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Day of the Doctor.

It is today. It is a fixed point in time and space and I shall be there – or at least in Stockport (the Manchester tickets had gone) – to see the 50th anniversary show live in 3D in the cinema. Cool. I shall not be alone. This is being shown live in 94 countries in 1500 cinemas live. This has never been done before. My wife recently bought the 50th anniversary edition of Dr Who Magazine. It has a copy of the 1964 first anniversary edition of the mag which includes a letter from a reader saying that the Who was the best programme (don’t we call ‘em “shows” now) on either channel. How times change!

I should have bought a fez for the night. Fez’s are cool. There is nothing more but this…


  1. RAB says:

    You and Lizzie have a great night.

    I watched the very first episode very much in front of the sofa, not behind, at my friend Fatty Harris’s house. William Hartnell genuinely was scary though. They had barely launched Telstar, and Britian was still waiting for film of the kennedy assassination to arrive by plane. The USA was a far off land of which we knew little except from the movies.

    Now look at us, 94 countries and in 3D yet. A different world!

  2. Flaxen Saxon says:

    I remember watching the very first episode on a black and white tele in a back to back house in Tipton. Scared me shit faced. Hid behind the sofa. Something about cavemen. So putting a modern spin on things. If that old fart of a doctor had been armed with a flame thrower he could have burned all those cavemen, cidermen and those Daleks to bits. When you think of it you didn’t have to burn the Daleks, cos you just needed to put a bit of shag pile under their wobbly arse. Or grab the sticky thing with the single eye on. How do Daleks judge distance? Best to burn them just in case they’ve evolved to move on shag pile.

  3. Over now – start was a bit off, but kept with it.

    I agree – one keeps trying.

    Even if it is impossible for home to stand – it must stand.

    Even if one remembers its fall – it must stand.

    Even if one can remember it burning – it must stand.

  4. NickM says:

    Do you even watch the show?

  5. Flaxen Saxon says:

    NickM: I used to be an avid fan, but for some reason I lost interest about the time of the third incarnation. My loss I’m sure.

  6. NickM says:

    So why comment Flaxen?

  7. Flaxen Saxon says:

    So why bother doing anything, NickM. I’m a free man living in a free universe (some may dispute this), so I tend to do what I like. Perhaps I should get out more, but frankly I can’t be arsed. So that being the case I will continue to exercise free will (if it exists) and post stuff willy nilly until I expire my last. If you have any problems with that, then tune out.

  8. RAB says:

    Everyone has the right to be inane I suppose. Makes my teeth itch though.

  9. John Galt says:

    No spoilers please, my download won’t have finished for a couple of hours…


  10. NickM says:

    Flaxen the issue is not me tuning-out but me tuning in. If you lost interest in something forty years ago then other than review of a Mk2 Ford Cortina why should I care about your opinion – and why should you feel the need to make it? It would be like asking the Dalai Lama to comment on hair products.

    You have the right of course but why bother if you’re just getting your grumpy boots on for the sake of it? It is not about disagreement. It is about wilful ignorance. If you don’t know WTF you are talking about then why talk about it?

    Paul, RAB, et al I really liked it by the way. Oh, there were flaws. It wasn’t an absolute gem like Gran Moff Steve’s “Blink” for example but it was bloody good and the 3D worked grand. The ending was… [spoilers sweeties] … but soaring. With a surprise that had the popcorn hitting the ceiling. The audience, some in costume (as were the staff)*, applauded the end credits.

    We got there early so had a drink and the barman was dressed oddly and wearing a joke-shop wig. So I say to him, “You’re a Patrick Troughton!”.He told me I was the first of the night to clock that and added, “Everyone else just thought I was a wierdo”. He seemed quite chuffed. They also had a Weeping Angel and a lass with jelly-babies.

    So the Hell with your miserablism Flaxen. Some of us believe life can be fun. And without fun what is the point?

  11. CountingCats says:

    Why shouldn’t FS comment?

    I don’t understand.

    “I used to be a fan, but now I’m not.”

    I truly don’t see what is wrong with that as a comment. It is not as if he said nothing but “Arse, big fat arse.

  12. CountingCats says:

    Is this pick on Flaxen S day?

