Yay, bank holiday!
Apropos of nothing in particular, I indulged in a bit more nostalgic Doctor Who watching recently.
‘Battlefield’ starring Sylvester McCoy was the extended DVD version. While it’s one of the Seventh Doctor’s better outings (i.e. it’s not utterly unwatchable), it’s very stilted. In general it feels like it was shot on a shoestring budget in approximately two days with no time to rehearse. (Which knowing Who is probably exactly how it was shot.) McCoy does his best to appear, by turns, mysterious, impish and brooding, but I remain utterly unconvinced that he’s any of those things. Worse, I can’t help feeling that the Doctor is written significantly better than he’s played, which is never a good feeling to have about the lead character. Likewise Sophie Aldred as Ace gets a lot of gushing teenage behaviour for which the actress seems too old. There are a few decent scenes and likeable supporting characters, and a welcome return for Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier. Oh and a cool blue demon. But overall: meh. Sorry, Tim!
‘Image of the Fendahl’ starring Tom Baker is better. Okay, it feels like it was shot on a shoestring budget in approximately two days with no time to rehearse, but at least Tom Baker is convincing. The story is an odd pastiche of ‘Quatermass and the Pit’, involving ancient aliens from Time Lord mythology who have somehow influenced human evolution. The plot is woefully illogical and under-explained, to the point where it feels like key scenes must be missing. On the plus side it has Chris Boucher’s usual crackling dialogue and pin-sharp characterisation, and a very decent supporting cast. I have no recollection of watching it my youth so I can’t lean on nostalgia with this one, but I do remember the novelisation which probably helps.
On a related-ish note, here are a couple of BBC News videos:
An interview with Russell T Davies about completing filming on his (and David Tennant’s) era on Doctor Who. (It includes the trailer for ‘The Waters of Mars’ special that aired after the Easter special.)
A five minute interview with Richard Dawkins that barrels through all the questions you’d expect, against a ticking clock, and gets Dawkins’s usual precise answers.1
1 Dawkins is of course best known for his cameo in last season’s Doctor Who finale (not to mention being married to Romana mk II), but has probably done a few non Who-related things in his life.