be being very negative about Who this week, so, to get
back onto the subject of the thread, I think Inferno is pretty near
perfect.

Pete

--
"I hear there's been a major update over at Bipedal Giraffes."
"Then is doomsday near." www.peeet.btinternet.co.uk
Rosencrantz and Hamlet, Hamlet by William Shakespeare*
* not really

Steve Traylen

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Jan 6, 2003, 7:19:09 PM1/6/03
to


Where's Jason Miller when you need him...

Anyway Lynda's performance was positively oscar worthy compared to
Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee John's

Steve

Steve Traylen
Denver, Colorado
home.att.net/~steve.traylen/

Pete Galey

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Jan 6, 2003, 8:15:45 PM1/6/03
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kor...@zipworld.com.au wrote in message news:<avbf0c$iut$1...@zipperii.zip.com.au>...
> In article <avbd11$98r$1...@panix1.panix.com>,
> William December Starr <wds...@panix.com> wrote:
>
> >By not allowing Lynda Baron within five thousand miles of the
> >production?
> >
> >(It's been years since I last watched "Enlightenment" so the
> >details are all faded, but I do remember absolutely hating her
> >performance.)
>
> *looks shy* I kind of want to grow up to be her. :-)

Captain Wrach is *so* my mate Dee (and I, on some level, am a bit
Turlough) that I wouldn't dare criticise her for fear of being
thwapped.

Jonathan Blum

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Jan 6, 2003, 10:21:07 PM1/6/03
to
"Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message news:<av9qe4$4v1$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>...

> Apart from
> anything else, all the imagery built up in the proceeding episodes (which
> are also rather a runaround after the first one) is junked, and we get an
> illogical, unconnected ending that seems to have been written really
> quickly.

Well, to be fair, it *was*! Given that the whole story had to be
thought out, written, and rewritten in less than two months (even more
fraught than "Time and the Rani" or "The Leisure Hive"), I'm amazed
they made it work as well as it did. If you don't have the time to
sort out substance, at least you can get style...

Cheers,
Jon Blum

Pete Galey

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Jan 7, 2003, 12:09:31 AM1/7/03
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"Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:<av9p2o$3tl$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>...

[...interestin' stoof...]

> Other stories from my watchthrough I think are just about perfect in all
> respects:
>
> The Myth Makers, The Massacre, Evil of the Daleks, The Mind Robber,
> Mandragora, Pirate Planet, Androids of Tara, State of Decay (how do people
> miss that?!), Kinda of course, and I've just got to episode one of
> Enlightenment, which is hugely vastly wonderful so far.

I'm finding I agree with you rather a lot. I suppose I shouldn't find
that surprising, but for some strange reason I do... I wonder why?

I'm not quite won over by Mandragora, though, for some unaccountable
reason I found it a bit dull like time I watched it, but that was ages
and ages ago.

So Paul, what's your favourite Who story by Paul Cornell? Mine's Love
and War. ;-)

Nate Gundy

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Jan 7, 2003, 1:32:20 AM1/7/03
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"Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message news:<av9p2o$3tl$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>...

[lots o' stuff snipped]

>I got quite upset at how when Robert Holmes comes in as script
> editor, all that logic and care got chucked and we get messes like Pyramids
> of Mars, which ends like a car accident. Editing for meaning turns into
> editing for spectacle, and story values go out of the window.

I agree that Holmes' tenure does turn up some pretty gaping plotholes,
and yet...

I remember a conversation with you in which you mentioned how Planet
of the Dalek's has a much tighter plot than Genesis and doesn't rely
on too much getting captured again and again and again. However, now
having watched both stories, I still find Genesis far more
entertaining.

