Robert Holmes: Overrated?

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jfu...@my-dejanews.com

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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I have watched DW since 1987, when I was a mere seven years old. Since I
live in the United States, I have thus managed to watch a repeat of every
still- existing complete DW story. (On a side note, I have also managed to
see a couple of isolated episodes presented in the various "Years" tapes.)
But I have yet to figure out what exactly was so wonderful about the writing
of Robert Holmes. Somebody please help me.

Is it just because Robert Holmes wrote for 5 of the 8 doctors that he gets so
much positive attention? Although he wrote some good stories -- "The Caves
of Androzani" springs immediately to mind -- they don't make up for the many
duds he wrote. Not to mention the racist subtext to his work . . .(You can
see it in the pro-imperialist "Ark in Space"; the patronizing "Talons of
Weng-Chiang"; the attack of the Doctor by a "strong, silent" African circus
man in "Terror of the Autons"; the lack of positive minority characters in
each and every one of his stories -- correct me if I'm wrong; and the
anti-Androgum bias which even the Doctor exhibits in "The Two Doctors" when
he doesn't even know yet that the Androgum are behind anything bad. There
are probably more examples which just haven't occurred to me yet.)

"Androzani" would not even have been as good as it was if Graeme Harper
hadn't taken it to another level with his expert direction. I like "The Ark
in Space," but I dislike the way it idealizes the human race when the Wirrn
were the victims of Earth imperialism. "Terror of the Autons" has some good,
frightening visuals, but the ending is a complete anti-climax. "Spearhead
from Space" (that was written by Holmes, right?) is OK, but OK is about it.
It isn't even the best story of Season Seven -- which has to be "Inferno" by
Don Houghton. "The Deadly Assasin" is great, but one classic does not a good
writer make. "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" is spoiled by its racism.

As for the other Holmes stories, how are they examples of awesome writing?
The dialogue is good at times, but the stories themselves aren't. I mean,
come on, "The Krotons"? "The Space Pirates"? "The Two Doctors"? (The
Doctor killing Shockeye with cyanide? Oscar the completely unrealistic
restauranteur/actor? The Second Doctor being on a mission for the Time Lords?
Jamie just sort of breathing heavily for an entire episode, not even hearing
the Doctor and Peri talking about things he should recognize?) "The
Mysterious Planet" with the two idiots in there with Drathro? (What a
terrible attempt at humor!) "The Time Warrior" (it introduces the Sontarans
and Sarah Jane Smith, but the actual story isn't very compelling)?

Let's see, what else did Holmes write? I'm probably missing a few stories.

"Trial" episode 13 is good, but it's just one episode.

I can't remember the rest of what Holmes wrote, but you get my point.

I don't see why Robert Holmes has been virtually canonized when people hardly
ever discuss Robert Sloman, Don Houghton, Christopher Bailey, Louis Marks, or
even Pip and Jane Baker, to name just a few writers who actually delivered
consistent quality stories.

I look forward to reading replies -- I hope there are some! -- particularly
from those who disagree. I will respect your opinion, whatever it is. I
love reading different perspectives on DW.

Jim C. Fung

-----------== Posted via Deja News, The Discussion Network ==----------
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Keith Bradbury

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> I have watched DW since 1987, when I was a mere seven years old. Since I
> live in the United States, I have thus managed to watch a repeat of every
> still- existing complete DW story. (On a side note, I have also managed to
> see a couple of isolated episodes presented in the various "Years" tapes.)
> But I have yet to figure out what exactly was so wonderful about the writing
> of Robert Holmes. Somebody please help me.
>

I'm sorry, but I'm not licensed to practice psychology. It sounds to me like you
need a really good shrink. Pro-imperialism in Ark in Space??? Let me guess,
you're a plant for the People's Republic of China, right? The "patronizing Talons
of Weng-Chiang" happens to be my wife's favorite Doctor Who story (and she's
Chinese). And yes, I suppose that the "strong, silent" African circus man is
totally off base...I have lots of friends who are black and I wouldn't
characterize any of them as "silent."

If you don't like the number of positive minority characters who show up in his
story, perhaps it would be best to blame casting from time to time and remember
that this was filmed in England, not in Uganda. I don't go to Malaysia and
complain that there aren't enough "positive portrayals of caucasians on their TV"
(Malaysia is my wife's home country). In fact, usually there aren't ANY
portrayals of caucasians, apart from the evening news when Al Gore sticks his
foot in his mouth and offends everyone (then the portrayal of caucasians is
anything but positive).

Here's the clip I'm responding to:

>
> Is it just because Robert Holmes wrote for 5 of the 8 doctors that he gets so
> much positive attention? Although he wrote some good stories -- "The Caves
> of Androzani" springs immediately to mind -- they don't make up for the many
> duds he wrote. Not to mention the racist subtext to his work . . .(You can
> see it in the pro-imperialist "Ark in Space"; the patronizing "Talons of
> Weng-Chiang"; the attack of the Doctor by a "strong, silent" African circus
> man in "Terror of the Autons"; the lack of positive minority characters in
> each and every one of his stories -- correct me if I'm wrong; and the
> anti-Androgum bias which even the Doctor exhibits in "The Two Doctors" when
> he doesn't even know yet that the Androgum are behind anything bad. There
> are probably more examples which just haven't occurred to me yet.)

Oh, and about Androgums, if you don't like "bad aliens," perhaps you should watch
Star Trek: Next Generation more. They are full of bland, misunderstood aliens who
are really nice people once you get to know them (or disconnect them from their
collective, like the Borg).

Sarcastically (but lovingly) yours,
Keith Bradbury


Alden Bates

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
> "Trial" episode 13 is good, but it's just one episode.

Can I bitch about Mel's portrayal in this episode? (This is the
Internet, of course I can)

Yes, a new companion, and was does Robert do? He strands her in the
courtroom while the Doctor goes into the Matrix with one of Holmes' own
creations! Talk about playing favourites! Poor Mel didn't get a chance
until Pip and Jane were bought in! If we'd gotten a Holmes authored
Episode 14, would Mel have ever joined the Doctor in the Matrix?

I'm not even touching on the rather pithy "There's nothing wrong with my
voice" gag, or the "I'm as truthful, honest and boring as they come"
line....

Alden.

Philip Craggs

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

I don't see why Robert Holmes has been virtually canonized when people
hardly
> ever discuss Robert Sloman, Don Houghton, Christopher Bailey, Louis Marks, or
> even Pip and Jane Baker, to name just a few writers who actually delivered
> consistent quality stories.
>
> I look forward to reading replies -- I hope there are some! -- particularly
> from those who disagree. I will respect your opinion, whatever it is. I
> love reading different perspectives on DW.
>
> Jim C. Fung

To be honest i've never really considered his stories racist. At which
point in Ark in Space does he promote imperialism? He states what has
happened, not whethr the society is good or not. Yes, 'Talons...' has a
couple of racist overtones but so does Sherlock Holmes (trust me, i've
read ever Holmes story Doyle ever wrote), where most foreigners are up
to no good. Yet these stories are regarded as classics. I think that the
problem is that people think in generalisations. Just because the
Chinese were evil in Talons... doesn't mean he was trying to say that
they are evil everywhere. it's like saying that because the Rani is
evil, all women are too.

I think that Rob Holmes is an excellent writer. Yes, there are one or
two duds but i wouldn't put 'The 2 Doctors' in that catergory. The
Doctor knows what Androgums are like, (one tries to eat Jamie at one
point, and Peri later on) but he only kills Shockeye because he was
wounded and couldn't run anymore. I can't see that he had any choice.

As for the other writers you mentioned, Robert Slowman wrote a couple of
duds too. Holmes can get away with the odd dud because he wrote so many
good stories. Slowman wrote 4, but that included 'The Time Monster'.
I'll say no more. Don Houghton and Chris Bailey only wrote two each
which is no indication of consistancy and Louis Marks wrota a couple of
average stories. Pip and Jane Baker were responsible for 'Time and the
Rani'.

I think most of the consistantly good writers came with the NA's.
However, Terrence Dudley and Peter Grimwade wrote some good stories
(Time Flight is NOT that bad) as did Christopher H. Bidmead. Stephen
Wyatt was good, and Marc Platt and Ben Aaronovitch have proven their
credentials with the NA's.

Viddy yer later,
Phil
http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Stargate/3694/

Philip Craggs

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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Which were written by Pip and Jane Baker...

Alden Bates

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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Philip Craggs wrote:

> Alden Bates wrote:
> > I'm not even touching on the rather pithy "There's nothing wrong with my
> > voice" gag, or the "I'm as truthful, honest and boring as they come"
> > line....
>
> Which were written by Pip and Jane Baker...

Er, I'm sure from reading bits in DWM that Pip and Jane didn't touch
episode 13 at all (for legal reasons....)

But the main part of my bitch stands. ;-)

Alden.

Alan Burns

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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On Mon, 07 Dec 1998 05:50:44 GMT, jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

>But I have yet to figure out what exactly was so wonderful about the writing
>of Robert Holmes. Somebody please help me.

I agree to a certain extent. I think Robert Holmes was both one of
the best and one of the worst writers on the show, depending on what
particular period you're talking about. He got off to a bad start in
Season 6, but he really started coming into his own in the Pertwee
era. By the early Baker years, I'd say he was as accomplished and
seasoned a writer as ever worked on the show. By Season 22, however,
his well of ideas seemed to have run dry and he was writing more in
the vein of his Season 6 work than 'Deadly Assassin.' Heck, now that
I think of it, 'Mysterious Planet' was just a re-hash of 'The
Krotons.' :-)

>Not to mention the racist subtext to his work . . .(You can
>see it in the pro-imperialist "Ark in Space";

I can see why you might think that, but I think there's another spin
that could be put on it. I think the scene in the solar stack room is
one of the reasons why I like 'Ark' so much -- it paints the Wirrn as
a real and somewhat sympathetic race. They were victimized by human
imperialism and driven out of their home, and they were forced to move
out into other parts of the galaxy to survive. I don't think Holmes
was defending human imperialism, but rather making the point that had
it not been for imperialism, this problem never would have come about.
Humans created their own predicament. I would view 'Ark' as a lesson
in "what goes around comes around."

>the patronizing "Talons of
>Weng-Chiang"; the attack of the Doctor by a "strong, silent" African circus
>man in "Terror of the Autons"; the lack of positive minority characters in
>each and every one of his stories

I won't say that you're not correct, but I would point out that that
problem wasn't unique to Holmes's work. It occurred throughout the
series. Look at Toberman in 'Tomb of the Cybermen,' Kemel in "Evil of
the Daleks,' and (I forget her name -- the Chinese diplomat's
assistant) in 'Mind of Evil.' They were all very stereotypical
characters. The portrayal of minority characters was a widespread
problem generally, so I don't think it's entirely fair to lay the
blame solely at Holmes's feet.

>"Terror of the Autons" has some good,
>frightening visuals, but the ending is a complete anti-climax.

As much as I like that story, I have to agree. The ending is a
complete cop-out. The Master spends months (years?) planning the
Auton invasion, only to change his mind and foil it in the final
seconds because the Doctor says he'll be killed, too. Say what?

>"The Talons of Weng-Chiang" is spoiled by its racism.

Again, I'm not saying that you're not right, but the story *was* set
in Victorian London where people didn't share the same values that we
have in 1998. This is a criticism that's pretty regularly leveled at
'Talons,' but personally I think it would have been pretty weird to
see a lot of warm and fuzzy attitudes toward Chinese in that kind of
setting.

>Let's see, what else did Holmes write? I'm probably missing a few stories.

'Sun Makers.' Economic imperialism once again rears its ugly head.

>I don't see why Robert Holmes has been virtually canonized when people hardly
>ever discuss Robert Sloman, Don Houghton, Christopher Bailey, Louis Marks, or
>even Pip and Jane Baker,

<Gasp!!!> Pip and Jane???? Oh well, to each his own, I suppose. :-)


Regards,

Alan Burns
aburns <at> olemiss <dot> edu
University of Mississippi School of Law
http://www.olemiss.edu/~aburns

Alex Lee

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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> jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> > I have watched DW since 1987, when I was a mere seven years old. Since I
> > live in the United States, I have thus managed to watch a repeat of every
> > still- existing complete DW story. (On a side note, I have also managed to
> > see a couple of isolated episodes presented in the various "Years" tapes.)

