In the classic Doctor Who serial “The Mind Robber,” in order to escape the destruction of the TARDIS, the Doctor and his two companions end up in a strange world where fictional characters seem very, very real. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.
APPARENTLY I RIPPED OFF DOCTOR WHO AND I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT.
Ok, so I really wanted to do NaNoWriMo in 2010, but since November coincided with the end of Mark Reads Harry Potter, my trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the launch of my fine new communities, suffice to sayâ€¦I was busy. Really busy. Painfully busy. I did manage, however, to get about 10,000 words down on my novel. I WAS GOING TO WRITE A NOVEL!
Oh, I was so excited. I worried that my concept was too witty for its own good, that it was a giant gimmick, but it was such a good idea that it wasn’t hard to reach a thousand words that first night. I managed to put time aside a couple times a week, but by the time the end of November rolled around, I wasn’t done. That’s ok. I’d done so much else that I didn’t really bother me.
Inspired by the the final review I wrote for the Harry Potter series, I SWEAR TO YOU that my book was about a group of people accidentally transported to a world where fictional characters were real beings who were forced to live out their lives with only what their authors had given them. They were entirely controlled in language, behavior, personality, etc., by what had been written. Now, the details were different and what I planned for my outcome was not at all the same as “The Mind Robber,” but JESUS FUCKING CHRIST. NOT FAIR. Well, definitely not writing that book.
But you know why? Not because the concept is so similar, but because the execution of this story is SO GOOD. Like, now my story completely pales in comparison because I LIKE THIS ONE SO MUCH MORE. goddamn it how does this shit happen.
Ok. “The Mind Robber.” For a show filmed in 1968, I was shocked at the quality of the recording. “The Caves of Androzani” seemed to be in a much worse condition than this serial. On top of that, you can tell that the way that this particular serial was filmed is completely different from what we’re used to. First of all, their faces! The camera constantly framed a single face! This is not a complaint, by the way, because I actually felt that this episode was very intimate and small in size. In fact, I’d say most of this episode utilized claustrophobic spaces and small sets incredibly well.
Patrick Troughton is a FANTASTIC DOCTOR. I’ve only spent two serials with him, but I love his personality. He’s witty, kind, and seems to always be a billion steps ahead of everyone. This serial made me want to sit down and watch as much as the second Doctor as humanly possibly, but I don’t have a TARDIS so I can’t do such things. 🙁 guys where is my TARDIS 🙁 🙁
We also get a double dose of companions, too, in Zoey (Wendy Padbury) and Jaime (Frazer Hines). From what little I was able to glean from “The Mind Robber” was that this trio worked together extremely well. The chemistry between them was completely undeniable. Even for 1968, the dialogue moved quickly, was snappy, and laced with a lot of sarcastic humor. BASICALLY I LOVED IT. I don’t even really feel the need to point out what felt out of place in terms of cultural references or what didn’t age that well. I think a lot of that goes towards Derrick Sherwin and Peter Ling for writing such a fascinating story.
“The Mind Robber” is fairly eerie right from the beginning, from the whiteout images in the first part, to Medusa’s creepy fucking arm, to the hilariously unsettling concept of getting closed into a book and made “fiction.” I think it all comes to a rather terrifying moment when all those children surround the Doctor after he steps into the “fake” TARDIS and seriouslyâ€¦.I don’t care that this episode is over forty years old. That is fucking scary as shit.
In all honesty, though, this episode is simply magical. It’s a trip through a land unlike anything I’ve seen before. (Am I correct in stating that it doesn’t exist in time or space in any normal sense?) I felt there was a subtext to this story, that to many people, fiction becomes real by virtue of time. I spent four and a half years with LOST and over eight years with The X-Files. And despite that I knew it was all fictional, it was hard to separate that fact from the idea that I’d been with these “people” for so long. They were a part of my life, once a week. This episode was weirdly prophetic in that sense. Doctor Who would come to be a huge cultural icon around the world and lord knows we all sort of wish the Doctor was real.
And that’s the real beauty of fiction. It can be so transformative and moving that we so desperately wish it were real.
- One of the initial things I really enjoyed about this serial was that it presented a complex mystery that, upon figuring out, made the story even better. I thought that this world was merely reading minds and creating them based on that, but having the reveal be that The Master (not THAT Master) was creating this all by mere virtue of writing it was a great twist.
- GULLIVER WAS MY FAVORITE. He was so proper!
- The only thing that really, truly did not make sense to me was Zoe’s insistence that she had to look at Medusa. Um, NO YOU DON’T.
- JAIME’S FACE CHANGED. Hilarious. Likeâ€¦in continuing with the idea that this world was fictionalized for these people, the Doctor’s world is full of puzzles and riddles. BRILLIANCE.
- Who the heck is Karkus?
- You all, I start Matt Smith’s Doctor TOMORROW. I AM SO EXCITE.
Well this is old so no trivia.
Instead I’ll begin the 11th Doctor celebration party.
I always love your trivia comments so I'm excited for tomorrow!!!
If you like the idea of fictional characters living out their lives as their authors wrote them, you must must MUST get your hands on the "Thursday Next" series by Jasper Fforde. Basically, it takes place in an alternate Britain where society is obsessed with literature. A LiteraTec (basically an officer who monitors forgeries and illegal book rings) named Thursday Next discovers she has the ability to jump into books and trains in the police force within fiction. IT. IS. AWESOME. It is the wittiest, cleverest, most unique book series I have ever read. Ever.
Patrick Troughton is a highly underrated Doctor. I always think he should get more credit than he does for all of his awesome.
Seconded. Thursday Next series = Best thing in ALL THE UNIVERSES plus an extra icing made of awesome!
I totally skipped class last Tuesday so I could get home earlier so I could read the new book as soon as possible. HOW WAS IT SO FREAKING AWESOME OMG JASPER FFORDE STOP BEING SUCH A GENIUS
READ THAT TOO!
Future Mark Reads project?
OMG yes please! Although he'd have to read more than one chapter at a time considering that there are now 8 books including the Nursery Crime series.
