As we approach the 60th Anniversary of Doctor Who, revisit the story of Doctor Who, the occasional series written for the 50th Anniversary, explaining the origins of the programme.

Episode 4 - An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV Legend: First published 25 Jul 2012

Moments in Time: What's in a Name?Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 21 May 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The O.K. Corral (Title Caption) (Credit: BBC)Originally envisaged as an ongoing serial, the first three years of Doctor Who rolled on from episode to episode, each individually titled with no 'umbrella' name to associate discrete stories, just an overall theme that changed every few episodes or so, and often linked through cliff-hangers (quite literally in the case of Desperate Measures) or where a plot might suddenly catch the audience by surprise (such as at the end of The Plague).

However, after some 118 episodes new producer Innes Lloyd decided to revitalise the series, seeing the following episode to be broadcast adopt an overall name, and supporting cast disbanded over the next several weeks (not to mention a Doctor himself not that long thereafter!). And so, fifty years ago today saw the transmission of The O.K. Corral, the end of individual episode titles and the beginning of a controversy that fans still argue about today:

What should we call these discrete adventures of Doctor Who?

It wasn't until the 1970s that an emerging organised fandom would start to discuss their memories of long-since unseen adventures, and what they should be called - a common name would of course make sense so we would know we're talking about the same thing (would "the one with the Daleks invading Earth" or "the one with Napoleon in" ever catch on?). The Tenth Anniversary special edition of the Radio Times gave a first stab at this, though that tended to use the first episode of the serial as the name. Then, the revised The Making of Doctor Who book by Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke published by Target provided another list of the stories, with many more familiar titles but some still a little different to what sits on DVD shelves of fans today (anyone watching The French Revolution tonight?). However, it was the publication by Target of the first edition of The Doctor Who Programme Guide by Jean and Randy L'Officier in 1981 that solidified a naming scheme that became 'universal' in fan usage and is still recognisable across the BBC brand to this day.

By the 1990s, however, the established names were beginning to be challenged by researchers who now had access to BBC records, uncovering a wealth of documentation that were to reveal titles used by the contemporary production teams and BBC Enterprises for promotion overseas. Some were quite trivial amendments - The Dalek Masterplan is now considered The Daleks' Master Plan (even within the BBC's online Doctor Who section), and The Massacre has become a rather more wordy The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve. Others aren't generally used - "Doctor Who and ..."  has never taken on (except in the cast of a certain early Pertwee serial!), and only the 'hardened fan' ever refers to Mission to the Unknown as Dalek Cutaway! It's the naming of the first three serials, however, that remains the most hotly contested ...

The Radio Times Tenth Anniversary special and The Making of Doctor Who originally used An Unearthly Child, The Dead Planet and The Edge of Destruction; then the Doctor Who Programme Guide and the Radio Times Twentieth Anniversary special utilised The Daleks for the second serial; when The Sixties was published in 1992, the first three serials were now referred to as 100,000BC, The Daleks, and Inside the Spaceship, but by the time the same authors published The First Doctor Handbook in 1994 the second serial had become The Mutants. These last three names are the ones adopted by the official Doctor Who Magazine (and also used on the covers of The Complete History series of books) - though the names often include an "aka" to the "common name" that everybody is more familiar with!

(Interestingly, narration scripts for the fourth serial referred to it as Journey to Cathay - this might have ended up as another debate, but fortunately director Waris Hussein re-iterated in Doctor Who Magazine last year that the production team considered it as obscure a title to viewers as the one they ultimately decided to use, Marco Polo!)

The O.K. Corral (Next Episode Caption) (Credit: BBC)Does the name used really matter, though?** In the case of the second serial this is certainly an issue as, without context, the person mentioning it might mean the Jon Pertwee story that happens to officially hold that name on-screen. So perhaps The Daleks makes more sense - until one thinks of the episode that officially holds that name within The Dalek Invasion of Earth! In the latter case, however, most will accept the story name as the main identifier (another example of a name clash occurs between Inferno the episode and Inferno the story!)

At least Innes Lloyd's team alleviated fans' heated naming debates by introducing serial names ... unless you count the title of the aforementioned Pertwee ending in Silurians (though that isn't too disimilar to the original Next Episode caption for The Savages), or the on-screen title of the first episode of Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

Of course this isn't the end of the debate, as the 'father' of modern Doctor Who, Russell T Davies fully knew when he re-ignited such discourse through his first two-parter of the returning series, the individually named Aliens of London and World War Three.

The composition of what constitutes a story itself is also something that isn't without debate. Colin Baker's last season is one such example: is it one long story or four individual, connected adventures? Again, the modern series offers up such conundrums, with one often-cited example series three's Utopia, The Sound of Drums and Last of the Time Lords: a three-parter or a single/two-parter? It isn't too surprising that the two latter examples have been interpreted differently depending on which story milestone is being marked! Can this be taken too far, however: the very first serial is sometimes described as being two stories, the An Unearthly Child introduction and then a three-part 100,000BC (or The Tribe of Gum as the Doctor Who Programme Guide indicated), with the rolling series cited as a valid reason for such an interpretation.

Ultimately, of course, it is entirely up our readers as to whether they prefer one title to another - indeed, searching the Internet can often find alternatively titled covers to those used by the BBC in order to grace those DVD shelves!


Little did Verity Lambert and team know what they would be unleashing upon fandom when those originals serials went out 'nameless', but at least after the closing credits of The O.K. Corral we would have a - fairly - consistent naming scheme for the rest of the Doctor's 20th Century adventures!


The Gunfighter: The O.K. Corral (Credit: BBC)
So the Earps and the Clantons are aimin' to meet,
At the O.K. Corral near Calamity Street.
It's the O.K. Corral, boys, of gun fighting fame,
Where the Earps and the Clantons, they played out the game.

