DOCTOR WHO RE-WATCH – SEASON EIGHT

Previously: season 1 | season 2 | seasons 3/4 | season 5 | season 6 | season 7

I have much to say about season eight, say you may want to grab a cuppa and get comfortable. For a start, it almost feels like a completely different show. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, though, since Doctor Who has survived for so long because of its ability to renew itself from time to time. But this is a different kind of reshaping.

unit21
Season Eight line-up: The Master, The Doctor, Jo Grant, The Brigadier

Most of the elements that made the previous season such a success are still here, only the tone of the show is so different that it feels like everything has completely changed. The Doctor is still working alongside UNIT, only now he seems quite comfortable in his position. He says he’s trying to repair his TARDIS, and we do see him working on it, but there’s no sense of urgency to his desire to leave Earth – even though he does take a couple of opportunities to escape the planet as soon they present themselves. Each time he ends up back on Earth, and despite his words, his tone and smile implies that he’s really not bothered. If the Doctor’s attitude has changed since we last saw him, then so has UNIT’s. They seem much more relaxed as an organisation – cosy, to use a word that’s bandied about a lot when talking about the Pertwee era. And it’s true. The Brigadier is no longer the only regular officer; he now has Captain Yates as his second, and Sergeant Benton truly becomes a series regular this season. There’s an attempt to extend the ‘UNIT family’ a little further with the introduction of Corporal Bell in The Mind of Evil, but alas she only appears in one more story. Which is a shame. We don’t see much of her character, but it stands to reason that the HQ staff would be the same story by story, and so having familiar faces around makes sense. Alas, beyond the Brigadier, Yates and Benton all we have is the Doctor and Jo. Oh yes, Jo.

Now, I like Jo. Always have. It’s very easy to develop a soft spot for her. She’s so sweet, initially quite naïve, but over time she wins you over with her honesty and obviously love for the Doctor. But her introduction helps to soften up the whole UNIT scenario, adding a very human face to the organisation and serves to anchor the Doctor to Earth even more (curiously doing the exact opposite to what the production team wanted – they were very keen on getting the Doctor off Earth again!). But she’s no Liz. Which is a shame, as I mentioned in the previous season review. I liked the new dynamic, of the Doctor actually having a companion (or assistant, really, in Liz’s case) who was an adult, someone with their own mind and own objectives. Our first bona fide adult companion since Ian & Barbara left. Yes, I know Steven was an adult, but he wasn’t really written in any way equal to the Doctor, whereas Ian & Barbara were never second fiddle to the Doctor, and likewise neither was Liz. But Jo… For all her loveliness, she’s not an adult, but a girl in her late teens with an awful lot to learn. And so we’re brought back to the dynamic of Doctor/Companion we’ve seen time and time again. Luckily the chemistry behind Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning is such that this never becomes an issue, and they sell her completely. Initially he’s frustrated by her, as she does her best to prove herself as a valid UNIT agent, but he slowly softens up and warms to her.

The Brigadier has also changed since we last saw him. As I pointed out, in season seven he very clearly kept the Doctor around for his own purposes. There was no actual friendship between them. But from the outset of this season you can see a friendship there. Sure, it’s still charged at times, a mutual frustration between the two men, both of whom think they’re in charge, but there’s a nice sense of familiarity that wasn’t really there before. Again, this rather suggest a lot transpired between seasons. Another thing I’ve realised about the Brigadier – he really doesn’t believe a word the Doctor has said about the TARDIS or his travels through time. At this point he just accepts what the Doctor says, but really thinks the man is just an eccentric alien, a brilliant one at that, who happens to own a police box. The first time the Brigadier actually sees the TARDIS is in the lab in Spearhead from Space, and he doesn’t even witness it materialise (with a pop! for some reason) until Colony in Space (which is, in narrative terms, at least six years after he first learned of the TARDIS in The Web of Fear). And the Doctor’s line to Jo just after returning from the future says it all; the Brigadier would never believe where they’ve been. As we later learn, the Brigadier really has little idea of what really exist inside the box. I suspect the Brigadier even believes the Doctor built the console while at UNIT.