YES! When I started reading this review that was the first thing that came to mind
Thursday Next = constantly made of awesome
That's my main thought on this episode (other than remembering just how much I love Two and Jamie and their epic bromance): Doctor Who meets Thursday Next! Thursday would make an excellent companion, y/y??
I feel like Thursday and the Doctor would consistently be trying to out-awesome each other haha
Probably, which is why it would be awesome. The Doctor would be all "I'm THE DOCTOR", and Thursday would be totally unimpressed, because she's goddamn Thursday Next. Plus, can you imagine what the Doctor would make of the ChronoGuard?
Oh my god, I'm just imagining the discussion of "timey-wimey" that would occur between the Doctor and Thursday's father. It would go way over my head, but oh my goodness how amazing would that be? It would only be topped by the Doctor hanging out with Mycroft.
Thursday's dad is always changing history, plus he crosses his own time stream all the time. The Doctor would probably freak out. But he'd love Mycroft, they'd have far too much fun together.
One of my favourite book series ever :DDD
>Patrick Troughton is a highly underrated Doctor. I always think he should get more credit than he does for all of his awesome.
Yes, I agree. I think he's underrated because so much of his best stuff is sadly lost. Even so, it was encouraging that his 2 Dalek stories – `Evil` and `Power` – came in at 18 and 21, respectively, in the Mighty 200. In fact, they were 10th and 13th in terms of Classic serials.
That's very true. So many of his serials are gone. But while I think the public often under-rates him, I think most of the other actors for the Doctor are very much inspired by him.
There was actually a pretty cool article/debate in February's DW magazine about which Doctor was most influential for the show. The argument for Troughton was awesome.
Well, if it says anything- Matt Smith has said in an interview that Patrick Troughton is one of his favorite Doctors. 😀
Man has good taste 🙂
Man, those books were cracky.
I actually prefer the Nursery Crime books, though, having a love of Agatha Christie and a truly well-crafted mystery. Thursday got a little too Sue-ish at the end there for me.
There's a new one out last week that you might actually enjoy, since it follows the written Thursday rather than the real Thursday. It's really pretty brilliant. Especially when she travels to Fan Fiction…
I read the first one, and I thought the concept was really good, but … there was something about the book I just couldn't get into. I think it was that it really felt to me like an early draft of something that could really have been a lot better. Which is weird because I have a number of very clever and well-read friends who *loved* these books. Not sure why I didn't. Maybe if I'd actually read Jane Eyre it would have been different, but I pretty much detest most 19th century women's lit.
Agreed. I loved the worldbuilding, but not the characters. I hadn't read Jane Eyre at the time, only later, but I didn't improve my opinion of the book.
The concept gets fleshed out a lot more in the later books, tbh. The real bookjumping doesn't start until halfway through the second book, which is where Fforde really comes into his own imo.
Your TARDIS is where my TARDIS is! Along with our acceptance letters to Hogwarts 🙂 🙂 (Maybe floating around the Medusa Cascade, a second out of sync with the rest of the universe?)
And YES THIS SERIAL OMG SO GOOD!
Creepy children! At first I was playing along "WORDS! It's WORDS, DOCTOR" And bit by bit they creeped me out more and more!
Other Jamie was so lolsome 😀
Karkus is a future fictional character. Zoe is from a couple of Centuries into our future.
Jamie's face change was a necessity, as Frazer went down with chickenpox after the first episode and as these were only recorded a couple of weeks before transmission, a temporary Jamie was required.
The Second Doctor is brilliant. As a very young kid, it took me ages to get used to Jon Pertwee's Doctor as the REAL Doctor was dark-haired! I was grumpy about that for ages. I need to get far out enough into space to pick up the first transmission of his trashed episodes. Talk about cultural vandalism.
The reference in this story is that the Karkus is from the Hourly telepress in year 2000, suggesting Zoe is from now!
Yes, Zoe is definitely from the early 21st Century…or at least a 1960's vision of it, where we're all living on space stations.
Okay, where's my space station?
Nevermind my space station, why does my car still touch the ground???
I think it's because we'd all be shit drivers in the air. We're bad enough on the ground!
I want my sparkly jumpsuit.
Well. Karkus is the Giant chief that Hagrid parley's with in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
YES. I was F5ing and…I love your review. I really love this TARDIS Team for being so capable and having so much chemistry. It really is a shame so much of Two's run is missing.
SERIES 5 ELEVEN.
~~~MY DOCTOR ~~~~~
Just finished watching this five minutes ago. It was fantastic! Like you I was surprise at the picture quality. I love Two, he's so giddy lol. Zoe beating up the Karkus was hilarious *snaps fingers*
Imagine if they made this story now…
"JAIME’S FACE CHANGED. Hilarious. Like…in continuing with the idea that this world was fictionalized for these people, the Doctor’s world is full of puzzles and riddles. BRILLIANCE."
And it was due to a production issue! They normally filmed an episode a week, and Frasier Hines managed to get chicken pox after finishing Ep. 1. Thankfully the environment of the story allowed for a quick rewrite adding the face-puzzle bit, and quick casting of an alternate Jamie. Ta da.
OH man! Chicken pox sucks when you're an adult too! Poor guy!
I don't know if you plan to listen to the audio books, but there's a good Sixth Doctor/Jamie McCrimmon audio trilogy that has continuity with Second Doctor's run. It's City of Spires, Wreck of the Titan, and Legend of the Cybermen. They're very good and what's better, Colin Baker and Frazer Hines (Jamie's actor here) reprise their roles.
Wait, SIXTH Doctor and Jamie? This is such pure crack I simply must find it! Big Finish, right?
Yes! And people should totally listen to it. It's brilliant. I loved it so fucking much.
The Mind Robber is great, the whole first episode was a last minute addition after the previous story got cut down by on epart in editing. So no new sets, the robots nicked from another story and no guest cast bar a voice over. An isn't it just FAB! Troughton is a joyin the role and every Doctor after owes him a debt.
The debt we owe him is the continuation of the series, if he hadn't made changing the lead actor work then that would have been it.
