One Hundred and Eighty! Here we are, rapidly approaching half-term. February is Dr. Who Month in our school library. We had a staff writing competition – state where you’d take the Tardis . I chose Harlem 1936 and Orson Welles’ “Voodoo” Macbeth. I came second and won a plunger…
The local paper (The Northern Scot) ran an article on our links to literacy with the project and featured one of our autistic pupils on the front cover. He spoke about how important the programme is to him as a tool for communication. My First Years are writing “Texts from the Tardis” next week.
But I’m afraid I was let down by Who in a variety of media in the last six weeks or so, beginning with
The Enemy of the World: the shock re-discovery and rush-release of this story at the end of last year basked in the glow of the 50th Anniversary. I had enjoyed the Target book in 1981, adapted in a faux-adult style by the late Ian Marter; it was just the kind of sweary stuff that legitimised my late-teen adoration of lost 60s Who. However, on dvd, the fascination of this Bond pastiche lies mainly in the lost scenes, like those featuring dictator Salamander’s capsule.
There seems to be little explanation of the mad Mexican’s master plan of natural disaster and , with its rather jarringly realistic violence, there’s little fun to be had. There is some charm in scenes of Troughton’s Doctor frolicking on the beach and his companions have cute matching kilts. However, this futuristic tale of intrigue and politics feels more like a Hartnell story and is, frankly, a bit of a snoozer. 3/5
The Revenants: a “free” additional disc in the deluxe edition of The Light at the End. Essentially it’s a Cottage-Under-Siege story featuring the Hartnell Doctor and set in Orkney. I always like hearing William Russell as Ian and the “Lost in the Marsh” scene was really effective. Otherwise, the bog men and their onslaught was a bit dull, with a ending that baffled me. 2/5
Night of the Stormcrow: 2012’s BF subscriber special, a 4th Doctor/Leela story set in an island observatory haunted by a Goth version of Marvel’s Phoenix Force. It attempted to be scarily atmospheric but only succeeded in being talky and oblique. I despair of this team ever getting a decent story. 1/5
The Time Machine: the delayed conclusion to the Destiny of the Doctor series. A story of Time Agents and invading insects, it’s a disappointing and dull end to the line. Jenna Coleman is, unfortunately. an inexperienced reader and the giant infodump at the end was deadly. Why not reference HG Wells when you’ve nicked his title? Dreary. 1/5
Happily, though, we can turn to comics to redress the balance.
The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who: a charming, metafictional tale from the team behind DC’s Knight and Squire as The Eleventh Doctor meets Matt Smith among scenes of Kroton cosplay. A knowing gag about Peter Capaldi and the school bully subplot are teeth-clenchingly twee and I think DWM did this better and with more charm in TV Action , a 1999 comic strip. But I was amused to see Paul Cornell reference his Andy Warhol gag from Scream of the Shalka and the bittersweet tone seemed appropriate for IDW’s last Who comic. 4/5
Coming soon: more audio Doctor Who, audio Spider-Man and the BBC’s Supernatural -1977.
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