This season is also notable for introducing the Master to the series. Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks decided the Doctor needed his own Moriarty – a mirror opposite. And so the Master was created, another Time Lord in a similar mould to the War Chief from The War Games. (It’s of no surprise that a large section of fandom believe them to the be the same character – they certainly share a lot of similarities, alas the War Chief may be aware of the Doctor, but it’s very clear from their initial dialogue that the two men have never actually met before The War Games.) The Master is an old friend of the Doctor who is out for universal domination and to just generally cause problems for the Doctor. The only downside with the Master as a recurring villain in season eight is the ease with which he has always beaten, and how often he had to team up with the Doctor to defeat the aliens he brings to Earth. This does somewhat weaken him, and suggests, as many commentators have said over the years, that it’s just some game between the Doctor and the Master. With hindsight, Dicks and Letts have gone on record to say they believe having the Master in every story of season eight was a mistake. There was a time I agreed with them, until this rewatch. I’ve found, to my surprise, that it actually works and creates the first proper season arc since the first season (in which the arc was the Doctor trying to return Ian & Barbara home). The ongoing story of UNIT being on the watch-out for the Master adds a nice layer to the season, creating nice sense of continuity between the stories, given it an almost Nu Who feel. Unfortunately, Colony in Space rather spoils that, other than the bookend scenes with the Brigadier in which he mentions they’re following up reports on Master sightings. Taking the Doctor from UNIT at that point, in the middle of such an arc, only succeeds in damaging the pace of the ongoing story, and when the Master happens to turn up on the same planet… Well, it makes no logical sense at all, and just feels so contrived. With the Master being captured by UNIT at the end of The Dæmons they create a sense of completion, leaving the viewers feeling that that we really have followed a season long story. One with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Just a pity Colony in Space exists in the season, really.

A word on the ratings. They were high! Better than Doctor Who has had in a very long time, and by far the most consistently rated series in about four years. Whether you like the ‘dumbing down’ of UNIT and the softening of the tone, and I’m still in two minds about it since I adore season seven’s tone, there’s no doubt that what Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks did was create a very successful formula that secured Doctor Who as a real hit once again.

A quick mention of links to the Lethbridge-Stewart series of books (because, you know, it’s how I make my living)… In The Daemons the Doctor points out the Brigadier would have made a good accountant, and later the Brig says he should have run a bank instead. All this suggests the Brigadier is very good with numbers, which makes perfect sense as the Lethbridge-Stewart books reveal he did originally train to be a maths teacher. Another subtle link is the final scene of season eight, reportedly written by Richard Franklin and Nicholas Courtney themselves, in which Yates jokingly asks the Brig if he wants a dance, to which the Brigadier says he’d rather a pint. And thus why, when he arrives in Bledoe in The Forgotten Son, the first thing he does is say he could do with a pint. And, of course, the Brigadier’s lack of belief in half of what the Doctor says is echoed in the Lethbridge-Stewart books: ‘Really, Miss Travers, next thing you know you’ll be expecting a police box to turn up, too.’ Lethbridge-Stewart could tell Miss Travers was disappointed with his response, but he still wasn’t convinced by the idea of time travel, regardless of what Professor Travers had once told him.

And so to the countdown. Well, to be honest choosing a worst and best is incredibly easy. I have a little more trouble with the middle stories (well, second and third best), and they may well change next time I watch it. From worst (and, I’m sorry, but I can’t say least favourite as Colony in Space is just a very dull story, with very little to recommend it) to best, then:

  • Colony in Space
  • Terror of the Autons
  • The Claws of Axos
  • The Dæmons

Which makes the winner…

Dr Who-Mind of Evil

DOCTOR WHO RE-WATCH – SEASON SEVEN

This season,  more than any other,  is very important to me at the moment. Along with season six’s The Invasion and season five’s The Web of Fear, season seven is the template for the Lethbridge-Stewart series of novels – in tone and style. When Doctor Who felt properly adult, a serious Earth-based science fiction series. It has all the best elements of shows like Adam Adamant Lives!, Department S, Danger Man, The Avengers… And season seven is one of my all-time favourites of Doctor Who. Which makes selecting a favourite story very difficult indeed!

