The Enemy of the World

The Enemy of the World was a bit different to what we had been getting over the past couple of months. For one thing it was not set in the snow and ice as the previous twelve episodes was, and started on a beach, and had the Doctor run into the sea for a paddle in the sea. That was one thing that was different for a start. Then they started getting shot at, which was certainly not a great start for them

At times this story was more like a James Bond film, or the ITC series beloved of ITV viewers of the time, rather than the sort of stories that we had been used to watching. It had a large cast of characters and was very expansive and looked like money had been spent on it, when it most certainly wouldn’t have been.

The most notable thing in this story however had to be the dual role played by Patrick Troughton doubling as the story’s main villain, Salamander, who would have made a decent Bond villain, let alone a Doctor Who villain.

In fact you could quite comfortably imagine this as Bond movie as there are very few traditional Doctor Who trappings in this story at all, such as there are no aliens, it is not set in the far, far future, there are no spaceships etc.

What with Patrick Troughton playing the villain with great gusto the Doctor isn’t really in the story that much but it doesn’t really matter as this allows Jamie and Zoe to take a greater part of the action than they might normally do and both excel here and make the most of their opportunity. Jamie gets a lot more to do here than Victoria does and Frazer Hines is once again excellent

There was also some interesting characters including Mary Peach as the very Avengers girl type character Astrid, Bill Kerr (very different to his persona in the Hancock’s Half Hour radio series) as Giles Kent, George Pravda as Denes, Carmen Munroe as Faria (in a great role for a person of colour at the time) and Milton Johns as Benek all make good impressions on the story.

Barry Letts did a great job on the story as it often looked very impressive on what was obviously a rather small budget. Mostly however it was a lot of fun seeing Patrick Troughton play the baddie for once and you can tell that really relishes playing someone other than the Doctor for a change and shows off Troughton’s acting chops.

For many years all we had was the third episode which is quite possibly the least impressive of the episodes but does feature a comedy Australian chef and that was all we had to go on until the rest of the story was found and it is a far better story than people thought it was after only seeing the third episode.

Yes, at times, it is not really Doctor Who but, hey, it works, and it is fun to watch and its great that we have it.

Girls just wanna have fun

I still do not understand why there is such vehemence against the casting as a woman as the Doctor as evidenced by Facebook, Twitter and other social media’s over the past couple of weeks, and quite frankly I don’t think that I ever will.

Now I accept that people will not always be happy with the choice of the actor who will be playing the Doctor, which I have often experienced in the past, such as when David Tennant took over back in 2005, but this time it really seems to be the end of the world, now that a woman has been cast in the role.

Now I do accept that the Doctor has always been played by a male from the beginning of the show, which is of course more than 53 years ago now, and in the original run of the series the only Timelords that we ever saw were either male or female and appeared to regenerate in the same gender each time, but I do not recall it ever being explicitly said that a regeneration could not mean a change of gender, it’s just that we never saw it happen.

Therefore, as it was never seen or mentioned, does that automatically mean that it would be wrong to do so (now according to some things that I have read it is about as wrong as wrong could be), and also would it really make that much of a difference to the show (again some people are saying that we now have a completely different show that will never be the same again). I am not at all convinced that it would do but if people would like to educate me on what it is so wrong and why it is going to change the face of the show then I will gladly listen to what you have to say.

In the context of the new series we now know that Timelords can change gender as we heard about the Corsair and we actually witnessed a gender changer in a regeneration with the General. Then there is Missy. Now we never actually saw the regeneration into Missy but it was grudgingly accepted that the Master had regenerated into a female (apart from all the people who were convinced it was all a ruse and she was really the Rani) which caused a bit of a fuss, but not as much as the casting of a woman as the Doctor has caused.

People have said that this is the end of the show and that the Doctor can never be male again (which I entirely cannot work out why people would come to that opinion); that they have pissed on 54 years of history and somehow ruined their entire life with this casting. Quite how this can ruin someone’s life is beyond me to be honest. Yes, you can be unhappy about the casting but I really do not think that it should be that big of deal, as I have not always agreed with or been happy with the casting but I still watched it as, in my mind, any Doctor Who is better than no Doctor and you never know you might even like it, and after a couple of years you might get someone more to your liking, or perhaps not, it’s the luck of the draw, some you win, some you lose. Of course if you really want to stop watching it then that is your prerogative, and good luck to you, if that is your feeling and I am not going to try to talk you out of it.

People have also said that this is merely a box ticking exercise, but that isn’t how I see it at all. I see it as Chris Chibnall merely choosing an actor he has worked with before, just as RTD did with Eccleston and Tennant, and choosing the person that he though was the best fit for the role as he saw it, and what is wrong with that. I think that is why we got Jodie Whitaker and not because of some plan to feminise all male heroes. Of course you are perfectly at liberty to believe that it is some sort of plot, but I will have to agree to disagree with you, but hey, let’s not fall out about, we are all fans at the end of day and we all have our opinions. One of my favourite episodes of the show ever was Love & Monsters!

I have been watching the show now since the end of nineteen seventies, and have witnessed countless changes of Doctor, and countless rumours of new Doctor’s, and have always known the Doctor to be a white middle aged man who was older than me, at least until they cast Matt Smith in the role at least, when for the very first time ever, the Doctor was younger than me, but I am willing to accept that a female Doctor is the same person as the other Doctors such as the same way that Matt Smith is the same person as William Hartnell or Peter Capaldi.

