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louisedennis
24 March 2019 @ 08:07 pm
The Mind Robber occupies a story-telling space with The Celestial Toymaker that is somewhat unique in Doctor Who. While there have been many "oddball" episodes since, there is something about these two stories with their overt invocation of other fictional characters/children's games as real within the story that makes them seem far more like each other than like anything else in Doctor Who canon. The Celestial Toymaker is frankly rather dull (although I reserve the right to change my opinion should the missing episodes ever be found), The Mind Robber on the other hand is quite highly regarded in Who fandom.

I'm sure I've seen The Mind Robber before and I've certainly read the novelisation but not a great deal of it rang any bells on this rewatch. The things I'd particularly recalled - that Gulliver uses only dialogue from Swift, that the trees in the forest are made out of words - didn't somehow seem as clever in situ as they were in my memory, though like all clever details the effect is undeniably reduced when you encounter it a second time.

The story was beset by production problems. Most notably the first episode had to be invented from whole cloth with no sets very late in the day. The result, while undeniably impressive under the circumstances, doesn't actually make a lot of sense and in retrospect feels very much like the filler that it is. Then Frazer Hines came down with chickenpox and had to be replaced for an episode (something that would have been difficult in most other stories but works in this context where the Doctor is set the task of assembling Jamie's face and gets it wrong).

All in all you've got a clever and inventive script with yet further inventiveness being used to offset the last minute problems. It is easy to see why fandom likes this.

On the other hand I felt it failed to really come to life. I'm not sure if this was over-high expectations or the very theatrical nature of a lot of the sets or just one of those things where some days, some stories don't particularly do it for you.

After all it has a truly impressive animated medusa, Zoe (rather improbably) demonstrating her martial arts skills, and the companions getting trapped in a giant book - really what more could you want from a Doctor Who story?

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/565622.html.
 
 
louisedennis
23 March 2019 @ 04:17 pm

Cover off Jenny T. Colgan's In the Blood Dr Who novel.  Bluey white icey background.  Ten and Donna.  They Feed on your Anger.  They Need your Despair. tagline
Today in book covers I can easily lay hands on "In the Blood" which I've just read. It was OK as Who novels go, though erred a bit on the side of The Internet is evil and everyone would be happier if they just talked face-to-face with each other.


This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/564864.html.
 
 
louisedennis
22 March 2019 @ 05:25 pm

B in a hat, contemplates the lone standing stone in the centre of Mayburgh Henge.  Stones are scattered around its base and the bank is behind him.
Mayburgh Henge


This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/564239.html.
 
 
louisedennis
19 March 2019 @ 07:08 pm

Seventh Doctor paper doll with hat and dark jacket

This is, at one and the same time, both exciting and disappointing. Exciting because it is just the jacket, so the trousers are the same ones as for the base doll! So at last we have something that is more an item of clothing and less just another doll stuck over the top of the last one. Disappointing because the question mark umbrella doesn't adequately cover the previous umbrella and I'm not sure it would even if I were not cutting off the white outlines!

The head is odd too - but I think that is inevitable given the top of the hat has to line up with the top of the head underneath given the placement of the attachment tabs.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/563266.html.
 
 
louisedennis
18 March 2019 @ 08:05 pm

Me standing in front of some railings behind which is a schloß.
Selfie after a morning run.


This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/562937.html.
 
 
 
louisedennis
17 March 2019 @ 04:10 pm
I first saw The Gunfighters at a WhoSoc meeting in the early 90s. Back then it was still renowned as the Doctor Who story with the lowest ratings (though Wikipedia tells me this is a myth, though it is apparently the Doctor Who story with the lowest audience appreciation score). Since then its been through a bit of a re-assessment where people seemed to like it, and then gone back to being, if not widely derided, at least generally considered a bit sub-standard.

I rather liked it back then, and was somewhat anxious that I would like it less this time around.

To be honest, I mostly like the song - which itself seems to have been re-evaluated and then re-evaluated again. The song, The Last Chance Saloon appears both within the story, various characters sing it in the saloon, and at various moments in the soundtrack acting as a chorus to the action. I think it is a great conceit, though in the first episode - where the Song mostly reprises the refrain "There'll be blood upon the sawdust in the Last Chance Saloon" - it edges towards becoming tedious. However later episodes change up the words a bit and I found I wasn't getting tired of it at all.

The Gunfighters is a Donald Cotton script which means, more or less, that it's a comedy with an alarmingly high body count. It isn't as out-and-out funny as bits of the The Myth Makers, and that may be part of its problem. It's comedy is at the level of "makes you smile from time to time". The cast seem to be having fun, but that's not quite translating itself to the screen. There's some nice stuff with Steven and Dodo acting as if they are in a theme park Wild West rather than the real place - which admittedly makes them both seem pretty stupid but I don't think that's a problem just with this episode, they are both very child-like in the preceding story as well. The sympathetic characters: broadly speaking Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Kate and (to a lesser extent) Doc Holliday all have slightly divergent but understandable motivations - and again, there are nice bits where Earp demonstrates that he's the person who is the expert in managing the situation and the Doctor had better do as he's told.

That said, it's also quite confusing: neither Tame Layman, nor I, know much about the Wild West, and the story assumes a familiarity with the characters and background to the O.K.Corral that we didn't really have. We'd more or less sorted out who everyone was by the end (I think) but there were moments in the middle where we were quite confused... and of course, its a Donald Cotton story so its relationship to historical accuracy is probably tenuous at best.

The novelisation chooses to place the Doctor himself in the action at the O.K. Corral - having him press-ganged by the Earps into walking up the street with them (and makes a point of how dangerous his rather erratic control of the shotgun they've given him is). It came as a surprise, therefore, that he is actually completely absent from the denouement; as is Steven, while Dodo appears randomly from nowhere to get in Doc Holliday's way. One of the problems Doctor Who often has in depicting history is figuring out how to actually involve the Tardis crew in the action. It looks like Cotton just gave up trying when he got to the final episode.

All that said, The Gunfighters is an interesting beast. The attempt at a comedy historical, with the deliberate framing of the song, and the attempt to nevertheless ground out some of the humour in the tragedy of the deaths of people's loved ones may not quite work but, insofar as its a failure, it's an interesting and well-intentioned one. Given I went into it with some trepidation and a fear that the memory had cheated, I was pleasantly surprised.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/562534.html.
 
 
louisedennis
16 March 2019 @ 05:57 pm


The original Sally Sparrow (illustration to Moffat's story in the 2006 Annual by Martin Geraghty)


This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/561715.html.
 
 
louisedennis
09 March 2019 @ 04:25 pm

Fury from the Deep book cover.  An oil rig in the background with bright green seaweed in the foreground.  The writing proclaims this is a classic adventure of the second doctor now a bumper volume!

Given all the moving of books currently taking place, this was the most accessible Target novelisation when the random picture generator said "Target Book Cover". I feel it has the potential to be quite an atmospheric image but the seaweed is a little unconvincing.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/561187.html.
 
 
louisedennis
08 March 2019 @ 07:51 pm

Me and B against a stone backdrop
Selfies at Avebury


This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/560704.html.
 
 
louisedennis
06 March 2019 @ 08:22 pm

Graham and Ryan from Doctor Who.  Grey splodgy background. Graham and Ryan from Doctor Who clutching each other. Graham and Ryan from Doctor Who in the sunshine. Graham and Ryan from Doctor Who. Graham and Ryan from Doctor Who.  Graham in his witch-hunting hat.


Snagging is free. Credit is appreciated. Comments are loved.

Textures in the first by erniemay and in the last two by simpleandclean.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/560320.html.