I love Patrick Troughton. So awesome. I can't believe the BBC got rid of HIS episdoes- clearly the man was quality! I'm also of the opinion that Patrick Troughton was really the man to make or break Doctor Who- if his regeneration didn't take after William Hartnell, we wouldn't have Doctor Who! THERE WOULD BE NO DOCTOR.
Wait, how many of Troughton's episodes/serials are left?
Most of them are reconstructions, I think… there are a few that are completely intact, like Tomb of the Cybermen.
Wait, the answer is six out of twenty-one serials, according to TARDIS Wiki.
Well, it depends what you mean by "left".
Troughton has six serials fully in tact with all episodes. Also, another one is released fully on DVD – it was eight parts long, six parts survived, and the two missing parts have been animated and synched up to the audio track. (The audio tracks of all the missing episodes exist.)
There are also a few serials that are fully missing. And the other ones all have at least one episode surviving. Some of these odd episodes were released on a box set called "Lost in Time".
…Sorry, that's probably a bit TMI!
Quite a few are entirely gone, some have only a few bits left, of others there remain only still images. However, one of my all-time favorite classic serials, "The War Games", is completely intact. It's a bit long, but wonderful.
HOMG THE WAR GAMES. It's ten episodes and the end of the last one never fails to get me to tear up, but HOMG IT IS SO EPIC.
The one saving grace is even for the serials where all the film has been lost, we still have audio recordings of the sound due to a bunch of fans hooking up their big clunky sixties tape recorders to the television screens during the initial broadcasts.) They later offered up these recordings to some BBC sound engineer type people who spliced them together and added informative narration (usually by various sixties Who actors), basically turning them into books-on-tape.
So take heart! If you want to experience all the Two episodes you totally can! It's just that for the most part you'll have to do it with books-on-tape.
Someone else claimed their post was TMI, but I'm the king of TMI, so here goes…
Everything exists as soundtrack recordings thanks to fans who recorded the broadcasts at home (some even worked out how to wire their tape recorders directly into the TV). Some clips and still images also survive (in many cases there are "telesnaps" – a photographic record of the broadcast and there are also photos of filming and publicity photos) – these form the basis of the various fan reconstructions that are out there. The audios have also been released, with narration to explain what's happening, by the BBC.
All the stories with one or two episodes remaining have been gathered on the "Lost in Time" DVD, but to get the full context you have to experience the rest of the story some other way. Here are the stories in full (bold for complete stories, italic for partially complete stories).
Season 4 (1966-67)
The Power of the Daleks (all missing)
The Highlanders (all missing)
The Underwater Menace (4 episodes, episode 3 on Lost in Time DVD)
The Moonbase (4 episodes, episodes 2 & 4 sound track of 1 & 3 on Lost in Time DVD)
The Macra Terror (all missing)
The Faceless Ones (6 episodes, episodes 1 & 3 on Lost in Time DVD)
The Evil of the Daleks (7 episodes, episode 2 on Lost in Time DVD)
Season 5 (1967-68)
The Tomb of the Cybermen (complete and on DVD)
The Abominable Snowmen (6 episodes, episode 2 on Lost in Time DVD)
The Ice Warriors (6 episodes, 2 & 3 missing; released on VHS with a reconstruction covering 2 & 3, no DVD release yet)
The Enemy of the World (6 episodes, episode 3 on Lost in Time DVD)
The Web of Fear (6 episodes, episode 1 on Lost in Time DVD)
Fury from the Deep (all missing)
The Wheel in Space (6 episodes, episodes 3 & 6 on Lost in Time DVD)
Season 6 (1968-69)
The Dominators (complete and on DVD)
The Mind Robber (complete and on DVD)
The Invasion (completed by animating episodes 1 & 4; and on DVD)
The Krotons (complete but not on DVD yet*)
The Seeds of Death (complete and on DVD)
The Space Pirates (6 episodes, episode 2 on Lost in Time DVD)
The War Games (complete and on DVD)
Patrick Troughton also appears in The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors, all of which are available on DVD.
*available legally online here:
(although they only seem to have episode 2 up at the moment).
Edit: and I meant to post this elsewhere,but here seems a good place. Here's a fan video of the whole sweep of the first 45 years of the series, it's wonderful:
It includes brief video clips from every story made from 1963-2008, plus some choice bits of audio. If you want to remain completely ignorant of the classic series then don't watch it – but it's all too quick to really spoil.
The Mind Robber is pure delight wrapped in television.
I loved this one! I wasn’t able to get a hold of the last classic serial you did, so I’m not sure if I’d like it more, but this one was my fave so far!
I AM SUPER EXCITED FOR YOU TO GET TO THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR! He is my favorite!
The Master of fiction wrote the "Adventures of Captain Jack Harkaway"
Did any one have a mental double take at this?
Yes! Creepily close!
Mental double take complete.
…makes you wonder, doesn't it? Fiction wrapped within fiction.
In my head canon he was inspired by meeting a dashing young Captain Jack Harkness. The timelines fit and everything!
It's true! Jack would've been lurking around Earth all bored then. Plenty of time to inspire sci-fi about himself!
I saw this awhile back and loved it. Wish Netflix has more of the second Doctor's existing serials available on instant.
I think the Karkus was a superhero comic from Zoe's time. As you can see, the Doctor wasn't impressed with him. And the bit with Jamie's face changing was due to the actor falling ill so they found a way to explain his absence in the context of the story.
Oh man I forgot you were starting season/series 5 tomorrow. I thought you were going to do another Classic Who serial tomorrow and start on Eleven next week. /Derp
They couldn't do a real superhero since they were all in copyright. Apparently, it's a pisstake of Batman. I do like that he's costumed to look like a carcass.
i haven't seen a lot of classic who (beyond what i watched as a kid when they aired this on PBS – trufax my dad was fucking obsessed), but goddamn this review makes me want to watch this serial. there's a part of warren ellis's planetary where a group of scientists are tasked to land in a fictional world and bring someone back, and there's an arc of grant morrison's doom patrol with a fictional world that infects and transforms a bit of earth, and then "tlon, uqbar, orbius tertius," by borges… i love this trope.
