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The Curse of Peladon   Leave a comment

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Wang in a cape: you can’t unsee it.

My first real glimpse of “The Curse of Peladon” was this iffy alien in its (their? zir?) recent reappearance in “Empress of Mars” this past season, but I’d been hearing things about the story for ages. Jo and Sarah Jane each accompanied the Third Doctor to Peladon, where the latter uttered one of her most famous bits of dialogue:

“There’s nothing ‘only’ about being a girl, Your Majesty!”

That, however, is not the one I watched.

“Curse,” like much of its era, features a slow beginning, wobbly sets, questionable creature designs, and over-the-top acting. Also like much of its era, it still won me over in the end. The “action Doctor” gets full play here: Pertwee climbs mountains, tames monsters, and engages leather-clad gladiators in hand-to-hand combat. Jo too holds her own, wrangling politicians, climbing out of windows, and chasing away nightmares with a flaming torch, all in charming pink heels. “Dolled up,” as she says, for a date with Captain Mike Yates of UNIT, she instead plays princess of Earth and flirts with the handsome young king of Peladon.

(Jo is just ridiculously fun. I love her.)

Peladon himself is something of an interesting character: burdened by youth, torn between opposing forces, uncrowned, and perhaps in his own eyes unworthy. He wants to lead his people into the future, to be a great king as his father was. But when the mentor/regent/father figure who shares his vision is brutally and mysteriously killed, he can’t help but unthinkingly obey the other, no matter how questionable that person’s motives may be.

I don’t know if Letts and Dicks were on an anti-religion kick here, though they certainly had political intent. In today’s context, the high priest’s mindless, unchecked power is frightening. (A crime for which there is no defense and the penalty is death, for which the only evidence required is the word of an admitted enemy? Sure, it’s a device to the get the Doctor in a cage match with Conan the Barbarian, but it’s a bit too believable for comfort in this day and age.) Hepesh shouts down his opponents by force of personality alone, and the young king caves. Here I think Jo misses the questions her journalist successor would have asked: what kind of a king can do nothing in the face of injustice? What is a king for, if not to right the wrongs that threaten his people?

Of course maybe Peladon thinks he’s no king at all.

(A larger question might be why no one offered to show Peladon the tunnels which Hepesh so urgently insisted did not exist. It would be easy enough to find a way for him to decline; to have no one even mention it seems strange.)

This melancholy boy is played by then-twenty-two-year-old David Troughton, elder son of prior Doctor Patrick. David previously appeared in a handful of episodes with his father, mostly uncredited, and then much later as the more seasoned – but possibly just as ineffective – Professor Hobbes, in the Tenth Doctor story “Midnight.” (His younger brother and fellow actor Michael made his only contribution to Doctor Who in “Last Christmas,” with the Twelfth Doctor and Nick Frost.) Troughton’s blond bouffant and heavy-lidded eyes give him something of a tragic David Bowie look; one can forgive Jo for having second thoughts about leaving him behind. The effect is heightened by his costume, which features flowing sleeves, gem-studded collar, tall boots – and a slim expanse of lily-white thigh.

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a little Thin White Duke, a little Prince of Elsinore

He fits right in with these two, from “The Masque of Mandragora:”

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Classic Who, who knew. 🙂

Overall, in the way of Classic Who, the story has its ups and downs, but in the end it gets an up vote from me. In addition, now I can better appreciate the reappearance of the Delegate from Alpha Centauri  – still voiced by the original Ysanne Churchman, now 92 years old.

In spite of the wang in a cape.

 

 

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Posted December 1, 2017 by Elisabeth in Classic

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Announcement!   Leave a comment

The Doctor has companions!

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Bradley Walsh, aka Token White Guy, has been rumored for some time. Per Twitter people either love him or hate him: he’s great, he should have been the Doctor, he’ll ruin the show, never watching again, blah blah blah. Having never seen him in anything I couldn’t say. While I do feel that his type has had plenty of representation on DW and elsewhere, I was intrigued by the potential of this dynamic: the typical figure of power and authority playing intellectual and executive second fiddle to (someone appearing to be) not that. I don’t hate the idea.

The other two are a surprise. Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole are soap opera stars, previously known for something called Hollyoaks. Cole has also appeared in the Star Wars universe. Gill’s Yasmin will be the Doctor’s first South Asian companion – impatiently awaited since the too-brief appearances of Rita (The God Complex) and Nasreen (The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood). It’s nice to have some color and gender balance aboard ship – and I kinda hope Walsh turns out to be an alien. 🙂 Just for variety, you know.