> > But I have yet to figure out what exactly was so wonderful about the writing
> > of Robert Holmes. Somebody please help me.
> >
>

> > duds he wrote. Not to mention the racist subtext to his work . . .(You can
> > see it in the pro-imperialist "Ark in Space"; the patronizing "Talons of


> > Weng-Chiang"; the attack of the Doctor by a "strong, silent" African circus
> > man in "Terror of the Autons"; the lack of positive minority characters in

> > each and every one of his stories -- correct me if I'm wrong; and the
> > anti-Androgum bias which even the Doctor exhibits in "The Two Doctors" when
> > he doesn't even know yet that the Androgum are behind anything bad. There
> > are probably more examples which just haven't occurred to me yet.)


Can't an African be a "strong silent man"? I really don't see a problem there.

LaTeR!

Paul Ebbs

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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>>I don't see why Robert Holmes has been virtually canonized when people
hardly
ever discuss Robert Sloman, Don Houghton, Christopher Bailey, Louis Marks,
or
even Pip and Jane Baker, to name just a few writers who actually delivered
consistent quality stories.<<

Ya almost had me - there was I thinking, well there's some nice points,
here, well thought out, let's go for the erudite reply and then that! (see
above) I mean, mentioning Pip and Jane Baker in the same breath as Holmes is
bad enough, but saying their stories were of higher quality. Reality check
needed, sir I'm afraid. Look past the racism of Talons (I mean that's what
is was *like* then - and no, I'm not condoning it) and then tell me Terror
of the Vervoids is worthy enough to wipe Talon's shoes clean. No way.

P&J B are perpetrators of some of the worst crimes of taste, technobabble,
story-telling and plot construction in the history of the series. Give me
the Krotons any day over anything they have written.

Some nice points Jim, but a taste bypass I'm afraid :-)

pauly
Season27
A brand new series of Doctor Who adventures on CD.
http://www.timelord.demon.co.uk/


--
pauly
Season27
A brand new series of Doctor Who adventures on CD.
http://www.timelord.demon.co.uk/
jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote in message
<74fqbk$pc5$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...


>I have watched DW since 1987, when I was a mere seven years old. Since I
>live in the United States, I have thus managed to watch a repeat of every
>still- existing complete DW story. (On a side note, I have also managed to
>see a couple of isolated episodes presented in the various "Years" tapes.)
>But I have yet to figure out what exactly was so wonderful about the
writing
>of Robert Holmes. Somebody please help me.
>

>Is it just because Robert Holmes wrote for 5 of the 8 doctors that he gets
so
>much positive attention? Although he wrote some good stories -- "The Caves
>of Androzani" springs immediately to mind -- they don't make up for the
many
>duds he wrote. Not to mention the racist subtext to his work . . .(You can
>see it in the pro-imperialist "Ark in Space"; the patronizing "Talons of
>Weng-Chiang"; the attack of the Doctor by a "strong, silent" African circus
>man in "Terror of the Autons"; the lack of positive minority characters in
>each and every one of his stories -- correct me if I'm wrong; and the
>anti-Androgum bias which even the Doctor exhibits in "The Two Doctors" when
>he doesn't even know yet that the Androgum are behind anything bad. There
>are probably more examples which just haven't occurred to me yet.)
>

>"Androzani" would not even have been as good as it was if Graeme Harper
>hadn't taken it to another level with his expert direction. I like "The
Ark
>in Space," but I dislike the way it idealizes the human race when the Wirrn

>were the victims of Earth imperialism. "Terror of the Autons" has some
good,


>frightening visuals, but the ending is a complete anti-climax. "Spearhead
>from Space" (that was written by Holmes, right?) is OK, but OK is about it.
>It isn't even the best story of Season Seven -- which has to be "Inferno"
by
>Don Houghton. "The Deadly Assasin" is great, but one classic does not a
good
>writer make. "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" is spoiled by its racism.
>
>As for the other Holmes stories, how are they examples of awesome writing?
>The dialogue is good at times, but the stories themselves aren't. I mean,
>come on, "The Krotons"? "The Space Pirates"? "The Two Doctors"? (The
>Doctor killing Shockeye with cyanide? Oscar the completely unrealistic
>restauranteur/actor? The Second Doctor being on a mission for the Time
Lords?
> Jamie just sort of breathing heavily for an entire episode, not even
hearing
>the Doctor and Peri talking about things he should recognize?) "The
>Mysterious Planet" with the two idiots in there with Drathro? (What a
>terrible attempt at humor!) "The Time Warrior" (it introduces the
Sontarans
>and Sarah Jane Smith, but the actual story isn't very compelling)?
>

>Let's see, what else did Holmes write? I'm probably missing a few stories.
>

>"Trial" episode 13 is good, but it's just one episode.
>

>I can't remember the rest of what Holmes wrote, but you get my point.
>

>I don't see why Robert Holmes has been virtually canonized when people
hardly
>ever discuss Robert Sloman, Don Houghton, Christopher Bailey, Louis Marks,
or

>even Pip and Jane Baker, to name just a few writers who actually delivered
>consistent quality stories.
>
>I look forward to reading replies -- I hope there are some! -- particularly
>from those who disagree. I will respect your opinion, whatever it is. I
>love reading different perspectives on DW.
>
>Jim C. Fung
>

rwh...@nr.infi.net

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to
>Is it just because Robert Holmes wrote for 5 of the 8 doctors that he gets so
>much positive attention? Although he wrote some good stories -- "The Caves
>of Androzani" springs immediately to mind -- they don't make up for the many
>duds he wrote. Not to mention the racist subtext to his work . . .(You can
>see it in the pro-imperialist "Ark in Space"; the patronizing "Talons of
>Weng-Chiang"; the attack of the Doctor by a "strong, silent" African circus
>man in "Terror of the Autons"; the lack of positive minority characters in
>each and every one of his stories -- correct me if I'm wrong; and the
>anti-Androgum bias which even the Doctor exhibits in "The Two Doctors" when
>he doesn't even know yet that the Androgum are behind anything bad. There
>are probably more examples which just haven't occurred to me yet.)

I once did a study of "audience figures" PER SEASON, by author, for which
one might reasonably assume that the other programs on other channels "up against"
Doctor Who were constant during the one season. Robert Holmes did not get the
highest firgure ever: that went to Douglas Adams for the story shot in Paris, but
Adams also did "Pirate Planet" which actually got below average figures for the
excellent "Key to Time" season. Of those authors writing "enough" stories so that
an average seemed even remotely sensible / stable, Robert Holmes scored the highest
in viewing figures. Somewhere out there, there were some stories that people
liked to watch. I also happen to like the "Time Warrior."
--------------------------------------------------------------
"I would predict that there are far greater mistakes waiting
to be made by someone with your obvious talent for it."
Orac to Vila. [City at the Edge of the World.]
-----------------------------------------------
R.W. Hutchinson. | rwh...@nr.infi.net


Bob

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to

> I once did a study of "audience figures" PER SEASON, by author,
for which
> one might reasonably assume that the other programs on other channels
"up against"
> Doctor Who were constant during the one season. Robert Holmes did not get the
> highest firgure ever: that went to Douglas Adams for the story shot in
Paris, but
> Adams also did "Pirate Planet" which actually got below average figures
for the
> excellent "Key to Time" season. Of those authors writing "enough"
stories so that
> an average seemed even remotely sensible / stable, Robert Holmes scored
the highest
> in viewing figures. Somewhere out there, there were some stories that people
> liked to watch. I also happen to like the "Time Warrior."


Don't forget that City of Death (which I happen to love) only got those
enormous viewing figures because ITV was off the air at the time due to
industrial action and there was simply nothing else to watch.


Bob

tburnett

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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Can't an African be a "strong silent man"?  I really don't see a problem there.
Right on.

Bob Holmes is one of my all time Doctor Who writers ever.
Sure some of his stories haven't been the best- but who can write masterpiece after masterpiece? There's a bad apple in every basket.
As for being racist? I've never heard such utter rubbish in all my life. Today may be a whole lot better- racism is dealt with far better- attitudes have changed. Lot's of things have changed. Do you, honestly believe that all that would be in the past if we were to go back?
No! That's like asking if there were TVs, Space shuttles and Aeroplanes! All of thesr things had to be achieved through the ages. Tolerance has adapted and life does become that little bit better. But it is what happened.
Why in Remembrance Of The Daleks, that guy spoke of his Grandfather being a cane cutter. Woah! I can't see how mary whitehouse passed that one- by your logic it's racist.
Let me put something to you- Robert Holmes is a fantastic writer. That is my opinion. You are entitled to believe what you want- as your taste is your own and I do not dispute that. However I dispute incorrect information on which you judge him. That is very wrong.
As for Pip And Jane- I do like Terror Of The Vervoids- but it's hardly scary is it? I mean a 4 year old would prefer that to talons any day. Talons is darker, less light headed and far, far more advanced and superior in many ways. As Paul said, The Krotons is far better. The Autons rocked- we wouldn't have them if it weren't for bob- he established lots of Gallifrey (Eye of Harmony, Chapters etc) before that they were all powerful and god-like, and he handled Doctor Who very well.
Oh and BTW- compare the worst Bob Holmes story to "Time and the Rani."
- Daniel Burnett

Ben Woodhams

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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Bob wrote:
>
> Don't forget that City of Death (which I happen to love) only got those
> enormous viewing figures because ITV was off the air at the time due to
> industrial action and there was simply nothing else to watch.

And, in a leafy London Suburb, a small child named Ben was transfixed to
the screen. And as Julian Glover tore his face off, a Who fan was
born...

Thank God for Industrial Action.

ben w.
--
"I know only that I exist - everything else is just my opinion."

Tim Roll-Pickering

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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Philip Craggs wrote:

> > I'm not even touching on the rather pithy "There's nothing wrong with my
> > voice" gag, or the "I'm as truthful, honest and boring as they come"
> > line....

> Which were written by Pip and Jane Baker...

I thought they made no contribution at all to part 13, out of respect to
Holmes?

BRINDELLR

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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You must really be the Master in another of your pitiful disguises! If you
can't recognise wonderful writing like Holmses's, then I believe this must be
some kind of plot in the making to subvert the fabric of Space/Time. You won't
sucker me in!

Azaxyr

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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jfu...@my-dejanews.com writes:

>But I have yet to figure out what exactly was so wonderful about the writing
>of Robert Holmes. Somebody please help me.

Yes, I think the reason he's popular is
because he wrote so many stories, with very
different themes and plots, for five Drs, over
a long period of time.
Thus, everyone is statistically bound to really
like at least *two* of his stories.

No, he's not my favorite writer.
Certainly, Malcolm Hulke, Kit Pedler, David
Whitaker, among other writers who wrote
at least three stories are higher on my list of
favorite writers.

Definitely, Holmes wrote a lot of rubbish, and
some of his stuff was average at best. However,
with so many to choose from, certainly there
were a lot of good ones in there too.
This is how I rate them:

Krotons - too much running around, only
enough plot for two episodes - 4/10

Space Pirates - terribly dull, possibly the worst
2nd Dr story, but Underwater Menace is a
tough contender - 1/10

Spearhead From Space - Struck gold on this
one - 10/10

Terror of the Autons - Lame attempt at a
rewrite - 2/10

Carnival of Monsters - Okay plot, saved mostly
by the dialogue - 5/10

Time Warrior - not very interesting - 3/10

Ark in Space - Excellent story - 10/10

Pyramids of Mars - Another good one - 10/10

Deadly Assassin - Don't care for it that much -
the Matrix sequence spoils it - 6/10

Talons of Weng-Chiang - Okay story, but
overall not that great, doesn't really stand
up to repeat viewings- 7/10

Sunmakers - average - 5/10

Ribos Operation - the ideal 4th Dr persona -
10/10

Power of Kroll - very entertaining - 10/10

Caves of Androzani - good, but slightly
over-praised 8/10

Two Doctors - Very good after the first episode - 8/10

Mysterious Planet - lame is the best word for
it, especially since the twins thing has just
been done a year prior - 1/10

Ultimate Foe (Trial pt 13) - utter crap - 0/10

"All these worlds....