BUT I AM EVEN MORE EXCITED FOR SERIES 5 TOMORROW, OMG OMG OMG OMG
You all, I start Matt Smith’s Doctor TOMORROW. I AM SO EXCITE.
US, TOO, MARK.
SO MUCH EXCITE.
I don't know if anyone's already mentioned this, but Patrick Troughton is Matt Smith's favorite doctor. I think he randomly called up Steven Moffat one day while researching the role to rave about how awesome Troughton was. So to repeat myself from yesterday, you will probably like Matt Smith.
Also, dude wrote Doctor Who fanfiction, I think supposedly to "prepare for the role". Riiiiiight.
😀 SO EXCITED FOR YOU TO WATCH THE NEXT EPISODE.
Haha I never knew that about Matt! Hilarious! And since I love Two, its no surprise that 11 is also one of my favorites.
Patrick Smith is a lot of Doctor's favorite Doctors, I think. With good reason. He really is the best one.
… I mean Patrick TROUGHTON. Oh god, I suck.
If you don't mind my asking, how are you getting a hold of all of these Doctor episodes? I am a slave to the Space channel in Canada, which just restarted with "Rose" last night (its schedule actually followed your viewing schedule pretty good for a little bit!). I've seen all the Eccleston episodes, but not all of the Tennant episodes. Or any classic episodes. I am in need of some Who.
I go to Dailymotion when I can't find what I'm looking for on Netflix.
I just do a videosearch for classic who and what I'm looking for has almost always come up.
Another alternative for new who: if you live in a big city a lot of libraries have tv show dvds so that's worth looking into. You might have to wait a little while though.
I watch on Netflix. the Netflix available in the US has quite a few Whos for instant viewing (it's how I saw most of nuWho as I came late to the game, despite having watched some classic who as a teen). Netflix has a lot on DVD as well as streaming.
JAMIE! One of my favorite companions. You have to put "Tomb of the Cybermen" on your classic watch list (if for no other reason than it's what made Matt Smith love DW– Two is his favorite Doctor!).
This will be a very gushy review because I absolutely LOVE two. He is my favorite Doctor of Classic!Who. He brought so much of the craziness to the Doctor – not just a grumpy old man, but someone who has fun and enjoys riddles and puns, who plays the recorder, and just adds that pent-up genius to the character. Its really disheartening that so many of his episodes were lost/destroyed. I'm just hopeful that more will be randomly found one day in an attic somewhere.
Furthermore, the Jamie/Zoe/Doctor team is one of my favorites. They just look like they have so much fun together and there's an interesting gender dynamic! Zoe is a BAMF – extremely logical, math genius, can beat up Karkus. And Jamie is so clingy, to both the Doctor and Zoe. In fact, all three of them are just constantly grabbing each other, pulling and so on. Ugh I could wax on about them for days.
Anyway, this episode is just so much fun. I love the Doctor putting together Jamie's face wrong (and Zoe calling him out even though he pretended he hadn't made a mistake), and the "I've never seen a robot who could climb!)
Basically, the world needs more Two love.
Although for years Tom Baker was my favorite doctor,because to me he was the ONLY doctor (and "my" doctor, given he was the first one I saw), he's been replaced by Two as my favorite Classic Doc. I sooo wish some of those lost eps turn up somewhere.
Love it. poor Patrick Troughton never gets enough credit within the fandom. Of course that's probably due to so much of his work being lost rather than them not liking him. Most of the later and more recent cast and crew however love him because he started the whole the Doctor as the eccentric adventurer/problem solver trend which is how we've known him ever since, also it's just a great performance. Thankfully some great stories did survive and the mind robber is one of them which is remarkable considering the troubles they ran into making this story.
Ps. Mark it's fairly obvious but the Master in this story is completely unrelated to a certain psychopathic timelord.
Your gif neatly illustrates one of the things that makes Troughton's performamnce so magical – the expressiveness and changeability of his face. He can go from serious to gleeful to alarmed and back again in seconds and every expression is the absolute epitome of what the character is feeling. It makes for a very mercurial Doctor, which just adds bucketloads of charm.
It's when you see him appear in something else that you truly realise what an excellent actor he was. He was a true character actor – no two characters portrayed by him are remotely the same and all are totally believable. For a radically different performance, for instance, he was Father Brennan in The Omen!
From what I can see netflix.ca has a terrible selection of titles. Zip.ca probably has a better selection but no streaming, just a dvd mailing service 🙁
Netflix or buying/renting them on iTunes.
Oh, Mark – I've been on such pins and needles waiting to read what you'd make of this one, so much so that I couldn't bear to wait for you to finish the Tennant specials.
This story has been among my children's favorites since the ropey unrestored VHS days and one I always recommend for someone who wants to try a Troughton story. It's magical.
Since Fusionman isn't doing trivia for this one because it's so old, I'll add a note or two.
Writer Peter Ling was a writer on a British soap who was a bit weirded out that viewers who wrote in to that show seemed to believe their characters were real people.
This is Wendy Padbury's third story as the character of Zoe.
Actor Bernard Horsfall (Gulliver) can be seen in several subsequent stories over the years, including two in which he plays a Time Lord.
The Land of Fiction would reappear, not on television, but in two now out-of-print spin-off novels in the mid-nineties, CONUNDRUM and HEAD GAMES by Steve Lyons. Both were quite thick with metatextural commentary.
Would those be from when Virgin had the license by any chance? Because those books were brilliantly insane.
We should get Mark to read Sky Pirates. Mwahahahaha!
Yes, indeedarooni! Kept the flame alive during the Wilderness Years, they did and provided a training ground for future television writers… Gatiss, Jones, Cornell, Parkin (as a storyliner on "Emmerdale") – Davies was already an established television writer when he did his NA, albeit in children's television, "Queer as Folk" came soon after.
I haven't seen this one, so I don't have much to say, but I thought the name Karkus sounded familiar, so I just looked it up and DUH he was the GURG OF THE GIANTS THAT HAGRID AND MADAMME MAXIME WENT TO SEE AND THEN HE GOT HIS HEAD RIPPED OFF!!!!! Guys, how could I forget that? Also: Can the TARDIS take us to Hogwarts?