True, part of that is because of a fresher Doctor, great production
values and a star turn by Michael Wisher. However, whereas Dicks gave
Nation's 'Planet' Shape, Holmes gave Nation's 'Genesis' Soul. I doubt
very much that we would have had such a memorable villain in Davros,
such great moments for Tom, and generally such an epic feel for the
whole story, were it not for Holmes. Sure, the plot's a mess and the
whole *point* of the story isn't even very clear at all, and yes it
would be miles better had Holmes had Dicks' talent for plotting in
addition to his own flare for drama, but in the end I'm not at all
surprised that Genesis is the one more celebrated by fandom.

The general pacing, direction and editing of most Who episodes make
plot less important for me. Suspense is very rarely acheived. So
it's more the atmosphere, performances and dialogue which keep me
watching. Still, I agree that sometimes the soft plotting just went
too far, and in a perfect world all the stories would be as sensibly
plotted as those under Dicks' tenure.

And in the novels I think plotting is far more important and I'm glad
authors aren't allowed to get away with the stuff Holmes did. I'm
glad the Big Finish audios are kept under a tighter reign too.

I'm not excusing Holmes' failings in that department, but I can't say
I'm shocked that he's still regarded as highly as he is.

Cheers,
Nate Gundy

Paul Cornell

unread,
Jan 7, 2003, 4:47:25 AM1/7/03
to
Nate Gundy wrote in message
<54973f51.03010...@posting.google.com>...

>"Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:<av9p2o$3tl$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>...
>
>I remember a conversation with you in which you mentioned how Planet
>of the Dalek's has a much tighter plot than Genesis and doesn't rely
>on too much getting captured again and again and again. However, now
>having watched both stories, I still find Genesis far more
>entertaining.


These days I really rather like them both. Planet is genuinely exciting,
and Genesis has that form of storytelling never tried on Who before or
after, of the epic, where a lot of time passes and characters run on almost
like they're in a musical, to define a big event with a few gestures, and
then go again. I think it gains a great deal of momentum when they start
doing this bigtime around episode three.

>The general pacing, direction and editing of most Who episodes make
>plot less important for me. Suspense is very rarely acheived.

Actual excitement for an adult is pretty rare, too. The shuttle crash in
Invisible Enemy woke me up, as did the two time lines of Mawdryn part two
and the first episode of the (otherwise terribly put together) Terminus.

So
>it's more the atmosphere, performances and dialogue which keep me
>watching. Still, I agree that sometimes the soft plotting just went
>too far, and in a perfect world all the stories would be as sensibly
>plotted as those under Dicks' tenure.


I just think that you don't have to choose. In the greater world of
television, what Dicks did is the base from which everything else grew, the
basic assumption, that the stories make sense. Under some script editors
after him, that basic request doesn't apply, which seems to me to be just
incompetence, because it's hard to see how excellence can be built on
nothing.


The Cannnibal Flower

unread,
Jan 8, 2003, 6:38:48 AM1/8/03
to
On Tue, 7 Jan 2003 03:47:25 CST, "Paul Cornell"
<paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> verbalised:

>Nate Gundy wrote in message
><54973f51.03010...@posting.google.com>...
>>"Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
>news:<av9p2o$3tl$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>...
>>
>>I remember a conversation with you in which you mentioned how Planet
>>of the Dalek's has a much tighter plot than Genesis and doesn't rely
>>on too much getting captured again and again and again. However, now
>>having watched both stories, I still find Genesis far more
>>entertaining.
>
>
>These days I really rather like them both. Planet is genuinely exciting,
>and Genesis has that form of storytelling never tried on Who before or
>after, of the epic, where a lot of time passes and characters run on almost
>like they're in a musical, to define a big event with a few gestures, and
>then go again. I think it gains a great deal of momentum when they start
>doing this bigtime around episode three.

My thoughts on Planet when I last watched it:

The basic premise of the Daleks building a huge staging post on the
top of a dangerously unstable volcano is crazy, IIRC my basic Geology
volcanos are formed on the edge of tectonic plates and when the plates
move away from each other the lava (or in this case Ice) is forced up
through the gap, so this means that the Daleks choose to build a base
on the top of geologically unstable area, which would also be liable
earthquakes!!!!