I’m surprised at how strongly people are reacting to the number of companions. Three is apparently a crowd for some, in spite of  Ian/Barbara/Susan, Ben/Polly/Jamie, Tegan/Nyssa/Adric, etc. I think it will be a nice change of pace. A single companion is more susceptible to an annoying romantic subplot. A team can tackle a story from a number of different, brilliant angles. (“Boom Town” comes to mind as a fun example.)

I am also intrigued by the inclusion of Sharon D. Clarke. Everyone seems equally confused by the “returning role” bit, since we’ve never seen her before; in fact it seems to have sparked rumors of a return of the Rani. But I think they actually meant “recurring” not “returning.” (Or is that what I’m meant to think?) Either way, looking forward to it.

If only we didn’t have to wait so long.

Posted October 30, 2017 by Elisabeth in Companions, Speculation, Squee!

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The Doctor is IN…   Leave a comment

… my city!!

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Yes I was miles from the stage, and the lines to ask questions streamed past me out the door, so I was content to sit in my seat and take terrible pictures. It was worth it. The Doctor and Bill were delightful, sweet, good-humored, and generally everything you want the Doctor and his companion to be.

Highlights:

  • When asked his favorite Doctor, “except yourself,” Capaldi replied “Jodie Whittaker.” The crowd went wild.
  • One small child, maybe 6 years old, came to the microphone trembling in terror and unable to speak. Recognizing the situation, Peter and Pearl both did their best to put him at ease. “We did a photo, didn’t we?” Peter asked. “You’re cool.” They asked his name, allowing him to find his voice, and then he was able to ask his question.
  • The final question, also asked by an under-10, was “Who is your favorite companion?” In the photo above, I attempted to catch Pearl’s look as she waited to hear his answer. Instead, I captured her reaction when he said, “K9.”

Rose City is quite a good convention. The guest list was impressive; I might have seen more if the event didn’t directly conflict with my dragonboat team’s final race of the season. My husband saw Katie Sackoff, the Weasley twins, and William Shatner. My sister did very well in Artists’ Alley. My DW meetup group hosted a panel. I may reconsider participating in the race next year, if these two events continue to share a weekend.

Especially if they bring back the Doctor.

 

ETA some (better) coverage from Digital Spy

Posted September 12, 2017 by Elisabeth in Companions, Conventions

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Oops.   Leave a comment

Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie are coming to my town, and I have a previous commitment.

Time to make some alternate arrangements…

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Be ready.

Posted August 24, 2017 by Elisabeth in Piffle

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I can’t help it   Leave a comment

Let’s watch that Christmas special trailer again!

Caught a definite glimpse of Polly on that last pass. What are you people doing??

Also, I haven’t watched it yet, but this looks intriguing and awesome:

The Fan Show is the best thing to happen to Doctor Who since the reboot. It is awesome and I love it. I am a Christel Dee fangirl! ❤

Posted July 28, 2017 by Elisabeth in Christmas Specials, Cool Stuff, Squee!, Video

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DW Day   Leave a comment

Anglophenia’s Doctor Who’s Day Roundup, which I’ve mentioned before, weekly gathers fan art and video, official announcements, and other bits and bobs from around the web in one easy to find place. It was the go-to spot for our introduction to Bill, and unsurprisingly, it offers the same for our new Doctor:

Doctor Who’s Day New Doctor Edition

So much fan art! 🙂

Also included are videos of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales performing some beloved S10 music – including Bill’s Theme!

Posted July 18, 2017 by Elisabeth in Cool Stuff, Fan Art, Music

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Character arcs   Leave a comment

A friend of mine – who is not a fan – shared some silly list of other characters that should now be feminized in the wake of the latest regeneration. It annoyed me right off, but at first I couldn’t figure out why. How is the Doctor any different from, say, Darth Vader or Frodo (the two examples I remember)? Why does it work for one to change and not the other?

(Of course regeneration is unique to the Doctor, but that’s not it.)

The difference is this: Each of the other characters on the list, as far as I can recall, has an arc. Beginning, ending, done. The song has ended, and the story’s over too.

The Doctor is infinite.

There is no beginning for the Doctor, and no ending. There is no story arc; it’s more of a sine wave, up and down and back to the start again. There’s only one other set of characters that in any way compares: characters born in the middle part of last century and who have ever since been reinvented, rewritten, reimagined, reborn. Those are comic book characters.

And what have those characters done? We have a Latino Spider-man, an Asian Hulk, a Black Captain America.

And Thor is a woman.

The Doctor will be brown one day. Thor will be a man again. Miles Morales could make it to the big screen. Their possibilities are infinite. They are infinite.

Frodo’s story is done, like Rose’s and Bill’s. But the Doctor’s goes on and on and on.

Posted July 17, 2017 by Elisabeth in Commentary

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