Category Archives: Classic Series

Interview With Stuart Milne

Did you know that Stuart Milne reviews stuff? If you’ve ever been to his blog (appropriately titled Stuart Reviews Stuff) you would indeed have known that. Recently Stuart collected all of his Doctor Who reviews from the entire classic era and put them out as an e-book. I had a chance to talk to the opinionated man about his book and Doctor Who.

Troughton Is My Doctor: Your blog Stuart Reviews Stuff has been around for a few years now, how did you get started reviewing stuff?

Stuart Milne: At the end of each year, you always see these “Best of” review type articles and TV shows. I found that when I looked back on the movies I’d been to at the end of the year, I’d draw a blank on the ones I saw between about January and March. So I decided to start writing down my reviews of the movies I’d been to based on that. Initially it was just something to share with my friends as we tend to have wildly differing ideas on what makes a good film. But one day after I wrote an article on the Doctor Who audio, The Holy Terror, I noticed my readership suddenly spiked, and since I was about to start watching Doctor Who from the start again, it seemed like an fun thing to do. People were interested in reading my thoughts on it, and I was happy to share those thoughts.

TIMD: And that naturally culminated in an e-book collecting all your Doctor Who reviews…

SM: Absolutely. I knew from quite early on that an ebook would be my ultimate goal. It’s not that I wanted to make a load of money from them – if I had then I wouldn’t have put them up on the blog as I wrote them – but I just thought it’d be a nice achievement to look back on. I’m proud of it.

TIMD: What’s your favourite Doctor Who story?

SM: Now that would be telling. I have my own rankings of all the Doctor Who stories that will be released in my second book.

TIMD:  Fair enough, but let me ask you this, was your favourite story also your favourite to review? Or did you have another review (even though it might not be your favourite story) become your favourite to write?

SM: A large part of the reason for me wanting to actually review Doctor Who was that I felt certain stories have been badly maligned by the received wisdom of fandom. The likes of the Keys of Marinus, Revenge of the Cybermen and The Underwater Menace all get rough treatment from fans of the show, mainly because it’s the done thing to be critical of them. The biggest example of that for me was The Gunfighters, which is a story I absolutely adore.

TIMD: Well we agree about that, I think The Gunfighters is a riot!

SM:  When I got round to reviewing that, my aim was to show how ridiculous fan views of it were. At the time, I found reviews of it on Amazon that said stuff like “I enjoyed watching this, but I know it’s a bad story so I’ll give it 2 stars”. That doesn’t even begin to make sense. So I feel I got my love of the story across, and what’s more, the nature of that review shaped the format for all the other ones I’d write in the future.

TIMD: Do you have a favourite Doctor or era in the shows history?

SM: Again, I don’t want to give much away in terms of my overall rankings of the stories, but here are some statistics for you…In the 1960s, there were 50 stories. Of those 50, only 4 rank in the Bottom #50 of my rankings, with 18 featuring in my Top #50. Compare that to the 1980s, which conveniently also had 50 stories in it. Of those 50, a massive 20 feature in the Bottom #50 and a paltry 3 feature in the Top #50.

So I think it’s clear that the 60s was a better time for the show than the 80s.

TIMD: On your website you review of Enemy Of The World and Web Of Fear after seeing the newly recovered episodes and compare your new opinion to what you thought before, going on just the reconstructions and surviving episodes. How awesome was it to really see those stories for the first time?

SM: It was fantastic. Literally, it was a dream come true. I remember loading up the trailer of the Web of Fear and just thinking “This is a….mazing” when the “new” footage appeared. I’ve been holding out hope for missing episodes to be returned since I was about 6 years old in the 1980s, when I read about the missing stories in the 25th Anniversary book. These are exciting times to be a Doctor Who fan.

TIMD: How do you think future recoveries will impact the opinions we have of missing stories?

SM: It depends on the story, I suppose. If there’s a lot of existing footage/pictures from the story, then that won’t have as much of an impact as one where the footage doesn’t exist. Web of Fear is a great example of that. We knew most of the sets from Episode One, and a lot of the story was just the characters talking in those same sets. So I don’t think many people’s opinions were changed. It would be the same if episodes of The Moonbase, The Invasion, The Crusade or the Reign of Terror showed up.

Enemy of the World was a completely different situation though. We only had the sets from Episode 3 to go on, so everything about the other five episodes felt new, fresh and interesting. And moreover, scenes like Salamander smoking his cigar and going down to the bunker were completely lost to any reconstruction.

TIMD: What about one story that, if seen in full, would change fandom’s opinion of it for the worse? One for the better?

SM: I think people assume Fury from the Deep is a better story than it actually is. People talk about it like it’s one of the all time classics, but I wonder whether they’ve actually watched the reconstruction. For me, it seems as though it’s six episodes of people having a conversation at a gas plant. And – and I could be wrong about this – the most iconic moments still exist in the form of the censor cuts.

Similarly, I’ve never understood why fandom desires the return of the Tenth Planet episode 4. The only bit that matters still exists. The other 23 minutes are just an extension of a boring story.