If this is a temporary short-term staging post, why bother freezing
the army?

If it is a long term storage area (and is it really believable that
the Daleks would put 10,000 Daleks out of commission long-term?) then
why on earth would the Daleks build it directly on the top of
geologically unstable area? If the Daleks have the technology to build
a time machine in The Chase or drive a planet around in DIoE then they
do not have to rely on an Icecano to provide the cooling, and even
then the icecano surely would not get anywhere near cold enough to
cryogenically freeze a living being.

The acting from the Thals is wooden, the script delivers the anti-war
message with the subtly of a sledgehammer, its padded to hell and the
Daleks here are plain stupid, none of the intelligence shown the
Troughton stories.

0/10


>
>>The general pacing, direction and editing of most Who episodes make
>>plot less important for me. Suspense is very rarely acheived.
>
>Actual excitement for an adult is pretty rare, too. The shuttle crash in
>Invisible Enemy woke me up, as did the two time lines of Mawdryn part two
>and the first episode of the (otherwise terribly put together) Terminus.
>
>So
>>it's more the atmosphere, performances and dialogue which keep me
>>watching. Still, I agree that sometimes the soft plotting just went
>>too far, and in a perfect world all the stories would be as sensibly
>>plotted as those under Dicks' tenure.
>
>
>I just think that you don't have to choose. In the greater world of
>television, what Dicks did is the base from which everything else grew, the
>basic assumption, that the stories make sense. Under some script editors
>after him, that basic request doesn't apply, which seems to me to be just
>incompetence, because it's hard to see how excellence can be built on
>nothing.

There is a case for style over substance though - there is no style in
the Letts era at all. For instance in the astonishingly bad anti-war
preaches by the Doctor in Planet, on environmentalism in The Green
Death, on mining in The Monster of Peladon, the generally poor to
appalling (even for the time) use of SFX - season 11 we have Invasion
off the Dinos, season 13 we have Planet of Evil. Even Pertwee looks
disinterested, bored and desperately waiting for the 10 O`Clock
lights-out in pretty much every Letts production IMHO - such a shame
after the obvious quality of Season 7.

The Letts era simply fails to deliver on pretty much any level IMHO.

The sheer style and quality of the Hinchcliffe era means IMHO that you
can watch any story from that era and simply be so engrossed and
captivated by the story, the performances and the sheer quality that
you don`t feel the need to try and pick holes in it at all.

A perfect non-who example for me is the Shawshank Redemption, one of
my all time favorite films and recently votes in the top 5 greatest
films of all time on a C4 poll IIRC - the idea that you can hide a
gigantic 3 foot hole in the wall for decades just by having a poster
over the front is ludicrous, but it is still a brilliant film - the
same applies to pretty much all the Hinchcliffe stories IMHO.

--

You pit you puny will against mine?
In my presence you are an ant, a termite.
Abase yourself you groveling insect!

-Sutekh, Dr Who - The Pyramids of Mars

Jonathan Blum

unread,
Jan 8, 2003, 6:52:00 AM1/8/03
to
"Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message news:<av9p2o$3tl$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>...
> I do rather, these days. This is a result of my watch-through. What I love
> about the Letts/Dicks period is the standard of script editing.
> Everything's made to work as a logical, solid, story.

I wouldn't go that far -- as you've pointed out in the past, a lot of
the logic was filled in after the fact by Terrance in his
novelizations. You did say you were leaving out Sloman's stuff, but
the same sort of leaping-to-the-next-set-piece stuff is there in
Holmes' Pertwee scripts as well, and Bob & Dave's (possibly barring
"The Mutants", which I've seen a grand total of twice in 20 years).
And while I'll definitely grant you that something like "Colony In
Space" is logical, the script is a real case of logic unencumbered by
tension, drama, or style.