p00pvcky

After season six, this season is something of a shock to the system. It almost feels like an entirely new series, more so than ever before. The first use of colour helps to set it apart, but it’s also the aforementioned style and tone of the series. Granted, much of the style seen this season is evident in The Invasion, but the tone of that serial matched the rest of season six. Here though, the tone is mature, serious science fiction, dealing with the world of the now (even though the UNIT-era was supposedly a ‘near future’ version of Earth). The Doctor here is so very different from how he’ll be in the following four seasons — and it’s not just because of character development. It’s how he’s written, how he’s performed. There is a serious, almost snobbish, side to this Doctor that is a far cry from the… I want to say caricature… of himself he becomes later. All the elements that form that caricature are here, but they’re subtle, not played for laughs. There no sense of the ‘homely’ about this season of UNIT stories. There’s no friendship or sparring between the Doctor and the Brigadier, just a grudging acceptance of the situation they are in. That they are both stuck with each other, because they both know they can be a good deal of use to the other. The Doctor needs the Brigadier and UNIT because he has nowhere else to go, and can use their facilities to help repair the TARDIS. The Brigadier needs the Doctor because of his experience and scientific know-how, and besides, rather the Doctor assist him and UNIT then assist somebody else.

Plus, this season has Liz. Easily the most grown up companion since Ian & Barbara left back in ’65. From the moment she walks through the doors of the Brigadier’s office, Caroline John convinces as a very intelligent woman who knows she is better than UNIT. Her relationship with the Doctor is very sound, too. Clearly she knows the Doctor’s knowledge of science far exceeds her own, but they treat each other as equals, typified in the scene in Doctor Who and the Silurians where they work together to find a cure for the plague — no words are needed, they work in silence, both fully aware of the ability of the other. It is a great shame Liz is only in this season, that incoming producer Barry Letts decided he wanted someone less intelligent as a companion. As great as Jo proves to be in the following years, the dynamic between the Doctor and Liz deserved further exploration. I’d argue, the greater challenge would be to find stories that served these characters, instead of getting rid of Liz and lowering the tone to something a bit more homely. But then, I suppose, it was partly that cosy family feel of the UNIT era that made the Third Doctor’s time such a huge success. And it was. The most successful period of Doctor Who since Dalekmania in the mid-’60s.

As for the stories. Only four are on offer, alas. Three of which are seven-part stories to spread the budget and because, as proven, the ratings almost always seem to go down after the first episode of any given story. Thus it was reasoned less episode ones, less chance of the ratings dipping. They were right. Even at its weakest, season seven out-performed season six. So, although we only get four stories, we can four very strong stories. There really isn’t a dud between them. Autons, Silurians, radioactive aliens who are actually friendly, and a parallel Earth where the danger is found to be the planet itself. And man’s arrogance. A common theme this season. Indeed, other than Spearhead from Space, every story this season is a result of ego, avarice — the evil of men.

So, how do I pick a favourite? The only way I can, by picking the very first Jon Pertwee story I saw. Way back in 1988 on VHS…

In order of least preference then:

  • Doctor Who and the Silurians
  • Inferno
  • The Ambassadors of Death

Which only leaves…

03-DW-Spearhead-from-Space

DOCTOR WHO RE-WATCH – SEASON SIX

secondbannerFor the longest time, this was my favourite season of Second Doctor adventures — simply because this was pretty much the only almost-full season we had for Patrick Troughton (only The Tomb of the Cybermen existed in full outside of season six,  and even then that only from 1992).  Things have changed a bit since the days of BBC Video; now we have a fair whack of season five on DVD (as mentioned in the last entry), which upon this re-watch has made me re-evaluate Patrick Troughton’s tenure as the Doctor, and the superiority of season six.15390_original

There is an awful lot to recommend this season, so much creative energy is displayed on screen. From the fantasy and literary layers of The Mind Robber, to the sleight of hand used throughout The War Games with ten episodes of ‘loop narrative’ that works despite itself. And, of course, there is that final episode of the season, which totally dismisses almost every idea behind the Doctor’s origins up to that point. And in so doing, establishes several elements of Doctor Who lore that are still the backbone of Doctor Who today.