...Will make excellent sites for our garbage dumps."

Azaxyr

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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Keith Bradbury <kbra...@evansville.net> writes:

>The "patronizing Talons
>of Weng-Chiang" happens to be my wife's favorite Doctor Who story (and she's
>Chinese).

And then...

>(Malaysia is my wife's home country).

These are irreconcilable statements.
Either your wife is Chinese or Malaysian...

If she was born in Malaysia, she's not Chinese
but she has Chinese ancestry, unless at the
time her parents worked for the Chinese
government, for instance, and they actually
held Chinese citizenship at the time, and thus
she was born overseas, in which case, she
has no relations whatsoever to Malaysia.

"Home Country" generally refers to the
country where one has citizenship, and I'm
assuming that to be the US in her case.

Azaxyr

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to
tburnett <tbur...@iinet.com.au> writes:

>
>Bob Holmes is one of my all time Doctor Who writers ever.
>Sure some of his stories haven't been the best- but who can write masterpiece
>after
>masterpiece? There's a bad apple in every basket.
>As for being racist? I've never heard such utter rubbish in all my life.
>Today may
>be a whole lot better- racism is dealt with far better- attitudes have
>changed.
>Lot's of things have changed. Do you, honestly believe that all that would be
>in the
>past if we were to go back?
>No! That's like asking if there were TVs, Space shuttles and Aeroplanes! All
>of
>thesr things had to be achieved through the ages. Tolerance has adapted and
>life
>does become that little bit better.

Yes, I totally agree.
I think people who complain about racism in
Dr Who are a bit out of touch with reality.
Certainly, a plantation owner in the 1800's in
Georgia wasn't racist - he was living by the
standards that were acceptable at the time.
It's all a matter of context - that same
plantation owner would be outraged at how
women dress today.
These things must be put in perspective.

Keith Bradbury

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to

Azaxyr wrote:

> Keith Bradbury <kbra...@evansville.net> writes:
>
> >The "patronizing Talons
> >of Weng-Chiang" happens to be my wife's favorite Doctor Who story (and she's
> >Chinese).
>
> And then...
>
> >(Malaysia is my wife's home country).
>
> These are irreconcilable statements.
> Either your wife is Chinese or Malaysian...
>
> If she was born in Malaysia, she's not Chinese
> but she has Chinese ancestry, unless at the
> time her parents worked for the Chinese
> government, for instance, and they actually
> held Chinese citizenship at the time, and thus
> she was born overseas, in which case, she
> has no relations whatsoever to Malaysia.
>

"Chinese" are a people which may be 1) citizens of communist China (more lovingly
referred to as Chi-Coms) or 2) of Chinese ethnic decent. Everyone in that area
refers to the ethnically Chinese as "Chinese" (regardless of whether they are in
Malaysia or Indonesia or mainland China) because they are a complete culture and
race unto themselves, following more closely ancient Chinese culture than the
beloved Chi-Coms. And don't forget, the Tiawanese call themselves "China" as
well, to the chagrin of those from "mainland China."

>
> "Home Country" generally refers to the
> country where one has citizenship, and I'm
> assuming that to be the US in her case.

No, she is a citizen of Malaysia and a P.R. in the USA.


Michael S. Tumilty

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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Azaxyr wrote in message <19981207102716...@ng36.aol.com>...

>Keith Bradbury <kbra...@evansville.net> writes:
>
>
>
>>The "patronizing Talons
>>of Weng-Chiang" happens to be my wife's favorite Doctor Who story (and
she's
>>Chinese).
>
>And then...
>
>>(Malaysia is my wife's home country).
>
>These are irreconcilable statements.
>Either your wife is Chinese or Malaysian...
>
>If she was born in Malaysia, she's not Chinese
>but she has Chinese ancestry, unless at the
>time her parents worked for the Chinese
>government, for instance, and they actually
>held Chinese citizenship at the time, and thus
>she was born overseas, in which case, she
>has no relations whatsoever to Malaysia.
>
>"Home Country" generally refers to the
>country where one has citizenship, and I'm
>assuming that to be the US in her case.
>
You can have dual citizenship. For example,
I reside in the US, but I am a citizen of
both the US and Britain. I don't know about
triple citizenship, but it's possible.

-Erin (St.) ~Right Honourable RADW Babe of the Year~
President of Save Our Doctor: Television's Hero In Space
Proudly telling the Beeb to SOD THIS since 1997

"I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm
going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any
Narnia." Puddleglum, _The Silver Chair_

Chris Schumacher

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to
On 7 Dec 1998 15:20:55 GMT, aza...@aol.com (Azaxyr) wrote:

>Mysterious Planet - lame is the best word for
>it, especially since the twins thing has just
>been done a year prior - 1/10

Oh come on, the technicans were hilarious! This story was always one of my
favorites because Holmes manages to pull off TWO double-acts in ONE story. :)

>Ultimate Foe (Trial pt 13) - utter crap - 0/10

Holmes portion of that story was magnificant, probably the best episode of the
series. But then the fucking Bakers had to come in and ruin it.

-==Kensu==-

Simon Simmons

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to

Tim Roll-Pickering wrote:

> I thought they made no contribution at all to part 13, out of respect to
> Holmes?

Saward wrote the last half of Part Thirteen, to tie it in with his version of
Part Fourteen. Which would mean that the Bakers left Thirteen untouched out of
respect to Saward - an unlikely occurence, given what was happening in the
background at that time.

Simon Simmons


Bob

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to

> On 7 Dec 1998 15:20:55 GMT, aza...@aol.com (Azaxyr) wrote:
>
> >Mysterious Planet - lame is the best word for
> >it, especially since the twins thing has just
> >been done a year prior - 1/10
>
> Oh come on, the technicans were hilarious! This story was always one of my
> favorites because Holmes manages to pull off TWO double-acts in ONE story. :)

But he almost always managed more than one double act per story. In
Carnival of Monsters there's the two grey-faced officials and Vorg and
Shirna.


Bob

Dangermouse

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to

jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote
<snip>

Talons itself isn't racist - it's a depiction of a racist era.


--
"Try some terrorism for hire; we'll blow shit up... It's more fun!"

Gareth Thomas

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to
In article <74fqbk$pc5$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, jfu...@my-dejanews.com
writes

>"The Talons of Weng-Chiang" is spoiled by its racism.

Can I commend to you the British sit-com "It Ain't Half Hot Mum."

I reckon it would be right up your alley.

--
Gareth Thomas

who...@my-dejanews.com

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to
In article <74fqbk$pc5$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
> But I have yet to figure out what exactly was so wonderful about the writing
> of Robert Holmes. Somebody please help me.
>
> the racist subtext to his work . . .(You can see it in the pro-imperialist
> "Ark in Space"

Humans are racist because they don't want to be destroyed by alien creatures?
If that's the case, the entire series has been racist. I also fail to see why
you're calling this pro-imperialist. The residents of the Ark are trying to
survive, not conquer the galaxy.

; the patronizing "Talons of Weng-Chiang"

A story set in the 1880s which reflects the attitude of the times, "Talons" is
anything but patronizing. The second most clever character in the story is Li-
Sen Chang, who's Chinese, and The Doctor is constantly making subtle digs at
the English attitude toward the Chinese.

> the attack of the Doctor by a "strong, silent" African circus
> man in "Terror of the Autons"

Holmes only wrote the story. Blame the casting director for this one.

> the lack of positive minority characters in each and every one of his stories
> -- correct me if I'm wrong

You might have a point here if the series in general had a history of
positive minority characters, and Holmes's scripts were an exception, but I'm
hard- pressed to recall *any* Who stories which really addressed the issue of
minorities. Again, Holmes didn't cast the stories, and those who did followed
a long-standing tradition of casting white actors. Is this wrong? Certainly.
Is it his fault? Don't think so.

> and the anti-Androgum bias which even the Doctor exhibits in "The Two
> Doctors" when he doesn't even know yet that the Androgum are behind anything
> bad

He's familiar with the species, and knows they're generally up to no good.
Also, it seems to me that his (the 2nd Doctor's) attitude toward Shockeye is
his way of establishing a position of strength, to let the predator know that
he doesn't fear him. Why condemn this, when a more obvious example of the
Doctor's bias would be his attitude toward the Ice Warriors in the first
Peladon story? There he's completely wrong. In "The Two Doctors", he isn't.

> "Androzani" would not even have been as good as it was if Graeme Harper
> hadn't taken it to another level with his expert direction.

Or if Peter Davison hadn't given his best performance ever. One might be
tempted to suggest that both men were inspired by the quality of the source
material to give a little bit extra to their contributions.

> I like "The Ark in Space," but I dislike the way it idealizes the human
> race when the Wirrn were the victims of Earth imperialism.

I think we've covered this one.

> "Terror of the Autons" has some good, frightening visuals, but the ending is
> a complete anti-climax.

I disagree, but even if it's true, it's hardly unique in that respect. And to
be fair, the story wasn't really about the Autons. It was about The Master,
and the 2 other new characters which it introduced.

> "Spearhead from Space" (that was written by Holmes, right?) is OK, but OK is
> about it. It isn't even the best story of Season Seven -- which has to be
> "Inferno" by Don Houghton.

Agreed. On the other hand, "Inferno" didn't have the burden of introducing a
new Doctor, a new companion, and a complete change in the program's format.

> "The Deadly Assasin" is great, but one classic does not a good writer make.

How about "Pyramids of Mars" and "The Brain of Morbius", the finished versions
of which were largely Holmes's work?

> "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" is spoiled by its racism.

Again, we've dealt with this.

> As for the other Holmes stories, how are they examples of awesome writing?
> The dialogue is good at times, but the stories themselves aren't. I mean,
> come on, "The Krotons"? "The Space Pirates"? "The Two Doctors"? (The
> Doctor killing Shockeye with cyanide? Oscar the completely unrealistic
> restauranteur/actor? The Second Doctor being on a mission for the Time Lords?
> Jamie just sort of breathing heavily for an entire episode, not even hearing
> the Doctor and Peri talking about things he should recognize?) "The
> Mysterious Planet" with the two idiots in there with Drathro? (What a
> terrible attempt at humor!) "The Time Warrior" (it introduces the Sontarans
> and Sarah Jane Smith, but the actual story isn't very compelling)?

OK, "The Krotons" and "The Space Pirates" aren't very good. I'm told that
even God had an off-day once in a while. As for your points about "The Two
Doctors" I think it's fair to blame at least some of this, notably the
continuity gaffe, on Eric Saward, the script editor. It was his job to
maintain The Doctor's characterization, and to iron out the contradictions,
and he failed as miserably here as he did in other cases ("Mawdryn Undead"
being the most obvious). As for "The Mysterious Planet" and "The Time
Warrior", I think it's down to personal taste. The stories work work me and
they don't for you. So be it.

> Let's see, what else did Holmes write? I'm probably missing a few stories.

"Carnival of Monsters", "The Sunmakers", "The Ribos Operation" and "The Power
of Kroll" come to mind, all of which have their virtues and their faults.

The reason that Robert Holmes is so highly-regarded is not that all of his
stories were great. It's that *most* of them were a cut above the material
that other writers turned out. When you also remember that he was the
program's script editor for almost 4 seasons, and played a big role in
shaping several other Tom Baker stories that are classics, or at least
well-remembered, his accomplishments are even more amazing.

--
Allen Robinson
Who's Doctor Who?
www.dwebs.net/~allenrob/whoshome.html

Fox Becker

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

: Is it just because Robert Holmes wrote for 5 of the 8 doctors that he


: gets so much positive attention?

That could very well be part of it.

: Although he wrote some good stories -- "The Caves of Androzani"


: springs immediately to mind -- they don't make up for the many duds

: he wrote. Not to mention the racist subtext to his work . . .

Oh, please.

: the patronizing "Talons of Weng-Chiang";

How is it patronising?

: the attack of the Doctor by a "strong, silent" African circus
: man in "Terror of the Autons";

How is that racist?