Of course it can. No flimsy little magical forcefield is going to stop the TARDIS and magic is just another form of technology.
RTD asked JK Rowling to write for series one of the new Who and then, later on, had the idea of her starring in a episode about all the ideas from her head coming into the real world.
Neither idea got anywhere, but the possibility was there.
This would have been such an amazing episode I think my head would have exploded.
I love watching the old black and white stuff because I think that contributes to the creepiness and the atmosphere of these older Doctor Who stories. That might be because my dad watches old episodes of The Twilight Zone from time to time and that creeps me out. But I love it in Doctor Who!
I giggle with glee every time I see this story because I totally want to stumble upon a world where all my favorite fictional characters and stories are real! Also, Jamie and Zoe are my favorite of Two's companions – SO STINKING CUTE!
It's times like this that I turn to whoever was in charge of disposing of old BBC tapes and shake my fist angrily because so much of Patrick Troughton's run was lost in that purge and it is a crying shame. His Doctor is so delightful and fun and adorable and I wish there was more of his stories available (but I will be happy with what did survive).
What I find so wonderful about all this is what others have already pointed out – Patrick Troughton is Matt Smith's favorite Doctor. Matt really didn't know a whole lot about Doctor Who because it was off-air when he was a kid, so when he got the part, he went through and watched a whole bunch of older episodes and Two was his favorite. And yes, Matt even wrote a fanfiction of where the Doctor meets Albert Einstein (they should adapt that for an actual episode someday). Proof positive that this show sucks everybody in – NO ONE CAN ESCAPE – BWA-HA-HA!!
Fun trivia time:
1.) The alternate Jamie was Frazer Hines' cousin, according to my roommate's research.
2.) Please note that in Tooth and Claw (S2 of Nu!Who, the one with the werewolf), the Doctor puts on a Scottish accent and introduces himself as "James McCrimmon." Also, "John Smith" is a name Jamie gave him on the spot when he needed an alias. Even though he almost never talks about past companions, it's clear that he doesn't forget them (and Jamie might have been a bit special anyway, they were… close).
3.) Frazer Hines was only supposed to be in six episodes, but they kept him on because his dynamic with Patrick Troughton was so amazing.
4.) This is an excerpt from an interview I believe was conducted some time after Troughton's death, and just kills me:
Q: Do you have any favourite memories from working on ‘Doctor Who’?
A: Yes, working with Patrick… I tried to get him into ‘Emmerdale’, but the producer said ‘Oh no, I’ve heard about you two’. At conventions, people say ‘How can you remember so much?’. I think if you’re having happy times, you remember, if it’s a sad time, your memory tries to erase it. I had such happy times. Never once did Patrick and I, or Wendy or Deborah, have a cross word. Those three years in ‘Doctor Who’ were the happiest years I’ve had in acting. Sixteen years in ‘Emmerdale’, sure, but those three in ‘Doctor Who’, working with Patrick, were the happiest. And Patrick, God bless him, in a book said ‘The happiest time I’ve had in my life was working with Frazer Hines’, which brought a lump to my throat.
SO BASICALLY even though I started out with nu!Who and have only seen a few episodes of Two's run with my roommate, they're "my" Team TARDIS. Two ties with Ten for my favourite Doctor, edging out Four and Eleven by an extremely narrow margin.
I watched this serial with my roommate and loved it so, so much. I'm so glad you enjoyed it too.
Also, as anyone who has heard Jamie audios will tell you, Frazer Hines does a picth perfect Patrick Troughton impression. Not a characature impression, but a proper recreation of his voice and mannerisms.
Yes. Oh my god, I love them so much. <3
HOMG YES HE DOES. Oh god, we need to make Mark listen to Helicon Prime. It's fucking uncanny the way he does it.
yes yes to all of this. I think you can tell, even only watching one series like Mark did, just how much fun those three had together. And yes, Two and Jamie are particularly close… hehe
Even though he almost never talks about past companions, it's clear that he doesn't forget them (and Jamie might have been a bit special anyway, they were… close).
Yes, yes they were…
Second favorite non-canonical Doctor ship!
I was too lazy to go gif-hunting, so thank you very much for this comment. :3
What's your favourite? I'm curious what could beat out Two/Jamie now.
Here, have another one:
My favorite Doctor ship is Nine/Jack. I don't tend to take these things seriously, I just enjoy Nine and Jack's flirtation, and in my headcanon they were totally having a clandestine affair. Two and Jamie come in at a very close second though.
They were totally having an affair in my headcanon too. It's the only way Jack's interactions with Ten in S3 make any sense, because it's totally an awkward conversation between exes. Then again, I also don't think Nine and Rose were involved THAT way. (I have no idea what the Word of God is on what Nine/Rose and Ten/Rose might have been up to, but I don't think they get INVOLVED until his regeneration. In my head. I have spent a LOT of time thinking about this clearly.)
In my head, the Doctor (Nine or Ten) and Rose never got "involved" ifyouknowwhatImean. The vibe I get off Ten and Rose is "great friends who adore each other in all ways but can't or won't take it to the next level even though they both want to".
Handy and Rose, of course, totally different story. I'm sure there was a lot of…involvement.
I can see it going either way with the Doctor and Rose really. The intense romanticism of The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit is what tips the balance for me. In my head they were wink wink nudge nudging each other but probably not Talking about it. (Because when does the Doctor have a "define the relationship" talk?) Because if they Talked about it they'd have to think about what it Meant and that's not POSSIBLE with a relationship like the Doctor and Rose's and would cut into their all-important running for their lives time. Which, uh, is really only one step ahead of where you have them in your head canon, and equally dysfunctional. (If it were a functional relationship, it wouldn't be with the Doctor!)
Whereas Handy/Rose is a lot more straightforward.
Wow, long comment got long.
Lmfao this is kind of unrelated to anything but I KNOW HOW YOU ENJOY FIC RECS and I just thought of this one. Totally the only TimeLord!Ten/Rose being sexual fic I'm okay with AND IT IS PURE HILARITY.
Little Blue Pills
And that is why I do not reply from my iPhone. DAMMIT.