As for one for the better, I think that there are some stories that fly under the radar with people being indifferent to them because they’ve got nothing to go on. I reckon stories like The Savages, The Smugglers, The Highlanders and The Myth Makers would be held in higher regard if they were to be seen in full.

TIMD: Is there a story that you would like to see more than all the rest?

SM: It’s got to be either the Myth Makers or Marco Polo for me.

TIMD: This is book one, covering the entire classic era, but you another book planned…

SM: Absolutely. In Book Two, I deal with the Modern Era of the show, from the Christopher Eccleston Era onwards. Like I said earlier, that book is the one that ranks all the stories from worst to best, so anyone who had read any of my reviews should buy that one.

TIMD: When can we expect that to be released?

SM: Well in theory, I could release that tomorrow if I wanted to, but seeing as we’re under a week away from the Peter Capaldi season beginning, I might well hold off until that has finished and include his stories in the book and the rankings too.

TIMD: So what do you think of Capaldi?

SM: I’ve not seen any of his episodes yet, even though I know there have been leaks. Call me a traditionalist, but I’d rather watch it on TV in its proper intended quality than watch dodgy screeners.  But without having seen him, I’m still very excited about it. Capaldi is great in everything he’s appeared in, and I’d like to think Doctor Who will be no exception.

TIMD: Where can fans find your e-book?

SM: You can find my book over on Amazon. I hope you enjoy it, even if you don’t agree with my thoughts on your own favourite story.

Thanks Stuart for taking the time to talk to us, and good luck. Can’t wait to hear what he thinks of Series 8! If you want to stay in touch with all things Stuart Milne, you can follow him on twitter @SGMilne , check out his blog and don’t forget about that book!

Planet 55 Never Started UWM Animation?

The Underwater Menace seems to be the lynch pin in the entire omnirumour and that’s why information surrounding the animating of the missing episodes is such a big deal. Well, hold on to your hat because Planet 55, the studio thought to be animating episodes 1 and 4 has recently released a statement on their Facebook page.

There have been many queries about Planet 55 Studios’s work on ‘Doctor Who’ and whether we are doing any more. To date, Planet 55 Studios has completed work on three ‘Doctor Who’ animated reconstructions for BBC Worldwide’s DVD range: “The Reign of Terror”, “The Tenth Planet” and most recently “The Moonbase”. We really enjoyed creating those but they are the only ‘Doctor Who’ stories Planet 55 Studios have worked on and there are no plans to work on any more. At the moment the company is focused on animation projects completely unconnected to ‘Doctor Who’.

So there you go. But it does raise a few other questions. Were they never commissioned to do UWM in the first place? This would go against everything that we had been hearing for the past 7 or 8 months. Why then did they wait this long before making a statement regarding the UWM animation? Why not put us out of our misery months ago? There are still plenty of ways you could parse that statement, but to me I find it pretty unambiguous.  Throw in here that we have a fairly recent Doctor Who Magazine article stating that UWM would be out later this year. What then? Recons? That has been suggested over the past couple of weeks, but there is still no evidence of a UWM dvd with recons on the horizon.

So for now it seems like the Underwater Menace remains in limbo, with episode 2 being the only episode of Doctor Who still awaiting a dvd release. How much longer will the fans have to wait?

PHIL MORRIS Q&A ON THE FACEBOOK PAGE

Fans who have been following the missing episode saga are in for a treat tonight. Phil Morris himself has offered to do a question and answer session on the Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group page on Facebook.

They set up a thread to take some questions for Phil in advance of tonight’s event. Unfortunately, the deadline for questions was earlier this morning (blasted different time zones) and they are already done with that process. Not that it really matters. Honestly, there’s only a few questions most of fandom are breathlessly anticipating. The Q&A is set for 9pm UK time, 4PM my local time. Be sure to be on the facebook page all day for updates in case the start time changes. If you haven’t joined yet, seriously, what are you waiting for?

UPDATE: as an administrator for the Facebook group, I have been asked to moderate the  debate. I am honoured and can’t wait for the action to begin!

Missing Episodes Update July- UPDATE

I will preface this by saying that I don’t have any sources, I only know what has been reported on the forums and to me in private.

July 17th is a day to mark on your calendar. Will there be a reveal of some sort then? Well… maybe, probably not, but maybe. In case you didn’t know, that’s the day the BFI are announcing the details of their Sci Fi season. The season will take place from October 2nd until January 2015.

From the BFI’s website:

Expect incredible one-off events, extra-special guests and a unique BFI perspective on the genre with screenings of key sci-fi films including Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Alien (1979), Planet of the Apes (1968) and the eerily prophetic British classic The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961).

Nothing in there about Doctor Who, yet. The current rumours flying around are suggesting that perhaps the BBC will announce some of the non TIEA finds at that event, topping the speculated list so far are Power Of The Daleks and The Tenth Planet episode 4. Now, this would directly contradict previous reports that Power is slated to be one of the last releases.