: the lack of positive minority characters in each and every one of his
: stories -- correct me if I'm wrong;

If you would look more closely at Holmes's stories, you would see that
there are not really any positive Non-minority characters either. Think
about it.

: and the anti-Androgum bias which even the Doctor exhibits in "The Two


: Doctors" when he doesn't even know yet that the Androgum are behind

: anything bad.

The Androgums are a different species, whom the Doctor knows of very
well. If you are walking in the woods, and you see a hungry wolf, do you
expect the wolf to have the same instincts that most wolves have, or
would you go up to it to find out if it is as civilised as you are?

(Of course, apparently the Androgum were supposed to be an allegory for
carnivores and meat-eaters, or something, so you have a point here.)

: I like "The Ark in Space," but I dislike the way it idealizes the


: human race when the Wirrn were the victims of Earth imperialism.

Which had happened thousands of years earlier. The Wirrn were the
aggressors here.

: It isn't even the best story of Season Seven -- which has to be
: "Inferno" by Don Houghton.

I have only seen one episode of that, but I was not overly impressed.

: "The Deadly Assasin" is great, but one classic does not a good
> writer make. "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" is spoiled by its racism.
>
: As for the other Holmes stories, how are they examples of awesome


: writing? The dialogue is good at times, but the stories themselves
: aren't. I mean, come on, "The Krotons"?

The Krotons was not that bad, for a Second Doctor story.

: "The Space Pirates"?

Granted.

: "The Two Doctors"? (The


: Doctor killing Shockeye with cyanide?

He deserved it.

: The Second Doctor being on a mission for the Time Lords?

That was a mistake.

: Jamie just sort of breathing heavily for an entire episode, not even


: hearing the Doctor and Peri talking about things he should recognize?)

That, I can believe, since he was in shock and believed that the Doctor
was dead.

: Let's see, what else did Holmes write? I'm probably missing a few\
: stories.

The Ribos Operation comes to mind. Great story.

: even Pip and Jane Baker, to name just a few writers who actually
: delivered consistent quality stories.

I saw nothing consistent in the two stories that they wrote. The Mark of
the Rani was good story with a formidable villain. Time and the Rani was
a joke.

Keith Bradbury

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to

Perry Armstrong wrote:

> Azaxyr wrote:
> > Sunmakers - average - 5/10
>

> No argument from me about the above two.

WHAT????

Sunmakers is terrific! Sure, the worst thing about it is the filming (drab rather
than antiseptic, which it should have been, and the cart chase in the hall
sequence is about as poorly realized as it gets), but the story is great! Kill
the tax gatherers! Heheh, I love it. And the cast selections were great, too. All
of them played their parts with aplomb. 8.5/10

Perhaps everyone fears the tax man...


Keith Bradbury

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to

Azaxyr wrote:

> jfu...@my-dejanews.com writes:
>
> >(For example, in "Talons," one of the
> >Chinese characters could have helped the Doctor. Just because Victorian
> >society was racist doesn't mean that the Chinese at the time would all really
> >have just blindly obeyed Li H'sen Chang.)
>
> Ahh, you mean like how every loyal soldier
> in the history of the world always obeys his
> orders without question...
> Not all soldiers wear uniforms, you know...

I believe that the point of the story, however, was that not necessarily ALL
Chinese followed Li H'sen Chang, but merely the "Tong of the Black Scorpion."
Because Magnus had given these special powers to Li H'sen Chang, there were those
who followed him blindly because he represented what they believed to be a prophet
of one of their gods.

Typical cult mentality.

Example: to be a follower of Louis Farrakhan (Black Moslem cult), you are going to
have certain traits about you: you will undoubtedly be Black and you will blame
the Jews for everything. It doesn't mean that all blacks hate Jews, but the
followers of Calypso Louie do (it's one of their defining traits as members of
that particular cult).

The fact that Robert Holmes decided to write about a cult that arose from someone
impersonating a "Chinese god," whether that god has any bearing in history or not,
is not a sign of racism but of creativity.


Keith Bradbury

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> In article <19981207102055...@ng36.aol.com>,
> aza...@aol.com (Azaxyr) wrote:


> > jfu...@my-dejanews.com writes:
> >
> > >But I have yet to figure out what exactly was so wonderful about the writing
> > >of Robert Holmes. Somebody please help me.
> >

> > Yes, I think the reason he's popular is
> > because he wrote so many stories, with very
> > different themes and plots, for five Drs, over
> > a long period of time.
> > Thus, everyone is statistically bound to really
> > like at least *two* of his stories.
>

> That's true -- even I like four of his stories A LOT ("Androzani," "Deadly
> Assasin," "The Sunmakers," and "The Power of Kroll"). And "Carnival of
> Monsters" is actually the first DW story I ever watched, although I now think
> it's rather simplistic.

Oh, Power of Kroll, I don't like that one because it is so anti-caucasian. I mean,
here are those poor minority swamp-livers being persecuted by mean-spirited white
industrialists--so typical.

If you can call Holmes a racist for writing Talons, maybe you can call him a
humanitarian for writing Kroll.

Also, what proof do you have that when Holmes was writing Autons that he
specifically indicated, "make the strong man black?" What if a black actor had not
applied for or been contacted for the part? It would have surely fallen to a white
actor. Would you still call him a racist if the white actor played the part in the
same way?

Probably not.

Sounds like you've got a clear double standard to me. Since you're so quick to
judge who's a racist, I think we should be quick to judge you back.


R.J. Smith

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Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
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In article <01be2215$1fd59060$LocalHost@lgwujvnl>,
Dangermouse <mas...@sol.co.ukDEATH-TO-SPAMMERS> wrote:

>Talons itself isn't racist - it's a depiction of a racist era.

A common defence, but sadly doesn't seem to hold up when you go to the
actual source material.

The racist accusations, from my observations over the years, have usually
stemmed from two sources. Firstly there's the casting of John Bennet as
Chang, which has been debated at length and has nothing to do with Holmes.

Secondly, there's the semi-racist attitude that Holmes gives the Doctor. I
don't think too many people have a problem with depicting racism in
charcters who were very likely to have been racist but I for one have a
big problem with the Doctor doing it. And that has nothing whatsoever to
do with a depiction of a racist era, unless by that you mean 1975 when the
show was being made.

- Robert Smith?


Perry Armstrong

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to
> jfu...@my-dejanews.com writes:
>
>But I have yet to figure out what exactly was so wonderful about the writing
>of Robert Holmes. Somebody please help me.
>CLIP

I was WAITING for this to happen! I WAS! I WAS! It seems a fashionable
passtime on the 'Net to drop poo on previously established "classic"
stories, story titles or much loved production people. Holmes, being so
well regarded, was an obvious target. What took you so long?

Azaxyr wrote:

>CLIP

> Definitely, Holmes wrote a lot of rubbish, and
> some of his stuff was average at best. However,
> with so many to choose from, certainly there
> were a lot of good ones in there too.
> This is how I rate them:
>
> Krotons - too much running around, only
> enough plot for two episodes - 4/10

You have a point about about the story being a bit "spread-out" over
four episodes. Remember, it was not originally conceived as a Doctor Who
story, but rather a one-off play in the "OUT OF THE UNKNOWN" anthology
series. This would have made it about one hour long, which would
probably have been ideal. Nevertheless, there are a lot of interesting
ideas in "The Krotons", and I'd personally rate it 7/10.


> Space Pirates - terribly dull, possibly the worst
> 2nd Dr story, but Underwater Menace is a
> tough contender - 1/10
>
> Spearhead From Space - Struck gold on this
> one - 10/10
>
> Terror of the Autons - Lame attempt at a
> rewrite - 2/10

No argument from me about the above three.

> Carnival of Monsters - Okay plot, saved mostly
> by the dialogue - 5/10

I thought "Carnival of Monsters" was damned imaginative - 8/10.

> Time Warrior - not very interesting - 3/10

I personally find it VERY interesting. The Sontarans are one of the most
well-conceived alien races ever to appear in Doctor Who (and the
terrific make-up in this story didn't hurt, either) - 10/10.


> Ark in Space - Excellent story - 10/10

I LOVED this one at the time I first saw it, and for many years
thereafter, but seeing it again recently I was quite disappointed. Time
has not treated "The Ark in Space" well, I fear - 6/10.


> Pyramids of Mars - Another good one - 10/10

Agreed - 10/10.

> Deadly Assassin - Don't care for it that much -
> the Matrix sequence spoils it - 6/10

While I think the Matrix sequence is too long, I don't think this
detracts from a very dramatic, exiting story. More than any other story,
I think this demonstrates why the Doctor holds his own people in
disdain, by depicting them as a bunch of hypocritical, self-important
wallies! Unfortunately, the memory of "The Deadly Assassin" has been
somewhat tainted over the years by all the inadequate sequels that have
ripped-off its elements ("The Arc of Infinity", "The Trail of a Time
Lord", the TVM - need I go on?) - 10/10.


> Talons of Weng-Chiang - Okay story, but
> overall not that great, doesn't really stand
> up to repeat viewings- 7/10
>

> Sunmakers - average - 5/10

No argument from me about the above two.

> Ribos Operation - the ideal 4th Dr persona -
> 10/10

Unlike "The Ark in Space", this is a story I wasn't particularly
enamored with on first viewing, but I have subsequently grown to like it
very much (though not as much as you) - 8/10.


> Power of Kroll - very entertaining - 10/10

I'm glad I'm not the only one who regards this story highly. I also say
- 10/10.

> Caves of Androzani - good, but slightly
> over-praised 8/10

Agreed - 8/10.


> Two Doctors - Very good after the first episode - 8/10

Sorry. This one's LAME - 3/10.


> Mysterious Planet - lame is the best word for
> it, especially since the twins thing has just
> been done a year prior - 1/10

Agreed - 1/10.

> Ultimate Foe (Trial pt 13) - utter crap - 0/10

Actually, I thought the Bob Holmes episode 13 was the best thing in the
whole of this season. But even then, I can still only give it 5/10
(which shows you how highly I regard the rest of this season!).

Overall, not a bad rate of agreement, I'd say.

Perry Armstrong.

jfu...@my-dejanews.com

unread,
Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to
> > But I have yet to figure out what exactly was so wonderful about the writing
> > of Robert Holmes. Somebody please help me.
> >
>
> I'm sorry, but I'm not licensed to practice psychology. It sounds to me like
you
> need a really good shrink. Pro-imperialism in Ark in Space??? Let me guess,
> you're a plant for the People's Republic of China, right? The "patronizing

Talons
> of Weng-Chiang" happens to be my wife's favorite Doctor Who story (and she's
> Chinese). And yes, I suppose that the "strong, silent" African circus man is
> totally off base...I have lots of friends who are black and I wouldn't
> characterize any of them as "silent."

"The Ark in Space" takes the side of the human race despite the fact that
humans were the people who committed the first wrong, by colonizing the home
of the Wirrn. That's pro-imperialist, or at least ambivalent towards the
effect of imperialism. Now, obviously, I wouldn't have expected the Doctor
to help the Wirrn to prevail, but I don't appreicate Noah's "noble self
sacrifice" as a satisfactory resolution. He could have led the Wirrn away
somewhere else, as the Doctor in fact suggested -- this would have been a
suitable end for both the humans and the previously victimized Wirrn. But
no, that's not what Holmes wanted Noah to do. Holmes wanted Noah to blow up
the "evil" Wirrn because there was still some humanity left in Noah after
all. I didn't see the Doctor expressing very much dismay at this. How
inappropriate to the ethics of DW, which is usually about social justice.

As for the "strong, silent man" in "Autons," I would have no problem with him
being African if Holmes ever wrote a DW story in which he portrayed a black
character positively. But Holmes never did. Thus, it is damning that it did
not occur to Holmes to use an African character EXCEPT as someone who
attacked the Doctor. Why couldn't the circus man have been white? Everybody
else in the story was!

