Friday, 6 September 2013


Doctor Who
8x01 Terror of the Autons Episode One

#bbbDW50 moves on to the Third Doctor today, with the second of three stories I've never seen. It also has the distinction of being the best-regarded story I've never seen… of those three. It came 51st on DWM's Mighty 200, leaving it overall the 6th highest-rated story we'll be watching during this project.

So far we've had the Daleks and the Ice Warriors, and here we get the Autons and (in his first appearance) the Master. Not every story in this season features a well-known or returning villain, but I've done a fair job of including most of the main ones -- this is a celebration of the series' history on its golden anniversary, after all. Which others will turn up before we're done? Well, that's a surprise.

This is also the first story for Jo Grant, who of course popped up in The Sarah Jane Adventures a few years ago. Again, my choices partly keep in mind my co-viewer, often showing them the origins or earlier versions of things they'll be familiar with from the new series (and, obviously, its spin-offs).

It's a great introduction for all these new characters too, with both Jo and the Master making their mark from the off. It's a funny one to jump into from the black and white era -- when Who went colour it didn't do it by halves: this is full-on vibrant and psychedelic, from the Doctor's outfits right on down.

It's a pretty cracking tale too, as you'd expect from writer Robert Holmes, although the direction (by producer Barry Letts) is spoof-level awful. One shot in particular sees Jo's face obscured by a prop, at which point the camera slowly and 'subtly' tries to correct the angle so we can see her... except she really is badly hidden, so it keeps trying again... and again... That's on top of numerous instances of poorly-chosen close-ups (showing an actor who isn't talking, then cutting away as soon as the one you're watching begins to speak) and an over-reliance on blue screen (aka CSO), which I guess was New and Exciting at the time (there are more 'virtual sets' here than we have nowadays!)

Ah well, it's all good fun.

1x12 The One with the Dozen Lasagnas [goodness-knows-what-th watch]

The Newsroom
2x02 The Genoa Tip
I guess I'm not alone in not so much watching the story as playing "guess how it'll all go wrong!" That's what happens when you open your series with a flashforward showing that it's all going to go wrong...