Yup, we finally learn that the Doctor is a renegade from the vaunted Time Lords, beings of immense power and total mastery over time itself. Not only is he one of these near-immortal beings, but he stole the TARDIS and went on the run because he was… bored. Yes, boredom is what drove the Doctor. The need to get involved, instead of observing from afar like the rest of his people (well, almost the rest of his people — there are two other exceptions, at this point in the show’s history). Of course, this need is not evident when we first met the Doctor, so it is fair to say that this bit of back story has a hint of revisionism behind it. Willingness to become involved, and fight against evil, without some selfish or nepotist reason, only came towards the end of season one.

So, despite all the greatness seen on screen, including the set-up of UNIT (a creative move that would set the template for the following five years of the series, although the UNIT set-up is based on much of The Web of Fear from the previous season), there was a lot of upheaval behind the scenes. An increasingly frustrated star, tired and overworked by the gruelling filming schedule, a script editor who seemed to find fault in almost every story idea, often to the point of cancelling scripts at the last minute, and a producer who was asked to move onto another BBC TV show, leaving behind a replacement producer who, arguably, created more problems than he solved. And yet, in spite of all these things, and with scripts that were being written mere weeks before production, the season was for the BBC management something of a triumph. Alas, the viewing figures were saying something completely different. By the episode eight of The War Games they were at an all-time low of 3.5 million! Something needed to be done… Change was in the air, in more ways than one.

doctor_who_2-3_regeneration_1
The Second Doctor regenerates

Picking a favourite story is not easy here, since season six contains so many favourites of mine. The Mind Robber is a inventive tour de force of television, The Seeds of Death is the first Troughton story I ever saw, and The War Games — ten episodes of epicness. The worst story is simple enough, so I shall start with worst to best…

  • The Krotons
  • The Dominators
  • The Invasion
  • The Mind Robber
  • The Seeds of Death

Which leaves, in mind, one of the most epic adventures of Doctor Who ever…

War_games_part_1_uk_vhs

News Update

2015-05-04 13.53.28
Nash Point Lighthouse

It’s been a little while since my last post, so a quick update.

I have just finished watching season seven of Doctor Who, so I’ll be adding new entries for both seasons six and seven soon. The entries have been delayed by work on my next Lethbridge-Stewart novel, Beast of Fang Rock, which, much like Horror of Fang Rock back in the ’70s, has come about due a lost (manu)script and is, thus, a last minute replacement. All this means a shift of focus for me, and a quick turnaround.

As such I’ve been heavily involved in the writing of Beast, with 17,978 words written in the first week. Which is not bad going, considering the amount of research needed to get this book right. Research which includes reading up a lot on lighthouses, visiting them, and watching all kinds of documentaries.  All this plus the usual research for a book that takes place in the late ’60s.

Brig FangI can’t tell you too much about it at the moment, except that it is not only a sequel to Horror of Fang Rock, but also serves as a prequel, revolving as it does around the legend of Fang Rock as told by Reuben in the Doctor Who serial. The mysterious Beast that prowled the rocks in the 1820s, claiming the lives of two keepers and driving a third out of his mind.  I can also tell you that I have the ear of Terrance Dicks during the writing, with him passing comment on its development. His role in the book is not as big as we’d hoped, however, due to his other commitments. We also have the cover all ready to go, which Terrance has called ‘powerful stuff’. The cover is by a Doctor Who artist of some repute, and we look forward to sharing it with you very soon. (A very minor piece of it is displayed above, and the ‘title card’ is below. Hints are always fun!) And as I like to do, I can share with you the names of the cast (as it currently stands):

