After all the rumours swirling about the animation of The Underwater Menace being cancelled or delayed, there has been an unofficial facebook announcement by Doctor Who and the Tardis-Classic Years claiming that they received word from 2Entertain that the DVD is expected to be released this Autumn. There is no firm date yet, but that we should expect an announcement later this month.
Of course, this is still far from official. It’s just a fan facebook page, not an official source. But if what they say is true, it presents a couple of different options.
Number one, that the animation was really just delayed, not cancelled as many believed, and that the animation company Planet55, really did just need some extra time to get it finished. You can read more about the animation conspiracy. I, and many more like me, think that if UWM comes out fully animated, this could possibly be the final nail in the main omnirumour’s coffin. I do believe that Marco Polo has been found and will be released sometime, but beyond that? It is hard to say.
Number two, the announcement they mention later this month might, just possibly, maybe, oh please let it be true, a confirmation of the omnirumour, and as part of that announcement they will give us a preliminary release schedule for the rest of the year. Underwater Menace has been one of the most rumoured stories because of its unknown status. Will it be the focal point of an omnirumour announcement in the next two weeks? I can only hope.
So there you have the latest speculation. As always, nothing in this article is official or can be confirmed, it is all just speculation. Only time will tell.
UPDATE- The facebook post that started all of this has been taken down. Was it all a wind up? Or were they not supposed to talk about it? It’s a page with nearly 50,000 likes so I’m not sure that they would post something just to wind people up, but who knows…
I have since sent a message to the group on facebook asking for clarification or an explanation. I will let you know if I hear anything.
Also some have pointed out that 2Entertain no longer exists, that the company goes by BBC DVD since 2012. I don’t think this necessarily means that the info they posted is false. It could be from someone that they knew through 2entertain or they may just said that instead of the proper BBC DVD, by accident. I don’t know.
Doctor Who will start airing on the Horror Channel Friday April 18th! Check out the trailer. I would like to give a special mention to the good folks at the Horror Channel and all their fans who retweeted the heck out of my related tweets! Thank you!
We started the week out with nothing but bad news. Easter is off, they said. Maybe sometime in May or June. Hopefully. That led me to my poll, when do you think the next announcement will come. Haven’t voted yet? Come on over and add your voice. If you did vote, why not see what everyone else believes? So, we were prepared for a quiet few weeks before things might have picked up again. What we weren’t prepared for is T.I.E.A. to come out swinging!
So there you go, the news the rumours, the weird and the wild from the past seven days.
For many years, season six was all we had from the three years of Patrick Troughton as the Doctor. Up until the late 80s and the discovery of four episodes of ‘The Ice Warriors’, we only had five episodes from the fifth season, and not many more from the fourth. Today we are so lucky to be able to buy more than half of season five on DVD, although we still don’t have a complete story from Season Four.
But the majority of season six hasn’t really been an issue. Only seven episodes are missing of forty-four. Yet it has always been regarded as the weakest of the Troughton seasons and often as a poor year for Doctor Who. I challenge that assertion. I believe it’s one of the most important years in the show’s life, with some great, varied stories too. And there’s more to it than that.
Looking firstly at the stories, it’s worth remembering that every story in Season Six was affected by some issue or another. Three stories – Krotons, Space Pirates and War Games, all came about because planned stories fell through at the last minute. The Seeds of Death was a completely new story by Brian Hayles (substantially rewritten by Terrance Dicks) when ‘Lords of the Red Planet’ was rejected as too expensive. Derrick Sherwin had to add an episode on to The Mind Robber when major scripting issues befell The Dominators and it lost an episode. The Invasion, the prototype to the Pertwee era, was originally a four-part Kit Pedler script which Derrick Sherwin doubled in length and rewrote from scratch. After The Seeds of Death Sherwin replaced Peter Brant as producer too, so he was a busy bee during 1968-69. Yet with all these difficulties, Season Six is one of the most creative, interesting, best written Doctor Who seasons of all.
The ratings dipped, it’s true, but only really during the last two serials. There were a whopping 44 episodes in Season Six and that took The War GamesWho. because there are three stories that are often regarded as clunkers in Season Six.
The Space Pirates – well, Episode Two doesn’t make it look very good, does it? It seems an overly-ambitious attempt at a full blown space opera where a guy with a ridiculous southern accent seems to have a bigger role than the Doctor. Nothing at all happens in Episode Two, and we’re missing the rest. It’s the hardest to reconcile, but without being able to see the whole thing, I think criticism should be tempered.