There are two great things about this rumour. One, it won’t be long before we find out. July 17th is just a week and a bit away, so there isn’t going to be a prolonged and excruciating wait. Having said that, there’s always the possibility that they release the schedule with some blank spots for events To Be Determined that will have us salivating and speculating until Christmas. Two, even if there is no Doctor Who connection here, as a fan of one vintage science fiction show, surely there will  be something else scheduled by the BFI to capture our interest. So, either way, I am looking forward to July 17th!

On a side note, if you have fallen off the omnirumour bandwagon over the past few months (ever since nothing happened at Easter) now might be a good time to start diving into the forums again. It seems like things are heating up again and people are getting excited once more. Maybe, just maybe, we’re nearing the end. Just an opinion.

UPDATE:

Well, the day has come and gone with nothing ME related, though I hear there is going to be a screening of Peter Cushing’s Dalek Invasion Of Earth movie. But, omnibelievers, don’t get disheartened. The BFI’s sci fi season hasn’t even started yet, not until October, so there is plenty of time for something to happen.

Monday Morning News Round Up- June 16

Happy Father’s Day to everyone out there who celebrated yesterday! I know there are a lot of proud dads who love spending time watching Doctor Who with their kids, and a couple of great dads who work on the site, myself and Gary!

So, what did you miss last week? It wasn’t a super busy week, but we did have some cool stuff!

Evil

Not only was it Father’s Day, but there was a birthday to be celebrated last week! That’s right, the omnirumour turned one! Oh I remember when it was so cute and cuddly as a newborn, now it’s running around and throwing toys and generally misbehaving…

Doctor Who Dark Journey!

Episode two of Dark Journey went live on Saturday and stay tuned for our review of that one, but here’s our review of the first episode. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the interview I did with Mike, Andrew and Clayton, be sure to check it out. You can head over to AM Audio Media and listen to the episodes and see a quote from my review as their page header!

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Cartmel Speaks!

Former Doctor Who Script Editor Andrew Cartmel talks to TIMD’s Martin Ruddock about the omnirumour, what he did and didn’t know, Pip and Jane Baker and a whole host of other interesting topics! Talk a look, you will probably be surprised!

So, that’s what made our news over the past week. Follow us @troughtonsmy

Happy Birthday OMNI!

Oh, doesn’t time fly? One day your baby is just a newborn in tiny clothes that are too big and then before you know it they’re out of diapers and running around the house like crazy. That is the spirit in which I wish the omnirumour a Happy 1st Birthday.

That’s right. One year ago today the news hit the internet. The omnirumour was born. Oh sure, it had been kicking around the dusty ME forums for a while prior to that, but I consider that it’s conception (continuing with my analogy) while it’s true birth was one year ago today.

As we blow the candle out on that cake, and make a wish (we’re all wishing for the same thing, I am sure), I present a repeat for your reading pleasure. Here is a little piece I originally wrote for Doctor Who Worldwide back in January, celebrating a different milestone!

Dr. MEWlove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Omnirumour

January 14th is a little bit of a milestone for me, one that I celebrated quietly on this very site. It’s not really important like my wedding anniversary or my kids birthdays, hell it’s not even something my wife wants me to talk about anymore. That’s because on January 14th my family will have been hearing my omnirumour conspiracies for a whopping seven months.

Oh, I remember June 14th very well. It was one of those warm summer days that always fill me with nostalgia. Even though I’ve been out of school for more than a decade, I still feel happy and optimistic toward the end of the semester. My brain’s hardwired to enjoy those last few weeks in June, remembering the thrill that comes when you’re set free from the confines of class and able to laze about for two months.

So I was already in a great mood when my friend Jamie came in to work. He was a recent Who convert, having spent most of his life thinking the show was more suited for his Dad than for himself. Over the course of a year my enthusiasm for the show and Matt Smith’s tenure in particular, eventually won him over and he gave it a shot, starting with “The Eleventh Hour.” I don’t know if it was love at first sight or not, but he became a fan and we’ve spent many hours discussing new episodes.

On this particular day he dropped the bombshell. “There’s a report on the internet that they found all kinds of lost Doctor Who episodes!” He said gleefully. And I stopped breathing. Literally. Even though he was a fan, Jamie had never delved into the classic series, so he didn’t really know what this news meant to me. Yes, he was aware that there were a number of classic episodes destroyed by the BBC and that my favourite Doctor, Troughton, had lost practically all of his stories. But there was a big difference between our two reactions. To him this was a “oh, that would be cool if they found them” sort of thing.

But to me it was like being struck by lightning.

A few years previous I had been sitting on my bed surfing the web. I was supposed to be writing, trying to finish up a novel that I had been working on for quite a long time. My wife was in the other bedroom trying to get our one year old daughter to sleep. It was always a challenge, the toddler hated going to bed and most nights we would have to rock her to sleep, sometimes spending hours with her in that dark room. I had hit a road block in my editing and decided to waste a little time looking at my favourite Doctor Who news site. My heart stopped when I saw the headline proclaiming that two lost episodes of Doctor Who had been found and screened at the Missing Believed Wiped event. I was so excited I fist pumped the air and hopped up and down. It was only with the utmost self-restraint that I kept myself from barging into my daughter’s bedroom and telling my wife the fantastic news. This was one of the greatest days in my life.