>
> If you don't like the number of positive minority characters who show up in
his
> story, perhaps it would be best to blame casting from time to time and
remember
> that this was filmed in England, not in Uganda. I don't go to Malaysia and
> complain that there aren't enough "positive portrayals of caucasians on their
TV"
> (Malaysia is my wife's home country). In fact, usually there aren't ANY
> portrayals of caucasians, apart from the evening news when Al Gore sticks his
> foot in his mouth and offends everyone (then the portrayal of caucasians is
> anything but positive).

The fact that they're backwards in Malaysia is irrelevant to our discussion.
Britain is better than Malaysia when it comes to race -- I need look no
further than the splendid integration of minority characters on "EastEnders,"
and the solid portrayal of minorities in many DW stories over the past 35
years. Holmes must be judged against the context of Britain.

Considering how many stories Holmes wrote, it is not unreasonable to expect
that there would have been at least one story in which a positive minority
character appeared. Why should I blame the directors when Holmes himself
could easily have written in a sympathetic minority character in stories
which featured other minorities? (For example, in "Talons," one of the


Chinese characters could have helped the Doctor. Just because Victorian
society was racist doesn't mean that the Chinese at the time would all really

have just blindly obeyed Li H'sen Chang.) Minorities have been positively
portrayed, or minority actors have been employed although their characters
have not been explicitly "minority," in many DW stories, sometimes because of
the director and sometimes because of the writer -- DW has had a pretty good
race record, EXCEPT when it comes to many of Robert Holmes's stories. Just
off the top of my head, I can think of positive minority portrayals in "The
Daleks' Masterplan" (sure Mavic Chen was a megalomaniac, but he was actually
popular enough to be chosen Guardian of the Solar System!),"The Tomb of the
Cybermen" (to a certain extent -- Toberman does save the day, you know), "The
Enemy of the World," "The War Games," "The Mutants," "The Mind of Evil" (that
story also had some stereotypical portrayals, but notice that not all of the
Chinese acted against the Doctor, and some actually helped -- there is the
difference between "Talons" and "Mind," between Robert Holmes and Don
Houghton), "Planet of the Spiders," "The Robots of Death," "Destiny of the
Daleks," "Four to Doomsday," "The Trial of a Time Lord," and most of the
McCoy stories.

Holmes was not TOTALLY pro-imperialist, as we can see from "The Power of
Kroll," "The Sunmakers," and the Ravalox controversy of "The Trial of a Time
Lord." I don't want to paint him as some sort of unreformed evil figure. But
(proabbly subconsciously)he was a lot more ambivalent about racism and
imperialism than someone who was writing DW should have been.

> Oh, and about Androgums, if you don't like "bad aliens," perhaps you should
watch
> Star Trek: Next Generation more. They are full of bland, misunderstood aliens
who
> are really nice people once you get to know them (or disconnect them from
their
> collective, like the Borg).
>
> Sarcastically (but lovingly) yours,
> Keith Bradbury

I guess I didn't make myself clear enough. I am not concerned that the
Androgums ended up being bad people; I am concerned that from the very moment
he stepped out of the TARDIS, the Second Doctor acted haughtily towards
Shockeye simply because Shockeye was an Androgum, not because Shockeye had
done anything wrong. I am also concerned that the Doctor felt it to be the
unalterable nature of the Androgum to be savage. It doesn't take much of a
leap for someone to apply that message to present-day Earth and claim it is
in the very nature of, say, blacks to commit crime. Savagery among
intelligent beings should, in my view, be treated in DW as learned, not
inherited. The Androgums were not animals; therefore, they had the capacity
to learn how to control their own cravings and emotions. Daleks and Cybermen
have been cyberneticized, so they really can't help themselves, but in almost
every other instance, the Doctor should be, and is, decent to intelligent
aliens until they actually do something bad. (When he isn't -- "Curse of
Peladon," for example, with the Ice Warriors -- he is often proved wrong.)

Doctor Who is a wonderful program with a strong pacifist/anarachist/socialist
message -- but this message is clouded in many of Robert Holmes's stories.

Jim C. Fung
"I am the Doctor -- whether you like it or not." (6th Doctor, "The Twin
Dilemma")

jfu...@my-dejanews.com

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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In article <366BAD86...@iinet.com.au>,
tburnett <tbur...@iinet.com.au> wrote:
>
> --------------3CB4CD3B5E49366F865D07A1
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

>
> > Can't an African be a "strong silent man"? I really don't see a problem
there.
>
> Right on.

No problem with that at all, except if he's the only African Robert Holmes
ever included in the many, many stories he wrote.

>
> Bob Holmes is one of my all time Doctor Who writers ever.
> Sure some of his stories haven't been the best- but who can write masterpiece
after
> masterpiece? There's a bad apple in every basket.
> As for being racist? I've never heard such utter rubbish in all my life. Today
may
> be a whole lot better- racism is dealt with far better- attitudes have
changed.
> Lot's of things have changed. Do you, honestly believe that all that would be
in the
> past if we were to go back?
> No! That's like asking if there were TVs, Space shuttles and Aeroplanes! All
of
> thesr things had to be achieved through the ages. Tolerance has adapted and
life

> does become that little bit better. But it is what happened.
> Why in Remembrance Of The Daleks, that guy spoke of his Grandfather being a
cane
> cutter. Woah! I can't see how mary whitehouse passed that one- by your logic
it's
> racist.

No, it isn't racist. Let me explain. I don't expect the portrayal of a
colorblind society at a time when there isn't one -- but I do expect the
portrayal of real people. In "Talons," the society may have been racist, but
that doesn't mean all the Chinese had to be stereotypically portrayed. Jago
and Litefoot could have said one thing about the Chinese, showing their
Victorian biases, while the Chinese could have acted in quite another way.
"Remembrance" was the opposite of racist because it did what Holmes should
have done -- the Doctor talked to the guy in the cafe, and the guy in the
cafe made a lot of sense, even though the Sixties were still a time of
pervasive racism.

> Let me put something to you- Robert Holmes is a fantastic writer. That is my
> opinion. You are entitled to believe what you want- as your taste is your own
and I
> do not dispute that. However I dispute incorrect information on which you
judge him.
> That is very wrong.
> As for Pip And Jane- I do like Terror Of The Vervoids- but it's hardly scary
is it?
> I mean a 4 year old would prefer that to talons any day. Talons is darker,
less
> light headed and far, far more advanced and superior in many ways.

"Terror of the Vervoids" is not light-headed. It operates on one level as a
good, old-fashioned, well-constructed detective yarn, but it also brings up
some significant questions about imperialism, slavery, the definition of
progress, our consumption of plant life, scientific ethics, and, as we all
remember from the cliffhanger, whether or not genocide can be justified. I
agree with you about "Talons" to a certain extent -- although I think it
might be a little TOO dark; as I wrote before, my main objection to it is its
subconscious racism.


As Paul
said, The
> Krotons is far better. The Autons rocked- we wouldn't have them if it weren't
for
> bob- he established lots of Gallifrey (Eye of Harmony, Chapters etc) before
that
> they were all powerful and god-like, and he handled Doctor Who very well.

I'll agree to that -- he gave DW a lot of its mythology. I already wrote in
my first message that I truly appreciate "The Deadly Assasin." But mythology
does not make up for story faults or forced characterization, which I
referred to in my earlier message.

> Oh and BTW- compare the worst Bob Holmes story to "Time and the Rani."

I've never understood why people don't like "Time and the Rani" (or "The Twin
Dilemma" and "The Gunfighters" for that matter). Someone please try to
explain. Show me the faults in the stories; mercilessly disillusion me!
Thanks.

Jim C. Fung

"So come on out, you coyotes, and howl at the moon, till there's blood upon
the sawdust in the 'Last Chance' Saloon." ("The Gunfighters)

jfu...@my-dejanews.com

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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In article <19981207103132...@ng36.aol.com>,

aza...@aol.com (Azaxyr) wrote:
>
> I think people who complain about racism in
> Dr Who are a bit out of touch with reality.
> Certainly, a plantation owner in the 1800's in
> Georgia wasn't racist - he was living by the
> standards that were acceptable at the time.
> It's all a matter of context - that same
> plantation owner would be outraged at how
> women dress today.
> These things must be put in perspective.
>
> "All these worlds....
>
> ...Will make excellent sites for our garbage dumps."

First of all, I am not complaining about racism in Dr. Who in general -- just
in Holmes's work in particular. We CAN judge Holmes against a relatively
modern context because he was a relatively modern writer and because DW has
generally addressed the issue of race pretty well. Also, on a side note, the
Georgia plantation owner in the 1800s would indeed have been racist -- as the
abolitionists in the North would probably have told you had you been around
to ask.

Jim C. Fung

jfu...@my-dejanews.com

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to
> >But I have yet to figure out what exactly was so wonderful about the writing
> >of Robert Holmes. Somebody please help me.
>
> Yes, I think the reason he's popular is
> because he wrote so many stories, with very
> different themes and plots, for five Drs, over
> a long period of time.
> Thus, everyone is statistically bound to really
> like at least *two* of his stories.

That's true -- even I like four of his stories A LOT ("Androzani," "Deadly
Assasin," "The Sunmakers," and "The Power of Kroll"). And "Carnival of
Monsters" is actually the first DW story I ever watched, although I now think
it's rather simplistic.

I am not totally against Robert Holmes -- just against his virtual
canonization and against the lack of attention paid to other good DW writers
over the years. (There are two I forgot to mention in my original message --
the team of Bob Baker and Dave Martin. Also, I really like Terrance Dicks,
Chris Boucher, Chris Bidmead, David Whitaker, and Stephen Wyatt, but they
still get a fair amount of attention.)

<some of Azaxyr's favorite writers snipped -- I actually agree with him on
those.>


> Definitely, Holmes wrote a lot of rubbish, and
> some of his stuff was average at best. However,
> with so many to choose from, certainly there
> were a lot of good ones in there too.

No argument from me. This is really all I was trying to say (although I was
originally a little more negative about Holmes than I am now -- you guys have
changed my mind somewhat!). The subject is "Holmes: Overrated?," not "Holmes:
Trash?"

jfu...@my-dejanews.com

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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In article <74hld0$d63$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

<snipped stuff which I've addressed in a bunch of other messages -- don't
wait to repeat myself too much! I hope you guys don't consider all this to
be spam>

> A story set in the 1880s which reflects the attitude of the times, "Talons" is
> anything but patronizing. The second most clever character in the story is Li-
> Sen Chang, who's Chinese, and The Doctor is constantly making subtle digs at
> the English attitude toward the Chinese.

Yes, I do realize that. And I applaud Holmes for writing in those subtle
(sometimes not-so-subtle) digs. But just because Holmes was not overtly
racist does not mean he was not subconsciously racist, and also does not mean
that this subconscious racism did not seep into his stories. I am not trying
to paint Robert Holmes as a bad person, just as a good, but not great, writer
-- not, by any means, far and away the best writer DW has ever had. Part of
the reason Holmes's work was not that great wass his apparent subsconscious
racism.

> You might have a point here if the series in general had a history of
> positive minority characters, and Holmes's scripts were an exception, but I'm
> hard- pressed to recall *any* Who stories which really addressed the issue of
> minorities. Again, Holmes didn't cast the stories, and those who did followed
> a long-standing tradition of casting white actors. Is this wrong? Certainly.
> Is it his fault? Don't think so.

Somewhere in many replies, I listed the stories in which, just off the top of
my head, there were positive minority characters and/or minority actors
playing positive roles. I think addressing the "issue of minorities" would
itself be a little patronizing; I much prefer the assimilationist tactic
which directors (particularly, it seems, Michael E. Briant and the McCoy
directors) and writers (from every era of DW) have employed over the years.

<snip>


> > "Terror of the Autons" has some good, frightening visuals, but the ending is
> > a complete anti-climax.
>
> I disagree, but even if it's true, it's hardly unique in that respect. And to
> be fair, the story wasn't really about the Autons. It was about The Master,
> and the 2 other new characters which it introduced.

Beyond just introducting characters, Holmes's work should have been "unique"
to deserve the accolades it received and continues to receive.

> > "Spearhead from Space" (that was written by Holmes, right?) is OK, but OK is
> > about it. It isn't even the best story of Season Seven -- which has to be
> > "Inferno" by Don Houghton.
>
> Agreed. On the other hand, "Inferno" didn't have the burden of introducing a
> new Doctor, a new companion, and a complete change in the program's format.
>
> > "The Deadly Assasin" is great, but one classic does not a good writer make.

