Author Topic: Old Doctor Who - Part 3  (Read 97276 times)

Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2130 on: May 04, 2019, 04:51:15 AM »
I just couldn't forgive her for ousting my beloved Jo Grant. 28, I was.

It's funny, I always associate Sarah Jane more with Pertwee than with Tom Baker, even though she was with him longer (I think)

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Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2131 on: May 04, 2019, 09:30:57 AM »
It's funny, I always associate Sarah Jane more with Pertwee than with Tom Baker, even though she was with him longer (I think)

Considerably longer, yes.  If Tom Baker had only done three seasons he would have been defined by Sarah Jane in the same way the twelfth Doctor ended up defined by Clara.

purlieu

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Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2132 on: May 06, 2019, 03:52:35 PM »
The Curse of Fenric. The only Target novelisation to include the word 'whorehouse'.
Definitely moving toward the Virgin era with this book. So much fleshing out of the story, plenty of backstory, more character stuff. Great book, a good one to get back into my marathon with.

And now for The Hollow Men which is co-written by Keith Topping, and thus I'm sure will be less good as a result.

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Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2133 on: May 07, 2019, 12:31:35 AM »
Decided that a Pertwee era rewatch is on the cards once I finish my Star Trek TOS/TAS binge. Have looked into it working out around the time of the S10 Blu-Ray.

£150+ to get the DVD's I don't have. Lost so much of that era on a move and wasn't expecting it to come out as such a big price. I'm regularly in receipt of Amazon vouchers. Around £20 a month so may have to slow it down a bit. I could download them as great quality MKV's at around 100Mb per ep but I really enjoy the extras on the DVD releases.

Ordered Spearhead From Space for £6 on Blu-Ray. Gar cry from the £20 I paid for the DVD and most others at the time.

I'd love to get into the books as well to compliment the rewatch. Is there any kind of reference you work from Purlieu?

I have a few on my iPad but doubt I'm anywhere near a complete set.

In other Who related news, I attempted to watch BBV's The Airline Solution on Amazon Prime last night. Lost interest early on. Putting it down to me rather than the strength of the material. Had only seen Downtime & Wartime before.

Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2134 on: May 07, 2019, 12:39:55 AM »
For that price you might as well wait for the Blu-Ray of the other seasons. Apparently they are confident of achieving better colour recoveries this time around so it should be a better experience watching on the new sets (even if it takes another 4 or 5 years to get them all).

The manual colourisation has been dropped entirely for Planet of the Daleks 3 on the Season 10 set.

purlieu

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Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2135 on: May 07, 2019, 09:18:51 AM »
I'd love to get into the books as well to compliment the rewatch. Is there any kind of reference you work from Purlieu?
I spent a while comparing various lists and compiled what I think is an accurate internal chronological order, which you can find here (that's just the classic series, the new series is just in publication order pretty much anyway). There might have been a couple of things I noticed later on and didn't go back to correct, but none of those are Pertwee-era anyway.

purlieu

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Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2136 on: May 09, 2019, 11:18:37 AM »

Well, that was a surprise: an excellent Keith Topping book. Martin Day's track record is a touch better, so he's probably the good influence. Ace and Seven were spot on, the thing was mostly very well written. A partial sequel to The Awakening, with a possessed village, some evil half-scarecrow-half-human creatures, a spate of violence in Liverpool, lots of sex, Topping and Day's usual music references (chapters named after XTC and Kinks songs, among others) and a racist cuckold. After a big Murakami binge it took me a little time to get back into the flow of these books, but about a third of the way into this I found I couldn't put it down at all. Great stuff.

purlieu

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Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2137 on: May 10, 2019, 04:43:31 PM »

Another that just feels like an excellent book in its own right, adding lots of background stuff and character depth to the story. Shorter than the last few, but just as detailed. Lacks the 'somewhere the tea's getting cold' ending, sadly.