So you can imagine how I felt when suddenly confronted with the possibility that many episodes were found. My emotions ran free and unchecked for a moment and I doubt $50M lottery winners were as excited as I was, hopping up and down and making a complete fool of myself. After a minute I felt the tug of reality and tried to rein everything in. “That would be awesome,” I told him. “But you know you can’t believe everything you hear on the internet.” With extremely limited web access as work, I knew there wasn’t a chance of finding anything out right away. It would have to wait until I got home from work.
Those were some of the longest hours of my life. The clock ticked slower and slower as 5:30 neared, but eventually it was quitting time and I took off for home, ignoring everything and everyone on my way. Once there I burst through the door, side stepping my wife and kids to run straight for the computer, anxiously twitching as I waited for my trusted Doctor Who news site to load up. And I was devastated when it did. There was nothing. No report of missing episodes found. No rumours. Just a boring release about the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine.

Frustrated I grabbed my phone and sent Jamie a coded text that read “…” That’s it, three dots. We had come up with the response earlier in the day. It was the fastest way I could tell him that he had gotten my hopes up for nothing.

I pouted around the house for a few hours, inconsolable. Yeah, I didn’t really think that the rumours were going to be true, but still… Eight o’clock came around and it was time for the kids to go to bed. I read them a story and tucked them in. With no other distractions I headed back online, determined to find the source of the rumours that Jamie had passed along. It only took me a moment before I traced them back to Bleeding Cool and I laid my eyes on that site for the very first time.

“Will Doctor Who Have A Very Special Surprise For Us In November?” It said and under the headline was a picture from Evil Of The Daleks.

It was a defining moment in my Doctor Who fandom, one that changed my life forever. I abandoned my previous Doctor Who site immediately. No more waiting for official news, no more being completely in the dark. It was time to embrace the speculation and love the omnirumour.

 

That’s the end of my original article. Here we are six months after I wrote that and we’re still no nearer to actually seeing anymore of those episodes. The wait has been hard on a lot of fans, some more than others, but at least something good has come from it. Friendships. I have made several awesome friends over the past few months with DWW and TIMD, and don’t forget about the Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group on Facebook. So, even though no more episodes have been announced, many of us are still better off than we were before.

Having said that, I would still like to see some more of those episodes…

Monday Morning News Round Up- June 9

Welcome to a special edition of the Monday Morning News Round Up!

Special? You betcha. Welcome to the Dark Journey Round Up. Saturday the good folks over at amaudiomedia.com launched their fan produced Doctor Who audio adventure Dark Journey. Episode One – The Doctor Meets the Great Detective went live at 5:35pm local time. Have you had a chance to listen yet? I would recommend you take eleven minutes out of your day and check it out!

Lead cast members Andrew Chalmers (The Doctor) and Roy Miranda (Holmes) during recording
Lead cast members Andrew Chalmers (The Doctor) and Roy Miranda (Holmes) during recording

Earlier in the week I had a chance to sit down and Skype with Mike, Andrew and Clayton, three of the masterminds behind the project! You can check out that interview as well as more information about the project. And stay tuned because later today I will be posting a review of episode one!

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It was a busy week for interviews because not only did we have the Dark Journey one, but Martin Ruddock conducted an amazing interview with Neil Perryman author of Adventures With the Wife in Space!

june console

Oh, but there’s more. As a part of #FanProducedFriday, where we try to highlight fan projects, TIMD interviewed Dave, who produced the amazing tardis console you see here!

Menace

Okay, on to the real news. Or lack thereof. Have you been waiting for The Underwater Menace to come out on dvd? Well you might be waiting a little while longer. Even though amazon has it listed to preorder, Steve Roberts says the dvd range is dead.

And finally, Phil Morris surprised us all when he tweeted some more photos from Sierra Leone!

That’s all the news from this past week, check out @troughtonsmydoc to find out about it as it happens!

A Conversation with Neil Perryman

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Neil Perryman is the man behind Adventures with the Wife in Space, the story of a fanboy husband and his not-we wife (Sue), on a hilarious mission to watch the classic series of Doctor Who together from the start, including the bits that don’t exist. For two years, Sue skewered sacred cows of fandom and cursed the name of Terry Nation, while Neil fought his corner and dodged thrown cushions.

“The Experiment”, as it was known, began life as a blog, and has since spawned a book, published by Faber and Faber in 2013 (oh look, a review).

Neil and Sue have since taken on Blake’s 7, and are now three series into their Adventures with the Wife And Blake.

Neil and I meet on Skype on a Sunday afternoon. We quickly establish that the weather is too nice in both Bournemouth and Durham for us to be indoors, but have a nice chat anyway…..

MR: Tell me about the experiment, were you nervous at embarking on Who with Sue?

