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Old 01-16-2014, 09:37 AM   #61 (permalink)
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The Cybermen



It took them a while to get it right but finally someone succeeded.

The bit in Doomsday (2006's series finale) where the Cyberman sheds a tear is either one of the best or one of the worst things I've ever seen in Doctor Who. Not completely sure which!
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Another one for the collection.
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:50 PM   #62 (permalink)
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It was a bit on the corny side, I can't call it the worst thing ever. I remember the Myrka
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:23 PM   #63 (permalink)
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I think the enormity of this task has just dawned on me.

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Old 01-17-2014, 02:48 PM   #64 (permalink)
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I think the enormity of this task has just dawned on me.

Don't give up, this is the only journal on here that I read!
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:13 PM   #65 (permalink)
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Give this up?

NEVER!!!
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:44 AM   #66 (permalink)
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Urban has undertaken a huge task here and it will get harder for him, as when the stories get better there is less for him to slag off
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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
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Old 01-18-2014, 12:36 PM   #67 (permalink)
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Oh there's always something to slag off in it. Even a story as gorgeous as The Talons Of Weng Chiang has the Giant Rat in it.
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Old 01-20-2014, 05:20 AM   #68 (permalink)
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Can we assume you'll be putting "Victory of the Daleks" in this section? I mean, come on! Spitfires in space? What were they thinking of? (I got booted from the Dr Who forum on another board for my criticism of that turd)...
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Old 01-20-2014, 05:29 AM   #69 (permalink)
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I'm not a big fan of that episode (especially the IPod Daleks) but there are many other Matt Smith episodes I hate even more. Such as every single Christmas special, Journey to the centre of the Tardis, Nightmare in Silver, The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People, The Crimson Horror, Night Terrors, The God Complex.

It might be a while before I get to that one.
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Old 01-23-2014, 05:03 PM   #70 (permalink)
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213: Time And The Rani

Doctor : 7th (Sylvester McCoy)
Companions : Mel Bush (Bonnie Langford)
Series : 24
Originally Transmitted: 7th - 28th September 1987


I was going to do Timelash next but on reflection this story deserves to go before it for several reasons, most notably that according to Amazon I bought this on 2nd January 2011 when it was released on DVD. When I came to look at this story for this I noticed that it was still sealed in it's wrapper. At least Timelash got opened and watched on it's arrival

Also when I went to look at the broadcast dates on wikipedia I noticed that the synopsis for this story, instead of being a full blown essay like on most stories was condensed into one small paragraph. And to be fair it doesn't miss anything interesting out and covers the whole story just fine.

It's also a point to note that even this early on in this list of stories that I am doing half the stories from series 24 have already been included in this list. And trust me you won't have to wait long for the other two that made up this series. Series 24 really was Doctor Who at it's lowest point.

This is of course a regeneration story marking Sylvester McCoy's first outing as The Doctor but this wasn't like any ordinary regeneration.
Back in 1984 after Colin Baker's first series had ended Michael Grade famously cancelled Doctor Who. Anyway I won't get into too much detail about this until I come to write the 'Trial Of A Timelord' entry but the end result was the show was bought back reluctantly, but the show was on borrowed time. After the Trial series went out Grade wanted the show cancelled again but again he relented and told producer John Nathan Turner he would bring it back again.....But with a fresh start and a new actor playing the role.
Needless to say Colin Baker wasn't happy with this news and rightly refused to come in and film a regeneration scene. So after pondering the options of how to do it this is what they came up with.



The Tardis is attacked in mid flight and grounded on the planet Lakertya. A woman and a bat like creature that reminds me of Sweetums from The Muppets walk into the Tardis. The Doctor and Mel are lying unconscious on the Tardis floor. The woman tells the creature 'Leave the girl, it's the man I want' The creature turns The Doctor around to find him in mid-regeneration.



Yes that's right, they put Sylvester McCoy in a blonde curly wig and blurred his face a bit. I should point out that the picture on the left was shot on set during filming and not in the episode itself just to highlight how show how silly it looks without the digital effects.

The woman kidnaps the Doctor and takes him back to her lair.

The woman in question is The Rani, another rogue Time Lord from Gallifrey, played by Kate O'Mara fresh off being hugely famous for playing Joan Collins sister Caress Morell in the American TV show Dynasty.
The original idea of The Rani was to have her as an amoral scientist neither good nor evil, just interested in her own experiments. This was her second story in the series, her first being The Mark Of The Rani with Colin Baker in series 22.
Sadly in this story the whole 'amoral' thing seems to have got lost and she just comes across a a generic evil scientist.