The Dominators. It’s embarrassing at points there’s no denying. The design is poor and the characters are two-dimensional. However the concept of a planet that is so pacified they can’t defend themselves? Brilliant. It’s a political dig at hippies, and although the execution is poor, and the script needed a lot more work, I can appreciate what the authors are saying. It has quality moments too, when Jamie and the Doctor are prisoners of the Dominators and the Doctor is acting stupid, it’s pure 2nd Doctor/Jamie gold.
The Krotons is worth watching just for the three leads, who are brilliant in it. The Krotons themselves are rubbish and some of the guest cast are poor, but the stuff with the Krotons’ testing machine and Troughton’s response to being called ‘Doctorgond’, is priceless. Frazer Hines plays stupid so well, and never better than in this story.
But it’s Wendy Padbury that makes Season Six a success in my eyes. The writers were kind enough to make her smart, and keep her smart. There are excellent examples of this in The Invasion, The Krotons and The Mind Robber in the fight scene with the Karkus, but it’s The War Games where she really steps up speaking for Jamie in Episode Eight. I think Deborah Watling is a great actor, but the character of Victoria had no depth, and very little function in stories but to scream and need rescuing. This was the fault of the writers, but with Zoe they proved that a strong female character who was smart could work and work well in the show’s format, even in the 1960s.
Padbury and Troughton combine brilliantly, and there has never been before or since a team of three in the TARDIS which works as well and Troughton-Hines-Padbury. You could put them in the direst of Who plots, and they would make it watchable. ‘Time-Flight’ would have been so much better with Troughton, Hines and Padbury!
Season Five is often looked on as the pinnacle of the black and white era of Doctor Who, yet with the exception of The Enemy of the World they are all monsters stories, and only Tomb strays from the ‘base under siege’ storyline. In Season Six only The Seeds of Death is base under siege, but the story moves beyond that as well. As my first ever Troughton video and the first ever Troughton story I saw, Seeds will always be special to me.
The Mind Robber is creative and clever, scary, funny, and brilliantly directed by perhaps the second best director the history of the show, David Maloney. Yes, it feels like it’s aimed mostly at younger Who-viewers, but that has never bothered me. It’s a magical episode, right up there with the best in the show’s history.
In my mind, Douglas Camfield is the best director the show’s ever had, and he gives us The Invasion, an exciting tale with a lot of action, and humour – Troughton and Hines again at their finest. David Maloney returned to helm The War Games, recently voted best regeneration story on the Missing Episodes Facebook page, a ten-part tale that drags less than some four-parters. Written at the eleventh hour by Dicks with his old friend Malcolm Hulke, The War Games is simply excellent television culminating in an epic farewell to the best TARDIS team there ever was.
The moments in part ten when the Doctor says goodbye to Zoe in particular are very moving. Troughton against the Time Lords is also wonderful. The story is not without its faults, James Bree and Edward Brayshaw could have played their parts somewhat differently and more naturalistically, and the magnets as time machine controls have never convinced me, but Philip Madoc is cold and terrifying as the War Lord and the guards are, frankly, hilarious. Kudos also to Michael Napier Brown as Arturo Villar – utterly fantastic appearance that livens up episodes eight and nine.
With the recent return of Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear, shiny and new and not seen for 45 odd years, people are declaring Season Five as brilliant. It has its strengths, but for me Season Six is superior because of its variety, not something Season Five can claim in abundance. There’s a base under siege monster story, a fantasy, a political story, a space opera, alien invasion and military story, the massive epic that ends it all and, well, the Krotons.
Season Six is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. But heck, some chocolates appeal to some and not to others, and this season surely has one or two everyone would like to scoff down.
Andrew Boland is a travel writer and blogger, and avid Doctor Who fan since 1985. You can follow his blog and find his travel writings at his WordPress site – World Journeys
So by now you have probably heard that Doctor Who Worldwide and its accompanying forum The Panoptican should be returning sometime in April. I’ve already told you about my plans for TIMD, but what of the facebook page that started up in its absence?
I caught up with Pascal Salzmann, the man behind the page, and asked him that tough question.
“I’m proud that the Missing Episodes Discussion group garnered so much interest that we are now at almost 500 members in only four days. When I created the group it was my intention to fill in the void that fan-favourite Doctor Who Worldwide and its forum, the Panopticon, left behind. At the time nobody was sure about the future of the now offline Panopticon, so missing episode fans who enjoyed the relaxed and familiar atmosphere lost a valuable platform for exchanging rumours and discussing theories. Now that the Panopticon will be back in April, the Facebook group will also continue, maybe even interacting with DWW in some way.”
On the difference between the page and a forum, he also had this to say. “The format of a Facebook group is very different. But in gathering familiar faces we form a new community in the spirit of its predecessor.” The most notable difference between a forum and the facebook group is the inability to hide behind a fake name and avatar. Tempers don’t flare and things are way less tense when everyone knows your real name.