NP: On the actual blog? Not really, cause I didn’t think it would take off, I didn’t think for a minute it’d become as popular as it became so I didn’t really feel any pressure when I started it, I just wanted it to be a bit of a lark, it was a blog that hadn’t been done before that I was looking for really, just something to keep me occupied with my online stuff. And, I’d sort of run out of things to say about Doctor Who. So, no, I didn’t feel worried at the beginning, the pressure came later (laughs).

MR: How’s your nose doing? You took a lot of cushions to the face over that time, didn’t you?

NP: Yeah I’m still getting the odd one now for Blake’s 7, but yeah, nothing too violent (laughs)

MR: I first caught on to the blog probably about…Planet of the Daleks, then went back and started from the very beginning, then by the time I’d reached that point, you’d finished watching it all! I’ve tried watching old Who with my own girlfriend a few times, and we’ve not been together anywhere near as long as you and Sue, but we kind of had the opposite result to you. I was thinking she’d like the more recent stuff, but she’s not really having the modern series, she’s not averse to selected cuts of Pertwee and Tom Baker every now and again though.

NP: She doesn’t watch the new series then?

MR: No, she doesn’t like it, she watched The Day Of The Doctor with me, but that was an exception. It’s just not really her thing. It is much more female-friendly these days, and I suppose a lot of young women might watch Doctor Who just because they fancied Tennant or Matt Smith…

NP: Yeah, yeah, that’s why Sue watched it, I think (laughs) I think, if it hadn’t been for the new series, there’s no way that I would have done this thing, as I think the fact that Sue liked the new series made me feel like she might have been open to the old series. It was much easier for her to go into the classic series having had a grounding in the new series, if you know what I mean.

MR: Yeah, it gave you a way in.

NP: Yeah, she was vaguely a little bit more interested than she would have been. If it hadn’t have come back….if I’d have asked her to do this in 2002…..you know…….I just can’t see it happening!

MR: I’ve often thought of Doctor Who as being the other woman.

NP: Yeah, that was it, that was the thing, I was getting bored of sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to watch Tom Baker. You know, as you do. So, you know, I think we’ve all been there, we’ve all tried it. When I first moved in with her I tried to get her into it, I tried to gently get her into Doctor Who, but it didn’t take, but most people have that problem I think.

MR: Yeah, I’ve yet to try anything black and white on my girlfriend….I don’t feel ready for that yet..

NP: Oh, well, you can’t go straight in with a black and white, the only one you could probably do it with would be just the first episode. You could probably just about get away with it but I wouldn’t recommend it! Start with a classic in the colour era…Genesis of the Daleks….

MR: Yeah I started her off with Pyramids of Mars. That went down quite well.

NP: Yeah that’s probably safer actually because it’s four parts.

MR: Yeah, four parts and colour, anything that’s more than four parts and NOT colour…..

NP: Did you try them all in one go?

MR: At first I tried splitting it up, but then she was like, let’s watch the next one. So I was like, a girl is willing to watch old Doctor Who with me, ok, let’s see how this goes until we hit a bump in the road….

NP: I know exactly what you mean, I think we’ve all been there.

MR: So, the book, did it come easily for you, having done the blog?

NP: (laughs) No…. I think I was on Peter Davison when I finally signed the contract, which meant I had to write the book and the blog at the same time, which was pretty difficult, as for obvious reasons they (Faber and Faber) wanted the book in the anniversary year. Even though the whole marketplace was gonna be swamped with Doctor Who books, it seemed like a good idea, but, no….it was really difficult, because I’d never written anything like this before, most of the stuff I’d written had either been academic, cause I used to teach at University, and academic writing is completely different from what I had to do in this book. Also, I was trying to find that balance between not just taking the blog and sticking it in a book, but something a bit different, so…..no it was really hard (laughs).

MR: Well, if it’s any consolation, it doesn’t come across as hard, it’s a really good, easy read…

NP: Well good. That was the hard part, making it look effortless! That is the hard bit.

MR: There’s very much a beginning, middle, and end to it.

NP: Yeah. Always, the problem was trying to get the balance right between those who knew a lot about Doctor Who, and those who didn’t know as much about Doctor Who, and trying to make it as accessible as possible, and also as accessible if you hadn’t read the entire blog….to give you a flavour of the blog, because the blog was half a million words….you’re talking about six or seven books….Also, the weird thing about it was writing about myself, you know, rather than about Sue, so that was a bit weird.

MR: Reading the book, I saw a lot of parallels, I’m a little younger, but…some of my earliest memories of Who are a regeneration as well, you know, Tom into Peter. I’d also had a girlfriend who had a daughter from a previous relationship before….I’d attempted to sneak on The Curse of Peladon as well….normal behaviour isn’t it? (laughs)

NP: That makes me feel like I’m not completely crazy now.

MR: You Are Not Alone (laughs). Are you planning on doing any more books of any sort?

NP: Well, the plan is, we are going to put the blog in a series of books, but I’m just going to self publish those, and that’s just for people who want them. Once that’s finished, I’ve always toyed with the idea of a novel set in a University, so that’s sort of my dream project, do a campus novel, drawing on my experiences, which I’ve only barely touched on in the book for lots of different reasons! (laughs) So yeah, that was a weird thing about writing the book as well, you know, worrying about writing about people that you know, existed… I think I find it much easier to write stuff that’s more fictional rather than based on my life.