And so one line of books ends. The book of the movie is obviously still to come, as well as the recent faux-Target adaptations of new stories, but these are definitely very different things, so now feels like the time for a round-up of the original novelisations.

Reading, as I have, in internal chronological order, means the quality has been all over the place throughout. Had I read them in publication order, it's likely a more obvious pattern would have emerged: the bulk of the early ones, largely Pertwee stories, as well as a couple of Tom and Pat ones, are excellent: very much intended to be books in their own right, with the authors - notably Terrence Dicks, when he was still trying - using the format as an opportunity to expand on the TV versions, see things we couldn't on screen, delve deeper into the characters' thoughts, even add entirely new scenes. The Edge of Destruction is an extreme example of the latter: with such a short, low-action story, huge swathes of additional plot exploring unseen parts of the TARDIS were required to make a full book from it. This was actually a much later book, written during the McCoy era, which is not surprising as that closing series of books has also been excellent. Everything from Dragonfire to Survival has, I'd say, been an improvement on the TV versions: a ton of additional stuff, especially in season 26, and no distraction from the Keff McCulloch soundtracks and moments of terrible acting. In some ways these actually feel like the definitive versions of the stories.

In the middle, there haven't been too many great moments. A number of run-of-the-mill adaptations have been given intriguing prologues that are enjoyable, but on the whole the books that haven't felt like the script directly re-written to prose have been few and far between. Ian Marter's contributions were excellent and frequently gruesome, but for every one like that there have been ten Terrence Dicks efforts of that kind that gave him a reputation for churning them out without effort.

A handful of the novelisations haven't been Targets: The Daleks, written as a standalone story incorporating an entirely new 'how Ian and Barbara met the Doctor' plot and a blatant love subplot between Ian and Barbara, stands out a mile and is pretty bizarre in context of the other books; the James Goss versions of Douglas Adams's Tom Baker stories were mostly very successful, although The Pirate Planet was maybe a touch too smug; Paul Scoones and Jon Preddle's unofficial versions of the two Saward Dalek stories were surprisingly very good, and above par for adaptations of that era: it'll be interesting to compare them to Saward's own once I read them.

And some of them were novelisations of non-TV stories: The Paradise of Death, based on Barry Letts's radio drama, is exceptionally good; its sequel, The Ghosts of N-Space, far less so. The Pescatons is horrible. The Krikkitmen differs from Life, The Universe and Everything more than I expected, and was overall very enjoyable. I'm yet to read Scratchman, so that'll come in once I've finished the original novels in a year or two. The original season 22 'Missing Episodes' were fun to read, and so much better than Trial of a Time Lord. Slipback is a decent version of a terrible story. I'd quite like to see Downtime, as I get the feeling the print version is a mess in comparison to the original.

Some notable moments that stick in my memory: The Space Museum is given a lot more depth than one would expect, with even bit-part characters feeling like fully rounded human beings; The Silurians is absolutely butchered, with swathes of plot removed, bizarrely; Donald Cotton's very oddly humorous historicals didn't work for me, but are very memorable; Power and Evil of the Daleks, as part of the Virgin range, are twice as long as the others, and use that space very well to make great books; The Leisure Hive is one of the most striking improvements over one of my least favourite TV stories; most people hate them, but Sawards faux-Adams versions of otherwise shite stories really tickled me; The Massacre is a notable example of the book being different to the TV version, so the extent that in print, The Doctor and Steven never actually meet Dodo. She just appears.

Looking over my Goodreads ratings, I gave them mostly 3 or 4 out of five, but there were a handful of 5/5s:
The Faceless Ones
Enemy of the World
The Web of Fear
The Invasion
The Green Death
The Dinosaur Invasion
Planet of the Spiders
Genesis of the Daleks
Remembrance of the Daleks
Battlefield
The Curse of Fenric

and my 2/5s:
The Space Pirates
The Pescatons
Black Orchid
The King's Demons
The Mark of the Rani
The Ultimate Foe

And the special rating of 1/5 went to:
Timelash
Terror of the Vervoids
Time and the Rani

Although there's an obvious correlation between quality of TV story and quality of novelisation in those, the 5s are those which exceeded the source material to make an excellent book, and the 1s were an absolute fucking slog.