I should rephrase that. I think Robert Holmes was a GOOD writer, just not a
great one.

> How about "Pyramids of Mars" and "The Brain of Morbius", the finished versions
> of which were largely Holmes's work?

"Pyramids of Mars" -- the plot doesn't even make sense, as was pointed out in
DWM 265 as part of an article praising the story(!), and it has a nasty
Egyptian (but no positive Egyptians -- noticing a pattern here?). The "feel"
of the work is what makes it a classic -- more the director's creation, I
should think. "The Brain of Morbius" is good, if a little over the top at
times.

<snipped stuff which I've largely addressed or agree with>


>
> "Carnival of Monsters", "The Sunmakers", "The Ribos Operation" and "The Power
> of Kroll" come to mind, all of which have their virtues and their faults.

I actually really love "The Power of Kroll" and "The Sunmakers." Rather
ironic, isn't it?

>
> The reason that Robert Holmes is so highly-regarded is not that all of his
> stories were great. It's that *most* of them were a cut above the material
> that other writers turned out. When you also remember that he was the
> program's script editor for almost 4 seasons, and played a big role in
> shaping several other Tom Baker stories that are classics, or at least
> well-remembered, his accomplishments are even more amazing.

"A few" of his many stories were "a cut above," just as "a few" were rather
sub-standard.


> Allen Robinson
> Who's Doctor Who?
> www.dwebs.net/~allenrob/whoshome.html

Jim C. Fung

jfu...@my-dejanews.com

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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In article <366B87DD...@hotmail.com>,
Alden Bates <alden...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
> > "Trial" episode 13 is good, but it's just one episode.
>
> Can I bitch about Mel's portrayal in this episode? (This is the
> Internet, of course I can)
>
> Yes, a new companion, and was does Robert do? He strands her in the
> courtroom while the Doctor goes into the Matrix with one of Holmes' own
> creations! Talk about playing favourites! Poor Mel didn't get a chance
> until Pip and Jane were bought in! If we'd gotten a Holmes authored
> Episode 14, would Mel have ever joined the Doctor in the Matrix?

>
> I'm not even touching on the rather pithy "There's nothing wrong with my
> voice" gag, or the "I'm as truthful, honest and boring as they come"
> line....
>
> Alden.

Great points!

A fan of the companion with a "memory like an elephant,"

Azaxyr

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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jfu...@my-dejanews.com writes:

>Thus, it is damning that it did
>not occur to Holmes to use an African character EXCEPT as someone who
>attacked the Doctor. Why couldn't the circus man have been white? Everybody
>else in the story was!

Because it was more realistic to have a circus
strong man be black.
How many white Brits do you know of who
could have played the part?

>Holmes must be judged against the context of Britain.

But you're not!
In 1971, what the hell kind of a circus show
would a white guy make in that scenario?!

>(For example, in "Talons," one of the
>Chinese characters could have helped the Doctor. Just because Victorian
>society was racist doesn't mean that the Chinese at the time would all really
>have just blindly obeyed Li H'sen Chang.)

Ahh, you mean like how every loyal soldier


in the history of the world always obeys his
orders without question...
Not all soldiers wear uniforms, you know...

>DW has had a pretty good


>race record, EXCEPT when it comes to many of Robert Holmes's stories.

I'd just like to point out that the writer of the
story had absolutely no say so in which actor
would play which part... Your premise is a bit
silly here.
Some of those white roles could have been
played by black actors, had the director wished
it.

Jonathan Blum

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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In article <74fqbk$pc5$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, <jfu...@my-dejanews.com> wrote:

Here I'm going to rather courageously stand up for the conventional
wisdom. :-)

Why is Robert Holmes so praised? In part because he *created* large slabs
of what we think of as Doctor Who. So many of the details which fandom
has latched on to came from his pen. In the stories he wrote or
script-edited, we first saw: two hearts, the respiratory bypass system,
thirteen lives, Davros, Rassilon, the Eye of Harmony, the Castellan, the
Matrix, the *name* Gallifrey, the Master (in two radically different
forms), Liz Shaw, Jo Grant, Mike Yates, Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan,
Leela, K9, Romana, the Sontarans, the Autons, even throwaway details like
artron energy and Metebelis 3. Even if, in the case of some of these
companions, he wasn't solely responsible for creating them, in large part
he _defined_ them.

And more than facts: from his pen we got the Brigadier's speech defining
UNIT in "Spearhead", the Doctor's awe at humanity's survival in "Ark In
Space", the decision with the two wires in "Genesis", the collection of
definitive moments in "Pyramids of Mars" ("I walk in eternity", "Human?
You're forgetting, I'm not", "Your evil is my good", "1980 -- if you want
to get off"), all the way up through the Doctor's glorious determination
to sacrifice even his life for Peri's. From Robert Holmes we got *ideas*
-- the ambiguity surrounding the Doctor's past lives in "Brain of
Morbius", the revisionist view of the second Doctor's time in "Two
Doctors", the Time Lords as City bureaucrats in "Terror", the Time Lords
as decadent dormice in "Deadly Assassin", the Time Lords as monumentally
corrupt in "Trial of a Time Lord". Robert Holmes was laregely responsible
for teaching us that Doctor Who's history could be reinvented.

And most of all, he believed in the idea that Doctor Who could be *scary*
as well as witty. As he was reported to have said when he was script
editor, "Let's horrify the buggers." He wasn't just into cosy teatime
adventure, as I've always suspected Terrance Dicks of preferring; his
Doctor Who was big and grandiose and full of a sense of _imagination_.
That's what hooked me on the show.

He did produce some clunkers, generally at the extreme ends of his
incredibly long run on the series. But even if the really good Holmes
stories only run from "Spearhead" up through "Androzani" (plus his lovely
novelization of "The Two Doctors"), that's still one hell of an impressive
body of work.

You can talk about his poor handling of minorities. I'd be glad to admit
that that's a flaw. But it's not a crippling one, in my book; his stories
still sparkle, even if "Talons" draws on Fu Manchu stereotypes. And I
don't see where you get "Ark In Space" being pro-imperialist; Holmes
tempers the "Things To Come" humanity-striding-across-the-stars stuff by
portraying the humans of that time as somewhat dehumanized functionaries,
and the Wirrn infection as a result of humanity's expansionism. It's the
impulsive sacrifice of the nonconformist Rogin (as well as Noah) which
gives us the real hope for humanity.

And I didn't even mention witty dialogue or double-acts. :-)

Regards,
Jon Blum
--
jblum at access.digex.net
"Eep," said an I.

Dr. Evil

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> <some of Azaxyr's favorite writers snipped -- I actually agree with him on
> those.>
> > Definitely, Holmes wrote a lot of rubbish, and
> > some of his stuff was average at best. However,
> > with so many to choose from, certainly there
> > were a lot of good ones in there too.
> No argument from me. This is really all I was trying to say (although I was
> originally a little more negative about Holmes than I am now -- you guys have
> changed my mind somewhat!). The subject is "Holmes: Overrated?," not "Holmes:
> Trash?"

Can I just put my own little oar into all this and nominate my own all-time
favourite DW story, The Ribos Operation?

Hold! you cry, Is not TRO (you're one of those acronym freaks) a bit on the silly
side?

Of course, but as usual with humour, it uncovers a whole load of emotions. With the
introduction of Romana, the character of the Doctor undergoes the most radical (and
IMO enjoyable) change in the show's history. Suddenly, he is no longer the deeply
moralistic know-it-all we all respect, but a petty and jealous inferior. But this
is the Doctor, and while he is willing to concede all those intellectual points to
his gifted assistant, he calmly and modestly champions the value of nous and
improvisation (being the last man standing in the catacombs and out-tricking the
trickster), which has always been his greatest strength really, although it took
this story to really highlight it. We go from admiring and respecting the Doctor to
truly adoring him. Who else could have made the arrogant Tom Baker Doctor so
lovable?

I would love to go on about the wonderful plot: no evil from the dawn of time here,
just some vicarious people trying to get their mitts on various things - money, a
planet, a valuable crystal - and the often tortuous but never over-complicated way
these things diverge and conjoin. I would love to go on about some of the
characters, from the typically wry double acts of Garron and Unstoffe (wise old
bird teaching the tricks of the trade to younger and possibly more knowledgable
junior - a clever parallel with the Doctor/Romana relationship, highlighted in the
last scene) and the Graff Vynda Ka and Sholakh (for once a very believable
portrayal of evil, with the mad young Caligula's power for once actually manifested
in his loyal sergeant-at-arms, rather than the usual inexplicable
nutcases-who-have-somehow-acquired-power. They also share a truly wonderful final
scene together which confounds expectations and makes you realise just how
three-dimensional the blustering Vynda Ka really is).

But the prize goes to my all-time favourite character from any DW episode ever:
Binro the Heretic. Here's where the true power lays - in knowledge, and poor old
Binro has nothing to show for it but a paradoxical belief ironically stronger than
the religious people who have rejected him. It is a measure of Holmes' talent that
he doesn't make a noble hero out of this potential Galileo. He is a sad pathetic
character, not even given the heroic martyrdom of being burnt at the stake.
Instead, he is just laughed at, shunned to the extent he can't even go out on the
street anymore. In this sparsely populated world, he is recognised as harmless -
who would seriously believe there to be life on other planets?

Holmes creates this character almost as an aside - he makes no direct contribution
to the plot, he's just the guy who offers to help the on-the-run Unstoffe. The
Doctor and Romana don't even meet him. In this truly magical scene, the Binro meets
someone like him, an outcast, and his child-like descriptions of what the stars may
be, addressed to an occupant of those very stars, is beautifully sustained.
Unstoffe's convincing of this poor old man is a total aside to the plot, but it is
wonderful.

Unstoffe: "One day, your people will turn to each other and say, 'Binro was right.
He told the truth'."
Binro: [pause] "They will never find you while I live. Never."

Now come on, who could resist a scene like that in the supposedly snooty and urban
DW? Holmes' trick was not to create heroes, but ordinary people. He even made
people like the Doctor and the Vynda Ka ordinary, and then subtly highlighted those
slight aspects which were able to transform them into extraordinary. In Binro, he
created a sad, laughable figure who just happened to have discovered the truth and
suffered for it - not in any unbelievably saintly way. He doesn't die on any
funeral pyre but trying to help the one person (a petty criminal involved in
equally dishonourable practice of cheating and lying) who assured him that what his
eyes and instinct insisted was the truth. The truth hurts, even to those who tell
it. It's weakness, it's fallibility - yet it's human.

*That's* why people like Robert Holmes so much.

--
"Put him in the cur-ry!"


Alden Bates

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to

I distinctly remember reading in a P&J interview in DWM that they didn't
touch episode 13 at all, for legal reasons.

Alden.

Charles Daniels

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
> each and every one of his stories -- correct me if I'm wrong; and the

> anti-Androgum bias which even the Doctor exhibits in "The Two Doctors" when
> he doesn't even know yet that the Androgum are behind anything bad. There
> are probably more examples which just haven't occurred to me yet.)

Well most of the ones you mentioned were just sort of there to me but this
one did bug me in particular. At first I thought "Wow the Doctor is just
being a racist bastard" but that wasn't the case at all. The thing that
upset him was that they were being genetically augmented. I am sure
he would feel the same thing if someone tried to raise a dinosaur to
the level of a time lord or something equally as strange.
It's obvious that a race of sadistic cannibals aren't yet ready
for that level of technology. I am almost certain that modern
human beings aren't ready for it either.

> "Androzani" would not even have been as good as it was if Graeme Harper

> hadn't taken it to another level with his expert direction. I like "The Ark
> in Space," but I dislike the way it idealizes the human race when the Wirrn


> were the victims of Earth imperialism.

Eh? The Wirrn were flying space bugs. They sort of drift around
naturally? Is there something I have forgotten?
Should the story have been one where the human race decides to
give up and not try to save itself because they might hurt some
spacebound insects who aren't usually sentient?