They played out the game and we nevermore shall
Hear a story the like of the OK Corral.



** The answer is "of course it matters", otherwise we wouldn't be the fans we are!




FILTER: - Moments in Time - Production

Jon Pertwee - Twenty Years OnBookmark and Share

Friday, 20 May 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Moments in TimeIt was twenty years ago today, on Monday 20th May 1996, that we lost the irrepressible, the inspirational, the uniquely talented man that was Jon Pertwee.

John Devon Roland Pertwee was born in July 1919 in London, a few months after the end of World War One. He joined a long established theatrical family, the son of the actor and playwright Roland.

Pertwee had a varied education after being expelled from a number of minor public schools. From the start his firm convictions and refusal to bow to authority, created friction with those in power and forced his premature departure. The same happened when he trained as an actor where, at RADA, despite rave reviews from a visiting Noel Coward, he was eventually dismissed for refusing to play a Greek wind.

In 1939 war broke out and Pertwee joined the Royal Navy. He was a member of the crew of HMS Hood, escorting Russian Convoys, transferring off the ship just three days before it was sunk with the loss of all but 3 hands. Joining Navel Intelligence he was thrust into the world of espionage, working alongside James Bond creator Ian Fleming and reporting directly to the Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The full extent of his top secret work was not revealed until an interview was published long after his death.
I did all sorts. Teaching commandos how to use escapology equipment, compasses in brass buttons, secret maps in white cotton handkerchiefs, pipes you could smoke that also fired a .22 bullet. All sorts of incredible things.
Post war he began making a career as a jobbing stage actor and Radio Comedian. His talent for accents gained him a role in Waterlogged Spa playing an ancient postman. His success was rapid and by 1948 he was being billed as The Most Versatile Voice in Radio. His longest running role was as Chief Petty Officer Pertwee in The Navy Lark, which he played from 1959-1977.

Small roles in feature films followed, including parts in four Carry On films, as well as a burgeoning stage career. He appeared in the 1963 London production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and on Broadway in There's a Girl in My Soup

In 1967 he was offered the role of Captain Mainwaring in the BBC Comedy Dad's Army, a role he turned down.

The role that would define him came in 1970 when he was offered the role of the Third Doctor. He was second choice for the role, behind Oliver! actor Ron Moody, but it was a role he embraced and made his own. Initially unsure how to play the role he was advised to play it as himself. "Who the hell is that?" he exclaimed.

Pertwee's era redefined the show, with the inclusion of UNIT as a regular part of the narrative. The bond formed between the main players was obvious on screen and for many it would be regarded as the golden age of the drama. The team chemistry between Pertwee, Manning, Courtney, Franklin, Levene and Delgado, led by the production team of Letts and Dicks, created a warm family feeling to the programme and ratings grew after declining towards the end of the second Doctor's era.

The team began to break up towards the end of 1973. Katy Manning decided to move on and was replaced by actress April Walker. Pertwee objected, feeling the chemistry was wrong and Walker was replaced by the more acceptable Elisabeth Sladen who developed a strong bond with Pertwee. By far the biggest loss was the death of Roger Delgado, who was killed in a car crash while filming in Turkey. The loss of his friend affected Pertwee deeply and when producer Barry Letts and Scripts Editor Terrance Dicks announced they were also leaving, he decided to call it a day. He had appeared in 128 episodes of the series, over 52 hours of television.

Post Who Pertwee charmed a new audience, playing the scarecrow Worzel Gummidge in the Southern TV series as well as educating a nations youth in the correct way to cross the road as the voice of the Green Cross Code.

In 1983 he returned to the role of the Doctor in the 20th Anniversary special The Five Doctors. In 1989 he toured the UK in the stage play Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure and three years later performed in two BBC Radio Drama's, The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N-Space.

Jon Pertwee was active on the early convention scene, appearing at events on both sides of the Atlantic. He persuaded his old friend Patrick Troughton to attend and their mock feud entertained fans around the world, although it left Terry Wogan perplexed when he tried in on Children In Need. He was the first Honorary President of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society.

Pertwee died in the USA in 1996 at the age of 76. His death was shocking as he was so full of life, so irrepressible, so irreplaceable. He was survived by his wife Ingeborg Rhoesa, his son Sean Pertwee, and his daughter Dariel Pertwee.

The mark Jon Pertwee made on the series can never be over estimated and his legacy will live on as long as Doctor Who is remembered. Twenty years on we marvel at the wonderful, inspirational, immense talent that was Jon Pertwee and thank him for being part of our lives.




FILTER: - Jon Pertwee - Moments in Time

Moments in Time: Time Waits For No Man - Except OneBookmark and Share

Saturday, 14 May 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The TV Movie (Credit: BBC)It was twenty years ago today that, after some six plus years off screen, a new, feature length episode of Doctor Who was to make its US premiere. It introduced us to a new Doctor in Paul McGann, a new Master in Eric Roberts, a new TARDIS interior, and a whole new look and feel that the regular series had never been able to achieve.

It was also a new experience for Doctor Who to receive a simultaneous nationwide broadcast through the FOX network, something it hadn't previously been able to achieve in the country over the course of its 20+ years availablity through some commercial and many PBS-affiliated channels. With such exposure and publicity what could possibly go wrong?

In hindsight, looking at the US television "battlefield" of the time, it is perhaps easy to see why the fresh-faced "backdoor" pilot never made it into a full series: its 'mere' 8.3 million viewers only ranked it a 9% share/70th position against strong opposition on rival channels, and was considered a failure by the powers that be.

However, back then it was a also time of optimism and celebration for Doctor Who fans, and in this special Moments In Time members of the Doctor Who News team past and present reflect their feelings on the build-up to the "FOX Original Movie" on Tuesday May 14th at 8:00pm ...

