Doctor Who Re-Watch – Season One

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And so that was season one, running from 23rd November 1963  to 12 September 1964. Oh wait, getting a little ahead of myself…

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For no reason other than I wanted to, I’ve decided to re-watch Doctor Who in its entirety — well, I say entirety, but of course there are many episodes, from the ’60s, that no longer exist. Thus I will be watching every full story that is commercially available, and for the purpose of the re-watch that includes stories completed with animated episodes. This does, unfortunately, mean I will be skipping certain stories entirely — which becomes a problem from the third to fifth seasons especially, as so little exists from this three years.

This past week I’ve been watching the first season, which pretty much exists completely. It’s a good thing — no, scratch that, it’s a great thing! The first season is a solid piece of television in its own right, and sets the building blocks for the Doctor Who that everybody loves so much these days. It’s a gradual build, though; much like the first series of Nu Who, the first season of Doctor Who builds things up slowly. It’s not until the penultimate story, for instance, that the Doctor begins to simply get involved in the adventure to help out others. Up to that point, the Doctor was only concerned with himself and Susan, his granddaughter and then, as the season progressed, his circle of concern encompassed Ian and Barbara, his initially reluctant companions. Indeed, at first, the Doctor was very much opposed to the presence of Ian and Barbara, thinking only of himself and, occasionally, Susan. It was his selfish desire that got them into trouble, for instance, in The Daleks. Another important thing to note about this first season; the main characters are very well defined, rounded and real. They’re not defined by particular traits which remain the same throughout, but their views and reactions are entirely dependent on whatever situation they find themselves in. Much as would be the case with any real person when put into extreme situations. And they don’t always get on — Barbara is in direct opposition with the Doctor in The Aztecs, the Doctor is more than willing to cast suspicion on the school teachers in The Edge of Destruction… The list goes on.

So, minus Marco Polo as it doesn’t exist any more, this is my run down of season one from least favourite to favourite. (Although I must stress, the very first episode is a masterpiece, but is let down by the subsequent three episodes. And there are not really any dud stories in this first season.)

  • The Keys of Marinus
  • The Edge of Destruction
  • An Unearthly Child
  • The Sensorites
  • The Daleks
  • The Aztecs

And the winner of BEST STORY OF SEASON ONE is…

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Please do share your thoughts and comments on the triumphant first season below…

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Producing Who

We’ve all got our favourite era of Doctor Who, but such eras are often voted by Doctor, but that ignores the fact that some Doctors had more than one producer guiding their adventures. So now’s your chance to vote on the best era of Who, by producer…

*Choosing the producers was fairly straightforward, since the 'showrunner' (to use the modern term) has always been well-defined on television. I have, however, included Gary Russell in this list due to one important fact; during the wilderness years of no televisual adventures, he was the producer of official BBC-licensed material featuring the original cast from the TV series and was, arguably,the only real contender for 'true Doctor Who' during the years when Who was off our screens. (You are free to disagree with this, and if you do, then just don't vote for him. No issue.)

Deleted Scenes – From Me to You

Well, it’s a lovely sunny Spring Saturday (ah, alliteration!), so I decided to offer you wonderful people who’ve been saying such nice things about my book a little insight into what might have been…

Candy_Jar_LS_Front_BFormat_classic_SmallThree scenes deleted from the final manuscript of The Forgotten Son. Two underwent massive rewrites, while the third was completely excised, although it still fits in the book continuity so it can be considered canon if you like.  🙂

Hope you all enjoy, but be warned, if you haven’t read the book, there will be SPOILERS within.

Download Forgotten_Son_Deleted_Scenes here!

A Brief History… FREE

We all like a little bit of free reading material, right? Well, that’s good as I have something free to give to whoever wants it.

tve14908-98-19680210-0A Brief History of the Lethbridge-Stewarts is a little work of fiction, an excerpt from a larger fictional book by everybody’s favourite irritating journalist, Harold Chorley!  It’s ‘in-universe’, which means officially part of the Lethbridge-Stewart canon and gives a few hints at the larger picture of the series.

Alas, it’s only available in pdf… A Brief History of the Lethbridge-Stewarts.

Origin of the Ancestry

The Forgotten Son has been out almost three weeks (or more, if you pre-ordered it) and it has garnered a lot of positive feedback, with mostly four-star reviews. People seem to really love it, which bodes well for the series as a whole.