Nicholas John Gowman

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to jfu...@my-dejanews.com
Pip and Jane Baker over Robert Holmes?
No offense to any of the above writers, but give me "Caves of Androzani"
or "Talons" over "Time and the Rani" any day - video OR novelisation!


jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> I have watched DW since 1987, when I was a mere seven years old. Since I
> live in the United States, I have thus managed to watch a repeat of every
> still- existing complete DW story. (On a side note, I have also managed to
> see a couple of isolated episodes presented in the various "Years" tapes.)


> But I have yet to figure out what exactly was so wonderful about the writing
> of Robert Holmes. Somebody please help me.
>

> Is it just because Robert Holmes wrote for 5 of the 8 doctors that he gets so

> much positive attention? Although he wrote some good stories -- "The Caves


> of Androzani" springs immediately to mind -- they don't make up for the many

> duds he wrote. Not to mention the racist subtext to his work . . .(You can
> see it in the pro-imperialist "Ark in Space"; the patronizing "Talons of
> Weng-Chiang"; the attack of the Doctor by a "strong, silent" African circus
> man in "Terror of the Autons"; the lack of positive minority characters in


> each and every one of his stories -- correct me if I'm wrong; and the
> anti-Androgum bias which even the Doctor exhibits in "The Two Doctors" when
> he doesn't even know yet that the Androgum are behind anything bad. There
> are probably more examples which just haven't occurred to me yet.)
>

> "Androzani" would not even have been as good as it was if Graeme Harper
> hadn't taken it to another level with his expert direction. I like "The Ark
> in Space," but I dislike the way it idealizes the human race when the Wirrn

> were the victims of Earth imperialism. "Terror of the Autons" has some good,
> frightening visuals, but the ending is a complete anti-climax. "Spearhead


> from Space" (that was written by Holmes, right?) is OK, but OK is about it.
> It isn't even the best story of Season Seven -- which has to be "Inferno" by

> Don Houghton. "The Deadly Assasin" is great, but one classic does not a good


> writer make. "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" is spoiled by its racism.
>
> As for the other Holmes stories, how are they examples of awesome writing?
> The dialogue is good at times, but the stories themselves aren't. I mean,

> come on, "The Krotons"? "The Space Pirates"? "The Two Doctors"? (The
> Doctor killing Shockeye with cyanide? Oscar the completely unrealistic

> restauranteur/actor? The Second Doctor being on a mission for the Time Lords?


> Jamie just sort of breathing heavily for an entire episode, not even hearing

> the Doctor and Peri talking about things he should recognize?) "The
> Mysterious Planet" with the two idiots in there with Drathro? (What a
> terrible attempt at humor!) "The Time Warrior" (it introduces the Sontarans
> and Sarah Jane Smith, but the actual story isn't very compelling)?
>

> Let's see, what else did Holmes write? I'm probably missing a few stories.
>

> "Trial" episode 13 is good, but it's just one episode.
>

> I can't remember the rest of what Holmes wrote, but you get my point.
>
> I don't see why Robert Holmes has been virtually canonized when people hardly
> ever discuss Robert Sloman, Don Houghton, Christopher Bailey, Louis Marks, or


> even Pip and Jane Baker, to name just a few writers who actually delivered
> consistent quality stories.
>

> I look forward to reading replies -- I hope there are some! -- particularly
> from those who disagree. I will respect your opinion, whatever it is. I
> love reading different perspectives on DW.

Dangermouse

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote

> No problem with that at all, except if he's the only African Robert
Holmes
> ever included in the many, many stories he wrote.

Probably because other stories didn't require them - and more importantly,
most of the scripts don't specify whether someone is black or white, so
it's the *casting director's* responsibility, not the writer's.

> No, it isn't racist. Let me explain. I don't expect the portrayal of a
> colorblind society at a time when there isn't one -- but I do expect the
> portrayal of real people. In "Talons," the society may have been racist,
but
> that doesn't mean all the Chinese had to be stereotypically portrayed.
Jago
> and Litefoot could have said one thing about the Chinese, showing their
> Victorian biases, while the Chinese could have acted in quite another
way.

You're forgetting that the only Chinese we saw were members of a death cult
- not the most stable members of society. And of course, their "demigod"
leader turns out to be an ugly white guy...

And I haven't even plugged the sequel yet.

Jonathan Blum

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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In article <74i06l$mjm$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, <jfu...@my-dejanews.com> wrote:
>> How about "Pyramids of Mars" and "The Brain of Morbius", the finished versions
>> of which were largely Holmes's work?

>"Pyramids of Mars" -- the plot doesn't even make sense, as was pointed out in


>DWM 265 as part of an article praising the story(!), and it has a nasty
>Egyptian (but no positive Egyptians -- noticing a pattern here?). The "feel"
>of the work is what makes it a classic -- more the director's creation, I
>should think.

I don't think the "cult of the director" thinking is justified here. When
people talk about the bits of "Pyramids" that they most remember, usually
they mention *lines*. Paddy Russell didn't write the "Your evil is my
good" speech, or the lovely Tom/Sarah dialogue ("I walk in eternity" "Oh,
you walk in *eternity*..."), or Marcus Scarman's touching and horrifying
final moments with Laurence. It wasn't Paddy's idea to show Sarah's time
as a devastated wasteland, or to underline the alien-ness of Tom's Doctor.
("Human? You're forgetting, I'm not.")

The same goes with "Androzani"; Harper gives it a layer of style, but it's
the drama present in Holmes' script -- especially the Doctor's
determination to save Peri -- which sustains the story.

Yes, there are plot holes. But when the story is told with such style --
*writerly* style -- the sparkle is enough to make you overlook them.

Keith Bradbury

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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Charles Daniels wrote:

> jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
> > each and every one of his stories -- correct me if I'm wrong; and the
> > anti-Androgum bias which even the Doctor exhibits in "The Two Doctors" when
> > he doesn't even know yet that the Androgum are behind anything bad. There
> > are probably more examples which just haven't occurred to me yet.)
>

> Well most of the ones you mentioned were just sort of there to me but this
> one did bug me in particular. At first I thought "Wow the Doctor is just
> being a racist bastard" but that wasn't the case at all. The thing that
> upset him was that they were being genetically augmented. I am sure
> he would feel the same thing if someone tried to raise a dinosaur to
> the level of a time lord or something equally as strange.
> It's obvious that a race of sadistic cannibals aren't yet ready
> for that level of technology. I am almost certain that modern
> human beings aren't ready for it either.

I think the problem as the Doctor saw it was "Here's a legitimate scientist
attempting to give great scientific knowledge to an instinct-driven creature that
would simply use the knowledge to fulfill it's own appetite." The results would be
appalling because the Doctor recognized the Androgum species as being dangerous
predators. Giving them advanced scientific knowledge would be like giving Genghis
Khan the H-bomb and not realizing he would use it to further his own desires.


Azaxyr

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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jb...@access5.digex.net (Jonathan Blum) writes:

>
>Why is Robert Holmes so praised? In part because he *created* large slabs
>of what we think of as Doctor Who. So many of the details which fandom
>has latched on to came from his pen. In the stories he wrote or
>script-edited, we first saw: two hearts, the respiratory bypass system,
>thirteen lives, Davros, Rassilon, the Eye of Harmony, the Castellan, the
>Matrix, the *name* Gallifrey, the Master (in two radically different
>forms), Liz Shaw, Jo Grant, Mike Yates, Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan,
>Leela, K9, Romana, the Sontarans, the Autons, even throwaway details like
>artron energy and Metebelis 3.

I'd just like to point out that Holmes didn't
create half of these, and the most of the others
were joint efforts.

>Even if, in the case of some of these
>companions, he wasn't solely responsible for creating them, in large part
>he _defined_ them.

Hmm... Contradicting yourself in the same post.
What exactly does "defined" mean, hmm?

Charles Daniels

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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Keith Bradbury <kbra...@evansville.net> wrote:

> Charles Daniels wrote:
>> Well most of the ones you mentioned were just sort of there to me but this
>> one did bug me in particular. At first I thought "Wow the Doctor is just
>> being a racist bastard" but that wasn't the case at all. The thing that
>> upset him was that they were being genetically augmented. I am sure
>> he would feel the same thing if someone tried to raise a dinosaur to
>> the level of a time lord or something equally as strange.
>> It's obvious that a race of sadistic cannibals aren't yet ready
>> for that level of technology. I am almost certain that modern
>> human beings aren't ready for it either.

>I think the problem as the Doctor saw it was "Here's a legitimate scientist
>attempting to give great scientific knowledge to an instinct-driven
>creature that would simply use the knowledge to fulfill it's own
>appetite." The results would be appalling because the Doctor recognized
>the Androgum species as being dangerous predators. Giving them advanced
>scientific knowledge would be like giving Genghis Khan the H-bomb and
>not realizing he would use it to further his own desires.

yeah pretty much.

Brett O'Callaghan

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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smit...@mcmail.cis.McMaster.CA (R.J. Smith) wrote:

>Dangermouse <mas...@sol.co.ukDEATH-TO-SPAMMERS> wrote:

>>Talons itself isn't racist - it's a depiction of a racist era.

>Secondly, there's the semi-racist attitude that Holmes gives the Doctor. I

Such as?


--
http://www.cbl.com.au/~boc/
Home of WhoINFO, free Doctor Who Database for W95/98/NT
Watch me trawl through my old computer magazine collection

jfu...@my-dejanews.com

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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In article <366CAD6E...@belisarius.freeserve.co.uk>,

"Dr. Evil" <dr-...@belisarius.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>
>
> jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> > <some of Azaxyr's favorite writers snipped -- I actually agree with him on
> > those.>
> > > Definitely, Holmes wrote a lot of rubbish, and
> > > some of his stuff was average at best. However,
> > > with so many to choose from, certainly there
> > > were a lot of good ones in there too.
> > No argument from me. This is really all I was trying to say (although I was
> > originally a little more negative about Holmes than I am now -- you guys have
> > changed my mind somewhat!). The subject is "Holmes: Overrated?," not "Holmes:
> > Trash?"
>
> Can I just put my own little oar into all this and nominate my own all-time
> favourite DW story, The Ribos Operation?
>
> Hold! you cry, Is not TRO (you're one of those acronym freaks) a bit on the silly
> side?
>
> Of course, but as usual with humour, it uncovers a whole load of emotions.

Sorry for snipping the rest. I just don't want to keep posting lengthy
messages. You make a number of very good points about the pairing of Garron
and Unstoffe, the Graff, etc. I, too, remember with fondness (now that
you've reminded me of it) the scene between Unstoffe and the heretic, the
true universal human emotions uncovered there.

But humor often flopped in "The Ribos Operation" as well as in Holmes's work
in general; what it showed about humanity was overshadowed by its annoying
lack of realism. Often, apparently in an attempt to be humorous, Holmes
liked to create characters who were somewhat sympathetic, but unreal-seeming,
ruffians like Glitz, Garron, or the guy in "Carnival of Monsters";
caricatures like Oscar the overemotional actor (who couldn't even die
properly!) in "The Two Doctors," Henry Gordon Jago in "Talons," and, to some
extent Runcible in "The Deadly Assasin" (which I like); and idiots like the
two people with Drathro in "The Mysterious Planet." While I have gained
greater respect for Holmes's work after reading yours' and others'
perspectives on it, I still have problems with forced characterization and
plot problems in a significant number of his stories.

Thank you for sharing your perspective, however.

R.J. Smith

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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In article <366cc78...@news.cbl.com.au>,

Brett O'Callaghan <b...@lin.cbl.com.au> wrote:
>smit...@mcmail.cis.McMaster.CA (R.J. Smith) wrote:

>>Dangermouse <mas...@sol.co.ukDEATH-TO-SPAMMERS> wrote:

>>>Talons itself isn't racist - it's a depiction of a racist era.

>>Secondly, there's the semi-racist attitude that Holmes gives the Doctor. I

>Such as?

Such as the bit about Litefoot complaining that times had gotten so bad
that a man could be attacked by Ruffians in his own house and the Doctor
responding "Yes, but they were *Chinese* ruffians."

- Robert Smith?