Romance does not equal sex (or visa versa). Ten/Rose (and really nine/rose) were definitely romantic, though he was kinda in denial (heck, even the Dalek saw it, and that's saying something). I don't think there was sex, but there was romance, a complicated, sweet, almost old fashioned in a way, romance.
Jack was a case of unrequitted love (on Jack's part). I don't know if the doctor had a clue, and if he did, he probably dismissed it or locked it away in that mental cupboard of do-not-open that he has.
That's how I always see it too, which is why much as I like Ten/Rose, I usually can't ready shippy fic unless it's Handy/Rose. Too much of a risk that they'll do something like kiss and then I'll be sitting there going FIC RUINED BY NOT FITTING IN WITH MY HEAD CANON DAMMIT.
besides, Handy/Rose's kiss in Journey's End? ABSOLUTELY a kiss of FINALLY RESOLVED SEXUAL TENSION.
Wow those are… slashTASTIC.
Two/Jamie slash would be ridiculously easy to write. It practically writes itself. Those two were in each other's personal space every time they got half a chance. And the cuddling…the cuddling is the stuff of legend.
There's this picture of them clowning around on set with their arms around each other and Frazier is wearing shorts and Patrick has no shirt and… mmmm! Yum.
"The alternate Jamie was Frazer Hines' cousin, according to my roommate's research."
The BBC's official page for this story says this is a common belief, but not true. But one of the Clockwork Soldier's was Frazer's brother, it says.
Oh man, I'm getting a lump in my throat just reading #4. Yay Two/Jamie!
I LOVE THIS SERIAL SO MUCH.
Troughton, I love you. His Doctor is mad and funny and clever and clearly alien and I love it.
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Two, Jamie and Zoe are tied for my favorite Team Tardis. Like you said, the chemistry is undeniable. The Doctor isn’t showing off for starry-eyed companions here; he is having a blast with his friends. From the very start of the serial we see how close they all are and how well they work together with everyone contributing.
I really appreciate it when Who delves into more fantastic realms, and from what I’ve seen, The Mind Robber is like the king of the fantasy serials. This show in general isn't really hard sci-fi at all and it's great when it just throws out all pretenses and just runs with the magic. It’s all laid out right there- The Land of Fiction. It’s a world where words and thoughts and ideas rule the day- forests which are made of puzzles and wordplay are just one small part. The one-off characters are a blast, and the taunting children are made of creepy. The final showdown between The Master and The Doctor is epic and clever and just a great thing to watch. I WANT MORE!
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Jamie really gets it in this one, doesn’t he? First he thinks he’s visiting his beloved Scotland and then he gets turned into cardboard multiple times and HIS FACE CHANGES! <3 Zoe is brilliant and can work a sparkly catsuit; all the props to her.
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A unicorn (and newJamie!)
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Jamie and Zoe- working the kilt and catsuit.
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The Mind Robber = Favorite oldWho so far!
I loved books about myths and legends when I was a wee lassie, and it's stayed with me.
Hey, if you're a fan of the whole 'fictional characters come to life' thing, you would probably really love Jasper Fforde's books. There's a whole series of them starting with 'The Eyre Affair', set in an alternate world, where a woman named Thursday Next discovers the 'Book World' – a place where books are acted out, lived and even policed, by their characters, in almost the same way as tv shows are in the real world.
The series is incredibly funny and well written, and full of literary allusions and shout-outs.
I'm pretty sure they've been suggested on the suggestions page, but I just thought I'd mention it because from what you've said, it seems like the sort of thing you's really enjoy. 🙂
A pretty special type of awesome. I mean, Smith had never watched Doctor Who before auditioning for the role, but I feel he must have come to enjoy the show on its own virtues if he started writing fan fiction for it.
This is probably my favourite old!Who serial, if not just for THE MAGNIFICENCE OF JAMIE MCCRIMMON. I'M SORRY BUT IF ANYBODY TRIES TO TELL ME JAMIE ISN'T THE BEST COMPANION EVER, I WILL JUST NOT LISTEN. Well I will, but I won't understand. 😐
Also YAAAAY MATT SMITH AND KAREN GILLAN TOMORROW OMG :3
HELLO FELLOW JAMIE LOVER! *CLINGS*
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<img src="http://i308.photobucket.com/albums/kk357/Peter_Rabid/Doctor%20Who%20gifs/laid-backjamie.gif" border="0" alt="Photobucket">
Or just this entire Team TARDIS
OHMYGOD THOSE GIFS <3
JAMIE IS THE BEST EVER, SERIOUSLY
I'm at college so I have no gifs :C but OMG YAY FOR JAMIE! *hugs* He is just adorable, right?!
I do really enjoy this episode. It's probably one of my favorite Classic Who stories. And while Two isn't my favorite Classic Doctor (REPRESENTING THE SEVEN LOVE HERE. HOLLA!), I do really enjoy him and the chemistry between him, Jamie and Zoe. It's good stuff. They're one of the more enjoyable Team Tardises from Classic Who for me.
SEVEN! How I love that magnificent bastard.
I wish I could thumbs up you many many times 🙂
ZOMG SEVEN. I do love him so. We need to make Mark watch Seven and Ace.
fuck yes to the seven love!
ELEVEN ELEVEN ELEVEN
You are not prepared.
Has upvoted this just so it says +11.
I really do like this episode, especially Jamie and his kilt, complete with sporran.
Is it weird that I'm disappointed we didn't get to see more of the Minotaur? I realized what was going on when they first found the roll of twine at the start of the labyrinth, and I really expected it to go on longer.
Poor TARDIS. But at least it got to re-form itself in exactly the reverse of the way it exploded. 🙂
Poor everyone, pretty much. But at least they managed to save the Other Master.
My first reaction to this was to think that it was another Weeping Angel. And then wonder why it had stereotypical alien eyes.
Oh Jamie. You are so very peanut.
What are your plans for watching any Three serials? I find him utterly charming.
Also: ELEVEN! I am so excite, it's kind of hard to contain myself. Is it Thursday yet? I'm so keen to see what you think of Eleven, and of Life with the Moff as showrunner.