  • Colonel Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart
  • Anne Travers
  • Lance Corporal William Bishop
  • Daren Woodward
  • Mr Slant
  • Corporal Sally Wright
  • Harold Chorley
  • Stephen Worman
  • Owain Vine
  • Dr Gautum Jhaveri
  • Jim Saunders
  • Mark Powell
  • Jennie Rudge
  • Reuben Whormby
  • Vince Hawkins
  • Lord Henry Palmerdale
  • Ivan Richards
  • Tim Gambrell
  • Archibald Goff
  • Jacob Travers
  • Charlie Crane
  • Alfred Scott

For now I’ll leave those names with you, let you make of them what you will…

Fang Title

DOCTOR WHO RE-WATCH – SEASON FIVE

secondbannerWe are so very lucky to have so much of season five available to us on DVD. There was a time when all we had was The Tomb of the Cybermen, and over twenty years ago we didn’t even have that! In late-2012, early-2013 I had to re-watch the entire series for my book Companions, and during that re-watch the only way I could research season five was with audio soundtracks and reconstructions online! Two years on…?

Victoria_in_Tomb_of_the_Cybermen

Thanks to some wonderful animation we have The Ice Warriors complete, and with the discovery of The Enemy of the World and most of The Web of Fear in late 2013, we now have over half of that season on DVD! Yay? Oh god, yes!

What with the huge gap of missing stories through season three and, especially, season four, we don’t really get to see the development of the series, only snapshots here and there. As such re-watching season five is almost like watching a completely different show. Yes, it’s still features the Doctor and the TARDIS, but in every way that counts it feels different. The performances are more polished, the scripts more coherent and layered, the direction is smart with some really fantastic location work peppered throughout. And then there’s Jamie… In the small amount of material we have from season four we don’t get to see a lot of Jamie. In The Moonbase, the only full Troughton story available on DVD (completed with animated episodes) Jamie is not in it a great deal, and when he is he’s mostly been given lines originally written for Ben and Polly. But in season five his full character hits you in the face — the humour, the loyalty, the protectiveness… For the Second Doctor there is no doubt that Jamie is the companion (and hardly surprising as he was in all but one Second Doctor adventure).

It is so very difficult to choose a favourite story from season five. I thought adding the orphaned Moonbase might help, but it really doesn’t as the quality of that story only adds to the superiority of the fifth season. I can honestly say that, as of now, season five is right up there among my favourite season of Who, sitting alongside such greats as seasons one, seven, thirteen, and twenty-six. Which is new, as season six used to be my favourite of Troughton — mostly by default as that season almost exists in its entirety.  So, to my favourite story… I feel an obligation to pick The Web of Fear out of fealty to the Haismans and my connection with them, and of course the historical first appearance of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, but I have to be honest in my re-watch and consider what else is around that story. With The Moonbase included I have five extremely good productions to pick from…

And this is my, very difficulty chosen, run down of season five (a list of all brilliant stories!):

  • The Tomb of the Cybermen
  • The Moonbase
  • The Ice Warriors
  • The Web of Fear

… which makes the winner David Whitaker’s tour-de-force

81EIbhxo9UL._SL1500_

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Schizoid Earth details revealed!

It’s with great pleasure we can finally unveil the cover for the next book in the Lethbridge-Stewart series; The Schizoid Earth by David A McIntee…

Candy_Jar_The_Schizoid_Earth_Small

 

“Lethbridge-Stewart was supposed to be in the mountains of the east. Things didn’t quite go according to plan.

On the eve of war, something appeared in the sky; a presence that blotted out the moon. Now it has returned, and no battle plan can survive first contact with this enemy.

Plagued by nightmares of being trapped in a past that never happened, Lethbridge-Stewart must unravel the mystery of a man ten years out of his time; a man who cannot possibly still exist.

Why do the ghosts of fallen soldiers still fight long-forgotten battles against living men? What is the secret of the rural English town of Deepdene? Lethbridge-Stewart has good reason to doubt his own sanity, but is he suffering illness or injury, or is something more sinister going on?”