Shaun Lyon, the founder of the Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles (now in its 28th year) - and editor of what is now Doctor Who News back when it was part of Outpost Gallifrey (the website he ran between 1996 and 2009) - reminisces on a time two decades past:
How quickly time flies... doesn't seem possible that it's been 20 years since the TV Movie / The Enemy Within / the return to TV / call it what you will. For a 15 year period bookended only by the fantastic efforts of Virgin Publishing, BBC Books and Big Finish Productions, it was really the apex of a very long uphill battle, and although it didn't end up moving beyond one film, it certainly changed the course of Doctor Who forever.

The TV Movie was the first real effort - before Davies, before Moffat, before Eccleston and Tennant and Smith and Capaldi - to modernize and broaden Doctor Who's appeal to the wider audience on both sides of the Atlantic. To this day, it's claimed to have been a failure... abject nonsense, its ratings in both the UK and US were respectable. Definitely a product of its time, its journey shortened out of the gate by the vagaries of American TV politics and changing viewer attitudes. But it was the event that gave us Paul McGann and Daphne Ashbrook and Yee Jee Tso and Philip Segal - people whose involvement with the Doctor Who franchise have continued to this day, part of the family as much as Tom Baker or Sylvester McCoy.

As thrilling as it was to be a fan at the time, and for our fan group here in LA to assist with the premiere at the Directors Guild of America (our convention's TARDIS was on display there, and it's the same TARDIS that was featured in the TV Guide Magazine article the week of the debut), I was honored to contribute in a very small way to the production; as noted in Segal and Gary Russell's excellent book Regeneration, I caught a minor goof ("a Time Lord has 12 lives" was changed to "13" at my suggestion, based on the fact that Peter Davison called himself the fourth regeneration in "The Five Doctors") during a pre-screening in Segal's office. Imagine how that felt to me to see it happen on the big screen during the DGA premiere. I'll cherish that moment forever.

And who would have thought it would continue to have an impact all these years later? You only need look at the ongoing popular Big Finish series with Paul McGann at the helm that run to this day... and of course, that amazing, out-of-the-blue Night of the Doctor special with McGann's long awaited regeneration scene into John Hurt (nobody could ever have seen that coming!) Still a bit of a controversy to this day over the whole 'half-human' thing, but definitely remaining popular just as long because of the charm McGann displayed in one 90 minute film..

If the transition from "classic" to "new" Doctor Who could be described as a migration from one continent to another, The TV Movie is the stepping stone on the journey... the Bering land-bridge of Doctor Who, leading a wandering series into its new horizons forever. We're so lucky it happened the way it did, and it'll still bear fruit for many years in the future.

Steven Warren Hill, who took over the legacy of Outpost Gallifrey's forum with Gallifrey Base in 2009, reflects:
My friend Dennis hosted a viewing at his place for all of us longtime Doctor Who fans. I remember setting at least two VCRs at home to record the movie, and bringing a third VCR with me so I could be in control of at least one of the recordings. There were probably about ten of us there, and we all went quiet as the movie started. I don't know about the others, but I had tears in my eyes after the intensity of the operating room scene. Sure, we'd seen the Doctor "die" before but this time it was scarily real and quite affecting. When I got home that night, I had to watch again from the start to the end of that scene before I could go to bed.

Recently I devoted a lot of time writing the portion of the forthcoming book Red White and Who: The Story of Doctor Who in America that talks about the movie. I believe we've gone into greater detail than ever before in analyzing why it failed to get decent ratings in the United States. It was interesting researching the topic, and dredging up memories of things like long-forgotten promotional spots (on both television and radio). In hindsight, its place in the grand scheme of everything Doctor Who couldn't be more perfect - many of us desperately wanted a new series to come out of it, but if that had happened, how long could it possibly last? It turns out that the one-off was exactly what we needed, even if we didn't think so at the time. If it had gone to series then, we might not have a series now.

Longtime fan and sometime Doctor Who News contributor Josiah Rowe remembers:
You have to remember that in those days Doctor Who was largely unknown in the US. If people had even heard of it, they knew it as "that weird British thing on PBS". But in spring of 1996, things were suddenly different. There was a story in the Washington Post! There was an article in TV Guide! (No cover, of course; that wouldn’t happen until 2012.) It’s nothing compared with the ubiquity of Doctor Who today, but at the time it seemed revolutionary.

I set my VCR to record from 8:00 to 10:00 PM on the local FOX station, and watched eagerly. I grinned at every continuity reference, from the Daleks (who did not sound as high-pitched on American broadcast as they did in the UK and on the eventual DVD release) to the Doctor’s toolbox (lovingly recreated from the 1983 Doctor Who Technical Manual). I looked askance at the half-human business, but had no problem with the kissing — unlike many fans at the time!

The TV movie is now seen as a false start for bringing Doctor Who back to TV, but for all its flaws it’s gorgeously shot and brought us the marvelously exuberant Eighth Doctor. And it showed that Doctor Who could be more than a quaint little shot-on-video series, beloved by a few but ignored by most.

Jarrod Cooper, organiser of the Hurricane Who conventions that take place in Orlando, Florida, recalls:
The Wilderness Years were a sad and lonely time for a Doctor Who fan in a small town in South Alabama. The local comic shop only received one copy of Doctor Who Magazine and the local used book shop had to special order the Virgin New Adventures and Target books, for why would they actually stock those? But that was it. The local PBS affiliate had ceased airing the show shortly after the end of the Classic Series' run. It was a dark time indeed. But then, there were rumblings in DWM that there was a movie coming. Possibly a series.

I still remember the moment that the TV Movie excitement hit me full force. It was the moment that I saw the first insert in TV Guide for the movie. It was simple, no more than a quarter of a page basically teasing that there would be more information in the following issue. But it was there, in the main TV listings magazine. I don't know why, but for some reason seeing that in print in TV Guide made it real. Doctor Who was returning.