  13. NickM says:

    No CC. it ain’t. I just find it odd that someone is prepared to comment on a show they lost interest interest in several regenerations ago,,, well, odd.

    You either watch it and say “good” or “bad” or “whatever” or you just bitch for bitchin’s sake. And I’m not saying that is wrong in the sense it should be banned or whatever but I do wonder why FS would do it?

  14. Flaxen Saxon says:

    Thanks for the nod Mr Cats. Please accept my sincere apologies for the ‘Arse, big fat arse’ comment. In mitigation, I do believe I was very pissed at the time. NickM: It is true, that at times, I can come across as a curmudgeon. Some say I’m a right miserable old bastard. Justly condemned, M’lud. So, what is the point? I like to express myself freely. My opinion on the matter counts, at least with me. It is true I am not knowledgeable in the ways ‘of Dr Who’ unless you think of what I watched 40 years ago matters. And yes it could be construed that my opinions, invalid as they may be, are not informed opinions. But that’s not the point either. Intriguingly, Patrick Troughton was the last doctor I actually watched. A devil on the flute as I recall. The point is I come to this site to commune with intelligent folk. I don’t have to agree with anyone. Have you seen the comments on the average blog? This is quite a special place and long may it remain so. NickM, I like your postings. You write with wit and verve, which is no bad thing, especially in these days of puerile dross. Doesn’t mean I’m going to lick your haemorrhoids though, if you get my drift. I don’t want our debate to degenerate into personal rancour. This sort of thing should be reserved for people we know and not for strangers. Not that I take it personally; tis the medium after all. A sense of balance and perspective is good for all things but especially so for postings. Nothing personal, NickM.
    I think you are spot on RAB. Everyone has the right to be inane. As for the teeth, the best thing to do is scratch.

  15. CountingCats says:


    I was referring to my comment as well. Not just you. I think that to pick on FS occasionally, just to keep him on his toes, might be fun. Hands up all in favour of doing this every now and then?

  16. Flaxen Saxon says:

    Why occasionally? I’m a big boy.

  17. John Galt says:

    Ostracisation apart, I thought “The day of The Doctor” was pretty good although I prefer Russell T. Davies to Steven Moffat.

    Obviously this is all very subjective and arguments about who the best “Doctor” or best writer are simply divisive and only lead to arguments anyway.

    Any fool can tell you they were Tom Baker and Terry Nation.

    The Best of Doctor Who

  18. NickM says:

    Not to put too fine a point on it I think the power of The Who over the generations is how we define our fav Dr. For me it is, oddly enough, Matt Smith. I loved the whole Dr/Amy/Rory/River story arc. I have seen a lot of “historical” Who (my wife has a collection of DVDs that would collapse the stoutest beast of burden. OK, the total mentalist Tom Baker (and he is bonkers in the best way) has become a National Treasure* but also those old Who’s are glacial in pace. I much prefer the new stuff – largely.

    As to RTD** v The Moff? I don’t know except I do think RTD took it as far as he could especially as he and DT took it a bit too messianic by the end. Fan boys both – which was possibly the problem. RTD was better with Chris Eccleston.

    I also liked McCoy/Aldred. I liked her a lot. I had a weakness for attractive tomboys who know a bit of explosive chemistry. I still do.

    **Much respect for yanking it back from the Pandorica of Michael Grade – who preferred East Enders. Well, RTD did a classic Phil Mitchell, “Shut up you slag!”.Excellent.

  19. RAB says:

    Like I said I watched the very first episode, and that was all about this incredibly precocious girl called Susan, who her two teachers, who were to be the first companions, followed back to the Junkyard and the Phone Box/Tardis.

    Well Susan is supposed to be Dr Who’s grandaughter, so that says that there must have been a Dr Who wife, and son or daughter to produce the grandaughter. Can you Whovians tell me what the hell happened to that whole back-story?

  20. Philip Scott Thomas says:

    Oh, Dear (Time) Lord,

    I haven’t yet figured out what I thought of the episode, so instead of discussing it and possibly dealing out spoilers, I’ll ask a question instead:

    One of the comments that keeps repeating itself with regard to Dr Who that I just don’t understand is the bit about hiding behind the sofa. How was this even possible?

    Who had a lounge so big that the sofa wasn’t pushed up against the wall? Or was that just us?