MR: Yeah, some people find it easier to go from that sort of personal standpoint, or just a thinly veiled version. I’ve just finished reading Gareth Roberts’ version of Shada, and couldn’t really shake the feeling that Douglas Adams wrote the Chris Parsons character in as himself, especially with the Cambridge setting.

NP: Yeah, a lot of writers do that. They call it the Mary-Sue thing, don’t they, where they insert themselves into the narrative. Yeah, if I did a campus novel, it would be a thinly disguised work of fiction (laughs). I’d probably have to do it under an assumed name! Obviously, I left my job a couple of years ago, it was just coincidental, I didn’t leave the job to write a book or anything like that. It just happened to fall at the right time. If I could make a career out of writing, that’s what, hopefully, I’d love to be able to do.

MR: You and Sue live-blogged The Day Of The Doctor for The Guardian. How was that?

NP: That was the most terrifying day of my life. It was absolutely terrifying, cause, what they told us afterwards was that it was very unusual for The Guardian to do stuff, especially drama live. What they usually do is they get it a few days in advance so you can watch it, make notes, and comment on it as it goes. And, The Day Of The Doctor was one of those ones where there was no release at all of any kind to the public, so we had to just go off what was happening on screen. And when we turned up…..it was just like you imagine the Guardian office to be, this huge expanse of computers. And the TV they wanted us to watch it on, was on the other side of the room…so it was like, half a mile away.

So, I had to keep putting my glasses on to look at the TV, and then take my glasses off to type on the screen, which was then being moderated by somebody else sitting behind me, to make sure I wasn’t writing anything libellous, probably. So, I was trying to watch TV, listen to Sue, type up what Sue was saying, have it moderated by somebody else behind me, and the person behind me was then asking me like “What do you think of this?”… I couldn’t follow what was going on! (laughs)

Quite clearly, it was impossible! I think a lot of people struggled with it if they were focused on it normally. I was trying desperately, and desperately trying to keep the thing interesting, so it was terrifying, the whole thing. I think we got away with it though.

MR: I hope they took you for dinner afterwards!

NP: Oh it was terrible, we went back to the hotel and tried to watch it on iPlayer, and concentrate on it, and I think we fell asleep. But yeah, it was a great episode.

MR: Yeah, I really enjoyed it, I went to the pictures, I was quite lucky to get a ticket in Bournemouth.

NP: Well, that was our original plan, we were gonna see it in 3D at the cinema as well, but we had to give our tickets away in the end. I bet it looked great in 3D as well…

MR: Yeah, yeah, it did. They should have done another run a week later, for people who couldn’t make that day…

NP: They should have done it for the whole week, I think. I don’t know why they didn’t do that, I’d have seen it the next day if I could have, but, I couldn’t.

MR: It was a great experience at the pictures, completely rammed out, there was people dressed as Clara in the red dress, and there were assorted Ponds walking about….

NP: It’s just bizarre isn’t it, to think, when I was growing up, if someone had told me that in 2013 people would go to the cinema and see this big thing simultaneously, not just in England but around the world. You wouldn’t have even believed that if they’d have said it in 2005, 2006…..That was a weird month for us cause the book came out that month, so me and Sue were sort of jumping on the back of all the coverage, because obviously these local radio stations were desperately trying to fill time about Doctor Who, so we did a lot of radio. So, that whole month was just madness, absolutely insane.

MR: I went with a good friend who’s another lifelong fan. We had about three pints before we went in, then disappeared to the pub afterwards, and ended up banging on feverishly about Capaldi’s eyes…

NP: Capaldi’s eyes, god yeah. Fantastic, yeah, cool. It seems like so long ago now. Capaldi will be back on TV before we know it.

MR: Yeah, August. Are you looking forward to him? How do you think he’s gonna be?

NP: I think he’ll be great, I think he’ll be fantastic. He’s a great actor. I just don’t know how he’s going to play it. I’m hearing rumours he’s going to do it quite dark…I don’t know if that’s true or not. It’s really difficult to know until you see him out and doing it.

MR: Yeah. I wasn’t sure about Matt at first when he was cast….I thought, oh…too young…

NP: Exactly! I mean, Matt Smith’s young enough to be my son (laughs) It’s just like….what…the….hell…. so yeah, I was praying for Capaldi.

I remember that day very vividly, when they announced him, I remember thinking, god, you know…. I think all the money switched at the last minute to the other guy….I remember thinking, ah, what a shame, but, thankfully, it was Peter Capaldi. It was a different reaction to the Confidential when they did Matt Smith, and most of us were just going….

NP and MR: …Who…? (laughter)

NP: I remember the name Matt Smith suddenly appeared in the betting at the last minute, and I just didn’t know who the hell this person was. I remember being quite confused….So yeah, I think Peter Capaldi will be really good, I don’t know how many seasons he’s doing, I think he’s only signed up for one, we’ll see.