On that May night, I sat with my VCR ready and an open mind. The pre-credits rolled and there was everything that I had been missing. The TARDIS. A new Doctor. The Master. The Sonic Screwdriver. Who cared if I was missing Roseanne?? So what if the Master can now be held at bay by a fire extinguisher and the Eye of Harmony is now a weird room in the TARDIS? For two hours I sat transfixed.

Little did we know what seeds were being planted that night. I was blissfully unaware of the years of novel and audio adventures that were in store for me alongside this Doctor. All I knew was for that one night, we had a light in the dark. Our show was back, and it was about time.

Benjamin Francis Elliott, the previous 'incarnation' of This Week in Doctor Who, explains his own regenerative experience:
I knew the movie was coming because I'd seen a copy of DWM (and I never came across DWM back then). Plus, it was in the TV Guide. I was looking forward to it. My family was (they all liked Tom Baker and Peter Davison). Then - May 14 - catastrophe ...

My parents found a college scholarship that I'd be a shoo-in for - due May 15th, and insisted I fill it out before I could see the movie. Did I mention the form required you to type it up on a typewriter? So, the movie begins, and the whole family (except me) is watching live. I finished the form and got to join in - right after the regeneration. Odd way to start the film. we got it on VHS, so I saw the McCoy section the next day. It was the last Doctor Who (and maybe the last piece of TV) I saw before going onto the internet for the first time. The last time before I encountered fandom. The Internet has strengths and weaknesses. I certainly didn't get spoiled on plot points without it.


TV Guide: 11th May 1996 (Credit: TV Guide, with thanks to the Gallifreyan Embassy/Doctor Who: Podshock)
TV Guide: 11th May 1996 (Credit: TV Guide, with thanks to the Gallifreyan Embassy/Doctor Who: Podshock)
TV Guide article on the TV Movie. 11th May 1996.
Reproduced with thanks to the Gallifreyan Embassy/Doctor Who: Podshock
Extract from the Washington Post, 14th May 1996:

He has two hearts and 13 lives, he flits around the galaxy in a flying phone booth and he's half-human on his mother's side. Who is he? Exactly. He is Who -- Doctor Who, hero of a BBC fantasy series that first materialized in 1963, ran for 20 years and was imported by many public TV stations here.

Doctor Who is a man whose time has come and keeps coming; now the Fox network is trying to revive him for a new series, starting with a two-hour movie pilot, "Doctor Who," tonight at 8 on Channel 5. As opposed to the old BBC show, a basically tacky-looking thing shot in a TV studio, the new movie, filmed mostly in British Columbia, is splashy and spectacular, with a certain Jules Verney quality to it.

It's certainly got more wit and zip than most of the things that go thunk in the night on Fox.

...

The plot may sound ridiculously complicated, but it all pretty much boils down to the perpetual war between good and evil. Matthew Jacobs's script has lots of bright, fetching touches, and director Geoffrey Sax keeps things whirling so speedily that disbelief is easily suspended. Some of the special effects and editing tricks are true dazzlers.

Daffy though it be, "Doctor Who" dabbles in matters of time, space and mortality in ways that aren't completely superficial. The Doctor's goal, he says, is "to hold back death," and if Who doesn't do it, who will?


What is often forgotten in the mists of time, however, is that the television movie was produced in Vancouver, Canada, and even had its world premiere broadcast by CITV on Sunday 12th May. Mike Doran, a Canadian fan with a keen interest in the history of Doctor Who in the country, relates:
The return of Doctor Who in 1996 was so different than in 2003-05. Paul McGann was already on location in Vancouver before his casting and the production was officially announced. A co-produced American series/movie had been in development for years but it was finally happening and it was being made in Canada. What's more we'd only have to wait for four months until it aired. Even then here were location reports and pictures being posted on-line as production took place. I later found out that the house of a friend in Kits Beach was scouted to be the home of Dr. Grace Holloway. Right around the corner from Hadden Park where the Doctor and Grace would kiss.

TVM tapes - 20 years on! (Credit: Mike Doran)
TVM tapes - 20 years on!
By April there were promos running on Fox affiliate from Buffalo, New York. Lots of promos! I found myself watching and taping more Fox shows that I could have ever imagined just to get glimpses of what was to come. Toronto was not going to be lucky enough to get an early airing like Edmonton did on May 12th but word came down that a TV station in Hamilton, Ontario was going to simulcast the movie on May 14th. The day before broadcast I scoured a newsstand that specialized in out of town newspapers looking for any coverage and TV listings magazines with Doctor Who on the cover.

When the day came a group of us gathered at the house of a friend to watch the movie together. The funny part was that the host wasn't even a Doctor Who fan and he didn't live somewhere convenient to get to, he just had the biggest and nicest TV of anybody we knew. I brought a VCR with me so I could meticulously edit out the ads as we watched. At home a second VCR rolled for a back-up copy with ads intact. When it was over the consensus in the room was that McGann was great, the movie itself average. We wanted to see more but as the months passed it was clear that we wouldn't. By the time 2003 rolled around I'd come around to being happy about that.


Just under a fortnight later, Doctor Who was to make a return to its ancestral home - but how would fans there find the fresh interpretation of a very British legacy ...

Coming Soon: He's Back, And It's About Time




FILTER: - Canada - Classic Series - Eighth Doctor - Moments in Time - USA

Moments in Time - A Life SacrificedBookmark and Share

Friday, 4 December 2015 - Reported by Marcus
Moments in TimeIt was on Saturday 4th December 1965, exactly fifty years ago today, that Katarina sacrificed her life to save the Doctor, and became the first companion to die as a result of their travels with the Doctor.