David A McIntee has written novels for Star Trek, Final Destination and Space: 1999 and over fifteen books and audio dramas for Doctor Who since 1993, including the Brigadier-centric novel, The Face of the Enemy. David said: “To be honest it (the series) is something I’m amazed hasn’t been done before – it’s just such a natural and obvious thing. The form it’s taking is also cool because it has the flexibility to move between styles and genres – thriller, SF, horror, etc – while maintaining a definite identity. As for the Brig himself, he’s one of those characters where the casting was so perfect that it just made the character so memorable, and who (usually) feels so right.”

The cover art is by Nathan Hudson, who works for Cosgrove Hall as a background artist. Cosgrove Hall is the animation company who produced the animated episodes for the DVD release of the 1969 Doctor Who adventure The Invasion, which featured Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and the first appearance of UNIT. Nathan has worked previously with Candy Jar Books as the cover artist for the runaway time travel hit Tommy Parker: Destiny Will Find You and the acclaimed See You in September.

The Schizoid Earth also features an exclusive foreword written by Amanda Haisman, daughter of Lethbridge-Stewart creator Mervyn Haisman, in which she publicly talks about her father and the legend he created for Doctor Who.

The next in the series (due out in September) is Beast of Fang Rock by Andy Frankham-Allen and Terrance Dicks, followed by Mutually Assured Domination by Nick Walters.

Andy Frankham-Allen has been a Doctor Who fan since his childhood. Andy is the former line editor of Untreed Reads Publishing’s series Space: 1889 & Beyond, and has penned several Doctor Who Short Trip stories for Big Finish and Candy Jar’s Lethbridge-Stewart: The Forgotten Son, as well as Companions: Fifty Years of Doctor Who Assistants. He said: “There’s been such a warm reception to the first book, I must thank everybody for all their kind words. My next book is a dream come true. It’s an idea I’ve had rattling around in my head since 1998, so it’s great privilege to be able to make it a reality, and even more so due to Terrance Dicks’ involvement with it.”

Nick Walters has written five novels for Doctor Who since 1998. Nick said: “After the Doctor himself the Brigadier is the best-loved character in Doctor Who. I met Nick Courtney a number of times and he really is a splendid fellow. He brought a real humanity and vulnerability to the role without compromising the essential toughness of the character. Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart is the chap you’d want on your side in a fight – any fight – and it is a real privilege to be exploring what made him into the character we came to know and love.”

The story of Colonel Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart is fully licensed by the Executor of the Haisman Literary Estate, Mervyn Haisman’s granddaughter Hannah Haisman, and endorsed by Henry Lincoln.

The Schizoid Earth can now be pre-ordered directly from Candy Jar, on it’s own or as part of two different bundles…

DOCTOR WHO RE-WATCH – SEASON THREE/FOUR

firstbannerRe-watching Doctor Who has its downside. With most of seasons one and two still in existence and on DVD, it’s fascinating to see the series develop in its formative years, as the production team start stretching their creative abilities, and the ethos of the series is built. And then we come to season three… Le sigh!wpid-ark-doctor-who-steven-dodo

Only three complete stories are commercially available, and they’re good examples of the upheaval and doubt going on behind the scenes. There’s an eight-month gap between The Time Meddler (the last story of season three) and The Ark, the next available story. Eight months is a long time, especially back then! As a result there is such a jump in the way the stories are told and made, and it leaves the viewer with a bit of a disconnect. So much has moved on. Vicki has gone, Dodo has joined (almost come from nowhere, in fact). Fortunately the three remaining stories only have one story between each of them missing, which at least allows a sense of continuity when watching them back, and once again you can see a little of the development of the characters. Alas, we don’t get to see Steven leave, which is a great pity — as is the lack of good material for Steven. Only three complete serials exist with this companion, and so you only get to see a hint of how good he actually was.

For the purposes of this re-watch, I’m lumping Hartnell’s final adventure with these three stories, since Hartnell only had two stories in season four, and only one of those exists (albeit without the show-changing fourth episode — the first to feature the Doctor regenerating!). 44eb867f064788ca981763b4b04e68ab0acc25df

All this does mean choosing my favourites is a rather limited experience, with only four stories to choose from (not unlike Doctor Who in 1987-1989), so without further ado, this is my rather limited countdown of the final four Doctor Who stories featuring William Hartnell from 1966.