MR: Yeah I’d hope he’d sign up for more, but, you never know really.

NP: They’re going back to the old…I think they’ve got two companions I believe. They’re both teachers, one of them’s another teacher at Coal Hill School, so really you’re gonna go back to the original where you’ve got the two teachers, and I think there’s another character, another companion, so maybe he’s harking back to the first season again.

MR: I’m really interested to see how he comes out. To me, the Doctor is that Terrance Dicks “Never cruel or cowardly” character at heart, which is why I don’t really get on with Colin Baker’s Doctor…

NP: Yeah, you say that, but there is a fair few times when the Doctor is quite cruel and cowardly, to be fair (laughs) Pertwee shot loads of Ogrons….couldn’t stop killing them!

MR: Tennant could be a bit of a genocidal maniac…

NP: Yeah, Sylvester McCoy blew up the odd planet…

MR: I’ve been really enjoying Wife and Blake…

NP: Good!

MR: I was looking forward to seeing what Sue made of The Harvest of Kairos…cause that is so immensely dodgy and sexist…

(For those unfamiliar, you really have to see it. Or, just read this.)

NP: Yeah, the thing is, she upset the Blake’s 7 fans so much that the official Blake’s 7 fan club organised a protest rewatch of The Harvest of Kairos.

MR: You have to do that?

NP: (laughs) Yeah, they had to rewatch it, together, to protest at Sue’s 0/10, which I thought was quite generous…actually, I don’t mind it so much, at least it’s entertaining, as it’s so ridiculous. It’s not one of those boring ones, as quite a few episodes of Blake’s 7 are quite dull. You can’t accuse Harvest of Kairos of being dull.

MR: It’s insane.

NP: (laughs) It IS insane. But then we had Vila get a 9/10 for City at the Edge of the World, so that made up for that I think.

MR: Do you think Sue’s finally warming to Terry Nation?

NP: Yeah I don’t think she minds him so much as a Blake’s 7 writer. And, to be fair when Terry turns up to do Blake’s 7, they’re actually quite good episodes. Ridiculous, but entertaining. But yeah, I think she appreciates Terry a lot more than when she was watching Doctor Who, that’s for sure. I think it’s more his kind of programme, he invented it so he’s got a vested interest in it. But the whole thing of who wrote what…..it’s always the same with Terry Nation. Anything good….people automatically assume someone else wrote it for him, anything bad…..oh yeah, that’s Terry…..He has the same problem with Chris Boucher. We watched Rumours of Death yesterday, so that’s where we’re up to, so we should be finished soon.

MR: Sarcophagus is up next, that’s a good one.

NP: I haven’t seen that one for ages. That’s what’s been interesting for me, doing this, as I’m not as big a fan of Blake’s 7 as Doctor Who, it’s something I watched when I was growing up and I remember the odd episode, but it didn’t stick around as long, so it wasn’t something that permeated every part of my life. So there’s certain episodes I haven’t seen very much at all and some I probably haven’t seen since they first came out. I’ve watched all the classic ones over and over again, the ones that people always talk about, but there was loads I hadn’t seen, loads…

MR: Yeah, there’s 52 in all.

NP: 52, yeah.

MR: I saw it when I was little. Mum and Dad probably shouldn’t have let me watch it…

NP: How old would you have been when it was on?

MR: It finished when I was five. I watched the last episode of Blake’s 7 when I was five…..

NP: Don’t say anything! Because my wife’s in the kitchen.

MR: I won’t say a thing except they shouldn’t have let me watch it. (Neil laughs)

NP: I remember watching….the first series was 1978, so I would have been eight when it started. And that first episode, that was what surprised me going back again, how grim it is. Child molestation charges…..it’s very bleak… I remember being really excited as a kid when it started, I remember it being a big deal. And certain images definitely stuck in my mind.

MR: I probably saw about the last series and a half as a kid. Then I got into it in the long teenage gap of “No Doctor Who” and watched a lot on VHS, just filling a bit of a void really.

NP: Yeah I never bought the VHS’s. A lot of my friends did but I never felt the compulsion.

MR: I think it was something else to fill up a void, I wasn’t so much a Star Trek guy really.

NP: I watched a bit of Star Trek: The Next Generation in the 90s (chuckles), I wrote a letter to DWB where I complained about Doctor Who and said I was gonna watch Star Trek from now on….it was very embarrassing….That is a terrible moment…I look back on that with shame…..but yeah, Blake’s 7, it’s a weird programme. One minute it’s really bleak, the next minute it’s like a pantomime, literally…like a pantomime, and you just don’t know what you’re going to get from one week to the next.

And I think that’s the reason we did it, the reason I decided to risk it as, at least with Doctor Who it’s continually different every week, a different story, and I think Blake’s 7 has that same kind of “What the hell’s happening this week?” kind of vibe to it, so we’ve just about got away with it.

MR: Definitely. I’m quite a fan of the third series, actually, I think it’s the most insane of the lot.