It had been a very short stay in the TARDIS for the character, who only joined the team four weeks previously. Katarina had been a handmaiden of the prophetess Cassandra in the ancient city of Troy, when she met the Doctor. The character was intended as a replacement for Vicki, however it was soon realised that Katarina was so uneducated, so naive, that it was almost impossible to write for the character.

The decision was taken therefore, to write her out in the most spectacular way possible, and Katarina was destined to die in an airlock, sacrificing her life to stop the Doctor being blackmailed, and forced to return to the Daleks.

The character of Katarina was played by Devon born actress Adrienne Hill, in her first role for Television.

In 1986 she gave an interview to Doctor Who Magazine and talked about what it was like to join the series
I had lunch with Maureen O’Brien and Peter Purves and they told me to expect the tight schedule and how to cope with Bill Hartnell. He was nice to me as I told him that this was my first television work and he took me under his wing to guide me. You really had to be on your toes with him, though, because he would often forget his lines and we couldn’t re-shoot things.
Hill also described filming her departure
My death was done on a trampoline, with the camera below us. I was jumping up and down to give the impression I was floating away through space. I was terribly proud of that.
Following her appearance in Doctor Who, Hill acted in several small roles, before moving to the Netherlands, and then America. She later returned to England where she retrained to be a drama teacher.

In 1985 she appeared alongside many other Doctor Who actors in the BBC Children in Need programme.

Adrienne Hill died of Cancer in 1997 at the age of 60.




FILTER: - Moments in Time

Moments in Time - Farewell VickiBookmark and Share

Friday, 6 November 2015 - Reported by Marcus
Moments in TimeOn Saturday 6th November 1965, exactly fifty years ago today, we said goodbye to space orphan Vicki, when actress Maureen O'Brien appeared in Doctor Who for the very last time.

Vicki had joined the Doctor, Ian and Barbara in the story The Rescue, shown at the start of the year, filling the void left by the departure of the Doctor's granddaughter Susan. Together the crew had voyaged through space and time, from ancient Rome to medieval England, from mysterious Vortis to the deserts of Aridius and from the barren planet Xeros to the jungles of Mechanus. The four had fled from Daleks and Drahvins, battled Zarbi and Mechanoids and befriended Kings and peasants.

In the end it was love that saw Vicki leave the Doctor in the story The Myth Makers. When the TARDIS landed near Troy, she fell in love with Troilus, the son of the trojan King Priam, who changed her name to Cressida, She left the Doctor to forge a life with the trojan prince, thus earning a place in history and in time, becoming a character in a Shakespearian tragedy, based on events taking place some 3000 years before her birth.

While Vicki's departure was a concious decision for the character, it was a shock to the actor portraying her. Maureen O'Brien had returned from the summer break to attend rehearsals for the new series at the North Kensington Community centre, only to discover the character was being dropped at the end of the first story. Believing that O'Brien wished to leave the series, new producer John Wiles had decided to replace the character of Vicki, with a new character, Katarina, who would be introduced towards the end of the story. However nobody had thought to tell O'Brien.
We went off on our six week break, and when I came back I expected to find the next four scripts waiting for me, And there weren't any scripts. If they had offered me another contract I might have been torn, because even £50 a week was a lot of money. I suppose I was angry because I had gone on holiday and I would rather have been looking for work.
Script editor Donald Tosh took up the story
The writing out of Vicki is one of the things I really regret about my time in Doctor Who, because it was unfortunately so badly handled. I understood that Maureen wanted to go. We got to the first read through and Maureen arrives absolutely furious, because nobody had told her. It was deeply deeply embarrassing
Maureen O'Brien (Credit: Jean-Christophe Rey) Like many departing Doctor Who companions O'Brien found that staring in a weekly TV series, watched by up to 13 million viewers each week, was no guarantee of further work. Typecasting was a real problem and roles sparse. Before taking on the role she was became a founding member of the Everyman Theatre in her native Liverpool. Upon leaving the series worked as a supply teacher at a girl's school in Kennington, before returning to the theatre. Small TV roles followed in series such as Emergency-Ward 10 and Z Cars.

In 1979 O'Brien played Morgan le Fay in the BBC adaptation of The Legend of King Arthur and she later won the role of Elizabeth Straker in the medical drama Casualty. Other roles included appearances in Cracker, Bergerac, Jonathan Creek, The Bill, Heartbeat and A Touch of Frost.

In addition to televison work O'Brien has had an extensive career in the theatre both as a performer and a director. In 1986 she was awarded the Time Out's Critic's Choice for her production of Mike English's Getting In . She has twice won the Sony Best Actress award for her work on radio and also has awards for audiobooks of which she continues to record a huge range.

In 1989 she had her first novel published, Close-Up on Death featuring the character of Detective Inspector John Bright. Six more novels featuring the character followed. She is also a playwright with her play The Cutting nominated Best Play in the London Fringe Awards and Best Newcomer in the Evening Standard Drama Awards.

Maureen O'Brien has returned to the role of Vicki in the Companion Chronicles produced by Big Finish. In 2013 she appeared at the 50th Anniversary Festival in London talking about her time with the series and her affection for the first Doctor.
My role was to laugh Bill out of his five or six tempers each day. I did it very happily. He was a charming creature in spite of his irascibility. He was very fond of me, and I of him.
Sources: Official Website; The End of the Line - documentary produced by Ed Stradling for the DVD release of The Gunfighters; The Handbook: The First Doctor – The William Hartnell Years: 1963-1966, David J Howe, Mark Stammers, Stephen James Walker (Doctor Who Books, 1994)




FILTER: - Moments in Time

Moments in Time - Goodbye VerityBookmark and Share

Friday, 9 October 2015 - Reported by Marcus
Moments in TimeIt was on Saturday 9th October 1965, fifty years ago today, that the last ever Doctor Who to be produced by the series first producer, Verity Lambert, was broadcast.