  • The War Machines
  • The Ark
  • The Tenth Planet

With the winner being…

The Gunfighters DVD Cover

Doctor Who Re-Watch – Season Two

firstbannerIf the first season of Doctor Who was something new and original, something quite unlike anything else produced on British TV at the time, then season two took that even further.vickisteven Fortunately, the first two seasons of Doctor Who exist almost in full, both only missing one story (well, in season two’s case some of The Crusades exist, unlike season one’s Marco Polo), which means as a viewer I get to (almost) fully experience the birth of Doctor Who and see the Doctor develop into the basic character we’ve all come to love over the last fifty-one plus years. By the end of season two he’s every bit the hero we know, a man guided by a strong sense of morality, someone who will put himself on the front line to defend the every-man, and a man with a lot of humour.

Season two sees a lot of changes, both behind the scenes and on screen. We see, first, Susan depart in the epic Dalek Invasion of Earth (the first story to truly utilise location filming), and then a few stories later the departure of Ian & Barbara (in one of the most touching photo montages ever produced). Replacement companions are not far away; first in the shape of orphan Vicki, a child from the 25th Century, and later astronaut Steven Taylor. Behind the scenes Verity Lambert is all set to depart by the end of the season, with new producer John Wiles trailer her during the production of the final serial, The Time Meddler. David Whitaker, the original script editor, departs at the start of the season, replaced by Dennis Spooner, who brings with him a new level of humour to the stories, notable almost immediately with his own story, The Romans. Spooner departs at the end of the season, with the final story under the supervision of new script editor Donald Tosh. Interesting aside; Terrance Dicks, a man whose association with Doctor Who begins in 1968 and continues to this day, often tells an anecdote about how he created a ‘tradition’ in 1975 in which the outgoing script editor writes the first story for the incoming script editor — it was a ‘tradition’ Terrance claims to have invented to simply give himself a little bit of work. As it turns out, though, this ‘tradition’ is not without precedent, since Dennis Spooner writes the first story for his replacement, The Time Meddler. Perhaps Terrance knew more than he was letting on?

Season two was a time of great change for Doctor Who; what began as a serious, part-time educational series of adventures, becomes a more lightweight and fun show by the end of the series. Straight historical are replaced with comedy visits to the past, and the creation of the ‘pseudo-historical’, where history and science-fiction merge. We even get one story set on a world populated by giant insects and butterflies, without a single human in sight! And, to top it all off, we finally meet another time traveller — one of the Doctor’s own people no less!

And so, the countdown of my favourite stories for season two:

  • The Rescue
  • The Chase
  • The Space Museum
  • Planet of Giants
  • The Time Meddler
  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth
  • The Web Planet

The winner of best story of the season is, for me, the historical comedy…

Romans_novel

Alas, the next few seasons are in bad shape with only a handful of stories still existing for each season, which does make the re-watch a little less fun. So, to that end, the next entry will cover the remainder of the Hartnell stories available on DVD…

The Forgotten Son by Andy Frankham-Allen

frankhamallen:

Nice little review…

Originally posted on Trap One:

photo.PNG-15

In the aftermath of the Great Intelligence’s invasion of the London Underground, Staff Sergeant Arnold’s corpse has vanished and Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart’s mother is also missing. All the clues lead back to his childhood village of Bledoe.

It seems like an opportune time for a series of standalone Lethbridge-Stewart stories. With the re-discovery of his debut appearance in The Web of Fear eighteen months ago, and what is likely to be the character’s final appearance in last year’s Death in Heaven, his profile with the younger generation of fans is probably as high as possible.

brigadier

The character Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart was created for the story The Web of Fear by writers Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln. They retained the rights to the character and were paid for his appearance in all the subsequent stories he appeared in. Arguably they only really named the character, he’s not yet what he would become…

View original 259 more words

Readers Speak Out

As we look forward to the next book in the Lethbridge-Stewart series, I want to look back briefly and consider the wonderful comments made by the readers.