R.J. Smith

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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In article <74i06l$mjm$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, <jfu...@my-dejanews.com> wrote:

>Yes, I do realize that. And I applaud Holmes for writing in those subtle
>(sometimes not-so-subtle) digs. But just because Holmes was not overtly
>racist does not mean he was not subconsciously racist, and also does not mean
>that this subconscious racism did not seep into his stories. I am not trying
>to paint Robert Holmes as a bad person, just as a good, but not great, writer
>-- not, by any means, far and away the best writer DW has ever had.

I'm tempted to agree with you about Holmes being subtly or subconsciously
racist, at least on occasion.

However, I don't think this necessarily precludes him from being a great
writer. It's a very nineties view to look back and dismiss the quality of
someone's work because of their political views (even when looking at a
completely different climate to our own, we still impose our own ideals on
top of it). However, I think that's an easy road to take, but not
necessarily accurate. He may well have been racist, but I don't think this
alone makes his stories any less well written.

- Robert Smith?

Keith Bradbury

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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jfu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> I think you're right that I have been too quick to label Holmes a "racist."
> It is probably unfair of me, especially since Robert Holmes is no longer with
> us. I am sorry.

Fair enough.

> However, I do see a lot of stuff in Holmes's work which
> supports racism, more so than in most other Who writers' material.

He certainly may have had a tendency to be racist in some of his attitudes or
characterizations, but that does not mean he was a racist. When speaking of someone of a
particular race, I may be quick to lump them into a preconceived notion, which shows my
own ego- or ethno-centricity. This is an aspect of racism, but does not make me a
racist. I tend to see racism as hating all who are not like you, as opposed to
ethno-centricity as gravitating toward those who are like you and perhaps
stereotypically viewing those who are not like you. Ethno-centricity does not mean that
someone of a different race or culture cannot be your friend (as would be the case with
a true racist), but that perhaps your exposure to those unlike you has simply been
limited. Given the chance to meet someone who is generally a nice person but of a
different background, you would still be happy to extend the right hand of friendship,
even if you did disagree with or misunderstand certain aspects of their cultures and
beliefs. A true racist would simply view those who are different with contempt.


Keith Bradbury

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
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"R.J. Smith" wrote:

But I always took that as a sarcastic response, not a racist one. Perhaps I took
it wrong, but oh well...


jfu...@my-dejanews.com

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Dec 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/9/98
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In article <366C8312...@evansville.net>,
kei...@hotmail.com wrote:
>
>
> Oh, Power of Kroll, I don't like that one because it is so anti-caucasian. I mean,
> here are those poor minority swamp-livers being persecuted by mean-spirited white
> industrialists--so typical.

I know you aren't being serious, but let me explain why the situation here is
different from that of "Talons," "Terror," and "Pyramids." First of all,
there are sympathetic white characters in "The Power of Kroll," and second,
"Kroll" is not the only Holmes story in which white characters appear.


> If you can call Holmes a racist for writing Talons, maybe you can call him a
> humanitarian for writing Kroll.

I wrote in another message that "Kroll" and some other stories (particularly
ones dealing with the decadent Time Lords) showed Holmes wasn't completely
pro- imperialist, although there is still evidence in "Ark in Space" and even
in "Kroll" (where the "Sons of Earth" types are frowned upon as well) that he
was annoyingly ambivalent about imperialism. I now believe I should have
wrote "seemed" ambivalent, because obviously I don't KNOW what Robert Holmes
thought.


> Also, what proof do you have that when Holmes was writing Autons that he
> specifically indicated, "make the strong man black?"

None -- but he probably had a good suspicion that it would end up being a
black person, if the other messages I have seen on this topic are accurate.

What if a black actor had not
> applied for or been contacted for the part? It would have surely fallen to a white
> actor. Would you still call him a racist if the white actor played the part in the
> same way?

> Probably not.
No, I wouldn't, because there would have been other white characters who were
sympathetic not only in Holmes's work in general, but also in "Terror of the
Autons" itself.

>
> Sounds like you've got a clear double standard to me. Since you're so quick to
> judge who's a racist, I think we should be quick to judge you back.

I think you're right that I have been too quick to label Holmes a "racist."
It is probably unfair of me, especially since Robert Holmes is no longer with

us. I am sorry. However, I do see a lot of stuff in Holmes's work which


supports racism, more so than in most other Who writers' material.

On a side note, I find it likely that everyone in the world is racist
(including myself) -- just in varying degrees.

Jim C. Fung
"She is a false goddess, and I will destroy her." (Tlotoxl, "The Aztecs")

jfu...@my-dejanews.com

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Dec 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/9/98
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In article <19981207102055...@ng36.aol.com>,
aza...@aol.com (Azaxyr) wrote:
> No, he's not my favorite writer.
> Certainly, Malcolm Hulke, Kit Pedler, David
> Whitaker, among other writers who wrote
> at least three stories are higher on my list of
> favorite writers.

This prompted me to do an analysis of the DWM poll results to find out which
writers who had written more than three stories got the highest average rating
on their stories. I apologize if someone has already done this before and
you've already seen this, but here's what I came up with.

Going strictly by credit on-screen (for example, no "Guy Leopold" credit for
Robert Sloman and "Robin Bland" credit for Terrance Dicks and Robert Holmes),
the result is rather surprising. The winner is Eric Saward! (I still can't
believe it. Maybe I should double-check my math.)

1. Eric Saward(4 stories): 75.80% 2. Terrance Dicks(5 stories): 75.32%
3. Kit Pedler(5 stories): 75.15% 4. Christopher H. Bidmead(3 stories): 74.83%
5. Chris Boucher(3 stories): 74.72% 6. Gerry Davis(5 stories): 71.86% 7. John
Lucarotti(3 stories): 70.67% 8. Malcolm Hulke(7 stories): 69.75% 9. ROBERT
HOLMES(15 stories): 69.67% 10. Terry Nation(11 stories): 69.28% 11. David
Whitaker(8 stories): 68.61% 12. Louis Marks(4 stories): 67.64% 13. Robert
Sloman(3 stories): 67.09% 14. Brian Hayles(6 stories): 67.05% 15. Dennis
Spooner(4 stories): 66.44% 16. Ian Stuart Black(3 stories): 64.50% 17. Johnny
Byrne(3 stories): 63.79% 18. David Fisher(5 stories): 63.76% 19. Dave
Martin(8 stories): 62.67% 20. Bob Baker(9 stories): 62.05% 21. Terence
Dudley(3 stories): 61.30% 22. Peter Grimwade(3 stories): 61.00% 23. Pip and
Jane Baker(4 stories): 59.97% I definitely have problems with these results.
Pip and Jane Baker, Bob Baker, Dave Martin, Peter Grimwade, and David Fisher
are way too far down the list. I'm glad people still remember Terrance's
stories with fondness, however, despite Dave Owen's continual bashing of
Terrance (and almost everything else I like about DW) in his "Shelf Life"
column. It is interesting to see that Robert Holmes is only 9th. (To be
fair, people voted on a variety of factors -- only one of which was the
writing. Nevertheless, the writing probably played a large part in their
choices.)

If you loosen the rules a little and allow pennames, widely acknowledged major
rewrites by Holmes/Saward to count against/for them, and other things like Kit
Pedler's idea for "The War Machines," then the results alter slightly . . .

1. Terrance Dicks(6 stories): 75.28% 2. Christopher Bidmead(3 stories):
74.83% 3. Chris Boucher(3 stories): 74.72% 4. Kit Pedler(6 stories): 74.64%
5. Douglas Adams(3 stories): 72.36% 6. Gerry Davis(6 stories): 71.65% 7.
Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln(3 stories): 71.45% 8. ROBERT HOLMES(17
stories): 71.00% 9. John Lucarotti(3 stories): 70.67% 10. Robert Sloman(4
stories): 69.86% 11. Malcolm Hulke(8 stories): 69.70% 12. Terry Nation(11
stories): 69.28% 13. Dennis Spooner(5 stories): 69.19% 14. Eric Saward(7
stories): 68.62% 15. David Whitaker(8 stories): 68.61% 16. Derrick Sherwin(3
stories): 68.36% 17. Louis Marks(4 stories): 67.64% 18. David Fisher(6
stories): 67.26% 19. Brian Hayles(6 stories): 67.05% 20. Ian Stuart Black(3
stories): 64.50% 21. Johnny Byrne(3 stories): 63.79% 22. Dave Martin(8
stories): 62.67% 23. Bob Baker(9 stories): 62.05% 24. Terence Dudley(3
stories): 61.30% 25. Peter Grimwade(3 stories): 61.00% 26. Pip and Jane
Baker(4 stories): 59.97% Eric Saward plummets due to "The Twin Dilemma" and
"Attack of the Cybermen," suggesting that while he was a good writer, he
butchered other people's scripts. Dicks is still strongly at the head of the
pack. Holmes improves, with help from "Pyramids of Mars" and "The Brain of
Morbius," but he is still no higher than 8th.

If anyone wants to dispute these figures, go ahead. I didn't have much time
to double-check.

On the basis of these numbers, Robert Holmes seems to have earned his
reputation because of his many worthy contibutions to Who mythology (as Jon
Blum pointed out in an earlier message), and the sheer quantity of his
stories, as well as the quality of certain specific stories, rather than
across-the-board stellar writing.

And Terrance Dicks deserves even more praise than he has received. Who cares
if his latest novels aren't the best thing since sliced bread? (I haven't
read them, so I can't comment. The last Dicks novel I read was "Blood
Harvest.") He seems to have been THE favorite DW TV writer ever.

Interesting numbers, don't you think?

Jim C. Fung

Jonathan Blum

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Dec 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/9/98
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In article <74hski$jim$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, <jfu...@my-dejanews.com> wrote:
>"The Ark in Space" takes the side of the human race despite the fact that
>humans were the people who committed the first wrong, by colonizing the home
>of the Wirrn. That's pro-imperialist, or at least ambivalent towards the
>effect of imperialism.

I'd say being "ambivalent" is the definite aim of the story; notice how
the Doctor's speech about the nobility of humanity is then contrasted with
the humans who finally do turn up, who are a pretty lifeless and
regimented bunch (with the exception of Rogin). As such, the fact that
humanity is not entirely innocent, but these humans are still pretty much
blameless in this case (after all, none of them had any connection with
the invasion of the Wirrn homeworld at least a thousand years ago) would
tend to support this theme.

>Now, obviously, I wouldn't have expected the Doctor
>to help the Wirrn to prevail, but I don't appreicate Noah's "noble self
>sacrifice" as a satisfactory resolution. He could have led the Wirrn away
>somewhere else, as the Doctor in fact suggested -- this would have been a
>suitable end for both the humans and the previously victimized Wirrn. But
>no, that's not what Holmes wanted Noah to do. Holmes wanted Noah to blow up
>the "evil" Wirrn because there was still some humanity left in Noah after
>all. I didn't see the Doctor expressing very much dismay at this.

What's there to be dismayed about? The Wirrn were victimized a thousand
years ago, but at the moment they show no redeeming characteristics; no
pity, no compassion, no desire even to altruistically protect others of
their own kind. Not even a glimmer of a sense of humor. The humans,
though, despite having victimized the Wirrn a thousand years ago, despite
all their flaws, show these redeeming sides to themselves.

The Wirrn are dehumanized in a way which other Doctor Who monster races
(like the Sontarans or Ice Warriors) aren't; they're bugs, with all
the associations of a hive mentality (and serving as a nice parallel to
the worker-drone culture of the humans, which the humans are seen to break
out of to an extent).

As a result, I don't see too much of a problem with the Doctor treating
them like an insect infestation.

(Or maybe that's partly because I'm living in Australia, where we get
two-inch-long bush roaches crawling in through our windows every so
often.)

>How
>inappropriate to the ethics of DW, which is usually about social justice.

Not exactly -- Doctor Who is often about *monsters*. And I think any race
which thinks "Your ancestors invaded our world a thousand years ago and
drove us off it, so that gives us the right to feed off your flesh and
incubate our young in your bodies" is taking the concept of social justice
in a rather unique direction.

Calling Holmes "pro-imperialist" for rejecting that message seems way over
the top to me.

Azaxyr

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Dec 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/9/98