Verity Lambert had decided to move on from the series at the end of the second year of recording. She had been with the series since June 1963, when BBC Head of Drama Sydney Newman recruited her to produce his new science fiction series.

As the BBC's youngest, and sole female drama producer, she had faced many battles within the Corporation and had steered the programme from its very uncertain beginnings to a point where it was attracting audiences of up to 13 million viewers to BBC One in the early evening.

Against the odds she had created a series which would run and run and, 50 years later, is one of the biggest global brands the BBC possesses.

Sydney Newman had no doubt where the success of the series lay, as he told Doctor Who Magazine in 1993
I think the best thing I ever did on that was to find Verity Lambert. I remembered Verity as being bright and, to use the phrase, full of piss and vinegar! She was gutsy and she used to fight and argue with me
Lambert's final story, Mission to the Unknown is unique in the history of Doctor Who in that it features neither The Doctor, or any of his current companions, who at the time were Steven and Vicki.

The idea for the story was conceived early in 1965 when Terry Nation had been discussing ideas with the production team for the third production block of the series. Such was the success of the Daleks than another story involving them would be needed. A six part story, later to be expanded to twelve episodes, was commissioned from their creator along with a special 'trailer' episode for the story that would feature none of the regular cast and would be known as Dalek Cutaway.

The extra episode was to be scheduled at the end of the second year of recording. The absence of the regular cast would allow them all to have an extra week's holiday in the gap between the recording blocks for season two and three. Despite missing from the episode, William Hartnell would still be credited as his contract specified he would be credited for all episodes, a stipulation that did not apply to his companions Peter Purves and Maureen O'Brien.

Verity Lambert had effectively left the series by the time Mission to the Unknown was recorded, but her official contract with the series ended with the recording of the episode, in Television Centre Studio 3, on Friday 18th August. Her successor would be John Wiles, a BBC staff writer who had recently been promoted to producer. Script Editor Dennis Spooner was also moving on from the series, where he was replaced by Donald Tosh.

To help ease the transition, Lambert and Spooner wrote a document headed The History of Doctor Who, giving an introduction to the series. They were very keen to keep the internal history of the show intact and avoid conflicts in the story arc.
You will find listed below a thumbnail sketch of the serials transmitted and/or commissioned for Doctor Who. I think it is a point to bear in mind that any stories that are commissioned and are set in the future will have to be checked from their date point of view.... The Dalek serials have also to be watched with this in mind, as in the first Dalek serial (Serial B) Doctor Who did in fact wipe out the Dalek race. With a time machine at his disposal this is not as disastrous as it sounds, as he can go back to any point in their history; but one has to be careful in Serial B, K, R and in the Dalek story to come that they are true to the Dalek history calendar.

Another further note is that most writers call Doctor Who 'Doctor Who'. In fact he does not admit to this name, just the 'Doctor' part, and is never referred to as 'Doctor Who'. This is just the title of the show. Doctor Who comes from a planet that we have never named. Various references to it have been made in the scripts as the show has gone along, but I personally have not gone back looking for them all.
When Lambert left Doctor Who she was offered the producer role on a new BBC series Adam Adamant Lives! , as well as launching a new soap opera The Newcomers. Other productions for the BBC included a season of the crime drama Detective and a 26-part series of adaptations of the stories of William Somerset Maugham.

She left the BBC in 1969 to join London Weekend Television, where she produced Budgie and Between the Wars, before returning to the BBC to produce Shoulder to Shoulder, a series of six 75-minute plays about the suffragette movement of the early 20th century. In the 1970's she became Head of Drama at Thames Television, and was responsible for overseeing the work of Euston Films, Thames' subsidiary film production company, where she enjoyed the most sustained period of critical and popular success of her career. Her work included The Naked Civil Servant, with John Hurt, Rock Follies, Rumpole of the Bailey, The Sweeney, and Edward and Mrs Simpson. In 1979 she transferred to Euston films full time overseeing productions such as Quatermass, Minder and Widows.

In 1985 she established her own independent production company, Cinema Verity, producing the feature film A Cry in the Dark and the Channel 4 commissioned drama G.B.H. A less successful Cinema Verity production, was the soap opera Eldorado which was cancelled after a year. In the early 1990s, Lambert attempted to win the rights to produce Doctor Who independently for the BBC; however, this effort was unsuccessful because the Corporation was already in negotiations with producer Philip Segal in the United States.

Her work continued into the 21st Centurary, producing Jonathan Creek and The Cazalets for the BBC. Her last production was the comedy-drama, Love Soup.

Verity Lambert died on the 22 November 2007, the day before Doctor Who's 44th Birthday. A blue heritage plaque in her honour was unveiled by the Doctor Who Appreciation Society and the Riverside Trust, at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London in 2014.
SOURCES: The Handbook: The First Doctor – The William Hartnell Years: 1963-1966, David J Howe, Mark Stammers, Stephen James Walker (Doctor Who Books, 1994);Doctor Who Magazine (1993)




FILTER: - Moments in Time

Moments In Time: Zygons in ScotlandBookmark and Share

Sunday, 30 August 2015 - Reported by Harry Ward
Today marks the fortieth anniversary of Terror of the Zygons by Robert Banks Stewart. The Zygons returned to Doctor Who in The Day of the Doctor and are set to make another appearance in this year's Invasion Of The Zygons / Inversion Of The Zygons by Peter Harness.