  21. John Galt says:

    I can recall hiding behind the sofa during “The Green Death” (May/June 1973), but I think it depends on the sort of house you live in.

    Most of the pokey little houses that the British used to live in when the programme was first released wouldn’t have had space for a free standing sofa, so it would be backed up against the wall, but the phrase itself comes seems to come from a latter era when there were still such things as the middle class and the sizes of ones Margot Leadbetter sized lounge was a matter of personal pride.

    Hiding behind the sofa

  22. Must have watched the very first Doctor myself, although it’s obviously left no lasting memories. Id recently found the intriguing possibilities of ScFi, A genre I’ve remained faithful to through a of that half century. So what is it with this dreadfully acted, appallingly scripted children’s program with its ridiculous, predictable plotlines? FFS! The hero’s got a time machine. Why doesn’t he loop back to where he comes in & tip himself off about the shit that’s upcoming? Save himself all the bother.*
    At least Startrek had scenery didn’t fall over & wasn’t filmed mostly in a gravel pit in Hertfordshire. And had that Uhuru chick with the legs.

    *Yeah., I know. But if you can follow spacelike paths outside the lightcone, little thing like causality’s not going to bother you, is it?

    Hiding behind the sofa was Quatermass & the Pit.. I still feel uncomfortable using Goodge Street.

  23. John Galt says:

    “Well Susan is supposed to be Dr Who’s granddaughter, so that says that there must have been a Dr Who wife, and son or daughter to produce the granddaughter. Can you Whovians tell me what the hell happened to that whole back-story?”

    It’s a bit complicated and reliant upon what you deem Whovian canon.

    From a production perspective, Susan was just the first companion and the original story outline says nothing about Susan being his granddaughter, but the writer felt that it was a bit odd an old bloke gadding about the galaxy with a young girl, so Susan became his granddaughter.

    This was not openly questioned until the late 1980′s when the production team felt that The Doctor needed more of a backstory and set about developing and expanding his character and recognised that Susan was a problem, hence the Cartmel Masterplan came into being.


    In short, you should consider Susan as a sort of adopted grandchild rather than a literal genetic relation.

  24. NickM says:

    PST, JG,
    The thought had frequently occurred to me too. PST – me too! JG, don’t buy it that houses have got that much bigger and certainly not rooms. If you look at the average post 1980-ish 3 bedroom house the third bedroom is almost invariably a box-room.

    I suspect it’s just a meme that took off. God knows where it came from. But such is the case with more recent terms such as “chav”. Which I suspect comes from the Geordie “charver” which I can testify well predates the use of “chav” in the media but means much the same thing. It seems too much of a co-incidence to be otherwise though this theory is largely ignored.

    It is frequently mentioned (briefly) by various Doctors that he had children and grandchildren. As to who with is a mystery. I think it is fair to rule out the one person we saw him marry – River Song as the grandmother. It’s all a bit “timey-wimey” and mysterious but in c900 years of time-travel you are gonna get around a bit. The conception of the Dr has evolved and become rather fluid over the years. 50 years.

    Anyway the Susan character was originally conceived (!) by the BBC as a kinda “Avengers girl” type. This was considered unseemly in the context of traveling with an old man* so they made her his grandaughter.

    *How bitterly ironic considering what has come out later with the BBC but hey we don’t want Yewtree kicking-in the Tardis door at 4am do we?

  25. I have not liked the obsession with humans (especially ordinary humans “you are so wonderful” – and on and on…..) that has marked a lot (although far from all) the return of Dr Who.

    There is more to the universe than humans – and the heavy handed either “you are so wonderful” (about some nonentity on a sofa) or “you can be better than this” (like some liberal school teacher) has SOMETIMES been irritating. Making me wish I had a magic way of deleting such lines for otherwise good scripts. The last thing humans need is American style “Self Esteem” stuff.

    The Doctor is not human – he should have other concerns.

    And this time (for at least some of the episode) HE DID.

    Of course there were some irritating touches “you will not remember who you are for the next few minutes so the treaty will be FAIR” – yes I know, John Rawls “veil of ignorance” in his “A Theory of Justice” Harvard University Press (yes I did get the reference to how well read you are Mr Scriptwriter – but “fairness” is NOT justice, the alien invaders should just GO).