When at her lair she tries to get the confused newly regenerated Doctor to help her by dressing up as his companion Mel and telling him that it was him who built the set up around him. Rather than doing this The Doctor decides he'd rather play the spoons on her chest.



Meanwhile Mel wanders around the planets surface trying not to be killed by The Rani's traps and meets up with the native Lakertyans who are your typical boring subservient alien of the week enslaved by the Tetraps the muppet like creatures who in turn are the servants of The Rani. About the only interesting thing about the Lakertyans is that one of them is played by Wanda Ventham.



You don't know who Wanda Ventham is?
Oh well, her son just happens to be this man



Anyway, I'll cover her more when I get around to doing 'Image Of The Fendahl' which she is also in because it's a lot better than this rubbish.

Anyway back to the story. The Rani and the Doctor go back to him Tardis to pick up some equipment. He decides that he's sick of Colin Baker's coat (Who can really blame him) and goes into the Tardis wardrobe to pick out a new outfit while a bored unimpressed Rani looks on. Rather than just have a couple of bits of costume from old doctors this time after dressing up like Napoleon The Doctor decides to wear every other Doctor's outfits with the exception of the first.



The Doctor eventually figures out that Mel isn't really Mel at all and sets to work discovering the Rani's plan which involves going through time kidnapping all the geniuses from human history including people like Louis Pasteur, Albert Einstein and errr... Elvis Presley (No really The Doctor actually says he's there). The Rani then takes their minds and absorbs them into a giant speaking brain voiced by Peter Tuddenham who was also the voice of Zen in Blakes 7 doing pretty much the same voice.



Once that is done her plan is to place the brain inside the hollowed out planet Lakertya, fire a rocket at an asteroid to blow it up to release a gas that'll make the brain grow in size and then fly this brain filled planet around the universe to do God knows what.

Anyway Mel who has already joined up with the Lakertyan rebels reluctantly begins to accept that the fat shouty bloke she's been travelling around with has turned into a small prat-falling clown with an umbrella and they thwart the Rani's plan. He frees the geniuses from their little pods and fixes the rocket to miss the asteroid thus saving the Lakertyans. The Rani self destructs her base killing the Lakertyan leader and her giant brain escapes in her Tardis and the Doctor files all the geniuses into his Tardis to send them all home. Sadly despite being told he was there we don't see any hint of Elvis Presley among them.
Albert Einstein takes an interest in the Tardis console and The Doctor tells him he'll explain how it works later.



Meanwhile inside her Tardis the Tetraps decide to hang out with the Rani, take her back to their own planet and have her work for them instead.



The interesting thing about a actor's first Doctor Who story is that as the original series progressed they gradually got worse. The first 3 Doctor's stories 'An Unearthly Child', 'Power Of The Daleks' & 'Spearhead From Space' which are all rightly considered classic Doctor Who stories. Doctors 4 & 5 had 'Robot' & 'Castrovalva' which although not great were not anywhere near as terrible as this. Then we had Doctor's 6 & 7 with this rubbish and 'The Twin Dilemma' which I already covered here.

In fact the only thing that really pushes this story above 'The Twin Dilemma' is Kate O'Mara pretending to be Bonnie Langford. Watching her pretending to be this prissy annoying girl when the Doctor is looking and then seeing her real self annoyed at having to play this charade with plenty of eye rolling and dirty looks every time The Doctor's back is turned is hysterical to watch. If it had been 4 episodes of that this story would have been much higher.

As for Sylvester McCoy, when he came into the show he was wanting to play The Doctor as a much darker and much more mysterious character. The seeds of that would be sown in series 25 and really bear fruit in series 26 with incoming script editor Andrew Cartmel vision for the show following that of McCoy's own, but at this point Cartmel was new on board and was using scripts already commissioned before he got the job being forced to work with what he had.

McCoy doesn't really have anything to work with here and just ends up prat-falling around the set doing lots of visual gags that just become annoying after a while. He also spends the whole story mixing up metaphors as if to show his confused state. Thankfully that was dropped straight away.

God, having to watch anything from series 24 is like water torture, the sad thing is at the end of this story at the time this was broadcast little did the general viewing public know that for the following four weeks they would have to sit through 'Paradise Towers' which is even worse.
Poor bastards, thank God I had an evening job at the time and wasn't at home to see how low this once great show had sunk.



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