The Radio Times issue for 28 August 1975 covered the story with a feature on Loch Ness by Anthony Haden-Guest with artwork from Frank Bellamy. You can read more on the Radio Times story guide by Mark Braxton.
What is Nessie? Who can tell? In a new series starting this week, Dr Who takes on the unidentified incumbent of Loch Ness. Here Anthony Haden-Guest plumbs the murky depths of the Scottish mystery.
Still waters, page 1 (Credit: Radio Times / Frank Bellamy) Still waters, page 2 (Credit: Radio Times) Saturday TV (Radio Times) (Credit: Radio Times / Frank Bellamy)

In article about Doctor Who in The Listener for 2nd October 1975, Jack Waterman wrote:
On another level, admirers of polystyrene suitings—to say nothing of shareholders in plastics firms—must like the work to be seen on Dr Who. To name but one monster, and the most recent, the Zygon was a creation of genius—an amber-coloured, heavy-duty plastic individual—and yet another tribute to designers who have, through this programme alone, over the years put the BBC well ahead, in a field whose first drawing-board effort was no less than Frankenstein's creation. [p. 437]




FILTER: - Moments in Time

50th Anniversary of Dr Who and the DaleksBookmark and Share

Sunday, 23 August 2015 - Reported by Harry Ward
Today marks fifty years since the first Peter Cushing Dalek film was released in UK cinemas. Dr Who and the Daleks was based on Terry Nation's 1964 serial The Daleks, with the story being adapted to the big screen by Milton Subotsky. The film was directed by Gordon Flemyng who had previously directed William Hartnell in episodes of The Army Game.


Although initial reviews of the film were not too kind, they didn't deter the British public from parting with their hard-earned money. The film was twentieth biggest British box office moneymaker in 1965. In August 1965 BFI's Monthly Film Bulletin posted their review of the film:
A patchy piece of juvenile science fiction. The settings are quite effective in a Christmas pantomime way, while the Daleks themselves—mobile pillar-boxes with flickering lights on top, weaving proboscises, and hesitantly guttural voices—make admirable villains. Against this, however, must be set some crude slapstick from Roy Castle, and absent-minded bumbling from Peter Cushing: these flabby attempts at humour only succeed in slowing down the action. And the Thals, looking and sounding like ballet dancers with their golden hair-dos, heavy eye-shadow and camp speech, must be the wettest tribe on record. [p. 123]
Peter Cushing himself later revealed in a 1986 interview that he was offered the role of the Doctor in the TV series but said he couldn't accept the offer as he was "otherwise engaged" but went on to say even if he was available he wasn't sure he would take the role. His reasons for this was because he "didn't really care for the Doctor Who television series", stating that "they weren't my cups of tea". He added that "the Daleks did rather get on my nerves".

On 2012's DVD release of Death to the Daleks, an extra was included entitled Cushing and Castle which looked at the casting of Peter Cushing and Roy Castle in Dr Who and the Daleks.

In 2013 Studio Canal released a new digitally restored version of the film on DVD and Blu-ray to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. A screening for Dr Who and the Daleks and the follow-up Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. was organised by The Doctor Who Appreciation Society and held at Riverside Studios. The event was held on 26 May 2013, which would have been Cushing's 100th birthday.

Competition

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Dr Who and the Daleks, Doctor Who News is offering readers the chance to win a copy of the film on either DVD or Blu-ray, courtesy of Studio Canal.

To be in with a chance of wining simply answer the following question:
At which British film studios was the film shot?
Please send your answers along with your name, address and where you heard about the competition (news site, news app, other website, etc.) to comp-DrWhoDaleksFilm@doctorwhonews.net with the subject "Technicolor Daleks". The competition is open to UK residents only, closing date: 31st August 2015. Only one entry per household will be accepted.

Artwork

One again artist Deborah Taylor has created us a piece of artwork to go with the anniversary. The design is based on Chris Achilleos's cover of David Whitaker's Target novelisation of The Daleks.
Dr Who and the Daleks (Credit: Deborah Taylor)




FILTER: - Competitions - Moments in Time - Peter Cushing

Alan Wakeman 1936-2015Bookmark and Share

Friday, 21 August 2015 - Reported by Marcus
Moments in TimeAuthor and activist Alan Wakeman has died at the age of 79.

In 1963 Alan Wakeman was commissioned to write a story for the first series of the new science fiction programme Doctor Who.

His script, The Living Planet, saw the Doctor and his companions land on a planet that was a living creature. Wakeman produced a full story synopsis and a script for Airfish, the first of four episodes.

Although Wakeman received positive feedback on his script, the production team thought some of the ideas in the script were "far too adult" for a serial being broadcast on Saturday tea time. Wakeman was paid a half fee for £75 for the work he had done, and the idea was abandoned.

In 2005 Wakeman wrote to Russell T Davies, offering the script for development for the revived series of Doctor Who, but the offer was not taken up.

His ideas finally saw publication in January 2012, when the magazine Nothing at the End of the Lane published the synopsis and scripts. As one of the earliest scripts written for Doctor Who, it provided a rare glimpse into the genesis of the series and the path it could have taken.

Alan Wakeman was a gifted linguist. He wrote a course, called English Fast, teaching English as a foreign language. In 1995 wrote an English translation of The Little Prince children’s story.

He was a key activist in the early movement for gay rights. His homosexuality was not accepted by his father and he attempted suicide at 21. In the 1970's he became a leading activist in the Gay Liberation Front, leading marches and taking the cause of gay rights across the country. He became a Vegan and in 1986 wrote The Vegan Cookbook one of the earliest books of its kind in the UK

Wakeman lived most of his life around Soho in London. Wearing bright green trousers and yellow sweaters, with hair half way down his back, he was a regular attraction spotted by many visitors to the capital.

Shortly before his death, Wakemnan produced an autobiography, Fragments of Joy and Sorrow, which was published in June this year.

Website




FILTER: - Moments in Time - People

I shall miss them. Silly old fusspotsBookmark and Share

Friday, 26 June 2015 - Reported by Marcus
Moments in TimeIt was on Saturday 26th June 1965, fifty years ago today, that we said goodbye to two of the original Doctor Who companions. It was on that day that both William Russell and Jacqueline Hill left the series, leaving William Hartnell as the only actor left from the original cast of the programme.