For me, the Pertwee scripts which work are the ones which damn the
torpedoes and go full steam ahead -- "The Silurians", which changes
direction almost at random towards the end but keeps throwing new
ideas at the viewer; "The Ambassadors of Death", which is full of
24-esque logic holes but keeps startling you with each new episode;
even "The Daemons", whose plot problems I've picked over in detail in
the past, is often really entertaining on a minute-by-minute basis.

Still, it's a weird sort of common ground between the Pertwee and
McCoy eras that in both cases their writers generally improved things
dramatically for the novelization! :-)

Cheers,
Jon Blum

Nate Gundy

unread,
Jan 8, 2003, 6:52:07 AM1/8/03
to
"Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message news:<ave50p$vsv$1...@news6.svr.pol.co.uk>...

> I just think that you don't have to choose. In the greater world of
> television, what Dicks did is the base from which everything else grew, the
> basic assumption, that the stories make sense.

Agreed. And it certainly helps a story hold up after one has
re-watched it several times over.

Of course, in the Seventies, none of them were meant to be re-watched
several times over. Funny, isn't it, considering all the work and
expense that went into making them (I *am* serious, btw).

-Nate

Luke Curtis

unread,
Jan 10, 2003, 3:39:25 AM1/10/03
to
On Tue, 7 Jan 2003 03:47:25 CST, "Paul Cornell"
<paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> verbalised:

>Nate Gundy wrote in message


><54973f51.03010...@posting.google.com>...
>>"Paul Cornell" <paulc...@owlservice.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
>news:<av9p2o$3tl$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>...
>>
>>I remember a conversation with you in which you mentioned how Planet
>>of the Dalek's has a much tighter plot than Genesis and doesn't rely
>>on too much getting captured again and again and again. However, now
>>having watched both stories, I still find Genesis far more
>>entertaining.
>
>
>These days I really rather like them both. Planet is genuinely exciting,
>and Genesis has that form of storytelling never tried on Who before or
>after, of the epic, where a lot of time passes and characters run on almost
>like they're in a musical, to define a big event with a few gestures, and
>then go again. I think it gains a great deal of momentum when they start
>doing this bigtime around episode three.

My thoughts on Planet when I last watched it:

The basic premise of the Daleks building a huge staging post on the
top of a dangerously unstable volcano is crazy, IIRC my basic Geology
volcanos are formed on the edge of tectonic plates and when the plates
move away from each other the lava (or in this case Ice) is forced up
through the gap, so this means that the Daleks choose to build a base
on the top of geologically unstable area, which would also be liable
earthquakes!!!!

If this is a temporary short-term staging post, why bother freezing
the army?

If it is a long term storage area (and is it really believable that
the Daleks would put 10,000 Daleks out of commission long-term?) then
why on earth would the Daleks build it directly on the top of
geologically unstable area? If the Daleks have the technology to build
a time machine in The Chase or drive a planet around in DIoE then they
do not have to rely on an Icecano to provide the cooling, and even
then the icecano surely would not get anywhere near cold enough to
cryogenically freeze a living being.

The acting from the Thals is wooden, the script delivers the anti-war
message with the subtly of a sledgehammer, its padded to hell and the
Daleks here are plain stupid, none of the intelligence shown the
Troughton stories.

0/10


>


>>The general pacing, direction and editing of most Who episodes make
>>plot less important for me. Suspense is very rarely acheived.
>
>Actual excitement for an adult is pretty rare, too. The shuttle crash in
>Invisible Enemy woke me up, as did the two time lines of Mawdryn part two
>and the first episode of the (otherwise terribly put together) Terminus.
>
>So
>>it's more the atmosphere, performances and dialogue which keep me
>>watching. Still, I agree that sometimes the soft plotting just went
>>too far, and in a perfect world all the stories would be as sensibly
>>plotted as those under Dicks' tenure.
>
>
>I just think that you don't have to choose. In the greater world of
>television, what Dicks did is the base from which everything else grew, the
>basic assumption, that the stories make sense. Under some script editors
>after him, that basic request doesn't apply, which seems to me to be just
>incompetence, because it's hard to see how excellence can be built on
>nothing.