Even though I can see people’s points that that the Doctor has always been male and therefore should remain male but, as we know the Doctor can change, and I cannot see anything wrong with the Doctor changing into a female, and to be honest, I don’t believe that I can ever be convinced that this was wrong thing to so, as quite simply I cannot see a problem with it.

It will certainly not stop me watching the show and I do not feel that the show or the character has been compromised by this. It is just another change of actor and another new interpretation of the Doctor. That is really the crux of the matter: The Doctor changes.

I for one am looking forward to see where they go with this new Doctor and am intrigued by what differences there will be with the Doctor now looking like an attractive young woman, rather than a young, or old, man. They said they wanted someone in their thirties and they have cast someone in their thirties. Jodie Whitaker is 35.

I am also not convinced by the notion that nobody will watch the show because there is a woman in the lead role. Are they saying that a programme with a female lead would not get any viewers at all, and is therefore a pointless exercise.

I am sure that cannot be what they mean, because that would be ridiculous surely. Or it is just me? I am pretty sure female led shows have actually been watched by millions of people, and I have no doubt that it will be the same with the female Doctor.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with my gushing about this new casting, about how good I think it will be, but I will just say that if you don’t like this Doctor, then there will be another one along in a few years time. After all I had to put up with four years of Tennant. And, yes, I would like to fuck her…

Going Underground

In episode two of The Trial of a Timelord we find out a bit more about Ravalox’s underground civilisation which seems to be ruled by a being known only as the immortal by all of the people living under the ground. This immortal is actually a robot who has controlled the underground civilisation for centuries and gives them food and water, unless they disobey him when all of that stops, so he isn’t a very benevolant leader.

He also selects two people from the city to enter his castle and they are the only people who are allowed to see the immortal. Noone else knows what the immortal looks like as he speaks to them through headseats and there are cameras all over the city where they can contact him but of course they are a one way communication device for them to talk to the immortal.

It is a bit strange that Immortal only wants young men to enter his castle and it is rather noticeable that there are very few women in this story. It is also noticeable that the Immortal is not very keen on letting people go up to the surface as it is clear that the surface is not the dangerous place that it once was and is perfectly safe to live on, not that the people who live underground believe that it is thanks to the immortal careful management of them and also his rather barbaric practices of killing people who disagree with him, apart from a select few people who he has not managed to pull the wool over their eyes.

Once again the guest characters get all of the best lines in this episode mostly Glitz and Dibber who are really growing on me as characters. I am not too sure that Tony Selby is that convincing as a a totally immoral mercenary, but he is certainly channeling Arthur Daley a bit too much if you ask me, as I think that he is not meant to be a lovable rogue, but a rogue plain and simple.

Dibber on the other hand is a bit more how I would have expected Glitz to be like, to the point and dangerous to know, which you don’t get that impression from Glitz, or at least I don’t.

Merdeen is also not quite the character that you thought he was from the first episode and in this episode we find out that he is actually a good guy and whenever the immortal orders people to be stone he sees them to the surface of the planet, he is setting them free onto the surface. What a nice chap Merdeen is.

We of course get more court room sequences but a little less than the first episode and whilst they are quite nice and Michael Jayston is superb as a the Valeyard I do wish they would just forget about them and just have the Ravalox stuff, but as the story is called The Trial of a Timelord it cleary is not going to be forgotten about, more’s the pity.

The Trial

The first new Doctor Who to be broadcast for more than 18 months started promisingly with a new version of the theme, which I think is one of the better versions of the theme, and a, frankly, amazing piece of model making as the camera swept around the ship which then dragged the TARDIS into a blue beam and then the Doctor into the court room.

This first episode set up the premise of the series well with the establishing scenes set on the space station which also appears to be a time lord court where the Inquisitor presides. We also meet the prosecutor, the Valeyard, who is presenting the case against the Doctor.

The Doctor is suitably peeved at being dragged away from some exciting adventure that we knew nothing about into a court room where he seemed to be the subject of an enquiry about his behaviour.

This episode was basically a mash up of court room sequences which were pretty much just the Doctor arguing with the Valeyard with the Inquisitor trying to control the pair and the evidence presented by the Valeyard, and the presented evidence itself.

In this section the Doctor and Peri arrive on a planet called Ravalox, which is suspiciously like Earth in almost every way apart from its location, and which was apparently ravaged by a solar storm, and should not contain life.

Of course it would be a rather boring story if the planet was empty and wouldn’t be a good piece of evidence for the prosecution. So we meet two characters called Glitz and Dibber. Glitz and Dibber are mercenary’s who will do anything for money and are a pair of well written characters which is often a trademark of Robert Holmes stories and these characters are no exceptions.

For a planet that is not supposed to contain life there are a hell of a lot of people living there both above and below ground including a primitive tribe who live on the surface of the planet and a group of people who live underground who are equally as primitive.

Ravalox sounds like an interesting place which might be a future Earth, but light years away from where it should be. The scenes set underground do appear to be rather London underground like which also indicated that the planet is a version of Earth in the far, far future despite what the Doctor believes due to the planets location.

If anything the court room sequences got in the way of the narrative of the story and it was only the interplay between Colin Baker and Michael Jayston which made those sequences interesting and the constant interruptions to the main action did get a bit tiresome as the stuff on the planet was much more interesting that what was going on in the court room, until the end when the enquiry changed into trial for the Doctor’s life.

The episode then ended with the obligatory close up of Colin Baker’s face, so business as usual there.