The loss of Ian and Barbara from the series concluded the first major story arc of Doctor Who and forever changed the premise of the show. When it began in 1963, Doctor Who was very much told from the point of view of the two teachers. They were the two investigating the strange child, perplexed by her bewildering knowledge. They were the two who wandered into the junkyard and into adventures beyond their wildest imaginings. They were the two kidnapped from 1960's England, by a strange weird old man, and spirited through space and time.

As the series progressed the relationship between the kidnapper and the kidnapped changed. Circumstances had thrown them together, into danger, into life threatening situations. Over the months, respect, trust and friendship had developed. The two teachers had educated the Doctor, taught him to care and to have responsibility, and in return they had learned to trust the old man. But underneath the narrative was always the premise that Ian and Barbara longed to return home. Back to the world they knew and to friends and family. Instead they had been flung around the universe, visited alien planets such as Skaro, Vortis and Marinus, and times far distant from their own, meeting Aztecs, Romans and Crusaders. There had been hopeful moments, when they thought they might be back, but moments dashed when realisation set in and the couple resigned themselves to more adventures..

The Chase: The Executioners (Credit: BBC) It is ironic that the travellers final return, the solution to their predicament, came not from the Doctor, but from his greatest enemy. It was the Daleks time ship that finally allowed the couple to return home. Returning to London in the 1960's. The Doctor was left with his companion Vicki. No more would the series be the constant endeavour to get the pair home. Doctor Who would now become the Doctor, travelling with his companions in Space and Time.

The loss of Ian and Barbara came about with the decision of William Russell and Jacqueline Hill to leave the series at the end of their second year contract. The series had by now run to 77 episodes, produced on a weekly basis in an almost continuous production run. It was a gruelling schedule that left the actors totally tied to the series. It was William Russell who decided to leave first, telling producer Verity Lambert in Feburary that he wouldn't be continuing for a third year. As a result Terry Nation was asked to write in an new character into the final episode of The Chase. An astronaut who would become the new male companion to the Doctor. Jacqueline Hill was more unsure about leaving, but by May has also taken the decision to go. On May 6th the couple travelled around London with a photographer taking pictures for the montage of their arrival back in London. The couple recorded their final episode on 4th June 1965 in Riverside Studio 1.

The departure of the two actors was deeply felt by William Hartnell. For an actor who like having people around whom he knew and who knew him, the loss of the two stalwarts of the series would be difficult to handle. It came after Carole Ann Ford had departed from the series and amid changes in the production team, with producer Verity Lambert planning to move on. William Russell takes up the story.
I thought Bill would be upset and cross. He was. He couldn't understand. The scene at the end of The Chase where he gets angry, very angry and disappointed. That was very much like what happened... It was difficult to explain to him that I had other things to do.
On her departure from the series Jacqueline Hill took a break from acting to raise a family. She had been married to director Alvin Rakoff since 1958, a year after appearing in his BBC adaptation of Rod Serling's American TV play Requiem For A Heavyweight. Together they had two children, Sasha and John. She returned to acting the 1970's, appearing as Lady Capulet in her husbands production of Romeo & Juliet for the BBC. Other roles included appearances in Angels, Tales of the Unexpected and Paradise Postponed. In 1980 she became to first Doctor Who companion to return to the series playing a different role, when she appeared as Lexa in the 1980 Fourth Doctor story Meglos. In 1993 she died of breast cancer at the tragically young age of 63.

William Russell was the best known of the original companions, famous for his roles in series such as The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, long before he joined the TARDIS crew. As a result he quickly won a part in a new spy series Breaking Point following his departure from Doctor Who. Other roles followed including a long run in Harriet's Back in Town for Thames Television, and appearances in Van der Valk, Whodunnit?, Disraeli: Portrait of a Romantic, Shoestring, The Black Adder, Casualty and Heartbeat. In 1992 he played Ted Sullivan in ten episodes of Coronation Street. Russell has reprised the role of Ian Chesterton in various audio adventures. In 2013 he had a cameo in the drama detailing the origins of Doctor Who, playing Harry, the Security Guard, in An Adventure in Space and Time, the drama that saw Jamie Glover play a younger version of himself. In 1988 his second wife, Balbina Gutierrez, gave birth to a son. Alfred Enoch is now an actor, well known for playing Wes Gibbins in the ABC legal drama How to Get Away with Murder. Meanwhile William Russell himself celebrated his ninetieth birthday last year, and still regularly attends Doctor Who conventions.

And what of Ian and Barbara, what happened to them following their departure from the Doctor. The characters have flourished in various novels and fan fiction. In 2013 they met the eleventh Doctor in Hunters of the Burning Stone , a comic story in Doctor Who Magazine written to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the show. In the Television series itself the Chairman of the Governors of Coal Hill School, as shown in The Day of the Doctor, is one I Chesterton.

But the real clue to their future came in Russell T Davies's episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures, The Death of the Doctor. According to Sarah Jane
There is this couple in Cambridge, both professors, Ian and Barbara Chesterton, and the rumour is, they've never aged, not since the sixties.
The actors, and the characters they portrayed, left an indelible mark on the series. The Doctor was left clearly hurt and upset by their departure. At the end of the episode he spoke for us all.
I shall miss them. Yes I shall miss them. Silly old fuss pots
.

Ian and Barbara leave the Doctor:
Having come into possession of a Dalek time travel machine, Barbara and Ian sense an opportunity to go home, but the Doctor is hesitant to let them go. There are no guarantees that the machine will work, but maybe Vicki can change the Doctor's mind? 





FILTER: - First Doctor - Moments in Time