There is a case for style over substance though - there is no style in


the Letts era at all. For instance in the astonishingly bad anti-war
preaches by the Doctor in Planet, on environmentalism in The Green
Death, on mining in The Monster of Peladon, the generally poor to
appalling (even for the time) use of SFX - season 11 we have Invasion
off the Dinos, season 13 we have Planet of Evil. Even Pertwee looks
disinterested, bored and desperately waiting for the 10 O`Clock
lights-out in pretty much every Letts production IMHO - such a shame
after the obvious quality of Season 7.

The Letts era simply fails to deliver on pretty much any level IMHO.

The sheer style and quality of the Hinchcliffe era means IMHO that you
can watch any story from that era and simply be so engrossed and
captivated by the story, the performances and the sheer quality that
you don`t feel the need to try and pick holes in it at all.

A perfect non-who example for me is the Shawshank Redemption, one of
my all time favorite films and recently votes in the top 5 greatest
films of all time on a C4 poll IIRC - the idea that you can hide a
gigantic 3 foot hole in the wall for decades just by having a poster
over the front is ludicrous, but it is still a brilliant film - the
same applies to pretty much all the Hinchcliffe stories IMHO.

--

e-mail to aoxr19[AT]dsl[DOT]pipex[DOT}com,
*not* the above

Charles Martin

unread,
Jan 10, 2003, 10:10:52 PM1/10/03
to
In article <avbf0c$iut$1...@zipperii.zip.com.au>, kor...@zipworld.com.au
wrote:

> In article <avbd11$98r$1...@panix1.panix.com>,
> William December Starr <wds...@panix.com> wrote:
>
> >By not allowing Lynda Baron within five thousand miles of the
> >production?
> >
> >(It's been years since I last watched "Enlightenment" so the
> >details are all faded, but I do remember absolutely hating her
> >performance.)
>
> *looks shy* I kind of want to grow up to be her. :-)

For the most part, Kate, I think you succeeded -- and that's intended as
a compliment. :)

Alden Bates

unread,
Jan 11, 2003, 12:21:25 AM1/11/03
to
Charles Martin <rub...@bollocks.org> wrote:

>kor...@zipworld.com.au wrote:
>
>> William December Starr <wds...@panix.com> wrote:
>> >By not allowing Lynda Baron within five thousand miles of the
>> >production?
>>

>> *looks shy* I kind of want to grow up to be her. :-)
>
>For the most part, Kate, I think you succeeded -- and that's intended as
>a compliment. :)

Does that mean we get to hear Kate's redition of The Ballad of the
Last Chance Saloon during the Gallifrey Cabaret? If so, I for one
cannot wait. :)

Alden
--
____ _ ___
/ | |_| | _ ` http://www.tetrap.com/drwho/
/ ' | _ | _ ` New Zealand DW Fan Club, Mel Bush,
/_/|_|_| |_|___/ The DiscContinuity Guide and more!

Jim Vowles

unread,
Jan 11, 2003, 10:09:21 AM1/11/03
to
kor...@zipworld.com.au wrote in message news:<avbf0c$iut$1...@zipperii.zip.com.au>...
> In article <avbd11$98r$1...@panix1.panix.com>,
> William December Starr <wds...@panix.com> wrote:
>
> >By not allowing Lynda Baron within five thousand miles of the
> >production?
> >
> >(It's been years since I last watched "Enlightenment" so the
> >details are all faded, but I do remember absolutely hating her
> >performance.)
>
> *looks shy* I kind of want to grow up to be her. :-)

Too late, Kate. You grew up to be a novelist, not a pirate. And I'm
afraid that you're unlikely to get any taller, so I guess you're as
grown up as you are likely to get. :)

-Jim

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