If you like Two then you will definitely love 11.
And Matt Smith did write a Doctor Who fan fiction where he travels through time with a womanizing Albert Einstein. He talked about it on Chris Hardwick's podcast The Nerdist.
As usual, everyone has said everything about the episode that I'd probably say, so I'm going to talk about Delia Derbyshire. She was the genius who realised the original Doctor Who theme out of bits of magnetic tape, spliced together and mixed live. Here she is demonstrating the technique:
The robots in the story were originally in The Prophet a now missing installment of Out of the Unknown (a science fiction anthology series) based on the short story Reason by Isaac Asimov. What survives is Delia's wonderfully bonkers robot chant with backwards vocals:
From her archive of tapes, here she is inventing dance music by accident and discarding the invention:
Lastly, here's the first part of a brilliant documentary about the Radiophonic Workshop who did the theme and sound effects of Doctor Who:
There's loads more – just search for her name. I love her.
oh my god! this is fucking incredible. thanks so much for these!
Seriously UNBELIEVABLE. Also, Delia has SUCH A SOOTHING VOICE.
I love this serial, it's perfect, and I love how Jamie and Zoe *almost* became fictional 😉 at the audience. I would watch this serial over and over.
The only thing I saw wrong with it is that Rapunzel is NOT a princess when she was in the tower. She was born to middle-class parents and raised by a witch. She only became a princess after she married the prince…outside the tower. [/RANT]
But that's about it. The story was brilliant and clever and funny and Two is amazing.
Have fun watching Matt Smith!
I know what you mean about fictional characters. I just finished reading Pride and Prejudice, which is a great book, but I'm not sure if you would like it, Mark, because it focuses a lot on romance, which I know you aren't a huge fan of. I would get really mad at a certain character and start hoping that he fought in WWI and died, or something. I found myself having to constantly say out loud, "Relax, Stephanie. These aren't real people." And yes, I did say it out loud, because I was alone in my room. DON'T JUDGE ME.
Oh, I love P&P. While there is a lot of romance, the social background is hugely important: the only way for women to live was by getting a good husband, money would be nice and his character was really important (since divorce was nonexistant). At the same time, the division between sexes were great and men and women could barely talk among themselves to see if they liked each other and they couldn't write to each other directly. If a woman made the wrong decision, she'd bear that load her whole life.
Austen never married herself, and ended up living with her brother's family, which was great, but it highlights the absolute lack of independence women had at the time.
TL;DR: Feminism FTW.
I agree with you so hard Mark! My running commentary while watching:
"OH MY WORD!" It's a rock quarry! YESSSSSSS.
Isn't Jaime the cutest Jimmy Olsen type ever? Yes, I think so. Except super Scottish. ADORABLE!
"But it moves the TARDIS out of the time-space dimension! Out of REALITY!" "Well FINE, reality's getting too hot anyway!" bwahahahaha <3 <3 <3
Is that like, a miniature TARDIS covered by meringue?
Hello there sparkly spacesuit 1960s vision of the future! I think I like Zoe. She's from THE FUTURE. Apparently a different (earlier? later?) future to Captain Jack's, where everyone looks awesome retro.
Two seems like a very familiar Doctor, much more so than Four, to me. He's got no idea what's going on. I like that, rather a lot. I also like that, while Jaime and Zoe are tempted by visions of their homes, the Doctor is tempted by visions of his companions. They're analogous to his home. D'awww.
HELLO THERE CARDBOARD ROBOTS. Cardboard static noise robots! OH NO!
HOLY SHIT THE TARDIS EXPLODED IN THE VOID. I begin to understand, as Jaime and Zoe wander through the Void, how you could achieve Dalek Caan levels of madness in there.
And who is lurking in the Void? Um, since the credits from ep. 1 spoiled it for me, I'm going to guess the Master? In his own Darth Vader-style TARDIS?
Two, you're SNARKY. Before it was even a word. Love you!
The minions of the Master in the Void-maze-thing are also CREEEEEEEEPY, and totally surreal. Also, Two hates weapons and receives a dictionary to aid him. The triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism indeed! The whole maze is a puzzle, and the imagery is simultaneously cheesy and really disturbing, like reassembling Jaime's face.
"Who would think up a crazy notion like this?" "I don't know… a FANTASTIC mind." The Doctor's admiration for the Master is there from the start. But why is he wearing a sparkly yarmulke?
The Land of Fiction: fairytales are creepy now. This is somehow much scarier than anything Moffat OR RTD have created. Especially if you, like me, tend to have a third-person omniscient narrator in your head, the scene where Jaime finds all the book is HORRIFYING.
"A strip cartoon of the year 2000!" OMG Zoe is supposed to be from 2000? Where is my sparkly jumpsuit?! Shit. My closet is clearly full of the wrong things. (And THIS is why we make our future people so far from the future that we aren't likely to notice the gap between SF and reality too soon, so props to New Who for fixating on the 51st century.)
Nice meditation on the difference between history and fiction, Doctor! And here I've been assuming it's the Time Lord Master we all know and love… but apparently he's just "The Master" of the world outside of reality. That's kind of a disappointment. And I still don't know what the yarmulke is for.
"Resistance is useless!" There's that phrase again. (I believe I picked on the Daleks for using it in "The Stolen Earth"; my bad.)
ZOE AND JAMIE ARE BEING SQUISHED BY A BOOK! BAD BBC, do you want to put children off reading forever?
"I have yet to see a robot that can climb!" hehehehe
And in the end, the Doctor saves the day by THINKING HARD! Hard enough for the "Master Brain" to reject him. HOW AWESOME IS THAT? REALLY AWESOME! The Doctor just does NOT listen to other people. He really is the same Doctor, isn't he. And his companions save the day by overloading the computer. Which means pressing every button randomly—an action that MAKES SENSE here.
And then they save "the Master" and the TARDIS is NOT destroyed. Yay!
I like you, Second Doctor! You're awesome.
I can't wait for you to watch the Eleventh Hour! It was the first episode of Doctor Who I ever saw.