NP: It seems to be scoring the highest marks so far compared to the other ones, I know we’ve got a few to go, I think Sue’s definitely finding it better. It’s funny it’s since Blake’s left! (laughs)

MR: She was bang on about the find-and-replace thing with Tarrant and Blake in Kairos.

NP: Well, yeah, it’s just all in the hair, isn’t it? Look at the silhouette of them, exactly the same.

MR: I remember watching that one on VHS at about seventeen and thinking…..hang on….why do they care about Tarrant all of a sudden?

NP: Yeah he’s suddenly the big leader, the big threat, that no-one’s ever heard of before….It’s weird, again, when you watch them in order like this you sort of pick up on those weird kind of things.

And I suppose what I’m also noticing is the impact it had on Babylon 5, I’m a big Babylon 5 fan, and there’s so many references and influences you can see sprinkled throughout it, you know, like a telepath…the guy who wrote it, bar one episode which Neil Gaiman wrote…he was obviously brought up on Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, The Prisoner, and the references are all over it. It was fantastic in the 90s, it’d be interesting to see how it holds up today….

MR: Probably holds up better than Doomwatch……I gave that a go as well.

NP: Yeah I couldn’t get on with Doomwatch. You see, I used to teach Science-Fiction at University, and I used to teach not only Doctor Who, I used to teach Doomwatch. I used to show them the one with the rat. And they just used to fall about laughing. They just couldn’t take it seriously. To me it was terrifying!

MR: The bit at the end is gruesome.

NP: Yeah, isn’t it?

MR: Absolutely horrible.

NP: 70’s TV was very bleak. I love the original Survivors, especially the first two series. It went a bit boring in the third series.

MR: I do like a good Terry Nation apocalypse.

NP: I hope they remake Blake’s 7, that’s what they should do, they keep saying they’re going to remake it. I don’t know who owns the rights, B7 Enterprises or something, I’m not sure. It seems silly not to do it really, what with Doctor Who being as successful as it is. And there’s no Torchwood anymore, so why not. Gareth Roberts loves Blake’s 7, just give it to him!

MR: I think he’d make a very good showrunner for that.

NP: Exactly, why not give it to Gareth Roberts, you heard it here first.

MR: Are you listening Gareth? Well, hopefully once I’ve typed this up….

NP: He said recently on a tweet he was a bigger fan of Blake’s 7 than Doctor Who, and we all know how big a fan of Doctor Who he is, so there you go. If they can remake The Tomorrow People and make a right balls of it……..We did a kickstarter thing, and one of the extras for people who backed the kickstarter is to watch an episode of The Tomorrow People, so I thought I’ll get her into the new one. And she enjoyed it, obviously, as it’s just loads of young men running round with their tops off. Whereas the original is just loads of young men running round with anoraks on…..you’re too young to remember The Tomorrow People, I expect.

MR: Yeah it finished when I was quite small. I never saw it. My memories of Doctor Who start very early though, from three years old, 1979, Destiny of the Daleks, and then I was immediately into it.

NP: Did you ever go to Blackpool or anything like that?

MR: I went to Madame Tussaud’s when I was about four, and went to Longleat when I was six….

NP: You went to Longleat?! In ’83? Wow. I’m jealous, obviously! Was it as chaotic as people have said?

(I’ve just realised that Neil is now interviewing me. This is what happens when Doctor Who fans talk for more than 30 minutes at a time)

MR: It’s funny, I don’t remember it being chaos, but I suppose, when you’re a small kid, everything’s chaos and you just go with it, I remember queues but not being in them for hours. I’ve got some great photos, I’ll send some on to you.

NP: Yeah, do that.

MR: it’s been a pleasure Neil, thanks for taking the time to talk to me.

NP: Cheers mate, enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Adventures With The Wife In Space is published by Faber and Faber, and is available in bookshops and on Amazon. Follow Neil and Sue’s adventures with Blake here.

Monday Morning News Round Up June 2

What made the news last week? Check out our twitter account @troughtonsmydoc to get twitter updates as they happen!

Five

Five-Ish Doctors Reboot To Be Released on DVD

Colin Baker spilled the beans at Myth Makers, regarding the future of this release.

pertwee2

American Home for Classic Doctor Who

Not too long after the Horror Channel started showing the classics in the UK, a network in the US makes a similar deal!

Tennant

Tennant The Last Of The Time Lords?

Moffat told a crowd at a convention that the BBC was thinking about cancelling the show when Tennant left.

Fan Made Series 8 Trailer

Have you checked this out yet? It’s pretty amazing!

And finally, I got a nice email from amazon that gave me some hope about the R1 discontinued stories!

That’s what made the news last week!

 

Five-ish Doctors Reboot Coming To DVD!

Colin Baker was speaking at the Myth Makers convention today and told the crowd that Peter Davison’s awesome The Five-sh Doctors Reboot, in which Davison, Baker and Sylvester McCoy try to get a part in Day Of The Doctor, will be released on DVD (and most likely bluray) as a part of an upcoming Matt Smith release! This is exciting news and something to look forward since the Classic Doctor Who range will be over once Underwater Menace is released later this year.