Overall, it's been an interesting, frequently entertaining and often tedious journey, and one I'm glad I took on. Despite a number of pointless books I've forced myself through, the whole run has given me the opportunity to get to know the missing stories, reassess some TV ones, and enjoy an expanded, alternative version of the show.

While the post-script in Survival promised a new series of specially written adventures following on where that story left off, I've got a bit of a side-trip before that, in the form of what's occasionally called season 26b: 9 books, mostly Past Doctor Adventures written by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry, with a couple by others (including Andrew Cartmel), plus another Telos Novella. I know Tucker worked on the series during the McCoy era and even submitted a script, and I find him generally very likeable on the Who and Red Dwarf DVDs, so I'm looking forward to those. And then in a few weeks, it's finally onto the Virgin New Adventures.

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Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2138 on: May 10, 2019, 09:55:47 PM »
+ all the points

I've loved reading your reviews, and I'm glad you're carrying on with the NAs and EDAs.

purlieu

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Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2139 on: May 10, 2019, 10:33:57 PM »
Oh, definitely. I was basically going to just do the NAs and EDAs because I was fascinated by the wilderness years. The idea to actually go through the Targets and MAs / PDAs came along much later (basically when I found a haul of them in a charity shop for 20p each). So everything so far has just been an overture to the main event.

I'll probably do a MA & PDA roundup before I get onto the NAs (I know there are a couple of PDAs later on but it seems as good a time as any).

purlieu

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Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2140 on: May 12, 2019, 11:35:50 AM »

As with all the Telos novellas, it's a pretty unconventional story. Two equally bizarre worlds, signified as 'before' and 'after', connected somehow by Ace and The Doctor, who are each present in one, respectively. A kid with increasing psychic powers who finds the idea of swallowing food nauseating, a leader who lives in a palace shaped like himself, a tentacled creature made of human body parts, and collapsing realities. Seven and Ace aren't brilliantly written - not jarring, but not particularly recognisable - but the overall tale is a wonderful, surreal mystery.

purlieu

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Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2141 on: May 16, 2019, 10:20:19 PM »

Illegal Alien. Nazis and Cybermen vs. Seven and Ace. Again. A very fun romp, with an American private eye, an Irish copper, an eccentric disgraced politician and a twist that's maybe less surprising than it thinks it is (but is satisfying at the same time). It's interesting to find this incarnation of the Doctor frustrated because the villain is ahead of him at every step rather than the other way around. Good stuff.

purlieu

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Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2142 on: May 18, 2019, 07:09:48 PM »
Matrix

Well that was fucking mental. For the first third I had pretty much no idea what was going on. The Doctor and Ace being chased by a clay golem, followed by an alternate history where they meet Ian and Barbara in a phantom-haunted, walled-off London, followed by The Doctor seemingly becoming Jack the Ripper and trying to kill Ace. It references a number of past stories - Dalek Invasion of Earth, An Unearthly Child, Remembrance of the Daleks, Talons of Weng-Chiang, Survival, Illegal Alien - but given the nightmarish bleakness of a lot of the story, these are actually quite nice moments of familiarity, reminding us that this is still Doctor Who.

It's still very much Ace of the TV series, but I have a feeling the mood of that might foreshadow some of the New Adventures.

One interesting thing about the MAs and PDAs is that they do usually try and match what's around them in some way or another: all of the Seventh Doctor PDAs so far, all season 26-era, have been Earth-based.

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Re: Old Doctor Who - Part 3
« Reply #2143 on: Today at 11:55:11 AM »
50 years ago today, John Devon Roland Pertwee signed up to play the role of the third Doctor Who. And in July it's also his centenary, so The Radio Times celebrates