Zoe is from an undefined, nebulous 21st century. As she was born in the 21st century (stated in "The War Games") and as her age was estimated at 19 or so in "The Invasion", the earliest she can come from is ca. 2020.
Depending on which nontelevised source you believe, Zoe is from 2020, or 2030, or 2068 or 2080, or perhaps even as late as 2119. The 21st century of the Troughton era is not internally consistent and that creates problems in assigning dates to at least two of the stories placed in that period, and which comes before the other in the timeline.
While no date was given for "The Wheel in Space", Earth has a Deep Space Fleet and the asteroid belt is being mined. This would seem to indicate a date after events of "The Waters of Mars" (2059), but probably before the development of FTL in 2089 (also per "The Waters of Mars").
My own fanon dating has her in 2080. (I also have decided that Karkus is from a webcomic.)
I just want to know what his username is and if it's posted online anywhere 😉
I know what moment you mean, and YES.
Eleventy is totally Troughton-esque. I <3 him.
True, though I think as far as overall story goes Tomb has them both beat.
I AM SO GLAD THAT YOU SAW THIS.
And now i have to sleep. But still. So glad. Two is the bestest Doctor of them all.
OMG OMG OMG THE ELEVENTH HOUR OMG OMG OMG
I am somewhat excited. Mostly because Series 5 is awesome.
Everyone's already said everything. Even about the music and sound design! I thought I'd at least have that.
Okay, so in that case: HAVE YOU NOTICED THE CLING FACTOR?
Two and Jamie are clinging to one another, like, 99% of all of the time they're onscreen. The rest of the time, they're in some other kind of contact. (Also, 100% of the time they're not onscreen, probably.) This is a large part of what makes them the cutest TARDIS team ever! The chemistry between Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines is absolutely amazing, and actually, Wendy Padbury taps into it really well also.
I'm going to go ahead and throw in my lot with the "watch Tomb of the Cybermen right away!" people, because it's true! There is the most wonderful moment between Two and Zoe. And, of course, cling. All the time cling. And a gorgeous cloak.
Zoe isn't in 'Tomb of the Cybermen'. You're thinking of Victoria.
Guh, you're absolutely right, I'm sorry. Mixed up my comments about Tomb with the ones I wanted to make about Mind Robber. Scratch the Zoe from the latter half of my comment and replace it with Victoria. (But I did mean Zoe when I was talking about Wendy Padbury earlier.)
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I wonder if the reason they all seem so clingy is because they all needed to be (naturally, un-fake-ily) in the camera frame?
Jamie, Zoe & The Second Doctor are probably my favorite companion/Doctor team from all the various series. Others come close and I may like individual characters from the modern era more… and Ten will always kind of be My Doctor. But the way those three worked together really was great.
I find that many of the early Whos (first, second, and some of the third) come across as though filmed better quality because they didn't try to be more than a story being told on a set. Yes, there are exceptions and cheesy stuff, but often they worked with what they had, not trying to be fancy on 1.98 in funds. It worked.
I quite liked this one… except, you're right, for Zoe thinking she HAD to look at Medusa. I assume the 'character' was exerting the power she had in fiction, and working on Zoe's will, but.. well. .that was the one bit that didn't come across well.
And speaking of working with what you have, the rewrite necessitated by Frazier's chicken pox worked REALLY well. It added to the story. Loved Jamie 2.0. Love Jamie, too. He's one of my favorite companions.
War Games is an excellent second doctor ep, too… though it is six eps long and could have been four so it has a bit of the dragginess some classic eps have (and the Mind Robber had little of) but if you like doctor two, this is another one worth seeing. Netflix has little bits of serials that have missing parts, like the one that introduced Zoe (and also the psuedonym John Smith), Wheel in Space. It's coherent enough even with missing bits.
thank you for reviewing this, Mark.
The only classic doctor episode that i ever see is Third doctor only and The Five Doctors.
I just watching this Arc along with my friend, and its absolutely amazing!
Now i know why people loved Second. This Second-Jamie-Zoe definitely the best 3 -person in team that i ever see.
Can't wait what you will see later for classic who series (i just hope you watch third too, Jon Pertwee's Doctor is very good too) :3
So, first time watching an old Doctor Who serial! i guess i'll just put down my thoughts so far….
1. Jamie and the Doctor are great together! XD they should become related somehow. Can the Doctor adopt people into his family? Jamie could be like a cool Scottish step-brother.
2. GOOD LORD ZOE CAN SCREAM. i appreciate that she's able to sound like she's actually scared, BUT IT'S EAR-SPLITTING.
3. Zoe! Stop being idiotic when it comes to the mythical people! YOU'VE SEEN WHAT SAYING 'It doesn't exist!' HAS DONE AT LEAST TWICE BY NOW, WHY ARE YOU INSISTING MEDUSA IS REAL?!
4. Gotta love old school claymation. freaking hilarious <3
5. Why's Medusa just holding out her hand? What kind of threat is that? 'OOOH! I'M GOING TO TOUCH YOU OHH! BETTER NOT LET ME GET CLOSER OR I MIGHT POKE YOU IN THE CHEEK!' i'd understand if she was a weeping angel, but she's just a stereotypical big headed alien with a pig nose and an interesting choice in wigs…
6. i love this show, i just get to laugh at the funny special effects they had in the olden days <3
7. Karkus's costume makes me laugh so much XD AHAHAHA ZOE KICKED HIM IN THE BUTT! YAY ZOE!
8. 'did you ever hear of the adventures of Capt. Jack Harkaway?' that is wayyy to close to Capt. Jack Harkness for me to believe it's entirely a coincidence…..
You have certainly been very busy writing up this great post, It was very interesting to read. Can’t wait to see what you write about in the next month.
Its pouring in NY rite now so all i have been able to do is fiddle around on the computer and check out random peoples blogs all day. Yours inst to bad!
Good excuse for not being around…LOVE sex in the city and cannot wait for the new season 🙂
Im grateful for the article post. Great.
servants and we dreamed a little balm, and when he was morning, and he said to Nahor, and first day with him, lest they had been there was fair woman he may show thee: and the herdsmen and they may bring him to buy food: and drink. And Laban said
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