    But whenever the episode moved away from Earth – it was wonderful.

    Less Earth, less humans.

    Unless they are humans who actually develop into something interesting – such as “Bad Wolf”.

    Also did like the idea that the Time Lords (with a couple of exceptions) had become evil – the Time Lords are an ancient culture, too conservative perhaps (“Presidents these days only last a couple of centuries – now …….. there was a President with some staying power!” one of the lines I most like from an old episode), but they are not would-be genocide committing nutcases out for immortality at the expense of the rest of the universe.

    A few Time Lords may be like that – but now continuity people will (rightly) say it is only a few.

    In this episode most Time Lords were RIGHTLY shown

    Yes – too conservative.

    Yes – lacking in creativity and stuck in their ways (even in war).

    But – basically decent and honourable, ESPECIALLY when put to the test.

    As George Orwell pointed out – we may laugh at “Colonel Blimp” and we may be right to laugh at him, but Colonel Blimp is in fact a HERO.

    Colonel Blimp will never let anyone down (even if not letting them down costs him his own life – and even if he can not stand them).

    We may run away from the stifling society of Colonel Blimp (as both the Doctor and the Master did) – but we want him to still be there.

    Tending his roses in his cottage garden on a gentle hill in Sussex over looking the sea.

    Apologies for the Earth reference.

  26. NickM says:

    And Star Trek (TOS) didn’t have wonky sets and shockingly bad acting…

  27. John Galt says:

    The Hammer version of Quatermass and the Pit still puts the wind up me and it’s probably one of the few films I’ll watch with all the lights on. Bloody nightmares that gave me as a kid, that and Hammer’s “The House that Bled to Death”.

    For a Whovian treat, especially for Douglas Adams fans, try “Shada”, which was made, but never broadcast.

  28. Philip Scott Thomas says:

    Speaking of Susan, The Doctor’s granddaughter –

    Anyone remember what the name of Death’s adopted granddaughter in the Discworld canon is? :-)

  29. Philip Scott Thomas says:

    Nick –

    I get the same impression about “hiding behind the sofa”, i.e., it’s just a meme, something to be said.

    As for “charver” v. “chav”: when I first moved to Newcastle the only usage I heard was “charver”.

    Then the subject blew up in the national media, a discussion led largely by Julie Burchill, it seems. The London word was “chav”. That term somehow got so much media attention that it has completely supplanted “charver” even here in the Toon. You never hear “charver” here anymore. It’s always “chav”.

    On the floor above my office is one of those private sector back-to-work firms. My MD calls their congregating around the smoking area “chav city”. And he’s a Wallsend boy, born and bred.

  30. Not for a kids’ programme of the time, Nick. But at least Trek (which I’ve never been much of a fan of) & the developed franchise have always stood on their own feet.
    Sorry, but the Doctor has always been what it is. An outlet for BBC ‘talent’. Like a lot of BBC production, it’s made that way round & it shows. . We have the actors, scriptwriters, designers. What shall we do with them?

  31. NickM says:

    Respect PST! I hadn’t linked those!

  32. Mr Ed says:

    This thread had made me realise that a Cosmic Schedenfreude opportunity has been denied by the Fates, between Troughton and Pertwee, the BBC did not intercalate as the Doctor Jimmy Savile.

  33. NickM says:

    Now then, now then….

  34. John Galt says:

    “It’s all a bit “timey-wimey” and mysterious but in c900 years of time-travel you are gonna get around a bit. The conception of the Dr has evolved and become rather fluid over the years.”

    Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end…

  35. I liked the contrast between the man who spent a long dark night of the soul calculating exactly how many children he had killed when he burned the planet. And the man who could not remember how many it had been.

    They were the same man.

    400 years is a long time.

    Even 70 years is a long time – and the horrors of World War II were about 70 years ago now.

  36. Lynne says:

    All that hype and it was still a damp squib. Very disappointing. Not even John Hurt made much difference although his Doctor was by far the most interesting. And then there was, what I presume to be, Malcolm Tucker’s Peter Capaldi’s manic glare to camera. A cameo that you would miss if you blinked.

    All in all not particularly worthy of a golden anniversary production.

    Thanks Moffatt, for nothing much at all.

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