But there is one point raised by a few readers which I want to address here. In The Forgotten Son I establish that Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart was born in Cornwall. This has confused some readers, who tell me ‘but he’s Scottish’. Which leaves me to wonder; is he? From where did you get this information?

1301aMy first source of reference is, and always will be, the television series. I have watched every story featuring the Brigadier many times, not only since 1988 when I was first introduced to the character, but also for research purposes. The only story which even suggests his origins is Terror of the Zygons, the season thirteen opener which is set in Scotland. In the early moments of the episode the Doctor, Sarah and Harry arrive at the Fox Inn to find the Brigadier in a kilt. What follows is this conversation:

SARAH: Anyway, it’s nice to see you again, Brigadier.

BRIGADIER: And you, Miss Smith.

SARAH: Though I didn’t expect to see you in a kilt.

BRIGADIER: My dear Miss Smith, as you remember, my name is Lethbridge-Stewart. The Clan Stewart.

SARAH: Oh, sorry. I thought you were doing a Doctor.

BRIGADIER: What an absurd idea.

At the end of the story, the Duke of Forgil questions the Brigadier for not taking back the Doctor and Sarah’s return tickets to British Rail and getting a refund; ‘I thought you were a Scotsman,’ he says, and receives a bemused smirk from the Brigadier.

From these two exchanges it would appear that many have drawn the conclusion that the Brigadier is Scottish. Which is, on the surface, fair enough. (Of course, that he was originally in the Scots Guards could be used to back up this conclusion, except not every officer in the Scots Guards is Scottish.) However, a few points seem to be ignored when drawing this conclusion. The Brigadier does not sound Scottish in the slightest, which at least suggests he was not raised in Scotland or the north of England, and, most importantly, his name.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREI looked it up, trying to discover where ‘Lethbridge’ originates, and it would appear to have come from a place name in Devon that no longer exists. The family name was derived from this place and has, over the centuries, been altered to the current form of ‘Lethbridge’. Indeed, to this day, the Lethbridge Baronets are a large and distinguished part of Devon heritage. From this it is clear that at least half of the Brigadier’s ancestry is English, while the other half is, as stated in Terror of the Zygons, Scottish as a once-part of the Clan Stewart.

None of which suggests he was necessarily born in Scotland – granted, beyond his accent, there’s nothing to suggest he wasn’t born in Scotland either. So, taking my cue from other Doctor Who media beyond the TV, I decided that the Brigadier wasn’t born in Scotland at all, as his accent suggests – an accent refined by schooling, no doubt. I went for Cornwall simply because of its proximity to Devon and the fact that the Brigadier always seems so at home whenever we see in villages on television.

stewart-clan-crestAs an interesting addition, in Lance Parkin’s The Dying Days, published in 1997, we learn about William Lethbridge-Stewart who was a friend of King James VI. Seeing no reason to contradict this, I have merged this information with soon-to-be established information, as seen in this excerpt from a yet-to-be released document called A Brief History of the Lethbridge-Stewarts:

‘The first recorded Lethbridge-Stewart was William Stewart, born in 1567. He was of the Clan Stewart, a relative of the Stuart Kings of Scotland.  He grew up to be friends with James VI, and was with him when the young king claimed the English throne after the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. By this time William had already met and married Mary Lethbridge, the daughter of the influential Lethbridge family in England – a marriage that was only approved on the condition that the Lethbridge name be maintained in conjunction with the Stewart name.’

And thus the ancestry of the Brigadier is explained in a way that does not contradict what’s been established on television, and successfully extrapolates information given and real life fact.

As an aside, William Lethbridge-Stewart was, one imagines, named after Nicholas Courtney himself, whose full name was William Nicholas Stone Courtney. Naming fictional characters after the real life people who inspired them is a fine tradition of authors all over the world, and one I like to keep alive. Indeed, in the Lethbridge-Stewart series I have named several characters after real people, or people that are connected to those who inspire the characters. Like Colonel Pemberton, a character referenced in the television story, The Web of Fear, who was named by writer Mervyn Haisman after his good friend Victor Pemberton, Doctor Who author and script editor. As a tribute to Pemberton’s life-partner I christened the character with the full name of Spencer David Pemberton (Victor’s partner was actor/producer David Spenser, who died in July 2013). There are other characters inspired by real people in The Forgotten Son – whoever can name the most, will receive a special prize from me (responses in the comments below, or email me: andy@candyjarbooks.co.uk).