Candy_Jar_LS_Front_BFormat_classic_SmallMany things are said by many people — among them negative things, usually by people with agendas and people who haven’t even bothered to pick up the book and read it for themselves. Fortunately, the readers are speaking out and giving their reviews. It’s the readers whose views mean more, of course, since they have spent the time to read and give a thoughtful response to the hard work of all involved. So, a personal thank you from me, and a thank you on behalf of everybody at Candy Jar Books who worked hard on launching the Lethbridge-Stewart series and continue to work hard on its future.

“This works as not only a fitting tribute to one of Doctor Who’s most beloved supporting characters, but a credible engaging science fiction story in its own right.” Wink Taylor (children’s entertainer)

“Excellent storytelling, superb writing, and a brilliant idea, all combine to make this a must read book (and series) for fans of both Doctor Who and the Brigadier.” Bryan Simcott (Amazon five-star review)

“A great story, well-paced with good characterisations and interesting supporting cast.” JB McKellar (Amazon five-star review)

“Andy Frankham-Allen produces an Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart who acts like the confident, go-ahead action-hero who featured in The Invasion, Spearhead from Space, and Mind of Evil, not the pale reflection from The Three Doctors… The story itself builds interest and intrigue as it weaves together elements of the colonel’s past, present and future… There are old friends here from The Web of Fear, all instantly recognisable; while the plethora of new characters are all distinct enough to keep track of who’s who, and who is doing what.” Geek Girl Project

“Suspenseful, keeping you guessing at every page with a really satisfying conclusion and nice tie-ins to the larger mythos of Doctor Who.” Stephen Hartwell (Goodreads five-star review)

The Forgotten Son is a unique book. It captures the tone of modern Doctor Who novels but also mixes in a nostalgic feel comparable to the Target novelisations of old… A well-paced, superbly atmospheric and detailed story that will transport its reader back to a time when you could truly hide behind the sofa as the Yeti menace stalked London.” Will Barber-Taylor (The Consulting Detective Blog)

“The characters are well written and interesting. We discover Lethbridge-Stewart in a new light that perfectly contributes to building the character of Brigadier as we know it. Andy Frankham-Allen has written a superb start to this series of novels.” Gallifrance Online Magazine

“Some of the choices that have been made for the series are going to surprise fans of the show, but that’s as it should be. If Candy Jar can maintain the standard of this opener, then those fans will be in for a treat.” – Sci-Fi Bulletin

The Forgotten Son is a superb opener to the series, mixing recognisable Doctor Who lore, suppositions by cast members, tear-jerking dedications, a foreword by the great Terrance Dicks, and the familiar smile of the man we came to know as the Brigadier. Because, really, this is his book, and his series, and had Andy Frankham-Allen failed to bring the old soldier to life then we probably wouldn’t be talking about these books for much longer. Happily, the opposite is true. He may not be hijacking Liz Shaw’s research scientist career or bellowing ‘chap with wings, five rounds rapid!’ but this is an absolutely perfect representation of Lethbridge-Stewart in his younger days.” Kasterborous Online Magazine

And a reminder, The Secret Files is now available for free on pdf, and 99p for your Kindle…

News from the literary worlds of editor and author, Andy Frankham-Allen

Trap One

A Doctor Who Blog

L. M. Myles

Follow That Trebuchet

The Consulting Detective

The latest in news, reviews and interviews from The Consulting Detective

Sincerely, James

The Life of a Teenage-Traveler

It scarcely seems possible

the blog of Nick Walters, Bristol-based author, poet, cyclist and oik

Richard Dinnick

Award-Winning Screenwriter

Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

View From A Fridge

Rogue and Queen - broken hearts, amazeballs, smut

Storytime with John

Pull up and listen...I've got a funny one for ya...

BookRepublic

Books and things that matter

FLASHBACK

A site to promote the up-coming Audio series.

Call Myself a Writer?

A place for me to write it all down

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 426 other followers

%d bloggers like this: