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 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 7:37 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Back story:

When I was a kid in the mid 80's, DOCTOR WHO sometimes popped up on the telly (we had cable with access to Sky and Super Channel). I remember not caring for it much, finding it cheap and cheesy and silly even then; I think it was the Tom Baker era they showed. So I decided never to revisit it again. Fastforward to the 2005 reboot. I decided to give it another chance, now that it had upgraded its production values. I was hesitant at first, but eventually got to love it. So I saw all the new episodes.

Today:

Then in April this year, I decided to do something new. I set out to see ALL the previous episodes of the series since 1963. Not because I was a fan of the show as a whole, but because I was a fan of the new show and I wanted to catch all the references and back stories. I'm a sucker for franchise context! Then just a few days ago, 6 months later, I had seen all 800 episodes of the series, including a revisit of the new ones. Just in time for the 50th anniversary episode in a month.

To be perfectly honest, the majority of classic Who is still rather silly, despite some occasional good writing and the occasional decent episode, but now I've seen it all. Furthermore -- and on-topic for this forum -- I got to hear the various scores. Some of it is rather unlistenable, but once in a while a gem pops up. I remember liking some of Tristam Cary's stuff for the earlier series, the ones Geoffrey Burgon did and a few more. And of course, I'm already a fan of Murray Gold's work on the new series.

Anyways, just wanted to share this as I've previously shared my 'virginity losses' in relation to JAMES BOND and STAR TREK here on the board.

Has anyone else seen all the episodes? Any favourite composers or scores throughout its long history?

(PS. I'm spending the last few weeks before the new episode to go through THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES -- even though it's for kiddies -- and maybe go through all the TORCHWOODs again, but after that it's stop).

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 7:45 AM   
 By:   Kim Tong   (Member)

You are going to find THE SARAH JANE CHRONICLES very silly, if you thought the early DR WHO episodes were silly. I would bypass K-9:The Series also, it is worst than TSJC, because it was also made for kids. The K-9:Series was compared to The Power Rangers in some article a few years ago. Some of the music by Sam and Dan Watts was good in TSJC, if you can get through the episodes.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 8:05 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

Been a fan all my life, and I was born two years before it started. My first actual memory was Part 6 of The Chase, titled on screen Planet of Decision, and that battle between the Daleks and the Mechanoids.

Remember most of the Patrick Troughton era, and became a real fan of the lead character when Jon Pertwee appeared in 1970.

My only down period is the latter 80s, with Sylvester McCoy, though accept it in context.

Musically speaking, I love the originality of that iconic first version of Ron Grainer's wonderful theme. I like the electronic soundscapes of some of the 60s serials (first Dalek story/The Invasion/The Krotons etc). I like the cheesy synth sound of Dudley Simpson's Pertwee scores, and all his Gallifrey stories with the organ work, plus The Ribos Operation.

I was over the moon when the BBC Radiophonic Workshop started scoring duties in the 80s. My favourite composers being Peter Howell and Paddy Kingsland, with Roger Limb really doing his best on The Caves of Androzani, a result of working closely with director Graham Harper.

Of the McCoy era the only composer to alienate me was Keff McCulloch, the drum macjhine king!

The three composer soundtrack for the Paul McGann tv movie was great, and of course not only the first fully movie style score, but was the first time the theme had been done with conventional instruments, and very interesting it was starting in the middle!

But yes, Murray Gold really has brought the series to full musical perfection on occasion. I especially loved the more thematic approach taken for the series produced by Russell T Davies.
Made all but the first Prom, being on holiday at the time, and also the very first Gold concert at the Millenium Centre, Cardiff in 2006.

So yes, I'm a fan of both Doctor Who and it's music, of the highest order!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 8:23 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I think that maybe if I had grown up with it at the time it was created, it would have been different. But when I saw it as a kid in the 80's, I was both too "Norwegian" for such a quintessential British show and too out-of-time (on the other hand, I did enjoy other older shows like THE TIME TUNNEL, PLANET OF THE APES etc.).

Seeing these things for the first time as a discerning adult is a bit different. But still, I eventually got used to the cheap production values (wavering paper walls and poor rubber suits) to be envelopped in the writing -- which was often far better than what the execution allowed.

 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 8:46 AM   
 By:   welwynfilmstudios   (Member)

You are going to find THE SARAH JANE CHRONICLES very silly, if you thought the early DR WHO episodes were silly. I would bypass K-9:The Series also, it is worst than TSJC, because it was also made for kids. The K-9:Series was compared to The Power Rangers in some article a few years ago. Some of the music by Sam and Dan Watts was good in TSJC, if you can get through the episodes.

Sarah Jane Chronicles was made by CBBC, so it was aimed towards a younger audience. For most of us fans, that was pretty well accepted. It was just another chance to see Elisabeth Sladen back in the part again. The series boasted guest appearances from David Tennant, Matt Smith and the wonderful Katy Manning.

As for the K-9 series, I agree, it was awful.

 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 8:55 AM   
 By:   welwynfilmstudios   (Member)



Of the McCoy era the only composer to alienate me was Keff McCulloch, the drum machine king!



I always felt Dominic Glynn's version of the theme was quite bad. It's the one version I can never listen to.

 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 9:00 AM   
 By:   welwynfilmstudios   (Member)


My only down period is the latter 80s, with Sylvester McCoy, though accept it in context.




I agree about McCoy's early stories. My favourite stories would have to be Rememberance of the Daleks, Silver Nemesis, Greatest Show in the Galaxy, Battlefield, Ghost Light, Curse of Fenric and Survival. Although I have to admit, Delta and The Bannermen is something of a guilty pleasure. big grin

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 12:07 PM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

Easy to like those other shows you mention Thor, because they're on film, and quite slickly Hollywood. Doctor Who was mainly on video (with most location work on film), and thus looked cheaper. Like the common soap or sitcom.

And yes, I forgot to mention how bad the Glynn version of the Grainer theme was, probably pipping the McCulloch one to the post, because the Keff one does have that 'chiming clock' bit in the middle. But Glynn's incidentals always had an orchestral sound to them, and his opening to Trial of a Timelord was wonderful.

But both his and Keff's versions of the Grainer theme were the two worst ever. My stock description of them is: Glynn, the rubber band between the teeth version; Keff, the the paper and comb (or kazoo) version.

Now, as far as the Doctor Who spin-offs go I prefer SJA to Torchwood. Because for me the kids' spin-off succeeded in it's aim to be what it was, compared to the adult one.

SJA won all sorts of awards and was very popular among it's audience, while Torchwood was a fairly crass attempt at times to be adult with a capital 'A', in terms of language etc., and pretty childish in all other respects.

But there are always exceptions to the rule. And they are simply, with SJA the two stories that genuinely cross-over to the parent show and feature the incumbent Doctor actors, are superb and can almost be regarded as DW itself. The Matt Smith one is sillier than the David Tennant one, but both have excellent moments of pathos and other lovely dramatic elements. Though overall I found the series stupidly full of bubblegum 'lightness' when most of the kids watching were perfectly happy with the more serious tone of the original family show.

And with Torchwood it's that third series Children of Earth. A five episode serial stripped
through the week, each ending begging you to watch the next. It felt like somewhere between an old fashioned paced Doctor Who serial of the 60s and 70s, and a genuinely mature aimed drama. And it starred the next Doctor, Peter Capaldi in a blindingly good written and acted performance.

BUT! Back on topic and the music.... Neither show has a good theme. Bizarre when you think of the amount of great themes dreamt up by their composer Murray Gold for Doctor Who's incidentals. SJA also had forgettable scoring. I can't remember a single moment. But again, with Torchwood it's Children of Earth scored by Gold's orchestrator/conductor Ben Foster that stands out from the crowd, so good it is. And of course available on Silva Screen.

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2013 - 8:06 AM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

...now that it had upgraded its production values.

Hi, Thor.

You probably are already familiar with my thoughts and assessments on DOCTOR WHO, so I won't repeat them here.

One topic I wish to ask you, though, is do you equate high(er) production values with greater (or easier) suspension of disbelief?

And what about the converse? Do (so-called) "cheap" productions hinder your appreciation of them?

Speaking for myself, I could watch 2 characters conversing within a single set and still be satisfied with the end result and not be bothered by the absence of other aspects (such as location photography or dazzling effects).

This is what I think is the heart of classic WHO - the theatre aspect (which is true of any BBC videotaped shows from the 1950s through the early 1980s).

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2013 - 8:58 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I have to say a resounding YES to both of your questions, Tonerow.

That being said, years of studying films of all ages (and with all possible production values) have at least taught me to look for specific things and to often look BEYOND the poor production values for other qualities. When the writing of classic Who was good, it was really good, and it always made me speculate as to how it would have been realized with more money and resources at their disposal.

That's the problem with video -- it's all presented in front of you. With audio books or just plain books, it's easier to smooth over the faulty production values with your imagination and suspension of disbelief. I haven't heard any WHO audio books, but I know there are a lot of them. Also, many of the lost episodes that had been restored with still images actually managed to create MORE suspension of disbelief because the moving image was playing out in your head based on the still images on screen. Maybe that's why I thought MARCO POLO was such an excellent story.

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2013 - 9:25 AM   
 By:   Tom Guernsey   (Member)

At the risk of going too off topic, I have been watching the blu-ray release of Spearhead from Space (Jon Pertwee's first story) which was made entire on film due to a strike. It's made me wonder how much better Classic Doctor Who might have held up had it all been made on film. It's still not the budget of Star Trek for Irwin Allen shows, but film just gives it that extra illusion of quality and the lack of horrible, overlit studio sets isn't a problem. All there rubber monsters would doubtless have been easier to get away with on film too. Shame they couldn't even budget it for this one improvement. Of course, ironically, the show is now entirely made on video, but just at such a high resolution and with the ability to give it a filmic look that each episode looks like a Hollywood movie rather than a tv show. Murray Gold's terrific music is the icing on the cake.

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2013 - 9:45 AM   
 By:   Warunsun   (Member)

Then just a few days ago, 6 months later, I had seen all 800 episodes of the series, including a revisit of the new ones. Just in time for the 50th anniversary episode in a month.

Double holy cow!

First, I didn't realize that all episodes were still available to watched; and second, You watched them all in less than 6 months?!?!?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2013 - 11:45 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Yeah, but for some of them I obviously had to watch reconstructions with still images and audio.

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2013 - 2:59 PM   
 By:   Warunsun   (Member)

I used to watch classic Doctor Who on public television here in the US. I have seen some episodes of every classic Doctor. I certainly haven't seen them all but some adventures of each incarnation. I seen the TV movie with Paul McGann back when it originally aired here in 1996. When Christopher Eccleston started in the relaunched series I watched it when it was on the SciFi Channel here. I always thought it was strange it wasn't on BBC America to begin with. I watched some episodes with David Tennant but not many of them.

I lost interest it in plus the TV viewing schedule wasn't the best for me at the time. I know this show has always been a kid's show by definition. But I don't remember seeing fart jokes in the stories with Pertwee or any of the old timers. It felt like the show was getting sillier the longer it was on TV. I also disliked watching Who with commercials in them. I am considering giving this show a second chance now that they are releasing the whole set of revival series in a single box at a good price in HD and without commercials.

The question is did the show continue to get sillier? I guess a few farting aliens once is OK but I would hate to shell out for the show and find they became major characters. I was also encouraged that an older actor has been cast in the role. I haven't watched the show in several years so please let me know where the silly meter is. Thanks.

I think I am going to order the 1996 TV movie on DVD and watch it. The big boxed set comes out on Tuesday, November 5th here in the US.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2013 - 3:11 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I don't think the 2005 version is a 'kiddie show'. It might be family-friendly, but some of the storylines are quite mature and complex....and epic. I particularly love the Davies era. The Moffat is OK, but not quite the same standard, IMO.

The 'kiddie' aspect seems to be inherited by the spin-off show THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES instead.

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2013 - 3:31 PM   
 By:   Warunsun   (Member)

The 'kiddie' aspect seems to be inherited by the spin-off show THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES instead.

I had heard that spinoff Torchwood was out but I had never watched it but I didn't know that Sara Jane Smith had been brought back-let alone had her own show. Is it just the one Doctor Who show now?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2013 - 1:42 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

The 'kiddie' aspect seems to be inherited by the spin-off show THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES instead.

I had heard that spinoff Torchwood was out but I had never watched it but I didn't know that Sara Jane Smith had been brought back-let alone had her own show. Is it just the one Doctor Who show now?


Yes. But of course -- like any other franchise -- there are TONS of other media available, whether audio books, books, computer games, comic books or whatever. I'm sure many of these are still being produced.

I really liked TORCHWOOD (although not so much the last season, which was produced YEARS after the season before), especially the more adult approach. I have never read an official cancellation notice, but I think it's fair to assume it won't return.

 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2013 - 1:56 AM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

I have never read an official cancellation notice, but I think it's fair to assume it won't return.

From an interview RTD did last year:

"Davies moved to the US to make Torchwood: Miracle Day, a show that did decent ratings, but got a mixed response. Personal issues have meant Davies lives back in the UK now, and he admitted to Norton that it's left the show in "limbo".

"I would have carried on if circumstances hadn't brought me back to this country", he admitted. "I'm not working on it at the moment. I'm only working on Wizards Vs Aliens. When I get back to work one day I don't know if it'll be old news to the BBC then".

He affirmed that the show hadn't been cancelled, and said it's one of "those shows can come back in ten or 20 years time". However, Torchwood appears to be on nobody's immediate agenda at the moment."

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2013 - 1:59 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Thanks for that. It's in 'limbo', as expected. I guess that's better than a definite cancellation notice.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2013 - 7:26 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)



I personally love both original and new Doctor Who. I'm quite happy that it moved with the times, and feel the great production values give it that extra quality it should always have had. At the very least so that it stands well in the company of the Hollywood based series that have come out of the US over the years.

The main complaint it seems to me from many of we older fans is mainly the pacing of the drama and action. In some episodes, especially with the single 45 min format, characters barely have time to have a conversation.

As regards the older production values, as has been noted there are some remarkable exceptions where the production values hardly matter. Spearhead From Space is a good example, and I can recommend the recently recovered Web of Fear. I'm up to episode 4 of this, and the careful direction, with the extended amount of film produce a marvelous 50s British film feel. And the cutting between video and film is less jarring in b/w. And it struck me how the story unfolds in the claustrophobic location of the London Underground, but the script tellls a story that if they indeed had a better budget, it could be expanded to be more spectacular. BUT it works perfectly well as it is through skillful choices, particularly in atmosphere, where you really do not miss spectacle of gloss.

Anyway, last night saw the first broadcast of a brand new trailer, complete with a new Murray Gold version of the famous theme. And I too think his music is one of the best things to come from the revamp. Just look at this!!:

www.doctorwhonews.net/

 
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